Monday, July 30, 2012

Pulling Up the Big Girl Panties

In my heart, I love to travel. It is my head that gets in the way. I am supposed to be packing. Doing laundry. Confirming reservations.I am not doing these things.

I have 12 more hours and I've wasted time. I'll be fine. Once I've typed this out of my system.

Saturday I was in a department store. I turned the corner and saw these items for sale. None in my size. Not that I would wear Hello Kitty panties. I would not. Never. On this I swear.

Batgirl or Wonder Woman? Perhaps. Not that anyone has seen me naked lately but I'd have some explaining to do. Then again if I have to explain maybe the relationship is not meant to be. But if I was with a guy who wore Joker underwear I would be extremely concerned.

I am a hypocrite. And anyway, just because it was in the women's undies section who is to say those are Batgirl's panties? It could be the main Bat.  I don't want to wear Batman's underway. Love the guy but he is a little tense. Sticking with Batgirl.

I have the opportunity to see old friends. Meet new people. Learn things I do not know. Confirm that I am still here. The little kid would couldn't imaging this trip. The depressed adult that wasn't sure it was worth it to go on. The office drone that longs to bust out of the cubicle.

Here it is. This is the time. I can do this. It is okay. I can chose to eat alone or with people. I can introduce myself to the other. It has been a while since I've challenged myself.

I can do the best that I can and for god's sake not judge myself against other people. It messes with being present in the here and now.

I'm scared. In a good way.

So with this I'm pulling up the invisible big girl panties. All I need  now is a cape. Or some rocking boots.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What Is In that Purse?

This year I'm traveling as light as possible. Which doesn't mean I'm going to BlogHer 2012 empty handed.  It just means that I'm thinking about what devices would more than one job?

Last year there was a mobile tech panel at BlogHer 2011 San Diego. Each one of the participants showed what they carried for business and personal use.

Adding up the amount of tech these ladies used in 2011 is impressive. Tablets, smartphones, camcorders and support technology.

I have held off buying a tablet. Not even the Nexus 7 could move me to do so. But I am close. I want a rear functional camera.  I have to have an SD expansion slot.

I will be visiting the Expo floor looking for my hearts desire. I might make some lucky vendor very happy. I doubt it but I can't give up the search.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Open Letter to Jeanette at Utah Valley Magazine

A few days ago Utah Valley Magazine had a photo of some of the women in the office. You might have heard about it. This is a copy of that photo.

The headline for the photo was Women of Color. Now, hold on those of you who are women of color for just a sec. For those of you not traditionally thought of as women of color take two seconds.

I know. I understand. I got a brand new dent on my desk.  Deep breath, let the good air in, let the bad air out. Ok.

The editor of the magazine, Jeanette Bennett has written her explanation of how the photo and the headline came to be published. This is the comment that I left on her blog.

I wanted to address her question in the post as to why folks got so heated up about the headline and photo and how they did not seem to articulate anything more than anger. And there are some angry folks. Understandable.

But if she was serious about wanting to know why the headline and photo struck a bunch of nerves I wanted to step up and give it a go. It is not the only reason. No,  certainly not. And I know for certain there will be white folks that will be angry about being told they have no color. Never said that nor implied it.

Damn, I hate race based posts that require a book and a half to do properly. Anyway, this is the comment that I left at her blog. It may or may not be approved but I wanted to make sure some body sees it.

I appreciate your efforts to clarify how the cover and headline occurred. I am not here to cuss you out. No hate, no insults and no calls for lighting folks up.

As an African American woman I want to chime in on why the headline and the photo caused people to blink repeatedly. I have to say looking at the photo there was a psychic disconnect.

You know, it has been kinda rough for people of color. We have so many folks that want to be blind to seeing our ethnicity aka " I don't see color, I see the person."  Not really true, but I'm not here to get that fire going. Another trope is "I'm American, dammit, why can't you be too?" I am American with ancestors from Africa. I don't want my history expunged.

No, of course you did not mean for that meaning. Yet your headline or photo did that. In addition, with the bitterness and mendacity of the current political campaigns it certainly feels like open season on anyone not white, Caucasian or so called true American. It was, in a way a reminder of how a term is appropriated by another ethnic group then presented as their own definition.

There is a disconnect. There was a WTF moment that seem to imply resonance with the desire to turn this country back to 1945 or earlier.

You as a writer and editor know that words have a life and an energy of their own once published.  That is what happened to your headline. For some of us it was hurtful because we were not present in that photo. We were erased but the term remained visible under folks that rosy cheeks and straight flowing hair.
It is like have the a traditional Caucasian church choir (any choir, not specify any that might happen to be in Utah) attempting to sing One Nation Under A Groove.  It is possible to for the choir to sing the words. It would be a similar psychic disconnect. It would resonate poorly.
That is what happened. The photo and headline resonated exclusion.  Exclusion sometimes generates anger.  Or sadness. Or maybe confirmation that we have much more work to do to understand each other.

I suspect that there are people of color in your community that could write for your magazine. You might have to look past your usual social networking groups. You might have to shift your perceptions that they are not present.

