Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eat it.

Or, In Defense of Food.

I'm super-cranky today. I'm having one of those cranky days that involves tears, loads of self-loathing, and the Anger (or Angrrrrrrrrr!) that is my constant co-pilot is off the motherfucking charts. So, there will be a lot of obscenity ahead. Lots and lots of (borderline nonsensical) obscenity. Let's fucking talk about food and stuff we love to eat without ANY hang-ups or fears or fat content or calorie-fucking-counts.

I had salmon today. It was awesome. I had this flatbread fold-up thingy involving eggs and cheese and sausage and mushrooms for breakfast. It was awesome, too. Felt like a Twix bar. Goddamn if I didn't enjoy that Twix. It hit the spot and helped to soothe my savage beast (that is not a euphemism). Pork chops for dinner? Hot damn, those were good, too. I'm feeling the urge for a good caesar salad tomorrow. I'm lucky in that my workplace has a righteous cafeteria and a staff of fabulous Hispanic dudes who salute me with, "HEY MAMA!" and give me shit about not liking super-spicy things in my eats. My aversion to spicery stems from having gallstones at 17 and a sure-fire trigger for an attack was pretty much anything containing a kick. I was de-gallbladdered in 1998--oh hell's bells, I have to tangent on this for a moment.

The Final Attack came on the weekend "The Negotiator" starring Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson was released, and I remember watching the movie while feeling hellacious thanks to the wretched, spasming gallbladder from Hell. I was living on my own in the city at the time (why I wound up moving back home with my parents after being on my own for 13 years is a tale for another day), and I'd pop out to the 'burbs on the weekend to see how the seniors were getting along, visit with my three siblings, etc. etc. blah. My oldest sister and I are movie buddies and of course we had to see "The Negotiator". I started feeling funky Friday night, but figured/hoped it was just wicked indigestion. Once the vomiting began, however, I knew after a years-long hiatus that an Attack was in full swing. Usually, if I chucked, things would calm down and I'd be feeling fine. However, hurlage was not doing the trick. (Sorry to bring up vomit - har - in a post about food, but I've got a strong stomach. Remind me one day to tell you about the Christmas Vomiting.) I went to the movies the next day and was still in pain...sat up most of the night, still in pain, and finally...I broke down and said, "take me to the E.friggin.R".

Long story longer, once the Demerol kicked in, life was so good. And the g-bladder stopped spasming. However, my very mysterious doctor whose name I can't recall was insistent it come out, which was fine by me because hey, time off work! He preferred to work at night, so I didn't go under the knife (rather, the laparoscope) until Monday evening. I remember really enjoying anesthesia a whole bunch. I liked how I couldn't mark the passage of time. A curtain dropped and then it came up and everything was all done. I was fascinated by the feeling of my organs shifting to fill the space left behind by my non-existent gallbladder. And I was delighted to have two full weeks off of work, despite only really needing one because by the end of the week, I felt like a million bucks. Ten years on, I still regret not milking that shit a little bit more. /tangent

ANYHOO. I <3 my workplace cafeteria because the selection is massive. You can have sandwiches made, salads whipped up, a full-metal salad bar containing two of my favoritest things: mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Ohhhhh, artichoke hearts. If I want a beef or a turkey burger, I can have it. And not just because they *make* it, because I am allowed a fucking cheeseburger and fries whenever the hell I fucking want it. If I'm in the mood for a salad, by gum, I am going to have a got-damned salad. It's not part of a "plan", I'm not counting friggin' Points, there's no exchanging, there's no guilt, there's no shame, there's just me making my choices to suit what my bod is telling me it wants. I wish we (the Royal Fat Acceptance We) could convince the masses sooner rather than later that holy fucking SHIT, food is good. That spinach is tasty as hell and so are those Nilla Cakesters (srsly--a nice sweet treat that can't be beat), to stop seeing eating as a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds three times a day (or when the hell ever) because the risk is so high that you might be...BAD. That nourishing ourselves is so totes superior to dieting ourselves.

