Saturday, July 13, 2019

UnPoPuLar OpiNioNs (Things That Are Not For Me)

Sex while swimming
Nope. Here's a thing that only works in fiction. In real life, having sex in water is terrible on several levels. The physics of intercourse mean you've got water squelching into your va-jay, which eliminates the natural lube Miss Puss generates to make sex feel good for both of you, plus WHAT KINDA WATER OH MY GOD? Lake? Ocean? Hot tub? Swimming pool? It doesn't matter, none of that is sanitary. I don't want any of it up in my hooch.

Breakfast in bed
Talk about stuff that only works in fiction! When your loved ones wake you up by delivering a fancy breakfast tray and everybody's all happy. For one thing, don't wake me up. If you're waking me up, something had better be on fire. You can ask my husband. Plus, I need to pee, brush my teeth, wash my face, and all I want is silence and coffee. And finally, who are these people who want food all up in their beds.

Flip flops
My bewilderment over people who wear shower shoes in the city, as though these loathsome things are real footwear, is well-documented in my current and past blogs. Use the Search.

Beer
As a person who struggles mightily with weight, boy am I glad that I never did develop a taste for beer! Thank God for smallest of blessings!

Pranks / "Practical Jokes"
I always give this example when asked why this "fooling people" brand of humor escapes me. This one time, a musician friend in LA messaged me saying that one of his guitar heroes had complimented his playing. I replied, "That's great! I'm so happy for you!" Then he replied that he and his girlfriend are cracking up over how "gullible" I am...huh? What's supposed to be the big joke? I guess I don't get it. Every prank-styled "joke" sounds this way to me. Person A says Thing, Person B reacts, and then everyone laughs because Thing was a lie. I guess I need more brain in my funny, I dunno what to tell you, man. ∎

Thursday, July 11, 2019

ACOSTA FAMILY: Are these girls okay?

When I typed "Acosta..." into Google, the auto-fill came up with "...family." That means I'm not the only one who went searching online to verify the authenticity of this photo from the day Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta took his oath of office. Because look at it. Are these little girls okay? The tight body language, the dark circles, the blank eyes, the severe haircuts...and look at the mother! People, look, this is not a joke. These girls and their mother appear pale and stricken. What in the name of Caucasian fuckery is this family enduring in the household ruled by this man who doesn't care if billionaires are raping middle-schoolers on an island. Something is wrong. ∎


Sunday, July 7, 2019

I made the hell outta this tuna steak

Tonight I made tuna steak topped with nectarine salad over baby mixed greens. It's simple, summery, tasty and under 500 calories. Star Market had frozen tuna steak on sale, so I bought one without a plan for how I was gonna cook it. I looked up a few recipes online and came up with this dish. First I diced two ripe nectarines, a handful of fresh basil leaves, and half a red bell pepper in a bowl, drizzled olive oil, balsamic vinegar, added a few squirts of lime juice. I did that first so all the flavors had a chance to get cozy while I prepared and cooked the fish. I rubbed the tuna with a smidge of olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. A tablespoon of vegetable oil in a hot pan, and then I seared the whole piece of fish. There are YouTube videos that show how to cook a piece of tuna just right. On the plate I put down a bed of baby mixed greens, then the tuna (sliced to share with Joe) and topped it with the nectarine salad. I'll make this again for sure. ∎

The Destructive Myth of "I Don't See Color"

I wandered into the TV room where my little brother was watching Miami Vice. Twisting around to look up at me from his favorite TV-watching position (on his tummy, on the rug, elbows propped so he could rest his little chin in his hands) Mike asked me which Miami Vice guy I thought was cuter—Crockett or Tubbs? I had just turned fourteen and my room was newly decorated with pulpy pages from Tiger Beat, and me and my friends spoke of "cute" guys, which fascinated my little brother and led to lots of questions like this one. At that moment, my answer was Tubbs. I liked Tubbs. "Which one is Tubbs?" Mike asked. "Phillip Michael Thomas," I replied, to which Mike said, "Which one is he?" I don't remember the rest of the exchange, but that's not important. What's important is that I knew Michael was trying to see if I would say "the black guy." I didn't, because I wouldn't, because I thought we couldn't say "black guy." Why not? Out of respect! We were taught that describing people that way was wrong and racist. Well that sounds good, until it doesn't anymore.

My hope is that Generation X is the last generation to try the whole "I don't see color" thing thinking they're helping to advance and improve race relations. "I don't see color" may be well-intentioned, but it is harmful, disingenuous and insulting. Only white people say "I don't see color." White allies seem to think it demonstrates that they're simply lovely towards all people regardless of race. They very well may be! Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if every self-described colorblind white person is pure in their intent! But let's not fool ourselves, that's far from reality. Starbucks CEO Howard what's-his-face said it recently, didn't he? So, no. These are the folks who were shown the picture of all differently-toned eggs with the "we're all the same on the inside" platitudes and figure they more-or-less "get it" about race relations. Same on the inside. People are not eggs. It's insulting. And it has never worked and now we have Donald Trump.

Seeing "Color"

I pause here to say I hate these terms. I really do. I feel stupid even saying "I'm white" when speaking about race relations, but these are the terms we've got for these discussions. If you want to talk about "color" then I'm sort of a pale pink, actually. There's a lot to slog through when confronted with white supremacy, starting with the fact that "white" is not a "race." Every damn February these terrible people come out saying "where's WHITE HISTORY MONTH!" as though that's any sort of legit hill do die on, citing "reverse racism" (what) and a whole litany of other hateful bullshit. I tolerate NO RACISTS in my world anymore, that includes family. If you're a racist, you're not my family, fam. Off you go. For the sake of brevity and clarity, I leave those people and their sad belief system for another day, another essay that I will surely write. There will be F-bombs in it, no question.

