May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Thursday, November 06, 2008I live in a Red State
and therefore envy those of you who don’t. I wanted, on Election Night, to be somewhere full of people. But I couldn’t think of where that place might be, in my part of town. My own little neighborhood is very lackadaisical and quiet, and no one on my street had signs of any kind in their yards. (Shoot, they barely had Halloween decorations.) But our neighboring ‘hoods were peppered with McCain/Palin signs and I couldn’t think of a nearby restaurant or bar where those people wouldn’t be standing around looking sad/mad.
My boyfriend came over to watch the news with us, but I was falling asleep on the sofa by 9:30. It’s the freaking time change, plus the sun. The sun keeps taking off faster, and it makes me fall asleep. The other night I went to bed at 7:45 PM because I thought it was 8:45 and was too tired to be ashamed. I’m not nocturnal. I’m a rabbit or a day-time lizard, even though my boyfriend (fiancé) is a bat or a marmoset or whatever stays up at night with red eyes – you know those ones in that special red room at the zoo. That’s what he is, and that’s what I’m not. So I conked out, planning to celebrate in the morning.
I woke up early in the morning and did my normal commute routine (commutine!). Everyone around me was silent, like usual. I don’t know what I was expecting, but everyone stayed quiet. Downtown, a man passed me carrying several newspapers in one arm. He was holding them in such a way that Barack Obama looked out from the front page. I saw that and smiled a little, then looked up at the man carrying the papers… and he had such a look on his face. Not happy, but kind of defensive. Like daring someone to say something against Obama, the day after Obama had won. I dropped my smile and minded my own business.
All day long, I read Twitter and Gawker talking about people celebrating. Here in Houston, it was silent. There are a lot of people at my work who voted for Obama – I know there are, because they told me they were going to – but now that he had won, everyone was silent. Only one person (a person I love but who is immune to social mood) said anything about it above a whisper. She was immediately engaged in conversation by an unhappy McCain voter, who told us unhappily and earnestly that Obama was working very hard to make abortions “easy” to get.
Day 2, this morning, I didn’t feel like going to work at all (Seasonal Affective Dis-Wanting-to-go-to-Work) but marched myself to the park-n-ride, where I was picked up by a married couple in an SUV.
I don’t like to say ugly things about the strangers who give me rides, because they’re giving me rides for free, but I have to say that the woman drove very poorly and that their SUV smelled bad. They talked amongst themselves, like married people, while I sat in the sour-smelling back seat. I had to wait for a break in their personal married-people conversation to tell them where I was going, and make sure they could drop me off there.
They talked and talked, and I had the impression that they were aware of me as their captive audience. You know – they said some cutesy things in a louder voice for my entertainment. You know what I mean? Me and my boyfriend (fiancé) do that to, sometimes, with the captives we pick up from the park-n-ride. I think it’s a natural human compulsion.
But mostly they talked quietly about all the many, many things they were planning to buy, and how stupid people were for not driving or buying SUVs, now that gas was magically cheap again. I pulled out my brand new, special-ordered Math Puzzle Book and worked on math puzzles (trigons, for those who know). During yesterday’s ride home, I completed a whole trigon (6 digits, for those who know) on the bus ride home, and I was very proud of myself afterwards. But this morning, I couldn’t make any progress at all. That’s how I am on the trigons. Either my brain is working in such a way that I can do them, or else it isn’t.
I put the book away and meditated throughout the rest of the half-hour ride, then. I told myself not to get upset about the smell of the SUV, its horrible suspension system, or the woman’s sloppy driving. Because I had chosen to get into their car, and they were doing me a service, and I should just be silently gracious. Graciously silent. Either. I tried really, really hard not to listen to the couple’s conversation, because it was none of my business, and because I’m trying not to be so judgmental, now that I’m older and more mature and etc. But I couldn’t help but hear them list all the things they were going to buy for Christmas and other occasions. The man’s very important business phone call. His suggestion to his wife that she try a personal trainer that so-and-so had sworn by. “I get it,” I thought. “You guys are rich. You’re completely awesome. Ride’s almost over, ride’s almost over….”
And then, right at the end, the woman switched the radio from Houston’s annoying Top 40 station (Roula and Ryan, for those who know and can commiserate) to a conservative talk station. And the talker said “blah blah blah Barack Obama.” And there was a pause in the couple’s conversation. And I said nothing, but I felt weird, all of a sudden, like there was tension in the air. Like maybe they wanted to lament his winning, but censored themselves because of me. And for the purposes of this story, I now have to tell you now that both of them were Caucasian.