I do have to bring down the room for a mo', though, because my body's pissed (yet adorably so, much like Jennifer Aniston) because I've been a slackhound in the activity department. I've been wrangling with a particularly shitty case of ennui the last few weeks (*cough*years*cough*), and trying to tend to my surly brain has superceded my trotting to the gym. It infuriates my logical side because my logical side screeches, "YOU FEEL SO MUCH BETTER BRAINALLY AFTER YOU WORK OUT, JACKASS", but my dumb-dumb far-too-sensitive-lately emotional bits just want to go home, curl up in bed, watch Animal Planet, sleep. I need (and I say that in a low, urgent voice, shaking my fist) to get back to the shiny gym and my strangely belov'd treadmill because I've got some songs on my iPod that are perfect for strutting on it. (And I need to recharge my freaking iPod because it's damn near spent, now that I write/think about it.) I'm going to Lollapalooza in a mere two and a half weeks and I have GOT to be on my game for flailing, jumping, and weird dancing/gesticulating to Rage Against the Machine and *happy, happy sigh* Nine Inch Nails.

I'll explain the weird dancing/gesticulating another time.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

My, it's...moist.

The greater Chicagoland area is in the throes of a typical summer day: hot and humid. The humidity is unruly, almost...evil in how it blankets everything and makes my upper lip sweat so uncontrollably. I mean, not to say that all of my sweat glands are concentrated in my upper lip so as to render it a fount that gushes forth endlessly as if I was a walking water feature. My sweating is equally distributed around my generous carcass. But it's annoying. Just constantly wiping my mouth on my sleeve like a six-year-old.

I had my hair cut last Saturday. The cut's fine, nothing terribly transcendent, not that I was looking for anything particularly transcendent this time around. Last time I got my hair cut was probably in January, and I took off a fuckton of hair to end up with a very short 'do. Then...I let it grow for about, um, seven months, and wound up sporting a faux mullet that was not doing anyone any favors. The thing that kind of amused me about my hour or so in the fancy-dance salon/spa -- well, before I get to that, let me just say there are few nicer feelings than having someone else wash your hair really, really well. The scalp massage action...ohhhhh yes. If I could have been drinking a Coke Slurpee while it was going on, I may have very well had a brief glimpse of Nirvana. Anyway, the thing that kind of amused me about my hour in the fancy-dance salon was the barely-disguised look of horror the stylist had when I explained to her that last time I was in, I'd gotten something akin to a pixie cut. Someone with my facial features (FAT) isn't supposed to have super-short hair, you know. I knew I would have to fight her to cut it that short, I really wasn't in the mood for a brawl (Saturday morning at 8 a.m. = not all right for fighting), and I'm ridiculously casual about my hair. So I let her do her "texturizing" and her "razoring" and whatever, knowing full well that all of the "product" she was foisting upon my coiff was going to get either combed or pushed out of my hair (as I'm always pushing my hair off my face with my hands). And it turned out fine, I'm pleased with it. I just have to pick up the box of dye at the Target and get it all one color again. Since I'm not monogamous with hairstylists, we'll see what the next person does...whenever I'm arsed to go to the fancy-dance salon again. I'm thinking...Christmas.

I have to say, I've always been pretty lucky with hairstylists. I had one woman I went to from third grade until I was in college that was always game to let me be goofy with my hair. Even if it sometimes resulted in the most tragic hairstyle ever recorded in my history:

Seriously, I look like a roadie for Def fucking Leppard. 1983 was the year I got tagged to start seeing a social worker (diet books and hand puppets FTW!)--is it any wonder I was moody? Thankfully, I swore off perms for the remainder of eternity not too long after that.

Then, I started swearing by Sebastian hairspray and backcombing because I was super into the Cure, dammit!