"Black" is not an insult!

I didn't realize until adulthood how lucky I was to be raised in the city, by really young parents. My mom was amazing and made sure she didn't raise fools. She loved R&B and Motown, went out dancing all the time, took us to see concerts (Stevie Wonder. the Commodores!), watched Soul Train every single Sunday morning, etc etc etc. Personally, my world was a delightful one for all of the black people and culture surrounding us every day. To this day I'm more comfortable among a mix of people. Thank God my parents got that right. What they and all adults got wrong was how to "see color."

Okay, so we know our parents didn't want to raise race-ignorant people like THEIR parents had been (we are Sicilian and good lord, do I have stories) and so they worried that the world would take us wrong if we were to call a black guy "a black guy." That's where "I don't see color" was born. However well-meant, when our elders taught us to "not see color" it made us feel ashamed every single time we noticed blackness, as though "black" was some sort of taboo subject. This is not right and it has ill effects. Mainly, it stifled any sort of exploring of racial differences in any meaningful way. In a school with a mix of kids from all different families, being ordered to "not see color" felt like we weren't supposed to acknowledge race at all, ever. Treat everyone equally, yes okay, but we can't talk with each other in relation to each other? Can't discuss our ideas, our hair, our shoes, our music, our mom's cooking, our family life...? No? But how come? That's why when I was fourteen I thought the "right" way to live graciously was to ignore blackness as an inherent quality, like in my example of Phillip Michael Thomas where I contorted my language every which way in an effort to avoid saying "the black guy." I didn't want to set a bad example for my little brother, who was looking to me to find out how to describe Tubbs as opposed to Crockett. But it bothered me, to the point where I'm still thinking about that day all these years later. Why must I rob Phillip Michael Thomas of his blackness? I should have been able to say "The black guy, Michael. That right there is a beautiful black man."

If you can't acknowledge race and all the things that make us all different, you can't properly share experiences, you can't express anything, and that includes positive things. They wanted us to avoid a racial divide, but making the subject taboo only served to deepen the racial divide. Once in grade school, Mrs. Jones said something during music class about how all the black kids in our class could sing, and she said that singing beautifully was commonly a talent that black people have...I remember to this day the rush of embarrassment...we're not supposed to notice blackness, Mrs. Jones! That's racist...isn't it...? That being said, all the black kids in our class COULD sing beautifully soooo...yes, our elders had us all twisted up in our world view over race relations.

Even if, like me, you were raised with the mindset that every person is worthy of respect, love, adoration, rights, here's the thing. Claiming to not "see color" feels like yet another way of erasing blackness. Every time I start to wonder, as an adult, why as a country we're still trying to figure out how to talk about race relations, I stop wondering when I remember we never learned how in the first place. The best our elders could do back then was "don't see color" which was a way of saying "you are all the same." Well we're NOT the same, and there's been a lot of life since 1984, and now I'm here to say we should be seeing color. We should be seeing and loving blackness. We should be seeing, loving and respecting blackness. We should all of us be seeing, loving, respecting and celebrating blackness. I think it's important, primarily because too many white people who "see color" and react NEGATIVELY (like trigger-happy cops for example?) are out here being straight-up assholes, and I don't see how keeping silent is helping. Speak up. Black is beautiful, talented, smart. Black is amazing, y'all. DO see color. See that it's awesome.

Some tips, white people:

If you really want to help, quit saying you don't see color. Maybe just be a normal freakin' person about race relations—use your head, use your damn privilege for that matter. Educate yourself. Listen more. If you didn't grow up in a mixed-race life, maybe it's all new to you, and it's okay if you don't know how to fix your narrow world view. You could ask how to start, though, did you ever try? You may not have had to think about the vast complexities in race relations in your life at all. Guess what. There's not a black person alive who hasn't had to think about it every single damn day. Learn that, for starters.

  • You're gonna have to re-learn some American history. Read black writers and recommend books to your friends! Those in my age group (Gen X) were woefully kept from black writers in school. Crack those books they never told you about! Get online and ask for recommendations.
  • Tune in to black podcasts and TV shows. I've been with Desus and Meru since YouTube and love their Showtime show. Speaking of YouTube stars, I can recommend Roland Martin if you want to learn with some straight talk. There's a lot of black media if you seek it out, and by the way, if you turn on the mainstream news for analysis and you see all white faces, find another source. Everyone in America should know the names Kimberly Atkins, Zerlina Maxwell, Karine Jean-Pierre, Yamiche Alcindor, Eddie Glaude, Malcolm Nance, Maya Wiley...of course the Rev. Reverend Al Sharpton saves my sanity everywhere he shows up on TV and other media (when does Rev sleep!?).
  • Speaking of media, you know you can watch anything you want on BET and other black media, right? I'm amazed at white people who unilaterally ignore certain movies and stuff because they don't feel like it's "for" white people. Dude, what. TV was invented in the 1950s and for decades, black viewers watched all those white people on every show on every channel never seeing black actors. It's comical to shy away from black movies and shows. Listen, you're missing out. I feel sad that your mom didn't sit you down in front of The Wiz AND The Wizard of Oz when you were little, but it's not too late. We live in a golden age of content, so it's real easy to go back and catch up on stuff you missed because you were taught that it's not for you. Don't be so damn white all the time, jeez.
  • When a black person is speaking (or tweeting) their truths and something about "white people" comes up in the narrative, don't you dare start in with "Not all white people..." If ANYONE understands the feeling of being lumped in with a whole entire group wrongly in any way, it's a black person, so don't even try with "not all white people" right now. You do not have the floor. Just listen and learn something for once.
  • When talk turns towards black community issues, such as the question of reparations for the descendants of slaves, and you think you know what you're talking about, you don't. ("But I--") No. ("But my--") No. You can't possibly, it doesn't matter if you come from Irish, Italian or any other group that arrived in America and were also persecuted...it's not the same thing at all. Sit down.
  • Don't ever look for any pats on the back. It's not easy to explain how gross it is when white people claim some sort of glory because they have that "black friend" and rarely does this sort of self-congratulatory posturing ever add to the narrative. Don't do it. Don't. DON'T USE BLACK PEOPLE AS PROPS.
  • Never excuse any hint of "us" versus "them" coming from your white friends or family. ANYONE. Ever. People are shocked to find there are certain family ties that I cut long ago because of toxic racism. Older folks who were raised with the adage "blood is thicker than water" have tried to shame me using the ideological cudgel that family is family, no matter what. That's bullshit. It's actually, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” The "covenant" here is: no racists. The end.∎

