Archive for September, 2006

I just got a call from a lovely woman named Hazel.

She asked me to serve on the church’s Publicity Committee.

In 2009.

While I readily agreed, I somehow feel that tempts fate just a bit.

I know that when Man plans, God laughs. Perhaps since this plan is one of service to God He will laugh a bit less. However, if tragedy befalls me prior to 2009, you all know the real reason.

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I read a lot of web logs. My favourites are the ones where people take the time to write out their thoughts or tell a short story. Sometimes I enjoy videos. I also enjoy well-researched and informative pieces written by someone who knows their material.

I’m a writer. I have good days and I have bad days. There are posts on here that flowed out of my brain via my fingertips as fast as I could type. There are posts on here that reek to high heaven. But I wrote every blessed one of them myself. Where I did not write something I credit the author with the web-accepted practice of hotlinking. That, after all, is the whole point of a web log.

Here’s the problem. I’m also the daughter of an English teacher. My dad built bookshelves in our basement, and my mom kept her teacher’s editions of all her middle school and high school literature texts on those shelves–within easy reach of her avid reader daughter.

This poem is called Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. I first read it in a unit on Robert Frost in one of my mom’s literature textbooks when I was seven. Back then I didn’t get the death symbolism at all. But I loved the poem and had parts of it memorised off and on. Robert Frost is one of my favourite poets. As lame as that may sound. As unhip as that may sound. So to see his work copied on another blog without attribute and under a different title burns me up.

It’s stealing. It is, in effect, telling everyone that the web log author themselves composed the poem.

I know Frost doesn’t need me coming to his rescue. But I’m protective of the idea of intellectual property, maybe irrationally so. And in all the definitions I’ve seen of Fair Use, copying an author’s entire work without attribution falls clearly outside the doctrine of Fair Use and well into the realm of sneakthievery.

Update: I realise it doesn’t matter to some of the commenters on this thread. But I did check and the poem itself is most definitely still under copyright protection.

Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1923, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed 1951, by Robert Frost. Reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

“Everyone” may know that Frost wrote the poem. The law still says that you have to label it, as in the above example.

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Ever since I wrote the previous post about telling people you’re pregnant without them wanting to kill you, I’ve gotten all kinds of hits. Many people are googling “how to tell pregnant” and coming here. Each day I get at least two visitors, and at least 10 google hits for this.

It would seem that fertility of body does not necessarily equal fertility of imagination. So for those of you looking for fantastic and clever ways of announcing your successful meeting of sperm and egg, I give you the following tips. Some of these are my own, some have been gleaned through many years of spending time on fertility groups. I claim the good ones. The others are someone else’s fault. Naturally.

Say It With Food

Fix the unknowing partner a delightful meal of baby back ribs, baby carrots, and baby corn. Set a vase of baby’s breath on the table. Wait for him to figure it out. When he doesn’t, dissolve into a pile of tears while wondering how you could have allowed such an ignorant fool to impregnate you. Cry some more while pondering what kind of selfish child you’re about to bring into the world. When your befuddled mate asks you what’s wrong, simply scream “I’m pregnant, you idiot!!!!” through your tears.

Say It With A Romantic Fire

Build a roaring fire in your fireplace, and open a bottle of sparkling cider. Softly lean in toward your partner and lovingly kiss him. As the fire dies, continue to stoke the flames with now-useless brochures for expensive trips you will no longer be able to take. When your mate begins to wonder why you just set fire to your Cozumel plane tickets, dissolve into a pile of tears. How could you have become pregnant by a man who doesn’t understand that e-Tickets have largely negated the need for paper ticketing anyway and that thing you burned is easily replacable at no cost to you. When your mate asks what’s wrong, simply scream “I’m pregnant, you idiot!!!!” through your tears.

Say It With Jewelry

Take three pregnancy tests. When they all come up Positive, wear one as a pendant and the other two as earrings. Wait for your mate to notice. When he instantly catches on, dissolve into tears at the thought of the fact that he seems a lot less happy than you thought he would. When he asks what’s wrong, simply scream “I’m pregnant, you idiot!! And I smell vaguely like my own pee!!!” through your tears.

