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|Thursday, February 5th, 2015|
|Loyalty = Corruption
Loyalty feels nice, but it is fundamentally biased. Loyalty is "my people come first" while fairness, principles-before-personalities, justice, level-playing-field, etc. are secondary.
|Monday, September 1st, 2014|
|Still Life with Woodpecker
I read it on the recommendation of a crush. (Which is also why I read The Sheltering Sky and watched Albino Aligator.) According to one of the characters in the book, everyone has a mantra, either yum or yuck (and sometimes wow). Well, yum. I wish my feeling about the book itself was yummier, but alas, wow, yuck. I like quirky, silly, romantic, but in the end I'm painfully earnest, and the best part of the book was the bittersweet of longing, the wishing I was closer to my crush, as I read a book he loved.
|Thursday, April 26th, 2012|
|Philosophy of Cosmetics
When I was small, I wanted to wear makeup, but was not allowed. That childhood prohibition continues to color my view of cosmetics; they seem bad and
seductive. Child beauty pagent makeup seems inappropriately sexualizing and creepy. Chris Rock and others have riffed on the deceptive aspect of cosmetics. Often, looking at before and after makeover photos, I feel that the faces just look different, rather than better. When I do prefer one version over the other, often it's the before image I like best (Snooki, for example). I've heard complaints of porn stars wearing too much makeup or of regular women being made up like whores.
One fellow told me that women who wear too much makeup "can't accept their beauty". I'm inclined to think makeup wearers can't accept their flaws, and use cosmetics as an attempt to secret their shame. This, however is such a pessimistic view. What about its tantalizing appeal to me as a child? What about it's appropriate use as a sexual signifier in adult women? What about its artistic use for aesthetic and cultural pleasure?
I have been trying to untangle the interwoven threads of shame and pleasure in cosmetics for me and distill some personal guidelines for using them wholesomely. Wearing full-face makeup every day makes me feel as if my face is naked (and ugly) when I go without. Alternately, wearing none on most days makes me feel ostentatious and self-conscious on the days when I do wear makeup. Moderation. Which brings to mind Cookie Monster's new stance: they're a sometimes food (sigh).
Mascara is good, I think. I have nice eyelashes, so I'm not hiding a flaw, I'm emphasizing a virtue. I don't feel self-conscious when I wear it. The potential downsides: technical (smudging, flaking), practical (care when rubbing eyes, care when washing off), and routine (becoming so used to wearing that I feel no pleasure in wearing or feel discomfort when not wearing, becoming blind to the aesthetics through habituation).
Powder is good, I think. I am unashamed of a shiny nose. but I do think the face as a whole is more pleasing when the nose and forehead aren't shiny. Perhaps ironically, I feel bad about concealer. In theory, concealing a blemish is the same as muting shine; the face as a whole is more pleasing without the distracting red dot. However, when I try to conceal a pimple, I feel more self-conscious about it than when I go out in the world bare-faced.
|Monday, July 27th, 2009|
|Fat Figure Analysis & Fashion: Big Belly
I've got two theories about how to minimize the appearance of a thick middle. One is Divide-and-Conquer, where a line off-center from the biggest part breaks up the bulk and the two parts seem smaller than the whole. The other is Switcheroo, where the line is at a smaller part drawing attention there instead. These theories kind of contradict each other, which means that I don't really understand what's going on.
My first set of examples are of the Switcheroo with empire waistlines, the first of which is lovely and the other of which emphasizes the opulent belly, it seems to me.
Next, an excellent example of Divide-and-Conquer from the beautiful khart79:
Finally, an example of Divide-and-Unconquered from me, alas:
|Sunday, July 26th, 2009|
|Fat Figure Analysis & Fashion: Jeans
I've long heard the advice that skinny jeans are for skinny people and voluptuous people oughta opt for a boot cut. Here's a couple of pear shaped women demonstrating both styles and looking equally awesome in both:
It's kinda like those bogus advertisements with before and after photos where the before picture has someone frowning in shade and the after picture has 'em smiling in good light. If anything, I prefer the skinny jeans. But perhaps I'm comparing an apple and an orange; even though they both have bottom heavy figures, i'll compare skinny and bootcut jeans on one person.