The pause un-paused, and the woman launched into a story about making fun of some young man. She recounts that the young man retaliated by telling her, “Oh, yeah, well I heard you’re pregnant.”
She’s telling this story loud enough for me to hear it, mind you.
And she says, “I told him, ‘Right, I’m pregnant, and the baby’s due in 2015.’” Pause for audience laughter. Her husband obliges with a chuckle. I keep pretending I can’t hear her, even though I can’t avoid hearing her, because I’m polite like that. She continues: “I told him, ‘I’m having sextuplets, and one [is] Obama.’”
Her husband chuckles again. I’m puzzled. One of the sextuplets is Obama, or Obama’s? Or they’re named Obama? I’m not sure what she said, exactly.
She goes on to the final punchline: “And two are Michael Jordan's!”
Long, long pause for audience reaction. Her husband chuckled, but more faintly. I maintain my pretense that I can’t hear them, even though it’s obvious that I can and that she meant for me to hear. I don’t even know why. Was I supposed to laugh? Maybe. They wanted me to prove my solidarity by laughing at the joke, so that they could feel “safe” with me and go on to disparage the president-elect, maybe?
The thing is, her joke was so effing stupid that, even if I were a bigot, I wouldn’t have laughed at it. You know? I like to imagine that, even if I had been born in Vidor, Texas, to the Grand Daddy Dragon of the local KKK, I’d still have a decent sense of humor. Or… well, forget that. I haven’t really considered that scenario, ever. I’m just saying – her joke was racist and lame.
I thought about piping up and saying, “Oh, yeah? My husband’s black, too.” That way I would not only deflate their racism, but emasculate her husband by pretending I'd assumed he wasn’t her husband.
But I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything. I was scared to. I admit it. I was in their car, and I was relying on their kindness to get me where I needed to go. I said nothing.
They stayed kind of quiet until we got to my stop. I steadily pretended to be interested in what was out the window, but it was obvious that I’d failed their test, and they knew that I knew that they knew that I knew it, and she was emanating the stink of the bully now, who has a victim cornered, and he was radiating the smallest bit of shame, because he seemed to know that her joke was lame and because there was now a specter in the air of his wife being impregnated by at least two men who were not him and not even of his own race.
(Instinct tells me that we’ve reached the climax and I should wind down now for maximum story flow, but I’ve been writing this blog for so long that I can break rules and ignore instinct and go off on a tangent here, and be even MORE candid, because I’m never going to run for office, so I just don’t care, so check this out now….)
There were so many long, long seconds between the end of her joke and the few blocks to my stop. And I’m so observant or intuitive or hypersensitive or overly imaginative that I was able to draw long threads of story out of each of those seconds. I’d already noted, upon entering their car, that while he looked and sounded like a run-of-the-mill son of a bootstrap Republican, she was lower class who’d married up. God forgive me for saying this – some of you are going to comment or email me and tell me I’m just as racist/hateful as them – but I could tell by her eyeliner that she’d grown up poorer than him (black inside the lower lid with sparkly color underneath) and I could tell by her voice that she was so, so proud of that fact. So there was that. But then, when she made the joke about her multiracial sextuplets, while he might have enjoyed her crude racism, just as he enjoyed her looking up to him as her financial savior, I could tell that the Michael Jordan reference had gone too far for her husband.
“Why Michael Jordan?” he was probably thinking. “I get the Obama part, but Michael Jordan hasn’t been in the news for years. Why didn’t she say Tiger Woods or T-Mac or Tracy Morgan? Does my wife have a secret crush on Michael Jordan? Does my wife wish Michael Jordan would get her pregnant?”
There was just starting to be that level of silent awkwardness when we got to the corner where they’d agreed to let me off.
“This is the end of the ride,” I told myself. “Now you can safely say something against them. Do it right before you get out of the car.” I thought up what I would say. I would look at her and say, “Thanks. Congratulations on your pregnancy!”
“But,” I told myself, “isn’t that kind of chickenshit, to say something right at the end like that? Isn’t that every bit as chickenshit as making racist remarks in front of a stranger while she’s trapped in your car and you’re not alone?”
I was going, with 70% certainty, to say it. But right before I got off the car, the woman turned to me and, in a voice as sweet as small-town-Texas honey, her best Southern hospitality voice, she said, “Have a good day, okay? Be safe!”
I muttered thanks and got out of the car and walked away without looking at them. I’m sure that, after I was gone, they told each other that I was rude.
