Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Mid-Term Elections!

The first election I voted in was a mid-term election.

In a state I no longer lived in, but I'd registered as soon as possible of course, because I was 18 and duh, I'd been looking forward to this since about 2004! (Illness gives you a lot of time to read.) So when I got back home, it was too late to be registered for the election here.

Happily, it looks like Fincher will not win in my district. He's the Republican candidate. He called out his opponent for being so evil he... I don't know if I can repeat this... voted/worked on/whatever Tenncare. Health insurance for poor people. It's so evil. While Herron said Fincher lied about his taxes and snooze.

As for governor? Too close to call. I hope it's not Haslam because in his ads, he says he has a plan. What is that plan? No one will say. Also, he thinks the state can be run like a business. It can't.

Consolidation of Memphis and Shelby County? I have no idea what this will do or not do. Nashville's consolidation has helped it and Davis County, but... if it does pass, I hope that means we'll go back to the old library system where by gum, I could ride my bike to the library and pick up books I'd ordered from downtown Memphis libraries. Now you kids get off my lawn!

A result from my state that hurts my head. I was ignorant, I didn't read up on the issues ahead of time, but when I did, I did not regret my vote.

There was a proposed constitutional amendment to make it legal to hunt and fish in Tennessee.

Yes, it's already legal. No one was doing anything to make it illegal or to restrict either in any way.

However, gay marriage. So if some states let gays get married, in 10 years, some PETA freaks could take away our hunting rifles and fishing poles.

And, to quote one concerned citizen (I shit you not),

"I'd be bored."

So. It will most likely pass - only 99% of the districts are in, and it's only 84% in support.

Our state constitution. We're changing it for fishing. Way to live up to stereotypes, Tennessee voters!

Though we didn't vote for Rand Paul, so we're not that bad. We didn't field any big tea party candidates, none weird enough to make national waves, so yay?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A video for your (okay my) pleasure

Dhoom Again from Dhoom 2.

Description: Some backup dancers do their thing and then Hrithik appears and does that famous amazing loose limbed dance that made my friend go "Legs don't work that way." A million people across the globe faint.

One thing of note: the female backup dancers are dressed in skimpy clothes - short skirts or shorts, paired with shirts that bare their midriff. But all eyes are on Hrithik. People have said he seduces everyone in this movie and I buy it.

Dhoom 2 is streaming on Netflix, and yes there is a first Dhoom, but it's pretty boring compared to this one. This features a shirtless Hrithik multiple times, including the time he disguises himself as a Greek God. For other tastes, there's Bipasha Basu looking amazing and Aishwarya getting to kiss Hrithik. And Abhishek being grumpy, but he's stuck with Uday Chopra (apparently I am his sole fan), and Ali is pretty bad at being a cop...

Um, what was I saying?

Oh yes. The lyrics.

Dhoom again and run away with me on a roller coaster ride
Dhoom again and see your wildest dreams slowly come alive
Dhoom again we gotta break the rules and party all the time
Dhoom again we gotta steal the show you know that ain't no crime

So steal all that you can
The magic you began
Let's shout! Break out!
Come on once again let's hear it

Dhoom Machale

Once more come on you people

Dhoom machale Dhoom machale
Dhoom machale Dhoom machale
Dhoom machale Dhoom machale

Dhoom machale Dhoom machale
Dhoom machale Dhoom machale
Dhoom machale Dhoom machale

Dhoom again and feel the beat of the rythm-rythm of the night
Dhoom again and hear the voices calling creatures of the night
Dhoom again and see the shadows dancin' in the pale moonlight
Dhoom again and feel your heartbeat pumpin' now the time is right

So go walk out the door
Get down get on the floor
Let's shout! Break out!
Come on once again let's hear it

Dhoom machale Dhoom machale
Dhoom machale Dhoom machale
Dhoom machale Dhoom machale

Dhoom machale Dhoom machale
Dhoom machale Dhoom machale
Dhoom machale Dhoom machale

Dhoom machale

DHOOM MACHALE!!!!!!!!!!!!

For a good look at this song with just pictures (as if that does it justice!), Filmi Girl did an in-depth look at Dhoom 2, and this is the page featuring the song.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Today's Garfield is awesome.

The comic:

She really loves him. That is adorable.

A transcript:

First panel - Jon, Liz, and Garfield are minding their own business, when Mr. Muscles come up, and asks, "Excuse me, is that your girlfriend?" Jon says, "Yes."

Second panel - KICK

Third Panel - The only change from the first is that Jon is covered in sand.

Mr. Muscles: Hi, I'm Rolf.

Liz: Hi, I'm Get Lost.

Garfield (via thought bubble): And I'm with Mr. Sand Face over there.

Jon and Liz's relationship has always been adorable, once she reciprocated and started dating him and kissing him. This just cements the awesomeness. She loves Jon for who he is as a person, she doesn't care about Rolf.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some quixotic internet causes of mine.

I have not read any of the Twilight books, nor have I seen any of the movies. I'm going to check out the first when I go back to school. My sister has the first one. She also has a incredibly messy room. She's (most likely) re-reading Eclipse because of the movie.

Twilight is part of my internet missions - I want people to stop mocking the fans. (Though I have no defense for some of the merchandise - Edward Panties are just... I don't know.)

And when I googled to get that link, the first link was to a site called "Twitarded," oh so cleverly calling the fans retarded. People defend their use of ableist language (lame, retarded) by saying they don't mean that anymore. Then why use them as an insult? They must still mean something bad, or they wouldn't be used that way.

I assume the more common nickname for fans - Twihards, comes from "die hard" - they're die hard fans. That's fine.

Anywho... I don't like the bashing of Twilight fans. (And the hatred for the books seems extreme, especially when it's just plain hatred and doesn't involve a critique - how are the Quilutes portrayed, the problematic relationships - if she picked Jacob, it still would be unhealthy. And the one with Edward is just a mess.)

Small note - my sister would rip me a new one if she saw this - how can you talk about it if you haven't read it? Because I'm curious and now I'm finally thinking of reading the books. (She also could not believe that I knew bits and pieces about Lost, despite never watching the show. It was incredibly popular and mentioned on many sites I visit. Of course I know there's a smoke monster!)

The bashing of Twilight and its fans seems to just be reactionary - if it's popular, it must be bad. Also, more sinister, it is very popular with women and girls, and things that women like are always belittled.

Anyway, the Twilight books do not mean that the books you like disappeared or magically changed into Twilight. Same with the movies. Twilight did nothing to you. So cut it the fuck out. Also, wouldn't your time be better spent doing something you enjoy, like reading a book you love? (I said this on FB and a friend asked how will I feel superior now? That was a puzzler, but you can feel superior to the Twilight bashers now! Problem solved.)

Well, I wrote a novel, and I don't have much about the others.

I cannot stand the endless mocking of Justin Beiber - he's a girl, he's gay. It has nothing to do with his music, just his appearance and age. People are mocking a young boy. Which is so classy.

And something that keeps coming up every time M. Night Shyamalan makes a movie, and since the Village, they've started to really suck, according to reviews. (The Village and Signs scared the crap out of me, though I've never seen Unbreakable or The Sixth Sense.)

People purposely mispronounce his name or write it incorrectly - Shamalamadingdong. Yes, his name is long, but it's not hard to pronounce. On a tangent, I don't mind when Colbert mispronounces Ahmadinejad's name, because he slips a joke in there each time.

I basically hate mispronouncing names after you've been told how to pronounce it. It shows a lack of respect. "You're so unimportant, I'm not even going to bother remembering how to say your name."

One last pet peeve that started when the Saudi prince visited Bush and they held hands. The gay "jokes" never stopped. It's based on xenophobic ignorance - in some cultures, men can be more expressive and friendly with each other - hugging and holding hands, for example.

One last thing - calling Hugh Jackman (or a famous character he plays) gay because he does Broadway and danced and sang when he hosted the Oscars is just gross, and one thing I love about Bollywood - the men lip-sync and dance in the movies... and at the award shows.

Anyway, I want people to stop being racist and to stop mocking Justin Bieber and Twilight fans. I'm more deluded than Don Quixote, aren't I?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I'm fat.

And I recently gained a lot of weight like super fast - not oh, 10 pounds snuck up on me - but 30-40 came in a few weeks, complete with raised stretch marks.

I am on at least 3 medications that cause weight gain - one of them is my birth control and since periods are murder, no. Another is new and it has given me control over my moods, well as much control as humans can have. My extreme moods have reasons behind them. Being thinner < being happy.

I still remember when this happened in 10th grade. I think it was in Math (2nd period) and I looked at a thin girl older than me and I realized that my weight had nothing to do with 99% of my life. My grades, my social life, my relationship with my family (that makes me quite lucky, I've learned)... none of this would change if I lost weight. They might even get worse, as I chase friends away by counting things, and focusing on my diet instead of homework. Or getting sick (dizzy, light headed) from not enough food makes doing homework hard as well. (As I noticed over the last 2 semesters with the medication.)

