Tuesday, July 8, 2008

jacks has moved and will not be returning

i have moved to wordpress! i know! holy sh*t - i have come into the 20th century but have not quite made it into the 21st. still - look at me! my new blog over at wordpress is called the thoughtful spaz. i hope you loves it. here is the link so update your business:

http://thethoughtfulspaz.wordpress.com/

come! see! love! comment!

(there is a new post over there waiting for you)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

jacks is into food porn


during this past week (and a bit) of procrasinate-y goodness, which was inflected with bouts of hardcore writing (my theory chapter of all things), and which resulted in my new nickname: jacks the vamp-paper slayer, i realize that i can multi-task. no. i kick ass at multi-tasking. what are these things i can do at once, you ask? i can watch food network food porn AND write academic papers.

impressive, no?

i have had a recent personal victory. after many, many months of trying to convince t-bone that we do in fact need more television, and not less, as he ridiculously suggests, i managed to score us classic cable. well, more specifically, i trapped t-bone with a cableman and basically forced the cableman to install classic cable while my poor dear love could only politely scowl from the corner. ah, passive aggression. keeps the love alive. there are two points that need clarification here: while t-bone likes television, he thinks it is perhaps mind numbing and that we should do talky/thinky activities instead (noble, but misguided); and classic cable is just one step up from basic cable. the main difference is that with basic cable there is no food network. and no food network means no food porn. you see my dilemma.

so while i have been diligently working away at my theory chapter, i have also been marking time if you will, with copious amounts of food network. i love the southern lady who can't keep food out her mouth long enough to talk to the camera, let alone her many grown sons that she seemingly forces to cook with her. i love the skinny italian woman who makes the richest italian dishes but never seems to gain a pound. i think she's magic. and i also love the really tall atlantic canadian dude who cooks off the top of his head in his own kitchen for his family. how do i get a gig like that? i mean he prolly writes off his kid he's got such a sweetass deal. i once saw him at a winery in the niagara wine region in ontario and i want to talk to him so bad. but i could figure out what to say and knowing me it would have been something really lame like, "dude you are tall. like really tall. taller than you appear on t.v." and then realizing that was stupid i would have gone on to ask him if his relative tallness interferes with his cooking. it would have been seriously humiliating. kind of like the time i was eating at the table next to brian orser and i couldn't stop staring at him. poor dude was just trying to have brunch with his mom and his partner and all i could think about was how i wanted to tell him i wrote a speech about him in grade 5. that he was my hero. i was like 25 at the time. thankfully, t-bone and others saved me from that doomed interaction.

so basically, getting back to food porn, i realized that what your parents always told you is untrue. you can and should watch television while working. more employers need to get behind this idea. especially if it is something that significantly motivates. like yummy, yummy food. t-bone remains puzzled about why i watch hours and hours of the food channel and never cook anything i see on there. never write down a recipe. never reproduce the pornographic goodness that is the food network. i tell him that i am getting inspiration. but perhaps this inspiration is not only food-focused but reaches into the innermost corner of my psyche and makes me productive. i hope i didn't write anything provocative for my supervisor to see. thank gawd my dissertation isn't about food.

for interwebs porn for those of you without the food network (poor darlings) there is this great new blog - patent and the pantry. enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

movie madness

i have just reached a turning point in my life. i have set a personal record. gone to a place of no return. i watched three movies in the theatre in three days. look at me. a personal best. what movies, you ask? well it is a colourful line-up. first there was sex and the city which i didn't think i was going to see because i didn't think it would translate to film. it did just fine. second was the strangers which i shouldn't have seen due to the fact that i like to be scared by supernatural events but not by roving bands of psychopaths with no clear motive. third was indiana jones and something about a crystal skull. all of these movies were entertaining. one made me want to shop. one made me almost pee my pants. and one made me sing "dr. jones" by aqua every time someone called indie dr. jones. all in all - good times.

i struggle with movies at times because it seems like it is hard to turn one's critical lens off. i like to say that the study of sociology has forever ruined my full enjoyment of film. there are some movies i can't watch because they actually make me feel stupid. and really, if you think too hard about most films, their strict adherence to formula, their underdeveloped one-dimensional characters, and their incessant "hidden" marketing strategies should make us feel stupid. we morph from citizens to consumers. from collectives to wholes. from humans to currency.

that said, sex and the city infected me with shopping fever. and i don't think it is going away.

i have always been the feminist in the crowd that is wearing make-up. a dress. polish on my toes. as i get older, and more women define for themselves what being a feminist means, i find more long-haired, paint-faced, skirt wearing feminists. but: the women of sex and the city feminist? this is certainly a puzzle as they have the potential to be but it also makes me want to wear heels. real bad. which is ridiculous. anyhoo. i have decided to use my feminist powers for good and provide you with a brief dissection of the sex and the city women from a quasi-feminist perspective:

carrie: she is successful. cute. funny. smart (we think). fashionable. quirky. kissed a women (alanis no less) for fun once. she has made a name for herself in a tough city. she picks a*sholes to date, but we all make mistakes.

samantha: f*cks everything and encourages others to do the same. the woman should receive a medal, or at the very least, a gilded set of anal beads.

miranda: prolly the one true feminist on the show. highly educated. articulate. balances child and career in a no-nonsense way. consistently reminds women of the battles that have been fought for what they have, and can do, now.

charlotte: um. anyone? bueller? forget it.

so, in sum, despite the fact that the women of sex and the city live in privileged white and largely heterosexual monogamous paradise, there is a silver lining.

and it involves shoes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

i don't actually know what a red herring is

academic projects are, for the most part, red herrings. take mine for example. i say that i study online dating - which is true - but only to an extent. do you feel lied to? deceived? undermined? well you should. but don't be a baby about it. what i mean is that often research topics are vehicles (distractions for the audience) that allow us to study that which truly interests us - in my case again those things are gender, sexuality, technology and media studies. so when one says something like "i study online dating" they in fact mean something entirely different. however, we fear that if we told you what we were actually interested in, you'd stop listening. and in most cases, that would be true. but sociologists are at an advantage. they are the lucky ones of the academic world. they usually study things that people are interested in. of course, this results in people thinking that they already know everything about your work, but whatevs, at least they are engaged.

last weekend i went out with my new favourite neighbour-friends who, amazingly, were engaged by the theoretical direction my project was taking. granted these women are bright. warm. receptive. open. but really, i asked myself, do they really find this interesting? shockingly, they did. and it made me fell all warm and bubbly inside. primarily, i am interested in subjectivity which is really just a way of saying, states of being in the world. with gendered subjectivities we have few options, male, female, and well, at present, that's it. what has always profoundly resonated with me since i figured out what poststructuralism meant in my undergrad is that male and female exist in dichotomous relation to one another, meaning that they can only be understood as a relation - a diametrically opposed relation, where one is what the other is not. what i have recently come to understand about these forms of gendered subjectivity is that men and women are not only related to each other in this binary structure but that the structure itself is intelligible within the broader structure of heterosexual relations - that is, men and women exist, to some extent, in the service of the heterosexual imperative that exists in most contemporary societies.

have you ever wondered why there is only one "appropriate" way for human beings to come together? why only a man and a woman can come together in loving relationships to the exclusion of all others? if that man wants another man, that is something "else" - and needs to be labeled otherwise (thus resulting in other binary forms such as straight and gay), if a man and woman want to engage in sexual relations with others, that too is labeled something "else" - something deviant. unusual. being heterosexually coupled is not simply a choice. it is a compulsory activity. this is not a new idea for me as it has been central to feminist thinking for a while. however, it wasn't until i read something by french radical lesbian feminist monique wittig that it clicked. i had the academic equivalent of an oprah "aha moment." i know - exciting, eh?

wittig argues that:

“...it would be incorrect to say that lesbians associate, make love, live with women, for “woman” has meaning only in heterosexual systems of thought and heterosexual economic systems. lesbians are not women.”

friggin' profound, no? while asserting that lesbians are not women may on the surface seem exclusionary, when we look deeper, we understand that it is meant to be so - as a radical embrace of that difference, or abjection. but it is also ultimately subversive. to say that lesbians are not women is to question the false cohesion that binds women to men, and to men exclusively. for wittig, the category of woman is problematic insofar as it excludes other modes of being, that is to say, lesbianism for example. but to deny the status of woman opens up the possibility of plurality. different modes of being that are not demanded by a heterosexual imperative. by a femininity - a "womanliness" that is limited, limiting. predestined by virtue of the vagina.

i have made this post unfortunately dense but it has been fun, if only for me. i'd love to hear people's reactions to notions of alternative subjectivities, beings. can we live in a world of "monstrous bodies," as technofeminist donna haraway calls them, of difference not defined within the confines of nuclear families, male/female relations, and intelligible bodies - that is, bodies that "make sense" to us, and engage in sexual relations that are condoned and not condemned, are coherent and "manageable." or do we understand a need for inclusion. of making space. of diverse forms of being that acknowledge common humanities.

just asking.