I swear to God…
Some of you want to think I’m making that up, but I’m not.
Some of you think, “Well, Gwen lives in Texas, and the South is full of racists, so I’m sure that happens every day.” But it doesn’t.
Usually, I have to know racists for at least a few days before they’ll make those kind of jokes to me. And then I’ll say, “Yeah, my dad’s Mexican.” And they’ll say, “Oh, well, I didn’t mean you,” and then they’ll get quiet and hate me, but at least they’ll have learned not to assume everyone around them wants to hear racist shit.
But it’s very rare that complete strangers say those things around me. I was kind of shocked.
That makes me think that the racists in Houston are very uncomfortable and are seeking comfort from the herd, just like I was when I wanted to be in public on Election Night. No succor for anyone, then.
After I got off the racist SUV, I plugged my ipod securely into my ears, to soothe myself. After that, I got on the bus, which had riders of many ethnicities. Everyone looked uncomfortable. I wondered why but didn’t wonder hard enough to unplug my ipod. I was tired of uncomfortable people.
There were several black gentlemen sitting in the back of the very small bus. One of them was talking very loudly, throughout the short ride to the complex where most of us work. Despite my earplugs, I heard him say the words Texas, McCain, and racist. I saw the other riders, of all colors, glance at him and look even more uncomfortable. I left my ipod in, as did the woman sitting next to me. I’m not a Texas McCain racist, so he wasn’t talking to me. He was only talking loud enough that I was his captive audience. But he wasn’t driving, and I had my ipod.
I thought he was a rude and hateful person. But, at the same time, I tried to imagine him undergoing what I’d undergone in the strangers’ SUV, times 5000, for his whole life, and especially since the election. And I couldn’t imagine it.
So I said nothing.
Sometimes I wish I lived in a blue state. Usually, I wish it around election time. But in general, I do still love Houston. Because, ironically, it’s diverse. And it’s warm, and we have good food, and the people are usually friendly.
I never lie. Sometimes I exaggerate for a better story, but I never lie.
I told a friend that story, this morning – about the racist white people and then the angry black man. And I don’t think she (a liberal white woman married to a black/Mexican man) believed me. She said, “God, why does stuff like that happen to you?” I think she wanted to believe I’d somehow caused it, that it wouldn’t have happened on its own.
But I said, “Because I’m out among people. You live nearby, and you get in your car and drive straight to work. I’m out with strangers every day.”
She had to admit that it made sense. She was sad. Yeah, so was I, because that shit is sad. Hopefully it’ll stop happening soon. Some day in the future, before my children grow old and die. 7:35 AM # (23) comments
Wednesday, February 06, 2008busy-ness; current events
I've spent the last few days either writing stuff for money, or else dealing with domestic dramas. Toby is sick, for one thing. We (his vet and I) think his stomach is upset by the dietary change. We hope he doesn't have some cat digestive disease. Other people in the house get sick, on and off, but they're way easier to diagnose. Toby keeps rolling in dirty things, like a dog. I need to give him a bath tonight, if he'll let me.
Did y'all watch the Super Bowl? I saw the last half. I don't care about any one team, but football is an interesting game to watch, so I was especially excited by the thrilling conclusion to this one. I was kind of sad that the Patriots didn't get their perfect season. But, oh well. Perfect season or underdog victory: they even out, right?
Are y'all watching the primaries? Isn't it fun, to see everyone so excited about them? It's like football, in a way. Our local paper did one of those "Let's ask black women if they're voting for Obama or Hillary" pieces, and I was aggravated and embarrassed. The more often that white men ask those questions, the more it makes me think those white men would never vote for anyone other than white men.
Also, I wonder why everyone calls Hillary Hillary, but no one calls the other candidates by their first names. I'm doing it, too, you see. Hmm. Benefit of the doubt: It's not because most people are sexist -- it's to distinguish her from the other famous Clinton. Right? Sure.
There's an article somewhere today in which people are freaking out that Latinos didn't vote for Barack. Meaning that Latinos must be... racist! Because anyone who doesn't vote for Barack hates black people, right? And it is so, so shocking to the author of this article that Latinos would be racist against blacks. (Another majority culture idea -- that all minority peoples are united in their non-majority-culture-ness.)
And I was waiting for someone to point out that Hillary could be the Latino's Virgin Mary, but no one did. Because, while that would have been offensive, it wouldn't have fit in with the offensive theme of this election process, which is that everyone is racist. Racism!!!
