Blog abandonment

Oh, my poor, neglected blog. Like every paper journal, slam book, Open Diary, and Livejournal of mine to come before you, I am terrible at maintaining you. Now, I’ll promise to be more attentive and probably fail. I swear my relationships with actual humans are far more stable than with my blog.

A solid chunk of things have happened since my last post. I am one of those perpetually overscheduled people who optimistically talks about some amorphous future time when I won’t be so busy (summer/Christmas break/after this work event I’m planning/when that midterm paper is finished, etc.) so my excuse of “the last few months have been CRAZY” might ring hollow, but I’ll try to fill in the gaps nevertheless. Mostly for my own future edification because I’m pretty sure my handful of readers all know exactly what I’ve been up to.

I finished my first year of grad school. I love what I’m studying. I love my teachers. I don’t love the schedule. I am dreadful at balancing work and school. The coming Fall semester is starting to loom at me and I’m wishing the summer would slow down a little. This will be an interesting test of my maturity level because, unlike high school and college, I don’t have anyone telling me I’m obligated to go back, and unlike my first year, walking in sort of blind and naive and then just riding the momentum of delirium and scholastic nerdery through to the end, now I’m walking into the next semester knowing what’s waiting and having crawled out of the academic swimming pool (which I like but is HARD).  I’m going to do it. Yes I am. Deep breaths. I will just require some pats on the back for overcoming my intense inclination towards laziness.

Some of my dear friends opened a theater this winter. Arcade Comedy Theater has comedy of every kind (improv, stand up, variety, magic, music, etc.) and I’m on the main house improv team. Frankly Scarlett also performs there and I’ve organized a couple of side projects. What I’m saying is, I’m there a lot. It’s become a huge part of my life, artistically and socially. Arcade has sort of become our default clubhouse. If you’re reading this and I haven’t dragooned you into checking it out, yet, please do.

I celebrated my 30th birthday at Arcade with a full house.

I celebrated my 30th birthday at Arcade with a full house.

I went to Africa! Over Spring Break, Abby, Kaitlin, and I flew to South Africa to visit Robin and Collin in Cape Town, where Collin is doing his post-doc. Travelling the world is one of those things that reminds me how unbelievably privileged I am. I can’t overstate how great a time I had. I really should document the trip in its own post, but who has time for all that gushing?SA1

We swam with penguins, and pet an elephant, and stood in the jail that housed Nelson Mandela and did improv on a new continent. The landscape is screensaver-breathtaking but the poverty is shocking. A different kind of breathtaking.
And now for the mushy, schmoopy part, which is that, a world away, seeing sights I’ve never seen, the best part is always being with the people I adore.

Sa1

 At work I got a quasi-promotion and tacked on a few events to plan, some of which were easy and some of which went sort of bonkers on me (like when the plaque didn’t get delivered for the plaque unveiling ceremony). All told, though, my worst days here are still better and less stressful than some former positions. Though I do miss the people. Ok, I’m wrapping this up. Perhaps I’ll get my shit together and blog more. I, uh, tweet a lot. That’s micro-blogging, right?

One girl’s frizz

I have been unhappy with my hair this week.

No false modesty here, I have great hair. When it’s good, it’s really good. I’ve been propositioned to sell it*. It’s thick, and strong. It has body and volume. But when it’s bad, it’s bad. 

My hair was unruly on Monday. Not Fantasy-Novel-Princess-Surveys-Windy-Plains-As-Her-Curls-Fly-About unruly. No. Frizzy, fly-away, dry, crazy-lady unruly. I was too sick and busy to care enough to do anything about it. 

Then a monk told me my hair was gorgeous. “Just absolutely gorgeous,” he said again. A monk. A classmate of mine, upon entering the classroom and before saying hello, commented on how awesome my hair looks. I look at it and it still seems frizzy and dry. 

So, ok. Everyone? Let’s just stop being mean to ourselves. Because clearly, as a species, we have no fucking clue what other people find attractive.

Read all the beauty magazines you want, it’s still a total crap shoot. Evidenced by the backlash against the most recent episode of HBO’s Girls, “One Man’s Trash” (which may well deserve its own blog post, if I can convince myself that the world needs another internet opinion on Girls), we love to pretend that there is some universal attractiveness rubric, and then BOOM, beautiful chiseled Patrick Wilson goes and fucks Lena Dunham, whose thighs touch, and everything we thought we knew was wrong and the internet explodes. Jesus christ. 

I know it sounds hokey to tell you to remember, the next time you’re hating on something about your appearance, that someone out there thinks it looks awesome, but literally, that is what happens. Somebody thinks my frizzy hair looks gorgeous. Somebody wants to bang that fat ass. 

 

*At this point, you should know that the only way I would sell my hair is if the love of my life were in need of a watch chain. 

How To Be Terrible At School: A Primer

Step 1. Open reading assignment

Step 2. Read 2 paragraphs

Step 3. Pace around house giving lecture to imaginary people on why opening paragraphs were wrong.

Step 4. Realize you misspoke in lecture. Revise.

Step 5. Sit back down to continue reading.

Step 6. Realize you haven’t purchased one of the books you need for this week’s readings.

