Friday, April 30, 2010

The Only Post You Will Need to Get Thru The Weekend

Coffee or tea?

Tea is for people who don't care to feel alive anymore. Sick people. Weak people. People scared of their own power. Tea is for people who don't want to run faster, think smarter, enunciate words properly, have sex before bed. You know what they grow in secret on tea plantations? Marijuana. You know what they grow in secret on coffee plantations? Cocaine.

Drinking coffee is saying to the universe daily "fine. kill me. See if that fucking stops me."

Where did the time go?

You are going to have to clarify what particular unit of time you're talking about, and in whose construct? If it's my construct, then it leaked out slowly between episodes of Bones and a new obsession with Jello salads. If it's yours, it was probably decimated by the endless hours playing Mass Effect 2 OR watching Yacht Rock videos on YouTube. You should go mow the lawn. And I should do my dishes. But we're not gonna, and that's just how it goes.

What kinds of monsters live under Lake Erie?

Let's see. Giant sturgeon. Giant catfish. Parasitic zebra mussels. Bone stripping Corn Obsessed carp. Sheephead, otherwise known as the slightly annoying unicorns of Ohio's waterways. The nasty, barely educated, sexually offensive ghosts of lots of 19th century sailors. The slightly less offensive but patently passive aggressive ghosts of draft dodgers. Aliens made of oil locked in ship holds. The secret lair of the mutant seagulls, and the steroid pumped evil blind water otter that protects their stronghold. Oh, and snakes. Lots of snakes.

What do you make of these? Octopus Chandeliers. Would you put one in your house? Which color? What room? If no, why not?

This is the best thing I have ever seen today. I want them all. In particular I want the green one, for my bedroom. So I can fall asleep every night protected by my guardian octopus, and have safe squiddliscious dreams. I want the pink one for my car.

You should get one for me just for making up the word squiddliscious, right now.

Which Winnie the Pooh character are you, and why?

I am a Heffalump. You can't catch me, I will eat all your honey, and I don't actually exist.

What do you think of obvious sorority girls who wear pink North Face jackets? Why do you judge them so much?

I don't actually judge them that much. I appreciate having a warm jacket. When I was little, my mom always bought us those Lands Ends winter coats, that were short and in bright colors. I hate them visually, but those things were fucking warm. And they lasted forever. Someday I will get old enough to not care about the kind of coat I am wearing, and buy myself one of those again. So hey, you can afford a North Face jacket? Good for you for dressing reasonably according to the weather.

The girls I judge are the ones wearing high heels in January in Cleveland. What the fuck? Is there some surgery you can get to turn off all feeling below your knees that I'm not aware of? Is your plan just to expose your skin to biting winds and freezing ice and rock salt so often, your nerve endings just die? Do your toes even work anymore?

Who is on your "blocked call" list and why?

I fucking wish I could figure out how to work a blocked call list. I don't think I even have that option, cause I have cheapie cell service. But do we seriously even have that anymore? I mean, you can see who's calling, and just not pick up?

If you were going to eat one thing for the rest of your life, and it wasn't bone marrow, what would it be?

Freezee Pops.

What's your favorite sport to play? To watch? To watch while playing another sport? To play while watching another sport? To watch sorority girls in pink North Face jackets play?

I like horse racing and bowling. Basketball is okay to watch even though I don't understand the nuances because at least it moves fast. Football is fun when I get to curse other teams out in some sort of fantasy that I belong to an actual fan base. Ann Arbors A Whore! I imagine the only sport where you see girls in pink jackets playing is skiing, and that shit is boring after the first couple runs. Why are you so obsessed with pink North Face jackets? Please tell me.

What are five things you tried and will never do again? Why?

1. White Castle burgers
2. ***censored***
3. ***censored***
4. raw deer
5. ***censored***

Ask Me Anything

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ANTM Cycle 14: New Zealand. The Country That Does Not Start With a Z.

When have you ever heard of a country, A COUNTRY, promoting itself using a CW reality show? Never has Tyra gone to another country, and then they have added a whole page of their travel site devoted entirely to this show. Brazil would have NEVER done that shit. Thailand was even above that. Unless Tyra has made some huge move on the global shadow market, and is now a super power player. It would explain the jumpsuits. Maybe she now owns New Zealand?

Oh New Zealand! Don't you know how gladly I would move to you if only your other official website hadn't made it substantially clear that you only want chefs, construction workers, and shepherds? So now, since my corporate qualified booty isn't good enough for you? I'm going to be merciless.

Watching the intro to this weeks episode, I was struck by the fact that I don't really remember who all these other girls are. They flash across my eyes like so many other pretty girl faces I've been looking at since childhood, an endless stream of generic smokey eyes and pouty lips, stretching from New York to California, infinity and beyond. I will get older and uglier, but the world will never run out of pretty young girls, they will just keep feeding them into the grinder one by one.

There is an ad for a Queen Latifah/Common romantic comedy, and this is Hollywood's perfect black couple, the new Gerard Depardieu/Diana Lane.

The girls are on a plane. The producers expect us to believe the plane is an actual plane, and not just a sound stage somewhere in Las Cruces. But no real plane has cryogenic dvd equipped sleeping pods like that, do they? That was seriously the best first class I have ever seen, ever. I don't believe it. I think, in fact, the producers killed all the girls, had their DNA shipped over in cold storage, and just made them all over again in Auckland. When the girls grow up properly enough, they are brought to the edge of a volcano and greeted by a gaggle of tongue flapping Maori guys who ham it up hardcore for the cameras. Some perfectly coiffed Man Who Used to be a Duck introduces them by pointing out they are on a volcano, duh, and that these dancers are representing their culture and history. To which I am all like, tell me the fucking story of the volcano what! Tell me what that culture and history is yo!