I mean, it's to the point now that I'm more interested in media attitudes than I am in the candidates, themselves. You would think we could just consider electing a non-white person, or a non-male person, without it being this much of a mirrored maze of accusations, suspicions, and flat-out hatred. But that's not how America operates, apparently. Embarrassing.
Meanwhile... the more I have to see photographs of people from that show The Hills, the more I hate that show and vow not to watch it. Those people from The Hills are clogging up my magazines. All I want from magazines is famous women in fancy dresses. Not faux-famous girls who are marrying Spencer or breaking off their engagement with Spencer or cheating on Spencer with Zach and Gossip Girl. What is that crap? Who forces my pretty dress magazines to talk about that?
I feel sorry for Britney Spears because, at this point, she has no one she can trust.
I keep having to watch this show called Drake and Josh. Over the weekend, my youngest son explained to me why iCarly has all the same actors as Drake and Josh, but isn't the same show. My fave is Ned's Declassified, but I don't see that as much. (If you know what I'm talking about, you must have kids.) Besides those, I get to watch reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bellaire on a daily basis. It's held up pretty well, if you listen to it from your kitchen and don't see the primary-colored sweaters.
I heard the other day that Nickelodeon is doing a new show called Ni Hao, Kai lan that looks sort of like Dora the Explorer. That's funny to me because my boyfriend's niece Alyssa, who is mostly Chinese, is really into Dora. On one episode a while back, Dora and her friends celebrated Chinese New Year (which is today, coincidentally -- Kung Hey Fat Choi!) and busted out speaking Chinese. Alyssa, who was three at the time, reacted as if she'd found a Virgin Mary in her tortilla. It was a big deal to her. So I wonder if she'll like this Kai-lan show even better. Or am I being like one of those reporters here, making the racist assumptions? Maybe she won't like Kai-lan at all. :)
Happy Year of the Rat. What does this mean for me? Nothing. My boyfriend is going out to dinner with his family. I'm staying home with my kids, and we'll work out and watch Project Runway.
I've lost 40 lbs total now. Fifteen pounds to go. Over the weekend we went to the mall and I picked up a pair of clearance corduroys at Ann Taylor Loft in a size I literally haven't worn since I was 18. That was nice, even though I've ruined the moment, in my mind, by deciding that Ann Taylor vanity-sizes everything.
Still, though. It may be a vanity size, but it's a smaller vanity size than I wore last month.
That's it. More later. Stay warm, y'all. 5:53 AM # (14) comments
Friday, November 16, 2007Days of Our NPR
I'm all wrapped up in the Pakistan drama as it's revealed to me each morning by NPR. This morning I made my boyfriend listen to it, and then we found out details that compelled me to look up these people's photographs online today. Because I'm a visual learner, and I need to see names spelled in order to remember them. Photos of their faces seal the deal.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is the current leader of Pakistan. George Bush & Co. have been sending him money to "help fight terror" or whatever. But Musharraf's term is about to end, and he's not eligible to run again. So guess what he did. He declared a state of emergency, put on his military uniform, and sent out soldiers to deal with the lawyers who immediately started protesting this BS.
Benizar Bhutto is Pakistan's former prime minister, and she's been calling for Musharraf to leave office. So he put her under house arrest. But she didn't stop talking. She just called a press conference from inside her house.
Imran Khan is the cricketeer-turned-politician who's trying to incite university protest, if he could only keep rival groups from kidnapping him before he even takes the mic.
Jemima Goldsmith is Imran Khan's British billionaire heiress ex-wife. That has nothing to do with what's happening in Pakistan, of course. But it's brilliant backstory, isn't it?
How long before this becomes a movie, or a miniseries at the very least?
I'm also following the French public-transit-worker strike, but haven't yet felt the need to do Google image search on that one.
Speaking of NPR and Sexiness
What is with people fantasizing about the voices on NPR? I read a piece on Nerve about Sarah Hepola getting off Ira Glass's voice, and now Salon or someone has voted him "sexiest man living" (as if that's not Clive Owen--please), and then of course Gawker got hold of that... and every time I read a post about this, everyone and their dog is chiming in with comments about which NPR peep they'd like to do.
And that is so bizarre to me. I mean, I'm not judging. I think it's totally cool to fantasize about the NPR people, if that's what works for you. Obviously, I enjoy reading people's comments about it. But I never, ever, ever thought of any of them in that way. Here are the three most personal thoughts I've ever had about NPR people:
1. "Renee Montagne sounds like she doesn't take crap from anybody. She seems kind of awesome."
2. "I guess it would be kind of cool to have Carl Kassell do my voicemail greeting."