A "normal" weight would not make me a better person.

Someone who doesn't know me could say that I'm not a social person because of my weight, but that's BS. I know fat kids and teenagers and adults have friends and boy/girlfriends. I remember being at a friend's birthday party before my weight went up (puberty and thyroid) and I was bored silly. I've always preferred books, and now the internet.

Anyways -

I am in love with the new ABCFamily show "Huge," starring Nikky Blonsky. It's about a fat camp, but the actors can't lose weight in a predictable manner over the show (especially since some are teenagers not done with puberty yet!) which is good. The show made me tear up by the second episode. It's sweet and funny.

And even though the premise is all about weight, when most of the characters we see (minus the trainers and the woman in charge) are fat, they become more than punch lines or sassy friends of skinny women.

The main trainer is horrid, which is the point. One kid needed to catch his breath on the camp's first run/walk thing and she says no and makes him do 25 jumping jacks. He said "I can't." But if he could breathe, he would have said, "I need to rest now, I can't breathe." I assume.

But they also discuss the importance of stretching later on - so they do mean it when they talk about health, at least in some ways.

It's also so realistic - there are so many different ways people are fat and we see this here.

And the second episode broke a stereotype on national teevee - a fat kid who is obsessed with basketball and is good at it and all that jazz.

I'm looking forward to the next episode.

I first heard about it on Jezebel, when they posted clips from the pilot and reviewed it. They also did one for the second episode, but there were less comments this time.

Another reviewer is Iced Tea and Lemon Cake. First episode, second episode. She talks a lot about the fat issues in the show, especially gym in the 2nd episode, which was a big part of that episode.

The best reviews I've seen, hands down, are at Fatshionista. First, second.

Just like women supposedly say "I'm a character from Sex and the City," I'm going to say I'm Becca, the black girl who's always reading. I also think I'm a bit like Will (her goal is to gain weight there), but I don't like having people mad at me if it's not worth it, so I wouldn't do an OTT strip-tease within the first hours of the camp.

It repeats a lot on ABCFamily, it's at their website, and on Hulu. And probably *cough* other websites for people outside America...

Monday, July 05, 2010

Bad Commercial

There's a commercial out now about a mom with kids who play hockey.

She starts her day by taking 2 OTC Tylenol. Then she takes 2 again and again, following the directions.

The she sees an ad for Aleve, and the next day, just takes 2 in the morning! Huzzah!

If she has to take painkillers daily - even OTC - something is wrong. I don't think Aleve and Tyelonel are meant to be taken daily like Vitamin D or something. It just sends the wrong message - the OTC manages my pain, so it's not really a problem. (Plus, as a mom, she doesn't have TIME to go to the doctor. Despite the husband.)

Also, every body is different - some people may not react to Aleve. Others may get nothing from Tylenol.

But in Aleve commercials, only a sucker takes Tylenol, because you take 8 a day, hahahaha, you loser.

I hate commercials for medication, that's a given. Now I'm hating ads for OTC medications.

One more - a bunch of adults talking about being pain-free without pills. I perk up. A man is holding a white pill bottle. He tells us how it works - heated patches for your back. They're talking about minor muscle pain.


I'm especially dour because I increased my new medication to 3 times a day (it's supposed to be 2 times a day, but it still hurt a lot, a lot of "breakthrough" pain)... and my pain has shot up which makes no damn sense. I am sick of pain and summer and fireworks.

But summer means no classes and sleeping in and being with the puppies and getting Netflix when it's supposed to come and being as lazy as I want to be.

I just wish it was 50 degrees cooler.

Where were you on Christmas?

Despite playing softball and being unmarried at her age, Elana Kagan has made it to the Senate confirmation hearings!

I don't like Senator Lindsey Graham - his voice is so smarmy, and he's a southern Republican, so blech.

I saw it on the Daily Show, but seekingferret at dreamwidth (the posts and comment section look remarkably like livejournal, where I do have an account - I don't have one there) has the transcript and her reaction as a Jewish American. And that "New York humor" =  "Jewish Humor" for many, many people.

I agree with her - where was the media outrage?

Sen. Graham asked her what she was doing on Christmas, because of the would-be bomber last Christmas. The exchange makes no sense.

She said she was eating Chinese food. A Jewish senator jumped in to explain away her answer as "New York" humor.

The media reaction has been minimal - I saw it on the Daily Show. (Not that I watch much TV news, it makes me want to break the TV - but it didn't appear on my yahoo front page as "Sen. Graham's outrageous question" or something. I guess the latest way to lose weight is more important.)

She probably went to an old stereotype because it's none of his damn business what she does on December 25th, and if she said that, "Sir, with all due respect, I don't think that's any of your business," it would be in the media about how rude Kagan is. It's a harmless question!

No it's not.

I don't call myself a Christian, but my family does. So we do the Christmas thing - presents and deviled eggs and such. (We also watched vintage Family Feud and it was so creepy the way that Richard Dawson kissed all the women - on the lips. What an invasion of space!) But if someone asked me, I'd ask them why they want to know.

Do they ask Christian nominees what they do for Eid or Passover or Holi?

Non-Christians are the minority in this country, according to many polls by many polling companies. (So it's not just a blip - the results are the same again and again.)

But what really gets my goat is that we call America a country founded on "Judeo-Christian" values. It used to be just Christian, and it may still be in some circles, I wouldn't know. (I prefer "Abrahamic religions" because it covers Muslims as well.)

The "Judeo" part is just an empty gesture.

So my main reaction is "Judeo" Christian my ass.

Very eloquent, nah?

Seekingferret does a much better job, and makes much more sense than me. Do check out her post.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Saving money through home cooking

I'm re-reading the Shopaholic series. I love them. I love Sophie Kinsella's books. (I tried one of her real books - Madeline Wickham and it was boring.) I own them all - All the Shopaholic books, Can You Keep A Secret, Remember Me?, The Undomestic Goddess, and Twenties Girl. (That's the latest and it was in paperback at Kroger, *grab*)

Anyway, in the first book, Rebecca tries to cut back and save money by making curry at home instead of just ordering "takeaway" (I love how unapologetic the books are in their British-ness!) and it's a disaster.

And it got me thinking about a post at FWD from a while ago - The New York Times Tells You How To Eat, which details how the organic food movement is steeped in privilege - you need the money and you need the time. And the energy. Or the ability to stand and cook without the pain making you shaky and forgetful (did I start boiling that water?).

It got me thinking about a recent commercial for Red Baron frozen pizza and "pan pasta" which shows a bunch of pizza delivery people eating at someone's home, saying "Your mom makes the best pan pasta!" implying that it's better than theirs. The mom has her back to them, holding the Red Baron box.

You know why I order pizza? Because I don't want to cook. (Though I loved nuking these pizzas - forget the brand - and just picking away with my fingers, not even making slices.)

And it also made me think - frozen food? Shouldn't she buy the ingredients and make it herself, if she really cares about these people? I mean, who knows what evil chemicals are in Red Baron frozen pizza and "pan pasta"?!

The initial outlay for pizza ingredients will cost more or about the same as a ready made one, but they never factor in the time when it comes to "oh, just make it yourself so you don't get those nasty chemicals in your body!" My time is worth something. The only time mentioned is the time in the oven. I'm sure some cookbooks do mention the full prep time... but if it's too long, is it even worth it? Time is a form of expense as well.

Racialicious has a new post up about "sustainable food" and how it is seeped in more than just able-bodied and ... um.. time? privilege.
Sustainable Food and Privilege: Why is Green Always White (and Male and Upper-Class)

We'd all like to eat the "healthiest" "best" food, but you know what, it's not practical for most Americans. It's not practical for me and my family at all - the cost alone keeps us out of that club. Not to mention, I'm in pain. A lot. So maybe I could fiddle around and make something - but making food should be fun! - but I shouldn't be required to.

And I do worry about the environment, but I have to take my medication, I have to be alive. (Or I won't get to see Kites this weekend! Hrithik on the big screen! BYODB - Drool Bucket.)

So I take pride in what I do - putting a plastic bottle or paper in the recycling bin on campus. Or eating fruit. I refuse to feel guilty for what I could have done, I only focus on what I can do. I know, I'm supposed to be a tree-hugger, but I'm allergic to them and one of our trees has termites so I'll just gaze fondly at the trees right now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A little thought from a paper I never had to write.

See, I had to write this paper.

Only the pain was so bad I could barely think. And when it wasn't bad, I was sleepy or foggy. I was able to take my final - multiple choice - but not do the paper, which required abstract thinking. Normally, I can BS my way through something, but I couldn't even do that.

Luckily, I got above an 80 in the class without the paper, so I didn't have to do it. (It was my honor's course and to count as Honors, I had to get a B in the class. Honors classes count as my volunteer hours, and well, I can't do 75 hours before June 1st. I just can't do anything.)