Twist! The dirty dirty girls have to hike down the mountain and go to some Go Sees in Shantytown! Without taking showers. Which blows. I could never. I look like a rat drowned in Crisco if I don't shower every day. The taxi drivers take them all through the strip malls and harbor city shoppity shops. The skies are gray and it reminds me of Sandusky, OH. Every designer is like "We love Angelea, and would totally book her for runway shows." Which would be great for her, if that didn't mean a once a year invitation to crash in someone's guest bedroom and attend the Annual Sheep Shearers for the Cure Show.

But Second Twist! Jessica apparently has a baby! and a husband! that I don't remember hearing about ever before! This makes me love her so much more, irrationally so. It's possible this was brought up before, but maybe Anslee's own extreme motherhood whining cancelled out any peep from Jess. Or maybe Jessica doesn't love her baby. I mean, obviously not as much as Anslee does, right? Or she would talk about her more.

Alasia tells us she "found her swag" this week. I am reminded of the argument the Boy and I had about the meaning of the word "swag". He insisted it was a new street word for charisma. I refused to back down from it being a clothing sample, or a bag of freebies you get at charity events. I like to think Alasia meant she found the bag the producers gave out at auditions of free CG lip gloss and tampons.

We meet some lady who is the host of NZNTM. She is the head of New Zealand's largest modelling agency, and she uses the word "abide". Remind me to never watch NZNTM.

They finally get to go shower, and find out they are staying in the ONLY BIG BUILDING IN AUCKLAND. The only one. There is one tall building in New Zealand, and it is the hotel where they put American guests. There is a beautiful moment on the deck, where the girls are standing side by side, flush with the adventure of being on the other side of the world. A giant rainbow is formed over the ocean harbor, and the girls point and laugh and smile like 6th graders visiting NYC for the first time with Drama Club. Why can't we stop here readers? Why can't the whole fucking show, the whole series, end here, with this moment of innocent glee and wonderment? Young girls being shown a glimpse of the hugeness of what they don't know. It's perfect and clean. It's Cover Girl.

Then Jay shows up on a tractor, dresses them up like the Wicked Witches of the Gay Musical Revue, and makes them pose with large sheep.

Alasia goes home.

In other news...I totally heard this song on a Leggs commercial and it's my new favorite thing of the last five minutes. Also I think their album is called Young and Clever, which I'm tempted to get tattooed on the small of my back.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sometimes it feels good to know my people were all over in Europe when this happened, eating potatoes and making pierogis.

On Sunday it was rainy and cold, as Spring Sundays in Ohio are more likely than not to be. I drove out to Avon Lake, and stopped at a park near the power plant, the one that everyone says is giving them cancer and probably is. It was dismal, I was feeling nettled by the constant drizzles, I wanted to be drunk and unawares but instead I was staring at things through a camera, which has the opposite effect, makes you more aware really of the things going around you. When you are uneasy about things in your life, you are teetering on an edge. To drive away the uneasiness, you can fall to one side or the other. Become more immersed in yourself, or be swallowed by the rest of the world. It's avoidance either way. But I chose to fall into the world instead of out, and that's how I saw the surfers above. Who are definitely falling in not out. Ohio is a beautiful state of mind.

The other night I watched the first part of that History Channel Patriotism Extravaganza, The History of US. The first part is of course the Colonies and the Revolutionary War. Now, being thirty years old and fairly educated more so than the average bear, I have been taught various sundries about this revolution we speak of so reverently. I do not regret the formation of the country I live in. I feel a glow in my heart that roughly translates to "yay for us for owning all this awesome pretty stuff, resources and land and bald eagles and whatnot." I don't subscribe to this belief that nobody can really own the land. It's not true. Whoever can keep the land away from other people owns it. I think we ought to be more mindful, sure. We ought to take better care of the pretty things we got. But it's ours, right? We're not giving it back, however nastily we got it. Every country, every demarcation of property on this planet was obtained with bloody devious devices. This is the way history works. My ancestors, not mine personally of course but US, OURS, got themselves a lion's share, and now I can travel between oceans without a passport which is kind of awesome, considering how annoying that whole getting a passport thing is.

Nonetheless, I also believe in not killing local populations, not discriminating against people, and helping people in need and wussy stuff like that. So it's hard to be patriotic when looking at the formation of America. But the Revolution right!? That brief and shining moment when we cast off the shackles of fucking douche superpower England, who nobody likes anyway, and we are free! Well, at least the white people are free. The white men. But it's the beginning of the march towards freedom for all! Of this particular moment, all Americans can be proud, without guilt or regret.


