Reading Habits

This post on Book World was too perfect (I must admit, I share most of her odd reading habits). To add to her list of "Ten odd things about my reading" list (though I mix my obsession with books in there too):

11. Used books, icky!

12. I love books so much that I impulsively lend them to people, who I know aren't really that interested in reading it, but rather just commented that it sounded interesting when I was raving about it just to be polite. And then, after they leave my house I go into a panic that I lent a book to a Complete Stranger and I stress and mourn over the book which I know now to be lost. Tears are cried and hair is torn until I can't stand it anymore and I demand that my husband call his 13-year-old sister to ask for my book back from her, I mean, she Has to be done with it by now! To which he responds, "But she just left an hour ago!"

13. I hand out a printed list of rules when I lend my books out, including where they are allowed to leave the book (not in the car, the sun could fade the cover), where they are allowed to read the book (no beaches or while eating), and proper book handling etiquette (such as no dog earring, be mindful of the spine, etc.) However I break nearly all of my rules except for the etiquette rules (I'm careful to avoid getting fingerprints on the cover of my books to such an extent that sometimes my fingers cramp up from holding the book on its edges).

14. I've gotten to the point that I rarely lend out books anymore due to the stress it causes me and the extremely rude looks I get when I hand the lendee my rules. Instead I've resorted to actually buying a friend or loved one a copy of the book I wish for them to read, even though I know they aren't really that interested in reading it, but rather just commented that it sounded interesting when I was raving about it just to be polite.

15. Even though I know I'll change my mind after I finish my current book, I have to have a physical pile of books that I'm going to pick from for my next read. I always ultimately end up choosing a book not in the pile at all, but it comforts me to see the pile on my desk and to know that I will have a place to go after I'm done with my current read.

16. I have often cried at the end of books, not because the ending is sad but because I'm so devastated that I'm not a part of that world anymore. The mourning can last for days, in which I'm irritable and may not be able to move on to another book because I feel like that's a betrayal to the book I just finished.

17. I have a very particular and non-sensical (except to me of course) way of organizing my books in my book cases. I'm so picky about it that I won't let anybody put a book away for me, less they put in the wrong spot, the horror!

18. I Have to be the first one to read one of my books. A friend once asked to borrow a book which I own but haven't read (only one of the many unread books I own) and I literally gasped and never looked at her the same way again.

19. I have an account at LibraryThing but my list is incomplete because the only time I'm willing to add books to the list is when I'm at work and have to be on the computer (to look busy) and I have so many books that I can't remember all of them. And I can't add books to my list when I'm at home because that takes away from valuable reading time.

20. Library books, icky!

Update: I literally spent 2 hours in Borders yesterday with a fellow lover of books looking at books, holding books, reading poems from books, sitting in the little coffee area talking about books, trying to stop self from buying books when I already have fifty plus books at home I still haven't read. The joy I felt in the book store is what my husband calls "a kid in a candy store," and he's right on. If that's not some sort of sick obsession with books, I don't know what is...

Here Kitty Kitty Kitty

Not to be out done by Sandra and Bill and also so my kitties don't think that they're less important than my doggies (which they're not!) I've decided to attach pictures of My cats now! They're precious, it's okay, I can admit it.

This is Figaro (or Figs for short). I got her as a stray outside of my dorm freshman year of college. She got pregnant and had worms and was my very first pet ever!

This is Buffy (as in The Vampire Slayer). The hubs got her for me for Valentine's Day one year and she's my cuddle kitty. We're bonded for life. And she slays vampires for me, such a good kitty.

You won't find a picture of those two cuddling together! They get along enough to play with each other here and there (and pull chunks of fur from each other, is that normal, friendly cat play?), but that's about it... though there are pictures of Buffy sleeping with/on my dogs that are too cute.

I will be going to North Carolina next week to visit my grandma for her birthday and to attend a friend's wedding, so I will have limited (if any) access to the internet. The hubs has one of those high tech PDA phones with the internet on it, but I don't know if I'll have the patience to blog with it, so it'll probably be quiet on Asian Fun next week. Appologies, I'll come back with fantastic and outrageous stories from North Carolina and the wedding that will more than make up for my week of silence (I hope!)

Have a patriotic 4th of July y'all!


I sooo couldn't help myself!

You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight.

As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.

The thing is, that I've had a thing for Batman for a while (you can just ask my husband and his bat... ahem, anyways) and have actually pretended to be Catwoman as a child, well, okay, last week. I wonder if Catwoman was a choice?

So, anyways, I'm thrilled with my action hero result, it brightened a dull work day! Thanks Sandra! Sigh, I haven't felt like such a kid in a while... okay fine, since last week.

My Other Action Hero Results:

Batman, the Dark Knight
James Bond, Agent 007
El Zorro
Lara Croft
The Terminator
Neo, the "One"
Indiana Jones
William Wallace
The Amazing Spider-Man
Captain Jack Sparrow

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0


Where the Hell is Matt?

The things you find on the web... So where the hell is Matt anyways? And what does that even mean? Supposedly this is so not fake because the ground moves under his feet or something. I choose to believe it's not fake just because it's pretty freaking cool and quite entertaining as well, in a corny I shouldn't love it so much yet I do way! (There was a tear in my eye, just one.) Enjoy, and while you're at it, get up and dance!