Before that, I picked a topic (the Swiss minaret ban) and wrote out some topics while in class. (His powerpoints were always thorough and most of the test questions came straight from there, so I'd copy the powerpoint and then read. Or in this case, work on topics.)

The minaret ban in Switzerland is ridiculous and won't have much effect anyway, I think they had a rule about height in place. And the country only had 4. The imagery pissed a lot of people off - using minarets as guns piercing the Swiss flag, while a woman covered so only her eyes showed looked at you. Except that most of the Muslims in Switzerland are from Eastern Europe and don't wear the niqab or burka.

I also thought of the hijab ban in France and how assimilation is touted as the best way to be an immigrant - by not acting like one at all, forgetting your heritage. Here in the US, we screamed that forever, and now we wonder why the kids (always the kids) don't know about their heritage, oh boo hoo.

But I think that wearing a hijab and going to school or university or working or doing "French" things is a sign of good assimilation - look at me, I'm combining the old and new, a Muslimah can wear her hijab and still be French! Banning it is ridiculous.

Two fictional examples - Rayyan in the Canadian TV show Little Mosque on the Prairie wears the hijab. She's a doctor, she went to medical school. As it's a small town, she treats men and women. Very "Canadian," even with cloth on her head.

I just watched Kurbaan, and ugh, if you're Muslim, AVOID YAAR!!! Except for two women in the movie, they all wear hijabs and big dresses, very conservative. And basically say you can't wear the hijab and be a good Muslimah and work outside the home.

Contrast that with My Name is Khan - Rizvan's sister-in-law wears the hijab, works outside the home, and is more liberal than her husband (she attends Rizvan's wedding to a Hindu).

MNIK and LMOTP are more realistic - you don't have to abandon everything to become a "true" American or Canadian... or French.

Friday, May 07, 2010

I like today's Garfield.

That is all.

The comic:

I am totally Garfield, and Jon is any one of the innocent people forced to interact with me.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Blogging Against Disablism Day 2010

Because of various issues related to my disability, I cannot sit down and write a post about Blogging Against Disablism Day or something in general, abstract. I cannot think properly due to pain and the side effects of medication.

So I'm throwing up a link to the site, which includes a round-up of various posts dealing with disabilities/chronic illnesses and how much society just SUCKS when dealing with them.

Blogging Against Disablism Day 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pajama Jeans and ableism

So I was wasting time, I mean, visiting other websites so I could learn more about the world. Wasting time.

One site I check out daily or so is Odee.com. It's like Cracked, only there's less funny commentary - most of the things presented in the lists are done without comment, or just a basic description. Like today's is a compilation of photobombs, and there is no writing, just the pictures and links to the sources.

Yesterday was "12 Strangest Jeans" and one of them really caught my attention and made me go, I want that!

Number 11 is "The Pajama Jeans" and the write-up isn't very mean or anything -
Hate having to change out of your SpongeBob pajamas when all you want to do is eat at the hotel's breakfast buffet before heading back to your bunk?

Of course, as a college student, I see nothing wrong with wearing said SpongeBob pants out and about. However, I am quite dignified and only wear my pj pants on Saturdays, my laundry day. I figure if they get dirty, no big deal. I thought it was funny last Saturday, as I walked towards and then with a big tour group - "Look, it's a college student in pajamas! Just like on the teevee!"

Right now I rotate weekly between a blue plaid pair with my name on the leg and a just a pair of black loose drawstring pants. My awesome neon green plaid pants (with a pocket!) had some holes in bad places, and I was mature enough to throw them out. (I did wear those to class maybe last spring or the fall before - I'd slept through my first class and it was 15 minutes or so into my French class. I threw my old ratty jacket on over my PJs and went to class. I wear a bra to bed, but it's looser than the ones I wear with clothes.)

Here is the infomercial:

I want these pants. I have 4 pairs of jeans - expensive, good quality, but I haven't worn them in at least a year due to pain. Yes, I'm fat and my weight has gone up, but even if I went out and bought jeans that fit (which is what I did with these 4), they'd still hurt because of the waistband. And if they didn't hurt, I'd be holding on to them because I didn't consult my male cousin on how to dress in jeans that are too big for your body.

I do not understand the hatred for sweatpants or yoga pants. When I think of sweat pants, I think of the sweat suits we wore in Iceland - cuffed at the leg and wrist, and purple (for me, I think) or pink.

I do not think of comfortable cloth pants that have a little flare at the end, like itsy bitsy bell bottoms.

I do not get the hatred for pants like that. If it's not khaki, denim, or part of a suit, it's either "yoga pants," "sweats," or "pajamas" and they are just icky. For the record, none of my pants have "juicy" across the butt.

Those kind of pants are very comfortable for me, due to my abdominal and pelvic pain. I imagine they're comfortable for other people with physical disabilities, any that would make buttoning/zipping a hassle, and people who have enough trouble getting dressed (for whatever reason) and want as few steps as possible.

So I want these pants. I don't have enough comfy pants, and I do miss wearing jeans and look! pockets! It's more variety in my wardrobe!

And not that's it anyone's business, but, despite the name, they would not be pajama pants. They're too fancy! When I don't have school, I try to get dressed. And it's important to have a division between pajamas and "dressed" clothes, especially since most of my pajamas are "dressed" clothes, just in different colors. (Bra*, panties, pants/shorts, t-shirt/tank top) It's an important thing, part of a ritual, and also important when depression has me in its grip. "Look, I got dressed! I did something!"

So I googled pajama pants, because the link was just a site saying "Hey, check these out!" The first link was to the official website, the second to the commercial, and the third, ooh, the title alone pissed me off, I just had to click on it. It said "What do 'pajama jeans' say about Americans?"

I knew the answer - we're fat and lazy - before even clicking. But I had to.

First of all, he says they seem like a "hoax" SNL commercial.

He then quotes another crueler blogger who says that the pants say, "I'm an idiot who can't deal with even the most mundane of day-to-day adult responsibility like a pair of jeans that are secretly pajamas."

And they're lumped in with the snuggie and footie pajamas (not for me, my feet always got too hot) as a sign of how lazy and indulgent we are, because we need even more things for lounging around the house in.

Plus, these are expensive, at $40 US. I say if they last and they're comfy, they're not too expensive.

I can't figure out where this guy is going - we're lazy and we're so lazy we're going to spend $40 on pajamas that look like jeans.

The ableism is there the whole time, and he does call the pants "crazy" (as opposed to expensive velour sweats) because they are pajamas.

But the final sentence pissed me off so much.

Exactly. If you can't get out of your pajamas to go out of the house, and have to buy pajamas that look like jeans, then don't leave the house.

Excuse me, I should not even leave the house? Well, fuck you very much Aaron Crowe.

Oh, no, I just had to keep looking. The comments at another site are disgusting - sizeist (only gross fatties wear sweats), classist (it will free up space in the trailer... WTF?), and just ugh.

The actual post is disgusting on its own, the comments just make it worse. (Though yay for the people saying, nope, I disagree those look comfy.) These pants make the author ANGRY and that you need to GROW UP because you are DOING SOMETHING WRONG if you even think of wanting these. (All caps his.)

The ableism and privilege on display at these two sites are disgusting.

And no one has told me why wearing sweats out and about is so disgusting. They cover everything (including my pale, hairy legs) and they're not going to attack you in your $100 designer jeans and make you look like me. People associate them with sleep (which is gross, I guess?) or exercise (so you sweat) and assume that if you wear them anywhere but bed or the gym, that you're too lazy to change. Because they know everything about you! Assumptions are fun, y'all!

And aren't skinny pants and leggings worse on a "bad pants" scale? Sweats are loose, but leggings can give you "moose knuckle" or "camel toe". Not that I care, no one's forcing me to wear them, and no is forcing you to wear sweats.

I wasn't paid by anybody to write this (one day... nah, never going to happen), but I seriously want a pair of these. XL, in case the pajama jeans people are reading.

*Anyone ever hear you can't wear a bra to bed or your boobs will stop growing? I wish. Something that isn't a myth but drives me up the wall is body hair and shaving. I don't shave my legs - it's too much hassle, hello I can't see! But there are parts on my calves where I did shave a few times, and you can tell the difference because the hair that grew back is indeed a different texture and a bit darker. Considering how pale my legs are, it really stands out. But I don't care. As for pits? I've been shaving them for years, and those hairs definitely come back jet black and hard.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Medication for Bipolar Disorder and TV Shows

Disclaimer - I am not saying people should be forced to take medication. I am talking about my experience with one drug and my objections to how my situation (and part of my life) is portrayed on TV.

I have bipolar disorder.

It's never been formally diagnosed, and I haven't taken an internet test to "prove" it. I just know. It's more than "just" depression.

I started a new medication about a month ago. My doctor said it was anti-seizure, and he wanted to see if it would work on my pain, since my pain is most likely nerve-related, and I'm pretty sure nerves have something to do with seizures. (But I'm not a doctor!)