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Yes, I UnFriended You Over Politics and No, I Do Not Feel Bad About It

I've been sitting on this one for years, partially due to my struggle and writing in general and partially due to uncertainty on whether or not I'm even right. People are so confident, you see, when they tell you what they think of you for quietly walking away from a friendship "just because of politics." They act hurt. Betrayed. They symbolically shake their heads, they say things like "I thought you were more open-minded than that." Naturally any self-aware individual would be uncertain. "Am I being closed-minded right now?" we ask ourselves. Well let's unpack it. First thing first: what do we mean by "because of politics" anyway?

In the parlance of our times your "politics" comprise and embody your beliefs and principles as they pertain to governance, both abstract and in particular. In the abstract, your support for "small government" makes you "conservative" by definition and on this hill you stand strong. You may hold beliefs that government has no business messing in your personal life, citing "it's a free country" and so forth. In particular, maybe you believe you shouldn't be forced against your will to sign up for any health insurance, or vaccinate your children, or if you want to keep a cow on your land and drink her unpasteurized milk every day, the government has no say in the matter. Perhaps you object to the idea that government should foot the bill for shoring up the lives of poor, sick or disabled citizens by providing any sort of nutrition, medicine or housing because of the astronomical cost. Maybe you lay awake at night worried about the national debt.

My People

You are either My People or you're not. Here's who I call Friend. Nice people. Good people. Kind people. People who keep trying to become nicer and better and kinder. People who read. People who listen. People who carry love in their hearts. Compassionate people. Curious people. People who appreciate other people. Struggling people, successful people, sad people, happy people. People who help, people who ask for help, people who care. People who get mad, people who get sad. People who make mistakes, people who apologize. Devoted people, humble people, proud people, confused people, thinking people. Honest people.


Not My People

Here's who I simply don't care to know. People who cheat. Greedy people. Manipulative people. Selfish people. Hurtful people. Small-minded people. Liars. Thieves. Bullies. Pretenders. Gaslighters. People who are always right no matter what. People who conflate their private, personal beliefs with laws of the land and then cry persecution when the other billion people around them don't participate in their twisted little game of Simon Says. Intolerant people. People who aggressively take part in "Othering" and then want extra points for "a black friend" or a gay co-worker. Racists. People who enable racists. Did I say Liars? Misogynists. Assholes.

Each of us has got every right to support whatever body politic aligns with our preferences, and live our lives accordingly in and outside the voting booth. No one seeks to take that from you, but by the same token, we all of us ought to be able to stand by our choices in, and to reiterate, outside the the voting booth. If only this were about "politics" in the way that you pretend it is, but sure, let's call it "your politics." Why are you now an UnFriend because of politics? Maybe it's because your "politics" suck.

The nice white people who freaked out when their twenty-something son fell in love with a woman from Ethiopia. "Is she BLACK?" and "Don't you dare bring a black girl to dinner" were some of the things they said. In later years, those white people would deny they'd ever said those things. This is gas-lighting at its most brazen, until the day came they had to own up. Even then, no reversal nor  apology. To wit, "...yeah but then we met her and we liked her!" Congratulations, you're racist. To be so aggressively against a person without having met her, based solely on the only information you had about her is the literal definition of what "racism" means. You get zero points for "but then we met her and we liked her." Zero.

The loud white man who should know better because he fell in love with and married a brown-skinned woman who bore him a brown-skinned child. He votes for Trump, he defends the hateful immigration bans and ruthless rounding up and detaining of brown-skinned people who may or may not be "legal," then proceeds to finger-wag his liberal friends, taunting and calling them idiots and "libtards" who want "open borders." Congratulations, you're not only racist, you're also super-confusing. You get zero points for "but my wife and daughter..."

The white mom who thinks "voting for a racist doesn't make a person a racist" and feels good about it. Zero points.

The white girls from high school who looked down their noses at classmates who didn't happen to be born into land-owning, wealth-hoarding families and are still the stuck-up, entitled people today that they were when we were teenagers, posing with Trump signs in Trump tee-shirts and posting about "them" in negative terms. You're still "othering' people as adults? Well, I'm "them." Your privilege is still ugly. Gross. You get NEGATIVE POINTS.