Okay, I can see that hips and thighs are more pronounced in the skinny jeans, but the others make her look bigger all over. How is that slenderizing? It strikes me as more modest and easier to kick off at the end of the day, but not more flattering.
|Fat Figure Analysis & Fashion: Figure Challenge Heroines
One of the most difficult types of figure to flatter is the top heavy one. Broad shoulders, hefty boobs, and not much of an indention at the waist can look manish or just disproportionate. Angelina Jolie has a top heavy figure. She also has great hair, a gorgeous face, is fashionably lean, and has professional help getting dressed. Here are some fat and fameless women who make the most of their top heavy figures:
The norm in style advice books is a ton of examples that look great on pear shaped women or can be made inoffensive with a little accessorizing. There are only a few forbidden styles. In contrast, there're usually about three things suggested for top-heavy women and about a hundred forbidden styles. Here's a silhouette that top heavy women look great in and pear shaped women are forbidden: hobble dresses/skirts.
I think several things are going on here. Number one, the proportions are right. Meanwhile the diagonals draw the eye past the bulk of her bosom and belly. The light skirt draws the eye away from her bulky torso and down to her excellent gams. Finally the skirt is short enough for the famous, eye pleasing, golden ratio; bare/clothed = about 3/5, and skirt/top = also about 3/5.
I believe snug and bright around the biggest part and baggy around the slimmest part is not generally the best way for a fatty to flatter her figure, but here's proof that rules can be broken. I think what makes it work is that the colors suit her, the print is large enough to make her look smallish in comparison, and the length of the maxi-dress counterbalances the heft of her torso.
I can imagine seeing an image like this in a magazine--some popular musician or movie star caught in a quiet moment. It's a lovely and unusual outfit combining baggy casual and snug casual to great effect.
It's been said that only skinny folk can wear skinny jeans, but here's a demonstration of how great skinny pants can look on a chubby woman. The pockets on the vest distract from the bulges underneath them, especially the curve of belly I think. Unfortunately, one doesn't often see a belted vest, because this one is making the most of her waist.
Finally, I can't figure out how to post the image directly, so here's a link to it:
more uniform from dana73mod
The darker sweater breaks up the volume of her torso, giving her a slender center. The top skims past the waist without drawing attention to the lack of indentation and ends at the hips where things start getting relatively slim. The skirt makes the most of relatively slender thighs and ends at the indentation of the knees, emphasizing that little concavity.
|Saturday, July 25th, 2009|
|Fat Figure Analysis and Fashion: Sheath Dress Comparison
I've been trying to develop my eye and sense of style for a while now. I've read quite a few style/fashion advice books. I always find the visuals insufficient. Recently I discovered the FATshionista group on Flickr. I've been studying the images, comparing them with my own body and trying to understand how to manage proportions on wider bodies and improve my own apparel-body-constructs.
Consider these two lovely ladies, both wearing sheath dresses: They're both busty women. One is tall with comparatively slender extremities, the other petite with more evenly distributed fat.
My opinion is that the first sheath is not particularly flattering while the other is very. But why? Is it just the difference in poses? Or do the necklines make the difference? Is the difference in the fabric--the giraffe print distracting the eye and breaking up bulges? Do sheaths look better on figures that are more balanced or is it that they look better on more indented waists?
This is a test post from
, a fancy photo sharing thing.
|Monday, October 10th, 2005|
|Movies from Television Series
I watched Serenity this weekend and enjoyed it, but was disappointed. It tied up most of the story from the series, but .... that doesn't make it a good movie, or a good way to end the series.
And while I'm thinking about it, all the Star Trek movies were underwhelming.
I think maybe there are two kinds of stories (mainly): ones where things happen, and ones where people change. For instance, in any of the Indiana Jones movies, things happen. The hero finds an artifact, fights a villain, kisses a girl and if there's another movie, he'll do it all again. Things happened, but Indiana Jones is basically the same guy, with a few new scratches. In the other kind of movie, people are changed. At the end of L.A. Confidential, the hooker has settled down with her man, the idealistic, young cop has killed in cold blood and isn't sorry for it, and the cynical, thugly cop feels bad about beating people up. They're new people, permanently changed by their experiences.
The problem with a series going to a movie format is the why of it. If it's a things-happening sort of movie, why not just have another episode or two of the series? That's why the Star Trek movies suck; they're just long episodes of the series. But if a series, with beloved characters, has a movie made of it and the characters are permanently changed, then it pretty much ruins the series.
|Sunday, October 2nd, 2005|
|The Chemistry of Lanolin
Preparing for a semester, I shopped a used bookstore. Searching the Chemistry shelves, I saw mostly thick textbooks. My head twisted to the side, I scanned over titles, authors and editions. In all this, I saw a smaller book whose title was printed the opposite way on the spine, throwing my skim out of whack. I pulled it off the shelf and gave it a once over. I got the impression it was self-published, partly from the incongruous spine, but the relatively obscure subject reinforced my guess. Since then, I find myself thinking of it from time to time and wishing I'd bought it. Someone found out enough about lanolin to fill a book, and then thought it was interesting enough that others might want to know about it too. I cracked it open to the contents page and read the chapter titles. One of them had to do with the antibiotic properties of lanolin. I didn't know lanolin had antibiotic properties! Mostly though, I wish I'd bought it because passion is precious (and hopefully infectious). I think a book entitled The Chemistry of Lanolin has to be in an upper percentile of passionate works.
|Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005|
|Mugging foiled by would-be victim's fear of DPS bureaucracy.