I asked at FWD if anyone had any experience on it. (I know, I won't look up a new drug, but I'll ask people online. I don't understand it either. I'm weird.) One person said it had been prescribed for their moods, not pain, and it was working. *file info away for later*

It's done zilch for my pain. The last two weeks have been hell, as has the last month and the month before... the pain's getting worse.


It has worked on my mood swings. I saw the prescribing doctor today and I was trying to describe the continued effects and one word I used was "stable" as in, I'm stable. He said that was key, that was very important. It makes me happy to see and feel the results of a medication, particularly a daily one. (I can tell when the benadryl workzzzzzzzz.)

I've been on anti-depressants for a few years, and Clonazepem, which is a something or other.

But this is the first time I've noticed a real change. Actually, I didn't notice until Mom pointed out that I had changed, and then I was like huh, so I have.

Before, it was like... possession. Now, when I get angry or sad, it's organic. (Weird way to put it, it's all in my head anyway.) In 2006, I had my first bout of suicidal ideation. The best term for the thoughts was "alien," even though I still don't fully understand what I meant or what those thoughts meant.

But with my mood swings, the "alien" idea made more sense. A better metaphor is a switch. A switch is flicked, I get so pissed off. Switched again, I don't want to do anything. Switched again, back to baseline. No control. Which got a bit annoying, because I'd be mad at somebody. They'd get mad at me for being mad at them for no reason. Then I'd get mad at them for being mad at me when I had no control over the original anger!

Now, the part about TV. People who have bipolar disorder on cop shows never want to take their medication because it puts them in a fog, or they can't feel anything. (Also, people with "TV schizophrenia" do this as well.)

I can't speak for anyone but myself, because nobody is alike, and no brain is either. You may react to this same drug in a horrible way, I don't know.

I just don't like the dominant storyline that medications for bipolar disorder are inherently bad. One blog post won't dispel the myth, but I really wanted to write this.

Another metaphor - I was the rope in a tug of war, being jerked from side to side. Or I was in my sister's car. Zing!

ETA: Another problem with the dominant cultural storyline is that it leads to fear of medication (again, not pushing it for everyone), fear of even trying it, and assumptions made about bipolar people who do choose medication. Perhaps if the narrative was more realistic, people would be less afraid to admit they have bipolar disorder. I mean, I'm taking a big risk by saying it here. Depression is gradually being accepted, I feel, though some people will say one day, "I understand" and the next tell you to just smile. Sigh.

Monday, April 05, 2010

How 'bout them Yankees?

Oh yeah, that's right. They lost. To the RED SOX!!!!! Go Sox, boo Yankees.

I know some people who like the Yankees. They're good people otherwise, but they need to be deprogrammed soon.


"Do ya feel it? It's like a dahk, smelly cloud descended on us, somethin' rotten... somethin...


Confused pause from the man who does NOT get it.

"Ok, I give up."

"The Yankees opened the season at Fenway Pahk last night."

An ass-kicking at Shea would be cruel, but I forgot the name of the Yankees stadium. But having them here in Boston? GO SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Memphis has the RedBirds and they get/give players to the Cards in St Looey. But Atlanta's just as close And what about Houston? All we have professionally are the Grizzlies and they suck. We did jump on the XFL bandwagon, because we're effing geniuses.

College? All the college football players go to Knox if they stay in state. The basketball players come here but Calipari cursed us and now we'll never enter the playoffs again! (My mom will see this and demand to know where a pic of Pastner is. Her latest crush.)

Friday, April 02, 2010

More school paper news!

They did publish quotes from my letter and the phone interview in an article about the school elevators. (We're getting 2 million US$ over the summer for fixing, but no new ones.

I don't feel comfortable posting a link to the article here, because my last name is used.

The last student quoted pissed me off, so I wrote another letter to the paper!

Here is what she said (emphasis mine):
Senior PRE-MED major X said she believes students without disabilities should use the elevators as little as possible and reserve them for those who absolutely need them, especially when traversing up or down a single floor.

My response, and I forgot to ask, who determines who "absolutely" needs the elevator? I mean, I can physically take the stairs, why should I use the elevator? Guilt is no fun!

My letter (name changed because I'm not a jerk)

X's ableist comments in today's article about the elevator cannot go without comment, especially as she is pre-med! We do not need more doctors with attitudes like that.

I use the elevator to go up one floor all the time. It is what is best for me. I have an invisible disability. I am not going to wear a sign saying that, so you have no idea.

I used to live on the 3rd floor of Richardson and felt retroactively guilty for all the times I took it once I moved to the 9th. But now I don't. Some days the stairs would not be a good option for many valid, medical reasons. Sometimes I was lucky, and the elevator opened as I passed. Laziness is not a crime.

Also, how are non-disabled people supposed to move in or out if they only live on the 2nd floor?

I know X, she lives on a high floor, so she has a "right" to use the elevator, even if she's perfectly healthy.

She is not alone in her views, because I have seen disgusting ableist and sizeist graffiti in the RTN elevators by the 2nd floor button. The worst said "Get Yo Fatass on the stairs," while the other merely said "don't touch this" with an arrow. Because no one comes down from the 10th floor to the 2nd.

I wanted to respond, "Get your butt on the stairs if the elevator stopping at floors bothers you."

I used to sigh a bit when it stopped at the 2nd floor, but now I don't. People don't know me and they don't know my whole complicated health problems. Who am I to judge? It's too much energy to do that, and it's pretty useless.

All I can do is correct people, like I did this week when (after the offender got off) a girl said to me, I hate it when people take it the 2nd floor. I told her we don't know that girl's story, there are many good reasons to take the elevator, even if you don't "look" disabled.

I hope the campus becomes more physically accessible, but I also hope that ableism (discrimination against people with disabilities) becomes part of the annual "Why do you hate me?" week.

I forgot to add, and it's something I've often wondered, why don't people like X and the graffiti girls and other bigots make it so the elevator does not stop at the lower floors. (Use the guidelines post-fire alarm - girls who live on 2-5 take the stairs, 6-10, the elevator.) Surely there are enough bigots in power. Oh wait, a girl who uses a wheelchair (and sometimes a walker) lives on the 2nd floor. We'll just move her up to the 6th, except the elevators don't work anymore. Whoops.

Eff that noise. X's privilege is showing - she is able-bodied, to my knowledge, and she has "elevator" privilege, living high up in the Tower, so she can take the elevator, but no one on the 2nd floor should. Bull. Shit.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I love voting.

When I voted with my mom in 2004 (pressing the Kerry button), I'd learned so much since the last national election that even though I couldn't vote as I was 16, it was still an awe-inspiring moment.

My ancestors, and most of my relatives today, are not rich.

I will never own property.

I will never be a man.

But I still get to vote.

This fact must explain my behavior when I voted early in 2008. I didn't have anything to read and no ipod or mp3 player, but I wasn't bored in a bad way. And I was so excited when I got to vote.

I think of all the fights that guaranteed my right to vote, and the even worse fights for the POC next to me, and it makes me proud to vote. Even if my vote "doesn't matter" because we are in Tennessee. I still voted.

I will be voting this November. I did vote in 2006, but it was by a mail-in ballot, so not that same sense of something important.

I am not saying you should vote for democrats in November (or in 2012) - though that would be awesome!

All I'm saying is that most of us couldn't vote when this country was founded, and we can now. We should exercise that right.

(Yeah, not timely, but whatever. It's still something I'm in awe of, even months away from an election.)

ETA: Perhaps the inspiration was the census. I looked forward to it so much, I am participating, I will be counted! And it took about 5 seconds longer than voting itself (not counting the line). They didn't even ask what TV shows I watched. Just name, race, address, boring. But I'm part of our democracy, I get to be a part!

It doesn't take much to excite me.

By the way, a form I have to fill out for a new doctor - no excitement. Snore.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another letter to the school paper!

Speaking about money issues, this school does not go out of its way to be accessible to students with disabilities.

The elevator in Dunn is still broken, the 3rd floor is still inaccessible, and Dunn has some very steep, vertigo-inducing stairs.

Today, I was in Jones, luckily only on the first floor. Because their ONE elevator is broken as well. They say it may be fixed by next week, but it shouldn't be broken with no alternatives.

Too many buildings on campus have just one old elevator. The dorms aren't much better - in Richardson, one is constantly broken and there have been times when both are broken.

Last week, I was in the brand new waste of money called the UC, and the big glass elevators in the center were, you guessed it, broken. There are others in the UC, making it an exception. Too bad we don't have class there.

One thing we must do in addition to fixing the elevators in Dunn and Jones is adding a second one. Do you know what it's like to feel stranded because the elevator is broken and you're in too much pain to walk down 3 dizzy flights of stairs?

Also, the school does not help those with mobility issues who do not need a wheelchair. Sometimes, I cannot walk because of my pain. But if it's before 6pm and I need to get to class, I'm SOL.

