where I’ll be from now on

February 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm (thinking)

Hello my chickadees! Given that my new website is under construction but up and ready to receive my blog-posts, I’ll be posting over there now. Forevers. Eventually, hopefully, this address will forward to my site, but for now, just follow the link, please!

New site! New thoughts! Follow me!


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nicely done, mackenzie fegan

February 12, 2010 at 6:29 pm (thinking) (, , )

I stopped caring about the much-lauded but in-reality-questionable entertainment value of Super Bowl ads after the year I saw a beer commercial featuring horses farting on a woman (hilarious!), but this year the blogosphere went up in a explosion of righteous feminist WTF after several mind-bogglingly sexist commercials aired, so I took notice. By which I mean I thought to myself “huh, it seems like people are really unhappy about the Super Bowl ads this year.” I didn’t bother watching the YouTubed versions of the commercials intelligent folks like Cat Valente critiqued because, again, after seeing those horses fart on that woman, what really was there for me to be annoyed by?

Well, a lot, it seems. After noticing that the A.V. Club posted a feminist video response to the now-notorious Dodge Charger ad that aired during the Super Bowl, I watched the original (holy fucking shit) and the gender-bending one (nicely done). Ugh, ugh, ugh. I am so very glad my TV broke years ago and now I watch shows I care about on Hulu or on DVD, years after everyone else. It’s less depressing that way.

Cat Valente was not exaggerating when she described the world alleged by these commercials as “hell.” It really is. And it makes me feel like I’m insane, because I like men. And there are men who like me. We like hanging out with each other despite the differences in our chromosomes. I do not find their presence infuriating and they do not find my presence to be soul-crushingly emasculating. Maybe it’s just that most of the men I know (hetero and homosexual) like to read stuff and talk and make food and eat that food and sit around and watch movies and argue intelligently about things like genre or politics or racism or whether Reign of Fire was a good dragon movie or whether or not we should go see The Wolfman even though the reviews are shit. Most of the men I know think it’s fair to split chores so that no one works a second shift, and most of them also think it’s fair to trade off movies or activities so both people get to do stuff they like if there are dramatic differences in taste with their female friends/girlfriends/wives. They do not feel such things as carrying lip balm or wiping down the sink after they shave or eating fruit (?) to be the  equivalent of having their balls hacked off by a knife shaped like a vagina.

I dunno. Maybe I just hang out with a bunch of queerbos in disguise? I guess advertisers think so. That’s why I broke up with TV a while ago. . . and it seems pretty obvious we’re not getting back together anytime soon.

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pink my vulva

January 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm (thinking, this and that) (, , , , )

I had a lot of stuff in the queue to blog about today, including, but not limited to: some musings brewing about the recent debate over the alleged (in some people’s minds) knife fight going on between genre writers/editors and literary fiction writers/editors; my utter failure to keep off the internet though I had very much intended to do so; my delight over my switch to Scrivener; the news that Merriam-Webster’s has been pulled from some crazy fucking county in CA because it contains the definition of oral sex; the vastly depressing depths ex-vegans will sink to in order to discredit current vegans because. . . OK, actually, I can’t figure out a reason for such behavior, because vegansim isn’t anything like the Quiverfull movement or something that stands to be “discredited” after “insiders” break out and resume their normal lives as. . . as, uh, I guess as meat eaters.

But! I must burn those bridges; I will crush the ideas, drive them before me, and hear the lamentations of their women, because there is something more important out there: someone on the internet tried out the product called, horrifyingly, My New Pink Button, the temporary genital dye that I first heard about over on the PPK, but sourced back to Jezebel. For those of you still woefully blissfully unaware of “My New Pink Button,” it is, according to the instructions that come with it, “an Adult Novelty Cosmetic product and its use is to promote beauty of a woman’s genital area by restoring natural color.” Before hearing about this I always thought the color a woman’s genital area was by nature was its natural color, but as always, silly me.

Says SJ of “I, Asshole” (not S.J. Chambers, who I have mentioned on this blog in slightly different contexts than genital dye):

An overpowering sweet smell rose out of the vial as I sprinkled the powder. The ingredients say it is made from about every fruit that has been trendy for the past ten years, and includes cinnamon. There is also an ominous warning in the instructions that “for some, a slight ‘irritating’ feeling may occur upon application and last for about a minute.” An irritating feeling? Like the cosmetics industry telling me I should be self-conscious about yet another body part? Oh, wait, a different kind of irritating.

I heartily recommend reading about her experience trying a product which fills a insecurity-based market most women likely have never even considered because it is insane. I think (because I am a nerd) I appreciate most her posting the instructions so everyone can note the poor spelling and questionable grammar in them. See the instructions here. My personal favorite “bit” (heh) is right there in the introductory paragraph:

Occasionally, a woman is self-conscious of her Labia since childhood. A common concern amongst women about their Labia Minora (inside vaginal lips) and genital area, is the color loss and color change due to age, health and many other factors. When the question is put to the female population about what color is most appealing to the eye, for their Labia Minora, the answer is “Pink”.