P.S. Check out the About Matt section on the site, it's really pretty interesting...

What is Art?

To follow up my blog, What is Feminism, now the discussion of What is Art? Man, I should start a "What is..." series!

This lively discussion was started on Flash Flood, sparked its way to Killer Year, has made a pit stop at Thinking With My Skin and is now lighting up my blog. Though I won't perhaps post as much as I could since I've made some lengthy comments on Killer Year (so if you feel like you're wanting more after reading this post, visit Killer Year and check out Sandra Ruttan's thought provoking post and then read the comments, which were very interesting as well).

One comment in particular in response to Sandra's post sparked something in me, posted by "Flood" whom I can only assume is the blogger from Flash Flood, where this conversation was started. Flood wrote: Art is supposed to move people and nowhere in the rules does it say that it’s supposed to make anyone feel good. Okay, I can buy that (except where are these "rules"? Can I get a copy?), but I think there's a big difference between making your readers feel "good" and not making them feel complete despair or to negatively and incorrectly impact the way they perceive a horrific crime, such as child sexual abuse. Maybe it's just me, but if a story implies or explicitly states that children enjoy being abused, then I personally would like to puke on the story (excuse the visual image). Perhaps I have very strong feelings about this issue since I've done Tons of research on the subject matter and know how devastating such abuse is to a child, but how do we feel about someone reading a story saying that that doesn't know any better? Then they might actually believe that shit.

I don't advocate that a story or art in general has to make people feel good, rather I don't know if I agree with ending a story in utter despair with no hope whatsoever. I don't intend to say that a story has to end with a pretty red bow and everyone skipping into the rainbow, but maybe the protagonist doesn't jump off the bridge. Is she still in a miserable marriage or life? Sure, but something made her value life when she was on the verge of losing it... and that's just enough hope to let a reader close the covers of the book or lit mag and feel like they can survive because the character could. I definitely don't agree with art that propagandas inaccurate and damaging perceptions of a victim (such as child abuse or rape victims) that either blames the victim or takes away from the truth of their horrifying experience. Saying that a child enjoys the sexual abuse (while it Is normal for a child to be sexually aroused because their physical bodies Can't Help It!) is one of the hugest inaccuracies I've ever heard.

Anyways, every artist has their own personal perception on what art IS,what constitutes art to them and what art they would like to create, and they are all entitled to their opinion. I know for me I will Never support anything that supports violence or abuse of others without being honest and showing the pain it causes. Abuse hurts, end of story. People don't Enjoy it. Perhaps they crave it to punish themselves or because they hate themselves, but that's not Enjoying it. That's a dysfunctional yearning probably born in abuse in the first place. As for what art I create, my stories can be dark, I'll be the first to admit. I've had friends look at me in shock after reading one of my stories, knowing only my bubbly, social side. How did that come out of You?! they ask me, showing me how well I've hidden the deep pool of darkness and pain that lives inside of me, grown from my own dysfunctional childhood. But I know that there is hope and strength in life because I've lived it, and I choose to create art that conveys this hope and strength. The message that life can go on and that it'll never be perfect, but it goes on. What was so special of Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings if not the strength and hope Angelou shows out of horrific abuse? Had she not picked herself back up, the book would have lost its impact and perhaps would have discouraged those trying to pick themselves back up after such abuse. Angelou wasn't completely at peace with herself at the end of the novel, but she was trying and she wasn't giving up hope, which is what made the book so meaningful to the millions of people who have read it.

Regardless of how we view art or how we choose to create it, artists and writers cannot be naive to the fact that their art does carry a message whether or not they mean it to. As artists, we just have to decide what we want that message to be, and can we live with it if someone takes it to heart and acts on it? Obviously one story can not make a perfectly happy person want to commit suicide, but for that person who is deciding whether to live or not, a story about how hopeless life is and how there's nothing to live for could legitimately push the person over the edge, it could be their catalyst.

That's just my feelings on the topic, and yes, folks, I do have a strong opinion on this one! As should any artist since it affects the very essence of their work and how they conduct their work. It is only because this topic is so close to the artist's heart and being that it has sparked such passionate comments and posts in blogosphere, and it is for that reason we must discuss until we're lying on the floor panting from exhaustion!

Thanks everyone on Flash Flood, Killer Year and Thinking With My Skin for their posts and comments that has inspired me to write a much longer post then I intended and for challenging and stimulating my beliefs and thoughts on this matter.

Update: Check out this post on Wog Girl Meets World. Her story is the story that sparked much of this discussion and she has some great comments on the whole experience!

First Interview With Kony!

Times' correspondent Sam Farmar ventured into the jungle of DR Congo earlier this month for the first journalistic interview with LRA leader Joseph Kony.

Having studied the psychological effects of war on children and specifically child soldiers, I've also done some research on the LRA. Pictured here, courtesy of The Times Online, is one of the children that was abducted the LRA and had his lips and fingers cut off for some various reason. I know it's a shocking picture, but it's real and it's what children in northern Uganda must endure. Kony was as crazy and as diluted as I had thought he'd be, claiming that he is guided by spirits and that he is fighting for the Ten Commandments. He denies any of the atrocious acts that his group is accused of committing, yet the eyes of his young soldiers surrounding him are filled with fear. He has somehow convinced them that he is supernatural:
These men never let down their guard, and they clearly lived in constant fear of Kony, to whom they attributed mystical powers. Sunday said that if he tried to escape, Kony's spirit would seek him out to harm him. When I asked whether the LRA would disintegrate if Kony died, he struggled to comprehend the question. "Kony would never die," he said. "I'm sure he cannot be killed."