Finally, people who park in front of the curb cuts are not disciplined enough, because they keep doing it. They are so important they can just impede a person's progress because they couldn't be bothered to find a legal parking spot?

This school's priorities disgust me sometimes.

Dunn's second floor is accessible through the building next door, but it doesn't really help me when I'm trying to conserve energy and move as little as possible, because I have to walk the length of the psych building twice.

I'll let you know if there's a response.

There's been some recent back and forth - a student wrote in decrying the waste of money that is the UC (and more proposed renovations - but only for dining stuff, because it's from Aramark so the money can't be used in a sensible way) and the lack of books in the campus library. An official wrote back (in the paper) saying, Aramark blah blah we do our best go Tigers. Another student's letter was published today saying, essentially, So? We don't pay our professors well, we don't use our money wisely.

I wonder if mine will be published.

ETA: I got a call on my (now MIA) phone today. The letter won't be published.

Because they're doing an article on the subject. Parts of my letter will be used in the article, along with the short phone conversation.


ETA2: Paper's out. The letter is printed. But someone did call me, and my phone number isn't on my FB or anything, it was with the letter form. Maybe they didn't have room, who knows?

Some culture

I have to give a presentation tomorrow on something related to 18th century France. Last time it was 17th century France and I did architecture and discovered I loved making powerpoints. I wish I could go back to all the classes I've had where I could have used a powerpoint and make them! So much fun. I am easily amused.

Anyways, I'm doing it on a rococo style painter, Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun. Yes, she was a female painter. She painted men as well as women for portraits, and did a few of Marie Antoinette.

But my favorite painting is this one:

It's a painting of an actress called Giuseppina Grassini. I just love this painting.

Another piece of art I fell in love with this weekend while studying is the Minoan Snake Goddess.

I am going to try to get a color copy of the painting and maybe a reproduction of the snake goddess? The school only prints in black and white and rococo is about pastels, soft colors, so some of the beauty would be lost in translation.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another aggravating school thing.

Though it doesn't make me angry because it's not shaming anyone.

Another fail that really grates (and I've never even taken a stats class!) are announcements and posters and boxes in the school paper about a survey, which shows that most Tigers don't drink to excess or smoke pot, basically that we are good kids and value our education and bodies. Except they put the number up on the signs saying "80 odd percent don't binge drink" and it's not even 1000 people. Our undergrad student body, according to wiki, is around 15,000 people. Grad students? 5,000. A tenth would be around 2000 people, and they didn't even get 900! And it would have been very easy to widen the net - we all have school e-mails and there are campus wide e-mails on a regular basis. Not everyone would respond, but it would probably be more than 800 odd students! Or maybe they truly got a random sample and didn't even need 1000 students. I guess it would take time to calculate all the answers. Perhaps they need money to do a yearly survey of students' alcohol and drug habits.

And we're broke.

"Long meals make (for) short lives."

I'm not sure on the exact wording, but I know it included "long meals" and "short lives". I don't remember if it was "Long meals make short lives" or "Long meals make for short lives."

Both on google turn up cookbooks and stuff on hair.

No picture. Hmm, I could take my laptop and lift the offending napkin holder up to its computer, but the place where I saw it is closed today and they may have removed it.

Basically, they used to insert ads for stuff on campus, especially food, on the sides of a the napkin holders. But now it's all "healthy" BS - stop eating you fattie, get healthy.

The quote is attributed to nobody but "a proverb." No sources!

Anyways, even if I could find said "proverb," I'd still be mad at the fat-shaming and food policing.

But what gets me - and makes me write a blog post about it - is that it makes no damn sense at all, outside of guilting fat students, thin ones, "average ones", and makes us really think about our food.

I like food because it tastes good and fills me up, and sometimes when I eat within 30 minutes of a pain pill, it helps the medication work better. The food also keeps me alive, as it does for everyone. Certain foods don't, depending on allergies or whatever, but we need food for living. Even zombies eat!

Anyway, here are the problems with the "proverb" -

No country or time given, so I assume it was a diet guru who said it.

When  proverbs were written or said, most people did not have access to excess food. It's only recently in human history that all classes can eat to gluttony. (While the relatively rich people of the world starve themselves.) And it's not even true across the world, or the country, or my state, my county, my city - I'm sorry, people have "food insecurity."

And mealtimes have long been considered important for socialization - and not just with the nuclear family. It's a way to schmooze, get free food (as a guest), get to know people, make business/political connections (even back in Roman/Greek times). Mealtimes are important.

"Long" meals are important as well. When my family (after the divorce, when he was still there it was compulsory. If he showed up, we'd all scramble to make it look like we never left the table.) eats at the table, be it at home or at a restaurant, we take longer than when mom makes a pot of delicious mac and cheese and we come and go as we please. We talk about things. That is considered a good thing, especially as your children get older. It's a way to connect and be a family. Of course, it's not the only way, but it's a good routine way, and I think calling it bad is just wrong. And then there's dinner with friends or extended family, the plates are empty, but who cares, we're busy yakking.

Another thing that makes a meal "long" is taking your time, which is often encouraged for a number of reasons, but I'm sure it's been encouraged as a way to lose weight, because everything you do either makes you gain weight and become a bad person or makes you lose weight and become a good one.

The so-called proverb makes no damn sense if you think about it, which I believe we're supposed to do. FAIL

ETA - do check out The Fat Nutritionist website.

ETA2 - I saw it again, and I was totally wrong. "To lengthen your life, shorten your meals." Google turned up nothing, with "to lengthen your life" - except 7 foods to lengthen your life.

ETA3 - looking it up with the quotation marks turned it up, but no source besides "proverb." The first result - not linking to such a hate-filled site, is called
"Weight loss with your food addiction" And it's under "diet" quotes and proverbs, but no damn source, country, or time.

So I was wrong about the quote, they did find it somewhere, but the analysis still stands. It's bullshit.

A little pain anecdote

It's only painful for you because my writing is so bad.

So last week, I did a lot of work to make sure I'd be comfortable while watching Chandni Chowk to China. I know, all the work for an Akshay Kumar action movie that was panned? (Well, I enjoyed it.) I had to show gori Bollywood support.

The undoubtedly busy and overworked SAC (student activities council, I think) offered to bring in a different chair when the movie would be screened in a meeting room with uncomfortable looking chairs (it was locked, so all I saw were straight backed misery makers), and to take PICTURES of said chairs and e-mail them to me, to make sure they were okay. The movie was moved to a theater, but they still sent pictures.

The movie was at 7 and Tiger Patrol starts at 6pm. Tiger Patrol is for safety - they run from 6pm until 2am. I wish they were 24/7 or 24/5, but I'm sure it has to do with money. You can walk with someone (safety in numbers, I guess) or ride on a golf cart. The previous times I've used Tiger Patrol, I've always ridden in a cart. So I called them after 6, asking if I could be guaranteed a golf cart, because it hurt too much to walk.

"If it hurts, shouldn't you call an ambulance?"


"It's chronic, blah blah blah."

So I rode in a golf cart.

Also, always timely, I was thinking about those full body scanners at airports as part of security theater. They just see through your clothes, not through your body, and no one's stuffed stuff up orifices. Once the butt plug bomber tries (and fails), they'll add in full-on X-rays. Something embarrassing? It can't see through fat folds, so I could stick a plastic knife in my bra and it would be hidden under my boobs.

On a personal level, I don't care, I will fly naked, just let me read my book and listen to my music. I really love flying - it's so much fun once you're up there. (I want to visit a nudist colony or resort.)

On a more rational holy shit what is wrong with this country, I oppose them and will go through the longer metal detector line.

Why don't I give a damn?

Because when I was 15, I had a hideous skin infection on my butt. MY BUTT. And my dermatologist was an old man. And if I wore clothes below the waist, they were ruined. And there were some doubters (dad and/or his mom) who had to see. "Come see the living infection!" Too bad mom didn't charge them for a peek. I was also on heavy painkillers so I didn't care.

The first time I was on painkillers was post thyroid removal. So this was the first time I was on them for more than a week or so and I wasn't used to them like I am now, which involves changing meds and increasing dosages and worries about addiction until holy shit it hurts I am going to rip the lamp from the wall - I don't know why lately that has been my desire when the pain grabs my by the stomach and won't let go, I wrap my fingers around the edge. I mean, I get holding onto my head or rubbing my eyebrows so much they hurt later, well not really, but sometimes the pain makes me all Hulk-y.

Anyway, I'm pretty blase about people seeing my body. To my sister's chagrin. I have shorts that are just longer than underwear that I never wear anywhere and only wear when I'm hot (oh that narrows it down) but does she want me sitting around in just my panties? And why are panties so much more scandalous than a bathing suit bottom? Eh, I tried swimming in the hotel pool this summer and realized I couldn't because I still use my fingers to plug my nose and there's a piercing in the way. Oh well, less chances to turn into a lobster.