Someone That I Used To Know

Let's be honest about what "over politics" means. Your politics reflect who you are as a voting member of the national populace and as a human being, whether or not you self-identify as "conservative" or "liberal" or any other recognized political party. Take "party" out of it entirely! Don't tell me your political party, I don't care what you call it. Put aside these hasty labels, pretend that we haven't been sorted and tagged and pitted against each other in this terrible way. Instead, tell me this: what have you learned in your life that has shaped your mindset and influenced your heart? What do you say and do that makes you feel good? That's your "politics." I don't care what you prefer to call it. I only care how you make me feel whenever we're interacting that tells me if you're a Friend or an UnFriend. You ARE your politics, and I don't do Toxic anymore. Yes, I UnFriended you because of your "politics" and I don't regret it, and I don't miss you. You were crystal clear: you're Not My People. I don't wish you harm and I don't hate you. I nothing you, with civility. You're just someone that I used to know, someone I see occasionally in polite company. But know that we're UnFriends. In the parlance of our times, bye Felicia. ∎


  



Sunday, June 30, 2019

I found it.

I knew that I would find it. For years I've been browsing second-hand shops for this specific bible, The Children's Bible, because this bible, you see, was my first bible. This is where they started us wide-eyed, plaid-claid whelps at St. Margaret's in the 1970s, talkin' about God and George Washington with the exact same measure. I had questions then, and I still have questions. Now that I have finally gotten my hands on this book, I will be pushing up my glasses at you about some important bible-related stuff. ❌

Breakfast, etc

Don't worry, Diary of a Low Budget Superhero won't morph into a boring food blog. I just need to remember this later for tracking purposes and I already have this platform, so: Breakfast was at 10am, and I made a bowl with 1/3c barley, 1/2c mixed berries, and a Chobani "less sugar" yogurt. And coffee with 1 tbsp powdered creamer, which at some point I'll omit because it's all chemicals, but I need it right now. Thank you. ∎

Update July 01 (9pm'ish)
I downloaded LoseIt, the nutrish app. This morning I linked Apple Health—that's what I use to track Steps—to Loseit. This has made me extremely happy. Here's the thing: I tried Loseit years ago, and I mean like on-my-Blackberry-years-ago. I must say I'm impressed at how much smarter Loseit has become to date. I have a ton of respect for balls-out splendid development and these guys rocked it. For example, I thought it'd be a one-way feed from Apple Health into LoseIt. Nope—better. LoseIt feeds back to Apple Health too. And Loseit integrates my Apple Health steps, meaning the Steps aren't merely visible, that data impacts the LoseIt data.That's a wildly smart innovation from a UX perspective. It could be game changing for a lot of folks, myself included, whose struggle includes being great at keeping tidy notes for six or eight weeks and then PPPPTTTHHHHhhhhhh. With Loseit's elegant features I can't see how the process could be any simpler. Plus, they're making it super-incentivizing to upgrade to Premium with extra features, including tracking blood sugar, whaaaat. Can't swing the upgrade right now. It's not too much $$ for people who work, but for poor-ass me battling PTSD and not working, it's too costly. My existing bills going unpaid contribute to my anxiety. But still. Game changer. ∎

Update July 03 (11:30am)
Okay MAYBE I will keep blogging about food, either here or I'll use another platform.
It's been five days since seeing a whole new kind of doctor, a miraculous unicorn of a nutrition expert, weight loss medicine scientist and counselor. I have lost six pounds since Friday. I told Jenny, I told Joey, I told my therapist all about it and together we marveled: this is amazing, why didn't anyone tell me. Next week (Wednesday) I start a new medicine that, did I say miraculous, I can actually afford. I specify that, because my endocrinologist has tried to get me on a med that'll help me along with weight loss, but it cost more than a car payment even with insurance. I have a different/similar prescription now. I won't need to be on it forever, just a boost to get me past the long-standing hurdle. If I can drop one pound every week, my goal is achievable, even now as I'm struggling with PTSD. I'm grateful, hopeful and cautiously determined. One pound a week. That's all I need to do. And I have a team now. These women (therapist, wellness/weight loss doc, and poor endocrinologist who has been so patient with me and all my problems) are the team I have needed and didn't know it. ∎

Saturday, June 29, 2019

"There used to be food at the grocery store."

I'm paraphrasing the late Spalding Gray. I forget which of his monologues contains the bit about trying to get healthy and eat right and realizing how much junk is in everything. Today I texted Jenny from the grocery store, tediously reading label after label, "Is there anything more despairing than the first Shop after a weight loss doc. FFS!"

Goals

So last month at my annual physical I asked my doc if he could refer me to our local Center for Weight Loss. He did. Last week I went and, to my puzzlement, that doc was a surgeon. Surgery wasn't what I was after...more like I was seeking a boost in some other way. Um, a magic pill maybe? I'm dealing with so much, I suck at this, never could sustain exertion, and these days I can't handle too much at once. 

There is no magic pill, but there's science

I guess surgery is the magic pill for lots of folks who've struggled with maintaining diet and exercise, but..."I go in here (pointing to my tummy) and here, cut away most of your stomach and off it goes to Pathology..." said this surgeon. His enthusiasm was almost macabre, but I believe he wishes the best for fat people who have been struggling to become fit. I told Joe about it when I got home and he said, "Um...that's not for us." Don't you love how he says "us." He's my favorite person in the whole world. And he's right. Though it seems to "work" quickly, it's not for me. I need to lose all this weight without a scalpel and all the problems associated with most of my actual stomach being literally cut out and thrown in the cremation fire. Though the surgeon did have a good schpiel about obesity and its role in myriad health issues, I knew all that and that's how come I am looking for HELP. Even so, his schpiel got me to go make an appointment with a different doctor entirely that nobody had ever mentioned before and I sure wish I'd known about her. That appointment was yesterday, and, long story short, it went great (of course I cried) and I'm on a program now. I have goals, and the continued help of a new doctor who knows her science. I'm thinking I can do this all of a sudden.