Monday, June 2, 2008

jacked on spirituality

all right. i can't hold it in any longer. i'm all jacked up on spirituality and i gotta tell somebody. EVERYBODY. now i usually disdain of all things new agey and spiritual while vaguely believing myself to be somehow enlightened through the discipline and sacrifice that comes with ten years of post-secondary education. what indeed comes from those ten years, for myself and my colleagues, is more akin to bleeding stomach ulcers, constant low-level anxiety (coupled with fits of crying over lost youth, having to complete a dissertation bibliography, and the loss of one's "lucky pen") , and if you are really lucky, three-week migraines that require neurological intervention.

however, i digress.

so a loved one bought me a bunch of books about spirituality which of course i disdained of at first (not that i didn't appreciate the gift and the sentiment - i am not that big of an ass). i was like, "all right. i'm not gonna lie. i watch oprah. but is it possible that she holds the key to my spiritual awakening? f*ck no," or some close approximation of that. i'm a cynic. it's in my blood. that is why i am a disdainy-pants. but as it turns out, people are accustomed to staying in mindsets that are safe and require little effort. they believe things like "i am never going to change," "happiness is a fiction," "low-level anxiety is good for my skin," without ever trying to change. because let's face it, change is hard. you have to do stuff. you have to work at it. it is like my relationship with the couch. i would like to believe i have a healthy relationship to my couch. it loves me. i love it. i have even written parts of my dissertation from it. but do i indeed have a healthy jacks-couch relationship? prolly not. the couch's comfy cosiness often prevents me from running, walking, well - moving - and enables television watching which is the antithesis to reading which everyone can benefit from. so although i love my couch, it might just be an easy (and deliciously comfy) excuse not to change habits. not to engage with different dynamics of self, but to think instead that self is set in stone and it is capable of little else, least of all genuine change.

granted, i'm no ekhart tolle. and this moment too shall pass. but even if all i take from my recent spirituality kick is the notion that it is possible to change the structures of my life that seek to limit myself and others (and relatedly to judge, worry, anger, etc.), then it is time well spent, no?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"proof" that the internets is a scary place to dwell

vancouver is abuzz with the news, and the notion, that a young couple would try and sell their seven-day-old baby on the popular online classifieds page craigslist. this post is neither about the morality of such an act nor an investigation of the act itself. it is about the media framing around the decision to attempt to sell a baby on the interwebs, and how, as always when it comes to media portrayals of the internets, this "proves" that cyberspace is a dangerous, and potentially (culturally) damaging, place to dwell.

as the story goes, on tuesday may 27, 2008, a 60 year-old woman browsing the website came across a ad tagline that read MUST HAVE!!!!!!!!! and upon opening it, discovered the advertised "product" was a "very cute" baby girl. having a number of grandchildren of her own, this woman informed the police in the event it was not a joke or a hoax. police then tracked the couple down in the west end apartment through the cellphone number provided in the ad. the couple was arrested for public mischief and the child has been removed from their care.

interestingly, the immediate local media coverage of this event focused on the woman who reported the posting, who was said to believe in angels and who was being touted as a heroine. much of the emphasis on this woman neglected the fact that craigslist is a self-regulating community meaning that members (users) flag posts for any number of reasons from level of appropriateness to general maintenance and organization of the site. no doubt this woman did the "right thing" in reporting inappropriate behaviour, but her actions reflect what is expected of craiglist users. as an "internet user" (the identifying label under her name explained), this woman was held up as an exemplar of the regulating morality the internet is understood to lack. thus, the wild west imagery associated with the internet persists while self-regulating communities like craiglist have been operating since pre-web days.

my frustration with this story reflects a broader frustration with popular culture notions of the internet as a scary place, and moreover, a place where social rules and mores are somehow non-existent. we do not become different people on the internet, we bring our identities, our problems, our life circumstances online with us. there is no break between ourselves online and off. the fluidity of our experience is captured in our presentations and representations online. this young couple is having a bad time. their baby was unexpected. instead of dumping it on a hospital doorstep, or setting it free on a bed of reeds, they turned to another everyday aspect of their lives, the internet. this does not reflect the depravity of contemporary existence. it reflects the different ways that people have to do what they have been doing forever - even if it reflects a part of humanity that makes us uncomfortable, that is the fact that some children are unexpected, and ultimately not wanted.

this story has a particularly gendered and normalized aspect to it as well, which ultimately accompanies any critical investigation into constructions of technology. it is better therefore, to think of this young couple as "known to police," familiar with drugs, and generally monstrous - and taking that monstrosity to that place of anonymous, dangerous, unregulated danger: the internet - than to think about the structural conditions of their lives. the poverty that would lead them to such an act, the desperation they must feel. the internet is a place to blame that doesn't talk back, that will remain a place of fear until we recognize that we are the internet. the constitutive force behind the technology we produce, enable, and use.

technology is the humanity of today, not the danger of tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

vegas almost killed me

instead of being dead, my bloggy friends, i am just suffering from a seven-day migraine which was post-vegas induced. here are a couple of things i have realized in the past two weeks (four days spent in vegas, and the remainder spent in a post-vegas induced personal headache hell):
  • the united states is indeed a place of overindulgence. i know cause huge food portions, 24 hour a day oxygenation, and vats of alcohol almost killed me
  • the desert is hot
  • i don't like to gamble. it makes me feel nauseous like when i spend too much money on jewelry
  • migraines are not the thing of myths and fairy-tales like i once thought. migraines are the devil
  • that if indeed my headache was brain-tumor-induced like i originally thought (shut up - you're a hypochondriac) i would call my brain tumor paul
  • cirque de soleil is perhaps the most spectacular thing i have ever seen. i have no idea what gave me the impression that it would be like an expensive circus. wait. maybe it is an expensive circus. but sooooooooo cool.
  • i can eat and digest most of a 99 cent half-pound foot-long hot-dog. pretty impressive, right?
  • migraines are a good excuse not to write my dissertation
  • i don't own anything skanky enough to truly fit in in vegas
  • i like mexican inspired beer that already contains salt and lime. i also enjoy walking around with alcohol even though when i first arrived in vegas and saw people walking around with necklace-like contraptions resembling the eiffel tower full of booze i was like, "classy. i would never do that." my resolve was gone by day two
  • i equate smoking indoors with pissing in the corner. all indoor smoking, even in one's own residence, should be banned. it is perhaps the worst thing in the world. 'cept for migraines
  • i prefer sitting by a pool to the following: sight-seeing, walking, drinking, talking to others, experiencing something new, BUT not to eating. yup. eating wins.
that is about it. i am going to go off and feel relatively sorry for myself. however, my migraine has turned a corner so i think i might live. that is, as long as paul remains dormant.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

why i don't talk about my dissertation at parties (anymore)

despite the fact that i will one day revel in being referred to as "dr. jacks" (without the "almost"), i shy away from the label of expert. we could chat about why this may be (not knowing of what i speak, making things up, blatant lies;), but suffice to say that i try follow in the footsteps of the most unpretentious woman i know, my supervisor. plus, pretentious people, in general, give me the shits so there is no reason to be one of them. and, most of the time, when i tell people i am a graduate student, and a phd student at that, they invariably (no joke, invariably) say "good for you!" like a am a potty-training toddler that just waved bye-byes to mr. poopy. so proclaiming expert status, whether i wanted to or not, would prolly result in something equally horrifyingly humiliating like someone trying to change my diaper and/or burp me. like you don't wear a diaper. anyhoo. my point is that you don't always get the response you are looking for which is why i am less and less inclined to discuss my dissertation topic at parties.