Sunburn! Tore my back up but good in June 04. The first real day of vay-cay, we're at the beach, settled into the condo, I'm playing and having so much fun until little Miss Kill Joy shrieks at me, "Kaitlyn you're so RED!" Suddenly, PAIN!!!! Salt water, sand help help help. So I spent most of the days with no top on and later with no bra on under a big loose shirt.

Just no shame, whatsoever.

Oh, after spring break, I talked to a girl whose hand was burnt, but only on the top and it stopped below her wrist in a sharp line. When I asked how that happened, she said she forgot to put sunscreen on it. Needless to say, I put sunscreen on, but never enough and never often enough so the first day of any swimming/outdoors summer thing ends with me burnt to a crisp. The next day, if it's not too bad, I can swim with a t-shirt on, like I did at camp. Ooh, sunburn while camping - fun. Actually, the sleeping bags made of nylon (smooth, like a windbreaker or something) rather than warm cloth ones actually felt nice. I remember lying with nothing on my back (in the tent of course!) with my back against the sleeping bag. It helped some, but waking up in a ball in the corner never did. (I'd fall asleep on the air mattress but rarely wake up there.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Just a short Friday post

I am in love with the TV show Dexter. So addictive and so good.

Yet another show where I sympathize with people I loathe - cops.

The first 2 seasons are streaming on Netflix, and somebody mentioned it on another website, so I was like what the hey, just watch the pilot, if you hate it, no matter. But no it was a cliffhanger. So I had to watch the next one!

I'll always watch it on DVD, because it's not on basic cable. What is on basic cable is Mad Men. The DVDs are available, but I wish at least the pilot was streaming, so I could know if I wanted to watch it. I don't want to jump in, and since I don't watch AMC, I don't see the promos.

Couple of things I like about the show, like a lot:

They're in Miami. They sweat. Maybe they film there (don't want to look up too much - only four episodes in, while I don't mind a movie being spoiled, I'm not ready for a TV show spoiler!) and it's natural. Or maybe they're spritzed with cold water before a shoot. Either way, it's realistic.

Another realistic part - Dexter is a CSI. But he doesn't go around solving crimes - the cops and detectives do. The cop parts seem very realistic - dull assignments, office politics. Not what you see on CSI unless an actor is quitting. (I don't watch CSI that much and have abandoned the L&Os.)

Finally - Dexter is adopted. He does call his dad by his first name sometimes, but beyond that, it's pretty obvious that they are setting it up so that Dexter is part of the family. In the 4th episode, in a flashback, his (adopted) dad says, "This is where my dad, your grandfather worked." He didn't have to say the part I emphasized, but it's another way of showing that Harry saw Dexter as a "real" son.

This is so refreshing because people who've adopted are asked if they're going to have "real" kids, even today.

I just like it.

What I don't like? The opening credits! Ewwwwwwwwww

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Some money saving advice

Well, it only applies to Netflix users.

I'm always curious about others' experience with Netflix, and tonight I googled "is netflix worth it."

On this website - A site called Thrifty Fun and page is called "Is Netflix worth it?" - there is a reply from someone who loves the streaming (as do I, though I can't wait until subtitles/CC are available on all of them!) and is thinking of buying the 100 US$ device, but is worried that when technology changes (as is its wont), the box may be useless.

I thought about this (not the obsolescence, but the price) and I realized that our TV is pretty new (bought in Fall 2007 or after) and hey, my laptop has this thing and so does the TV, maybe they can be hooked up!

A quick googling later, and yes, they can. I even called Netflix to make sure it was kosher. (Maybe the wouldn't play, I don't know.)

I bought a TV this week (HD! a remote! CC available!) for only 150 US$. It's not tiny, about 15 inches, but it is easier to carry than the old one Goodwill will probably throw out soon. That one was 3rd hand - my sister's friend had it, than my sister, than I took it. It had 2000 etched on the back, among the other technological info, so it wasn't that old. It had an attached VCR that declared it was dying by, you know, eating tapes (FSM bless CDs and DVDs!). It had no remote. But what was bad was the volume was iffy, and hitting the down button under the word volume could lead to a number of things - making the channel go down, nothing, putting up some bizarre menu or something that required turning off the TV, and sometimes making the volume go down. It did have a major plus (my new one has this too) - I could hook up headphones and watch Bollywood into the wee hours on a screen smaller than my laptop, but dammit, it was on the TV without bothering anyone.

Now your TV needs a VGA port

And I think many new ones do - probably for video games. It also needs a headphone jack or anything saying audio in.

Then you get yourself a VGA cord or cable and an audio cable that goes from the headphone jack on your computer to the audio in on the TV. This is much cheaper than any streaming device (unless you already have the video game system that plays them in which case never mind) - I think I paid maybe $30 at RadioShack, and I needed their help because I got the wrong cord for the audio - the image showed up, but no sound.

I think Netflix is worth it, but I have a relatively new passion in my life that revolves around movies - Bollywood and foreign films. I think Netflix is best if you're a so-called "niche" viewer like me, and the turnaround is so cool. When I get an apologetic e-mail because a movie will be late, it arrives a day later or maybe 2 days later than the other ones. The horror! I send it in on Monday, I get an e-mail on Tuesday, and I have new movies on Wednesday. Even if it took an extra day, it would still be worth it to me because I get to try out so many movies without paying for them and regretting it (looking at you Maqbool and Mohabbatein - at least the latter has SRK, Aish, and pretty songs!). It would not be worth it for my mom, though she "requests" some movies, "if you don't mind" (I don't). If we end up living together as some wacky single ladies in the pacific northwest, we'll probably share the account. Or she'll tell me about some movie she may want to see, can you look it up for me? I've seen posts at BollyWhat from people sharing with non-Bollywood fans and those people are none to pleased with the changed recommendations or the Bollywood all over both Instant and regular queues.

RedBox seems to risky for me - if I didn't want to see it in theaters, I can wait. If I loved it enough when I did see it in theaters, I can buy it. Plus, it's all machine. Too many people have been billed because the machine never read the movie as turned in. And it just seems a waste of money - a dollar a night, what if you forget? Yes, if I hold on to my movies for a couple weeks, I'm not using my plan (3 at a time) to the fullest, but I still get charged the same amount a month.

And RedBox has a shitty foreign selection. Bah.

So my point is, if anyone reads this - I am no computer expert, but I was able to do this. Just some googling and some helpful people at the store is all you need, knowledge-wise. And a laptop, or a TV right next to the desktop.

And they had an adapter if your TV didn't have a VGA port, but it costs as much as a Netflix box. So meh.

One reason I'm really excited about my new TV is that over the summer break, I can watch Instant movies on my TV in my bed (like I'll be up there in that oven!). No, I think what we buy (or inherit/swipe from the house) in college is often our furniture in our first post-college place. And I don't need a big place, I don't have a big TV, but it has a remote*, and can be hooked up to my laptop.

Two shiny toys in one semester. Okay, my laptop isn't as shiny because of fingerprints, and I swear I will either take it with or me or order a cover from HP's site. Or I could do what I did with my old one and slap stickers all over it. The big Obama bumper sticker helped a lot. Also, it was a different material.

ETA - forgot the link, after I went through the trouble of describing it!

And I forgot to finish my thought.

*The TV we had for the longest time did not have a remote. It was huge and I loved it, but remotes are recent things for the TVs in our house - the VCR, DVD players, and cable boxes all had remotes, but you still had to... get up... to turn it on or off. And I don't remember if the cable volume buttons always worked.

So I'm like some stereotypical post-Communism girl going "real blue jeans!" I remember this from some YA book about Romania set pre-dissolution and pre-Ceauşescu's death. (I learned about him from a comic. Nasty fellow.)

Remote controls - despite the fact that I was born in '88 - have not been a big part of my TV life, especially those stretches without cable. The one we had in Iceland in 92-94, we kept until it died a few years back. Or we got rid of it. Anyways, no remote (and not much selection up on top of the world), but hooked up to cable or DVD, remote.

And for the last two and a half years, I've had a remote for my DVD player (only bought last spring) and nothing for the TV. With the shaky volume control, and my laziness/pain, it could make turning on the TV a pain in the ass, because I couldn't just mute it when done. I do have headphones that hooked up like I said, so I could leave it on with them plugged in and turned off (so as to not waste the battery). I spent the first semester (a relatively pain-free one) putting the heavy TV on an old TV table (meant for dinners, folded up nicely beside my bed) and plugging in my mp3 player headphones, so I was a foot away from the TV! Not my brightest moment, considering we had the headphones that let you move at home before then. (You can mow the lawn and listen to pandora if you're like my mom and not comfortable with portable music players. Plus, they could get sweaty or died green, like mowing shoes.)

I'm painfree, should be asleep, and chatty as all get out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Daily Helmsman pissed me off today.

I can't find the article on their website.

The article is basically fine - trying to start a "safe space" for GLBTQ students on campus.

Apparently, when students "expressed discomfort in class at the discrimination, they were sent to psychological services."

