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. :)
Sunday, April 04, 2010Hi, y'all.
Guess where I've been. Give up? I've been home working on my next novel, or at a coffee shop working on my next novel, or at my friend Ashley's house, working on my next novel while she paints her next painting.
Or, more likely than that, I've been procrastinating and making excuses for not working on my next novel. Other than that -- including that, actually -- life is pretty great here. Hope yours is, too.
Come see me at the Inprint reading in Houston, at the Alley Theater on May 3, if you want to see me. They let you submit questions, so someone submit a hilarious one. Don't submit something like, "How did you become a writer?" or "What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?" because someone else already submitted those. Also, don't submit, "How are you Hispanic if you look white to me and I don't know you or anything about you and I've never read your writing but you look white to me so is that your husband's last name and why are there Hispanic people around you saying they're your dad and your cousins, I mean you look white to me so why are people saying that you're Hispanic?" because someone will undoubtedly stand up and ask that at the reading without submitting it beforehand. It's pre-ordained.
(My answer is always, "Meet me outside after the reading for a Taco-Off and we'll find out who's Hispanic, then, motherfucker." Then, after the reading, I just leave. But I do usually have a couple of tacos at Taqueria Laredo on Washington Avenue the following morning. They make the best picadillo -- reminds me of my Aunt Sylvia's.)
Pop Culture Obsessions
I was going to ask y'all if you knew of a DJ/electronica/hip-hop person named Dabrye, and if you liked him as much as I'm starting to, but then I refrained because I'm starting to realize that i have sort of unusual taste in music.
I used to think that I had excellent taste in music and that most other people didn't, but now I'm just accepting the fact that there are different kinds of tastes in music and everyone has whatever works best with the active nerves in their brain. See, I'm reading Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia right now, and all the stuff he's saying fits in with my newly hatched theory that the brain of any given human who likes music must like it in a certain range of frequencies. A lot of people enjoy a higher frequency range than my brain enjoys. Like Passion Pit, Fleet Foxes, the Raveonettes, the Whatever-Os, and the Whosits... all those people sound too high and tooth-grindy to me. I like stuff that I can only describe as lower, but which my husband might describe as too minimal, too repetitive, too subtle, too depressing, or just too. Just too not-Passion-Pit, he means.
And that's okay. Our brains are different. Why would you want to be married to the same kind of brain as your own? Wouldn't that be boring?
We had this raging argument about taste in music the other day -- it's one of the few things we really argue loudly about -- and it lasted us all the way home and ended up concluding in front of the kids. But we took little breaks to add footnotes for the kids' edification, and each of our footnotes had the same gist, which was that we'd rather argue about who has better taste in music than live with someone who doesn't care about music at all.
Oliver Sacks says that people whose brains keep them from loving music have "amusia." The very idea makes me feel sad and sick -- it'd be like losing my peripheral vision or something.
Not to be an asshole. I'm just saying. Well, and maybe saying that makes me an asshole, anyway. But I can't help it -- I'm just telling y'all that it freaks me out when people say they don't care about music, and I can't even imagine.
Um... I subtitled this part "Pop Culture Obsessions" and not "Raging Music and Neuro-Type Snobbery" because I wanted to also ask who else out there is watching RuPaul's Drag Race and letting it eat their insides apart, like I am. Anybody? Anyone? Crickets in the back? No? Well, whatever.
Oliver Sacks instructs Dallas and me.
I hardly get to see my son Dallas anymore, because as long-time readers know, he lives with his dad while his two brothers live with me. And all three of them are teenagers now, so they have weekend stuff going on all the time, just like little adults, and we're all at the post-divorce phase, thank-God-fully, where we can be flexible and miss a weekend visitation here or there for the sake of the kids' scholastic and social obligations.
But, so, the other day...
[I'm about to say something to do with Dallas having Aspergers, and you might wonder why I'm saying it here and not on my ChronMomBlog, and I will tell you that it's because the Chronicle now has two mom blogs about moms with kids with autism, so I feel like talking about my kid's autism there would, at this point, look like horning in on other writers' territory.]
So Dallas was here the other day, and I was reading him little bits from Oliver Sacks, because Dallas has synesthesia and absolute pitch (which I used to refer to, incorrectly, as perfect pitch) and Mr. Sacks talks about each of those.
Synesthesia is when someone mixes the senses a little bit. In Dallas's case, he sees a different color for each note on the musical scale. Some people might see different colors for each letter of the alphabet, or different shapes for each number, but Dallas has the color/music variety, which we're interested in because he's a musician.
So I'm reading aloud to him that, "Composer John Doe sees D minor as a bright yellow."
And Dallas interjects, "Well, he's wrong."
I say, "Hold on, baby," and read that John Doe, furthermore, sees D major as blue.
"That guy's totally wrong," says Dallas.
I read from the next paragraph: "When I told this to composer Joe Blow, he said, 'That seems all wrong to me.'"
"Yeah. Because it is," says Dallas. "What colors does that guy see?"
"He says D minor is light green."
Dallas snorts. "At first I thought that guy might have some sense, but now I see he doesn't, either."
It cracks me up, his confidence. His arrogance, you can go ahead and call it. It took me forever to convince Dallas that not everyone can see what he does, and not everyone can tell what note a rubber band makes when it snaps against a wrist. He would not believe me -- he couldn't imagine a mind that didn't work like his. But eventually I managed to convince him, and he finally said, "That explains a lot, actually." It explains the infuriating confusion caused by certain band teachers, apparently. He wondered if they were lying or purposely tuning the instruments wrong, maybe because they didn't like him and wanted an excuse to give him bad conduct grades when he argued or covered his ears in annoyance.
I read in Mr. Sacks book that synesthesia occurs in one of every 2,000 people and absolute pitch (the ability to identify a note on its own) is more like one in 10,000. That surprised Dallas and me.
Mr. Sacks said that having very fine absolute pitch can be a nuisance for some people -- that hearing very slightly off-tune notes can irritate them while the rest of us can't even tell the difference.
"Does it ever bother you when I sing a tiny bit flat?" I asked Dallas. Because I know that he knows that I sometimes do. Not flat enough to lower my score on Rock Band, but flat enough that he'll very honestly tell me if I ask.
"My pitch isn't that good," he says.
And I see that he's learned, finally, how to tell white lies to spare feelings. And I'm glad that I'm one of the people for whom he'll commit that sin -- number one on the list of Asperger commandments: "Thou shalt not lie," followed by "Thou shalt not not make sense."
But I see, also, that I'll never understand the way he sees the world, or how much it bothers him to put up with the rest of us. No matter how hard I listen. No matter how much I love him and want to understand.
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? That's what I have to tell myself, to keep from crying when he gets on the bus to go back home. 9:33 PM # (4) comments
Thursday, September 10, 2009Where I Be
Hola, peeps. Have y’all missed me? If so, you should check out my Houston Chronicle blog, because I post a little more often over there.
Alternately, if you’ve been wondering how sexy, nasal, gravelly, or flat-aspect-y my speaking voice is in real life, how I waste my time on the weekends when I’m supposed to be writing, what the secret is to my goat whispering, or exactly how fast my husband cuts up tuna for spicy tuna sushi roll filling… you can check out the home movies I’ve been posting to Qik.
In other self-promoting news: I’ll be reading at the Houston Public Library, downtown, on Saturday morning, September 26, at 11 AM., for Banned Books Week. I’m gonna read from my fave banned book of all time and then ask attendees to tell me their secrets in exchange, so come on down for that, if you live in town.
Right after that, I’m going to do a Scype interview for my very good peep Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez’s new site, Las BMW. If you’re interested, you might want to run over there and register right now, while it’s free.
We bought the Beatles edition of Rock Band last night and played all the songs I liked, which didn’t take long, and then that was it. I was kind of annoyed by the fact that you can’t work your way through Story Mode without playing each and every song, as opposed to 3 out of 4 or 4 out of 5, like you do on the older editions. Basically, I didn’t appreciate Harmonix forcing me to sing yet another 1963 Beatles song with the same chords as “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and that other one.
Not trying to be mean. I’m just saying. I mean, I really love “Dear Prudence” and “Get Back” and some of the other stuff. But don’t force me to sing everything else in order to unlock additional songs, is all I’m saying. We gave up Story Mode after two venues and switched to Quickplay. Oh, but the new vocal harmony functionality was cool. I did appreciate that.
I would dearly love a Rolling Stones edition or a Led Zeppelin one. I’d also like a few Heart and Van Halen songs. Do you hear me, Harmonix? I know they have a suggestion box on their site now. I need to get on that. That’s on my to-do list.
My Pop Culture Recommendations for This Quarter
I saw District 9 twice and loved it even better the second time and can’t wait for the sequel.
We also saw Extract over the weekend. It had its moments, but I’m not gonna see it twice.
I’ve been listening to this one album a lot lately: “In Ghost Colors” by the Australian band known as Cut Copy. My favorite songs on it are numbers 6 and 14.
Oh, and we’re totally obsessed with True Blood, that vampire soap opera on HBO. I’m calling it “a redneck-y, vampire-y Nip/Tuck.”
I’m not getting paid or gifted to say any of this, I swear.
Haven’t been reading anything lately. I read a lot of sad but beautiful books over the winter and spring, and now I’m supposed to be writing toward a deadline, so I won’t let myself read. Even though I just found and purchased an interesting-looking short-story collection and it’s sitting on my nightstand atop the mound of magazines. Even though my son really wants me to read The Lightning Thief and I’ve already read the first chapter of it and will probably download the rest this week. But serioiusly – no more reading until I’m done writing this next book. I mean it!
I just typed and deleted, twice, the list of books I read and enjoyed over the past year.
Sometimes I feel weird saying what books I read in a public forum because… I don’t know why. Like I worry that certain people will get upset that I’m not reading “enough” stuff in the genres that I write in, or enough stuff by authors who share certain demographics with me. Or that I suck for not reading and promoting all the books by people I know in real life. And I also worry that listing books now will tempt others to pressure me to mention certain books in the future.