for those of you who know me, and those of you who don't cause i keep telling you, i am an attention-whore. this results in interesting choices such as dramatically changing my hair and then disdaining of anyone who draws undue attention to it or choosing ridiculous things to study and then reacting with horrified anger when they say things like "you got a master's degree after spending a couple of months on a nude beach," "sociology is a nice hobby but you can't feed yourself with it," and my personal favourite, "well what is your phd actually in? online datingology" (followed by guffaw, guffaw, guffaw). most people's reactions, are by and far, very positive. so positive, in fact, that i often get advice on how to do my doctorate. the standard party conversation goes like this:

stranger: "so what do you do?"

me: "i am student, which basically means not gainfully employed in any meaningful way."

stranger: "oh yeah? that's cool."

me: "actually, i am a graduate student. i study sociology. but it is basically equivalent to unemployment and poverty-like conditions."

stranger: "you're doing your m.a.?"

me: "nopers. i'm a phd student."

stranger: "GOOD FOR YOU!!!"

me: "gee. thanks."

stranger: "what is your thesis on?"

me: "i study online dating."

stranger: "no you don't!"

me: "yeah. really. i do."

stranger: "well that's interesting!"

me: "not what you were expecting, huh?"

stranger: "NO! i didn't even think you could study that!"

me: "yup."

stranger: "so how successful is online dating? i mean how many people that you talked to get together?"

me: "i don't really study that."

stranger: "cause i mean, if you algorithmically calculated all the components of a good match, well then, you could -"

me: "i could sell my work to an online dating company?"

stranger: "YES!!! all it would take would be crunching the numbers and then putting together a detailed proposal -"

me: "are you an engineer?"

stranger: "yeah! how'd you know!?!?!"

this exact situation has happened to me twice. the exact same thing. and i wasn't at an engineering convention about how to sell your work in the marketplace. swears.

so since chatting about my dissertation isn't getting me the popularity i feel i want and deserve (read: need), perhaps i will start talking about it more on here. cause all ya'll can't talk back.

and all of you certainly can't be engineers. (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

oops, we did it again...

so as it turns out, t-bone and i don't ever learn. as you may or may not recall, we once got lost and almost died during the buntzen lake floating bridge disaster of easter weekend 2008. well, funny story, we totally got lost a couple of days ago in the equally sucky-ass pouring rain debacle of random running day in the university endowment lands. i know what your thinking: running, rain, endowment lands? when did you become such a vancouver douche? well, let me tell ya. it all begins with one relatively bad idea (which i am going to, of course, attribute to t-bone - [sidenote: t-bone selected his own pseudonym. not that it doesn't rock, i am just trying to establish a long line of, shall we say, "interesting" decision-making] but i digress...). the relatively bad idea is "getting into shape" through the ridiculous practice of getting your heart-rate above couch-surfing. and so, the badness begins.

t-bone just turned 30 and i made him a present cake. for those unaware of my genius, i will just say that a present cake is a cake made out of presents. bet you wish you'd thought of that. anyhoo - in this present cake there was a board-game, a camera, a tonne of candy and chocolate goodness, and a book. this book is entitled the beginning running handbook and was recommended by friends. basically it is a 13-week program that teaches you how to run. and, as it turns out, running isn't actually that bad (so says the person who likes walking because it is basically sweat-free exercise-lite). so we are on the second week and in order to fit running three times a week we sometimes have to be creative about when and where we run because our schedules don't always match up. this is how it came to be that we were running, in the pouring rain, in the forest at roughly 7pm on a monday night.

the actual run, despite being 44 minutes (alternating running and walking), went okay. as usual, i almost barfed about midway through and at any and every uphill section. but that isn't out of the ordinary. neither is the situation we found ourselves in on the way back. basically we were lost. which wasn't a big deal. at first. so it has just begun to pour again and we realize that the terrain looks familiar. we had walked in a circle on the way out of the woods. curious. so, we consult the map, realize that we are unaware of what direction we are actually going in, and then randomly choose a direction. upon reaching that exact same point of familiar terrain a little while later, we realized that we were f*cked. while i am not a panicky person, i once again realized that we might die out there, in the gentrified woods of the endowment lands, and no one would hear our screams. plus, we were literally soaked, having not brought raincoats to our near-death experience. so, okay, i'll admit. i panicked a little.

so roughly two hours after we entered the woods for a 44 minute hike, we made it out alive. so again, i know what you are thinking: 1) you're idiots. which i can accept. 2) get a f*ckin' compass, you idiots. k, but don't be so harsh. 3) f*ckin' die out there, see if i care. now that's just mean. in any case, i will update you as to either how stupid we continue to be with regard to our health and safety (or you will see us on the news huddled together in a back alley after a run gone wrong that ends in a police/fireperson rescue scenario) or when we get a compass. also, if anyone has developed the microchip locational devices that are used for lost pets for people, just let us know. someone should know where we are at all times. seriously.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

my dissertation scares me like thinning hair and my nose getting bulbous with age

alrighty. so back to the problem at hand. you see, i have this dissertation thingy to write. and it's a lotta words. lemmie tell ya. what i have accomplished so far (while not entirely true) feels like what my blog post pic illustrates. a whole lotta nuttin'. i mean sure. it is kinda like writing the great american (canadian?) novel. it's big. it has to start somewhere. and it feels like it is never gonna end. i don't want this to be a bitch and moan session - oh pobre me - i have the entire summer to write a draft of a dissertation that like, four people total, will probably end up reading. i know, i know. woe is me. rather, i would like to either shame myself into it (a particular strategy that i excel at) or at least come up with a productive means of, you know, doing something, um, productive. as a side note, last time i visited the dentist, i asked the dental hygienist to shame me into flossing more (even though she didn't notice that i floss, um, sporadically - and i'll try to stop saying um now) and she thought that was 1) self destructive in some way and 2) kinky. i have since changed dentists. i mean, if you can't productively shame me into action, what good are you?

so i have this weird thing that i know i'll finish, and i know i'll finish in good time, but i need to fret about it. i need to be all like, "damn, i'm procrastinating, isn't that bad?" or "i have a new deadline, poor me, huh?" maybe it is the exorbitant attention i need, OR maybe it is part of my process. this is a conclusion i came to perhaps a couple of years ago (or like, yesterday) and i have tried to go with the flow of it instead of resist it. a fellow blogger, author and artist recently remarked in her facebook status that faith means more than effort (you know who you are). i guess this is the resounding idea behind my "process" idea. i fret. i worry. but i always have faith that what must get done will get done. and it does. faith instead of effort. i should get it tattooed. another one of my dear sweet friends, J., frets for fun i'm sure. and it makes her a functional adult and academic. perhaps fretting makes us feel important. functional. or dysfunctionally productive. or somethin'.

so back to shame. i actually think shame operates as a motivator for me. doesn't anyone else feel this way? i mean, you can be shamed by someone and their judgement can motivate or it can squash. which sounds better to you? perhaps it is highly dysfunctional, but i think the best kind of shame is personal shame. it is a motivator, a sidekick, a best friend. or maybe just mine. whatevs. my point is, that everyone's process is unique, possibly dysfunctional, and ultimately productive, right? we all get stuff done. i mean obviously, we should all be less judgmental, to others and ourselves, but don't we all live in a world that compels us to live up to the expectations of others in order to avoid their disappointment and our inevitable shame? perhaps it is just a matter of not taking responsibility of oneself. i mean, i have to assume that my supervisor cares about deadlines set, or dissertations written, otherwise why would i produce? i have to create a spiral of expectation and shame. otherwise nothing matters - right? i'm not a masochist okay? i'm just justifying why i am not doing stuff, why that is okay, and why it will all work out in the end. in an obviously tongue-in-cheek, non-creepy way. right? gulp.

as for productivity, here are some simple solutions to take my mind off actually doing work.

1) obviously, faith, not effort. perhaps my dissertation will be written on faith alone. does that mean i can take a vacation?

2) personal shame is the answer to all life's roadblocks.

3) watch oprah when experiencing writer's block.

4) assume my supervisor has more investment than i do in actually getting things done. that way, they will. come hell or highwater.

5) go outside and drink chai lattes (my new ingestive of choice) for inspiration.

