Merry Christmas!

First, we have the traditional (or what passes for traditional around here):

And then we have the sublime:

And then we have the just plain awesome.

I hope your day is merry and bright, mine is, as usual, very Californian.

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The Traditional Notification Method

SCENE INT LIVING ROOM NIGHT

Our intrepid heroine, MARY SUE, is on the phone with her parents while purposely dropping hundreds of stitches she had oh so carefully spent weeks putting into a shawl.

DAD
Oh, hey, what do you need for that Coca
Cola glaze you did on the ham that one time?

MARY SUE
A can of Coke and brown sugar.
[beat] Guess this means I’ll
be doing the ham on Christmas Eve?

DAD
Well, we liked it so much, figured you could do it again.

END SCENE

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Infodump

Some links that may be needed at some time.

Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?
If you scratch an article on the obesity! crisis! you will almost always find a press release from a company that’s developing a weight loss drug — or from a “research group” that’s funded by such companies.

The History of BMI and Why We Still Use It
Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet devised what we now know as the BMI equation in 1832 as a way to define the “normal man.” He never intended for the equation (weight equals height squared) to be used to determine body fat — his project was intended to describe the standard proportions of the human build.

Cut the Snarky Fashion Judgement Crap
I know it’s supposed to be a joke, ha ha, leggings are not pants is as important as the other issues, how funny. Only it’s not funny. It’s body policing. It’s classist, ableist, judgemental bullshit wrapped up in a fluff piece for a highly visible online women’s magazine.

Devouring the World
I really think a whole lot of thin people who eat restrictively — whether in a diagnosably disordered way or merely an “I AM GOOD! I EAT CELERY!” way — believe deep down that they are just barely keeping a lid on their own desire to devour the world. And they assume all fat people have just failed to keep a lid on the same desire — so if we go unpunished for that, we’re getting away with a “crime” they believe they work very hard not to commit.

The Fantasy of Being Thin
But exhortations like that don’t take into account magical thinking about thinness, which I suspect — and the quote above suggests — is really quite common. Because, you see, the Fantasy of Being Thin is not just about becoming small enough to be perceived as more acceptable. It is about becoming an entirely different person – one with far more courage, confidence, and luck than the fat you has.

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The Fangirl and the Giving Tree

Someone was standing by the Giving Tree, reading the few remaining tags out loud in hopes we would have a naked tree.

“Nike zip up jacket size large, for 15 year old boy.”

Someone else came over and took it.

“Shoes, size 8, for 10 year old girl.”

I was finishing up my coffee, but I had totally planned on sauntering over and seeing what was left. Eventually. It’s from Happy Cup. Good coffee.

“Superhero toy for 8 year old boy.”

My head snapped up and my arm shot in the air and I shouted, “DIBS!” Because, of course.

I took the little paper tag with the red satin ribbon and tucked it in my wallet for safekeeping. And then I headed for the nearest toy merchandizing outlet.

Standing in front of the wall of blister packs, the part of me that has a masters’ degree in Education wondered for a moment if I shouldn’t be looking for a more educational, less violent—

I don’t know what the next part of that sentence was going to be because the part of me that is a fangirl squeed and jumped up and down and shouted, “THERE’S KILLOWOG! AND HE’S ON *SALE*!”

I started sorting through the other figures on sale, and someone had tried that old trick of putting the one they wanted a few rows down and behind some unrelated ones. So Killowog and his good friend Hal Jordan were reunited in my shopping basket, at which point I decided to be an equal opportunity shopper and search through the Marvel figures.

An Ultimate Iron Man went in the basket to hang with Hal and Killowog, because Tony Stark is a flawed, marvelous genius and the armor was pretty cool. And then, there in the back, I saw Falcon.

Falcon. Preacher’s kid, orphan, former mob runner, is a superhero by night and a social worker by day in Harlem, where he grew up. My second favorite Avenger ever, after She-Hulk*.

I put him in my basket and went to look for a bag, giddy with delight. These weren’t just little plastic action figures. These were people I *know*. Yeah, sure, if you don’t believe in alternate realities and the Heinlein Solipsism Theory of the Multiverse, you’ll call them ‘fictional characters’. That still does not take away from the fact that, like Buddy the Elf, I wanted to jump up and down in the aisle of the store, point to these action figures and shout, “I KNOW HIM!”

I spent a lot of time looking for a bag to shove the toys in and toss some tissue on top, which is my standard ‘Look, I put effort in!’ wrapping procedure. Then I remembered, this is an eight year old. The best thing about being eight years old on gift giving holidays is ripping the hell out of the wrapping paper to see what’s inside. So I bought some paper, and some bows, and some tape, and thought about how awesome this was. A kid was going to open presents on Christmas, and they were going to be characters I care about.

I hope that this kid will learn to love these characters as much as I do, and for as long as I have. I hope they go on adventures together and do battle and save the universe and each other in ways only a child can invent.

And if not, well, I hope he likes ripping the paper off all these packages.