Except well so I'm watching this show, and I already knew the Revolution was staged by these wealthy guys, but it hurts to have it spelled out so. Cause they didn't like taxes right, since they were rich guys who had come over here solely to make money, so they didn't want anyone else to have it. Then England REVOKED all the taxes, except on tea, and we were still like Fuck You Not good Enough, and then there was the Boston Tea Party which was probably spearheaded by whichever one of those white guys grew tea. The rich white guys used all sorts of propaganda to convince the poor people that this wasn't about their money, it was about YOUR FREEDOM and your FAMILY'S FREEDOM, and the TYRANNY of England. Some young guys got all up in arms, and protested, and some got shot by the police/redcoats. Then everyone starting forming militias, because if England was going to tax your hot beverages, it was obvious they were going to take your farms too, logical that. And the British were not very diplomatic, and tried to take the guns from the people who wanted to shoot them, and we went to "war". Which was less of a war for a while, and more like "terrorists hiding in trees and shooting passing redcoats" or "really angry farmers standing in front of the redcoats shooting at them and being killed really quickly". But what were they really angry about? The money of rich people.

Of course, this was portrayed on the show as being very patriotic, though patriotic to who is questionable, since there was no USA yet and it certainly wasn't very patriotic to England. What made me incredibly uncomfortable was the fact that these revolutionary heroes were in fact acting exactly like the present day teabaggers. The Tea Party is doing an incredible job of staying true to their colonial forefathers' goals, which boil down to "leave me and my money alone". I mean, good for them. They are exactly the sort of people who started the Revolution. And I completely disagree with them. Which means I completely disagree with the reasons for the American Revolution. If I was alive back then, I would be a Loyalist, no doubts. Cause I think it's stupid for rich people to lead poor people into a slaughterhouse over money.

I mean, so we killed all the Indians too, and this is how we got all this land. I enjoy having all this land. But if given the choice again, I would never say "this is an acceptable way to achieve this." Something in history is done and done, and now we reap the awards of it, it turned out well for our particular bloodlines. But it doesn't make it right that we did it in the first place. And it doesn't mean we do it again. We're supposed to be better people, modern men. This isn't some backwoods colony anymore. This is a crazy complicated system of states and funding and utilities. You can't pretend that the same strategy is going to work again. Don't want to give us your money anymore? Then move. You've certainly told my kind that enough times. You are a not a rich Virginia landowner with slaves you can send off to fight people. It is no longer okay to make your own rules because you have guns. We are supposed to evolve, we are supposed to change, which is why we are also supposed to encourage immigrants remember?

This wasn't supposed to turn into that last paragraph, but there it is. The other thing that made me so uncomfortable was that the whole damn series is sponsored by Bank of America, and before commercial breaks they would have this "infomercial like thing", the history of Bank of America as applied to the American government. Like, Bank of America was the first bank ever. And Bank of America helped build the White House. And without Bank of America, there would no America. In between these snippets were other ads, for other companies that had received bailouts. Like GM, whose ad started with "We've paid back the whole bailout in full already, early, so please buy our cars again." History of US is like the thank you card from these companies, I guess. I would have preferred better health care reform personally. Or better public transportation.

So I understand why people in Cleveland would brave the freezing cold April lake, in wetsuits, to surf in the wake of power plants. You need to cleanse your mind of the detritus of history. Your history, our history, their history. It all needs to fall away into something, like waves, or asphalt, or optimism. Slate gray waves equals clean slate.

Or we are all just crazy lake people who shouldn't be surfing near power plants.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ace Rubber Factory: Some Observations on Natural Defenses

This is the building that beat me on Friday. We tried. But the building was too sneaky, too dirty and devious for us. Also, we finally found a door that was open, after braving all sorts of terrible tricks, but then hey! There was a light on inside? An electric light? I mean, the building was broken and alone and left open to the elements, but someone paid the bills. Unless actually the factory had figured out how to steal electricity from the power plant next door, as a sort of "play dead" trick to hunters like ourselves. These places are smarter than we give them credit for.

Anyway, since I don't have any wonderful pictures of broken plaster or rotting pianos, I thought I'd take this opportunity to educate you on some of the perils you have to face when building hunting. Abandoned places, like decrepit silverbacks hiding in the fringes jungle, outcast from the rest of the family, are dangerous creatures who must be treated with respect. It's important to know what you are up against before venturing into the Wasteland, and to equip yourself appropriately. Here are some of the more common dangers you are likely to come across.

1. Gates

The first line of defense will usually be gates or fences. You can just walk around them. Sometimes, if you want to be stealthy, you crawl. They are silly and unsubstantial things. I appreciate the thoroughness in this example, but as if I would ever walk across a concrete beam with the canal raging below, when there's a perfectly serviceable bridge right next to it. Covered even. So I don't muss my hair. When it inevitably rains. Because it's Akron, where the clouds are constantly crying hot tar tears.

2. Mazes.

Mazes can be made of steel, foliage, rock. They are basically designed to grow up and around the building, to shield it from prying eyes. They are not actively dangerous, if you are careful. But you must watch your step, examine before you place your hands or weight on anything, and not think sad thoughts. Also, if you hear a roaring sound, take four steps to the right.

3. Hypnotism

I mean, the factory isn't trying to convince you you're a chicken or something, but if you're not careful at how long your glance lingers, you may find yourself becoming tired. Having to pee. Wondering if there's a better building down the street. One time I stared too long at a bottle in a parking lot, and found myself wandering back to my car trying to remember all of the words to The Freshman. Any repetitive patterns, be sure to only view them through a lens, and even then only in short takes.

4. Murder Pits

This particular murder pit is filled with water, so I guess technically you could call it a moat. But not all deep vine covered holes are quite so benign. For instance, what if you fell in a pit of poisonous salamanders who tried to eat out your eyes and lay their radioactive eggs in your spinal fluid? Did you bring beef jerky to distract the beasts? Always bring beef jerky in case of murder pits.