What? I would love to get my red pen out and deal with this mess, but I’ll settle for publicly pondering why ‘labia’ is capitalized in every instance, what the sentence “Occasionally, a woman is self-conscious of her Labia since childhood” means (Since childhood what? Teasing on the playground about labia color? Since childhood viewing of pornography featuring waxed ladies with pink pussies? SINCE WHAT?!?), and why the author in question decided to treat commas as if they were punctuation’s equivalent of salt, to be sprinkled at random over a text. But let’s get to the true reason why this product was developed– it’s right there in the instructions; in fact, it follows the quoted paragraph above. While I will not deny that perhaps “occasionally, a woman is self-conscious of her Labia since childhood” (Who’s to say? I’m sure someone is worried about that), the makers of My New Pink Button have got ladies in the corner– even if you’re not yet “self-conscious of your Labia since childhood” you damn well should be, because:

[Pink] is also the majority response amongst males for what is appealing to the eye of their sexual partner.

So, ignoring that the grammar of sentence could be implying both that men want or maybe think women want their sexual partners to have conjunctivitis (just touch your eyes after being on a bus, people, you don’t need to shell out thirty dollars for that!), let’s talk about what the author is trying to tell ladies: that “males” want pink pussy lips (research source: the titles of some porn flicks at the local video store, maybe), so women better pony up for some of that there twat dye.

There’s a site called Topless Robot that I visit occasionally. The only reason I mention it here is because one of the tags the author uses is “things that make me drink.” Frankly, the fact that My New Pink Button exists should be enough to make me drink, but I’m too jaded. The atrocious grammar in the instructions for My New Pink Button, however. . . well, let’s just say it’s been a while since I considered going on a bender before lunchtime.

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apparently GQ wrote me a birthday present. . .

December 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm (thinking, this and that) (, , )

. . . and I didn’t even know. On October 27th, GQ’s Andrew Corsell published this article entitled “The Bitch is Back,” about Ayn Rand and a segment of her devoted followers (the author calls them ARAs, or Ayn Rand Assholes, a pretty fair assessment). While the author’s relentless usage of the male pronoun gave me an attack of the feminist vapors, the article as a whole is amazing and worth reading. A sample, since I just yesterday noticed the “quote” function in WordPress:

GODDAMN, the experience of being 19 years old and reading Ayn Rand! The crystal-shivering-at-the-breaking-pitch intensity of it! Not just for that 19-year-old, but for everybody unfortunate enough to be caught in his psychic blast radius. Is “experience” even the right word for The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged? Ayn Rand’s idolization of Mickey Spillane and cigarettes and capitalism—an experience? Her tentacular contempt for Shakespeare and Beethoven and Karl Marx and facial hair and government and “subnormal” children and the poor and the Baby Jesus and the U.N. and homosexuals and “simpering” social workers and French Impressionism and a thousand other things the flesh is heir to: experience?

Lord. It’s only funny because it’s true.

Read the rest of this entry »

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things that make no sense

December 13, 2009 at 5:35 pm (thinking, vegan living) (, , , )

Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money. Can we just begin with that as a given?

Here’s a news-item simply fascinating in its utter stupidity: PeTA– you know, the organization whose acronym means People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals– well, it turns out that PeTA just spent about ten thousand dollars of its donators’ money to aid in the killing of 1800 lobsters.

When I heard about this, my reaction was “Excuse me?” My second reaction was “Jesus Christ, I’m glad I never donated to them.” My third reaction, fueled by having to go through the task of return-addressing my own Christmas cards this year (the humanity!) was “Man, I miss those address labels they used to send me for free.” I used to cut the PeTA logo off of them, though.

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interview up!

December 3, 2009 at 2:17 pm (thinking)

I interviewed Aidan Doyle, author of “Reading by Numbers,” over at Fantasy Magazine. Check it out!

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interview with jesse bullington

November 10, 2009 at 10:05 pm (thinking)

Check it out! I’m too tired to post any more about it.

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a writerly approach to guacamole

October 3, 2009 at 5:40 pm (thinking, vegan living) ()

3930562108_f07c8dec17Everyone on the internet is interviewing Jesse Bullington these days, with more to come, due to the imminent release of his keen debut novel, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart. The book is causing quite the ruckus in the world of literary reviews, and so not wanting to be a Molly-Come-Lately, I figured I better jump on the bandwagon and talk to Mr. Bullington about, well, something. Yet since Jesse is one of my best friends, and also my next door neighbor, I’ve already talked to him at length about The Grossbarts, so for VeganMoFo I’ve decided to interview him about guacamole, instead.


Q: Your face is too terrible. How do you prevent hairs from falling into your guacamole?

A: I have it on rather good authority that my face is nothing of the sort but I suppose I’ll humor you: Macomb Evelyn Jackson’s Muttonchop Bibs are available by mail order for any concerned gentlemen.

Q: When is the best time to eat guacamole?


Q: What ingredients do other people put in guacamole that you find to be wrong or nonsensical?