6) instead of doing research, make phonecalls. long-distance ones to people you haven't spoken to in a long time in order to maximize the call length and time-wastage.

7) make lists on your blog that mean nothing. to anybody. including yourself.

8) enjoy facebook's new chat system.

9) consider ways to make my life more eco-friendly in acknowledgment of earth day. and/or get irritated by sandra bullock schlepping her soy-based candles after following #3 above.

10) consider other career opportunities that do not require a completed phd. suggestions?

any others to add? also, feel free to shame me now that i've fired my dental hygienist. and don't go easy on me as this could happen to you.

Monday, April 14, 2008

indecision

so i changed my blog title. don't judge. i am allowed to be indecisive. at least in the blogosphere. (blogosphere - what does that even mean? don't think too much about it, says the new media studies student. just. don't). indecision does not come easy to me. and that's not something i'm proud of. cause for years i lived in a world (a sphere perhaps?) of black and white. and that's tough lemmie tell ya. tough.

gynormous life decisions have always come relatively easy to me, e.g., while i faltered for a week during christmas break during my first year of university, desperately wanting to drop out and become either a chef or a florist (much to my parent's chagrin and resounding "nos"), by the new year i knew i was going to be a phd student one day. and well. here we are. i would like to say it's the little things that get me and while that may be true, it is really the small to medium decisions that boggle me. such as: where should i eat for dinner instead of making dinner? should i like camping? how many drinks are too many? and, my personal favourite - should i continue to think about the health of my arteries or should i just give in and eat french fries all. the. time.? so far, arteries are winning. but i'm not happy about it.

i made a decision to write a short blog entry - something i can't seem to accomplish due to insufficient short-range wit and the fact that this blog may or may not be turning me into an even more rampant egomaniacal attention whore (could you talk more about yerself much?). i don't seem to be sticking to that decision. but maybe that is just it. as long as i have the big life decisions covered i can completely live a life devoid of simple decision-making. some decisions are easy: should i go on a reality t.v. show? no. would i like to? yes. do i like summer? yes. would i like it to be summer all the time. maybe also yes.

i have recently been thinking a lot about having one's own "take" on everything. which is essentially like having a position - perhaps deciding on an opinion - and then deciding to act upon that decision. my take. your take. everybody has a take. that is what makes people seem so annoying sometimes - your takes don't add up or they don't agree with your take. i also think decision-making is about confidence - the confidence to stand behind your take even though everyone else thinks it is spastically uninformed. in my youth - the heady days of "should i be a chef or a florist" - my take was the law. there were no other takes. my take ruled. that was what living in a world of black and white was like. i didn't see shades of gray. as i get older - and with a recent birthday under my belt - i realize that life is full of shades of gray. if we can cobble together a take, than that's something. enough perhaps. existing in academia teaches me this anew every. single. day. and this is not a bad thing. it is perhaps instead an altered mode of being.

so i made a decision to change the name of my blog. and i may or may not stick with it.

so there.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

a life in pictures: flickr meme fun

k - i'm not good at taking pictures. actually, i'm really, really bad. so as desperately as i want a flickr site, i don't have one because a) i take horrible pictures that no one wants to look at, and b) our camera is broken and i don't know how to use it anyway. anyhoo - i was over at sugar sweet, one of my new favourite blogs, and she did this cool flickr meme thingy that i am going to steal because it looked super fun. also, this being the eve of my day of birth, it seems like a fun way to take weird stock of your life, and in pictures no less, which is fun (and elusive to me, a picture-taking spaz). so theses are the rules of the flickr meme:

1. go to www.flickr.com
2. type in your answer to the question in the "search" box
3. use only the first page
4. copy the html and paste for the answer

here goes! (please note: i did not answer questions that appear on sugar sweet's that i thought were dumb, e.g., my favourite disney princess). i may or may not have added others. i can do whatever i want cause i am the birthday girl).

1. what is your first name?


2. what is your favourite food?


3. what is your favourite colour?


4. who is your celebrity crush?


5. what is your favourite sunday activity


6. favourite drink? (for me, a tie)

and


7. dream vacation?


8. favourite dessert?


9. what do you want to be when you grow up?


10. what do you dream about?


okay - that was stupid fun. do it! i feel inspired to not only take better pictures but also to regularly take stock of the beauty that my life holds. and is.

(also, i thought i was cheating cause i thought you had to use the first picture and i was choosing from the whole of the first page. my post-catholic schoolgirl guilt was wasted cause that is part of the rules - you can choose any from the first page. jeesh.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

why i'm a bad blogger - installment # 5

i thought it might be time for another rousing rendition of my mediocrity at crafting and maintaining this beautiful blog. since this is my like, fortieth-ish post, i am now an expert on why my blog pales in comparison to those that people read religiously and comment on. some of this list may seem familiar while other aspects of suckage will be entirely new. as always, comments for improvement are welcomed but will resultantly make you unlikeable. just so you know. enjoy.

1. this blog continues to be about nothing. i have recently refurbished my "about me" and "interests" sections. it made me feel better despite the fact that you didn't notice. don't pretend you did.

2. because this blog is about nothing, i will never be paid consultancy fees for anything. shitbags of hell.

3. t-bone has recently pointed out that i not only frequently have spelling errors, but that i always do. thanks for that tidbit.

4. i may or may not have mis-named my blog. i mean seriously, even i skip over blogs with titles like hate in them because i am trying to spare myself the entitled vitriol of others. what was i thinking? i hated my other blog. however, i am desperately in love with this one.

5. do people even blog in the summer? i mean, is this blog going to contribute to my pastiness? i really need a tan - like even a spray-on one. seriously.

6. i am even starting to think the minutiae of my life is interesting. is this a blog-induced state equivalent to navel-gazing in the social sciences (mainly anthropology - i mean, i'm not judging, i'm just saying...)?

7. i think all lists must contain 10 items.

8. all i want to blog about is big brother - till death do us part. hey - you know how i feel about being judged about my reality television choices. so stop it. now.

9. i have ceased and desisted sharing my blog. that can't be good. and if i do i always tell people that they won't want to read it. how is that for a sales pitch?

10. i can't seem to talk about anything related to my dissertation which is both a positive and a negative thing. i mean, this blog is about procrastination, right? suggested to me by the one and only dr. beth, who has in fact completed a dissertation, hence the dr. appellation. almost dr. jacks can't even talk about online dating much less have a blog about it. poor almost dr. jacks. is this what i should rename my blog? methinks i am on to something.

okay, so what has this installment of bad bloggerness taught all of us? not much. but it does suggest that i maybe should change the name of my blog and perhaps share it will others with the same kind of resounding endorsement i give to referrals to my hairdresser or for people to watch flight of the conchords. seriously. watch it. its friggin' awesome folks.

vote now if you think i should change my blog title to "almost dr. jacks changes the world" or some other fabulous suggestion you wonderful people have.

11. i change my blog so often, people can't even find it, let alone figure out what it is about (just a preview of bag blogger installment #6).

Sunday, April 6, 2008

livin' on the eastside *makes an awkward "E" symbol with fingers of left hand*

so roughly more than a half a year ago i moved to east van. where the hip-est of hipsters live. you can live on main street (which is where hipsters now go to procreate) or you can live on cambie where it was once uber hipster-y to dwell. but the real deal on hipster-living is in east van baby, where commercial drive separates the hipster from the poser. for those who don't live in vancouver, this distinctions between the hipster-ness of neighbourhoods is lost on you. but for those who live in the "couve" (an appellation given by a visiting ontarian friend who would not cease and desist calling it that no matter how much i insisted that it sounded like a euphemism for vajayjays), neighbourhoods really mean something. because the thing is, in vancouver, you pick a neighbourhood and then you live and die by its friggin' greatness. wherever the individual vancouverite lives, it is the neighbourhood against which ALL other neighbourhoods pale in comparison. maybe this works similarly in other cities that insist on having way to many distinct and unique hoods. or maybe it is just because vancouverites have to be special no matter what form that specialness takes be it from their raw food diets, their insistence on climbing mountains for fun, or taking their equally unique and special dogs EVERYWHERE with them. i dunno. you decide.