5. Land Jellyfish

Land jellyfish live in concrete and mortar, and spread their tentacles out over walls to attract prey. If you touch a land jellyfish tentacle, don't piss on the wound, just cut it off. It may seem extreme, but it's best for everyone involved, honest. Otherwise, you turn into a land jellyfish, then your girlfriend dumps you, you eat your dog, you lose your job and find yourself attracted to only bricks manufactured before 1951. It's nasty.

6. Grass Eels.

Harmless unless you step on them, but they will start rattling vehemently the moment they sense your footsteps in the earth. They are mostly used to activate alarms, which is why if you set one off, avoid the...

7. Raptor Pit.

8. Robots

Most robots from the turn of the century have suffered a significant amount of dementia and power drain. Though they were originally taught humans were the masters, you can never tell if this particular thought structure has held up. The robot, if still active, may try to behead you or make you a winching system. They are easily outrun, assuming you have space to run. Strobe lights are particularly effective for distracting them, I recommend keeping a small one on your key chain.

9. Barrels of Industrial Waste

It's not really the industrial waste you need to be scared of. It's the ape behind the barrels, who's going to try and throw them at you.

10. Outsider Art

Distinguishable from the robots by their strange need for solitude, and collection of cat food tins fashioned into shoes. They are telepathic, and if you come too close, they will destroy your need for approbation or sex. I mean, it's like they have laser eyes and cut off your genitals, only emotionally. If you can find your way out of the maze through the veil of hot tears that will descend as soon as you realize how worthless your own measly accomplishments are
(because at heart you are a shallow money hoarding sellout who would rather have stupid things like CLOTHES instead of artistic integrity), well it's a minor miracle.

Happy Hunting! Hopefully the nice weather will bring out some better specimens next week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unicorn Tears and Bret Michaels

Last night this folk singer in a studded belt with the periodic table tattooed on his arm brought an actual jug of 'shine, only an hour old. He took a sip in front of us, to show us we wouldn't die, and declared it tasted like water trapped in crystal. Then the law student tried it, and named it Unicorn Tears. And I said he should bottle it with that name and sell it outside the vegan bar. Then he poured some in my champagne, and that my friends, is how you make a Unicorn Tears Martini.

Yesterday, upon hearing of Bret Michaels' hospitalization due to brain explosion, I made the following suggestion: that if he dies, VH1 should replace him with David Byrne. Alan suggested they could call it Byrning Love.

Think how different that man's life would have been if he'd been named Bert.

So last night, the Unicorn Tears made me dream that I was on a date with Bret, and almost had sex with him, but then decided I would never be able to have sex with anyone else, because I would be dirty. So then we went to get in my car, only Bret wouldn't, because he was so disgusted with how dirty the floor of my car was, and told me I was a slob. He refused to get in the car. I woke up convinced Bret Michaels had died in his sleep, read my twitter, and decided to haunt me in my dreams and humiliate me. But he hasn't died, so I can only conclude that he is haunting me from whatever drug induced coma he's in. And also that I need to clean my car.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Confirming that I am not the best driver, though not the worst.

You know how you pick up random bits of information and then they hop back into your consciousness without you really asking them too? I'm the queen of this. Today at lunch I was driving to buy toilet paper, which I had run out of last night. Running out of toilet paper sucks, but it also made me appreciate my pile of allergy tissues by the bed. So I'm in the car going down Lorain, coming up on one of those nasty dips in the asphalt that occasionally forms around a manhole cover. I know this dip. I routinely avoid this dip successfully. Today for some reason I came up on it and I thought "turn into the dip" and rammed my car right through it.

The car is okay, but the point is this. For a moment, I thought I was sailing a boat. In rough weather. You know, like turn into the wind?

I have no idea if this is how you are actually supposed to sail a boat, because I've never done that. But at some point I read that, and now it kicks in when I'm trying to avoid potholes.

This morning I texted The Boy
"Who would win? Giant Space Bear versus Moon?"

The Boy: "Anything bear wins over anything that's not bear!"

I went to see Echo and the Bunnymen on Thursday, courtesy of Positively Cleveland. They gave them to me on Twitter, which hey, that's a reason for Twitter alone. I win stuff all the time. It's like the reason I never won anything else at any point in my life is so that this year I can win everything. I'm not a big fan of Echo, but I got to take someone who was a fan, so that was nice. He was also taller than everyone there, which is nice for him. We met a guy who turned around and excitedly asked me if I "knew" the band. I replied "just don't quiz me on it" which is a really smooth way of me saying "absolutely nothing at all, I shouldn't be here." He had been a fan for, I don't know, the whole time they've been playing, which is what? A hundred years? But this was his first time going to a show of theirs. He was so excited. He was with his friend who was doing something really fucking cool in Dayton, medical generational studies, and his friend was super chill and obviously there for his friend sake. The friend bought us beers. Also the fan guy was going through some super nasty divorce, that he was visibly depressed about. He asked me to take a picture of them together. He ran around to everyone and found the other fans who, like, follow Echo and the Bunnymen around. It was the nicest thing ever. I felt like telling everyone at the show to clear out, this guy should have some one on one time with the band.

I later also felt that way about the old lady dancing by the lighting guy, who was that dancer who just doesn't give a damn personal space or looking good or the quantifiable difference between a flail and a jiggle.

