Sunday, November 07, 2010

The American People

Every time I hear the words: the American people, I cringe. Voter turn out in this midterm was higher than former midterms and was still under fifty percent of eligible voters. If any message was sent by the American people it was silence. Whether that silence is about disenfranchisement or exhaustion is not clear to me. While I was voting a fellow came in saying he thought he had registered but he couldn't find his polling place. They couldn't find his registration at my polling place. African Americans and young voters turned out in record numbers to elect Obama but were not there for the midterm. There's a lot of analysis about why. Some of it makes sense to me. In any case most of the wins were by a narrow margin. There was no mandate. There was no referendum.
Politics these days feels like a battle of rhetoric. Even when I agree with what is being said I am often frustrated with the framing and articulation. It often seems overly personal and lacking substance. It's silly season.
I am no fan of Boehner but there's been a lot of snarky chatter because he cried. Men cry. Deal with it. Out of the same mouths comes the complaint that Obama is too stoic. And why are we having that conversation and not a more problem solving, issue driven analysis?
I think we are a divided nation but I think we always have been. Jefferson and Adams could barely agree. It's not a bad thing to have tension in public policy. And I wonder what we would learn if we could really talk to all those people who didn't show up to vote.
For a long time in my life I turned away from politics. It was too frustrating and didn't feel like a way to make real change. I still often feel that way. The system is fractured and corrupted. So I cast my vote in the best faith I can summon and hope for something more real. I am an American people. And really, none of them speak for me.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I wasn't going to write about the fat hating blogger because hate is hate. Not much more to say. Anyone who has read comments on posts about fatness knows that this kind of hatefulness is out there. Read the comments on her post. Hate and hate and more hate. Her apology is completely disingenuous. She "never wanted to be a bully" but those people are really fat. Oh, and she used to be anorexic. She doesn't hate fat people she just doesn't want to be fat.
The creator of the show writes that he was hurt and sad for his friends (the stars of the show) who would read such horrible things being said about them. I wonder why he isn't hurt and sad every time he listens to them do the self hating dialog in the show. He says the fat jokes were going to go away as the show evolved but it's hard to take that seriously because all of the people on the show are targeted. Clearly the writers think making fun of people is funny.
No one is making the connections that seem obvious to me. The show sets the standard for the ideas about fat people. Nothing the blogger wrote is worse than many of the jokes I heard in the two episodes I watched. I've already written about my disappointment in the show.
So why am I writing about it? Because some of the people who read me don't really get that fat hatred is real. I remember talking to a teacher about it and seeing her expression change from interest to one of wondering if I might need meds. I told her a few of the things that had been said to me and her expression changed again to one of shock. She had no idea. But I doubt she gave it much more thought.
Pattie wrote a great post about Love Your Body day. I love the affirmation.
I am so fat.
I too am so fat.
I can count the times I've seen a serious kiss between fat people on TV or in a movie. I remember them because they were a shock to my system. I was filled with the kind of conflict a person has when what they want to be true is so rarely portrayed.
I remember people being uncomfortable seeing Gay people kiss. There was lots of chatter about the kiss on Modern Family. I remember when seeing people of color kiss freaked people out.
Representation matters.
And where is NAAFA? Was there a press release I missed? There is a protest happening. Very cool.
I feel angry. I feel like I've been angry for such a long time. The haters don't make me as angry as the very nice people who don't get it. Hate is hate.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Fat Kids