*Because, COME ON! She-Hulk is a big, green, supermodel turned lawyer who uses comic books as case law. If you don’t think that’s awesome, please familiarize yourself with the left hand evacuation procedures.

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A rant, with more swearie words than usual

Dear judgemental twat at the grocery store:

Yes, I am buying prewashed, pre-cut up vegetables at the salad bar at New Seasons. Yes, I am fully aware that right over there are the same unwashed, whole vegetables for a lower price. However, it’s worth the extra couple bucks a pound to:

1) not have to wash and cut these fucking things myself, because I don’t have the time or energy* to do so, and
2) not have to buy a giant head/pile/bag of [vegetable] and, because I’m a single person, have three quarters of it rot before I eat it, or half of it rot because I just can’t eat a whole fucking head/pile/bag of [vegetable] without going absolutely batshit.

Now, I am going to very pointedly refrain from looking into your cart and making assumptions about your lifestyle, and I would appreciate it in the future if you would extend me the same courtesy.

Your obscenity spewing correspondent,
Mary Sue

*I’m going to see someone later this month to figure out if I have SAD or if 2011 has just metaphorically punched me in the metaphorical kidneys so hard and often that I don’t have much energy to do anything except come home, sit on my arse, knit, and eat hummus out of the container**.
**Which I scoop up with little crispy bits of prewashed, pre-cut vegetables. And tortilla chips. And sometimes, if I am feeling fancy, pita bread.

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From the Archives: LOGIC!

Note: I wrote ~17k words yesterday to squeak out my fourth win in ten years participating in NaNoWriMo, so I can’t brain today. Enjoy this post from December 1st, 2009 instead of new content.

Jonathan Coulton looks like my dad when he was younger, was in the same industry as my dad, and apparently has the same birthday as my dad.

Therefore, using the logic from those four years of college, Jonathan Coulton is my dad traveling forwards in time to make enough money to put me through school.

Yep. That’s it exactly.

Happy Birthday, Daddy.

(And JoCo.)

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Brief thoughts on The Muppets and not-so-brief thoughts on PlentyOfFish.com

Oh my holy Hottentottin’ crap, y’all, this movie made me laugh so hard that at one point I fell out of my seat onto the movie theater floor and didn’t care

Now, my reaction at that point was strictly due to my feelings regarding singing chickens and one Mr. CeeLo Green, so your mileage, as always, may vary. I did laugh a lot at this movie, and at a lot of different things.

But.
Yeah.
Singing Chickens + CeeLo Green + Me = literal ROFL

Go see this movie. Go see it a lot. If you can get out of the theater without one of the songs stuck in your head, please have yourself examined by medical professionals because you are CHRONICALLY FUNNYBONE DEFICIENT and that’s no way to go through life.

Also? One of the things I *really* liked about the movie is that in the Big Dance Numbers, the dancers were of diverse ages and sizes. There were old people, young people, skinny people AND FAT PEOPLE DANCING BECAUSE WE CAN DANCE IF WE WANT TO, WE CAN LEAVE YOUR FRIENDS BEHIND.

Oh, I appear to have jumped on my soapbox. So, let me tell you a little about the TWO frakin’ commercials I had to sit through for PlentyofFish.com, who can kindly kiss my ever dancin’ single and singular behind. The tagline for this commercial was some allmighty bullcrap about finding your ‘better half’.

Ok, sweet peas, as I am a fully bilateral humanoid, I was issued a full set of halves at my conception. My right side is dominant, however I would not classify it as either better or worse because it is also the side that has the most joint pain. As I am someone with a chronic degenerative joint disorder, though, I expect one day the left side will catch up in that regard. Either way, I love both my halves as with them I am a whole human being.

Therefore, I do not need any partner to make me ‘complete’, ‘whole’, ‘useful’, ‘contributing’, or ‘valued’.

One day, I may find a partner whose personality and talents complement mine. Complement, according to Dictionary.com, means “add to (something) in a way that enhances or improves it”.

Because I? Am pretty damn awesome.

Now, it took me a long, long, LONG damn time and many missteps to get to the point where I can read the intensely negative cultural messages towards singlehood in PlentyofFish.com’s little adverts. They are trying to sell you something, therefore they are creating and feeding and nurturing a fear so they can then provide you with the band-aid at a low, low, monthly fee.

They are not your friends.
They are not looking out for your best interests.
They see you as a commodity at best, a paycheck at worst.

I have absolutely nothing against people who are partnered, or are seeking a partner. What does piss me off are two things: people who are so desperate to not be seen as an incomplete, useless, valueless person that they rush into relationships that are emotionally and (sometimes) physically damaging; and partnered people who insist that their single friends need to be partnered, too, right now, damnit, there’s this nice person I know who would be perfect for you…

(I’m not mentioning names, but I am giving serious Internet side-eye to two friends I dealt with this week, both of whom are repeat offenders in this regard despite my frequent, vociferous explanations of DO NOT WANT.)