I wasn't super impressed by the band. I thought the sound was hollow and flat, which is that the venue's fault? I couldn't tell. They looked really tired, and the lighting of most of the show kept them in the dark. I mean, I guess they tour like every three months, and after 25 years, no wonder you blatantly disregard rules and chain smoke on stage. It was like watching a movie where everyone smokes, you really want a cigarette yourself again and again. They played the songs I liked. But nobody danced except the two Super Fans.

I gave TWO cigarettes to a homeless guy out front of the place, and he then proceeded to say a bunch of dirty things about me to Jere? Who then had to move him along? I was ignoring it, as I'm wont to due when I sense crazy coming on.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Yay Questions! ( the post formerly known as "If I didn't like you so much, I'd call this Formspring Friday. What? Right.")

Which is better: a vibrator or a man? And why?

A man does not eat batteries like some sort of Martian invading robot, scuttling through the English countryside burning everything in its path and surviving on Double As.

A vibrator does not wake you up in the morning with an energetic discussion about the various merits of LL Cool J aka The Goat, and then play you a medley of Battle Hymns between him and some dickwad named Cannabis who says the word faggot way too often to be taken seriously.

A man also comes in three speeds, but that has less to do with design and more to do with alcohol consumption.

A vibrator will not make you dinner.

A man cannot be hidden in the drawer next to your bed or under your pillow, and never be discussed with friends and family. You can try, but it won't work.

A vibrator does not have to go to work in the morning.

A man can be brought to social functions and shown off in front of friends.

A vibrator does not leave you drunk singing voice mails.

A man requires you to sometimes get out of bed and wear decent clothes. Which means doing laundry on a more regular basis.

So I think maybe it's a tie. You don't really need either of them, but they are nice to have around.

Have you seen this cyclist in West Park? He rides around holding a CB walkie-talkie and pedals around. I first saw him after a blizzard 3 years ago on his bike peddling around. I just saw him last night peddling out of the crazy metroparks hill by Story R

You're talking about the Lone Rider of Kamm's Corners. The only thing standing between peaceful city neighborhood and bloody violent anarchy on the streets. The Bicyclist of Divine Vengeance. The Randonneur of Retribution. He can signaled by putting a beer mirror out with your trash on the curb. He's also available for plowing.

No. I have no idea what you're talking about. I never leave my house. All my windows are covered in tin foil. I try to avoid making eye contact with my neighbors.

But good for him. Story is a bitch. I have to drive my bike down to the parks and ride, because I can't get up those hills yet. Also because I'm super out of shape and genetically predisposed against going uphill ever.

Ask Me Anything

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ANTM Cycle 14: Mommy, What's a Whitney Port?

A Whitney Port is a creature ripped untimely from it's mother's womb, and of no father conceived but the winds from the mesas and the fumes from the subway tunnels. It is air condensed, diffused with dust and shards of plastic, strangers' tears and gleams of glass. It is only with the most violent of concentrations that this phenomenon can hold it's corporeal shadow, and thus all action is performed with only this goal in mind. Don't lose shape. Hold thy form and substance. Exist.

And into the wild and wonderful Tyranny of Tyra was this ghost thrust. A witch brought it with her on the elevator. The witch whipped her sharp eyelashes and muttered the magic words, and a storm gathered next to her. Slowly the magical gusts settled into a vapid gaze. The witch examined the room of wide eyed does, searching into their hearts to divine which one of them could see the Whitney standing there. She rubbed her bony knuckles and smiled benevolently like a wasp.

"And look who we have here today! It's fashion designer and star of the Hi...the City, Whitney Port!"

The girls looked confused. Alasia thought to herself "there's nothing there. But apparently there's something there. And if Pat Cleveland sees it, then there must be something wrong with me if I don't see it. It means I'm not high fashion, only magazine. Therefore, I must pretend there is something there in order to be a real model. I want to be a real model." She had never read the Emperors New Clothes, but she knew well enough to smile and nod at the scary crone with the fingernails.

Thus the Whitney was seen by none, but loved by all. And her army of fame hawks swept into the sorority house, and made all the girls drink a tea that smelled funny. Then one by one, the Witch visited them and put her claws on their shoulders and forced them to look in the mirror.

"Tell me the essence of you" Tell me the part of what you are that is most important, tell me now my precious. And as each girl giggled a little from the tea, they thought extra hard about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Jessica said "I want to be a princess!" and snatch! grab! Into the witches bag the wish went! Krista said "I want to be Big and Bold!" and swoosh, catch! The Witch sucked the color from between the cracks of her childhood, and Krista became a real model.

Remember when I asked where Alex had gone? Well it turns out she went into the corner to cut herself and write poems. When the Witch came to her, it was all she could do to stomach the girl's poisoned aura, and out of pity she cast a merciful spell "You are a bird. You are about to take off." Alex's eyes stared into the void of the wall mirror.

Groggy and slurry from their adventures in the guidance counselor's weekend camp, the girls were taken to a Drag Bar, and forced like drunk cheerleaders to dance on the tables for the suspiciously straight looking patrons. Krista reveled in her new found soullessness, thanked the devil for his contract, and went for the Disco Mannequin Pose. She brought down the house, and behind their cheering she thought "Now I know."

The next day, the girls are late they're late for a very important date. Alasia becomes lost in the clouds of her Afro, as she is wont to do when the mirror speaks to her, and misses going down with the rest of the girls to the limo. She decides to beat the crap out of a perfectly innocent elevator for ten minutes. Why, Alasia? Why couldn't you have just taken the stairs? Why did you have to paw in futile rage at a metal door before you even though to look for the stairs? Doors have feelings too, and you hurt them. Hint: take the stairs from now on.