Like a lot of you, I have a really long list of books I want to read – just not necessarily enough time to get to them all. And I don’t even feel like a list of what I read recently would be representative of what I value most as a reader. You know? Because sometimes I read something just because it catches my eye, or just because it was in the doctor’s office, or just because I accidentally downloaded a sample chapter of it on Kindle.
So I’m not gonna make any lists of books. Instead, y’all tell me what you’re reading and loving. At least two of the books I loved last year came from y’all’s suggestions, in the first place. And for that, I thank y’all kindly. Thanks, peeps.
Will write again when I can. 6:39 AM # (6) comments
Tuesday, May 19, 2009something weird I just thought about
If someone were to torture you mildly a little – say, for information, or because he/she was a crazed stalker – would it make the torture more tolerable to have one of your favorite mellow songs playing in the background?
Probably not, I guess. Or could it depend on how much you liked the song, and how mild the torture was?
Then, afterwards, could you ever like that song again? Or would it just be bittersweet?
I would tell y’all what song made me think about this, but I don’t want to give potential crazed stalkers any ammunition.
something less weird (but related)
Since iPods have been invented, are y’all hearing your old favorite songs in a new way? For instance, do your earbuds, shoved all the way up in your earwax, suddenly help you to hear lyrics that you couldn’t hear before?
Or do you hear the instruments and harmonies more distinctly?
Maybe I just need to get my hearing checked, in general. But I have to say that I never noticed until the other day how awesome the background singers are on Todd Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me.”
something weirder than the first part, suddenly
I went to Wikipedia to see if they’d tell me the names of the women who sang back-up on “Hello It’s Me.” Instead, they told me that “[o]n the day he shot and killed John Lennon, Mark David Chapman left an eight-track tape of Rundgren's album The Ballad of Todd Rundgren, along with other artifacts, in his New York hotel room in an orderly semicircle on the hotel dresser.”
But more fascinating and curiosity-whetting than that: “Stephen Colbert, on his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, invited former Cars vocalist Ric Ocasek to add anyone of his choice to the ‘On Notice’ board. Ocasek chose Todd Rundgren.”
This requires further investigation. I see that Rundgren briefly took Ocasek’s place in a reformation of the Cars called The New Cars. How come no one told me this? Plus, how come nobody told me Ric Ocasek was going to be on the Colbert Show? Is it because I never watch the Colbert Show? Come on. I need people to help me out, here.
Wouldn’t it be cool if
you could have an intern (or even a paid assistant) who would spend all day finding things that would interest you? For instance, I loved the Cars and Ric Ocasek, but not so much his solo work. I loved him with Paulina P, but don’t love him enough to keep up with a fan site or anything. I’d read his Twitter, maybe, but not his blog. Meanwhile, I love the song “Hello It’s Me” but never felt compelled to buy a Todd Rundgren album.
A skilled Interest Mining
I mean – hello. It’s all right there for someone to figure out and act on, isn’t it?
As soon as I get rich, I’m putting an ad on Craigslist.... 5:26 AM # (8) comments
Monday, March 09, 2009Watchmen was Twilight for men.
Warning: this contains spoilers about the movie Watchmen. Don't read it if you want to be surprised by all the comic book cliches.
Twilight is for 13-year-old straight girls and emotionally-13-year-old women because it's about a nonremarkable girl having a romance with a hot, all-powerful person who protects the girl and does everything for her so that she doesn't have to do anything but watch her classmates be jealous of her. Or whatever.
Watchmen is for 13-year-old straight boys and emotionally-13-year-old men because it's about how all the problems in the world are caused by hot chicks sleeping with people other than you. What's a slut? A women who's sleeping with someone other than you. Right? Or maybe, in this movie's case, a slut is just a woman. Any woman.
My boyfriend wanted to see Watchmen, and I told him to go without me. People I know and trust have told me that the Watchmen graphic novel was awesome, and I believed them and had it on my to-read list, but I suspected I wouldn't like the movie. But then a couple of our other friends wanted to go, including my friend Ashley, who generally has excellent taste but can be guided off course by pretty girls. So I went along for the ride, lowering my expectations so as to be able to enjoy myself.
The theater was very crowded and we had to split up. Ashley and I sat together, and my boyfriend Dat sat with our friend Richard, several rows behind us.
The opening credits were interesting. Especially when the one hot chick kissed the nurse hot chick -- Ashley and I whispered "Awesome!" while the woman seated next to us whispered, "Oh, no. No they did not. They are wrong for doing that!"
Then the Rorschach guy started voicing over in what, at first, I thought was a parody of right-wing extremism. But it wasn't a parody -- it was serious as hell. After that, the movie started sucking full force. I was surprised how badly and how suddenly it sucked.
"It's just the characters who suck," Ashley whispered to me. "The plot's good." She repeated that for a couple of minutes, then whispered, "Oh, God, this movie does suck."
At the end, we waited for the guys to join us and Ashley asked if I thought Richard and Dat liked it. I said, "Richard might have, but Dat probably realized it sucked." Of course, they both pronounced it awesome. (I don't mind admitting that in public -- that my boyfriend might be 13 years old, emotionally. That's why I avoid all things Twilight -- because I'm afraid I'll end up succumbing to its temptations and being marked as a 13-year-old, myself.)
Please don't write to me and tell me why the movie wasn't really bad, or why I misinterpreted it as bad. Or, if you do write to me in that vein, don't expect me to listen. I'll tell you now that I never read Watchmen, but I don't think that should matter. Yes, reading it ahead of time may have filled in the missing plot points and characters' various motivations, but I doubt that would have kept the movie from sucking. As Ashley put it, every character in the movie was an asshole, or boring, or a boring asshole. I couldn't tell who we were supposed to root for. I didn't care what happened to any of them. If they'd all died in a nuclear holocaust, I would've been relieved that the way-too-long movie was over. (I wanted to leave the theater, but Ashley wouldn't let me.)
I don't aspire to be a film critic, so I won't try to get into what was wrong with the film. Instead, I'll tell you what was wrong with the story, as told by the film, by telling you what I was able to take away from it.
The beginning: In the '40s, there was a group of superheroes who called themselves the Minutemen. They retired and were replaced by other superheroes (presumably called the Watchmen?) whose super powers consisted of wearing costumes. None of the Watchmen liked each other or had anything in common. Then, they disbanded because Richard Nixon made them. Because they existed in a dystopian alternate future where the Viet Cong surrendered to us and Nixon stayed president until the '80s.
The Comedian was a major asshole who hated humanity and enjoyed killing people, and had a habit of raping and killing women in particular, because they deserved it for turning him on. The other Watchmen hated him but none of them had the guts to keep him from killing or raping innocent women (sluts). Neither did the Minutemen -- he beat and tried to rape "Silk Spectre," one of the female Minutemen, yet somehow remained part of the group. All that gets told in flashback, because someone kills the Comedian at the beginning of the movie, but we don't know who, and that person strangely never gets a medal for it. His superpower is misanthropic rage.
Silk Spectre is a self-hating attention whore. She wore a sexy costume and capitalized on her looks. A few years after the Comedian tries to rape her and beats the crap out of her, she has sex with him and gets pregnant. She does this because she retroactively realizes that his rape attempt was flattering, as she explains to her daughter, Silk Spectre II. Because now she's old and men don't want to rape her anymore, and that makes her sad. Her superpower is sluttiness.
Silk Spectre II is a self-centered attention whore. She's dating fellow Watchman John, but is petulant because he's always busy saving the world with his unique godlike supernatural powers and therefore doesn't spend enough time with her. So she turns to fellow Watchman the Owl Dude for comfort, because God forbid someone as hot as her should go without male attention for more than half a day. Her superpower is hair-flipping.
Rorschach is another misanthrope who's hell-bent on doling out justice ever since he met a psycho who murdered a little girl. But, guess what? Rorscach's mother was a whore. A literal whore -- she slept with men for money, thereby making his childhood hell. So Rorschach thinks all women are whores. Also, he idolized the Comedian, which is weird and confusing since the Comedian is just as psycho as the psycho who killed the little girl who haunts Rorschach's dreams. So... whatever. His superpower is misanthropic rage combined with a cool mask that's made of shifting Rorschach patterns.
John was a scientist who, through a mishap involving radiation, obtained godlike powers and glowing blue skin, complete with glowing blue penis. Mind the size of a planet, but he chooses to date someone as shallow and histrionic as Silk Spectre II. Oh, well. That's the breaks, right? Smart super dudes get the hot chicks, and therefore they have to put up with annoying behavior. That's just life, right? Besides, he'll eventually have to leave Silk Spectre II for a younger, hotter chick, just like he left his aging first girlfriend for Silk Spectre II.
The Owl Dude is just some Clark-Kent looking guy who lives alone and has owl-shaped stuff in his basement. His father's an investment banker or something. I don't know. His superpower is being the Everyman who's standing in the right place at the right time when the hot chick needs sexual attention. Oh, and he has an owl suit and an owl copter.
Adrian is the gay Watchman who has Greek and Egyptian costume and decorating fetishes. When the Watchmen are disbanded, he becomes a corporate gazillionaire and secret master villain. He has an accent that I can't place -- is it made up, like Madonna's? His superpower is being the Smartest Man in the World. At least, that's what they kept telling us.
The Hot Lesbian One, who was the best superhero in the movie and whose superpower was insane macking skillz, died without a speaking part, right at the beginning of the movie.
The middle: People got killed. Sluts got killed or else had blood splattered all over their pretty, slutty faces. Silk Spectre II got kicked in the boobies and in the cunt. Hee hee. Boobies! Cunt! Rorschach referred to himself in the third person and shared long strings of psuedo-poetic cliches about how effed up the world has become. John tried to save the world but his current slut girlfriend and his former slut girlfriend got in his way and messed everything up. Silk Spectre II slept with Owl Dude in long, lingering sex scenes that were almost as good as the ones on Cinemax's Witches of Breastwick 2. Each of the main characters tells their sob story, and most of their traumas are caused by women, who are all bitches and deserve to be punished. There's a random burning building rescue and a random subplot about a prison break that makes no sense, at all, on earth, ever. And Lee Iacocca gets shot in the head. And gore, and sluts, and depressed rambling about human nature.