I got attempted mugged on Sunday morning. It's a little funny.
I'm walking home from the train station, maybe 6:40 AM. I see a truck coming down the street towards me, slowing down, as if to turn into the driveway I'm walking across, so I walk faster to get out of the way. The truck stops and the guys say something, so I stop and look at them, but they're not looking at me, so they must be talking amongst themselves. There are three of them and one gets out. These are black guys, but a bunch of mexican laborers in a truck isn't uncommon around here, so I don't think much of it. I'm walking again by now, and the guy who got out of the truck scurries across the street saying something I don't understand. I'm expecting him to ask me for my bus pass or something like that. He gets to me and I see that he's carrying a rifle. It looks fake, like a bogus antique meant to hang decoratively over a fireplace.
He says, "Give me your money." When it registers, I think I should pay attention so I can give a good description to the police. I look over and the driver across the street has a bandanna over the lower half of his face. The young man in front of me is barefaced.
I say, "I don't have any money."
He says, "Then give me your bag." I think getting a new driver's license is a huge hassle.
I say, "Shoot me."
He says, "What?"
"Shoot me, or go away."
"Shoot you?!" He starts to raise the gun, but he looks embarrassed. What's he gonna do with the fake gun? It occurs to me he might use it as a club; maybe I should offer to show him I don't have anything of value.
The guys in the truck start hollering for him to come on and I see the 6:47 506 bus coming towards us behind the truck. The would-be armed robber runs back across the street and they all drive off. I can't see the license plate.
I go home and call 911. About 45 minutes later I get a call-back asking if the men are still around threatening me, which boggles. Actually, it makes me mad. Something is seriously wrong with 911. Another hour and the cop comes to take my statement. She says guys matching my description have snatched a few other women's purses in the area. She looks like my Aunt Lea and doesn't give me the expected, patronizing advice about sassing the Keystone crooks.
|Wednesday, January 5th, 2005|
I'm not shy, but meeting new people is hard. I imagine guard dogs feel similarly: I don't know you, so I don't like you, so you should back off. I don't bite and I like my postal carrier. The hirsuitism doesn't approach fur yet either. With dogs, some of it's inherent temperament and a lot is socialization. Do you suppose I'll mellow if I let more people pet me?
|Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004|
|The Botchery of North-Flowing Brook
Coming from a concrete drain under Lakeside Boulevard, one might assume it's really a drainage ditch. The brook springs from a culvert, trickles North almost a quarter of a mile and is swallowed by another culvert. It runs year round, even through the hottest, driest days of summer.
At its origin, the three foot concrete mouth of the culvert feeds a small pond that is perhaps five feet wide at its broadest, before narrowing to a foot wide stream. The pond is shaded by the bank of the road, which is draped in vines, and a pair of landscaping trees from the neighboring property. In the pond is a large swarm of small fish. I have twice seen a turtle lounging at the bottom, and once saw a snake swim across, up into the culvert when it saw me.
The banks of the creek vary from three to ten feet and this sloping ribbon of land goes unmown by landscaping crews. It is lush with tall grass, wild flowers, cattail reeds and willow trees(bushes). After a rain, when the water has risen to a deluge, the foliage is bent and even flattened. Plastic bags clothe the willow trunks and trash is wedged in every nook. A few days later the plants have recovered and most of the junk is hidden from view.
Just before it disappears back under the earth, the trickle splits, forming a delta that is perhaps ten feet wide and twenty long. Cattail reeds dominate this little marsh. During the summer months, I saw birds galore hanging out, chasing each other and even scolding me for casting my eyes so intently toward their emerald isle. For a month or two the cacophony of crickets along the brook drowned out the roar of Central Expressway thirty yards to the West.
Until recently I thought these few yards of riparian landscape were pretty in a pathetic way. Two weeks ago a crew of Mexicans came in a white truck, cut down the willow trees and mowed the cattails. A pile of yellowing limbs sits next to a ragged ditch strewn with trash. Yuck.
|Friday, December 3rd, 2004|
|Ever wonder what it would be like to meet yourself?
