Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On Travel (part 1), OR 5,000 Feet High and 5,000 Feet Fast

I spent the last three weeks traveling. I didn't mean to. I sort of got hijacked. Three different people and the government told me where to be and when.

Firstly, I love flying. I have no idea why. You’re crammed in a box with a bunch of other people (anyone who knows me knows that other people are not my favorite), you run around with heavy bags in a building that has no discernible logic to its layout, and you wait (lots and lots of waiting). But I still think it’s magical. 

A little boy I sat next to made a statement that I think really gets to the crux of why I like flying so much. He said the plane would be going “5,000 miles high and 5,000 miles fast. And that’s way better.” Way better than what? Everything.

My first stop was New Jersey near Atlantic City to visit a friend of mine from college. Leaving the South is always interesting. You forget what the rest of the world is like. Several houses on her block had solar panels, Atlantic City has giant wind generators, there’s recycling everywhere, Wawa rules, Jersey Girls don’t pump their own gas (no really, it’s illegal, you have to let the attendants do it), and you’re not supposed to make eye contact and talk to strangers (I forgot and stopped on a walking trail to ask a lady what kind of dog she had. I swear she thought I was going to mug her. I don’t know what she thought I could have done to her. I’m 5 foot and a heavy wind will blow me over, no really, it’s happened).

Recycling in a public place, Windmills at Atlantic City, and Wawa!
The people who watched me take a picture of the recycling bin probably thought I was a crazy hick who had
never seen such technology. Though, "it's for my blog" makes me sound like a hipster, and probably isn't much better.

The park where I almost mugged that lady.

Traveling is weird. You have a bag that has only “necessities” and that’s it. You don’t have your stuff. You don't have your pillow or your slippers or your favorite mug or your drawing pad or your shelf of books. You try to guess what you're going to need, but you couldn’t have possibly known that you were going to desperately need to clip your nails. Biggest of all is you can’t always follow your routine. My routine is very important to me. Without I feel like the world is just chaos, and I can’t be bothered to get out of bed. What’s the point in being awake if I can’t get up and have my Diet Coke and fried egg, check facebook, and then hide in my studio for 8 hours? Structure’s important for introverts and for people that have anxiety (both of which I am) and without my crutches (diet coke and 8 hours of alone time) life’s hard for me. I get tired, cranky, and my brain doesn’t work right. Luckily I stayed with the most amazing people who understand how important my Coke/Egg/Quiet Time process is, and they enabled.

The boardwalk at Ocean City

Oh, and there were also puppies! Do these guys look familiar?

Meet Rory and Bo, the cockaliers who modeled for me for the Little Dog who Laughed!

"Hey Diddle Diddle", from Mothership Goose

On Travel Part 2!

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Hairy, Hairy Legs, and The Cost of Razors

A while back, there was hubbub about a graphic comparing female role models in science fiction to live female celebrities. I made what I considered a correct version of the graphic, and wrote about what I considered Good Female Role Models.

Feminism has been on the social consciousness quite a bit lately. A federal judge made getting Plan B under the age of 16 no longer require a prescription, which is particularly good, because the quicker you take it, the better it works. Sheryl Sandberg’s released a book called Lean In about the things women can do to change the prejudices in the workplace for themselves and their children. And perhaps in a more niche market (and a lot closer to home for me) something called Women Painting Women, is making a big splash in the art world.

Thinking about feminism takes up  a surprising amount of time of life. I think about it when I shave my legs, when I watch the news, when I talk about or to other women, and every book and movie I absorb is thoroughly dissected. When I complain about it the most (in my head) is when I shave my legs.

Lets talk about my hairy legs. They’re pretty hairy. I have thick, black hair, it grows really fast, and I’m super pale, so I always have a 5 o’clock shadow, even right after I've shaved. My armpits, though, the hair is particularly dense. I would have a bush under there if I didn't keep it under control.

Am I making you uncomfortable?

So when I shave, my thought process usually goes like this:

“Gosh dern it. I just shaved yesterday. Look at all this. Gah, my razor’s already getting worn out, I just replaced it. Why are they so expensive? I should just give it up and save that money. Stupid patriarchy oppressing me!”

Now that you’re even more uncomfortable, let’s examine why, when I’m having these hateful thoughts every other day, I keep shaving my legs.

Reasons I shave my legs:
  • Look! They’re so pretty and smooth!
  • Sometime in the 6th grade I realized that everyone else was shaving their legs, and I got super self conscious and shaved. And then I never stopped.