Very Chilling and Sad. For the entire interview, please check out The Times Online. It is an interesting read and I'm impressed and in awe of Sam Farmar for risking his life to bring this interview to the world! So don't let his risk be in vain, read it! NOW, I say!


I Want!

Who knew I could be so easily entertained?

Hmm... what lucky buddy would be attached to my Availabot? If I do get my hands on an Availabot, I will take cash bribes.

Heck, I'll take cash bribes whether or not I get an Availabot... whatcha want?

What is Feminism?

I've been only one of the many sparked by the review on Slate.com of Linda Hirshman's Get to Work. I'm not enraged by her message, nor judgmental of stay-at-home moms. I guess I'm just wondering, once again as I did through out my days in college where I took many Women's Studies courses, what is feminism? Feminism is often referred to as the "F-word," portraying it as something ugly and shameful. People still often think of feminists as the unshaven angry women screaming and hating men. While I do think the shaving thing is a bummer (enough so to have done the research to find out that it was a freaking clothes designer in conjunction with Gillette marketing that has enslaved us women to shaving are legs and pits. I also wrote a poem entitled "Hairy Legs" once, you can probably figure out how that went. Something like, shaving... DIE!), I definitely am not angry nor do I hate men. The landscape of feminism has definitely changed and now I feel that feminism is divided. There are the "choice" feminists that Hirshman criticizes in her book. I most identify with the "choice" feminists, but I also understand Hirshman's point of view. It's hard enough for women to obtain and maintain equal status in the work place, and for the women who are fighting hard for this equality, it can feel like abandonment when some of the qualified, intelligent working women "opt out" of the working world.

But I ask this, is feminism to make us as much like men as possible (or what men's roles typically have been in our society)? Should we become work-a-holics, putting our maternal urges to the way side in order to climb the corporate ladder and be "successful"? Or is it less feminist to mold ourselves to the patriarchal roles in our society? Shouldn't we Redefine the roles in our work place? The only reason women right now can't have both, family and career, is because our society is not structured in a manner that supports women. I read an article in Time last year titled "Why Women are Opting Out of the Rat Race" (or something very much like that). In it, stay-at-home moms were interviewed and a common theme was that if corporate businesses offered part-time work for mothers who had formally been lawyers, accountants, or in other such business related positions job, they would love to go back to work. But to deny their maternal instinct completely wasn't worth it to them for their careers. I think true feminism is respecting women and our nature, not trying to adjust our nature to fit men's nature. It's okay and wonderful to have maternal instincts and instead of Changing Ourselves to fit in the man's world, we need to change the way our society and the business world is structured. Obviously this is no easy task, but criticizing women who choose to stay at home with their children is not a step in the right direction. In my opinion and feminist perspective, women should not be judged for their choices whatever it may be or whether or not you agree with it... unless they choose to murder someone or wear low rise pants that shows off their thong and ass crack.

But then again, I'd judge any man under the same criteria.

What To Read?

So I finished The Known World by Edward P. Jones last night and now have to pick my next book! This is always a huge ordeal for me, not only because I already have 50 plus books that I've purchased that I have yet to read, but because I have to be in the mood to read books and you never know if you're in the mood to read a certain book until you start. For example, I picked up and tried to read She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb two times and just couldn't get into it. The third time I tried I Really got into it and absolutely loved it. So I guess there's nothing to do but trial and error. I am going to attempt to finish The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner first. I only have about 100 pages left, I'd gotten stuck at the end of Quentin's section. He was so crazy and I was reading it when I was still pretty new at my job (and therefore exhausted and drained when I came home at night) that it was too much work for me to follow, so I set it aside for some easier reads. The hubs has a baseball game tonight, so hopefully I can finish it tonight, and then I'll really have to pick my next book.

I've narrowed it down to three: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (or Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy... I haven't quite decided what Tolstoy I'd go with). I'm also going on vacation next week with a long car trip (not that I can read in cars without getting sick, but that doesn't stop me from trying!) and I wanted a good hefty book to last me through the trip. Any suggestions from those choices? I'm definitely in the mood for classic and meaningful literature. The Known World was fabulous (isn't that such a grandiose word?) and it'll be hard to follow up. Funny mental image, can you image me laying on the beach with a big hard copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace propped up on me knee? Now that's what I call summer reading!


Me? Painting? Sweet!

An item called the I/O Brush, not out yet, from MIT could actually give me some artistic ability, or some resemblance to it anyhow. It looks way cool, and totally unreal (shall I throw in a dude as well?) It seems like something from Minority Report or some other futuristic movie, cool concept, but nah, it could never be invented! Well, we'll see... Even if it does hit the public, I'm sure I'll be 80-years-old before I could afford one of those babies! Enjoy and give in to that little kid amazement... you know you wanna.

For Collectors and Reading Geeks...