3. "Why does the local weather guy on our NPR station have to say his name like that? So annoying."
And that's it. Their voices sound like newspeople voices to me. But other people are like, "Steve Inskeep sounds like he'd be considerate yet dirty in bed," or "Mee-chelle Norris is probably the best dominatrix ever. She sounds like a size 4, but with good stiletto feet and a light sprinking of freckles." And I'm like, "What? What the? Where are y'all getting this from?"
Please feel free to share your NPR sex fantasies in the comments, though. Please don't let me stop y'all from doing that.
I want to cut my hair.
I'm saying this now so that, when my boyfriend reads it four days from now, it can help break the news to him gently.
I kind of want to cut my hair. My hair's all long with layers now -- same cut I had when I was 15, and again when I was 22, and now I'm 35 and I think that's a little too old for this hair.
You know? I feel like I'm trying to be in a metal rock video, and those aren't even on MTV anymore. You know what I'm saying? I want a more coifed sort of thing, yet still leave it long or medium length. But I know my boyfriend will cry if I cut it. He won't cry where I can see him. No, he'll keep it secret, like a man. But still.
Last time I was this size, I had *really* short hair and it looked pretty decent, I thought. And I don't even want to go that short now. So I think it should be okay. I think it's safe for me to purchase a Hairstyle Guide magazine... 11:55 AM # (11) comments
Tuesday, March 27, 2007Just Wondering
I have a question.
Why does the president of the United States always have to be an old white man?
I'm just curious. Does anyone know?
Is 2008 the year we're finally, for the first time ever, going to have a non-old-white-man for president? Or will all the old white men jump up and say, "I know you guys are eager to have a woman or a not-white guy be president, but this is the wrong woman and this is the wrong not-white guy. So why not just vote for another old white man this time? Again?"?
Oh, wait - they're already saying that.
I'm not saying I have anything against old white men. But, seriously, is anyone else ever going to get a chance? This is like being in high school and watching blonde cheerleaders win prom queen every single year.
No offense, but most people in this country are not old white men. Most of the old white men I know, unfortunately, have trouble relating to me and my friends and my family and our issues. So, why in the world would I vote for another old white man, no matter how much smack he talks about the woman and the not-white guy? 4:08 PM # (20) comments
Thursday, May 11, 2006Issues
Of course I have big ol' opinions on all the current issues of the day... I just can't always write about them, for fear that I'll get so pissed off, I'll hurt someone or myself. But the time has come to briefly vent about everything that no one can stop talking about. So...
Those Illegal Aliens
Don't talk to me about Those Illegal Aliens, unless you're going to address the real issue. Here is the real issue: Those Illegal Aliens need jobs now, and plenty of employers here are willing to hire them for less than a living wage.
That's all there is to it. Should we make it easier for foreigners to come in and do the jobs no one else will do for so cheap? Should those foreigners be rewarded for their service by being allowed to become citizens faster? Should laws be adjusted so that companies can hire whoever they want, for as little as they want? Or should companies be forced to hire people for min wage or more? Or would that totally destroy our economy and standard of living?
Those are the issues that need to be discussed. I don't know the answers. Do you?
If you have other issues you'd like to share with me, such as, "I don't like Mexicans because all Mexicans steal and I think we should build a big wall to separate us from the Mexicans, and I don't like it when people speak a language that I don't speak because it makes me worry that they're talking about me," then please just shut the fuck up.
Seriously, shut up and go away. You hate Mexicans, and I hate ignorant assholes. I tried to build a wall around myself to keep them away, but they just talk louder. If I have to live with ignorant assholes, then you have to live with Mexicans and everyone else. Shut up and get over it. Try their food, actually. It's good.
Scientists Have Finally Proven That Men Are Biologically Compelled to be Sleep Around
Here we go with this one again. Jesus. Here's what I already said about it, a long time ago.
Here's all I'm going to say about it now:
If I'm sleeping with you, I would prefer it if you didn't act like an asshole.
If I'm sleeping with you and you start acting like an asshole (i.e., lying to me, treating me poorly, sleeping with other people while giving me the impression that you aren't), then I will stop sleeping with you. You can pull out all the scientific evidence you want, but there is no blueprint of anyone's DNA that will make me want to sleep with an asshole.
The Mommy Wars
You know why I hardly ever talk about my kids on this blog? Because I don't want to hear anyone's opinion of how I'm raising them.
You know why I don't give out unsolicited parenting advice? Because, unless you're abusing your kids, I don't really care how choose to parent them.