Perhaps there is something about the mag that discourages contributions from people of color.

That would be a good place to start looking within.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Holding On To the Crack of Doom

The nasty azz dark night of the soul does not care how you got to that dark side only that you stay and keep it company. I keep finding escape holes but I trip up and fall back in.

What helps me to stay out the pit is knowing that a lot of blogging friends and friends in real life are doing great things. I'm happy for them and want to witness and support their efforts.

For example, Lania Dawes new book "What Are You Doing Here? on black women and heavy metal is coming out in September 2012. You can check out her Facebook page.

Liz Rizzo is working on getting funding for her directorial effort Missing Miranda via Kickstarter.

Other folks are starting new jobs, new families, traveling, inventing stuff. What am I doing? Not writing a book. Not directing a film. Not speaking to fascinating people. I blog. I go to work. I fight to stay out of the dark miasma and sometimes I fail.

I'm not the bright shiny penny I once was. At 54 years of age I can be bright but it is hard to accept that people will not look at me if they perceive I am old.

I fought freaking hard to be this age. I know stuff. I've seen stuff. Yet the invisibility cloak others extend is trying to hush me up.

I keep meaning to slap in some hair dye. Not as a way to stay young but to put a fuzz filter on other people's perceptions. Haven't done it yet. I will in a couple of days. I want to spend time with a little red in the hair to see what it is like.

Redefining Success

It is getting up out of the bed. It is doing work for pay. Not because I want to do it but because I am exchanging labor for money. And security. It will not always be this way I tell myself but I haven't found my path.

Part of my path is invisible and the other is down the road a spell. It has always been like that. It has lead me to good places if I remain open.

Redefining success is not judging myself by other people. That part is hard. I know some really neat, kind and spiritually (not religiously but those people emanating a light of joy. ) successful people.

I'm honored to know them. But boy, do they make it hard to be a shlub.

Redefining success is understanding that menopause just kicked my azz and the heifer won. She snatched some of my energy and super powers. I'll get them back but I have to look for new ways to access those powers.

I had to re-learn to write in my own voice. I have to allocate time and not over book or under sleep. I can do it but not all at the same time. Freaking resent that part.

So I am indeed holding on to the crack of doom. Which might come in December. Or a long time away from now. Because if Malcolm Gladwell is right that it takes at 10,000 times to master a skill then I got a ways to go before I can declare myself as an abject failure.

In a few weeks I will introduce myself to people I don't know. They will ask what I do. I will not actually say this but I want to say I'm majoring in survival with a minor in lunacy navigation.

Not far from the truth.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gaby Moreno at Make Music Pasadena 2012

With the current xenophobia running rampant in this country wrapped in patriotism it is hard to make the case that we need to listen.

Think. Reason it out. It does not matter now.

Either we unite under one nation or we splinter in to a pseudo sovereign void. Not about the left or the right anymore. You can't white wash a nation. We can destroy ourselves but we can't go back.

I get tired of trying to talk to people who will not listen. And the ones that do listen are just fed up. How much more can you take in one day? You can't keep ingesting negativity.

I don't want to. Not today.

Which is why the spirits and or random DNA cells allow for music. This is just a short clip from a performer named Gaby Moreno. She was busting serious vocals at Make Music Pasadena 2012.

I was across the street at Samy's Camera getting a new memory card. I walk out the door and I hear this voice booming from half a block away.

I mosey on over to Memorial Park and there she was blending that Guatemalan voice around blues licks from some African from long ago. The ugliness, stupidity and mendacity of the world no longer mattered.

We who heard her were bound in a place of music. No ID card required. For more information about Gaby you can visit her Facebook page.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Knowing Is Half the Battle and So Is Laughter

Last night I was checking the YouTube to see if there was any goodies I had missed. I glance at the right of the screen. The man was crafted skin tight. Nice looking fella but I couldn't take my eyes off of Mike's chest.

You know, on the list of things I have to develop, my chest area is not one of them.  One night you are able to sleep flat on the sheet. A week later you have bumps. That grow and grow and I really had no say in the matter.

This video is nine minutes of a man working hard for his body.

I can see his abdominal muscles. I count four but I can see the other two under his pectorals.

You know, it is a pleasure to watch a guy work out. It is not necessarily sexual. It could be if my hormones were at high tide. I'm posting it so that when my hormones flow upward again I don't have to hunt for this video. This is called being pro-active.

I'm looking at the aesthetics of him lifting up those weight.  Dude is kinda cute tho.

YouTube seems to think that I need a shape up. How they knew about my visit to my doctor is beyond me. This is like a re-enforced guilty reminder of something, I don't know what.

I do know that I will never be sleek. I have curves. I am rounded. For heath reasons I need to drop a few pounds but I am designed for puffyness.

So I am taking the pledge to eat more veggies this week. Not lettuce. Full green and orange veggies. Because I want to.

And I will walk more. 

And not let the societal pressures of having a perfect body get me down.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Flipping Out on Yoga

The sun is shining bright and luscious. It is not too hot or muggy. This is my kind of perfection. The doves are cooing. The crows respond with death threats. All is right in my world.