I found this website called Library Thing in which you can catalog all of your books by just putting in the ISBN, the book title or author (or all) in the search engine. Then you can select your version of the book (hardcover, etc.) and add it to your online library. The site pulls the cover picture and any other information from US library sites and Amazon.com as well as connects you with other people's online libraries, telling you whose library you have the most books in common with so that you can browse their books for your next read! I realize that this is a completely geeky and time consuming thing to do, but what a cool way to connect with other readers and find new books to add to your collection. As well as a way to be completely obsessive over your books and keep track of all that you have so that when you lend out books you can make sure you get them back. I have lent out far too many books only to forget about it until years later when I don't speak to the lendee anymore. I have yet to buy myself another copy of my beloved I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. It's that stubbornness in me that says I already bought it once and I hate to buy it again even though it's as good as lost now.

Anyways, it'll keep me busy on all the nights that my hubby is coaching/playing baseball and I'm trying to procrastinate from writing. As if blogs and blogging weren't procrastination enough!

Stick It To Him!

Some of my favorites are: "If you voted for Bush, WHY AREN'T YOU IN IRAQ?" and "If you voted for Bush, YOU MUST REALLY HATE YOUR KIDS" and of course the classy and effective "If you voted for Bush, BLOW ME." The WPE campaign is also very effective, taking the affectionate 'W' away from the Republicans and using it for our own devices. Very nice. Very nice, indeed. Check out all of the bumper stickers here!

Europe, Anyone?

I am asking for input from anyone who has traveled to Europe. The hubs (short for hubby since that's just too long for me to type) and I are planning to go to Europe for about 14-16 days and since Neither of has ever been, we need suggestions on where to go, what to do, where to stay (that is Cheap), etc. Some places we're interested in are Dublin, London, Rome... but ultimately we're not really sure. We figure we'll only be able to go to 2-4 different places depending on the vicinity and how much time we want to spend at each place.

So, let 'er rip. Gimme all the juicy details about Europe!

P.S. To give you an idea of the sort of things we like to do: we love hiking (we're very outdoorsy folk), culture (art, history, etc.), socializing (as in drinking), and I like shopping (can't say the same for the hubs on this one). We definitely like adventure and have participated in activities such as rock climbing, white water rafting, sky diving, bungee jumping (the hubs only on this one, not me), and go kart racing.


A Signed Rejection Note...

Wahoo, I'm moving closer to getting published! Actual ink from an actual person's hand holding an actual pen touched the paper of my latest rejection note for a short story I sent in!! Anybody who has tried to get published knows the significance of this, it is the acknowledgment that a live human being at the literary magazine actually read my little ol' story. All previous rejection notes either had no sign of human existence on them or were non-existent (Making me wonder endlessly, did my story get lost in the mail and they just didn't receive it? For surely if they had received it they'd be calling me and offering me buckets of money for it, right? Right.) I have dutifully torn up all previous rejection notes, telling myself, between tears, that perhaps my story just didn't fit the theme of that volume or perhaps all of the editors at the magazine were blind and partially mentally handicapped. But this rejection note, with the scribbled Thank, The Editor(s) - the 's' is in parenthesis because I can't tell if that line is an 's' or the end of the 'r' - is pinned proudly to my bulletin board. You can be assured that the Thank, The Editor(s) will be dissected thoroughly by me and that by the end of the week I'll know with 99% certainty whether or not there is an 's' after the 'r', which of course would mean that more than one person had read my story (dare I dream?) or maybe just that the editors like to speak as a collective unit rather than individually (a less attractive theory). Ah, how the publishing world lowers your standards. Now if I could just get a coffee stain or a pen scribble in the corner, you know, when you're pen is out of ink and you have to scribble it on a piece of paper to get the ink flowing. Maybe an actual name? Wow, then I'd be so close to actually getting published I'd be able to taste it. I think it'll taste like caramel apple.

Penis Free, Please

Also on writing news, I'm trying to get together a writing group/book club with a girl I know through a creative writing friend. I'm really really excited, this is our second attempt in doing this. The first time I attempted it I put an ad in a local newspaper, which attracted some very odd and scary men. One man was an older, grouchy type who once he opened his mouth it wouldn't shut until you had to literally interrupt his anecdote about his previous writing group in which they were all drinking in the basement of a bar getting into mischief and such. He was very determined to get us to come to his basement and drink for our next writing group, to which my girlfriend and I firmly declined. Oh, and did I mention that he ripped of us new assholes with his critiques, with helpful, positive comments such as this is shit and I hate poetry so I'm not even going to read this? Another guy's first story was about a has-been boxer with a rough first person voice with the cliche hick family in which he slept with his cousin and his mentally retarded brother had an abnormally large penis, so large that he would give himself fellatio.. must I continue? Yes, our first attempt was not a success. This time we're going women only (I know, so pussy-ish of us) and only with people we know, or people whom people we know know. No strangers this time. Honestly though, we really don't feel like inviting strange men into our homes (this time we're rotating hosting it rather than meeting in a library, etc.) Yes, we are wusses, but at least we tried it the other way and it was a disaster. Live and learn, and Never do again. Hopefully we can get enough women interested to get this started. I'm nervous we won't find enough women, it's so hard to meet people with your same interests outside of college. And it's also hard to get women with families and other commitments to commit to meeting regularly. We're going to start with every other week and hopefully if it goes well upgrade to every week. I'm super stoked (yes, I did use the word stoked and I love it) and can't wait for this to get off the ground. If you live in the Cincinnati are and aren't a crazy, leave a comment and maybe we can figure out how to meet.