The end: There's some long, drawn-out virgin teen boy fantasy in which the selfish hot chick begs the godlike Everyman to save her world. Then, Adrian comes out (heh) as the best character in the movie when he inexplicably renames himself Ozymandias, starts wearing costumes full time, makes a saber-toothed tiger pet appear out of nowhere, and locks himself in a tower so he can watch TV all day. It was like his character stood up and said, "Hey, this movie makes no sense. Therefore, I can do anything I want." Kind of like you do in a lucid dream. But then the other fools showed up and everyone started punching each other (extra points for hitting Silk Spectre II's chest or crotch), and then you realize that they don't actually have super powers, even though earlier in the film their heads were going through granite countertops and stuff. And then God -- I mean -- John shows up and acts like God, and then one of the oldest sci-fi plot devices in the world is revealed, leaving you saying "WTF? WTF??" over and over again, and then, thank godfully, the movie ends.
Scariest part: The people in the audience who laughed at the rape and violence. I literally had nightmares, later, that I was trapped in a parking lot at night, surrounded by people like that. Why didn't I dream that the Watchmen came to save me? Well, why would they?
Basically, it was Sin City all over again, but more confusing and way, way longer.
Oh, P.S., if you liked the movie and want to comment and tell me how misguided I am, know now that I'll probably delete your comment. Know why? Because I'm either: 1) a dumb bitch, 2) a dyke, 3) an old bitch who's just jealous that no one wants to rape me anymore. So, too bad for you! Toodles!
Labels: pop culture5:43 PM # (12) comments
Wednesday, February 25, 2009holas
I keep wanting to write stuff here but haven't had time. Meanwhile, I know all too well how the lack of updating causes readers to slip away. But that's life, right? Hope y'all who've slipped away are doing it temporarily and finding awesome substitutes until you return.
I shouldn't be writing this right now because I have so much "work stuff" to do, instead, but oh, well. Right now I'm going through this phase where I've planned a bunch of publicity events - traveling and all - months in the past, and then these dates come up on me and I've almost forgotten, and it scares the crap out of me. But then I see that the Me of the Past has taken care of everything. I click the starred document on my email and out pops everything - maps, itineraries, tickets, packing lists.... It's still a little scary, though. The Me of the Past is way more organized than the Me in the Present, and I'm starting to worry that the Me of the Future will be a total flake.
I just read a good/sad book and now I'm all enmeshed in that. You know how that goes. I'm gonna be sad for a couple of days, but I don't regret it.
My work (day job) is all insane right now, as anyone who watches the news and knows the name of my workplace could tell you. The news is bad, and yet somehow that doesn't translate into less work for me, personally. I hate to say this, but I'm kinda just counting the days 'til they lay us off, because uncertainty bugs me. Plus, I need more time to write. But I don't want to be poor. But I haven't been poor for years, because I really dislike that. So things should work out okay, if they want to lay us off. Plus, I'll get more writing done.
I recently finished my next novel. Well, in my mind, it's the "last novel," but for you, it looks like the "next novel." That one comes out in 2010. The next novel, in my mind, hasn't been started yet. But I already know what it's about, and I'm excited, which is good. I hope to stay excited until I'm 97% through writing it, at which point I will of course be sick to death of it. That's how it always happens - no way to avoid it.
I'm hyper-conscious, right now, of writing all these sentences with the word I in them. Like that's a big bad thing. But I'm trying to tell y'all what's going on with me, real fast, without time for fancy faux-un-self-centered metaphors, so there you go. What else can I say?
I really want to tell y'all about:
1. this laminating machine that used to be at an old workplace
2. my current unusual living arrangement and why I think more people should try it
3. the cats' misadventures
4. the truths about Twitter
5. annoying entitled people on the carpool
6. people I've met and why they're awesome
7. awesome books I read recently
8. Indian condiments and the bloat-causing, frightfully addictive sodium within them
Also, I updated the other site, gwendolynzepeda.com, by hand, by myself, which was difficult because I'm not a good coder but I know too much coding to justify paying someone else to do it... So, yeah. I've been doing that, in addition to everything else.
And... Salome! I saw this show called Tim and Eric's Awesome Show - Good Job! - just one episode of it, twice - and it semi-traumatized me, but in the good way, when something makes you laugh and creeps you out at the same time. And I've been watching Flight of the Concords, a little, and I'm resisting having a crush on Jemaine because I think that would be a cliche, but the whole thing with them loathing/fearing Australians is killing me. If you know what I'm talking about, hollah. If not -- um, go ahead and holler, anyway, if you feel like it.
And, ble-e-e-e-e-e-e-eh. I hate writing entries like this, but it's better than nothing for the 8 dedicated readers who are still checking back for updates once a month. Right? Not really? Oh, man....
Gwen 9:54 PM # (16) comments
Tuesday, July 29, 2008bus story 1
It’s always cold on the bus. For that reason, I kind of hate riding it in the mornings, especially when I’m wearing a skirt without hose or tights or leg warmers, as is sometimes mandated by fashion in the summer time. But everyone has their crosses to bear, right?
This morning I got on the bus without hose or tights or legwarmers, and it was very cold. I put my iPod (my Sony Walkman iPod) into my ears and hugged myself into as compact a shape as possible.
The bus starts filling up, and this guy gets on. He’s a small guy, ethnic origin somewhere on the Eastern Hemisphere. He sits by me, and I take care not to sigh or jut out my elbow or even look at him, because I hate it when I’m forced to sit by someone else on the bus, and that someone else makes it clear that they’re annoyed and that they’d been wishing that their $3 fare would have somehow paid for two seats. I mean, I get annoyed when strangers sit next to me, too, and I wish my $3 bought me a force shield from strangers, too. But that’s not the way Metro works, is it?
So I’m sitting there, trying to be polite and only feeling a little bit sorry for myself, when I realize that the guy sitting next to me is hot. Not attractive-hot, but temperature hot. He’s radiating heat like a furnace. I peeked at him as much as manners would allow, but he didn’t seem to be feverish or on fire. He was just radiating heat, somehow. Like, from the inside.
I decided, then, that he must have been a demon. Either that or an elemental, but most likely a demon, because I don’t imagine elementals looking like people or wanting to ride the bus. I glanced again and saw that he was reading a text full of arcane-sounding words. (Cold fusion? HP 3200?) That seemed to confirm his supernatural nature.
I turned my face away from the demon man and, for a split second, felt uncomfortable. Then, I felt good. I felt warm. I’d been cold before, but this demon dude was literally generating enough heat to make up for the fact that I had no pantyhose on under my sandals and knee-length skirt. It felt nice, like a cozy fire.
I wondered, then, what it meant to take comfort from a demon. Was it safe? Was I unintentionally giving away my soul?
Really, there was nothing to fear. In every story I’ve ever heard on the subject, demons can’t possess your soul unless you give them verbal permission. And you have to invite them onto your premises, in the first place. Right? I’d invited this demon nowhere, as we were sitting in a public place. I hadn’t said anything to him at all. As long as I kept my Sony Walkman iPod in my ears and minded my own business, I could warm myself with the demon fire and keep my soul and its first serial rights. He wasn’t even a big demon, anyway. I didn’t think he could carry me if he wanted to.
The warmth made me sleepy and I drifted through dreams as pawn shops and Adult Video Stores sped by. “Is this,” I wondered, “how it starts? Can people get possessed in their sleep? Is demon heat a roofie?”
But we made it downtown okay. Someone rang the bell and, like zombies awoken, several of the passengers stood up and stumbled out into the sunlight as filtered by skyscrapers. The demon got up to let me pass and didn’t even spare me a glance.
I didn’t realize why until now, after typing all this. I’ve already been marked by someone else. My soul is the property of Corporate America.
intro to bus stories 2, 3, and 4
So I recently bought myself an MP3 player as a reward for a job well done. (What job is that, you ask? The job that is being myself.) And, now that I have one, I see that there's a secret world I've been missing out on but am now a part of.
Before I had an MP3 player, I didn't want to know anything about them, because I hate window shopping. You know? I don't want to hear about stuff I can't afford, in general. But then they got cheap, so I decided to get one, so I did my research and picked the one with the most battery life.
(Also, I waited to get one because I just had no use for one before. But now that I have a job where we're allowed to listen to them (and where our laptops have no soundcards), and now that I ride the bus instead of driving my van and listening to my own CDs...)
Before I had an MP3 player, I ignored people who had them. I purposely spaced out when people talked about them. But not anymore.
Now, when I ride the bus, I notice who's listening to music and who's not. And I notice that other people notice it, too.
bus story 2
The other day, I was on the bus and I busted out my [Sony Walkman] iPod (which I will call an ipod from now on, because screw Corporate America and their branding. kleenexes! xeroxing!! orange and lemon cokes!!!).
I turned on my music and went to the place where I go to when my music's on. It's a place in my mind, and it's a combination night club, costume party, trip abroad, and Houston's Galleria mall.
So I was there, and I don't know if it showed on my face or what, but the guy sitting across from me smiled at me.
Not in a creepy way, but in a sort of empathetic yet wistful way. Like he could tell that I was happy, and he was glad for me, and yet he maybe wished he had an ipod, too.
He seemed like a nice guy, actually. But I didn't smile back. I just blinked at him and then looked away.
I don't smile at strange men. Especially not on the bus.
bus story 3
Right after that, the angry-looking man next to the nice-looking man gave us both a glare. Really, he just gave a long, long glare that encompassed us, all the other passengers, and everything else on earth.
Then, the angry-looking man looked at my ear buds. Then, he took some earbuds out of his pocket and attached them to his phone.
I don't know if y'all know this, but a lot of newer phones are also ipods now. Seriously. They are.