They travel in relative silence to the photo shoot, where the theme is Dr. Seuss characters.

Heckling ensues, encouraged by two weird guys who do weaves for a living. Krista tries to channel a Black Power Cat In the Hat. Angelea is told to pretend she is a pole dancer for cavemen. Raina brings brings a quiet dignity to Who everywhere.

Whatever. The big news here is that Anslee, the Squirrel Mama from Hell, has finally been sent home. Also Tyra invented a new name for New Zealand "The N.Z.! Holla!" And next week we will all be treated to way too much footage of Krista and Angelea screeching like crows in first class for a 22 hour flight, while every other passenger desperately tries to open the emergency hatches and make a leap for it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why Hit Girl is Not As Shocking As You are Making Her Out to Be

Okay, so two things you should know about me before I get all deep in this shit.

1) I don't watch horror movies. I didn't when I was a kid, my parents never watched them either, and now I refuse to as an adult. If it doesn't have a plot that interests me, I'm not down for sitting through crap just to be scared by some gruesomeness. For instance, I see absolutely no point in ever watching any of the Saw movies. But I saw a poster for Human Centipede the other day, and even though it warned of being horrifying, I'm totally putting that on the list. Because its called Human Centipede. I have never seen any of the Halloweens, or the Friday the 13ths or whatever else there is. I just don't care. I went to go see that remake of the Hills Have Eyes and had nightmares for weeks. I don't need to pay for that experience. My blood must be associated with action.

Zombie movies are the always exception to this. Zombie movies fall in the same category as Human Centipede.

2) My favorite movie of all time is a little film called Battle Royale. If you are not one of the many friends who I have made watch this movie, and subsequently converted/damned to hell, let me sum it up for you. The Japanese government institutes a lottery. One random grade school class every year is sent to an evacuated island, where they are fitted with explosive collars, given "weapons" and then told if they don't kill each other off, they are all dead. Apparently, this is to show school kids they better stay in school and show respect to their elders, though it's a very clear argument for not going on class trips.

So to sum up: I don't like blood only for the sake of blood, and my favorite movie is one about kids killing each other off. The two are not contradictory, promise.

There's been a lot of discussion about the movie Kick Ass, and it's heroine, the aptly named Hit Girl. Apparently, despite it's R rating and the fact it's a comic book movie, parents were not expecting it to be violent. It still hasn't clicked in the mainstream mind that comic book does not always equal clean wholesome Superman, and hasn't for a very long time. Clean and wholesome are the two words I would be least likely to use describing comics. Comics are about twisted fucked up people, either fucked up mentally or fucked up physically. They are about people who never fit in, who survive on a delusion of grandeur, and they are about killing people.

But specifically the controversy has been raging about whether or not Hit Girl, an eleven year old brainwashed by her father to be an efficient killing machine, is appropriate. Isn't it just a little TOO twisted to have a little girl be able to graphically use a grappling hook to kill four guys in a matter of minutes? Isn't it TOO disturbing?

Now I guess this may reflect badly on me, at least to the people lobbing this argument, but the last thing Hit Girl was to me was shocking. There are plenty of movies where children get fucked up, killed by monsters, tortured by adults, and are forced to forage for themselves in situations where they are helpless. The idea of the Brave Resourceful Child who fends for himself is not new. What's also not new is the idea of the psychopathic Child Bully, the evil little villain who tortures animals and geeks. So since we are able to recognize these adult qualities in children, with the lines of good and evil clearly drawn, why are we unable to comprehend a child who is both? One who is neither a hero or a villain, but some gray area in between. We have no problem with adult characters who embody this gray zone. We call that subtle. Why should the children always be screwed?

So lets go ahead and say that Hit Girl is a victim here, a victim of her fathers maniacal quest for revenge. Should she collapse into a helpless ball of tears, like a goodhearted girl? Or should she react as she's been taught her whole life and go kill some bad guys?While the general public might prefer their girls to be soft and rescuable, I prefer mine smart if somewhat sociopathic. Like any male action hero would, she goes into professional kill mode. She's not an entirely sane girl, but she's also not helpless and not evil. She doesn't need to be rescued by a hero. She simply relies upon the set of skills she has.

As much as it's been popular to rewrite fairy tales from a feminist perspective, I think this is the peak of that trend. She's not a princess, she's a professional fixer. And if you're not comfortable with action movies where people die, then don't go see it. Because that's what Kick Ass is, a good action movie where lots of people die in cool flashy ways. Hit Girl is the new Batman.

For the record, I did see Pulp Fiction when I was a child. And it didn't inspire me to go shoot a bunch of people. Children are capable of absorbing lots of violence. As long as it's violence with a purpose, they can usually tell the difference. The simple fairy tale story remains the same - good kills evil. In this way, I think children are actually less impressionable than adults. Children recognize the world as a scary dangerous place. Adults prefer to shield themselves from that truth.

There is a great discussion about the lack of sexualization of Hit Girl here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Amusement Park: No One Loves a Broken Rollercoaster

The difference between broke down places in the country and broke down places in the city is that in the country there is no one left to love you. When they leave, they leave for good. In the city, those former fortresses of industry, while slumming it, still have people who paint them and live there and use them. They have pets. What does an old country place have? Raccoons? Coyotes who pick through your bones looking for mice? Barking neighborhood dogs?

