Friday, August 29

A POEM


I spent an hour of my day writing a poem about sunset on Tatooine. I have a job? I don't know.


The twin lights sag
low in the atmosphere,
first one,
then the next.

The dull one moans
and slinks under the horizon
leaving brighter sister alone
suspended in darkening haze.

Her feldspar glow
overflows the dune sea
as sister makes the slow
reluctant march to bed.

Twin lights dip
low,
first one,
then the next.

 

Thursday, August 7

Sauce Robot

I like to think I’m a pretty good cook, but I’m also very aware of all of my culinary shortcomings. I’m prone to overcooking meat, I like to overseason and I suck at sauces. Sucking at sauces is a real problem because sauce is my favorite food. Until recently I’ve been content to just buy premade sauces and dressings, but it seems like such a waste to cook a beautiful made from scratch meal and then to dump something a robot made on top of it. So, I’m trying to get better at sauces. This summer I’ve gotten pretty good at aioli (this very soothing, encouraging video was a big help) and I attempted a barbeque sauce that wasn’t too bad. I’m moving into salad dressings lately and it has been a trial. I don’t mind a vinaigrette, but a lot of them are too basic for me. I like a salad that doesn’t taste like vegetables (which taste like a chore), so I need a hearty ass dressing and maybe an egg and some cheese and then deep fry the whole thing. Still, I’d rather not defeat the entire purpose of eating a salad by drowning it in bacon and ranch, so I’ve been experimenting with lighter homemade dressings and this week finally found one I liked. I decided to use the opportunity to share it with you as a quick illustration exercise, too, and voi la. I give you: A Recipe! Lemon Caper Dressing (adapted from this guy).


Throw all the ingredients into something with a lid (a jar, for example) and shake it a bunch and then serve. We poured it over a spinach and shaved asparagus salad with lemon pepper chicken and cous cous. Did you know a caper is its own thing? I thought it was a pickled pea. I don't know, I'm an idiot.

Monday, July 28

TCB

It has been a trying couple of weeks full of situations and events that required courage I couldn't derive from vodka, but I won't get into it. What I want to show you are some ways I pump myself up for my Adult Lady Business (not pictured: getting swole).



Some days you have to get challenging shit done, and on those days I like to begin with a little Annette Bening positivity. "I will sell this house today" has become a catchall mantra that pumps me up for everything from tests to cleaning to working out. Recommended Outfit: nude pumps, a silk slip, brown lipstick.



I have a habit of ~letting things go~ and ~losing it~ especially on the weekends, so when I need to get myself back together I like to invoke Meryl in this scene from the seminal classic She-Devil. "I'm taking back control of my life, Bob!" is especially helpful in getting me back to the gym. Recommended Outfit: pearls, matching pink lips and nails, pastels.



The original BOS WOMN, Kelis is my patron saint of Taking Care of Business. This powerhouse hit is the perfect psych up anthem for any serious business. I especially like it for job interviews, parties where I don't know anyone, and first days but it's really good for everything from working out to child care. Be bossy. Recommended Outfit: you know exactly what to wear.

Monday, July 7

Shiny Makeup~



A couple years ago, after the announcement of the rerelease of the Sailor Moon manga, I giddily hoped for a new adaptation of the series. On Saturday morning at 5 a.m. (oddly enough, the same time it used to air on the WB) that dream became a reality when Sailor Moon Crystal aired.
This is not a big deal for most people, but for a lot of 20 and 30 year old nerds, it feels huge. The series from the 90's and the manga translation we had access to were pretty fine for preteens, but the opportunity to read professional translations and to see the story animated in a series that's more faithful to its original materials feels right. Watching Sailor Moon Crystal, despite its faults (and there are some), feels like coming home.
I watched the new episode yesterday twice, once with an 11 year old girl (awesome!) and once with my husband. The animation style is a bit wonky, but I love the new theme song, and I love the overall tone of the show. It was sweet and whimsical and fun. More than anything else I really love that the new show feels like the manga. Sailor Moon was created by a woman with a female audience in mind, and the original animated series really forgot that. If you show an episode to someone unfamiliar with the series, they will undoubtedly comment on how much nudity/upskirt shots are in the show. I remember trying to explain this away as a kid and I couldn't. I wish I could time travel and say to my younger self, "Some gross male animators took this series out of the hands of its creator and adapted it in a way that allows other gross males to latch onto it. Bottom line: men are disgusting." Sailor Moon Crystal is delightfully, refreshingly, beautifully devoid of fanservice. That's not to say I think the show will overwhelmingly avoid sexuality (and let's not kid ourselves, there is a huge difference between a character's sexuality and an essentially non-consenting panty shot), I just think it will approach the matter the same way Naoko Takeuchi did: with the female gaze in mind. There are a million other things I will inevitably think and feel about this new series as it continues, but I'll stop myself there for now.
I wish I could explain why this show was so important to me as an 11 year old girl, or why it's stuck with me for the last 17 years, but I don't have a concrete answer. I first heard of Sailor Moon in grade school when my friends were watching it at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings. Even for cartoons I wouldn't get up before 8 on a Saturday, so I missed out on the initial bandwagon. A couple years later Cartoon Network began running the series in the afternoon and I was smitten. I know I liked that the show was unlike anything else I'd seen before. It was animated, so it felt like it was for kids, but the subject matter was different. There was something about it that felt very adult to me, and I realize now that was probably because the show dealt with teenage girls who had teenage girl issues and relationships; to an 11 year old, boy probz is the epitome of maturity. Of course on top of crushes and friendships, the girls also fought monsters and saved the planet. Unlike other shows on TV, this was the only one where all of the main characters were girls and they were girls who actually did cool stuff.
I think that combination of things, the meeting of bad ass superhero stories and stories about teenage girls, is what made the series so valuable for me. Maybe that wasn't exactly it, maybe I just liked their outfits, but it was really special to me, and even through the years when some of the show has gotten a little immature and some of the fandom a little overwhelming (why is there so much merchandise???) Sailor Moon is just always going to be my favorite super hero. I'm really excited about what Sailor Moon Crystal might bring and I'm even more excited to be a part of a community of adult nerds who all have sparkly crystals with wings for hearts. 