The angry-looking guy turned on his phone ipod, and then he closed his eyes and pretended to sleep. I hoped that his music made him feel better. I wondered what song he was listening to, but there was no way I could ask.
bus story 4
Today I rode the bus home and I listened to my ipod. Of course. Across from me, an older woman sat there with white ear buds in her own ears. And she kept glancing at me.
"What is this woman looking at?" I thought. But that question didn't make me as angry as it used to, because I had my ipod on and it's hard to get angry when I'm in my music place.
The woman glanced and glanced, and then, when I had to adjust my volume, I pulled my ipod out of my bra, out of the neck of my shirt, and did so. And then the woman kept looking, but her look became very thoughtful. I thought that maybe she was noting my clever idea of going hands-free with the use of my bra. She was maybe thinking, "Wow. It fits in there so well. I wouldn't have even guessed she had an ipod in her bra."
Then, the woman lifted her own ipod from her lap. It was a real iPod, and it had a leather case with an apple on it and everything. When she lifted it and opened the case, she glanced at me again.
I couldn't help but suspect that she wanted me to notice her. I suspected that she'd just gotten that new ipod, maybe for a gift or maybe she went right into the apple store and bought it for herself, for a job well done.
She flicked at the buttons and I wondered how many songs she had. I wondered which ones were her favorites.
She glanced at me again. I smiled at her and then I closed my eyes.
moral of the story
If we were in Japan, our ipods would send out signals to each other, and we'd know when we were near another person who likes the same songs that we do.
But we're not in Japan. So all we can do is imagine, and then empathize.
Right? 7:22 PM # (11) comments
Tuesday, July 22, 2008Don't be mad.
Sorry I've been the worst blog updater in the world lately. But you know how it goes. Blah blah excuses go here.
I got some awesome sandals on sale at TJ Maxx today. I ate some awesome Indian food. The cats are doing good, but won't stop date-raping each other.
I read The Yoko-something Officers' Club, by Sarah Bird, and enjoyed it.
I read The Bostonians, by Henry James, and it totally upset and traumatized me, until finally it led to understanding of my own young life.
I read Maurice, by E. M. Forster, and it made me feel sorry for Victorian gays and for Victorian peeps in general, because they never had sex, and it messed with their minds.
I read a bunch of cookbooks, even though I don't like to cook.
I accidentally burned up all the grass on my front lawn, with fertilizer, and finally ended up replacing it with sod. It took a long time, because St. Augustine sod is hard to find in Houston this time of year. Apparently.
So I bought all this new grass, which looked half dead, and now I have to water the living hell out of it every single day. Just like my neighbors, who don't even have new grass. I bought a new kind of sprinkler, too. It hasn't rained at all lately.
So then, yesterday, they started warning us that there might be a hurricane or, as British people pronounce it on NPR, hurrakin.
And my first thought was, "Oh, hell yes. Please let there be a hurracane."
And the news was like, "Jesus Christ! Fill up your gas tanks now! Governor Perry is readying the school bus fleet in San Antonio!"
Then I talked to some neighbors and coworkers, and they were like, "I kind of hope we have a hurricane so I can quit watering my lawn."
And I was like, "Me, too!"
Before the Lousiana/Mississippi tragedy, we were never afraid of hurracanes in Houston. They happen in the waters near here pretty often, and as long as the ground isn't saturated beforehand, nothing really happens.
But I'm glad we have disaster plans in place now. Better safe than sorry.
But I hope we get a few thunderstorms, at least. We really need some rain right now. I hope it's not a sin to say so.
We saw The Dark Knight and it scared me, to imagine people being so evil and crazy.
I hate crazy people, lately. If you're crazy and you're reading this, don't mess with me. Don't talk to me. Stop leaving me comments. Got it?
We saw Wall-E, and it was beautiful. I saw it twice, actually. Tears ran down my face the whole time, both times.
You either saw that one already, and you believe me, or else you haven't seen it and you don't. It's okay. I understand that some people categorically hate Disney, or hate animated movies, or hate leftist conspiracies to make conservatives feel guilty. (Or whatever.) But if you saw Wall-E and liked it, then I'm glad for you. Write to me privately and tell me what your favorite part was. If you want.
That's all for now.
I need to get off the computer and go work out. I'm in the mood to work out! Y'all wish me luck setting up Dance Dance Revolution, without my kids here to help me. My kids are all with their dad for the moment. That means I can't play console games or even watch TV, pretty much, because I don't know all the wires and controllers like they do. Feel sorry for me, y'all. Wish me luck figuring it out.
But mostly, send my grass vibes, okay? Send it "grow well soon" vibes. And wish for us to get a lot of rain, but not enough to hurt anyone.
Gwen 8:06 PM # (13) comments
Tuesday, March 25, 2008The Big, Good Snowball
You guys, I have been so overwhelmed with good stuff lately, and I'm trying to do the extra bit of work it takes to make the good luck snowball. You know? I'm growing my snowy ball of goodness, as they say. (Well, no one says that. But you know.)
Twitter Changes You
I'll admit it now. I've been cheating on y'all with Twitter.com. That means that, instead of taking time to write a thoughtful, or at least thought-filled blog entry, I fill up my Twitter page with 140-character blurbs that only a few select people can see. And now that I'm in the habit of doing that, it seems like there's nothing that can't be expressed in 140 characters, and therefore I have no right to blog anymore. Kind of like people used to feel about haikus, back in the day, in feudal Japan. Maybe. Maybe, right? People started talking to each other in haiku only, and quit having so much to talk about, outside of the falling of the leaves and the koi fish in the water? No? Okay, pretend I didn't say that, then.
The other thing, though, is that I've gotten into the habit of repressing the details of my Real Life here. And then, on Twitter, I'm lulled into this sense of safety, wherein I can post stuff like, "I just put a blue sock on my foot and thought about murdering my coworker." For example, I mean. Not that I actually thought that, because I love all my coworkers to death. But you get what I'm saying, right?
I have to go now, but
here is something I started to write for y'all the other day, real quick, about Gong Li, before I opened up the Internet and realized that Gong Li is a world unto herself and doesn't need the likes of me trying to encapsulate any one facet of her life into blog words, whether 140 characters or more or less:
The Curse of Gong Li
Every time I see a movie with Gong Li in it, no matter how awesome Gong Li's character looks or how well her life starts out, she ends up dying and/or going crazy and/or being miserable in the end.
And then it makes me think about how, even though she's freaking awesome, Gong Li has only gotten crappy roles in US movies. Miami Vice. Hannibal Rising. Second banana (who ends up crazy/miserable) in Memoirs of a Geisha. She admits it's because she can't speak English well enough. I feel bad for her. I mean, I'd be sad as hell if I had to learn Chinese in order to further my career.
I looked her up online today and found out that famed director Zhang Yimou was sleeping with her when he cast her in her most famous role. Cheating on his wife with her, actually. She broke up with him and then he didn't put her in his movies anymore.
Sad. Old-Hollywood-glamor-style sad, right? 7:25 PM # (2) comments
Monday, March 03, 2008I should have trusted my instincts.
I said that McDonald's wouldn't be able to compete with Starbucks, and I should have believed myself. But they sent me a coupon for a free "premium iced coffee," so I thought I'd give it a shot.
At McDonald's, iced coffee means pre-sweetened latte. The drive-through guy asked if I wanted hazelnut or vanilla. I said, "Can I get it with just Splenda?" He said, "Yeah. Hazelnut, vanilla, or regular?" I said regular, with two Splendas.
They gave me a latte with I-don't-know-what-kind of dairy product, obviously presweetened and then with two Splendas thrown on top. Annoying. Now I can resume my practice of avoiding McDonald's entirely, though.
Uncharitable thought of the day: I told my boyfriend, afterwards, that the McDonald's "premium iced coffees" are for people who can't afford Starbucks and don't know what espresso is, but want to pretend they're drinking it, too. I predicted that, soon, McD's drive-through customers will order like this, "Two Big Macs and two vanilla Starbuckses." And McDonald's will serve them that, and Starbucks' market dominance will be complete.
Yes, I know that Starbucks is for middle-class people who don't know what real espresso is. And that's okay -- I'm fine being that.
A sad, sad, sad, sad thing about my life.
A million years ago, when people were first going from "newsgroups" to "bulletin boards," I used to hang out on a bulletin board called Mediarama, hosted by writer Daniel Drennan. And I used to love the living shit out of Mediarama and most of its posters.
While at Mediarama, I began to create web content, myself. Then, one day, I left Mediarama. Since then, I've tried various online forums and even started my own, but never found anything as good, smart, or fun. And, before you say it, I'm more than willing to admit that it's me who's changed, and not the Internets.
"Forums" have become blog-comment threads, for the most part. All the names for things change, but it's all still people trying to hang out online, trying to find others they want to virtually get to know. Less and less frequently, I try to find an online hang-out. More and more frequently, I find myself bored with the repetitive interactions and personality types. And then I get disappointed. And then I sigh and feel sorry for myself.
The pattern I find lately, on boards that attract me, is that there's a good mix of straight guys, gay guys, and straight women, most of whom I assume are white -- maybe with a few non-white people clearly identified either by their names or constant reminders in their posts.
What always starts to turn me off (other than the possibly imaginary pressure to identify my ethnicity) is the way the straight chicks will fawn over the straight guys. Eventually, so many boards devolve into the female characters competing to sound sexy for the straight male characters. (Who knows what these people are in real life? Maybe they're all neutered cats and dogs.)
I don't know where other women like me go -- women who like to talk to men and maybe sometimes like to joke about sex, but who don't want to participate in a cyber-sex contest. And don't want to talk about lip gloss or DHs. (Dear Hubbies. Barf. Just typing that makes me feel ill.)
This is not a request for suggestions. Please don't tell me to visit your favorite forum, because I'm a very negative, judgmental person and therefore I won't like it. But tell me your favorite forum if you want, keeping in mind that I'll never visit it. Then it should be okay -- no expectations or awkward excuse-making.
something different to do
Recently I've tried doing my rush-hour commute with my car windows open. At first it scared me a little, then I felt self-conscious, then I was puzzled as to how to deal with men who took open windows as a social invitation.