Don't forget, no penises allowed.

Rah Rah, Goooo Bearded Clam?

Well, that doesn't sound like something a cheerleader should say, but according to a former female cheerleader at Marshall University it was only one of the sexually explicit things said by the male cheerleaders on the team. She is now suing the university and the former cheerleading coach because of the intense sexual harassment. Harassment, according to the complaint, that included:

Male members of the cheerleading squad routinely made offensive actions toward female squad members, including exposing their genitalia, rubbing their scrotum on a female team member's face as she stretched on the floor, groping female members' breasts, shouting 'Throw the bitches up' and grabbing their genitalia area.
The woman claims that the coach did nothing to stop this harassment and allowed the men to call cheers by sexually explicit names such as "Bearded Clam [vagina]" and "String of Pearls [ejaculation]."

Do men really still think they can get away with that crap? Man, thank god Marshall's not a part of the MAC (Mid-American Conference) anymore. I'd like to keep this scandal as far away from my Miami University (of Ohio, THE Miami University) as I can!

Technical Savvy Homeless

Who would've thunk it? Homeless people are more technically savvy than perhaps the average person... running 'round-the-clock internet television studios, organizing grassroots political efforts, recording full-length albums and blogging. Apparently, it's more common for a homeless person to have an e-mail address than post office boxes. According to an article on Wired News, "they [homeless people] are able to get some footing in society regardless of how removed from it they may feel [because of technology]." Some popular blogs by homeless include: The Homeless Guy, Wandering Scribe, and Fallen Angel. Enjoy and be enlightened.

Killer Blog!

Killer Year - The Class of 2007 is becoming one of my fast faves! Which is kind of ironic because I don't read crime/mystery novels, but boy, I do love the blog. It makes me want to pick up one of their books (which I wouldn't typically just because I'm a literary fiction addict) because I love their blog posts so much. They're funny, witty and interesting. Don't believe? Check out the latest post about leaky breasts... now I've got your attention.

The Woes of Parenting

Okay, so I have to take one of my dogs, Zoe, to the vet tomorrow and I'm conflicted with a couple of things. For one, my hubby and I moved about a year ago and so our vet is still relatively new to us. I Loved my previous vet, who had his own office. I always had the same vet and he would sit and chat with me endlessly about my pets and my questions. There were times that I'd call because one of my dogs was getting sick and I'd be worried and he'd always have me try a home remedy (like rice, beef and plain yogurt) first before wasting my money and coming in for a simple little doggy cold.

Now I have a vet where there are four vets in the office so unless I want to cater my vet appointment with one of the vet's schedule - which is very difficult, I tried - I have to have a different vet each time! So the vets doesn't necessarily Know my pets when they see them, which is annoying. And then, on top of that, for some reason this vet office "likes" to test for heartworm every visit for my dogs. My previous vet Never did that except for their very first visit. I give my dogs their heartworm pill Religiously every month and so I don't find this extra expense necessary, but they guilt me into it like I'm a bad Mommy if I don't because "you never know" if Heartguard suddenly stopped working after it's worked for my dogs since I've owned them. With three dogs and two cats, all those extra little expenses start to add up...

Then I read an article that frustrated me even more. It was about Dr. Jean Dodds studies on vaccinations. She has researched the vaccination guidelines for over 30 year and she feels dogs and cats are being overvaccinated, and that partly the reason why is that vet offices need to make money and if they didn't have yearly vaccinations they couldn't make a profit. This discerns me. Now I have no problem spending money on my pets for their needs and to spoil them, but I do have a problem spending money if it's unnecessary, especially for something that causes them discomfort (one of my dogs cries every year for his vaccinations). I mean, pets are expensive as it is without having to waste money! Further, Dr. Dodds states that overvaccinating our pets may actually create adverse reactions and may be a risk to them.

Anyways, my third dilemma is Greenies. Once praised as the best thing for dogs' teeth since they were out in the wild chewing on animal bones (and nobody cared if they had diarrhea for a week), now there are articles popping up about the dangers of my beloved Greenies! My dogs are addicted to Greenies like it's their cat nip or crack. And I love them because it cleans there teeth so damn well. I'm going to ask my vet's opinion on the Greenie issue because it'll be hard for us to give up, but I also sure as hell don't want to risk my dogs' lives for them!

Man, being a parent now-a-days is just so difficult, so many choices and risks to consider, as well as the costs (which I hate to admit because it Does make me feel like a bad Mommy worrying about money, but I know that I will Always put my pets' health and happiness first before money). Anyways, my plan is to reject the heartworm test, ask about the vaccinations and get whatever my vet suggests and ask about the Greenies... as long as I'm not guilted out of any of my decisions. Man, and I was always so critical of those guilt ridden parents. Damn.

For more information on Dr. Jean Dodds and her research, here are some resources to get you started: Are our pets being over-vaccinated?, An Act to Require Veterinarians to Provide Vaccine Disclosure Forms, Dr. Jean Doddss' Recommended Vaccination Schedule. I also have an article that was emailed to me and that I can't find online, so I'd be happy to email it to anybody who requests it.

If being a furkid parent is this tough, I don't even want to think about being a human baby parent.



You would think it'd be common sense to not post an "erotic short story" about two 16-year-olds having sex if you were already a registered sex offender, but apparently not for Pete Townshend, former guitarist for The Who. Townshend, who vehemently denies "that he was a paedophile, claiming he only accessed a site as research for an anti-child pornography campaign and for his autobiography" has been associated with a child porn ring and was arrested, and later released, by the Scotland Yard. He was issued a caution and put on the sex offenders registry for five years. Most of the erotic story he posted was too graphic to be reprinted and he has since taken it off of his website. Hmm, how to Not draw attention to your pedophilia... rule number one, DO NOT POST PORNOGRAPHIC STORIES ABOUT UNDERAGERS!

Enough said.

Update: found this Bushism on Mussings of a Life Gone Awry and had to post:

"Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women across the country." President Bush - Sept.6th, 2004

Good one "W"

My Babies

I thought it was time to introduce y'all to my babies. That's me there, the human. And then from left to right, Zoe, Dixie and Vladimir (as a puppy, he's much bigger now, about 30 lbs!) I also have two cats, Figaro and Buffy (as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer of course!)

They are all my children and I about died yesterday because Dixie was yelping in pain from getting a burr stuck in her tongue. We couldn't figure out what was wrong with her until I remembered the last time she was yelping in pain and acting funny was when she had something stuck in her tongue. So we looked, and there it was! What is with this girl and trying to eat prickly things? Sigh, the pains of motherhood. Yes, I know all you mothers out there with human children are rolling your eyes at me, but my heart nearly broke yesterday when my baby was in pain. I literally had tears in my eyes, it was awful. I think motherhood is in the capacity of your love and care for a being that needs you, whether they have fur or not.

News Worthy News

Today's been one of those days where the time is going by fast at work, but it's been nice and relaxed. It's been a good day (which probably was helped by the fact that my hubby left me the cutest note this morning). Good boy, hubs, definite brownie points. Hmm, brownies. I haven't had brownies in forever.

Beyond my rambling and nice day, I've found some interesting articles on the news front.

Let's start internationally with the new news in northern Uganda, where a 20-year war has taken tens of thousands lives and over 20,000 children have been kidnapped by the Lord's Resistence Army (LRA) to be their child soldiers and sex slaves. Finally (after a lot of lobbying by humanitarian relief organizations, including Uganda-CAN) the U.S. is backing LRA talks, according to US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer. She states that "We are working with the governments in the region to try to keep military pressure on Joseph Kony so that he is defeated. The priority has to be to get him out of the bush no matter how they do it." President Bush recently signed the U.S. budget supplemental bill, which will appropriate an additional $35 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. This money will be used in northern Uganda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo for emergency health measures, and will have a significant impact on improving conditions in camps for displaced people. It's about time the U.S. started focusing on northern Uganda and DR Congo, human rights, specifically children's, have been violated for too long in both countries. It gets sickening after a while to remember Bush's speeches on how many human rights Saddam Hussein violated and then Bush has been virtually ignoring other human rights violations in other countries. The war in Uganda has been taking place for 20 years! It's time for the U.S. and the U.N. to wake up and take some action in these countries. For more on this issue check out this article and here as well. Some good websites for non-profits educating and supporting the end of this war include: Invisible Children, War Child, Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, and a report written by Graca Machel for Unicef on Child Soldiers.

Nationally, the news is once again on homosexuality. Okay, so we've accepted African Americans and women as human beings with rights, so you'd think we'd have learned by now, but no. Of course not, that'd be silly to learn from our history. According to an article on BBC, the U.S. Pentagon still lists being gay as a mental disorder, long after the mental health community has recognized that there is no scientific evidence to deduce that homosexuality is a mental disorder, and in fact studies point more to homosexuality being caused biologically. U.S. lawmakers are requesting the Pentagon to change this listing in accordance with the American Psychiatric Association's stance that "homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social and vocational capabilities." Hello, people! How many civil rights revolutions must we go through before we accept people who are different? Do we not remember when white men used to think that black people and women were diseased or inherently bad? Do you think a woman came up with the Adam and Eve story? Yikes, people do forget easily.

Update: The people's response to the Pentagon: Homosexuality is a Mental Disorder story... or as The Onion puts it, Pentagon: Gay Equals Crazy. Good stuff.

Lastly, on a lighter note, football news! Check out this wrap up on Dave's Football Blog on the AFC North. I knew the Bengals were competitive with us, but I didn't know they'd take it this far...


Let's Write About Sex, Baby

I found this article on a new blog I've discovered called Killer Year - The Class of 2007 and I love it! Some of my favorites out of the "10 Rules for Writing Real Classy Sex Scenes" include:

2) Never compare a woman’s nipples to:
a) Cherries.
b) Cherry pits.
c) Pencil erasers.
d) Frankenstein’s bolts.
Nipples are tricky. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and shades. They do not, as a rule, look like much of anything, aside from nipples. So resist making dumb-shit comparisons.

3) Resist the temptation to use genital euphemisms (unless you are trying to be funny).
No: tunnel of love, candy shop, secret garden, pleasure gate, bearded clam.
Equally no: mule, flesh kabob, magic wand, shaft of manhood.
I could go on, but only for my own amusement.

4) Then again, sometimes sex is funny.
And if you ever saw a videotape of yourself in action, I bet you’d agree. An absurd arrangement. So don’t be afraid to portray its comic aspects. If one of your characters, at the height of passion, screams her father’s name, note this. If another can’t stay hard, allow him to use a ponytail holder for an improvised cock ring. And later on, if his daughter comes home and demands to know where her ponytail holder is, well, so be it.

6) Fluid is fun.
Look, sex is sticky. There’s no way around this. If you want to represent the truth of the acts, you will likely be required to pay homage to the resultant wetnesses. And I’m not just talking about semen or vaginal fluid. I’m also talking sweat and saliva, which I consider to be the perfume of lovers, as well as whatever one chooses as a lubricant (sesame oil?).

7) Real people do not talk in porn clichés.
They do not say: "Give it to me, big boy."
They do not say: "Suck it, baby. That’s right, all the way down."
They do not say: "Yes, deeper, harder, deeper! Oh, baby, oh, Christ, yes!"
At least, they do not say these things to me.
Most of the time, real people say all kinds of weird, funny things during sex, such as, "I think I’m losing circulation" and "I’ve got a cramp in my foot" and "Oh, sorry!" and "Did you come already? Goddamn it!"

9) Use all the senses.
The cool thing about sex — aside from its being, uh, sex — is that it engages all five of our human senses. So don’t ignore the more subtle cues. Give us the scents and the tastes and the sounds of the act. And stay away from the obvious ones. By which I mean that I’d take a sweet, embarrassed pussyfart over a shuddering moan any day.
You can quote me on that.

For the entire list, check out the article Here! Enjoy, and please try to contain yourself...

P.S. I aboslutely had to add this to the post since it's relevant, in a way, and it's way to good to not post:

Nerve talks to John Updike and what else would come up in an interview but oral sex, right?

But the head getting close to the genitals is, in a way, more intimate than letting the genitals do it on their own. Our sensory organs, including the brain, are right down there, and if it happens less frequently in couples as the relationship ages and evolves, it's because it's an act of worship, really. You are worshipping the other person's genitals. That may be a kind of ardor that cannot be sustained forever.

I guess all we need is for our genitals to be worshipped by our spouses and we'll wipe out divorce forever!

Female Chauvinist Pigs

I found an interesting interview with Ariel Levy, the author of Female Chauvinist Pigs, in which she defines "female chauvinist pigs" as "women who make sex objects of other women and of ourselves." This includes "women's apparent willingness not just to accept this culture, but actively to participate in it: taking up pole dancing as a hobby, for instance, or visiting strip clubs, leering and beering along with the male audience." Levy gives examples of a woman who worked on The Man Show as an executive producer. I also remember watching an Oprah about women objectifying other women. There was a young, attractive woman on the show who worked for the Girls Gone Wild tapes. Her sole job was to convince drunk, vulnerable college girls to flash the camera by saying, "Come on, I've done it. It's no big deal. This is your moment of fame." This "recruiter" in fact had not flashed any cameras and was basically pretending to be the drunk girl's friend. I can definitely see where this term "female chauvinist pig" can be applied. The article continues:

Levy isn't a prude or a scold, arguing for women to be less sexual - in fact, quite the opposite. Her point is that the single form of sexuality on offer to women - "this spring-break variety of thongs-and-implants exhibitionism" - is largely unfulfilling. And that buying into this, either by stripping yourself, or by ogling strippers, is a way of currying male approval and propping up male culture and power. (The obvious problem being that, by doing so, you undermine women, and, implicitly, yourself.)

"When it comes to raunch culture, a lot of people say: 'Well, we're living in a post-feminist age, women have won the [sex] war, and so it's OK for all this to happen. It doesn't actually threaten women's social position.' But when did we win the war? We don't have equal pay for equal work, we don't have equal representation in government ... so when exactly did we win?"

It's a controversial article, but rings true for me. Seeing men and women glamourize the porn industry and strippers (the pole dancing) is so ridiculous to me. Most of the people who get into the porn industry, stripping and prostitution do so because they have little options offered to them. Often they have been badly abused (usually sexually) and have low self esteem and a very damaged and skewed view of themselves sexually. The majority of the time porn films are shot, all of the actors and actresses in the film are either high or drunk or both. Same with prostitution and stripping. If it was so sexy and hot then why do these people (whom our culture is starting the emulate and hold up as our sexual role models) have to be high or drunk in order to have "hot" sex?

The fact of the matter is this, if you feel sexy and enjoy pole dancing for your sex partner then go for it! But don't do it because you saw it on Oprah and you've seen your man go to a strip club and ogle at the strippers on poles and so you feel like you're not sexy unless you're pole dancing. Do what is authentically sexy to yourself, if it's just wearing fitted sweaters or if it's showing some cleavage that makes you feel sexy, or even dancing by yourself in front of your mirror. Who said someone else had to be apart of your sense of sexiness and your sexuality? Why do we need others to validate our sexiness? Whatever it is, don't model yourself after people who aren't even authentically portraying sex as they are literally acting (people who think that porn stars, strippers and prostitutes actually get off and are turned on during the shooting are completely lying to themselves).

Whew, 'kay, I'll get off of my soap box now. Peace.


Chucky, the E-Version.