That is a terrible thing - homosexuality was removed from the DSM, remember? It's bad thing because queer kids aren't getting what they need, not because psych services are necessarily bad.

But the following quote was the one above the fold in big bold letters, so that's what I saw when I grabbed the paper.

"Going to the psychology building to say you're gay is like going to say you're crazy."

I'm e-mailing the paper and thinking of looking up the quoted student (a freshman, so she doesn't know any better) but damn, Talk about an insult. (I won't contact her.)

Here's the letter I'm sending:

The article in Friday's paper was hurtful and offensive. It is wrong to send GLBTQ students to psychological services, not because needing psychological services is something to be ashamed of, but because it is outdated thinking on the part of the school, and does not help our GLBTQ students at all.

However, I grabbed the paper today and staring me in the face was the pull quote.

"Going to the psychology building to say you're gay is like going to say you're crazy."

I go the psychology building. I get therapy there. There is nothing wrong with being crazy. The ablist tones in the article were disgusting.

There is no safe space or student group for students who are neuroatypical, who suffer from depression.

I support gay rights in any way I can, but I can't be quiet when I'm insulted. I am crazy, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Oh - their website - The Daily Helmsman

ETA - article is finally up - Students seek LGBT safe zone

And I got an e-mail response to my letter. My concerns are "invalid" and they didn't mean to insult people with mental health problems, so it won't be published.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

With God on Our Side

I heard this song at the end of Constantine's Sword, a great documentary (available instantly from Netflix if you're curious and have an hour and a half to kill).

This is not the Bob Dylan original, but the cover by Aaron Neville. I love his voice.

Oh my name it is nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
l’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that the land that I live in
Has God on its side
Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side
Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
l’s made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side
Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead
When God’s on your side
When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side
I’ve learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side
But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side
Through many dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side
So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Today's Baby Blues is awesome

The comic:

First panel: Hammie is taking some books from a librarian who is behind a desk. She says, "There you are. These are due back in 21 days." Hammie says, "Okay."

Second Panel: Hammie is carrying his stack of books and walking next to Zoe who has none. Hammie says, "I hope I can finish all these by then." Zoe tells him, "You have to."

Third panel: Hammie says, "What?" Zoe says, "Your library card states that you must read every word of every book by the due date.... or else!" Her eyes are closed, the image of a knowledgeable person.

Fourth panel: Hammie's eyes are huge. He protests, "But these are CHAPTER BOOKS!" Zoe, looking up and away, as if at an adult, asks, "Have you ever seen such huge biceps on a librarian?"

For the record, I never believed this. I frequently check out stacks of books and sometimes go through them outside and turn them back in (the drive-up box). But I had my first encounter with late fees a couple years and I was so freaked out, a day late, and it was 25 cents. That's it?

This made me laugh.

In other comics news, the latest Funky Winkerbean storyline, dealing with Wally's PTSD (we'll finally find out where he was for 10 years, I assume) is not making me laugh. I'm fine with soap strips, but FW is disturbing me. The parts where he freaked out at his daughter's basketball game and his old girlfriend found a gun under his pillow? Too many people talk about how unfunny Funky is, but this shit is disturbing, especially in comic form (and FW is drawn in a comic style, not a soap-y one). It would have a trigger warning and be under a cut at any good website.

ETA: A thought about why this storyline is so disturbing - it's dealing with PTSD. A psychological thing. Is he going to be institutionalized? (=am I again?) I really don't like this. I want smirks and cancer cancer cancer. Incest cancer?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I may or may not have spent the weekend at home with my fuzzfaces.

The last couple of days have been interesting. I woke up because I had to barf at early o'clock Sunday morning, shouted at my doctor Monday morning, and got back to campus in time to discover my class was canceled.

Now I just need a snow day.

Spring break in 2 weeks, ya'll! I've got a 6 page paper to write before then for a class where I don't take notes or do the readings. I am good at BSing, though.

My sister will be in Florida, I will be chez moi, playing with puppies and watching Jeopardy with my mommy. Yeah, I am that awesome.

Saturday, it was nice, so I sat outside to finish Maximum City (good book, but he's so blase about meeting SRK! And Hrithik and and and!) and had Wickett claim my lap. Mom looked out the window and thought he was quite ridiculous looking.

Mikey was jealous, as is his wont.

Dixie sat in the sun, rolled on her back, and enjoyed life, as is her wont.

Wickett let me pet him then yelled when I moved because he is a silly little brat and I miss him.

Getting the F over one's self.

Yesterday, my mom got lost. (For any relatives who still stick around, take a minute to go "Duh.")

She saw an international grocery store, and it said things like "Arabic" and "Indian" on the front window (along with Russian, Greek, so many countries!) and she knew I'd be excited.

I was. Especially since it's not far from my school.

My school is half in and half out of the bad/poor/black/poor black part of town. My white friend lives in a neighborhood filled with huge old growth trees and old postwar houses (some have these amazing pre-AC deep porches that make me want to become an architect. I'm weird) and lots of crime.

The grocery store is in that part.

Mom and I may have been the only white people in there, I was too busy looking for Bollywood DVDs only to be disappointed because my Arabic isn't that good and I forgot to check if they have English subtitles, something to look for next time!

The woman at the check-out was light skinned with an accent (from Ohio, I think she admitted that our winter was cold *Memphis snow day pride!*) and she didn't look at me like I was some weirdo for being white and buying something. I did, however, regret my 50 pounds of pennies when I learned they don't take cards. Mom ran out to get some cash.

I bought hummus and baklava. Someone brought hummus to my anthropology class last semester (3 hour night class, snacks about an hour in) and I loved it! I found the brand at Kroger, even in Tipton County. (Locals, locals, locals are you with me? Someone fetch the smelling salts!)

But then I read that the stuff here doesn't hold a candle to the real stuff. I remember the hummus from this cheap middle eastern restaurant, and bought the only container they had. It's decorated nicely with spices and ... green leaves? I am an American wuss and don't like it.

Oh well.

Anyway, to the title.

My sister went to the Wal-Mart in Raleigh by herself Friday evening, and felt so out of place because she was the only white person there!

When I went to the mall with her, she wouldn't let me go in a clothing store because it was for black people (bright colored t-shirts know no race!).

I always wanted to go back and go in there and find something pretty, but the malls are far away.

I don't think I'm the only white person at Bollywood movies, but when I arrived early for "New York" this summer, the only other people in the lighted theater were Indian. They wanted to make sure I was in the right place. (The movie was not advertised anywhere in the theater, you had to be in the know.)

I remember thinking about being the only white face at Dehli 6 a year ago, mostly because it was a 7 or 8 pm weeknight showing, and they wouldn't let us in the theater! So it's a bunch of Indian people and a girl in a Stanford hoodie (open so her SRK shirt shows) milling around. I felt more out of place because I was alone, and the themes in the beginning of the movie stressed family and friends.

My mom and I don't always see the same way on race, and my sister and I will never see eye to eye, but as we were driving through the old neighborhoods (not old money neighborhoods), she was talking about living there. (The porches! I love me a good porch!)

Maybe it was her time in Japan, maybe it was the military that opened her mind, because she is quite tolerant of my desire to wander through places like the international grocery store and that one in Knoxville, we looked for brands from Japan and I looked for the ones advertised on Bollywood DVDs. And with the Pepsi Throwback out (it has sugar, which improves the taste according to former Pepsi addict Mom), we are looking at foreign sodas. I got an orange one at a Mexican restaurant a couple weeks ago - no HFCS.

The one pity in all this? Neither of us are coffee drinkers (she likes the chocolate confections with a dash of coffee) so we can't test Arabic coffee! It's supposed to be stronger.

They not only had Nutella, they had other brands of hazelnut spread, oh drool.

Anyways, my point is be aware of your surrounding, but if you (and a companion) are the only whatevers in a group, get over it. Maybe you'll learn something.

Of course, my friend and I ate at some sub place a couple weeks ago, and she was like, "Kaitlyn, we're the only girls here." My response? "Stop taking us to gay bars, Elizabeth, and this won't happen!"

So yeah. Maybe it is white privilege that lets me wander around a Middle Eastern grocery in the poor part of Memphis (I haven't tried that baklava yet... this will be my third try. I keep hoping for the nirvana others talk about. Damn that stuff is rich!) um where was I going?

Happy Black History Month, ya'll!

I'm not going to the Civil Rights Museum because I cry and cry when I go, though I stop to gape at the conspiracies surrounding James Earl Ray (something ain't kosher, but still) and then continue crying. I don't know why.

I also cried during a video about the design of the Vietnam War memorial, but that was last semester which was an emotional roller coaster, so it may not count. But when I think of the memorial - of going there old enough to appreciate it - I start getting teary. And I lost no one in the fight.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An Assamese Song

I'm sorry I don't have any more information.

I think it's Assamese. That's all I've got.