so i moved from the westside to the eastside which is equivalent, to some, to moving from the beaches neighbourhood in toronto to scarborough (i would say the bad part of scarborough, but is there a good part? man, i'm a jerk). because the downtown eastside (dtes) is infamously known across canada as the WORST neighbourhood in canada, the eastside generally gets a bad rap, despite the vibrant community life that characterizes east van generally. i sympathize with the people that are fearful of the eastside because the dtes is perhaps the most unthinkable neighbourhood one could imagine - not because of crime or violence (despite widely held beliefs) but because of extreme grinding poverty and widespread addiction and mental illness - two things that invariably land people on the streets. when you live in pristine largely white and shockingly upwardly mobile neighbourhoods like kits and kerrisdale, the eastside begins about at granville street and characterizes everything thenceforth until you hit burnaby. so yeah, living on the eastside (no the dtes) means something very different, but perhaps more "real," than the tony neighbourhoods that make vancouver so desirable. but what is weird is that vancouver is a young city and so the neighbourhoods, like kitsilano for example, used to be a hippie enclave where you could live a beach bum kind of existence - not too different from the commercial drive neighbourhood of now where hippies gather to exchange patchouli tips and advice about how to keep dreds bug-free. so this brings me full circle back to hipsters - those pioneeering souls who are on the forefront of gentrification - the few, the brave, the musically-obsessed and fashionably-conscienced.

so when i was in cincinnati i roomed with an extremely articulate and intelligent woman who just happened to be ridiculously hilarious. during said stay, she made a joke about hipsters and then abruptly stopped laughing, fearing she had insulted me, whose questionable hipster-like status had not be fully articulated nor denied. i was like, "no dude, that was funny. i'm not a hipster. i mean i don't think i am. oh my god - am i?" i then evaluated the evidence: 1) we have recently purchased property in an up-and-coming neighbourhood. level of hipster-ness: HIGH. 2) i shop in little consignment stores and revel in the resultant questioning about where i got that shirt or those boots. level of hipster-ness: MEDIUM. 3) i recently cut my hair. i now have bangs. level of hipster-ness: OFF THE CHARTS. i had to face a scary truth. i might be a hipster. where did i go wrong?

after consulting the hipster handbook however, i was relieved to find out that while i might approximate certain hipster characteristics, i am not in fact a hipster. this is largely because i don't ride a bike, i have never even heard of the word "deck" (except as a wooden object that surrounds pools), and i do not have less than 2% body fat. also, i own and love my television, which in hipsterworld is equivalent to worshiping the devil. so there you have it. i'm not a hipster despite evidence to the contrary. so suck it.

one final note, while i may not be a hipster, i do believe that my wardrobe is misrecognized in my new neighbourhood as something i like to call "streetworker chic." however, i think the bangs are helping to remedy that. sweetass.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

fat fabulousness in porkopolis

so, i went to cincinnati (previously called porkopolis, swears). and it didn't suck. like. at. all. in fact, it was pretty friggin' fabulous. and leonard nimoy had a little bit to do with it. i know, wtf is that all about? but let me 'splain.

i went to the annual north central sociological association's conference between March 27 and 30. it encompassed a large swath of sociological topics but i was presenting on a fat studies panel. i presented a paper about fat phobia and authenticity in online dating. it was cool.

let me just say that this was my first foray into the fat studies world and hot damn, it was a good one. i have come to realize recently, cause apparently i am a little daft, that conferences are about meeting fabulous people and getting amazing ideas rather than about the "presenting" itself. however, my presentation went well - especially after my last non-academic conferencing debacle (please see here for more information on that little ditty). so after spending seven hours at chicago's o'hare due to weather and wiring difficulties, i landed in cincinnati (and got into a cab with a brand new driver that didn't even know which state we were in. after moving to the front seat, typing things for him into his cheap-ass gps, and still getting lost down a closed-off unlit road in the middle of an electrical storm, i ask him to take me back to the airport. which he did promptly after the third time i yelled it at him. up until that point he was assuring me that he knew where he was going. um, no ya don't dude. please stop taking my life in your hands).

cincinnati, aka porkopolis, did not actually suck - i mean the downtown was nice, had trendy delicious places to eat, and i even got an up-close-and-personal fireworks show right outside my hotel window due to some kind of marathon happening on the day that i left. but wait, i haven't gotten to nimoy yet. but i'm gettin' there. so after some not so spectacular presentations, except one ethnographic methodological paper about "gravers," that is, those people who gather at the graves of famous dead people as ritualistic secularized pseudo-religious activity, i finally stumbled upon the critical crew, on day two, at my panel. these people were wicked cool and i just happened to be rooming with one of them as well - a highly articulate, inspiring, and inspired woman of only 22. i wish i had been all of those things at 22. at 22 i was tanning too much, drinking too much, going to the gym too much, and dyeing my hair too much. ah, to return to the heady days of painfully "healthy" eating, overtanning, and binge-drinking. wait - that is still my life sans the healthy eating and overtanning. forget it. i don't wanna talk about my 20s anymore.

so speaking of food and weight (how is that for a terribly disjointed segue?), i must say that i was absolutely thrilled and enlightened by what i learned about fat studies and the people that constitute it at the conference. SUCH interesting people with a refreshing view on life who ingeniously meld my interests in sexuality, gender, various "technologies," and my new obsession with fat. basically, i have a big fat studies crush and i'm makin' no apologies.

alright. so leonard nimoy. i am not going to tell you about how when i was a teenager i had a life-sized poster of him on the back of my bedroom door, or about how i had a star trek insignia pin that i actually wore. no, this post is not about my teenage crush on pointy-eared-blue-eye-shadow-wearing leonard nimoy, okay? it is about how he has recently completed a photography book of nude fat women - a sample of which graces the top of this post. had i heard about nimoy's project - entitled the full body project - and his explanations of his motivations for it (found here in his artist's statement) - i would have been surprised and pleased, and no doubt, i still am. this is a man who is channeling his creative energy into chronicling the lives of women in the fat liberation movement and to convey the respect these women feel for themselves to others. what i learned at the conference from my fellow panelist, and i think is profoundly interesting to note, is that his decision to capture the images of fat naked women positioned him as a "fat admirer" or "chubby chaser" when he was interviewed by the media. nimoy took a staunch position against taking these pictures as part of a possible sexual "fetish" which disheartened me at first. however, thinking about it further, i have reckoned that what is f*cked up is not his disavowal of the sexual "fetishization" of fat women by saying that he thinks these women are beautiful and worthy of immortalization through film, but that the interviewers were trying to construct what he is doing as "abnormal." that is, unless of course he is "abnormal" by wanting to get with that in which case it's normal. messed, eh?

anyhoo - i encourage you to look at nimoy's project and let me know what you think. i'm going to go back to daydreaming about porkopolis and my reinvigorated fat studies crush.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

if you go out in the woods today you might see jacks up to her junk in what could have been a watery grave

okay, so here is my attempt at playing catch-up. i've been busy, okay. lay off. i have to go all the way back to easter cause it is my favourite holiday, after xmas and halloween (since i was born on a good friday and apparently that means, in folklore no one knows nor believes, i will be a millionaire by my 39th birthday. sweetass), so i have to prioritize and correctly and chronologically relay the minutiae of my everyday life. so here's a little ditty about me almost dying in the woods. it'll be good times. swears.


so i like to hike. so what? it doesn't make me "outdoorsy." or "one with nature." it keeps me active and able to stuff large quantities in my pie-hole without consecutive coronaries or other suchlike adverse effects. plus, it allows for one to still be somewhat lazy but give the appearance of activity (that is, as opposed to running which i disagree with as a practice akin to torture). so anyhoo - i'm hiking - at buntzen lake to be exact which is a pretty place. with a lake. and a trail. perhaps my favourite hiking place of. all. time. 'cept that i almost died there. at easter. like i said.


so the dying part comes in when me and my loved one decide to be troopers and pass our usual turnaround point which is somewhere around a dock and a little suspension bridge that no one EVER goes further than because it requires you to circumnavigate the entire lake. which ends up being about 10km. which is well past jacks' comfort-zone for exercise-that-approximates-exercise-without-being-too-exercise-y. first, beyond the cute little suspension bridge, there was a significant uphill section. i am adamantly and vehemently opposed to ANY kind of uphill. uphill = the devil. second, we think we are lost when we reach a gravel road which we decide to follow (we are lost at this point but in serious denial). third, we are running out of trail mix (which i despise but was nonetheless filling my previously-mentioned pie-hole with). t-bone (aka loved one), locates us on his phone which has gps and we are somewhere between death and the end of the trail. when i realize i am starving i begin to consider eating all of the trailmix cause i figure we might not survive until the morning. apparently i thought t-bone could eat me once the trailmix was gone and i inevitably perished (due to lack of trailmix and the couple of hours i had been without food. this no food for like two hours and death is an assumption i make pretty regularly).