Personally, I think that parents who feel the need to criticize the parenting techniques of others - be they Ferberizing or attachment, breast or bottle, working mommy or stay-at-home mommy or anything else - must be unhappy, insecure people who are secretly scared that their way really isn't the right one, after all. But that, if they scream really loudly that their way is the only right way, that will somehow make it true and thereby magically make their kids safe, well-adjusted, and successful.
Mind your own business, people. If you know what's best for kids, do it for your kids and leave everyone else alone.
Oh, and the so-called Child Free people? The ones who go around talking about how all "breeders" are assholes and the world is overpopulated and how they enjoy pinching babies at the grocery store and making them cry? Those are the most miserable people of all. Luckily, though, they only say that stuff online, so I've never had to tell one to shut up and mind her own business in the real world. (Or ask Congress to build a really big wall to keep them out of my life.) 8:30 AM # (6) comments
Thursday, November 17, 2005You know why I don't like to talk about politics?
Because it makes me mad. And then it depresses me. Yes, I take the arguments personally. And not in the sense that I feel like the people I'm debating with are attacking me... I mean that, when I read about politics or argue about issues or even write my political opinions on my own blog, I can't stop myself from lying awake at night and thinking thoughts like:
"Why in God's name are religious middle-class people so interested in impeding poor people's efforts to prevent unplanned childbirth?"
"How many people in my city would stand by and watch a neighbor die if it meant they could make $50K more per year?"
"If I really loved my kids and wanted good things for them, wouldn't I just spend my savings on lipo and then find an old rich Republican to entice into marriage, since working my butt off and sticking to my principals obviously isn't enough, especially now that gasoline and milk cost so much?"
"If Voldemort showed up for real tomorrow, would there even be three kids who wanted to fight him? Or would everybody's parents be cutting each under in line under the sign that said 'Join Deatheaters Today and Get a Free SUV!'?"
And then, I don't get enough sleep. And then, that makes me cranky the next morning. And then, my crankiness has an adverse effect on my digestive system.
So, therefore, I'm going to stop talking about politics again, to keep my digestive tract stress-free.
Salon's Broadsheet - You May Not Like It, but It Sure Brings in the Readers
Here is the comment I left on Salon's "blog for women" today, after the entry in which they linked to yet another article about Those Crazy New York Women and What They're Getting up to in Their Sex Lives Today:
Why do we keep talking about sensationalistic New York produced articles and television shows as if they have any resemblance to American reality? Who cares about what this writer's anonymous sources say or what Maureen Dowd's (completely contradictory) anonymous sources say?
I used to fantasize about living in New York... until I started reading Salon. Because, to hear it from Salon and the NYC publications they constantly reference, New York's nothing but an echo chamber of stupid, shallow, upper-middle-class white people desperate to say anything that will get them attention and maybe get them laid.
God Please Help Me Find a Way not to Start Hating People I Don't Even Know
(I have to call myself a moderate because, against all reason, I do still believe there is a God.)
Yesterday it finally got cold. It was 50 or 40 degrees. So, inside my body, as I got dressed for work, a complex chemical process was kicked off, the cold being its catalyst. And enzymes were formed that made me want to wear something new.
But I didn't have anything new. (See: broke-ness due to principals and gasoline price increases, above.)
Okay, then, I thought. Instead of wearing my usual uniform of black pants and pastel sweater, I will wear black pants and a jewel-toned sweater. Because jewel tones say fall!
I dug my one claret (that means dark red) sweater out of "storage." (You know - the shelf in my closet where I put things I don't feel like hanging up.) I put it on. Yay, it still fit.
I looked in the mirror and realized that I have no business wearing red, especially now that I am older and color is oozing out of my skin like soy sauce out of a block of soggy tofu.
We were running late. I put on my worn-out-ass pink twinset and ordered everyone into the car.
At the Einstein Brothers' Bagels where the elite meet to eat and double park, I saw a woman wearing the most beautiful lavender suede knee-high high-heeled boots.
"I love your boots," I said. Because you should always convert your player-hate into love.
Then, I saw a woman wearing the most beautiful awesome outfit, okay? It was something I so would have worn, had I not been 70 pounds heavier than her and half as rich. From bottom to top she had on beautiful, beautiful black grommet-strapped mule-pumps, a pin-striped long charcoal gray pencil skirt torn into a fishtail-like hem, and a simple red v-neck over a white or pale pink shirt. She looked so awesome, I didn't even mind that she was bending over to shake out her long, long hair and then wrap it up with a chopstick. (Hello, honey - all the well-dressed rich guys in there? Didn't want you, just wanted to be you. Welcome to the Montrose, Houston's premiere gay neighborhood, no matter how hard the Republican heteros try to take it over.) Because beauty is skin-deep, but well-dressed beauty is art, and I can forgive good artists their conceits.