Today on the train I saw a stranger who might've been my twin. Often I sit on the shady side and stare out the window, watching the scenery slide past. Today there was only a seat on the sunny side, so to keep the sun out of my eyes, I turned in and looked at the other passengers. Sitting across from me was a woman whose demeanor was so like my own, I was rattled. Similar ages (mid to late 20s), similar body shapes (rotund), similar hair styles (medium length, parted, held back with a barrette), both wearing glasses, similar fingernails (medium short, no polish), similar clothes (unfitted, unassuming, lower-middle class, sensible shoes), no make-up. I stared at her for a while, maybe five minutes. She never looked away from the window. At first I tried to decide whether I liked the look of her. Next I was captivated with curiosity about what sort of person she is. We're so similar externally, are we similar internally? When the bench in front of her became vacant, I worked up my nerve and switched seats. I said 'Hello' and she said 'Hi' and then she looked out the window and I looked away too. I looked back at her and she met my glance, and we smiled at each other. I told her I'd been struck by how similar we looked and wondered if we are alike in other ways. She said 'Probably' and that her name is Laura. I told her mine. Our names aren't similar. Then the train made a stop and she got off.
It seems like meeting oneself would be a momentous and meaningful experience. I want to get to know her. Speaking to her felt awkward. I don't know what to think.
P. S. "Awkward" is a weird word. I wonder what the language of origin is, but I'm too lazy to look it up.
|Wednesday, December 1st, 2004|
|Evesdropping is a dismal occupation
My partner A, had just finished his paperwork when our supervisor L, came around and another coworker, R, just happened to walk by on his way for coffee or something. A gab session started, but I was busy with end-of-month badge receipts, so didn't pay much attention at first. The talk turned to 'whipped' men. Someone mentioned the case of M, who sold his motorcycle at his wife's request. Someone else brought up F, who followed his wife when she decided to move to another state. R commented that while he occasionally puts his foot down, his girlfriend gets her way 90% of the time. "It's never 50%," added L, sounding genuinely angry.
Afterward, I felt morose. I thought it might be nice if I were a lesbian, because maybe then the people I'm attracted to would be fond of my gender. A put it all in perspective for me though. "Those divorced guys, giving relationship advice," he said, shaking his head.
I guess it's going to be alright.
|Sunday, November 21st, 2004|
There are movies that have a message. Usually these movies are sentimental. Hallmark movies. Family movies. Prejudice is bad. Love of family, country or truth is good. The weight of the moral is usually made palatable by the sweet sentiment. At the end of such a movie, I have a big warm fuzzy feeling that I'm embarrassed to admit.
I was mostly interested in The Machinist because Christian Bale is good, he's obviously gone to extreme lengths for the movie, and it's billed as the arty sort of movie that makes me feel superior for having seen it.
Turns out, The Machinist is like Sarah Plain and Tall if Jacob had sent Sarah back home for being too plain and tall. I left the theater feeling unsettled, like maybe I'd been cheated or made a fool of. If one can't root for the hero, or wish the villain ill, and one doesn't find that out until the end, then the whole experience of identifying with the movie turns into a betrayal. It wasn't what I was expecting. It didn't follow the formula, but had formulaic elements.
Despite all this complaining, I think I enjoyed myself. I like figuring out what's going on. Afterward, I was thinking about Trevor Reznik reading Dostoevsky (The Idiot), and getting a kick out of thinking that I understand at least a little bit why that prop was chosen (an author with a reputation for writing about guilt). Then thinking about the Dostoevsky novel I read in junior high (The Brothers Karamazov), I was lead to think about responsibility and systemic injustice and changing the system and martyrs and hysteria. All in all, it was a stimulating movie. Yeah, I was duped, but I still get to feel smart ''cause I watch limited-release movies. Plus, if I keep thinking about it, maybe one day I'll master the system.
|Sunday, October 31st, 2004|
Mmm. It's been a while.
Sometimes several movies come out fairly close to one another with similar plots, themes, or devices. When I notice it, I get curious. Presently, there are two movies out about women dealing with reincarnated loves: Birth, with Nicole Kidman and PS with Laura Linney. (When I say nice things about the city I live in, I mention it's cultural superiority. When an film comes out in limited release, it opens in New York and Los Angeles, followed by San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas. Well, PS isn't here yet. While I'm whining, neither is The Machinist.)