fourth and finally, the floating bridge that promised to be our saving grace because it was to take us directly to the parking lot (directly equalling in 1.5km) was blocked off and barricaded due to the fact that it was decrepit and "unstable" (and in the end, incomplete) or some such silliness. i say silliness because the barricade was instead telling us to go another 3km along the "safer" road route. see, silliness. more hiking? methinks no. okay so of course we chose the bridge. i mean, it was an alive-like situation out there (the movie version where ethan hawke eats everybody. or does he? i can't remember if he finds it morally reprehensible or if he chows down. ah, cannibalism). the trailmix was almost gone, people. we had to take the bridge. so after jumping over the orange fencing and over the half-sunken portion of the floating bridge's beginnings, we were well on our way.


i could tell you we made a good decision. i could tell you that this story doesn't end with us in the water. but that would be lies. despite not falling in, we did make the brave decision to enter the freezing depths of the lake that is buntzen when the floating bridge prematurely ended roughly 20 feet from land. being brave lazy souls we rolled up our lululemon pants (an impulse buy/mistake made soon after moving to vancity), took off our shoes and socks, and waded into the thigh-high icy depths of oh-my-god-what-a-bad-decision-land. i think i almost had a panic attack and was shaking for about an hour afterward due to the shock and the adventure of it all.


and that, my blog friends, is how i survived the easter hike that almost killed me.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

i have blogtile dysfunction but i might be a closet rockstar


okay. in an effort to get over my "dry spell" i have chosen to write a blog post come hells or highwater. excited? me too. in order to cure my "dysfunction," i have chosen to focus not on what i should be focused on, that is, marking and well, um, my dissertation i guess (*eye roll to indicate that i'm so over my dissertation. this bodes well in light of my not having actually written it*), but rather what pleases me. and right now folks, in this very odd instance, what pleases me is singing. so shut up and read.

tonight i am going to rock the house at a friend's b-day party with my very particular brand of karaoke-ing - that is, singing loud, out-of-tune, and generally f*cking fabulously. melikes the singing. despite the lack of talent, only knowing the chorus of every song, and busily posing with my sidekick B. (who goes by the fabulous handle "lipstick" when we perform. i am, as always, jacks. but fabulously spelled jax for some flava. as in flav. anyhoo. back to the story). now before you get any ideas, i am not a karaoke crackpot. this is only my second time. but now that i basically have a partner (co-performer, if you will) with whom i could tour the dingiest beer-curdled joints in this damn city, i figure i am basically a star. if only to my wincing, bloody-eared friends.

when i was seven-ish there were only two things that i wished for: to have ridiculously long hair and to be able to sing like aretha franklin. wait - there were three things - i also wanted to be a mermaid. shut up. as if you didn't watch splash and pine for the day tom hanks would join you in your watery underworld of love. you know you did. but back to the singing. despite NEVER displaying any talent in this arena, i sang my heart out. at school. at home. at church. i sang it dude. christmas was my favouritest time of year to sing and i even went caroling one year. much to the chagrin of my entire community and, most likely, the charity we were raising money for. i even occasionally (and in retrospect, horrifyingly) sang in my undergrad with, no less, my dear friend K. who has the world's. most. beautiful. singing. voice. what was i thinking you ask? i surely wasn't. just like i won't tonight.

this time, in the second incarnation of the smash hit duo "lipstick and jax," i will make a few minor changes. one, i will not have as good a time (this is a euphemism for not drinking as much cheap mystery draft from the sketchy bar). two, i will not let my nostalgia for the '80s be my only criteria for making song choices. i will attempt to branch out into the '90s. and possibly even today. maybe. three, i will sing more country songs because the twangy-ness required covers up my horrible, horrible voice. and four, i will not participate in "group" songs of more than three people as 1) that takes away from me, and 2) it takes away from me and my role in the beauty that is lipstick and jax.

i assure you that i will have fun. because, as in life, it is more about how you perform than any real skill. a pearl of wisdom from one half of lipstick and jax to you dear (and lucky that i don't podcast/podsing) blog reader.

Monday, March 3, 2008

who's sick of the american elections? anyone? anyone?


so at dinner last night with my fav american couple S. and B., i became aware, once again, that i not only LOVE talking about the differences between canada and the u.s. but that i also have no idea what is going on electorally over there. and for this, sweet baby jesus, i am proud. i mean, maybe it's the profound and crushing disappointment that i felt when bush was re-elected, or the fact that i feel like if i don't now what is going on here, then why should i know what is going on there, or maybe, just maybe, it is that i am lazy. nevertheless. i can't handle any more talk about obama and hillary (please note that people ALWAYS refer to them like this. even though it reflect the sexist use of language as a symbolic representation, that is, calling her "hillary" devalues her authority which is given to men through the use of their surnames). anyhoo. i am having a wtf moment and thought i'd share. i mean, i should care, shouldn't i? does this make me a bad person? or does this make me similar to (some? most? all?) americans in that i have no idea what the f*ck is going on in the political universe (other than, tangentially, my own). oh, and i know that this is a generalization of americans that is inaccurate, all-encompassing, and ignorant. i will not, however, retract it. so there.

here are a couple of reasons i have compiled about why i don't give a sh*t about american politics or the players in it. (where is this ranty rage coming from you ask? the rain, okay? and the fact that i recently watched the documentary outfoxed. and i'm all fired up about nothing. it happens. for reals). okay, so back to the list:

1) it kills me a little inside how people have tried to construct the democratic race as if it is about gender (by which they mean sex) or race. i mean, i know that it is going to get spun that way inevitably, but it just points to how ANYONE, other than a middle-aged, white male (and/or any member of the bush family), is not seen as a valid candidate for the highest office in the united states. this is obscene. what is more obscene is that people argue that feminism is dead, or should die a quiet death, because all kinds of equality have been achieved. really? i didn't get that memo.

2) do i really like/trust hillary clinton? i mean, her presidency would mean that in the last 16 or so years, two families, and two families alone, have held the title president of the united states. isn't that messed up? i mean, how does that happen? huh?

3) i am a little afraid that oprah will in fact be the vice president after something mysteriously befalls whomever his vice president will be. it would be a coincidence in line with point #2. that is to say, not a coincidence. at all.

4) why are all politicians in the united states elevated to the status of celebrity? can't they just be boring politicians that no one knows anything about as they are in canada? i know that macleans is trying to get people to care about the private lives and goings on of canadian politicans on that kinda "social" mp section but i am quite sure that everyone does as i do and completely. skips. that. page. because, seriously who cares what the mp from some 40-person riding in winnipeg does with her time off? hmmm?

5) everything gets soooooooooo blown out of proportion. like michelle obama saying that she is proud of her country for the first time. or clinton (ya see that?) crying. all has to be dissected. analyzed. spun. and it all detracts from what they are saying. like the fact that they want to exit nafta if they don't get what they want. i'm not saying nafta is a good thing. alls i'm sayin' is why don't we look at what this means. not whose hair is fabulous and whose sweater is frumpy. again, amercians can learn something from the frumpy unfabulousness of canadian politicians. i'm just saying.