All day, everyone around me looked cute as hell in their winter clothes, full knowing that they'll only have a few actual cold days to show them off here.
So this morning it was still cold, and I pulled out my claret sweater again. "Come on, red sweater, come on," I told it. "Look good on me today."
It didn't. Not even with a pin-striped skirt. Not even when I switched it for the slightly orange-er red sweater I had in my trunk, meaning to return it to Target once I'd realized I already had a red sweater and neither of the two looked good.
I can no longer wear red.
I have nothing else wintery to wear.
With the pinstriped skirt, I put on the same pale blue shirt I always wear. Then, on top of that, I put on my old-ass shrunken black cardigan from Lame Giant.
"Look kids," I said. "I'm Harry Potter."
(They didn't say anything. They know exactly when not to respond.)
If you have to wear the same clothes over and over again, you may as well just wear a private school uniform, even if you're 33 and plus-sized and a single mom of three. Screw it. I don't care.
But I'm lying. I do care.
I wish I could afford new clothes. I can't afford them yet. 8:39 AM # (9) comments
Tuesday, November 15, 2005Kroger may suck, but Target disappoints.
Here's the email I just sent Target:
Do you realize that your poor decision to value right-wing religious tyranny over women's health choices is being discussed all over the Internet? I am a disappointed longtime Target shopper who won't be shopping at Target again until you guys get your act together and insist that your pharmacists dispense prescribed medication to women without bringing their sexist religious beliefs into the matter.
Here's an essay that sums up my feelings nicely:
And here's hoping that Target comes to its senses soon.
Gwendolyn Zepeda 3:11 PM # (16) comments
Monday, November 14, 2005I'm Dreaming of an Appropriate Christmas
Nothing is more of a turn-off than the local frou-frou shopping centers putting up giant Christmas trees on a hot November 1st.
I know this isn't the most original topic, but I have to say it anyway. Every year, the money-hungry stores put out their Christmas merchandise earlier. And, every year, I remove more names from my gift list. Always mutually, and with much relief. I'm not the only one sick of being manipulated into believing that Christmas = being guilted into spending money. Give me a break. I want to spend time with my friends, not run around town blowing money on my credit cards and worrying that the unnecessary things I've picked out will appease the Commercial Xmas Gods.
Back when I was a housewife, I got a thrill out of starting my gift-shopping early. I started in October, partially because it was fun and partially because it spread the debt a little thinner. And I made a lot of gifts, too. Now? There's no secret pleasure. You're expected to be planning purchases four months of the year. It's your duty as an American. Support the failing economy by buying plastic-snowman-emblazoned bullshit for everyone you know, or the terrorists have already won.
One fun thing some friends and I started last year, though, was a white elephant exchange party. We all brought food to Jorge's apartment and shared it in front of '80s movies and a Depeche Mode concert DVD. Everyone drew numbers for gifts, 85% of which were cocktail-related. (Hmm.) The best part was photographing each other opening the gifts. Everyone knows that pictures of people opening gifts are the most boring pictures there are. So several of us enlivened the process by making the most over-the-top excited facial expressions possible. I still look at those pictures and crack up, a year later. Can't wait to do it again.
Another fun part of the holiday is movies. Going to the movies, and renting movies with my children and friends.
We don't have snow here, but it'll be nice in December, when it gets down to 60 degrees each day and we can break out the extra blankets. That's when I'll start looking at Christmas decorations, you guys. When it's not hot enough to go to the beach anymore.
Seriously. I'm not kidding. Kroger, one of our local grocery store chains, wins my prize for The Most Consistently Shitty Customer Service. I'm not talking about mere unfriendliness, or your run-of-the-mill lack of common courtesy. I mean that Kroger employees go the extra mile and take the time to show you, in so many ways, that they dislike their jobs and especially dislike being forced to help you with your groceries for their paychecks.