There you go, folks. Those ideas should get you started.

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It’s that time again! The Southern Festival of Books is coming in two weeks.

The list of sessions is now online.

Some interesting sessions include-oh nevermind. There are too many to list individually. Go check it out!

There are still also many volunteer opportunities available.

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As a feminist of a certain flavour I’m all for women being integrated into the various corporate paradigms. Which is a fancy way of saying that I think women can hold the same jobs as men. The thing that gets me in trouble (okay, one of the things that gets me in trouble) is that I think women should achieve these positions of power in the way that men do. They should work hard and prove themselves worthy. If they want to buy into the (often very true) theory that more deals are made on the golf course than in the board room, the women should take up golf. And no, Golf doesn’t mean “Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden.” That would be an urban legend.

I don’t think it’s feminist to flirt your way to the top. I’m sure we’ve all seen it happen. The woman who homes in on the men in the room and talks to them from under her eyelids, with a hand on their forearm. I saw this little play enacted not too long ago and it reminded me of how much I despise this tactic of self-advancement. Now of course the first reaction of all you who read this is to think it is because I’m a bitter old crone who couldn’t charm a dolly out of Santa, so I’m jealously putting down all the prettier girls who’ve both got it and flaunt it. Not true. First off, I’m not that bad looking and I have a pretty decent set of headlights, so If I wanted to go down that road I could. Unfortunately I also have a pretty decent set of self-worth and am not so eager to pimp out my feminity. Especially since I’ve also got a pretty decent set of grey matter.

What bothers me about the whole kiss-up is that it amps up sexuality in the workplace in a way that sends mixed messages. We cringe at the thought of a man telling his female subordinates that they will get a raise or promotion if they have sex with him. So why do we not cringe at the the thought of a female telling a man that he might get to have sex with her if he gives her a raise or promotion? Because that’s what’s happening. That’s what all those signals mean.

Both situationsa are nasty combinations of sex and power. One abuses power for sex, the other abuses sex for power. It’s craven.

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I honestly can’t figure it out. Why send this to me? If any of you see my husband, ask him.

I would ask him myself but I have to finish this row.

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If I had categories I would just start one called “The Chronicles Of An Elitist Snotface” and be done with it.

Over at her hip new joint, Ivy has a post about food stamps. I was going to comment there, but I’m a week late in doing so, and I have too many comments. Besides, I feel as though I need to defend part of a post I wrote on the 4th of July about the topic.

I said (in part)

the woman in front of me buys four cases of soda, a cake, hot dogs, buns, ice cream, whipped cream, cookies, frozen pizza and twinkies. She pays for this with food stamps. … The libertarian in me thinks that what she buys is her business. But the taxpayer in me is really ticked off. I think that when we are told that our money is being taken from us by force to feed the hungry, we have a certain level of peace about it because we picture starving children drinking frosty glasses of milk while eating an apple. I personally don’t think of cakes, twinkies and Tropicana Fruit Soda as the largesse I would like to provide to the hungry.

Over at Ivy’s new place she has this to say:

I also pointed out that it was pretty dang rude to be staring around at what everyone else was buying and their method of payment … The only change I would like to see with the food stamp program (and this may already exist, I don’t know) is to have cooking and nutrition classes strongly recommended, if not required.

So there are two things I want to address from my Elitist Snotface podium. The first is the seemingly-childish issue of looking at what other people have in their carts and why I am nosy enough to do so. Especially when I don’t like it when people do it to me. Why do I look at what other people are getting and how they pay for it? Well, for starters, most of the time I’m just staring off into space in the checkout line. Sometimes “space” coincides with the conveyer belt. I shop at one of those stores where you have to unpack your cart to the conveyer in advance of the checkout person. So all your food is splayed out in front of God and everybody just like those pictures of Suri Cruise in Vanity Fair. I don’t generally notice other people’s food, but when it is really wierd-seeming it does jar me out of my reverie. In this particular example the woman bought a cake from the bakery decorated to look like a giant hamburger. You notice that sort of thing. And then I saw everything else. Jealousy plays into it, because I was there on a limited budget stretching my dollar to get one nice treat for the Fourth. The piles of food this woman had made me envious. When she paid for it with food stamps it made me mad. Still does. And as nosy as it seems to be looking at other people’s food, I do so simply because I think it is far more ethical than reading a magazine you don’t intend to pay for. This drives me up all four walls when other people do it in line around me. Again, not strictly my business but there you go.