But now I like it. I like the breeze and the sun, and driving unenclosed makes me feel more human (like a herd animal, maybe?) and therefore, overall, less susceptible to road rage. Try it if your weather permits, and if your traffic is slow enough to keep the wind from messing up your hair.
A Puppet Show
Prudencia is a weathered wooden puppet in a checkered smock, with tangled orange vines on its head.
Hortensia is a big clay puppet made up of purple balls.
Griseld is a wiry leaning puppet all swathed in olive drab.
Prudencia and Hortensia are bobbing around two pyramids of fruit.
Prudencia: What is this you say? You're taking three of my apples?
Hortensia: I say that you can have three oranges!
Prudencia: Did you say that you're taking three of my apples for Griseld?
Hortensia: Did you say that Griseld is taking your apples?
Hortensia bobs away. Prudencia does a monologue.
Prudencia: For too long has Griseld coveted my fruit. This is the last straw!
Griseld comes onstage with a single leaf.
Griseld: Prudencia, have you seen the Anderson file?
Prudencia: Oh, I'll teach you to covet, little monster!
Griseld: Uh, what?
Prudencia: Oh, I'll smile sweet, as sweet as the fruit you covet. But soon you shall know the bitterness at the heart of it!
Griseld: Um. Okay.
Curtain closes. Curtain opens. Griseld and Hortensia are standing near a pile of leaves and a single cube of glass.
Griseld: Prudencia, have you seen my Anderson file? Also, do you know who deleted our entire database.
Griseld: Hmm. I guess I should ask Prudencia. You know, I don't think she likes me very much.
Hortensia: No! You're imagining that!
Griseld: She keeps saying weird things to me about peels and pith and paring knives. In a really creepy, passive-aggressive way, too.
Hortensia: Oh! That makes sense, then!
Griseld: What does?
Hortensia: The other day I told Prudencia that you wanted all her apples, and she said you had obviously been plotting against her from the start.
Griseld: What? Why did you say that? I don't want any of her apples!
Hortensia: You don't? Oh, well. Hey, can I have that leaf?
Griseld faces audience with tragicomic puppet expression.
Griseld: Jesus freaking Christ.
FIN. 12:03 PM # (27) 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
Tuesday, January 15, 2008Linkelodeon
Tom Cruise promotes Scientology in a scary way, in a video that is apparently exclusive to Gawker right now. (Remind me to post later about my varied experiences with cult members.)
I didn't want to let this happen again, but I'm addicted to American Gladiators. And so are my kids. After only two episodes, too. My favorite Gladiatrix so far is Crush, because she has awesome hair.
Pretty Indian wedding dresses! If I were to wear one for my own wedding, it'd be this one. Not that I'm trying to appopriate anyone's culture. I'm just saying -- I want a fancy pink dress, and that's the best one I've seen so far.
I know this chick who took a class on lampworking, and then started her own little side business making and selling glass beads. She's doing really well at it, and I've been meaning to tell y'all that I admire her. She thought up an idea, then just went for it. You know?
My favorite site that I can't read. 6:05 PM # (11) comments
Wednesday, December 19, 2007Thoughts on Fictional Aspergers
There are two fictional characters I suspect of having Asperger's Syndrome, whether or not the actors were consciously portraying them that way:
1. Napoleon Dynamite.
2. Bill Haverchuck of Freaks and Geeks.
Or maybe I'm just projecting that onto them because I like those characters, and one of my sons has Aspergers, and I want to imagine my son living a life with a happy ending. Every week.
And now that I'm searching for links, I see that I'm not the first person to have expressed those thoughts:
- Napoleon Dynamite: Asperger's Disorder or Geek NOS?
- an amateur review in which some guy bashes Jared Hess for mocking "stupid, disgusting, socially retarded" characters, and the last commenter sets him straight
- Napoleon discussion on Aspies for Freedom
- In a review of the Freaks and Geeks DVD set, someone calls Bill Haverchuck the poster boy for Aspergers.
So, once again, know that you can count on Gwenworld.com for all your years-after-the-fact pop culture commentary! Here's some more:
I saw Shallow Hal last night, and it wasn't as bad as I'd assumed it would be, way back when it first came out in 2001. I guess I was just looking for an excuse to dislike Gwyneth Paltrow. That was before she wore that too-big-in-the-bust pink dress to the Oscars, and I began to feel bad for her, instead.
I was in the dentist's office for about four minutes this morning, and now I'm good to go. (Tiny bump on my new temp bridge was throwing off my bite, wreaking havoc. Now it's gone.) Thank gosh. It wasn't until it was over that I realized how much I'd been dreading that visit. Oh, also, dreading things makes me grind my teeth. Which makes them hurt more. Duh. Vicious cycle ahoy!
I'm going to start a museum
in which I archive lame attempts at flirting by self-important Corporate American men.
Not because they flirt with me, but because I've been in a position to overhear the flirting, over and over and over again. Because they do it right in front of me, because I'm not pretty enough to be visible to them. Plenty of women can say the same thing, I'm sure -- that they overhear crass come-ons on a regular basis, that they feel disrespected by the men who do such things in professional settings... But would other women obsessively analyze and catalog the phenomemon, like I unwillingly find myself doing every week day? Probably not. Upon hearing any random failed come-on, I immediately, telepathically comprehend the would-be pick-up artist's secret fears, skeevy desires, and pathetic fetishes. I don't want to know, but I can't help it.
And that's why hearing that crap tortures me. No, not because I'm an old, fat, jealous shrew. Not because I'm a jealous lesbian. But because it's pretty depressing, hearing the silently screamed longings of men I can't admire.
Five Pound Allowance
Speaking of being a fat, jealous, lesbian shrew... I can't wait until Christmas Eve. Why? Because I'm going to eat baked goods on that day. Baked goods of my own making.
I've decided to allow myself to gain as much as five pounds, between Christmas and New Year's. Because isn't that, like, the legally ordained amount of weight that we gain that week in America? So I'm ready.
And then, by May, I plan to lose 20 pounds net. And then I will be done. Wish me luck.
And merry December 24th to y'all, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, and whether you eat baked goods or not. Have fun. 11:57 PM # (9) comments
Tuesday, December 11, 2007big announcement
It's funny... Sometimes I feel like I live my life really fast. You know?
Last week, I got the first inkling of good news while I sat at my desk at work. And I was so, so happy that I had to go into the stairwell and jump up and down a little. And I wondered how I would be able to contain myself throughout the day. But I told myself to calm down and wait until the good news was finalized.
Yesterday, my agent got permission to post the good news in Publishers Marketplace. I was excited. "Yay, now it's official and I can tell everyone!" I thought. And I emailed my friends. And I thought, "I need to announce this on my blog. But maybe I should wait until tomorrow..."
And then, I started with the planning. There's a lot of stuff to plan, and I like to plan the hell out of things, to the furthest extent possible, with contingencies and back-ups and variables and weather charts and Excel spreadsheets and protractors and everything. So I started doing that. And my friends were like, "So, do you want to have a drink this weekend, to celebrate?" And I was like, "I can't. I'm so busy; I have so much stuff to do..."
And they were like, "Have you noticed that you've never celebrated any of this? We're still waiting for you to celebrate your first four books. When are you gonna get around to it? The vodka bottles are stacking up over here."
And I laughed, because they were right. And then I said, "Seriously, though -- I have a ton of stuff to do. Not just for this book, but for everything."
So, yeah. I'm really busy lately, and I have a lot of writing to do, and my mind is spinning with all the plans and lists... Oh, and...
I sold another novel to Grand Central Publishing!
My second novel!
My fifth book!
Today I'm wearing a $5.97 pleated cotton Ann Taylor Loft skirt. It's brown and white with flowers in the color I call persimmon. Not burnt orange, which makes me look corpsical, but persimmon, which is blue-er and much more flattering. I have paired this with a brown Carole Little top from Ross Dress for Less, and brown shoes. Creative, I know. I told y'all I wear boring clothes, though. Even though I do have this one persimmon satin top (of Target) that someone implied the other day was something only a Latina would wear. For a Latina, I am boring. For a white person, maybe my colors get a little bright sometimes. Fuchsia, orange, light pink, bright green. But my skin is light olive, so those are the colors that help me. I think that means I'm "a Summer." Being half white makes me Summer instead of Winter. Winter was what every non-white person had to be, back in the '80s, when such things got said.
Oops. I didn't mean to go off on the political train there. But that is a personal pet peeve of mine -- the American beauty trends and science ideas that non chalantly exclude non-white people. Like the Color Seasons lady saying that white people can be Spring, Autumn, Summer, Winter, and then lumping all the black and asian and dark-skinned latina chicks under Winter, in her best-selling book, back in the '80s. Like all those '90s toys for babies with the white faces, black eyes and smiles. Because it was proven that babies were attracted to high-contrast face, meaning white faces with dark eyes. Because... dark-skinned babies don't care to see their dark-skinned parents? Like Karl Lagerfeld saying, just last year, that tans are out, and only pale skin looks fresh right now.
Okay, back to the thrift report. Last week's find: a black Armani Exchange sweater, little plastic tag thing still attached, for $9.97. Yay.
Jungle love is driving me slightly mad. It's making me a tiny bit crazy.
I realized that Houston does have a Bob station, after all. Well, Hempstead, Texas does, at least. Hempstead and Cypress and Tomball and the Woodlands, and as I travel east on 290, the station fades.
I like the Bob stations because they are the masters of busting out songs you haven't heard in a billion, jillion years. Like Uriah Heep's "Thirty Days in the Hole."
So I'm listening to it the other day, and they play that song "Jungle Love" (by Steve Miller Band, I think?) and at first I think, "Oh, not that cheesy freaking song." But then it cranks up and I realize I don't hate it too much, after all. And I'm listening to the lyrics, and it's about some guy meeting some chick on somebody's island, and giving her a crate of papayas (euphemism?) and then, presumably, having sex with her in the ocean and maybe in the jungle, too.