It's a lonely life in the country.

Maybe you have a few destructive teenage lovers at first, who burn parts of you down. But eventually there's not much left to break that isn't broken already, and they grow up and move to Akron. You end up settling for the few old guys that still come around out of nostalgia, and eventually one claims possession, covers you with barbed wire, and only takes you out once a month. Once a month you're supposed to forget the other 30 days of solitude and sloth, and be sparkly and interesting. Historic. Playful.

But the remnants of what you once were are weary.

And the elements encroach upon your face, creating skeletal shadows, carving lines into your structure. Time does not forgive you. The lake and fields do not forgive you. The clouds and rain do not forgive you. The trees spread like viruses in your bloodstream.

You become a collection of monsters, one for every decade. Passive sleeping monsters, but dangerous if disturbed. Tentacles of rust. Caves of machinery. All dreaming of the days when children ran around them unaware, and they hear the screams of happiness in their hibernation, and their cogs and buckles salivate at the memory of warm little fingers and dirty little faces.

If I tread carefully though, they sleep too deep to notice. I am a single sardine swimming by the fin of a great white, or a carp cleaning the teeth of a hippo. I am a hitchhiker, negligible tiny little beast. I walk softly through the jaws.

I admire the skull.

I marvel at the hollows in the hip bones.

I walk into the still breathing lungs, that move up and down at seasonal rates, with glacial snores. I walk into the snaking intestines, that twist their way through the woods, camouflaging the most vulnerable parts as nothing but more trees, more wood. The forest rises up to greet it's fallen, carved, varnished, cut, molded, used brethren, now back for a proper funeral.

In another year, if the bulldozers are kept away, it will become a forest dragon, with the eyes of a blackbird, the mouth of a coyote, the legs of a deer, the wings of an owl, the speed of a cotton candy machine.

It will hide away in the wilds, only to be seen on sunny days by children in their backyards, making up worlds.

More photos to be found here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Saturday Night!

007, originally uploaded by sharpshinyclaws.

Shark versus Giant Seagull. Go.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ANTM Cycle 14: Oh, the Humanity!

War sucks. Violence of any kind between any creatures sucks. No matter how holy or justified or necessary you feel it is, it always fucking sucks.

So, you know, welcome to the War episode. Every season of Top Model has that one episode where the editors decide to draw the battle lines clear, to recognize the two cliques that have eventually and inevitably formed in the House of Tyra. One could almost compare this episode with a holiday tradition, where certain rituals are observed to mark an historic victory, or loss. We watch passively, with some sentimentality for the likes of Jade, and then we eat dinner and go back to work.

On the "For Real" side we have General Angelea, flanked by her cabinet, Krista, Alasia, and Anslee. Wait, what? What the fuck is Anslee doing there? Like many legendary leadership groups, this one was forged out of the heat of battle. These four girls fought, bit, scratched, rattled, screamed at each other for a few weeks, and then became close friends when they realized Raina is probably going to win. It's kind of like how I hoped my cats would act when I got them. Hate each other at first, and then bond over the defense of their illogical hatred to any onlookers.

On the "Oh my god What" team, we have Raina, Jessica, and Super Mom. They talk a bunch of trash to each other in the guise of grief counseling, and then act like they don't. In other words, they are the girls you hated in high school but who you now watch on Glee.

In the beginning, there was darkness, and then Tyra looked upon the dry and barren earth and found it was wanting. She reached into the darkness and pulled out from nothingness an apple. She cut the apple in twain, making two parts out of one, and thus were born Malibou Barbie and Marietta Barbie. First of all, Jessica is from Arkansas. Why wouldn't you make her Arkansas Barbie? Malibou Barbie is classic barbie, you can't beat her. Jessica is not that pretty and not that rich. And second, Ms. Marietta, I don't believe your shit about everyone in Marietta knowing each other. There are 58,000 people in that suburb. Maybe the first thing you have to do to FIX YOURSELF is figure out that you don't know everyone worth knowing. You are not even old to drink.

I know, I'm jumping ahead here, but it bugged me. I'm willing to give it to her because of the whole 18 thing though, and she's obviously terrified. Maybe she'll go to Paris and be sufficiently shocked into social decency.

So there's this stupid teach where some stupid Bryn Mawr android who now works for a magazine no one buys recites the last seventy covers of Seventeen, and the girls pretend to dress according to their body shape. Raina gets the short end of the stick by being told she has to wear ruffles, and gets to keep this incredibly ugly yellow blouse she threw on, which she then wears for the rest of the episode because she is trying to get a job out of this.

Jessica wins and there's the requisite Seventeen random photo shoot that never looks like it has a theme at all because that magazine is the doctors office equivalent of a GAP catalog.

The limo ride home from that one is like the best endorsement for public transportation ever.
Angelea actually says at one point "I'm smart. People would not believe that about me because of the way I am."

I swear to god, sometimes I think this show is going to be the thing we are all remembered for.

Next is the challenge where the girls have to dress up like virgins and interview with the Demon Tinsley, in the bowels of Meat Packing District Hell. A few of them drink too much and Angelea is of course the douchebag that makes the "sex on the beach" joke, and Tinsley opens her bionic jaws wide and swallows her whole. But then chokes on her weave and spits up. The wait staff at whatever den of inequity they were sashaying around all tweet furiously, ironic beautiful 140 lines of pure poetry. Then they smoke a lot of weed and try to avoid sleeping with Jessica. Later Jay Manuel says to Jessica, thoughtfully, "You're absorbing like a sponge. It's interesting."