6) is it spring yet? i want more flower blossoms and sun. and less american politics.

pleeeze.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

cum-ing at you april 18th - young people f*cking


last week i saw a new canadian comedy called "young people fucking." it was low budget and fabulous. as an added bonus, the director, martin gero, was there to introduce the film and then chat with the audience afterward (an unexpected surprise and due to his residency in vancouver). gero was a funny guy. the film was a funny film. largely in an uncomfortable kind of way which happens to be my favourite kind of funny (that and poo humour gets me every time. poo. hehe). and callum blue is in it. need i say more?

i found myself thinking about the film after seeing it more than i expected. i usually think about films if they are particularly dramatic or sad. and then i can't seem to get them out of my mind even if i desperately. want. to. but the quirky-fantastic-ness of this film made me ponder it over and over. so perhaps this is an attempt to get it out of my mind. and onto yours.

the comedy is essentially set in five bedrooms. with five stories. in six acts that span foreplay to orgasm and beyond. if you haven't realized from the title already, it's a good date movie. if, in fact, you want to have sex with said date. it covers threesomes and sex with exs, friends with benefits, and bored marrieds. the only thing it fails to fully probe (hehe, i said probe) is any kind of gay sex, except in a laughable end scene. it was written by gero and his friend (aaron abrams who also appears in the film), apparently largely over msn, and its particular male perspective is obvious. but also funny.

i vacillate between pissing my pants laughing at male-centered comedy - you know what i mean - the superbads, knocked-ups, and every will ferrell movie ever made - and finding myself alienated by the way it attempts to, or fails to, engage women. where women are depicted as the straight-woman. the love interest. the conquest. the unfunny body that propels the story of the man forward. in short, the other. while young people fucking does appear to centre around men, i am going to suggest it could be read differently. but not entirely subversively. it does engage women in ways that we do not often see as it demonstrates how sex is a powerful motivating force for women as well.

there is a successful woman who successfully seduces her ex, a best friend that convinces her long-time pal to f*ck her in amidst the backdrop of some hardcore gangsta rap, and a bored married that suggests a "alternate" route to pleasure (i can't ruin that one - it is too unexpectedly funny). its quirky and women have a role beyond passivity. saying no. being no. to the man's constant yes. this is not to suggest that the movie isn't still male-centric, but rather to say that it has a certain truthful quality to it. in that way that independent small-scale films often do. they surprise you with their true-to-life reflections. and make you laugh your ass of at the sometimes awkward act of sex. this is why its been on my mind. and why you might wanna see it.

here is a review from the pacific cinematheque where i saw it. enjoy.

i should really get paid for this shit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

cotton brain made me do it


i have been blogging with astounding frequency due to 1) the fact that northern voice 2008 gave me a blogtastic kick in the pants, and 2) i potentially have a virus - the only symptom of which is giving me cotton-headed blurry brain (possibly acquired at the geek show). brace yourselves for some fuzzy-headed nonsensicalness, cause here she comes.

this is gonna be random and i make no apologies. because apparently fuzzy-headedness gives me license to do whatevs. so there. i've been thinking about nicknames, partly due to the idea of being "cotton" or "fuzzy" headed, because i was in fact once known as popcorn head.

yeah, yeah. i know it is ridiculous. but so is having a mother that perms your hair when your like 6. sorry ma. i know perms were in. and that i probably even requested them. just like i requested getting kinks (tem)permanently permed into my cheveux (do they still do that? i might like to get that done now since it was denied me as an 8 year old. poor me. seriously). so popcorn head was the result of having ridiculously blond hair that was permed into very. tight. curls. it didn't stay with me long. about as long as "jack-o-lantern" (a play on my name), and lynn, which i insisted being called whenever playing house. it was my alter-ego. lynn was a kickass preteen who could take care of doll children and drive a car. ah, to be lynn again.

the only name that stuck with me for any length of time was ducky. it was a nickname bestowed by a close friend in highschool who misheard my grandfather calling me, thinking he was actually saying ducky. i liked ducky. it was like, "oh isn't that just ducky." kinda like bad and good all in one. and now jacks. jacks i like. but it emerged from a bastardization of the nickname beefjacky. that's right. all meaty and hard to swallow at the same time. that's me.

so even though no one ever answers my questions (e.g., to douche or not to douche - and i don't care if you all have lives and don' have time to comment on my ramblings - keep in mind i am an attention whore who requires attention to live. it's like superman and whatever the opposite of kryptonite is for him. you know what i mean. don't pretend you don't), i am going to ask about your nicknames. the good. bad. and the ugly.

i'm gonna log off now. partly due to the fact that i have no idea what i just wrote and partly due to the fact that i have no idea what i just wrote.

thank you for your attention.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

dumping the "d" word

(warning: this post may or may not be suitable for the following: actual douches, wannabe douches, and anyone who has a problem with vajayjays. you've been sufficiently warned).

okay. so i have been feeling some guilt about calling myself a starbucks douche. i mean, i have previously tried to validate my use of the term as a subversive strategy. and because, for reals, there are an exceptional amount of douches in the world. however. the question remains: is it appropriate for a feminist to use the "d" word? hmmm. let's ponder.

when i think of the word douche, i think of my dutch aunt. stay with me - this isn't going off the rails. yet. she never fails to use the word douche when i stay with her, as in, "and here is the room for the douche for the morning." okay, douching is not some kind of bizarre, collective, room-specific dutch morning ritual. she means the shower, but she inevitably uses the french term, la douche. my aunt isn't pretentiously co-opting the word. it is just how she learned to say it in english, okay?

then there's the summer's eve douches of my youth. not of my youth exactly (thank baby jesus that it had gone out style as a cleansing trend by my so-called "coming of age"). but characterized that part of my '80s youth that was horrified by the very. thought. of. bringing. back. freshness. every(gulp)time. gawd. i still can't say it without shuddering in my formerly nine-year old skin. bah. (and perhaps this is the very problem. the idea that i had when i was nine, or whatever godforsaken age, that made me cringe at the thought of something specific to women's "parts").

and finally there is the discovery of someone's mother's douche which you crowd around as if you have found a piece of the lost ark. or porn. or the filthiest secret imaginable. that just happens to have a nozzle.

so, okay. before i lose my audience entirely, i would like to bring us back to the point at hand. does douche in fact call to mind any of these above examples? or does it represent a kind of male humour that pillages and appropriates the very intimacies of the human female body for the sake of laughter? or rather, does it stand as a testament to the douche pictured above? has it successfully morphed meaning? in our hypertextual, unfixed meaning, postmodern world can douche mean douche? seriously. i need to know.

what do you think?

(i just want to apologize personally to matthew mcconaughey for a joke that has gotten out of hand. sorry. i'm an a-hole).

Monday, February 25, 2008

non-academics like me, they really like me!


so i survived the Northern Voice blogging conference 2008. my first non-academic audience. i didn't expect to be so nervous but all i kept thinking was, what the hell are these people gonna say? i mean, with academics, you know you are going to be stared at, evaluated for levels of smartness, and then criticized. i can handle that. i have practice at that (as a girl growing up in catholic school, i actually excelled at coping with this at a young age. i think they even give out awards for those who don't crack by age 9). but non-academics? real peeps? what can you expect from these people? i, for one, had no idea. and that's why i almost hyperventilated.

i made my usual jokes. i threw in a few slightly off-colour ones to appeal to my unknown crowd. i think i may or may not have said something about penises being pink (in response to a woman in the crowd reporting the high incidence of penis pictures being sent to her in the context of one online dating site in particular. i acknowledge that this is a racialized comment. it is like saying pink coloured pencils are "flesh"-toned when they in fact only represent one colour of flesh. for this, i am sorry). i also may or may not have encouraged divorce for those who feel missed out on online dating. what can i say? i was frenzied. hopped up on starbucks new skinny lattes (which i used to have to describe but now i can just say a hazelnut skinny latte! the ease! and now the baristas don't laugh at me. um...did i just out myself as a starbucks douche? methinks i let the cat slip out of the bag. don't judge. unless you are an academic).

anyhoo. overall, it went well. i spent too much time on academic-y stuff which was to be expected. about mid-way through my ramble, one audience member was like, "so what were your conclusions?" and i was like, "okey dokey, let's just get down to business then." apparently non-academics are interested in conclusions. who knew? i am used to just talking a blue streak, throwing foucault out there a few times, and calling it a day. i realized, only after, that the best part of my talk was relaying how dating is dating no matter what. isn't that friggin' profound folks? i didn't know i had it in me. an audience member was like, "so is it different or not?" (okay, they were actually really polite but in my hadn't eaten, skinny latte, nerves-induced state, they all looked like horned devils spitting fire at me, okay?). and it was kinda liberating to be like, you know, it's not. well actually, i digressed and said that theoretically, there are significant differences, like the gendered patterns of dating in particular, but when it comes right down to it, dating is dating. so thanks horned devil with the immaculate insight. i might just have a dissertation here.

or a article for O magazine. whatevs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

why i'm a bad blogger - installment #4


i'm a bad blogger because i suck at sales. these may seem unrelated, but stay with me, i'll make it worth your while. swears. up to this point, i have not been able to lure my non-blogging friends into commenting in the comment section. i think that i know that they are out there. somewhere. in the interwebnets universe. but they elude the comments section. they are not even anonymously reporting on how irrelevant my posts are. nuttin'. silence. anyone who knows me, knows that melikes attention. so essentially i am bad blogger because i am not selling my blog to those who don't blog and thus not getting the attention i need. like one of my cats, i am an attention whore. and i am jonesin' for a fix.

i like that blogs have the potential for dialogue. the comments section creates a space of/for discussion. now, maybe, you say, you don't say anything relevant to the lives of others and therefore they are not compelled to comment. you might say, your blog sucks. and after i say, shut up, you suck, i will acknowledge that you might be on to something. so i have concocted a top ten list of reasons why people don't comment. here goes:

1. no one actually reads my blog - this is no. 1 because it is the most likely. in that case, i am a bag blogger because no one reads my blog - save for the four people that i am sure of - and even they are not always compelled to comment.