And I thought, "It's so lame, how guys will think that a song-worthy topic is the fact that they had sex with a hot chick."
But then I thought about how nice it would be, not only to have a romantic liaison with someone attractive, but to be on a tropical island with no cares in the world, back in the days before HIV. With papayas and maybe other fruit, including hopefully mangoes. That is songworthy after all, isn't it?
Then Steve Miller sings another verse, in which they're off the island and life is like a jungle and I guess he's not having sex with the hot chick anymore, but wishes he was. Or something. I spaced out on that part. I booked trips to Fiji and Bora Bora in my mind, instead. I looked forward to the day that I'd be able to spend money on traveling instead of on credit card interest. That lasted me the middle 20 minutes of my commute, and then I went back to fantasizing about being a preferred shopper at Neiman Marcus, and then planning the next thing I have to write. 5:54 AM # (11) comments
Monday, December 03, 2007A Plainclotheshorse
Sometimes I want to tell y'all what I find at the thrift stores, and maybe post pictures of my finds, but then I don't, because I've realized that I like pretty boring clothes.
Today, for instance, I am wearing black pants, a white shirt, and a fuchsia silk cardigan ($1.91 with orange tag markdown). And black loafers. And no jewelry, because I forgot it. And that's pretty much about as exciting as my wardrobe gets, unless I bust out a dress or the knee-high boots or something.
The other day I found a brand new pair of brown, unembellished, Unlisted loafers at my second-favorite thrift store, for $6.97. I found one of them on the floor, and I searched the store until I found its mate. And I was so ecstatically happy. "I should take a picture of these and put them on my Flickr page!" I said to myself. Then I realized how underwhelming a picture of brown loafers would be.
Oh, well. I'm still happy about them.
But, if you'd like to see something semi-exciting, go on over to my Flickr page and see that paintings I did to go above my fireplace.
The YouTubes and the CSSes and the BloggerWriters and the InterWebs
I feel kind of sad about the fact that I haven't posted anything on YouTube yet. I feel un-Web-pioneer-y. I even have stuff to post -- two or three readings and lectures I did that people were kind enough to videotape for me and then make DVDs for my use, to post on YouTube as I'd promised I would. And I haven't yet done it. I even have the video editing software on my computer. I just haven't had time to get it done.
Other information highway merge lanes I haven't had time to drive on:
- podcasting with the MP3s I have of myself reading and yakking at radio show hosts
- putting something about my books on the domain GwendolynZepeda.com
- getting on any writer-y sites and telling people I'm a writer
- updating the design of this here blog
How do y'all web mavens have time to do all this stuff? Is it because you do it as a career? Is it because you don't have 28 kids, like I do? Are you doing it at your day jobs? Are you tricking high school students into being your web content interns? Help me, ObiWanKenobis. Tell me your secrets.
It just takes time, I guess. Maybe I can do something on the web, next time I feel like painting a bunch of birds and hanging them up above my fireplace.
Weekend Adventure: Farmers' Market
One of my kid's friends spent the weekend with us, which was all the excuse we needed to conduct weekend adventures. We dragged that little boy to the Asian grocery store to see the live frogs and purchase cha siu for the fried-rice feast my boyfriend later cooked. We dragged him to a park that we'd never seen before, and that park ended up having bison and pigs and emus, oh my! We sought out a new (to us) carniceria, next door to our second favorite panaderia and ate a fabulously traditional Mexican Sunday breakfast of tacos, pastry, and insanely spicy hot sauce.
After we dropped the boy off at his home, my boyfriend dropped me off at my favorite thrift store for a few hours, which is always a very exciting adventure, for me at least. (Three skirts in gray and taupe! A light blue button-down!) Then we reconvened at Empire, which is the best coffee house in Houston.
(Please don't write and tell me that Brazil or Dietrich's are the best. They aren't. Empire is. Sorry.) (Just kidding. Feel free to tell me which is your fave, and why. I always want to know y'all's fave restaurants in Houston, okay?)
Best of all, though: We went to the farmers' market on Airline, which neither Tad nor I had been to since we were children. The Airline farmers' market is, as my youngest son put it, a "fleamarket of food." Their restrooms are nastier than those of the nightclub #s. But still -- they have beautiful fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs for dirt cheap. We're going back again very soon. Every single week for the rest of our lives, maybe.
I've been meaning to tell y'all this for weeks now...
I no longer like Billy Joel's music.
You know why? Because, the other day, I heard a song of his I hadn't heard since I was a kid with snot running down my nose and no sense of what was happening in the world. That song was "Big Shot."
Here is the chorus and two verses of the song:
Because you had to be a big shot, didn't you
You had to open up your mouth
You had to be a big shot, didn't you
All your friends were so knocked out
You had to have the last word, last night
You know what everything's about
You and to have a white hot spotlight
You had to be a big shot last night
They were all impressed with your Halston dress
And the people you knew at Elaine's
And the story of your latest success
Kept 'em so entertained
But now you just can't remember
All the things you said
And you're not sure you want to know
I'll give you one hint, honey
You sure did put on a show
Well, it's no big sin to stick your two cents in
If you know when to leave it alone
But you went over the line
You couldn't see it was time to go home
What the hell is this guy's deal? The narrator of this song is mad at some chick because... why? Because she talked a lot? Because her friends were "knocked out" and "entertained" by her stories? Because she wore an expensive dress?
Maybe I'm just reading way too much into it (as I will sometimes do with lyrics when I'm in my van, listening to the radio during my 1.25 hour commute), but it sounds like the narrator just can't hang with women getting attention. Maybe attention that he feels is rightfully his?
Read those lyrics, then consider the lyrics to "Uptown Girl," which Mr. Joel presumably wrote later:
She's been living in her uptown world
I bet she's never had a backstreet guy
I bet her momma never told her why
You know I can't afford to buy her pearls
But maybe someday when my ship comes in
She'll understand what kind of guy I've been
And then I'll win
Watch out, uptown girl! Don't do it! Don't marry this backstreet guy, because every time you want to have a little fun with your friends or dress up a little or tell anyone about your accomplishments, he'll ridicule you and your white-bread world. Then, years later, after he's erroded your self esteem, the two of you will divorce and then he'll replace you with a younger woman too meek to hold her own on a cooking contest show!
Just kidding. Heh. I'm sure Billy Joel is a very nice person, and his song narrators are no reflection of his own views on women. I just like to listen to music and make up funny little stories for myself when I'm alone in my van.
When I was a child, I memorized lyrics without thinking about them. I also liked Billy Joel and hated Bob Seeger.
But now that I'm older, I can't help but think about lyrics. Do I want to listen to songs that say "Ha, ha, you rich bitch, I did donuts on your lawn with my motorcycle," or lyrics that say "I had sex with a rich woman in Hollywood and it was awesome, and now I'm an old, worn-out cliche of a rock star and I only have myself to blame"?
Or do I want to go back to my old favorite, with lyrics that say "It seems like we really hate women, but then again, we did steal most of this music from black musicians nowhere near as famous as us"? Now that Led Zeppelin's having a little comeback, I mean.
Silverfish, silverfish! It's Christmas time in the city!
I decorated our Christmas tree (Douglas fir, $17 at Lowe's with $10-off coupon) last night.
I'm not even going to tell y'all about the all-new holiday trauma tradition we started, which involved the whole family and the meticulous slaughtering of the silverfish that have been breeding in our garage, in the boxes that came over from our apartment more than a year ago, which contained all our Christmas ornaments and decorations.
I'm not even going to tell you about it.
Suffice it to say that tree is up, the garage is clear, and my children will grow up with beautiful holiday memories -- the strains of "Deck the Halls" intertwined with the dulcet tones of their mommy's voice, screaming, "There's one! KILL IT!" and "Bang it on the floor until they all fall out!" and "Because I gave birth to you, that's why!"
Beautiful. Priceless. You're welcome, kids. I love you, too. 6:04 AM # (14) comments
Tuesday, November 06, 2007Sighz lol!!!1!!
Remember how I told y'all, a while back, a few thousand times, that I had a novel coming out in Spring of 2008? Well, I just found out that it's been pushed back for a second time, to January 2009.
What does this mean to you? It means that, by the time Houston, We Have a Problema is actually available for sale, you'll feel like you already read it two years before.
However, it does not mean that I won't be there, January 2009, nagging you to buy it. In the mean time, I just have to update all the tiny places on my blog that now mention the wrong date... Here I go... Doo de doo...
In other book news: I'm pretty sure my first kids' book, Growing Up with Tamales, is still coming out in May 2008. I mean, I hope it is. It's at the printer now, they tell me.
There. Now you have renewed reason to be envious of my life, which is the glamorous life of a published author.
Special Linkelodeon Single-Link Feature
My new favorite site is LOLSecretz. It's a cross between Post Secret (which I have always suspected is mostly faked) and LOL Cats.
I UZED 2 B SO INTO U.
I like the way the best submissions parody the Post Secret style -- the single shocking sentence, or the one-sentence layout and second-sentence twist. It's like LOL Cats, but nine thousand times more nuanced and hilarious.
Yes, it's a sickness, I know. Yes, I fear the day that someone catches my boyfriend and I speaking LOLSpeak to each other. We don't even do it ironically anymore.
Me: We R going 2 lunchez now?
Tad: Yes, I can haz rice 4 us.
Stranger passerby: What the hell is wrong with you two? Are you not grown adults? Why are you talking like that?
Me and Tad: O noes!!!!!1!!!1!!
Never do your job well.
If you do your job well (quickly, correctly, efficiently, with minimum complaining), then you will be rewarded with extra work. People will start stacking crap on your desk with little Post-Its that say, at first, "Rhonda: Can you please process this cog today so I don't have to do the extra widget report on it? Thanks!! :)"
Then, they'll stack stuff on your desk with Post-Its that say "Rhonda: Need today please thx."