Reasons I should stop shaving my legs:
  • I’m no longer trying to attract a mate.
  • The very, very quiet little rebel inside of me, wants to break the bounds of the social norm, and I don’t let her make my decisions very often, and I’m sure she’d like to be let out of her cage.
  • My partner has told me constantly (because I complain about it a lot), that if I don’t really want to shave my legs, he won’t mind. I don’t thinks he’s just saying that either, because he also told me that he didn’t really think I should change my last name when we get married because it’s a custom left over from when women were property and stands as a symbol of patriarchy (he’s a keeper).
  • I will no longer have to buy expensive razors that wear out.
  • Razor burn.
  • My showers will take half as long.

If I don’t like the idea of men shaving their chests or people completely shaving pubic hair, because it’s more natural, then why in god’s name amy I shaving my legs constantly?

To put it to the test, I stopped shaving my legs (I wasn’t quite brave enough to do my armpits, as it’s tanktop season). I didn’t put a time limit on it, I just wanted to see how long I could last. I figured I would love it as soon as I past the stubble stage.

I lasted a month.

pics or it didn't happen, right?

The first week, the stubble was awful, catching on my pants and my sheets, and making extremely unused hairbeds raw. The second week I was itching for my razor, but I wasn’t uncomfortable anymore. Week three found me indifferent and starting to warm up to my hairy, hairy legs. Week four had finally accomplished what I knew was coming, it started to bush out.  I loved the hair when it got long enough to be soft, and I would rub them like a cat’s belly, but I have never been so aware of my legs and what they’re touching and when they are and if I’m wearing pants. I now understand why whiskers are for. Hairbeds are very sensitive, and my legs were doing something they have never done before: giving me proximity warnings. If something got near my legs I could feel it, and it freaked. me. out. And they looked dirty. If I glanced at my legs, it looked like I’d been wading through the Mississippi river.

I couldn't take it anymore and I shaved it all off. For three days my legs felt numb. Truly numb. Like I’d just been to the dentist numb, like, accidentally rubbed Solarcain on your lips, numb.

Apparently the evolutionary purpose of leg hair is so you know is there’s a snake at your ankle. Brilliant.

Overall, while I didn't let my poor, disused rebel completely out of her cage, I don’t think of this as a failed experiment.

That I am incapable of completely ditching something I have been doing three times a week for thirteen years does not surprise me, but it’s changed the way I think about it. I am shaving my legs for me. I like them smooth and clean. And now I don’t obsessively cover up two days stubble anymore (my old pattern was first day shorts, second day jeans, rinse and repeat), I wear shorts when I feel like it. I’m at the beach this week, and instead of obsessing if every inch of my body is perfectly hair ridden, I’m enjoying the beach. It’s really a much better system.

It’s my body and my hair and I don’t feel weird or embarrassed about it anymore. That’s pretty successful.

Sir William doesn't care either way

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jury Duty ate my week, and next week I'll be at the beach.

I felt bad for not posting, so here's a picture of my fiance and his cat both sleeping on the floor.

panorama is the bomb.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mr. Gugu or, Has the Internet Gone Too Far?

I'm in New Jersey visiting a friend this week, so I was going to blog about planes and travel, and how much I like it, and how bizarre it is to be somewhere else. But my friend, Meg, and I found this thing online, and I boggle at what's going on with culture right now. These are clothing items that you can purchase off the designers site or on (links at the bottom).

Printing and manufacturing is getting inexpensive and accessible to independent companies, so some really interesting things are happening. Fringe is in (the weird stuff, not the dangly things). One of the weirdest things right now is the sense of humor that's super popular. Internet memes and forum humor used to be confined to those things they're named after, but now it's leaking into clothing and shoes and most noticeably our language.

While I consider all of these abominations, this one is actually starting to grow on me.
That's a sign that I need to stop looking at them.

The friend I'm staying with and I are both fluent in Tumblr-speak, and it's clear sometimes we leave her mother and father in the dust. Sometimes my mother asks me, "Is this a typo, or are you making a grammatical error on purpose?" The answer is usually the purposeful one.

"I can't even." is now a full thought and expresses the emotion "this thing is so awesome/ridiculous/stupid/etc that I cannot form thoughts or words to explain exactly how I feel about this phenomenon." "Let me explain you a thing," is a precursor to an intelligent, well thought out explanation. Adjectives are liberally used as nouns: "This is made of awesome." And hyperbole is status quo, "I almost died like four times on the way home."

"Oh my gosh, are you okay?"

"What? Yeah, I just had to swerve a little because there was a squirrel."

I feel I need to warn people people about the state of the internet, and make them aware that it's creeping into real life. If you not up to date on the latest brand of humor, I feel for you, bro. It's going to a rough couple of years.

Not to mention, Grumpy Cat just got a movie deal. Will we be able to tell when the internet has gone too far?

You can buy these bizarre chimera's from Mr, Gugu & Miss Go, or at but I'm not sure you'd want too.