The Kroger on 11th and Shepherd is always a good source for rude teenagers who purposely slam your food into the bags and then giggle moronically when you ask them why they're doing it. However, for an all-out crappy customer service extravaganza, with maximum disrespect for your dollar, you simply have to try the Kroger on West Gray, in Houston's fabled River Oaks shopping center. It really is phenomenal, the way the employees there go out of their way to show their disdain. Whether it's the women in the deli rolling their eyes at you and walking off to finish their personal conversations while you're waiting for your order, or the sackers dropping your plants on the floor and then whispering "what a bitch" to their coworkers when you ask them to be careful, every visit to River Oaks Kroger provides a fresh opportunity to learn that your money is not welcome there. They should put up a sign that says, "If you don't like it, go to hell, or to Randall's, or to Central Market, or to Whole Foods." And you know what? I think I will. Thanks, Kroger employees! Sorry to have bothered you with my annoying attempts to spend my $500 per month grocery-budget allowance on your products!
And, on that note, here's someone even more demanding than me. Fictional character, but still hilarious.
One Last Shopping-Related Thing
How effing annoying is it when stores are closed on Sundays?
If stores are going to be closed on Sundays so that people can allegedly spend all day worshipping God, then I suggest that America declare Monday part of the corporate American weekend so that I can have more than one day a week to get my errands done.
Don't even start me on the fact that most stores are only open during the same hours that I'm at my job. I guess I'm the stupid one here, for not having a housewife to run errands and make purchases for me while I work.
But you would think that if America were the awesome bastion of capitalism that our president and friends are fighting terrorism for it to be, that someone besides Wal-Mart and Kwickie Mart would be open at an hour when 90% of the population can actually shop without having to take a sick day.
And don't even get me started on the suckitude and lack of logic that is Daylight Savings Time...
Instead of putting up Christmas trees the day after Halloween, maybe the local merchants should research more plausible shopping hours and petition the government to give us back our after-work daylight. THEN maybe I'd be able to do my job as a citizen of our God-based, consumerist nation, you know?
Jesus, people. Jesus H. Wal-Mart-shopping, Starbucks-sipping Christ. 10:11 AM # (27) comments
Tuesday, November 08, 2005Making Lemons into Angry, Sugar-Free Lemonade
You know, while I'm openly in a bad mood, I may as well post a few things that I've been wanting to post, but haven't because I didn't want posting those things to put me in a bad mood. It'll be cathartic, maybe. Okay! Let's go!
1. Abortion rights aren't about giving women permission to have abortions. They're about making abortions-with-aenesthesia legal. Women have been aborting unwanted fetuses since human beings came into existence, with and without the help of doctors. If we were birds, then women who got pregnant without wanting to could just abandon their eggs, and people who were so worried about fertilized eggs going to waste could go sit on them themselves. But we're not birds. So stop worrying about eggs you can't even see, and mind your own business.
2. I don't understand why anti-abortionists think that teenagers aren't old enough to make decisions about abortion on their own... and yet they apparently think that teenagers are old enough to be mothers whether they want to or not. I don't get it. As a society, we can't even get fathers to pay child support, and yet we might get a Supreme Court judge who thinks women should be forced to get their husband's permission not to give birth. What the hell? Someone's joking, right?
3. What is with conservative women blaming feminists for all crappy heterosexual relationships lately? Hey, non-feminists, if you're so smart, why aren't you in hog heaven right now? If you're not a feminist and you believe that feminists have scared all the men away, why don't you run out into the middle of the street and scream, "Hello, men of my town! I am NOT a feminist! Come and love me! Buy me a big diamond ring and support me financially!"? Shouldn't that make all the men in the world flock to you like flies to shit? Wouldn't you then have your pick of all the awesomely manly men you could pray for? Why aren't you doing that, then, instead of sitting at your desk, bitterly blogging about how feminism has ruined life as we know it?
4. If you believe that Christianity is the only way to live, please keep it to yourself. Don't tell me about it at work, don't send me emails about it, and don't try to insert your Bible-based beliefs into my children's textbooks. And don't call my apartment at night and tell me to vote on propositions that discriminate against homosexuals, either. I don't try to force my religion on you, so what makes you think I even want to hear about yours? Shut it. No more. I'm not going to tolerate your rudeness anymore.
5. Finally, if you are one of those miserable people who, instead of keeping his/her misery properly bottled and boiling, takes out his/her misery on others, please go kill yourself. Seriously. Take it outside. Quit making the world a crappier place. I'm sorry that you feel bad about yourself, but that doesn't mean I deserve to listen to you trying to make me feel bad about myself. Just go drive off a bridge or something. Or, you know, try examining your miserable life and taking steps to improve it... If you feel up to the extra effort, I mean.
You know what? I do feel a little better now. Okay. Back to your regularly scheduled, non-angry blogging. 2:55 PM # (10) comments