Then, they'll stack stuff on your chair with Post-Its that say, "TODAY."
No one will ever say, "Man, Rhonda sure processes those cogs quickly. Remember, before she came here, how we used to have cogs stacked up all over the place, waiting to be processed, necessitating extra widget reports and late fees? I'm glad Rhonda works with us. She's awesome."
But people will say, "Man, Rhonda sure has been acting bitchy lately. What's up her butt? Oh, hey, are you going by her desk? Can you put these cogs on her chair? They're not due 'til next month, but she may as well get them to me before I go on vacation."
So don't do your job well. Do just enough to get by, and surf the Web all day, like everyone else. You'll be happier. 6:37 AM # (9) comments
Wednesday, October 31, 2007The Price of Working with Timbaland
Everyone wants to work with Timbaland but not everyone considers his price.
Timbaland (sounds like Timberland, one of Super Target's house brands) is one of the best hip-hop producers in the business. His price for producing your song? You have to let him rap on it.
The hidden fee attached to that price? If you are a woman, Timbaland's rap will be about wanting to have sex with you.
The thing is, Timbaland isn't a very good rapper. Also, his raps about wanting to have sex with you don't always mesh well with the rest of your lyrics.
Consider carefully. Accept Timbaland's beats if you must, but don't let him mess up your song.
If You Dislike Me
If you dislike me, or if I've done something to offend you... there's nothing I can do about it if I don't know.
You may think that ignoring me is a way to let me know what I've done wrong. But it isn't. When you walk by and purposely say "Good morning!" to everyone in the room but me, I do realize that you're being passively bitchy to me. But I still don't know why. And, as time goes on, I stop caring why. I figure, if you had a good reason to be upset, surely you'd just tell me. But obviously you don't have a good reason, or your reason is something you're embarrassed to admit.
Same thing goes on the Internet. If you only know me online, and you dislike me, and you make it a point to say vaguely bitchy things about me on other people's forums, or on your own blog... Then, so what? What am I supposed to do about it? If you had a real grievance, you'd have mentioned it by now, right? If not -- if you've just disliked me for some secret reason for years and years on end, and you feel the need to make meowy little comments in places I may or may not see, then I can't care. Sorry, but it's just too much trouble. I can't make the time if you won't meet me half way.
Try harder! More hints, please! I don't know what your problem is. And I'm starting to think your problem has nothing in the world to do with me.
I wrote the preceding bits of this entry last night. Then, this morning, my horoscope tells me:
It may seem as if an overly emotional person is holding back his or her feelings. On one hand you are relieved because you don't have the time or inclination to get involved in someone else's drama. On the other hand, though, you may be annoyed that people cannot just say what's on their mind. If it feels like others are being passive-aggressive, encourage them to get it out into the open where it will be more easily handled.
Thank you, Rick Levine of Tarot.com, for reading my mind. 5:47 AM # (12) comments
Thursday, October 18, 2007The Dark Is Rising, people!
Just have to say this real fast, before it's too late.
If you read The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper, as a child and you thought it was awesome, and you:
a) don't want to see the movie because you're scared it'll suck, or
b) didn't even know they'd made a movie of it because they only advertised it on kids' TV stations...
then you should go see it, real fast, before it leaves the theaters. Because we saw it last night and it was awesome. I went in with the a) mindset, above. I didn't expect much. They modernized the hell out of the story, setting it, like, yesterday, with the Stanton family keeping in touch via online video and Will Stanton having an IPod and all that. And some of the events were nudged around, of course. But, in general, it was awesome. The cinematography was beautiful, the special effects fabulous yet tasteful, and the actors, all unknown to me, were well-groomed and did their jobs very well. All three of my kids, ages 10, 13, and 15, enjoyed it. Even though the younger two hadn't read the book, they were able to follow along quite well.
It was better than that Eragon movie, and probably better than most if not all of the Harry Potter movies.
Funny thing: We were the only ones in the theater last night. (Actually, we were probably the only patrons in the entire cinema.) Since they were born, I've been very strict with my kids about movie manners. We don't talk during movies. Never, ever. Unless it's an emergency, and then we whisper directly into each others' ears.
But last night, since we were the only people in the theater, that rule could be relaxed. We talked, and then we yelled. Well, I did, mostly. I was like, "OMG, that's messed UP! No way! Dude! Oh my god, I'm freaking out! That is too scary for me!"
And my kids were very indulgent, only rolling their eyes affectionately or else politely yelling "Ooh!" a couple of times to keep me company.
I'm gonna go back and see it with my boyfriend, who never read the book, to see if I'm just imagining how good it was.
Okay, that's it. I have a hundred other things to tell y'all, but will save them for later. 6:14 AM # (8) comments
Tuesday, October 09, 2007Jesus Christ!
I'm gonna say it again: Cavemen cracked me up. And now it's canceled. Already!
The web is full of dumb asses panning it. Not that I'm saying that disliking the show makes you a dumb ass -- just that most of the "reviews" I've read so far happen to be written by dumb asses. ("The concept was lame from the start! It wasn't funny! It had no jokes!")
Best: Uber liberals (Or are they conservatives in disguise?) claiming it's racist. What the hell? Why, because it addresses stereotypes that have been applied to one or more non-white races? What -- no one can talk about racism without being racist? Jesus effing Christ.
Finally, I see George Lopez is complaining that Cavemen took his slot, that Chicanos can't be on TV but cavemen can.
Oye, George. Maybe people -- this Chicana included -- are tired as hell of a show about a fat old guy with a hot young wife who considers his daughter's choice of panties a familia value. Eh, huey? Call America Ferrera and ask if they replaced her with cavemen, too.
Okay, that was mean. (Albeit true.) But I'm cranky. I was excited about having a funny show to watch, and now it's gone.
Labels: pop culture7:18 PM # (8) comments
Monday, October 08, 2007I like autumn because of the holidays.
But I know other people like it because of TV. New shows! New seasons! A couple of my coworkers have been very happy in the past few weeks, plotting out schedules of what they'll watch.
I caught the fever. I found a few shows. I set my DVR to record Bionic Woman and that show about the Geico cavemen.
The pilot for Bionic Woman sucked. But I set my TV to record the second episode, because sometimes the pilot isn't representative of the show as a whole.
The second episode sucked. Predictable plot, hackneyed cliches, unrealistic story arc timing, lame dialogue. It was like the producers said, "You know, we've already spent money on hot actresses and special effects. That should be enough. Go with the budget writers."
"Let's never watch this again," I told my boyfriend. But, actually, we'll probably watch it again. Why? Because one of the actresses is Katee "Starbuck" Sackhoff, who we like. And, guess what? Starbuck is sleeping with an Asian man in this one. "It's about time I get to see an Asian brother get laid on TV," said my boyfriend, who happens to be Asian. I was like, meh. I can get that at home. But, okay, we'll watch one more episode.
Meanwhile... I'd been hoping that Cavemen would be good. But how could it, right? We're talking about TV here, where bad writing and hackneyed cliches abound. So, no matter how funny the commercials were, there was no way the show could be good. The producers would be certain to ruin it, just like they ruin everything else.
And then, we watched it, and it was so, so funny. We were cracking the hell up. Not only was it funny, but it addressed some interesting culture issues, such as interracial dating and sexual stereotypes. But in a funny way. Oh, and bonus: One of the guest stars is Super Terry, from Reno 911.
So, yeah. We loved it. Therefore, I predict that it'll be cancelled before the end of the season. You know how good shows always get canceled.
Guess what, I just discovered a musician who everyone else on Earth is already listening to!
I just got the MIA album called Kala. MIA is fronted by a Sri Lankan woman named Maya. I thought I was discovering something completely underground, because I heard her on KPFT's Thursday morning World Beats program. (I listen to that every week on the way to work. Then, on the way home every Thursday, I turn KPFT back on and listen to GenerAsian. Those are my two fave radio programs.)
So, I turned on the radio halfway through this song, a song so exciting that I knew, instantly, that buying the album for it would change my life. So I called the DJ (and won Greek Festival tickets -- yay!) and he told me, "That's MIA, and the song is 'Boyz.'"
And then I told all my friends, and they were like, "Oh, yeah, MIA. That's good stuff. You know she's from Sri Lanka, right?"
So I got the album, and I love it. And I looked at the reviews on Amazon, and they're full of people saying, "I'm too old to like this, but..." And then, of course, there are all the reviews complaining that MIA was good when it was underground, but now it sucks. Then, there are those by male reviewers who want to give poor little Maya their advice on how to be a better musician. Hilarious. But seriously, go buy the album.
Children can be like animals.
Y'all know that, because you've read Lord of the Flies.
Children like to conform with the pack, and when they sense difference in one of their own -- especially difference coupled with weakness -- some children are prone to attack. Especially, I'm imagining, children of animal-like parents who value conformity.
I already knew this, not just from reading Lord of the Flies, but also from personal experience. Not just mine, but that of my son. His Asperger's seems to be an asshole magnet. Once certain kids realize he's different, that he doesn't have the same instinctively ingrained compulsion to conform as the rest of them, they start the bullying.
Usually, when my son comes home and tells me about it, all he can do is report the facts of what happened, without understanding why. ("They called me a faggot, but I'm not gay. I told them I'm not gay, but I guess they couldn't hear me or they didn't believe me. They kept calling me faggot, and then I guess I made them mad, because then they started hitting me.")
I understand why. Children are animals. Some more than others. Especially the ones who were bred from animals. Animal children grow up and mate and breed new animals. New assholes, new bullies. It's a cycle as old as evolution, way older than your middle school or mine. What can you do about it? I don't know. Don't breed with animals. Don't raise animals. Is that enough? No. They don't need you. They'll keep breeding on their own, spawning and eating and rolling in mass-produced pap, hitting their kids when they don't conform. It doesn't matter what you do, I don't think. It's simply the way of our world. "Can't we just kill them?" you say. I don't think so. There's not enough time, energy, legal precedent. Plus, I don't want to kill anyone. I'm not enough of an animal.