Back at the house, Raina goes into the Suprisingly Not SoundProofed At All Confessional, and Alasia eavesdrops and then Raina eavesdrops, and here's my question. WHERE IS ALEX? Did she get special compensation to live in another apartment, because I swear she disappears the moment they get back to the house. GOOD FOR HER.

Finally, there's the photo shoot. They made us wait for it this episode, didn't they? Nicole finally shows up, dolled up all glamour shots. It's like the CoverGirl brainwashing just wouldn't take with her, and they had to keep her away until they were sure the neural pathways were intact, and she wouldn't randomly slip in some crazy communist hippie east coast talk. Angelea tries to suck up to her, and ask her about dealing with house drama. Nicole looks very confused and says "um, stay away from it", and flinches away from Angelea's teeth. Her eyes dart to and fro as her weakened mind tries to piece together shreds of advice from between the virtual CoverGirl manual they uploaded between her ears. Finally, she gathers up her strength and whispers doubtfully "stay classy". Stay Classy Nicole. Fight the Nightmare honey.

There is judging. For once, Alasia's picture does not win a James Beard award, or even honorary mention. No, now Ursula the Male Sea Witch has decided to bestow all his blessings on Angelea, whose picture screams humanity to him! Sweet human flesh, ripe with indignation, rage, and corn syrup! His inhuman wails are no longer quieted by your soft curves dear Alasia, and so there goes your society introduction, your trip to Los Angeles, your first husband. You see it all flash gem-like before your eyes, and then slip away in the bleached out yellow slipstream that is Angelea's plastic hair. You choke on your tears, the canvas of your future wrapping around you, suffocating you, as you stand defeated in the bottom two. But no worries, the great Tyraberry believes in you. You live to pose another day, and now Angelea's fate is sealed, because I still like you better than her. With me supporting you, her reign of insane victimhood will be short and abrupt.

The war is over. Brenda lost. But now the carpetbagging begins in earnest.

What is the best cheese ever?

Cheese was invented, accidentally or otherwise, because people wanted to store milk for long periods of time. And because the French think mold is a food group.

Since that is it's purpose and ultimate goal, I state for the record that Kraft sliced American is the perfect cheese. Also in the running - powdery parmesan in a plastic bottle. Either of these cheeses would be perfect for a nice long survivalist trek across the Mojave, or an oceanic voyage in a raft. These are the cheeses that will go to the moon first, and to bases far away in unexplored corners of the galaxies. These are OUR cheeses, and we are the generation of the Preserved.

My personal favorite, though completely illogical and romantic, is mild white cheddar. With baby pickles and wheat thins. And a soft Rioja. And some SyFy movie about giant piranhas.

Ask me anything

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dear Internet

Dear Internet:

Here is a list of things I used to care about a lot, but can no longer stomach, because they have been incessantly pounded into my brain by you, oh neuromaniacal popularity piston you. While some crazy people might say "why don't you just stay off the internet Bridget", I say "why don't I just clean out my eye sockets with a mentholated melon baller while I'm at it". This is your fault.

1) Vaginas
2) Flowers
3) Cupcakes
4) Tsunamis
5) Children
6) Babies (not the same)
7) Cheese
8) silhouettes of birds on telephone wires
9) the US government
10) music videos
11) cats making funny faces
12) meeting new people
13) food
14) drinking
15) my friends

On the opposite side of my Digital Divide, here is a list of things I now really care about because you made me, even though I know it's morally reprehensible.

1) Gawker
2) sitemeter
3) someone defriending me on facebook
4) movie trailers
5) my hair
6) my dishware pattern
7) being entertaining
8) being not too entertaining
9) scientology
10) teabagger spelling
11) walnut oil
12) 140 character limits
13) making fun of people
14) the state of my fingernails
15) drinking things no one has ever heard of

These are not acceptable substitutions.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Masonic Temple: Where Good Chairs Go to Die

When I think of Masons, I think of this:

Shadowy robe closets and giant auditoriums full of middle aged white men sitting in pews against the wall. Halls to be rented out, safely sanctioned off from the hidden twin staircases that bring those in the know to the rooms of power.

But when the humans leave, whether from suburban or earthly flight, the native objects take over and make it a home. Here we see a passive herd of tires, grazing on the fallen plaster. Family like, they cluster around the den mouth, never straying far from the group.

Lone pianos lurk in corners. Being solitary nocturnal creatures, they are quiet and sleepy, hiding from the light. But at night, they gather to hunt and mate raucously.

Skittish groups of dishware rattle away happily until they sense the vibrations in the floor of approaching predators, and then they freeze, play dead, trying to blend into the debris.

On the upper levels, migratory clothing perches, guarding their carefully constructed nests.

But the real natural wonder here are the chairs. This is where chairs come to be born, and later in life, where they come to spend their final days, in safe pastures.

Above, a baby chair gets it first legs.

A stately alpha chair standing watch over his resting pride.

A pregnant mother chair, preparing for birth.

The old alpha chair, dominated out of the pride, retires to the hallways, away from the territorial younger males.

Several female chairs, socializing before the evening graze.

And the basement, where the sick and infirm are taken in their final days, to rejoin the circle of life.

More pictures can be seen here.