A: Mayonnaise. Even imagining James Mason enunciating the word in Lolita fails to soften the blow–one may as well drain a boil into the bowl. That said, I’m a bit of a purist–anything beyond avocado, lemon, salt, peppers, spices, and occasionly garlic and/or tomato strikes me as being overkill.

Q: What do you feel are common guacamole-related mistakes?

A: Like thinking it’s a pear in leather armor? Or like keeping the seed in the bowl to prevent it from turning brown? (This is a common myth! Alton Brown debunks it somewhere in his “dip” episode so at the end of here, and then here. But Jesse’s recipe (following) is better than his. Sorry Alton!)

Q: How do you feel about nutritional yeast in guacamole?

A: The same way I feel about nooch in every dish–are you really going to use that much?

Q: What about mayonnaise?

A: How could you not forsee this being included in your what-not-to-guac section? Na-nay-naise.

Q: Is there ever a time someone is making dinner and you feel that guacamole would be an inappropriate appetizer or side dish?

It hasn’t happened yet.

Q: How do you make your guacamole?

-five avocados of appropriate softness (I tend to go for three really ripe ones and one or two that are the slightest bit firmer)
-one lemon
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-white pepper
-random spices as I see fit
For pleasantly spicy guac add to this:
-chiltepan pepper and/or
-One or two large, fresh jalapenos or fresno chilis

Wash the exterior of all produce, including the avoacados because we are all OCD. Slice the avocados in half from top to bottom, removing the seed in that cool fashion Molly knows (it’s Alton’s! See above). Remove avocado from skins and place into bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Quarter a lemon and squeeze one quarter onto salty avocado, then set to mashing with a fork or a pestle.

Stop when the guac is still pretty chuncky and add another pinch of salt, as well as pinches of pepper and garlic and onion powder, and then squeeze the juice of another lemon quarter onto the guac. This is when you should add a pinch of chiltepan flakes or a diced hot pepper, de-seeded depending on how hot you want it, or a de-seeded tomato or two (OK, time out. Editorial aside: in my opinion this guacamole is so much better without peppers and tomatoes– they mask the taste of the avocado! Include them at your risk). Resume mashing, or mixing if you prefer a chunkier guac, and taste–as if you haven’t been tasting the whole time.

Add more salt, pepper, powders to taste in small increments–I usally use an entire lemon, but it’s best to add in wee little quartered increments to prevent overseasoning. Same goes for other additions like hot peppers or tomato–guacamole is very forgiving of late game additions, but few people have an extra avocado on hand to add if things get too salty or spicy. Enjoy with chips, on a salad, or straight out of the bowl with your fingers.

guac done

Thanks Jesse!

Alright, faithful readers, MoFoers, and Spambots: you should all be getting excited about the release of Jesse’s book–really, I’m not just saying that because he is my friend–and you should also be excited about applying his guac methodology. Seriously, he convinced me on the lemon-over-lime thing. I was an unbeliever, but he showed me the way. Anyways, I’ll probably take tomorrow off for MoFo-ing, but Monday I will come back atcha with the best recipe for refrigerator pickles I’ve ever tasted– maybe the best pickles I’ve ever tasted, ever. Excited? Of course you are.

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a retraction

October 1, 2009 at 6:01 pm (thinking)

I know I recently claimed that I have a penchant for terrible trashy media, but I’m shamefully going to retract that statement in light of Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the 100 worst-reviewed movies of the last ten years. I’ve only seen three. WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS? Me, of course. In my defense, I would have seen The Hottie and the Nottie but no one would go with me, but other than that. . . yeah.

Though I will still maintain that In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which did make the list, was completely worth the two hours and two dollars I spent watching it.

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not the bad, or the ugly, but the. . .

September 29, 2009 at 3:48 pm (thinking)

I have a penchant for the terrible. It’s an aspect of my personality that baffles me, but even though I should probably be alarmed by things like, for example, the fact that I’ve read Eragon more than once, I choose to believe it is something of a talent to be able to consume the massive quantities of just downright stinky movies, writing, art, etc. that I do on a nearly daily basis.

Recently, however, I’ve decided to combat my addition to the awful by making an effort to seek out genuinely good artistic material. This should not be dismissed as a project just because I rented Van Helsing last night. . . it’s two steps forward, one step back with me about just about everything. Anyways, a while ago I read Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy and as I did, it provoked a sense of wonder and excitement, not just because of the gorgeous world he built or the compelling characters, but because I was taking the time to read something new, different, and genuinely worthwhile for pleasure, and I couldn’t remember the last time I did that.

I felt the same sense of warmth and beauty reading this piece of prettiness over at Fantasy Magazine. Caroline Yoachim’s story “Tending the Mori Birds” is moving, interesting, well-paced, and builds a beautiful and convincing fantasy world without spending an overly-long amount of time world-building, which is something I struggle with in my own writing and so admire greatly when I see it done right.

In other news: I will be making my first VeganMoFo post at 12:01 Wednesday night/Thursday morning!

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