"There used to be food at the grocery store."


Food can be poison or it can be nutrition. There's a quote knocking around the web that goes "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much." Basically the whole middle aisle section of the grocery store? There's scant stocked there that I should be eating. MY food is at the perimeter: the produce, the proteins. Today's shopping took forever because of all the label-reading, but I made it back home with my haul, the first with extra-tight focus on lean, fit and healthy foods. What's awesome is that me and Joey already love the Mediterranean diet, it's just that I have been lazy about portion control, and serving far too much rice or potatoes or corn, using too much sauce-y stuff and lately I've been too heavily reliant upon "convenience" foods like packaged, frozen stuff from Trader Joe's. It starts with a convenience food here and there, then before you know it, there's too much going into your body that was made in a factory or lab. My own Rule 33 says not to eat that. I got lazy. Deep breath. Making some changes.

Tonight I made pan-seared salmon with a barley salad. I did the salmon with ginger, lemon and balsamic (skin on), and the cooked barley I tossed with lemon juice, grape tomatoes, seeded/diced cuke, and five diced walnuts, and a couple handfuls of baby spinach, served warm alongside the fish. We were both full and Joey prescribed the plate "So summery and so tasty!"  I made the whole box of barley so I can just scoop it the rest of the week into salads. Technically a serving for me is 1/3 cup. Got my measuring cups out and will be using them for portion control. IT'S ON, DUDES. ∎

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Mercedes or Sarah?

Sarah or Mercedes?


"This actress shows up in so many shows I like!" I said, watching re-runs of The Finder and Person of Interest...um...as it turns out I have been enjoying the TV dramatics of two different actresses entirely, whaaaat? According to the imdb, Texas native Sarah Shahi was born Aahoo Jahansouz to an Iranian dad and Spanish mom, and Swedish actress Mercedes Mason immigrated to the US at 12 and became a citizen in 2016 and she's married to that guy with the beard from that thing. Is it only me? I dunno but I think at some point these women should be twinned in some good TV drama with a lotta action. Maybe vampires. Because damn...∎  
(Click here for Answers. How did you do?)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Mood


I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know will be all right
It's just overkill
Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Come back another day

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Depression: Code Red

One coping method I learned when my life fell apart five years ago was self-care. I'd lost everything in terms of normalcy after years of job-induced stress that eventually drove me literally insane, and that's when I found myself plunked into therapy for the first time. I'll always remember my therapist suggesting concrete things to do, such as "change your clothes, try a new lipstick." External, cosmetic things like that, no matter how bad I felt. The idea was to physically sort of nudge myself out of the depths. I loved my therapist's example. She said "whenever I get a haircut I feel like a new woman." For a moment, we looked at each other across her desk. She wore a hijab. I'd never seen her hair. In the moment, I understood that these self-care acts aren't for the world...they're for me alone. There is something to it, because five years later, when I'm feeling challenged, I act on this advice. Today I got new hair. It's Feria Whatever-was-on-sale-red. I like it. It's something. 💇

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Library Bear

When in doubt,
go to
the Library.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Sometimes I Make Playlists





Volume 2, Episode 1
Summer Sunday Series: Hot, Horny Amateurs
1:27

Mobile Home - Slide
Boo Radley - The Franc Graham Band
One Of These Days - Bourbon Princess
Way Down - Groovasaurus
You Get That - Slide
Tit For Tat - Asa Brebner
Gin & Tonic - Andrea Gillis
Blood - The Shelley Winters Project
Super Duper - Superhoney
I Wanna Be Ready - Thaddeus Hogarth
Coffee And Pot (LP Version) - Spookie Daly Pride
Shine - Slide
Stretcher - Bourbon Princess
Tornado - Mademoiselle
The Last Tango of Millicent The Innocent - onlyone
Marmalade - Sparkola
Taxi - The Red Chord
Mae Stay - Brownboot
Mr. Bartender - Andrea Gillis
Somewhere - Groovasaurus
Front Porch - Groovasaurus
Disappear - The Franc Graham Band
Cha Cha Ho! - Betty Goo

Sometimes I Design Shirts

It Costs Too Much To Live Here For This Shit 

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sometimes I Hurt

Asa Brebner (1954 - 2019)
"Songs are just sort of feelings put into words, a marriage of the emotional and cerebral. And that's sort of the best thing you can do—express in words what you're feeling, hopefully in a way that's not too trivial or stupid." - Asa Brebner (2001)


Friday, June 7, 2019

Sometimes I Laugh

Like I told my therapist yesterday, I will make more of an effort to People, despite the anxiety that plagues me and keeps me from Peopling. Tonight went to "The Gas" at Great Scott. That is the weekly comedy night hosted by Rob Crean. You know that fine line between funny and sad? I know him. Rob is possibly the saddest funny guy that I know. I'm not saying all of his material arises from a place of depression or anxiety, but I can tell you that Rob's act helped lead me from the darkness over Robin Williams' death, even if Rob doesn't know he did that for me. Maybe for others, too. My take is that Fridays at Great Scott, enough of a good time for people who still have their mental health, also make a decent substitute for group therapy for those of us who need a fucking lifeline. I'd say buy Rob Crean a drink, but he doesn't drink. He's vegan and likes sweets, so bring Rob Crean a vegan cupcake, y'all.