2. no one can figure out what my blog is about.

3. as in life, i talk too much and only pretend to listen. (kidding. i do listen. if its about me).

4. no one likes me. (impossible).

5. my blog has bad breath.

6. commenters need to get drunk with me first. (i am available most days for intoxication, save the days i teach. you'd know that if you invited me somewhere in my comments section. jerks).

7. the comments section is too complicated.

8. people are afraid of openly acknowledging that they know me.

9. people want me to pick a topic and stick to it. (don't fence me in. seriously).

10. lurking is more fun than writing. i get that.

the most common and probable reason, besides all of the above, is that people who don't blog don't feel it is their "place" somehow to comment. i felt this for a long time. i was internet-paranoid: not filling in my email address on any website, not giving any information unless it was to online bank, not commenting on compelling blogs, not participating in any social networking. at all. but now that we as a culture have ridden the wave of facebook's rise (and some say, fall) from grace, we can be the master of our so-called internet domains, no? this bad blogger post will therefore attempt to empower those of you who, like me, are afraid of certain types of internet participation. for fear of spam or public humiliation. i am a bad blogger. so, too, can you be. or you can at least be a friggin' blog commenter in the friggin' comments section.

jeesh.

(don't make me turn this into a blog about cats. cause i'll do it. just watch me).

Monday, February 18, 2008

i like the smell of worms


vancouver is undoubtedly a kickass city. not in any cultural mecca or fabulous nightlife kinda way. but in its great outdoor-yness. and yes, i know. before you barf over the over-the-top nature bullsh*t that abounds from the mouths of transplanted "vancouverites" (read: ontarians like me), stay with me - i'm not your average nature-lover. i'm more of a reformed indoor-a-holic. so i know of what i speak.

today i went for a hike which really ended up being the sum total of getting lost in a park/industrial park/forested community/golf course. but it friggin' rocked. and it rocked solely because of the smells. you know how certain smells remind you of things. or make you happy. or bring you back to a place that you forgot you missed so much you can taste it. i knew a girl once that wore the same (or close enough to be the) perfume my kindergarten teacher wore. i LOVED that teacher (and the way she read stories wearing a puppet on her hand while switching back and forth between her own voice and the puppet's). so i loved the girl. luckily, i never mentioned the smell to the girl. well. okay. i didn't bring it up that often. today the smell of spring: rotten leaves, fresh grass, fresh air, dirt, and the best of all, worms - was intoxicating. i seriously sucked it in. like the way i imagine people who huff pam do it (i imagine, and do not know, because of the urban legend that circulated in my youth about a couple of kids from the area who sniffed pam and died. just. like. that. this lore was akin to the lore that said if you smoked pot you would inevitably end up a heroin addict. and most likely pregnant. did i mention i grew up in a small town?). anyhoo. apparently wormy earth is the best kind of spring smell. it gets you just in the mood. who knew?

i also got beyond excited about warm weather and the possibilities it brings. in the past, the idea of spring as rebirth made me kinda want to hokey choke (apparently my new expression for all things cliche and hokey that my cynical nature forbids me to accept uncritically - see last night's movie reprisal of tv's knight rider for a graphic example of something that may cause you to hokey choke). but this year spring as rebirth seems kinda fitting. not cause i need a reason to be reborn. but perhaps cause we all need to clear out the cobwebs of our lives.

and keep on squirming in the wormy earth of spring.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

bloggyriffic-ness!


i am officially ridiculously excited about northern voice 2008! as i presenter, and an attendee, i get to do fabulous things like attend the kick-off dinner and meet super cool bloggers (in case you didn't know, blogging the coolest thing ever. EVER). i am especially excited about going this year as an actual blogger and not just as a pseudo-techno-genius. we even get to read our favourite blog entry at an open mic held at the dinner. super coolness.

i have a request for my dear blog readers - will you vote for your favourite of my blog posts so i can bring it along to read? much thanks and appreciation (i may, of course, elect to ignore any suggestions that are 1) embarrassing, and 2) embarrassing). your interactive participation is greatly appreciated and it makes me feel loved and the like. so in the spirit of pre-day v-day love, VOTE!

speaking of valentine's day, i have a few things to say. one is that, on the facebook status recommendation of a friend, i went to see ang lee's new film lust, caution. i kinda adored it in its heart-wrenching, in-appropriate love kinda way. like brokeback, it was unbelievably beautiful as a visual experience, and as a story of compelling characters (the lead woman, wei tang, actually acts more through facial expression than words - a feat in and of itself) who have achingly uncomfortable interactions, both physically and emotionally, it was breath-taking. unconventional love is lee's forte and i love it. love. it. can i have a job as a film critic now? please?

speaking of "unconventional" love, i am particularly excited about speaking at NV 2008 about online dating after valentine's day. my hope is not only to adequately transform my work into something that a non-academic audience cares about and finds relevant, but also try to transfer what i have learned through my research into practical advice. that advice is going to centre around three mains themes methinks: what to expect if you have not online dated before; how to stay motivated to continue the "work" that inevitably comes with pursuing dates online (and how this is differently "gendered," that is, how it is different kinds of work for men and women seeking heterosexual relationships); and what the "dos" and "don'ts" are for both men and women. sounds fun, no?

finally, i am super excited and intensely privileged to be spending another v-day with my love without whom, i'd not know how much love is akin to true happiness and joy.

and i swear to god, if anyone says anything about v-day being about hallmark cards, i'll die.

seriously.

Friday, February 8, 2008

got a haircut, still don't have a real job


brace yourself for the randomest of random posts. i'm a little hopped up on coffee juice and i can't seem to stop myself from typing. i did, in fact, get a haircut and i kinda cheated on my hairdresser. but we have an "open relationship" which means she told me which of her hairdresser friends i could cheat with while she is in india. so i did. my hair is a little "cute" now (hence the pic of the cat) and i'm trying to deal. with being cute. which kinda makes me wanna barf.

also, i have been thinking a little about flexibility lately. and not the kind one dabbles with in open relationships with their hairdresser. but rather the kind that life demands. the flexibility that requires patience. and well. being flexible. i don't consider myself a person of rigidity but since discovering something called boundaries at a late stage in my life, i kinda dig them. life without them seems chaotic. but sometimes life within them feels stifling.

i still laugh at the time someone called me "easy-going." i am not easy-going. i have truly only met two people in life that i actually think are easy-going. i am fairly certain that both were the result of a near-nervous breakdown. apparently breakdowns can be freeing. i'll work on one to achieve the level of "easy-going-ness" i saw once glamourized in a jack nicholson movie. well. maybe not glamourized. but brain-damaged-ly peaceful anyhoo.

i think accepting your inflexibility is perhaps key to being flexible. pressing up against your own bounded boundaries and deciding they are too smooshy is perhaps therapeutic. not judging yourself for the limitations you place on yourself but being gently persuasive enough to realize that the walls you construct around you are mere facades. hollow of meaning. but securely holding you in place. straight-jackets of self preservation. useful. but too tight. like underwear.

cheating on my hairdresser made me realize that you can step out of your comfort zone.

but you might end up cute. which maybe isn't so bad.