As for teaching nutrition classes to people with food stamps, it sounds like a good idea. But those classes will and do cost more money. The money in the food stamp program is not limitless. Would you rather see more people in need receive food, or fewer people receive both food and an education on its proper consumption? Me personally, I’d rather that more hungry people eat. Which is why I’m firmly in the camp of making food stamps restricted a la WIC. Because being able to by an $18.00 decorated cake with money entrusted to you for your nutrition is not good stewardship. Yes, I know the argument–what if it was her kid’s birthday?/Doesn’t everyone deserve a treat now and then?–and I counter with this. You can bake a cake for a tenth of that price. You can buy a not-as-fancy cake for half that price. And frankly, I who pay things with money we fight hard to earn, have learned that you can’t always get what you want. Treats are nice but they come after necessities. It will always be my belief that Food Stamps should cover necessities. Cakes and candies and fizzy drinks are not necessary no matter how loud PMS screams otherwise.

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My friend Lydias birthday was yesterday.

Happy birthday to Lydia.

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When people have food allergies, it’s usually kind of a good thing in a roundabout way. It can keep them away from foods that are not the best thing for you. Allergic to nuts? Snickers bars are off the table. Allergic to dairy? Bye-bye Ben & Jerry!

I appear to be developing an allergy to carrots.

Carrots. That ubiquitous diet food, that healthy snack, that “don’t reach for the candy, reach for the carrot!” carrot.

Apparently if I were a donkey you were trying to manipulate, your little reward for my good behaviour would kill me. And how would that make you feel, you donkey-slayer?

Twice in the last week and a half, I (as part of an ongoing campaign to reform my public image) have eaten carrots. Both times I’ve come away with a sore throat, a severely swollen tongue and body aches. So it’s either the carrots or someone at church was feeding me cat hair on the sly.

How like me. I’m like one of the misfit kids on the Wonka tour. Little roly-poly four-eyed brunette who gets ejected from the factory because she won’t eat her veggies.

I wonder if this means I can’t watch Veggie Tales. Is there even a carrot in Veggie Tales?

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Fat Monica

I may be, with this post, reaching the nadir of lame blogging. Because I’m actually writing about a TV show that has been off the air for years. When it was on the air, I didn’t have a blog. So now I’m trying very hard to think of a reason to write about a rerun. I guess since Lindsey wrote about Roseanne the other day I don’t feel so bad about a brief discussion of Friends.

I’ve seen every episode of Friends that ever aired. It was one of those shows that was uniquely timed with my life–much like A Different World. The sextet on Friends was the same age as me, facing the same life choices and circumstances. I related to them on one level and fantasized about their life, about the way TV has of blunting the rough edges of reality. So I like the show, and I don’t mean to be too harsh.

But I could honestly do without the “Fat Monica” episodes. Each and every last one of them are horrible. Watching Courtney Cox Arquette prance around in blackface a fat suit makes me cringe. The one-note jokes are bad in their own right. Watch the fat girl dig a semi-crushed candy bar out of her pocket. Watch the fat girl eat in every scene. Laugh at the fact that the fat girl can’t find a man to sleep with her.

I can’t honestly say if I’m more bothered by the fact that Fat Monica is such a one note character or the fact that I’ve secretly feared for many years that “Fat Monica” was how all skim people view a fat woman like me. I spent a lot of years not going to parties because I didn’t want people to see me eating and jump to the conclusion that eating was all I did. I’ve largely gotten over that. I eat at parties now (as all those at Ivy’s can attest. I no longer care if someone sees me checking out at the supermarket with two pints of ice cream in my cart.

But whenever Fat Monica shows up on TNT or Fox or TBS I get a little bit skinked all over again.

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