↑ Restroom tampon box photo. If you think that I turned off my phone's snapshot sound first, you'd be wrong. I'll always wonder what the other women in the bathroom thought was going on in my stall.∎

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Sometimes I'm Sorry

I needed some things so I went to the store. That's how I found out that there's bacon cotton candy. The package has a cartoon pig holding a thing of bacon cotton candy. So now I know that I am alive in an age where people thought of bacon cotton candy. Now you know this exists. I'm sorry.🤮

This bus stop advertisement, tho'

I bet it costs a ton to pay for one of these JCDecaux outdoor, or "out of home" (OOH) displays. I guess I'm wired to wonder about the ROI on this car seat safety message at the bus stop. At the bus stop. Bus. ∎

Saturday, June 1, 2019

It is June. I am tired of being brave.

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

Monday, May 27, 2019

I made catfish so good make you wanna slap your mama

He think I'm amazing. He love me so much. If you have a chance to marry your best friend, I highly advise doing so.

Friday, May 17, 2019

That Bob's Burgers where Tina has a big crush on Jairo


Me 'n Joey love that one. I can't imagine why.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

New England Aquarium (Video)



Yes, it's hella expensive to go to the aquarium. But you can go to the library, get a free pass, and go to the aquarium.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Art


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Throwing back to...maybe 1974?

There's a story to go with these photos, but I don't feel too good right now, for writing.It's me as a little scamp in the hospital, and that's my aunt, who dressed as a clown to come see me. I have no memory of this event. Sharon just emailed these previously-unseen photos. This is amazing. I'll come back to fill in the how-come later. Be well, friends.

Old Family Photos

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Dear Gen X,

Does anyone else remember Dunhill cigarettes? Taking a poll. Answer in Comments. It's for a thing.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

"He nice, the Jesus." - David Sedaris on the strangeness of Easter


We finished discussing Bastille Day, and the teacher moved on to Easter, which was represented in our textbook by a black-and-white photograph of a chocolate bell lying upon a bed of palm fronds.

"And what does one do on Easter? Would anyone like to tell us?"

The Italian nanny was attempting to answer the question when the Moroccan student interrupted, shouting, "Excuse me, but what's an Easter?"

Read all of  “Jesus Shaves” by David Sedaris on Genius.



Friday, April 12, 2019

I'm Not Doing Great, You Guys

All I can say right now is that it is really weird when your brain breaks. I can't sleep from dreams, what feels like all-night struggles. I can't focus for long, and my formerly rock-solid concentration...it's not there. There's more to say but I'm getting ready to go see my therapist now. I'll either write more later or not at all. ∎

Sunday, April 7, 2019

History 210 with Paul Freedman

History 210, one of the online Yale courses, is my fave new jam. Maybe later I'll do a piece on it, if I can. 

If you "take" this class with me, we can dish about it real-time. No promises. Start here:
https://oyc.yale.edu/history/hist-210






Tuesday, April 2, 2019

"Can you make one of your original dolls for my kid?"

Not right now, no. You see, at the moment, the dolls I'm making aren't the "cute" kind. I'm in a different head space. At the moment, my dolls are for adults of a certain nature. I used to call these "Barbie Screamhouse," but they're not ALL made from old Barbies. Maybe they're "Twisted Sisters."


Friday, March 29, 2019

This "need a band" craigslist post, though...

This Craigslist poster is looking for a band to play a fundraiser and it is so bonkers I can't even.
What the fuck is "best to have the dad get in touch with me." What dad? Whose dad? Mentioning a "dad" seems to indicate this guy is seeking a young (like...really young) band that also has the kind of "history" and "following" that can fill a "hall" with a "super large parking lot." So many questions.
NEED TO RAISE $ FOR A ATHLETIC PROGRAM. I HAVE THE HALL AND THE SUPER LARGE PARKING LOT. I NEED A BAND WITH A FOLLOWING. YOU WILL NEED TO SHOW THAT YOUR BAND HAS A FOLLOWING. WE DO NOT WANT TO SPEND TIME AND MONEY ON A FLOP. BEST TO HAVE THE DAD GET IN TOUCH WITH ME. I WILL NEED HISTORY OF BAND AND GO TO SOME OF YOUR CURRENT LOCATIONS.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

So I've been having this recurring dream

So I've been having this recurring dream in which I need to be somewhere, but I can't leave. I'm never sure where exactly I am, and every time I have the dream the location is different. The locations and the specific reasons why I'm stuck differ. In one, I'm at a party in a house that feels familiar. More specifically, there is a party happening, but I'm alone in a back room looking for something to wear. It's dim, with some bright light streaming in from around the closed door,  otherwise the whole room is a shadowy red dimness. The room is full of stuff. Piles of clothes on tables, a rack of things on hangers, and boxes on the floor. I can't see well but, a far as my awake-self can tell, it never dawns on dream-me to look for a light switch. In that room, like in other versions of the same dream that place me in other locations, I root through boxes, piles, and racks trying to find what I need before I can exit through the door and join the party outside. I know I am expected out there at the party, and I want to go. I can hear the party. It's a dull roar, what my grade school teachers would call the sound of dozens of people all talking at once. I hear laughter and clinking. I hear the occasional voice rising above the din. It feels like I recognize voices in a general kind of way. In the back of my dream-self's mind I think about who might be out there and I keep trying to hurry up and find what I need so I can open the door and get  out there. I know I am expected out there, and I want to go, but I never do get out the door, not in any version of the dream. ∎