I tense up when listening to recent discussions on bullying. The focus right now is on the suicides of Gay teens who have been bullied. I am sad and angry when I hear about anyone being bullied. But there's a part of me that wonders why there's no national out cry when fat kids commit suicide. If there is discussion about it the focus rabidly shifts to weight loss.
There have always been and continue to be people who think being Gay is a choice. My personal view is that sexuality is a spectrum. People may be on one end of the spectrum but most of us are at some point along the middle and it's not a fixed point. We all make choices. So? Pushing toward the idea that being gay is biological is a way of pathologizing choice. When a person who has been in a straight relationship begins a Gay relationship the narrative is about them finally realizing the truth. Why do we need these strict definitions? Why do we squelch variance?
I firmly believe the fat revolution is constantly subverted by the believe that all fat people can be thin if they would only eat less and exercise more. How much less? How much more? It varies. And what if someone prefers to eat what they want and move when they want and as result they are fat? Again we prefer to simplify. Being fat is biological. Everything we are is biological. But we also make choices.
My personal experience is that I can lose weight but I can never get to thin. I never made a choice to be fat but I have made the choice to not eat or exercise with the intent to be thin. I eat for nourishment and pleasure. I exercise because it feels good. And I'm fat. It begins in biology and continues with choice.
Yesterday when I was going through the blog roll I opened a formally fat revolution blog and read that the woman was going to have the surgery. For a few minutes I searched to find how she got to that choice but ultimately I deleted the link. Hope that works out. The evidence suggests that it won't but ... it's her body and her choice.
I watch the faces of people who are so sad about the bullied kids and some part of me is angry because I believe those same people will encourage fat kids to lose weight. They won't support the bully but they will make the solution be to change the fat kid.
I'm glad there is a narrative in which Gay youth are encouraged to accept themselves. I just wish it would include the fat kids.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The main difference between the last time I was unemployed and this time is my unemployment check. Just having some money coming in keeps the misery level down. But even if money was not an issue I can't keep living in a zone.
The last time I was unemployed I had been in school and writing. The impulse to write was powered up. I had a daily blog practice, both reading and writing. Working at EA sucked that out of me. In part because of the commute and general exhaustion but also because it never felt like people were interested in what I had to say. I had friends. But I didn't really talk. When I first got laid off I thought I'd write. But the writing muscles are weak and I've been sunk in emotionally.
I don't use Twitter very well. I don't really get it. If you see a Tweet from me it's coming from somewhere like Foursquare, or Facebook. The other day Facebook was down and I checked into Twitter to see if anyone knew why. I saw a Tweet from Blogrolling in which they were announcing the end of the service. When I switched to using Blogger for design I looked for a blogroll gadget but didn't see one. I checked again today and ... there it was. So I moved all the links and let go of a few more. I think I'll add a blog roll to the food blog. I let go of some links that I loved. I need to accept that I am not reading blogs. I'd like to think I might again but until then ...
Jane was visiting for a few days. It was nice to have someone around. Mom will be here in a few weeks.
I still feel relatively voiceless but I am trying to emerge.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Many years ago a friend sent me some tapes of the Gilmore Girls. She was convinced I would love the show. She was right. I loved the cultural hipness, the town full of characters, the mother daughter relationships and maybe most of all I loved how many fat people were in the show. There were fat people and I only remember one fat joke in all of the episodes.
I especially loved Suki. Suki was the best friend, business partner and chef extraordinaire. Her working kitchen was always charming (although unrealistic). Her enthusiasm for cooking was big fun. And she had a flirtation that became a relationship and a marriage. She had two kids and was pregnant with her third when the show ended. In other words she had a full life and there was never any mention of her weight.
I don't think the actor, Mellisa McCarthy, was particularly fat radical. I don't really follow entertainment news but I think I would have heard if she was advocating for the fat revolution and I never have. And truthfully, I don't really care. I love fat radicals but I don't think every fat person has to represent. Still, I have watched for McCarthy and was happy to hear that she had a new show. What a disappointment.
I knew the show was about two people who meet at an OE meeting, which was problematic but I hoped for some amount of rebelliousness to offset all of that. The show is filled with mean spirited jokes most of which are aimed at the two main fat characters. And really, meanness is rarely funny to me. There are exceptions, times when a mean character brings something to the whole but it's rare.
Melissa McCarthy is an actor trying to make a living. And I suspect she sees her weight as a problem. