kitchen_kink: (eggplant)
What does it say that in FitDay's serach results on the word "strawberry," not only are fresh strawberries not the first thing to come up, but they aren't on the list at all in three pages of results about Kellogg's cereals and weird frozen pastries and ice creams and drink powders?

(Addendum: a search on "strawberries" produced fresh raw strawberries as the first hit. Possibly what it says is that they need to fix their freakin' search engine.)
kitchen_kink: (Default)
This post has caused quite a stir; in fact, I discovered today that someone on my friends list linked to a comment thread within it in a negative fashion. This annoys me, but it also makes me want to continue the discussion.

I believe that the comment thread in question actually opens up a lot of good dialogue about these issues, and gets me closer to what I was trying to say in the first place. What I am especially interested in pointing out from this thread, though, is my last comment in it, which I think sums up a lot about how and why I write here, and why I often post protected rather than letting this be a completely public forum:

A lot of the initial post, so you know, was written in the heat of the moment - on purpose; I wanted to get my feelings out on the page - and wasn't really meant to be a coherent political statement. If anything, it was exposing some of the feelings I'm ashamed of at times: the mirror work of my own intolerance. I assembled a pastiche of my experiences [the night of July 4th] in order to build up to a larger emotional point about how I feel about the way the overculture operates to try and keep us compliant and stupid. In the process I know I come off sounding judgmental and intolerant, but at times it's important to me to get those things out, acknowledge and (partly thanks to [[ profile] hahathor]) examine those feelings.

It's part of my work to figure out how to walk the line as a freak in this world without becoming self-righteous and intolerant, without removing myself completely from the rest of the world. Part of my reaction was my own fear that I'm getting farther and farther from being able to enjoy time with people not in my social circle; that I'm getting so outside the mainstream that I feel like a space alien most of the time.

I've been doing a lot of work lately on being more permeable. Unfortunately, I've always been overly sensitive, and so I tend to swing between shielding too much and letting too much in. My goal is ultimately to have boundaries like a cell membrane: permeable to exactly the right things; decisively closed to those things that would harm me.

Other points from that thread I feel are relevant here... )

My apologies, in the meantime, to those who were so triggered by my use of the word "mundane," even though in the original post, I used it only to refer to mainstream friends of mine whom I like a lot. The subsequent ranting was more about mob mentality and government control (which I think go hand in hand), weird concepts of patriotism, and the lack of self-awareness and anger that I see around me.

I continue to be open to discussion.
kitchen_kink: (mercenary)
It's nights like this that I'm proud to be an American. Or something.

Tonight, my beloved [ profile] imlad and I kept to a tradition we'd been exercising for a few years. We have these friends who live in Beacon Hill, and from the rooftop of their apartment building, you get a spectacular view of Boston's fireworks display.

Now these friends are people [ profile] imlad knew before he met me. That is, well, they're mundanes. Mind you, they're awesome mundanes. Smart, funny, interesting people, into ancient Greece and modern art, who invite people over who are usually the same sorts of mundanes. We are, in a sense, their pet freaks, and we enjoy being so, and now and then we meet people there who look like they could be pushed over the edge with a feather.

This time, though, the gathering was smaller. Our favorite couple there was now a single, the wife having split and moved to Atlanta. The cooler people we'd met in the past were absent. Our host's busybody older sister and her obnoxious husband were there. We had some chit chat and some nice food, and then headed up to the roof to await the fireworks display.

All around were the other denizens of the building, most of whom seemed to be young and annoying, the types who yell inane things like "YEAH baby! DO it!" every time a big firework explodes. And as I sat and waited for the festivities to begin, I realized a profound truth that doesn't often occur to me anymore in my life: I was bored.

I had spent the afternoon surrounded by people I know and love. My people; my community. I'm very lucky to spend so much time in their embrace, enveloped in their love, sharing food and booze and touch and watching their kids run around underfoot. I don't think I express my gratitude often enough for the fact that, essentially, I'm shielded from the world by a different, smaller world that is being created, day by day, by the awesome people who surround me.

And here I was, on a rooftop in Beacon Hill, surrounded by the kind of people who would bring a television out onto a roofdeck so as, presumably, to watch the fireworks on television and in real life at the same time.

As if to make the final point, the fireworks began. And while at first they were very lovely as always, as the show went on, it began to generate so much smoke that eventually the fireworks couldn't be seen at all. The finale was a series of degenerate booms ringing out over a cheering crowd, who were probably actually crying out their dying breaths before they asphyxiated. Even the one thing that seemed like a guaranteed good time failed us this year, the spectacle we'd come for literally lost in a puff of smoke.

We flowed down the stairs and flopped on the couch, where we watched the post-processing on the local news while we waited out the first wave of people leaving the Esplanade. After a hyper-cheery report on the just-finished fireworks display, which apparently thrilled everyone to death (maybe literally) in spite of the fact that nobody could see it, the news did an editorial piece on why people in Massachusetts are really patriotic, in spite of the fact that Massachusetts is one of the bluest states in the nation.

Let me just say that again so it sinks in.

Even though Massachusetts is a really blue state, its citizens love celebrating their patriotism!

Because we all know that liberals and Democrats hate America.

So this was the idea of the report. The substance? Showing the happy people gathered on the Esplanade in front of the Hatch Shell, bedecked with styrofoam Liberty spikes and waving the American flag, smiling empty, vapid smiles while listening to the Pops grind out Tchaikovsky for the nth time (a tune, by the way, commemorating Russia's defeat of Napoleon in 1812, not our defeat of the British) while fireworks explode over their heads (or at least that's what it sounded like). Then, showing people in other cities, protesting the government's actions! Gasp! Horrors! People who disagree with the government!

How unpatriotic. Juxtapose that with a heartwarming story about a father and son who just came home from serving in Iraq together (they're so proud), and there's your dose of news for the night.

By this point I was so depressed I started to fall asleep, so we said our goodbyes and walked out onto the street, where a sinister police helicopter was circling, shining a searchlight into the alleys below. Streetlights flashed and the sidewalks swarmed with happy patriots trying to return to their homes. Outside of the Charles MGH station, these masses stood, waiting for the armed guards to let them pass in groups into the station.

Yes, really.

On the train home, my feet aching, I stood listening to the conversations around me. A loud man behind me said, "That's your problem, you're so negative about everything. That's why I hate my family. I hate them, because they're always so negative about everything, you know?!"

Do people even listen to what comes out of their mouths?

I don't have broadcast TV at home. The local news is telling people that dissent is unpatriotic, that they should be afraid to walk the streets at night, that being an American is about war and triumph and F15 flyovers and not about what freedom actually means. The circus we go through every year at the Hatch Shell celebrates all of that, and decides that the Raging Grannies in Portland Oregon or wherever are a bunch of commies who hate America.

And a 16-year-old looking kid stands outside the closing doors of a train and says, to someone safely crammed inside the car, "I'll kill you. I swear it. If I see you around, I'll kill you." I watch his dead eyes, flickering cold blue light like TV screens, as the train pulls painfully out of the station.

Back in Davis Square we meet somebody we know almost instantly; she comments on [ profile] imlad's kilt as we mount the escalator. On the brick-lined street, a passing kid is singing "Holiday in Cambodia."

At last we're home, and I feel again the tenuousness of my position, the baby-fine but strong filament on which I soar in love. Those threads that weave themselves over me and my loved ones, in a web that I wish weren't necessary.

But it is. Because every time I venture into the larger world I'm reminded of one of the things that depresses me, and that I so wish weren't true: the vast majority of people are sheep. Docile, stupid, reactionary, ugly, greedy, empty-eyed consumers fueled by beer and fear. They're living the American nightmare. And only a very few will awaken in their lifetimes.

As we rounded the last corner to our house, a bumper sticker on a parked car caught my eye. Incongruously but piercingly, it said only, "Sift."
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Still making my way through the men's long program, as I spent the last week unpacking and previous one packing and moving.

Matt Savoie turned in a wonderful performance in his long program; I'm sad that he's off to law school and so we're not likely to see him again. A terribly sad thing, as I think he was one of the greatest I've seen, medals or no medals.

I'm also checking out relative newcomer Shawn Sawyer of Canada, who is incredibly flexible and energetic, and did a lot of moves previously only done by women. I find this incredibly refreshing, as a contrast to the very athletic women who try to do moves only previously done by men. I'll be looking out for him in the future.

I'm sad to say I can't get behind Yevgeny Pleshenko, whom I know turned out the gold medal winner. While his technique is impeccable, there's something cold about his style. I usually love the Russians, but somehow he doesn't move me. Watching his long prgram, all I saw was a series of admittedly incredible jumps executed perfectly, and everything else just engineered to work the system such that he would take home the gold by sheer points alone. His spins are awkward, his choreography uninteresting, and his emotion not going much beyond "intense." He's not someone I'm enjoying watch win, even with his sob story of training 1,000 miles away from his parents at age 11. I just am so much more gratified when someone wins it who is truly an artist.
kitchen_kink: (love)
I'm told that the conventional wisdom on thank-you cards after a wedding is that you're allowed to get them out to people up to a year after the wedding date.

Good thing, that, because I still have 30 to write before October 7. Can anyone say, "low-level priority"? I mean, I'm extremely thankful to my friends and family for all they did and offered for our wedding day. But writing individual thank-you notes and actually MAILING them in this day and age seems like such an incredibly chore, and always seems less important than something else I could be doing. Thank the gods I have an actual deadline.

You folks who have gotten married and did so following certain of the social codes: how long did it take you to get thank-you notes out?
kitchen_kink: (demon)
I've been meaning to write this review for a long time, and by now I've all but lost the rage that was to drive it. I'm hoping it will nonetheless still be interesting at least.


It seems I can count on at least one thing when one of Frank Miller's comic books gets adapted into a film: I will be outraged and disturbed enough to write an angry and hopefully thought-provoking essay about it.

But while I could see the beauty of Sin City and had some difficulty pinning down what made me sick about it, 300 gave me no such problems.

Its flaws and infuriating qualities were quite obvious.

When I left the theatre after watching this fiasco, I was boiling over. I didn't even manage to get out of the building before literally screaming to my viewing partner, "Where do I start??!!" And so it seemed possible that right then was not the right time to write a review. Instead, I ranted, from the Somerville Theatre all the way to my house and beyond, about all the the things in this film that made me want to tear my skin off while watching it.

Now let me start by saying that I know that some of the things I'm going to criticize in this movie are merely portrayals of a certain kind of society, one whose belief systems an audience member such as myself may or may not agree with. I will dispense with this objection before it is made, by pointing out the unequivocal way in which this film glorifies and fetishizes the way of life that this version of Sparta represents. Before going any further, I put forth as an argument that this film does not merely portray a particular society, however fantastically; it endorses it.

Now there's already been a bit of talk from certain astute film reviewers about 300's references to the current U.S. administration and its relationship to the Middle East; I'm certainly not going to be the first to mention it. But besides my glib snarl after seeing it that "this movie was financed by Karl Rove," there are deeper questions of the rhetoric chosen here that warrant further examination. And beyond these issues, which are troubling enough, there are vast problems of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, racism, and outright eugenicism that need to be addressed. I've heard some people say that watching this movie was "like a video game," or that it was just "fun" and made them feel like going out and kicking ass. That's all well and good, and I'm far from being against fun, or even ass-kicking, particularly where action movies are concerned. But there are times when we need to take a closer look at what these images are telling us, and what messages we are absorbing into our psyches without further thought. Just as many of us get desensitized to the news and/or don't look at it terribly critically, other cultural markers such as film tell stories about what assumptions are present in our culture now. I believe we ignore them at our peril, both as individuals and as a society. But now I'm getting all soapboxy. On to the movie.

It's raining men... )
kitchen_kink: (bookish)
A while back some folks were doing a meme in which they named fictional characters they wouldn't kick out of bed for eating crackers. I kept meaning to do this, but it's only in the last few weeks that a bunch of them have come to light for me at once. For others, I'd have to do some digging in memory, but I might do so yet.

All that said, the characters below aren't necessarily characters I'd want to have sex with as they are characters I have major crushes on - intellectual, spiritual, sexual or otherwise.

I'll get the really weird one out of the way first: Elphaba, the child Wicked Witch of the West from Gregory Maguire's Wicked. I'm still in the first half of it, but I just love her smart mouth and total self-awareness. Even as she's so obviously unpopular, she manages to make Galinda, future good witch and intolerable upper-class beauty, look like an idiot.

Next, and perhaps no less weird, is Sasha, the stunted, limping, huge-voiced and intense-eyed radical leftist from John LeCarre's new novel, Absolute Friends. I'm sure some of this has to do with listening to this book on tape, and the wonderful John Lee's rendition of Sasha's booming, self-deprecating German accent, but he's also just such a hilarious and uncompromising and larger-than-life character that it's partially fictive crush and partially simple admiring envy at LeCarre's abilities.

Finally, the motherlode: Damiel, the angel who longs to be human from Wings of Desire. Though I adore Bruno Ganz, this love is quite specific to the recent ART production starring Bernard White, who is totally my new boyfriend. This particular entry might also be cheating, as it's so completely a combination of Damiel and Bernie that I love, not just the fictional character alone. Damiel, as written, is an articulate, melancholy romantic who records the endless details of life from the very beginnings of time, while longing merely to touch human skin, smell sweat, taste coffee, see color, feel something truly. Bernie White, in the role, puts on a loud Hawaiian shirt for his transition into mortality, and when he gets there, throws chairs all over the place, marvels at the wonder of a handshake, and inhales deeply of his own shoes.

All right, I confess: maybe it's just Bernie.
kitchen_kink: (Default)

Western Union, my bank, and the strength of my heart.


Long walks that end at Crate & Barrel. Watching jewelry form from a designer's brain. Motherfucking snakes on a motherfucking plane.


Camp Burgess, which is just so damned beautiful. Having amazing friends to talk to when I'm stuck in traffic. Rio's mischievous smile. ("Rio cute!")


Powerful rituals. Even though I'm not entirely sure what I did during it, I know it was deep and hungry work, mainly evidenced by the metric fuckton of food I ate after it.

My coven, and the work we're embarked on. We sat down after rit (when it's usually close to 11pm and we're exhausted), ate at a normal dinnertime, and basically planned out the entire next year. Rock.

Waffles with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, crispy bacon, and the awesome people who made them for us.


Nov. 2nd, 2004 09:38 am
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I woke up this morning to a garbled mixture of Spanish-language radio and some strange music, on which I kept hitting snooze due to that general obnoxiousness. After a couple of snoozes I sat up to see if I could change this situation, and hit the AM/FM alternator to find myself on NPR. Suddenly, I was awake.

I'm sitting here now, attempting to write this and peripherally listen to NPR at the same time. I don't know why, but I'm surprised at how nervous I suddenly am about the election. It's as if it's only coming to me now: the importance of this, everything that's riding on it - not just what our country will be internally and to the rest of the world, but how the outcome will actually affect me personally. It starts at the level of my-issues-specific politics (what will happen to abortion rights? Queer rights? The Arctic wildlife refuge?), and trickles all the way down to me-specific: if Bush gets (re)elected, [ profile] imlad and I have joked, in seriousness, that we will leave the country. Hell, it'll only be his fourth.

I'm going to try and vote today; I didn't register at my new address (d'oh!), but I did at my old one, and I have a passport for ID, which has no address on it. So we'll see.

Tonight, it's nail-biting time.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
It's especially fun because it's hard to know whether you're right or not!

Name a CD you own that no-one else on your friends list does:

Secret Agent Abe, Canaan. This is an incredible little EP from a local NJ band who play a kind of surfer/funk/Arabian/rock mix with a mercurial soprano lead singer. Sadly, after randomly seeing them live as an opener for someone else and buying this CD, I discoverd that it's actually God-rock! Sigh...

Name a book you own that no-one else on your friends list does:

Hmm...Funny thing is, I want to name something that I'm also proud of owning. Let's go with Christopher Tilghman's The Way People Run.

Name a movie you own on DVD/VHS/whatever that no-one else on your friends list does:

I could cheat and mine [ profile] imlad's collection of obscure Russian stuff...except I don't know what any of it is. :) Let's say Bill Hicks: Revelations.

Name a place that you have visited that no-one else on your friends list has:

I doubt I can do this. My travel hasn't been all that exotic...let's see...the island of Hydra in Greece?

EDIT: How about The Washington Hotel in Princess Anne, Maryland?


kitchen_kink: (Default)

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