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Taking It To The Street

I keep seeing People post about the breaking point, as in when will these rich white assholes finally squeeze too hard, and once that happens: then what? Usually it sounds like, "If _______________ then that's it, we have to take to the streets!" What does that mean. Do what. So we all just go outside? I mean, we DO that here. I've already been to the Common with about a hundred thousand people in and around Boston, I think three times in the last two years. Of all the least helpful action ideas (and there have been some doozies) that's the standout. We're supposed to take to the streets? Also, doesn't it depend rather heavily upon what street? I think through all the possible streets where I might be when we're supposed to take to them, and if you live in a busy city, who says when we're taking it, and to which exact street, and upon arrival, do what. But I like to picture me with my mom, that's all the whole hella way in the woods. There's nothing there. It's the middle of the fucking woods. There's deer, coyote, and even bears come around. On clear winter nights it's a snow globe filled with ten billion stars and a slender winding road. I could see me and my mom "taking it" there once we get the Bat signal. I guess it'll be like a beacon of Maddow or something. Me and JoAnna, hiking out to the road. A billion tree frogs start bitching back and forth, bats zip overhead. We'd be standing like "Now what. Whose idea was this? Oh look, there's Pleiades."

Shrill, vaguely defiant calls for justice ill-defined. Are people getting worse, or is my tolerance for assholes simply gone? Because People are wearing me out. I don't know, you guys. The worse People get, the more I just can't People anymore. I'm Peopled out. ⭐

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Seeking Fox Boots

Help! I'm almost done making Ms. Fox, but she needs shoes. I'm thinking red cowboy boots, maybe a pair of saddle shoes? Who's got baby-sized footwear no longer needed? Email me. 🦊


Or comment. Or tweet at me.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Video: It shouldn't be windy INSIDE the house

Check out this quick video of my studio drapes swaying in the wind. The WIND. My window is winterized! THIS is how freakin' windy it is in Boston today, y'all.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

#InternationalWomensDay2019

I'll be working the door.

---------------
FROM THE PRESS RELEASE:
This woman-created, multimedia spectacle features performances and works by 40 artists from
France, Switzerland, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, China, Ukraine, Netherlands, and the US
honoring diverse
female icons. Each icon will be brought to life with an original composition, a narrative film and dance.
From Eve to Ishtar, Joan of Arc to Kali, and more, these unique retellings aim to inform, empower,
and inspire. In times of war and conflict, “Bring us your women” is uttered to establish dominance, instill fear,
and subjugate. But underneath is a recognition of women’s strength and Her essential role in society,
whether a neighborhood or a nation. Bring Us Your Women echoes that recognition and expressesreclamation at a time when women around the world are reclaiming their power.
Please consider becoming a supporter!
We're almost ready to print the show program, but we need donations towards defraying production costs. Individual and business sponsorship (levels from $50 to $500) will go a long way towards travel and production expenses. Backed in part by grants from the Passim Iguana Music Fund and the Somerville Arts Council, and in part by local organizations who are granting funds for lighting and sound expenses, the artists, crew and organizers have all donated significant time and talent. We need you! Please consider sponsoring Bring Us Your Women: An Arts Odyssey.

Deadline is 5pm on Tuesday, February 26th.
See the levels of sponsorship (and what you get in return) at http://www.bringusyourwomen.com/sponsor.html.
_________________________________

IF YOU COME:
BRING IS YOUR WOMEN: AN ARTS ODYSSEY
March 8; Doors 7:30 p.m.; Showtime 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 at Somerville Theatre box office or online (other fees may apply).

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A-E-I-Love You (Larry Banilow

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all, especially my perpetual readers 'lo these many years! A-E-I Love You! 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Trump Got Shut Down - HSRPM

I don't answer messages on Saturdays from noon to 2pm. That's when Hal Sparks does the thing.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

My brother was the original "left shark"

I changed my Twitter photo to the one of Halloween...likely 1979? Michael's just a baby. I think I'm wearing my first school uniform, before they changed in 5th grade. I bet mom took it right after I got home from school to find my brother so excited for Trick-or-Treating that he wore his Jaws costume all day. You could say I have no costume, or viewed another way you could say I'm dressed as the lead in "Tales of a Fourth Grade Skeptic."

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The President is a Russian Asset


TRUMP:....Look, Putin...

WALLACE: Wait, but...

TRUMP: ... from everything I see, has no respect for this person.

CLINTON: Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: And it's pretty clear...

TRUMP: You're the puppet!

CLINTON: It's pretty clear you won't admit...

TRUMP: No, you're the puppet.

CLINTON: ... that the Russians have engaged in cyberattacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do, and that you continue to get help from him, because he has a very clear favorite in this race.

So I think that this is such an unprecedented situation. We've never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election. We have 17 -- 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.

WALLACE: Secretary Clinton...

CLINTON: And I think it's time you take a stand...

TRUMP: She has no idea whether it's Russia, China, or anybody else.

CLINTON: I am not quoting myself.

TRUMP: She has no idea.

CLINTON: I am quoting 17...

TRUMP: Hillary, you have no idea.

CLINTON: ... 17 intelligence -- do you doubt 17 military and civilian...

TRUMP: And our country has no idea.

CLINTON: ... agencies.