I saw Birth tonight and I'm turning it over in my head. I've read a couple of reviews that said it was hard to figure out what was going on....whether the kid was her husband reincarnated or whether it was some kind of scam. I didn't see evidence of a scam. Did I miss something? I walked out of the movie feeling certain that the kid had honestly gotten confused. There was no scam and no reincarnation. So, if the movie isn't about the sappy romantic notion of boundless love, and it's not a who-dunnit, then the point of the movie was what?
She grieves endlessly for a husband who's lost to her. However, it's shown that the loving husband was a fable even in life. She talks about falling in love again, but what's that based on? Her interactions with the kid are brief, restrained and even superficial. The relationship they don't have is the sole topic of conversation. They maintain a lot of eye contact. Not much to base a soulful love on. The movie was pointing out a form of self-delusion.
I read an interview with Nicole Kidman in Vogue or Harper's Bazaar. She talked about her romantic choices in movies lately. Do you suppose she's using film to examine her own failed marriage? Of course, on some level. A more pertinent question would be my own reaction to the movie. 'Did I miss something?' I asked earlier and it wouldn't be the first time I read into something more than was there.
|Saturday, July 17th, 2004|
Drunkard on the train during my evening commute struck up a conversation with me.
"Do you know anything about God?"
I was inarticulate, cringing inside. (If I say yes, will I have to share my thoughts, which will then become a topic of debate? Ugh! If I say no, will I then be subject to a dose of proselytizing? Ugh.)
"Do you read the Bible?"
"Some," I answered. He plunged into a description of his theological experience (six hours of study a day, every day for nine years). Then his stop was announced and he got up.
Facing the door he said, " I can talk the talk, but I can't walk the walk. My name's Preston. Good luck to you young lady."
"Good luck to you, Preston."
|Thursday, April 29th, 2004|
I like http://www.oligopolywatch.com
On a completely unrelated subject, so far this week I have had:
1. My car towed without cause ($130).
2. My apartment burglarized (DVD player, CD/radio boombox, and a rental DVD).
3. My timing belt fail (I don't know yet how much it'll cost to repair).
Speaking of misfortunes, an evil coworker of mine is ill. Do you suppose God is punishing her for her wicked ways? I don't. I think justice is a human concept.
On another subject...
It is a despicable, gutless, spineless, toothless, pathetic excuse for a rape shield law that permits the alleged victim's sexual history to be broadcast around the world! The accused's defense team files a petition asking that they be allowed to tell the jury about other men the woman had sex with the same day the accused stuck it to her, and CNN tells the jury pool of the nation the details? It's a legal gangbang. The accused may not have raped her, but his lawyers have molested her.
Wait a minute, didn't I just write disparagingly of justice? What am I getting all indignant about?
|Monday, April 12th, 2004|
I found a bee on the trunk of my car yesterday afternoon. At first I thought she was dead, but when I blew on her, she twitched, so I brought her inside. I dug a chunk out of my honey jar and diluted it with a few drops of water. I put a drop of honey right in front of her and it wicked up her tongue until her head, eye and antennae on one side, was laying in a little puddle of honey. She twitched and her proboscis moved a few times, but mostly she just lay there.
Maybe the cold and wet had gotten to her more than low blood sugar, so I cupped my hands around her and breathed on her for a while. It worked! She pulled herself upright and then dragged herself through the honey puddle and sat on the counter slowly cleaning her soiled antennae. I picked her up in a spoon and set her on the sill of my open kitchen window (being a fresh air fiend, I keep a window cracked even in nippy weather--it'll take the miserable summer heat to get me to seal up my apartment).
When I got home several hours later, she was still sitting in the spoon. Maybe a moment of breathing hadn't been enough heat. I put her in a little, juice glass and covered the top with plastic wrap, with breathing holes poked into it. I put the glass under my clothes so that she would be warmed by my body. I watched a movie like that and afterward, she was climbing the walls of the glass. She slipped and fell several times into the honey-water I'd put in the bottom of the glass.
I don't know a whole lot about bees, but I guess that the middle of a cold night is not the best time for a soggy, sticky bee to find her way home. I thought I'd keep her warm through the night and let her go her own way in the morning. I wore a sports bra to bed and kept the juice glass nestled in my cleavage. After we'd been in bed maybe an hour, she started buzzing. I got up and put her glass on the window sill with the plastic wrap taken off.
When I got up this morning, she was lying next to the glass, cold as a corpse. Now she's once again warming in my cleavage and cleaning herself. When she starts buzzing again, I'm going to let her go for good. I hope she makes it this time.