So, yeah, this was going to have an awesomesauce conclusion, but for some odd reason I decided to answer my cell phone while I was at work (something I rarely do) and it was The Call from the Portland Timbers ticket office to upgrade my half season plan to a full season in 2012 so I am running around the office doing this, now.

Portland Timbers – Tetris Dance from Lane Scheideman on Vimeo.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

By the way, this is exactly what my workplace was like yesterday, and will be on Friday.

Hopefully, minus the (feathered type of) turkeys.

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Things that drive me crazy: Negative self-talk about your body

Seriously, guys. I am fully aware it is the Holiday season. Which is traditionally one, for those of us in communities influenced heavily by Western Europe, of feasting. I could get into hardcore discussion about how that comes from our agrarian ancestors and the likely influence that had over the Christian feast/fast calendar, but that is boring to all but a small number of you.

What I’m here to talk about is how this seems to be a socially acceptable license for people (especially women, but I know you men have this issue also) to talk negatively about their bodies.

I excuse myself from this talk as much as possible. One, because I think it’s bogus, and two, because… well, I’m still not in a good mental space to describe this, so I’m going to borrow April D’s words from her blog I AM in shape. ROUND is a shape (emphasis mine):

So if I do end up explaining why I refuse to join/like/be a part of this woman’s diet journalism I feel that it will come off as extremely self-serving; a bunch of whining about how HER decision to diet is making ME feel bad about myself. But part of me doesn’t care because a lot of feeling good about myself and learning to love who I am, in the Shell of Life that I ALREADY inhabit, has required copious amounts of editing out those parts of the world around me. A world which tries to constantly push me into the tiny niche my social environment has deemed appropriate for a huge woman (you know, that tiny niche of Self Flagellation for the Way I Am cycled against Hopeful Dieting Lifestyle Changes to Become Who I Should Be (ie: thin, taking up minimal space, quiet, calm, poised, a Better Me… in a tiny package which is pretty, sexually appealing to the male gaze and unthreatening to those around me). I refuse to get caught up in that crap again.

Think it’s not that prevalant? Dude. I was in a chat room I frequent a *lot* last night. Negative self-talk started. I usually tell people that I’m bouncing because of that, but I was in a bad place so I just exited the chat room and did some knitting. Hour and a half later, I figured it was safe to go back in.

THEY WERE STILL HATING ON THEIR BODIES.

Ninety minutes. At least, because I didn’t go back in at all last night to check again. Ninety solid minutes of hating on themselves. I… just… what… I don’t even. These are people I adore. They are amazing. They lead interesting, full lives. They still, somehow, feel it’s necessary to hate on themselves.

So, here’s the lowdown:
1) It’s the holiday season. There is tasty food. You have a license to eat tasty food. Use it.
2) Wheaton’s Law, which is “Don’t be a dick”, applies to YOU talking about YOURSELF, also.

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Review: Nook Color

I bought a Nook Color in April for $250. I wanted a smallish tablet that had WiFi capability but not 3G, because I already spend too much time on the Internet.

I bought it with the theory I was going to root the mofo out to Android Froyo and have a half-price, half sized iPad-equivalent. I had played around with the iPad a lot, both in a store and borrowing a friend’s, and while it was nice, I really hated the lack of Flash compatibility at the time and– really, it weighs a ton. It’s not comfortable for holding for significant lengths of time.

And I chose the Nook Color over the Kindle for three reasons:
1) I hate Amazon and all it stands for. Seriously. They tend to give money to groups that hate people like me.
2) Amazon censors the titles you can get on the Kindle. And they have an annoying habit of deleting books.
3) You can’t play Angry Birds on a Kindle.

The funny thing is, I never got around to rooting it. I use the exact OS that it came with out of the box. I play my Angry Birds, I surf the Internet, I watch the Hulu and the YouTube when I’m in range of a friendly router.

But what I use it mostly for is an eReader.

I know. I’m as surprised as anyone. I really love being able to carry so many books on it for my ever so irksome daily one to three hours spent on Trimet (depending on the day of the week and what the hell is going on construction-wise in the SoWhat). Not that I have given up on hard copy books (as the good folks at Powells will tell you). Actually, since April, I have spent less than $25 on eBooks.

Two reasons for this are because you can check out free eBooks from the Multnomah County Library, and every single fanfic uploaded to the Archive of Our Own can be downloaded in EPUB format. I used to go to the trouble to download every book to my desktop, then painstakingly transfer to the Nook. Then I realized– THE NOOK HAS A WEB BROWSER AND CAN DOWNLOAD THINGS FROM THE INTERNET THAT WAY!

This morning, as I was grabbing my Nook and my stupidphone from the bedside chargers, I realised that I was holding in my hands the equivalent of the PADD from Star Trek.

Holy crap, I’m living in the future and I didn’t even notice!

They announced today that the new Nook Color’s got some fancy whingading whosiewhats HD bla bla faster processor bla bla bla. The version of my Nook Color is dropping to $200.

Just sayin’, is all.

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