My routine for the vast majority of my senior year of high school was ratting the everloving fuck out of my hair every morning (I was shaved on the sides and the back), spraying as much CFC-loaded muck upon it as I could stand, and then, each night, combing it all out. My hairstylist loved having the opportunity to take the clippers to my head. She never lectured me about having a haircut that was "suitable" for my chubby funster (tm Ricky Gervais) self, she just listened to what I wanted and went to town. I was so grateful that she didn't give me shit and, really, my family didn't either. Well, whenever I went with a short cut in my younger days, my father was always quick to proclaim, "Be sure to wear earrings so you don't look like a guy!" Sorry, Pops. Even with the earrings and hair down to the middle of my back, I'd get mistaken for a guy.

The last seriously extreme hair I had was in 1994. I was living with a gay man who excelled at make-up and thought it would be super-cool if I went platinum blond. I wasn't sure it would be quite as super-cool, but I was a gamer and wanted to please him (augh, my Achilles' heel for eternity), so I went to the salon that he worked at and proceeded to platinum myself...which took FIVE HOURS (I had old dye still in my hair, so that had to be stripped out), burned the hell out of my scalp, and by the end of it, I would have welcomed death. However, I'm still fond of how it wound up looking:

Within two weeks, roots were already visible and there was no way in hell I was going to drop $50 (if not more) every couple of months to maintain the shit. Three months later, I was back to mousy brown if, for nothing else, to allow my scalp to simply REST...and weep silently from all the abuse it had suffered over the course of about five years.

Before I close out, here's a couple of things that are pleasing me.

*"Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog": In the last two days, I have seen more blogs touting this...so of course, I must join in. The final act goes up at midnight eastern tonight (maybe? Details are not my forte). I have such a warm and lusty feeling for Nathan Fillion that seeing him play such a blowhard douchebag of a "hero" pleases me. And what more can be said about the myth, the man, the legend that is Neil Patrick Harris? I love that he managed to survive being "Doogie Howser" and is made of 100 percent grade A awesome. I'm not a huge Joss Whedon-head (though I powered through all seven seasons of "Buffy" after it went off the air and carry an eternal love for Anthony Stewart Head O.M.GGGGGGGGGGGGGG.), but I enjoy how damn smart his stuff can be. And "Dr. Horrible" is no exception. Some of the stuff he pulls out from who knows where, the subtle stuff, stuff that one might consider throwaway, pleases me so much. "Bad Horse - the thoroughbred of sin?"

"The Venture Brothers": Season Three is ridiculously loopy and I'm loving it. I love that adultswim.com puts up Sunday's episode on Friday-ish, and I love that it's a show that is made by two guys that aren't in their early twenties. It's made by two guys that are in MY PEER GROUP. That's a huge thing when you're staring down the barrel at 40 and have little to no patience for those who haven't cracked 25 yet. You know you've reached some sort of bizarro milestone when you realize that 18-year-olds can be kind of douchey and irritating because they think they know everything...and then you realize that oh sweet mother of God, you were that douchey at 18 as well and you thought "old" (you know, anyone over 30) people were stupid and were full of crap when they'd say things like "yeah, fighting about people's opinions on music or movies is pretty damn dumb and a waste of time" because there is NOTHING more important than telling someone their opinion about "The Dark Knight" is fucking weak sauce and that they truly don't understand the inner turmoil of Batman quite like you do.

I just happened to be a douchey 18-year-old that dressed like Robert Smith and douched out at the import record store every weekend, buying Inspiral Carpets records because I was going to be CUTTING EDGE with my love of the Manchester sound. Rolling Stone, Schmolling Stone! Poseurs. I wear black on the outside because black is how I feel ON THE INSIDE. And Andie should have picked Duckie! Blane was a TOOL!

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Show me the way to go home.