An animatronic doll that looks innocent, but I get the sense that it might know some voodoo. It sings a haunting rendition of the Steeler's fight song, as well as a variety of other pro Steeler cheers and chants... it's none other than Steeler Baby! Thanks to Deadspin, where I found this darling, uh, thing, now I can have a fake online doll sing to me...

I'm a Steelers fan, but I'm not flippin' mad!

The Book Buzzzzzz

The Millions has posted a list of the most anticipated books of 2006, part 2. Most notable to me is All Aunt Hagar's Children by Edward P. Jones. The title story appeared in the New Yorker. I'm currently reading The Known World and absolutely love his voice and his style. He writes simply, which puts all the more impact on his deeper meanings and the conflicting, contradicting relationships that he strings through his novel. Of course I'm eager for Charles Frazier long awaited second novel, Thirteen Moons. Frazier once again shows his interest in American history by taking us to nineteenth-century America, where a 12-year-old boy becomes intertwined with the Cherokee Indians' homeland and culture. Frazier's depth of plot and story line from Cold Mountain should carry over to this novel to create an enriching, deep, and strongly written second novel. Dave Eggers, editor of McSweeney's, is coming out with a based on true events book called What is the What. Eggers takes the reader to Sudan through the eyes of a young boy, whom Eggers returns to the Sudan with as an adult. Touching on civil war and connecting it to current events, such as the devastation in Darfur, this sounds like an exciting, adventurous and heart tearing read. Restless by William Boyd is a World War II novel, following a female spy. I love World War II novels, and for how many I've read, I'm excited to read one with a different story to tell about the well-known war. Also listed is Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, even though it will not actually be released until May 2007, so it doesn't quite fit the '2006' aspect of the list, but to be fair, the release date of the book has been pushed back. Anything written by Chabon promises to be exciting and original. I mean, the title alone stirs up intrigue, what a great word is 'Yiddish,' it just makes me want to drink the book up. Some posts on the book: 1, 2, 3.

Notably Not included on the list is Paint it Black by Janet Fitch, her follow up novel to the acclaimed White Oleander. I found White Oleander a haunting, magical and harsh glimpse in the life of a girl going through the foster care system. It was real and daring, especially for a first novel. So I can't wait to see what Fitch has brought to her second novel, set in the '80s. Also missing is The Blue Taxi by N.S. Koenings which is set in East Africa and getting a lot of buzz around the circuit. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris, while due to be released in March 2007, since they included Chabon's 2007 release, should have been included on the list. This debut novel about life in the office is getting "worldwide buzz" and I can't wait to read it! I can't tell if it's going to be Office Spaceish or what, but having to be confined to the dreaded cube 40 hours a week will surely help me appreciate the finer delicacies in the book... and by the time the book is released hopefully I'll be far far away from anything even resembling a cube so I can more gleefully enjoy the tortures of office life. (More details on that to come...) Though I guess I can thank my job for giving me the time to read blogs and write my own blog.

Let me know what book publications you are anticipating. The more books to add to my wish list the happier I am.

Oh No She Didn't

I was just minding my business, reading my favorite blogs, when I was accosted by this picture. Holy Momma! On The Naked Truth this picture is presented in arguement to her statement "I'm a really good mother" said during the Matt Lauer interview. Now I don't care two rats' asses about Britney Spears, but I couldn't resist posting this picture. Maybe I'm mean spirited... but seriously, what in the world was she thinking??


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay...

...coming soon to a theater near you, well not too soon.

Wahoo, I do get excited when one of my fave books gets turned into a movie, though I do have to admit my friends and family hate going to see books turned into movies with me. I guess my constant elbowing and whispering how it was different in the book takes away from the movie experience.

Michael Chabon's lively novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, is in it's pre-production stage, with the lovely (and also one of my favorite chic actresses) natalie portman "a strong likelihood" to play the part of Rosa. The anticipated release date according to IMDb is an ambiguous day in 2007. Chabon gives an update on his website, including some quick answers on what will and will not be included in the movie:

Golem: yes. Antarctica: yes. Gay love story: yes. Ruins of World's Fair: no. Long Island: no. Orson Welles: no. Salvador Dali: yes. Loving reference to Betty and Veronica: no. Stan Lee: no.

So with natalie portman as Rosa, we could have adrien brody as Kavalier, who else would you put in the cast? jake gyllenhaal possibly as Clay, but then I might just be type casting now. He so could pull off Jewish though, couldn't he? Feel free to comment and leave me your casting ideas!

To Blog or Not to Blog

The whole idea of blogging unnerves me, spilling my thoughts onto paper, well, a computer screen, for anybody to read and judge. I suppose I should be used to this seeing that I'm a writer, but then again I have yet to be published so my words have not traversed past that invisible yet very real line from private to public. However, I might be taking a Very interesting trip soon so I thought I'd start getting into the blogging spirit so that when I'm overseas I can share my experiences with my family and friends. If only my pets could read, then I'd be set. I only hope that I have enough in this pretty little head of mine (Okay, so I actually have a big head with ridiculous monkey ears, but it's my blog, I can describe it how I want!) to keep the readers entertained, informed and enthralled. I doubt I do, but I promise to BS out my butt pretending I do when I run out so to keep you entertained. That is my promise to you.

Welcome to Mai's blog.

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