Step 7. Go to Amazon. Hope the book is available on Kindle. It isn’t. Notice that Amazon is recommending you buy the second book in that YA series you started over Christmas, which IS available on kindle. Google to make sure you’re purchasing the second one and not the third one, because WHY DON’T PUBLISHERS NUMBER THESE THINGS?! Purchase that book.

Step 8. Remember why you went to Amazon in the first place. Return to homepage.

Step 9. Oooo, swimsuits!

Step 10. Search for the book you need again. Purchase a paperback version, which will not arrive in time to read for your class tomorrow, but at least you won’t have to do this again next week (yes you will, you still need to buy the course packet, only available at Pitt’s bookstore.)

Step 11. Maybe you should walk to Pitt’s bookstore and buy the course packet. Exercise and homework in one activity! Responsibility! (Pitt’s bookstore is closed for the same reason you have the day off.)

Step. 12 Write a blog post

Step 13. TBD

A Misguided Christmas Lesson

Last year, I was struck by one of my rare bouts of organizational fervor as I was putting away the Christmas and New Year’s decorations (probably in April). Aside from the tree and wreaths, I could probably fit all of the winter decor into the trunk that serves as my coffee table, rather than tucked into the various containers and shelves in the basement where I usually stash it.

trunk

So organized!

This year, as I set about to decorate the tree, I went in search of my ornaments. And then I spent an hour in the basement, nearly in tears, because they weren’t “where I always keep them!” My childhood ornaments!

ornamentI looked everywhere, in every nook and cranny of our box-laden basement, when finally, dejected, I trudged back upstairs. Which is when I looked at my coffee table and let out a little yelp, of relief and of frustration with my scattered brain.

So the lesson I am taking away from this is: never try to reorganize!

Your Right Not To Vote (And why it’s bullsh*t)

As I clicked the share button on my tenth or eleventh status update on the last election day urging my friends to “VOTE!”  it felt a bit like tweeting that they should “BREATHE OXYGEN!” or that “CANCER IS BAD!”  It seems so obvious and so simple that being pro-voting almost feels trite.

It isn’t   I was surprised to find a number of my friends boasting about not voting.

Choosing not to vote isn’t edgy or provocative; it’s intellectually lazy and disrespectful.  Voting for the lesser of two evils is better than not voting at all, hell, writing someone in is better than not voting at all.  If you don’t see a candidate who represents your views and you don’t participate because of that, you will never see a candidate who represents your views.  If the candidate with lukewarm support for gay rights won with bigger margins, the party might consider backing a candidate with actual support for gay rights.  If there were a significant number of write-ins, it would signal a base willing to come out and support something big if they had the option.  But when those “lesser of two evils” candidates barely eke out a win or lose, the offerings will get safer and safer and more disappointing.  

There may not always be a good choice, but there will always be a better choice. Opting out doesn’t put you above the ugly political game; it makes you complicit.  

Conditional praise of the sweater dress

I own 2 sweater dresses and they are probably my favorite work-wear that I own. I had to really hunt for them though because, at least recently, most sweater dresses are slinky, short little tubes of stretchy wool .

Guys, if I’m looking to swathe my entire body in sweater material, I am probably not feeling like a sex kitten, ok?

But the right sweater dress is a miraculous thing. The two I own are A-line and swishy, but they look polished and professional. Much like the blazer made of sweatshirt material, the sweater dress masquerades as business-wear while feeling like pajamas.

A sweater dress is what you wear when your city is at the very, very fringe of the hurricane and you are in no danger whatsoever but the weather is just icky.

Outfits for weirdly specific occasions may become a regular feature on this blog.

Douchebaggery is not constitutionally protected

Many of the people who vehemently shout about our constitutionally protected right to Freedom of Speech (usually as a reaction to public backlash against shitty behavior) have absolutely no idea what that means. That seems like an ironic little integrity test for those who actually care about the First Amendment, doesn’t it? Le sigh.

Things the First Amendment Doesn’t Protect Against:

  1. Revealing the identity of a Reddit poster who was internet-famous for posting fetish shots of minors.
  2. Public backlash against Daniel Tosh’s rape joke
  3. Individuals encouraging each other not to spend money at a restaurant that supports hateful views

Freedom of speech means that you can say what you want without the government arresting or fining you. Hooray! But it does not mean that people won’t respond to that. That is also freedom of speech.

I absolutely do not understand the mentality that artists can say whatever they want without people getting hurt. You can say what you want. And you can choose whether or not to care if people feel hurt by it. But no where in the artist contract did it say that people don’t get to call you out when they find your work offensive.

Freedom of speech does not protect your right to speak anonymously. And while I support sites like Reddit choosing to allow anonymous posting, it is still a public sphere. If a journalist figures our your identity, too bad so sad. You put your shit out for the world to see. Don’t complain when you receive negative commentary. That is, in fact, the same justification you used to post photos taken of women taken without their permission. This is almost exactly a perfect example of comeuppance.

Boycotts, public backlash, and media criticism are not infringing on your rights. They are actually an awesome example of how free markets can sometimes regulate themselves. Please don’t invoke freedom of speech unless your actual freedom is in jeopardy.