It’s an unfortunate aspect of my personality that I think way, way, way too much about various things. I think about things that have been said to me, experiences that I’ve had (more often the missteps and humiliations than anything that’s pleasant), and I chew on it all like I’m chewing on my own cud consisting of bitterness and bafflement. It’s an irksome tendency because I feel like I’m being childish because so much of what I chew on revolves around my being alone. I feel ashamed because I should be dedicating that brainspace to something more…important, like issues in the FA movement or politics or philosophy or working on an actual creative writing-type project or any number of things, but instead I walk around in a state of almost perpetual irritation with the entirety of the universe because I just DON’T GET IT. I don’t get why I’m alone and I don’t get WHY I CAN’T STOP CARING ABOUT IT.

I bagged my match.com profile about a month and a half ago, because that was just dumb. Gave a fat-centric dating site a whirl, and that was even dopier. I actually pinged a guy and never got a response. So that certainly did wonders for the bountiful wonderland that is my stupid head. Today, I peeked at a place that someone had touted somewhere and I had to physically back away from the screen in a bit of horror, as it does not seem to be, uh, my kind of place (that is, a festival of people wanting “intimate relations” and that’s…about…it). The thing is, I know what I want. I also know that at the end of the day, I’m not about to change fuck-all about me. I am fat. I will not diet. I am plain. I rarely, if ever, wear make-up because I don’t like how I look in it. I dress like a fucking 14-year-old boy (well, one that occasionally does drag). I am smart, I am cynical, I am funny, and I will not play stupid in order to soothe someone’s ego. I would rather be alone for the next 40 years than compromise anything I believe in just so I can say “well, I had a boyfriend once upon a time”.


It is kind of a blow to the ego (and mine is decidedly healthy in certain areas, believe me) to think that-—rather, to pretty much KNOW-—I am nobody’s bag. I am not anyone’s idea of a good time, unless it’s within the realm of “wacky fat girl sidekick”. I am not the girl that gets the happy endings I used to write so fervently. I’m not walking out of the church to see Jake across the street, leaning up against his red Porsche. Edward Ferrars ain’t showing up at my door to FYI me that his heart is mine. Two words: MR. DARCY. (Sorry, I’ve been on a Jane Austen novel kick over the last few months. And my Colin Firth kick is eternal.) Not that I think life should be one gigantic romantic comedy/dramedy or that it’s any way to live a realistic life, but for CHRIST’S SAKE. Could I have at least ONE moment in my life? One moment with a male human person that, when I look back way too many years from now, I could nod and say, “hot shit, now that was something else”? I’ve done a lot of stuff in my time, stuff that was pretty cool, seen some amazing things. I know how to eat fire, for example. Okay, pull up a chair, it’s tangent time:

Back in...oh, let’s say, 1991, I was rather enthusiastic about Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller fame (as you can see here). One of Penn’s skills is fire-eating. Because I have a few synapses that tend to misfire, I decided I wanted to learn how to eat fire as well. Funny...it’s not something on which you can pick up a how-to book. Perhaps it’s due to that whole risk of burning your fucking face off thing. After much research that went nowhere, I resigned myself to the belief that I would never learn (short of becoming BFFs with Penn). Then, one day, a flier appeared on the bulletin board at my fine arts college from a guy who would teach juggling...and/OR HOW TO EAT FIRE. I was so mega-stoked. I called the cat, he happened to live in a suburb near mine, and I arranged to meet him at his house. He wore a very jaunty knitted beret and, of course, worked weekend at the renaissance faire in Wisconsin. Of course. For liability purposes, I can’t go into specifics regarding what I was taught (though I’m sure at this stage of the game, you can google “fire-eating” and get the general mechanics of it), but within an afternoon, I was eating fire. I was sticking fucking flaming torches into my mouth on purpose. I’ve got scars on the back of my right hand from learning the lesson that polyester doesn’t burn, it melts (kids, no matter how tempting, don’t practice eating fire in your bedroom). I mean, I’m sorry, not to toot my own, but that has to earn me some cool points, right? I can light a torch off my tongue!! Shouldn’t that entrance some male on some planet?? I just found this disclaimer on an old website somewhere, for Christ's sake--how does this NOT MAKE ME COOL?!?!