I'm still working my way through the magazine. I  know I am in magazine land because in the table of contents they have more skinny legged young women in skirts blown with the breath of angels that cause cascading curls.

There is picture of a plate of brownies but there is a tag line about avoiding temptation. The brownies are dull, brown and unattractive.

Phflibt. I should go to Mad Magazine to look up the correct spelling.

The good news is that I am almost out the the ad copy area because there is a brown hair big ole eyed girl with caterpillars for eyelashes.  Very shiny, crystal clear peach color puffy lips.

Seriously, you can count the folds and the ridges. No cracks. No jagged bits of flesh. No teeth marks when you accidentally bite your lip.

I'm thinking her lips were shot with a Hasselblad camera. $26,000 for the cheap version and god knows how much to trick that camera into digital still perfection.  Must be a full size sensor...

Wait, this isn't about cameras. Dang it.

Moving On. 

Page 13.  Actual words that lead to stories.

Take a naked yoga class. There are naked yoga classes? I have taken yoga classes and everybody had clothes on. Even the ones that looked like their tights were spray painted on were dressed.

Not sure I'd want to do the Extended Fish pose with boobies dangling as I'm trying to balance my head and feet. And my thighs? I got dents and ridges and splotches and freckles? They move too although I wish they didn't.

And what is the etiquette when you accidentally look up and see another persons labia? 

Page 14. Men use hyperfocal thinking.  This means that their brains can only handle one task at a time.

Naw, that is not true. I've seen them eat and watch sports, eat and watch porn or eat and cuss out the guy who just cut him off in traffic. 

You just got to get their attention in between bites. No biggy.

Page 15. More caterpillars around eyes, this time laced with green sparkles.

Page 16. More women raising up their dresses to show off their shoes. They are wearing mini dresses? What is there to raise?

Page 17. The letter page. "Thank you for showing me that guys like women with make-up." Thank you for letting me know I was an orgasm virgin."  "Thank you for showing me how to dress so my date doesn't run away in horror."

I Am So Confused. 

Page 20. The survey responds that guys want to wait five dates before they have sex with a woman. Oh, hell no, somebody is lying!

This part is straight up fiction. 54% are turned on by a woman's butt. Yet none of the women displayed in the magazine have an ample fanny. Almost none of these women have bumpus in rumpus.

Words fail me. Actually, I'm still stuck on naked yoga. And the reason I am stuck on it is because I think I have a VHS tape called Naked Yoga.

I didn't buy it. I think I inherited it in a move or two many years ago.

If I remember correctly there was a mountain top, lush green lands and a man and a women doing poses starkers. This was back in the 1990s so I'm not sure if there was true nakedness or not.

The dude might have worn a diaper/thong kind of thingy. I'll get back to you.

I'm curious how they did the Downward Dog.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Flipping Out One Page At A Time

I have this magazine in my hand. It should be thrown out, it was printed March 2011. I keep meaning to re-purpose it, re-contextualize and interpret its missives according to my view of life.  Which is a pack rat's way of saying "I'm not sure I want this but there might be some good in it so I can't take the chance of letting it go."

I don't want to mention the name. I don't hate the magazine but I'm not for promoting it either. It is easy enough to figure out with article titles of "The Most Exciting Thing You Can Say to A Man!" "How to Perfect the Sexy Pout!!" "Lust Up Your Underwear!!!"

Once a year or two I buy this mag to find out how much of a sex pot I am not. I know for a fact I don't stand in doorways and peel open my blouse to show my breasts.

Wouldn't work anyway. I wear turtlenecks. And padded bras. Because apparently you can show breasts but you cannot show nipples. Nipples freak certain people out.

July 9, 2012 is supposed to be No Bra Day. I'm all for it if I'm home but I know most of us will contract unwanted and unasked for attention if we try let our girls roam free outside.

Y'all do what you want but I'm not going to be rocking left and right in a white t-shirt down Colorado Boulevard.

I don't have a white t-shirt.

Back to the magazine.

Page two. Don't have blonde hair. Don't need the miracle hair dye to enhance my blonde coloring.

Page three. Skinny jeans. Not skinny, lean or remotely within the realm of size 6.

Page four. More blonde hair dye with puffy lips. I have the puffy lips but they came with my body which is not size 6. Do I get credit for that?

Page five. Blonde girl in sexy black dress. I'm sensing a trend.

Page six and seven. Blonde girl has hands in her hair as a bunch of make-up is displayed on the next page. Four tubes of lipstick and three tubes of foundation for that oh so natural look.

Sigh. Skipping to page 11.

Brown hair girl giving a lip lock to abdominal six pack. What a relief.

What Have I Learned?

In the first 11 pages I have learned that blond women need a lot of make-up, hair dye, skinny jeans and black dresses.

And brown hair girls wear polka dot panties and suck face.

This is a lot to take in. I'm gonna have to meditate on this for a spell.

Okay, I'm done.

I'm going out into the real world.