My boyfriend always says it's lucky that my son is big for his age, because that probably keeps him from being physically attacked as much he might be, otherwise.
This kid wasn't so lucky: Attack On Autistic Boy, 11, Videotaped.
Sorry for the downer.
But it had to be said, I felt. Let's try to end on a good note now.
It's almost Halloween. I'm going to be a fairy. We went to the costume shop to consider the alternatives, but all it did was inspire me to move forward with my fairy-being plans. We went to the local big-box store, then, and got materials to put on the $2.32 thrift store full slip that will form the base of my costume.
What are you going to be for Halloween? What are you going to do? Did you see Martha Stewarts' double-sided "Good Things/Bad Things" October magazine issue? Normally I'm not into her too much, but this Halloween issue is beautiful. Go see it.
Did you go to the Greek festival, here in Houston? Did you see me there? Did you eat baklava and drink lots of wine? I did.
Are you ready for fall? Are you ready for Christmas? We'll talk more about that later. Until then... 6:36 AM # (6) comments
Monday, September 17, 2007Disappointing Phoned In Performance
So I went to this event Friday night, and the mayor of Houston was supposed to take part in the same "opening ceremony" that I took part in. He showed up very late, first of all. And then...
Did you see Time Bandits? You know how, at the end, the Supreme Being finally shows up, and he's this doddering, distracted old man who is so, so completely underwhelming? That's how I felt when our mayor finally dragged himself up to the stage. Underwhelmed. Short-changed on my climax.
I understand that politicians are busy and have to phone in appearances once in a while. But I've seen politicians show up late, to this very same venue even, and still manage to exude the same charisma that presumably got them elected. In this case, the mayor didn't even do that. He just sort of rambled, without even looking at his audience. People who are more familiar with his public persona tell me that he's always like that, though. Lamest: The stuff he ad-libbed was kind of off-message from the stuff that got said before he showed up. And he said unfactual things that made me look at his assistant, who stood in the audience with a bright smile plastered onto her face, and wonder why she couldn't have bothered to do at least some half-ass Google research in the car on the way over.
So, in short, his "speech" was a complete disconnect. As my boyfriend said, later, there was a steady build-up throughout the evening... and then the mayor showed up and it all came crashing down.
Sorry to go on about an event you guys didn't see, but I felt the need to vent. It was one of those things where I get annoyed and then say, "I ought to blog about it!" in the same way that people used to say, "I ought to write a letter!" And then, in this case, I'm actually doing it. Mayor White, you disappointed me. There: blogged, logged, vented.
If you have a big butt...
... and you need some weight-loss inspiration, and you're tired of flipping through fitness magazines and seeing bodies that could never, ever in a million years be your own... Then you should start reading Spanish.
My boyfriend and I were at the grocery store and, for the hundredth time, our eyes were drawn to the Spanish mags. In this case, it was Mira!, which proclaimed, "Las 30 Bubis y Pompis Mas Sexy!"
"Oh my gosh," I said. "I think this says, The 30 Sexiest Boobs and Butts."
"I love your people," said my boyfriend. He took the magazine off the rack and flipped through the pages. "You should buy this. I get to look at it first, though." He flipped a little more. "I might have to look at it alone, actually. God, I love your people."
I bought it and, later that night, I saw the 30 sexiest boobs and butts. Although, actually, it was 15 pairs of boobs, making 30 breasts total, and then 15 butts added to that. Or, if you're thinking about it in Spanish, it was actually 30 separate nalgas (butt cheeks). I won't spoil it for you guys planning to run out and get your own copy. But I will say that I felt some of the Latina celebrities got cheated in favor of celebrities best known in America. (J.Lo. didn't get number one, though, thankfully.)
The big (literally) 30 aside, the most interesting part of the magazine, to me, was the ads. Imagine if you took an American magazine and replaced every weight-loss-product ad with an ad promising to make your butt rounder, your boobs higher, and your whole torso "como una guitarra!" These ads come with multiple visual aids -- photos of round-bootied women with little arrows echoing their shapes.
I realize, of course, that the old-fashioned hourglass figure is as unattainable for some women as In Touch's 20 Best Beach Bodies is for me. And I don't believe that women should be pressured to conform to any ideal.
However, at the same time, I have to say that it's comforting to be reminded that, in some places on Earth, I can be considered kind of close to the ideal. I smile at the thought of walking down another country's street and not having white frat boys yell "No fat chicks!" out the window.
Okay, I admit that I'm just exaggerating for essay effect, here. Y'all know and I know that there are plenty of Latino men right here in the US who will be glad to ogle big-butted girls as disgustingly as you please. Really, I was just glad to get a magazine with celebrities I could point to and say, "Eight more months of calorie-counting and I'll look just like her!"
Weight Loss update, only for those who care:
I was gonna tell y'all that I've lost 24 pounds since May 15th. But then my scale changed its mind and added back 4 pounds over night. And then it took them away. And then it said I weighed zero. So, let's not rely on the scale. Let's say, instead, that I lost two pant sizes since May 15th. I know that's not as much as I could have lost, but I'm still pleased with myself. Good job, me.
How am I losing the weight? Easy! I'm obsessing over it. But not in the bad way. Or, at least, not in a way that I think is bad. I just count calories, and I think a lot about what I eat, and I think about how many calories I burn. And it's fun, actually.
Fun for me, I mean. The other day, I asked my friend Julio if he'd give me his scientific opinion on something. He said okay, because he likes science and is easily gulled. So I confided in him all my worried about BMI, ideal weight, and frame size.
(According to my elbow bone measurement, my frame is very small. According to my wrist measurement, my frame is very large. According to my brother Erik, I have "a big fucking head for a girl." How can I know which weight range is ideal for me if I don't really know my frame size? Why are there endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs, but no Tyrannasauras-Rex-o-morphs, like me -- people with giant heads, giant legs, and tiny, tiny arms?)
So I was talking to Julio about these things, and after a half-hour or so, he said, "You really are kind of obsessing over this, aren't you?" And I said, "Well, yeah, but that's what I do -- obsess. That's how I get things done. How do you think I have the staying power to write a whole book, huh? I obsess!"
So then another hour passed, and I was still just touching on the finer points of my weight loss ideas and issues, and then Julio interrupted and said, "Be honest with me. You're talking to me about this stuff not because it's scientific, but because your boyfriend got sick of hearing it and told you to talk to someone else."
Wrong! Of course not. Hello -- my boyfriend would never do that! Instead, he'd just stop listening, but then keep nodding his head in the most convincing way.
So, guess what I'm going to do now. I'm going to share my information, so that my fellow constructive obsessives can have something to think about on their breaks.
How to Lose Weight, Slowly but Surely
1. First, calculate the number of calories you need to eat daily in order to maintain your current weight. Here's a calculator for that.
2. Once you have that number -- let's say it's 2600 -- subtract 500 from it if you want to lose one pound a week. Subtract 1000 from it if you want to lose two pounds a week. (Doctors say please don't eat less than 1200 calories per day. It's not safe.) So, let's say you're now dedicated to eating 1600 per day. You're going to have 500 for breakfast, 500 for lunch, 500 for dinner, and one 100-calorie snack, let's say.
3. How do you know how many calories you're eating? Either read the nutritional info, or go find a calorie chart, or go to your fave restaurants' web sites and look up the nutritional info of what you want to eat (and be shocked at how many calories are in restaurant food). Can you just eat three 500-calorie pieces of cake per day, plus one 100-calorie candy? Sure you can, if you want to be all jacked-up and unhealthy, and you want your skin to get scabby and your hair to look all dull and stuff. Alternately, you can eat the proper ratio of protein, fat, and carbs, and turn glossy and awesome like a golden retriever in an expensive dog-food commercial. Your choice.
Tip 1: Vegetables, fruits, and watery foods like soup have fewer calories per ounce than meat, cheese, and dairy foods.
Tip 2: You can cut up zucchini and add it to pretty much anything (chili, casseroles, sandwiches, cake, crack pipes), and then your food will have fewer calories per ounce.
Tip 3: Whenever you go to Starbucks, be sure to say "non-fat" in front of whatever you normally order.
Tip 4: Jelly has fewer calories than butter.
4. Do you also need to exercise in order to lose the weight? No, you do not. However, if you count calories but then lie on your ass watching TV all day, you'll probably lose muscle mass as well as fat, and then you'll become a slender blob, and your flesh will feel like that of a green, hairless caterpillar. So you might want to exercise at least a little. The coolest thing about exercise is that it burns calories, and therefore it either makes you lose the weight faster, or else it helps you out on days when you felt obligated to eat more than your 1600 calories. Here is a mathmatical formula for that:
What you were supposed to eat
+ one donut
+ one glass of wine
- 45 minutes of Dance Dance Revolution
= You still did okay today.
How do you know how many calories your exercising burns? With a calculator like this one.
5. Buy smaller clothes. Don't buy too many at a time, though, unless you hit a plateau. I find that, the minute I break down and buy a bunch of new pants, I immediately lose enough weight to have wasted all that money. So only buy a lot of pants if you believe in Murphy's Law or the Alanis Morrissette brand of irony. You might want to save money for new clothes in advance, since you'll need more than you're imagining right now. I mean, you'll need all new underwear, eventually, and maybe even smaller shoes. You might want to look into finding a good tailor in your neighborhood. They can take in your clothes as you lose, and save you a little money.
6. As you lose weight, you'll need to recalculate the number of calories needed to maintain your new weight, then subtract from that new number accordingly. If you don't do this, you'll hit a plateau and then get all whiny and give up.
7. When you've reached your target weight, recalculate your maintenance calorie number, and then just don't subtract from it anymore. So, hypothetically, you could eat the same thing as before, but with four glazed donuts added, because glazed donuts are about 240 calories each. Just kidding. Don't do the donut thing. Just add 1000 calories of carrots, instead.
And there you have it. It's just that simple. I'm crossing my fingers for you. Good luck! 6:06 AM # (13) comments