Friday, June 27

How It Is

An old friend of mine passed away last week and I haven't known what to feel about it for a long time. There was a lot of numbness, so much so that it took walking into the church for her funeral to finally start crying. During the service there was a period where people could get up and talk about her, and sure as shit any time there was a lull, any moment where the pastor thought it might be time to move the service along, someone else would run up and say something. This continued on through the night at an open mic at everyone's favorite dive bar, the Hub, (decorated with Christmas lights, tissue paper, photos of Liz; there was art supplies everywhere and bubbles and feathery shit. She would have loved it.) and all night people would wander up and share an anecdote or their feelings. It took listening to all these people all night to figure out what I wanted to share about her, and it will take a couple hours of writing and editing to get this right, but here goes.
Liz was easily the most difficult friend I've ever had. If you could hear the dozens and dozens of stories about her that were shared, it wouldn't be hard to infer that she was complex. She had a lot of faces, a lot of ideas, a different way of being for her every changing whim. She was spontaneous and wild and strange and she was not easy. For me, she was not easy. As I have aged I have slowly become very type A. Things have a place, fun should be scheduled, outfits planned, etc. This did not make it easy to be friends with Liz. She would text me at 11 p.m. on a Thursday night and ask if I wanted to go dancing. She would decide to go tubing at 1 p.m. on a Saturday, so late that we wouldn't even get to the tubing place until 3 when the sun was gone and the water was cold. She managed to make a zine that included the work of all her friends and it was so beautiful and weird and terrible, and for whatever reason the second issue could not be made. When we actually managed to schedule a fun thing she would enjoy, like a costume party, she would show up late without dressing up, be surprised and say she didn't think it was really happening, have to leave to put on a costume and would come back even later looking great. Meanwhile, we've all been drinking and sweating off our costumes, thus making photos of the evening queerly lopsided in her favor.
Thinking of this now, it's pretty diabolical, but if you knew her you knew it was never on purpose. It was just how she was. Everything about her was flighty and flaky and ephemeral. I can do things on a lark, Liz lived her life on one. And if she invited you for a ride, you never wanted to miss it. It was annoying to me to begrudgingly agree to her wild hares, but I did it because they were fun, she was fun, and as difficult and irritating as it was for me to put off whatever I actually had scheduled for a day, she was so magnetic that it was worth it. At the funeral my friend Jon said that Liz made you do shit you didn't want to do, and that was her for me. I did a lot of things I didn't really want to do for Liz, but I'm glad I did. You always were.
One night, for some reason, I wandered late into the Hub pretty tired, feeling bloated, wearing a stained Totoro t-shirt, flip flops and glasses. She was there with another girl and they both looked great which made me feel even shittier. There was a band playing covers of the Talking Heads and the Pretenders, and Liz was really stoked and wanted to dance. God damn it all I did not want to dance, did not want to move my shitty body in front of everyone when no one else was dancing so they could all see the stain on my lame t-shirt or the smudges on my glasses while I sloppily shifted around next to a beautiful, effervescent Liz. I was very unhappy about the prospect of dancing, but I did not say this. I got up, took off my flip flops and danced bare foot in a bar with barely a drink in me just because Liz wanted me to. And I fucking hated it, but it was also pretty fun.
A few years ago she texted me and said she wanted to do teen things. She wanted to be a teenager again. She picked me up dressed like a mall goth and we cruised Wash and went to Big Cigs and bought cloves to smoke, and we went to Taco Bell and Discontent. We kicked hack in a parking garage. Around this time I was applying to graduate school, and I got an e-mail saying something was wrong with my application. I was suddenly very depressed because I couldn't take care of the issue right away and the incident completely snapped me out of reliving my teen years despite the fact that I could taste clove cigarettes all over my mouth and I was combing through a rack of tie dye in a head shop. As fun as so much of this day was, I also remember feeling really frustrated. Liz was trying to make her nostalgia tangible, asking me to come along with her for the experiment, and I couldn't. This cloud of responsibility was weighing over me, preventing me from going back. I felt very lost, and I feel very lost now. I got a call about a job interview the other day for a real, adult teaching job, and as exciting as that is I've also spent this week combing through nostalgia, trying to find the right story or the right memory to make sense of my feelings about Liz, about her passing. I don't really know where I'm at in time anymore. I've never felt older in my life than I do today, thinking about my friend who didn't even make it to 30, thinking about being a teenager with her and all the shit she made me do that I didn't want to do. I never played hack as a teenager, I hated it, but I pretended for her and it was fun. I don't know why I never played it before. There doesn't seem like there's going to be an opportunity for it anymore, which is weird to say, but it feels like that. The only person who could bring me back to a time in my life when the pinnacle of fun was literally just driving around is gone. I've felt my youth dwindling for a long time and yesterday I think it was buried. I know, I'm rolling my eyes too. Here's part of a poem.

From "How It Is" by Maxine Kumin

Dear friend, you have excited crowds
with your example. They swell
like wine bags, straining at your seams.   
I will be years gathering up our words,   
fishing out letters, snapshots, stains,
leaning my ribs against this durable cloth
to put on the dumb blue blazer of your death.