Fire Eating and particularly Fire-Breathing is possibly the most dangerous and potentially injurious art to be found in circus, theatre and street performing.

DAMN RIGHT! Sheesh. Anyway.

I do take pride in the fact that I’m independent, so much of the stuff I’ve done has been done on my own, completely self-sufficient, not needing anyone. So it riles me, it makes me downright scrappy, to be so immensely bothered by my state of being. I would like a list of things that are wrong with me so that I could work on them. Maybe I chew too loudly. That’s something I could actually improve. I’m kind of sucky with details. I tend to miss details in conversations so that when I have to report information back to someone, I blank out a bit unless I take copious notes. That’s something I could work on. A bit of a procrastinator, most certainly (as evidenced by how often I update this bleedin’ blog). You know, all sorts of things are probably wrong with me...THAT ARE WRONG WITH 99.9999 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION (except George Clooney. Or Colin Firth. NOTHING is wrong with either of them...especially when they are shirtless, and I will not have Clooney-Colin negativity here).

I want to not care that I’m alone. I want to not be irritated by the platitudes I mentioned in my far-too-willing-to-be-honest post (perhaps another failing of mine—my tendency to overshare). I want to get to the point where the thought of being the 35th wheel doesn’t make me take to my bed and cry for an hour and I can ably pretend that I’m having a good time while the couple-conversations whirl around me at a social event or wherever I happen to be. I want to feel like I’m not being ripped off.

Just one moment. Just one that makes my heart stop and tears come to my eyes...out of happiness. Just one.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

When Miss Manners bans your ass, you know you're in trouble.

This letter in today's Miss Manners column was so chucklelicious I knew the second I read it there was no way I couldn't put fingers to keyboard. It's rare I come across something that puts a skip in my step--actually, not just a skip, but a full-metal skip, hop, and a half-twirl in this case because I get what the letter writer is trying to say, but hoo boy, it's just so...dammit, it's downright loopy. It's like the first sentence got my arm up in the air to give the writer an imaginary high-five, but as I continued on, my arm slowly fell back to my side with every subsequent bizarro conceit. Basically, the letter is a textual LOLcat of "UR doing it wrong".

I have to break it down because it's just that yummy.

Dieting in public is a serious etiquette problem in a society that has made saints of women who wear a size 2. Okay, all right, I'm with you. I mean, I can't quite tie it to an etiquette violation, per se, since the "if you're not dieting, it is YOU who is the ball-licker" attitude is so widespread that it's perfectly acceptable and considered quite normal to spend a dinner out with friends talking about all the food you aren't going to eat. While certainly the pressure is most high on women to adhere to an unattainable perfection, it's getting harder and harder for men to dodge the bullet, so dropping it all on women is fairly douchey. I also think "saints" is something of a push. The sainthood is temporary -- just ask anyone who's lost weight and gained it back and then some.

It is rude and offensive for a person to attend a joyous food-related outing and spoil the trip by ordering "a small salad." Well...I...um...I mean, salads are yummy, you know. Sometimes you feel like a nut (a steak) and sometimes you don't (a small salad).

Public dieting casts a pall of misery over any such occasion. Actually, let's shorten that a bit to simply dieting casts a pall of misery.

This is where the train completely derails in a massive fashion (and had me rolling):

If the dieter wants a diet soda, she should ask for it quietly, as though requesting something with which to take medication and have it poured into a glass to ensure that the nature of the drink is not obvious.

*whispers to waiter* "May I have a...:: narrows eyes and checks the perimeter :: diet pop, please?" I mean, seriously. Believe me, it makes my asshole close up when I hear or read things like "I ran five miles in 90-degree heat while wearing a sweatsuit in order to lose that last half a pound" or "I was SO BAD because I had three cookies" or "I can never eat _____ again!!!!!" But to get bent over someone ordering a diet pop? This person would clout me about the ears because 99.999 percent of the time, I'm only drinking diet pop because I just...do. Undoubtedly, I started fueling myself on it when I was 13 or 14 in some attempt to lose weight, but now, I like the taste of the shit. Every so often, I get a jones for a full-metal pop (or, in the case of Flesor's Candy Kitchen in Tuscola, Illinois, an old-school cherry Coke made with soda water and syrup and OH MY GOD IT IS AWESOME). Yes, many fatties drink the diet beverages as much as the dieting dieters of Dietonia do, so do have the decency to shut it.