TRUMP: Yeah, I doubt it. I doubt it.

CLINTON: Well, he'd rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us. I find that just absolutely...

TRUMP: She doesn't like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump...

TRUMP: Excuse me. Putin has outsmarted her in Syria.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump...

TRUMP: He's outsmarted her every step of the way.

WALLACE: I do get to ask some questions.

TRUMP: Yes, that's fine.

WALLACE: And I would like to ask you this direct question. The top national security officials of this country do believe that Russia has been behind these hacks. Even if you don't know for sure whether they are, do you condemn any interference by Russia in the American election?

TRUMP: By Russia or anybody else.

WALLACE: You condemn their interference?

TRUMP: Of course I condemn. Of course I -- I don't know Putin. I have no idea.

WALLACE: I'm not asking -- I'm asking do you condemn?

TRUMP: I never met Putin. This is not my best friend. But if the United States got along with Russia, wouldn't be so bad. ∎

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Gen X File #002: Kenneth!

Kenneth! gets a big exclamation point because WOW! It's been forever since we've been saying we'll get together. And we FINALLY GOT TOGETHER, so I'm super-stoked about it.




When I was in my 30s, an email landed in my inbox with the subject, if memory serves, reading "Blast from the Past...?" The sender's name certainly proved that:  here was an email from someone I hadn't seen since we were kids. Kenneth had found my blog, in those days penned under my rock name Lexi Kahn. Between my PR photo and context, Ken had deduced that the blogger was in fact me, Michelle DiPoala, the awkwardest of St. Margaret's School's classmates. Kenneth's note revealed that he, too, lived in the Boston area (wow!) and we vowed to set plans to meet for coffee at some point. But we did not meet for coffee at any point...not, that is, until today. Hey, it only took twelve or thirteen years to set the date. In a way, our spectacular procrastination made for perfect timing. Though I have no intention of publishing the Gen X Report in order of Interview Subjects, as it happens Ken is the perfect Gen X File #002, and he was game for the idea. That's what I like: buy-in. I only hope the next 51 people I call are equally down for this project.

As expected, this first interview of the Gen X Report was a solid conversation between old friends. During our talk, I messaged Colleen and Simone. Simone had a question about Ken's ascot, which is a story from third grade. You'll get to hear her question, and Ken's answer, when this webisode of The Gen X Report gets posted. [Date TBA] 

My Extemporaneous Notes

Today was rainy, so I was a bit wet after taking the #1 bus from Harvard to Central, and a quick but splashy walk from Central along Inman Street. Just as I reached the corner about to cross Hampshire to 1369 Coffee, I spotted Ken approaching on foot from the other direction. We waved, so then I didn't know where to look during the however-long-it-takes for the light to change. I'm so awkward in person, it's not even funny. "You got taller!" is of course the first thing I said. Could I be any more of a dork? You got taller, really?

But Ken laughed, and I remembered that he was called "friend" in grade school because he was one of the few who "got me." I was always such a weird little person, and had more bullies than friends. We were going to have coffee at 1369, but had a back-up plan ready in case it was too crowded and hot—it was. I used to love doing interviews at 1369 back in my Lexi Kahn days, and surely will again. But today it was packed, and because of the pouring rain, my glasses fogged up the minute we were inside the door. So we crossed to S&S, which was a godsend, because I was suddenly ravenous. I ate the whole hell outta a bowl of mac & cheese. Why is S&S so good, I love that place. Ken had a burger. It took over three hours to catch up on what's happened since 7th grade. It's been...a lot. My face hurt from laughing, and there were quiet moments as we talked about losing touch and losing  friends, the crazy blur that was our 20s, bouts with anxiety and depression, reaching the age where our parents are turning gray and slowing down. He lost his dad a few years ago. He got married and has two kids. We talked about how expensive it is to live and work in the Boston area. Ken went to school for a long time, he's got several degrees, and specializes in bioinformatics, microbiology, computational biology, database engineering and architecture, data wrangling, research informatics and software development.

Tag/Abstract:

The 1970s
St. Margaret's School
Catholicism
Connecticut
Michigan
New Hampshire
Cub Scouts
Ascots and Ties
Youth Kickball
Youth Stickball
Youth Basketball
Priests
Nuns
God
Bullies
Italian moms
Depression
Autism

The Next Interview

The next Gen X File will be a more formal "interview." I make that distinction because, unlike #002, I don't know this next guy except to say hello to in a club. It is Rob Crean, a locally-famous stand-up comic who acts, sings and makes funny short video with other talented people around Boston and LA. I'm setting up a time with Rob right now. I haven't really told him about the Gen X Report, but he's down for an interview anyway. Stay tuned for profile & notes about Gen X File #003: Rob Crean. Here's a preview of Rob Crean via YouTube:

Comments are encouraged, and will become part of the Gen X Report. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What is Content?



Content, Technically Speaking

By today's definition, content is any purposeful online communication, in any format, intended to reach people, convey your message, spark interest, or coax some kind of response from your audience, such as a click, a share, or a purchase. Content rules the lives of professionals at digital agencies and company marketing departments. These are tech-savvy creatives & creative data scientists. Marketers craft strategic campaigns aimed at one or more audience segments. To support a variety of digital campaigns, marketers generate and curate a massive amount of written and multimedia content (video, infographics, etc), which they deploy via websites and blogs, emails and texts, social sharing and more. It's actually pretty amazing.  

Read More>>>

Currently Reading

Forged: Writing in the Name of God
it was amazing
tagged: currently-reading

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