Information about Assamese movies and music is very hard to find. Hindi? A breeze. Tamil? Still easy. Telugu? Yup. Kannada? A bit harder. Punjabi? Not too hard. Malayalam? A bit harder - and it doesn't help that spelling changes a lot, especially for non-Hindi films. (I'm sure they're spelled one way in Tamil/Telugu/Assamese/etc, but when they're transliterated, it all goes out the window. How many letters is needed?

I am feeling a bit stressed, because I am staring down the barrel of my own health insurance in about 18 months. If I go to PT tomorrow and they say yes, they think they can help, I could be seriously SOL. Not because I don't want it to work, but because it takes time, especially with something as murky as "feminine" problems possibly coupled with abdominal wall pain. So 6 months - no more pain! Or, er, try again? Except in 6 months, I'll be a year away from health insurance and the end of college (I hope). I won't have time for alternate ideas, like a hysterectomy. I can do one this summer, no problem. I don't think I'd have time next winter break (only 4-5 weeks), and next summer, I'd still be insured until August, except I can't have a lapse in coverage unless I'm incredibly rich, due to all my prescriptions, which require at least yearly visits to specialists. Oh well, with no insurance, I won't need referrals, so I can go straight to the specialist.

I seriously hate this country's medical industry. Health insurance should not be tied to your job (and your worth as a person shouldn't be tied to it either, but that's for another day) and the words "pre-existing condition" should not exist. Yes, I'll cost you money. No profit on the Kaitlyn file!

And since I hate this country, I'd love to move (except no more Netflix, first world sacrifices are hard) but what do I have to offer to Canada or the UK? Or Japan or France? Or any g-d country that takes care of its citizens? The quickest way to immigrate seems to be through work.

Let's look at that - I'd have to get a job and be good enough that they'd consider sending me overseas. I may get insurance (with high premiums) through this job. I can't work unless my pain is stable, and my pain isn't legally stable without insurance (or a lottery pay out).

Yes, I am an ungrateful little socialist brat. Most people have health insurance through work (their's, their spouse's, their parents) so they don't care. "I got mine, Jack, eff off!" I'm also selfish - "I DON'T got mine, Jack, help!" But by helping me, millions of others would get help.

I voted for Obama, so if I vote D in the midterms, I'll get insurance. (Of course Ds in Tennessee makes Rs look Democratic.)

So I've said it - I hate this place, I want to move. A little assistance, please? I mean, you'll be glad to be rid of me, since I'm such an ungrateful little commie.

It's really in all our best interest if I'm deported as soon as possible. My mom was in Canada and Japan before I was born, and I lived in Italy and Iceland as a child - pick one! Canada is my first choice, thanks!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Name Is Khan partial review

I'm terrible with reviews, we all know that.

And I can't talk about My Name is Khan as a whole without spoiling it, plus I'm never sure what is and what is not a spoiler, so here are my thoughts on what worried me the most going in. (Not terrorism, terrorism in America, or immigrants in America - that's been done so many times in Bollywood.)

The title character has Asperger's Syndrome (AS). The director is Karan Johar - I've seen most of his movies and love them (Dostana is hilarious, though clearly in a parallel America where a man in a military uniform can admit to being gay!), but other people paid to review films don't always love his movies. They are emotionally manipulative, and subtle as a two by four upside your head. But some things don't need to be subtle. Plus, (for me) it was a good cry. I identified with these fictional characters and cried, I didn't have flashbacks to bad times like I did with Taare Zameen Par (which dealt with dyslexia).

Anyways, this will be the third time I've posted these comments. I originally posted them in the Chatterday open thread at FWD because another commenter asked for my thoughts.

Then I c&p'd it for Bollywhat when someone asked in the spoiler thread how AS was treated.

I haven't read professional reviews, but I have read what other members of BollyWHAT have said about the movie. It's not universally loved, but everyone loved SRK's performance and the problems in the movie have nothing to do with AS and how it's portrayed, but other things.

Here is what I wrote soon after seeing it:

Onto the Asperger’s Syndrome. Rizvan Khan (SRK) takes the time in the first half to introduce himself to the people at Mandira’s (Kajol) job – this is what he has, this is who it’s named after, he is not “pagal”, he is smart. At one point, Mandira tells him to stop with this “loop” and the “encyclopedia.”

He takes things literally, which is why he’s doing what he’s doing – he can’t go home until he does what Mandira tells him to do. (which comes after a heart wrenching scene – so quiet in the theater) He hates the color yellow and loud sounds. He also repeats what people say when he can’t come up with something himself (especially related to emotions) or he reverts back to the encyclopedia.

He can repair almost anything, so his “genius” overshadows his brother, resentment, etc, but his mother loves him and gets him a private tutor because the other students at school are jerks.

We see two tools he uses so the world isn’t too much – ear plugs, of course, but a video camera, because as his SIL tells him (she teaches psychology and gets him an official diagnosis), it’s like the world is on TV, so it won’t be so scary. (This is soon after he moves to America, San Francisco, noise people noise!)

What was really touching was the disclaimer at the beginning – something like this is not the definitive behavior for AS, this is a fictional story about one man.

He is not cured, he does not “overcome” his disability, and he is the main character, he does not teach those around him to “live life to the fullest.” He does help people, but not because he’s autistic, but because he helps them. By doing things. Like… *drumroll* anybody else!

So there were some iffy moments (so much jammed in the last 30 minutes) but overall, a great movie and I think a great representation of somebody with Asperger’s.

And I thought it would be cool to put a kind of review on my blog.

The bolded part is the most important to me - PWD are inspiring just because they have disabilities in most pop culture narratives and movies. Rizvan is inspiring because of what he does, because of what happens to him, but not because he has AS.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Well, school started on the 14th.

I've had to drop one class because of health issues, which is never fun.

But we got a snow day today! It was so funny - the e-mails went out at 9 last night, and there wasn't snow on the ground yet. In fact, the e-mails said it was because of the 'warnings' that they were closing school. No snow on the ground at 8, but by 10:30 there was!

And in happy news, Scott Roeder, terrorist, was convicted of first degree murder for the assassination of Dr. Tiller. He shot the man in his church over the summer. Dr. Tiller was one of the few doctors out there providing so-called "late-term abortions." And before you go ew!, read the stories from his patients - these abortions were done to save lives, these were wanted children, and this was a lot of work. He was a good man. (I'm sorry, I can't find the link right now. They were heartbreaking.)

Scott Roeder is a horrible man and a terrorist. Never forget that.

Also -

barack obama
see more Political Pictures

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Wickett and his Fear

This was taken after he was forced to go inside the evil evil evil vet. Do you know what they did? Bathed him and dried him with a blow dryer. He was so fluffy and so cute! (But don't tell him that.)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

"It's from a movie!"

Today I needed a ride to my mom's job because my doctor appointment... blah blah blah.

I had to ride with Becky and her friend.

They watched "The Hangover" last night.

Within a couple minutes, Becky used the word "retarded" (or "retard") in a derogatory manner. ("That's so -" or "You're such a -") I objected and asked her not to use that word.

Her response?

"It was in the movie!"

It wasn't even a clever insult using derogatory, cruel language. Just a plain ol' insult. Used everywhere. (They also said other things from the movie about casinos - nothing funny to me, the third party who hadn't seen the movie. If you're going to quote a movie, shouldn't you use a funny or interesting quote to make somebody want to see it and not just go "Hee hee we have an in-joke!")

I didn't tell her this, because she doesn't care. But I wanted to say it. And hey, here's my blog. (She would see it if I said anything on Facebook.)

If you quote a movie, you are endorsing the use of the language in the quote. If I watched the Hangover and liked it, I would like it despite the use of the word "retarded." I would not go around using it, saying it's the movie. This was a phrase my sister liked and felt comfortable saying.

I can analyze a character's use of a word or bigoted thinking without endorsing it. (The difference between agreeing with the sexist BS on "The Simpsons" and analyzing it.) And I think that just repeating it is an endorsement. (Of course, you could be repeating it to go "WTFOMG can you believe they said that?" But that's not what happened.)

Another thing - using song lyrics as a status on Facebook, or anywhere else. My sister and my cousin and some friends do it all the time. I hate it. Some of the lyrics are disturbing, so my mom will ask her about it. "It's just a song!" If you felt comfortable enough to repeat it, you better be ready to explain it.

To sum up - do not hide behind the fact that you are using someone else's words when you say something offensive. You felt comfortable repeating it, that is the problem.

Mikey and his Snuggie

Yes, it is an official Snuggie brand Snuggie.

He adores it, or he doesn't mind it. He got so much praise when Beck put it on him!

It doesn't restrict his movement, though sometimes he freaks out because it's on his tail.

I bought it as a gag gift for Christmas. Maybe for Mikey, maybe for Wickett. Well, Mikey is shaved nekkid and he was helping us open presents, so he got it! Now he looks naked without it.

He is too much.

As for humans and Snuggies - Becky got a fashionable one - the zebra print one. She doesn't dance like they do in some of the ads, no matter how much I ask.