If a person is on a super-restricted diet that requires she eat abnormally, she needs to stay home, instead of making everyone miserable.

Hear that, you diabetics/keepin' Kosher/observant Muslims/vegetarians?? STAY. THE EFF. HOME. Your insistence on eating abnormally is a BUZZKILL and making all of us MISERABLE. I'm so MISERABLE THAT I AM LEANING ON THE CAPSLOCK KEY WITH ALL MY MIGHT TO EXPRESS MY MISERY AT YOUR ABNORMAL NOT-EATING-OF-PORK-AND-WHATNOT DIETS.

Dieting is not something I do anymore. I don't cheerlead when people I know and often love (if they haven't crossed me) do on a frequent basis. They know that I am not the person who is going to rub their butts with praise when they've lost X amount of pounds. They also know that if we're out to breakfast/lunch/dinner and they start going on and on about what they "can" and "can't" eat or start the air-raid-siren whine about "feeling fat", they're going to get the John Belushi eyebrow of "Really?" from me. But the nature of the beast is that unless you're very lucky and you're at a table with like-minded FAers or you're with people who don't feel it necessary to inform the universe constantly that THEY ARE WATCHING THEIR FIGURES, you're going to be participating in social eating rituals with someone who is actively dieting--probably multiple people, in fact. And the odds are quite high that at some point, they will engage in diet yammer. In my way of thinking (which might not be yours, of course), if they don't comment on what I'm ingesting, I'm able to muddle through the evening. However, the second any sort of shade gets thrown at my particular meal choice, I simply have no other option than to be a vengeful, snotty child and order the most bodacious, luxurious dessert imaginable (think deep-fried cheesecake with whipped cream, hot fudge, and vanilla ice cream) and make the most rapturous yummy sounds I can manage while I lovingly spoon each morsel into my mouth. It's how my rolls roll.

I was at a wedding once where a person at the table was very pointed about making sure everyone at the table knew she was on a diet and that she was being VERY bad for eating pretty much anything off the scrumptious buffet. What made it even more appalling was how, as she was eating a slice of cake, she made sure the BRIDE was aware that she was breaking her diet to have that slice of cake. It's that sort of mania, among many other things, that helped seal my "I will never fucking diet again" belief. And what's so utterly sad is that that almost nobody at that table blinked an eye (my eye, on the other hand, was blinking like I'd just had a contact slip behind my eyeball). They praised her for her restraint. They assured her that a brisk walk or time on the treadmill would quickly take care of that sinful, terrible, life-taking buffet and cake. And whenever I see things like that or read stories along those lines from people who are so devoted that they flagellate themselves for having anything that isn't on their "plan", it only makes me more determined to be as vocal as I possibly can about HAES in the hopes that it might turn at least one head for even a millisecond.

Anyway, back to this very special episode of Miss Manners. The letter writer isn't done yet--he/she has to get in one last bit of snark before ten-fouring Miss Manners:

Perhaps she can join the group later for a concert or movie if she is not too weak to stay out past 8 p.m. Now that's just bitchy. Admittedly, I chortled a bit, but still. Miss Manners shuts the shit down with her version of "STFU", manages to wedge in a little tsk-tsk at dieters who would blow shit at someone for eating in a non-Weight Watchers fashion, and all ends firmly and yes, as ever, politely.

Letter Writer, there are so many awesome ways you could have gone with this. Instead, you came straight from Planet Bwuuuh?, and blew an opportunity to say something good and biting about the dieting culture. On the flip, however...thanks for putting a spring in my bloggy step.

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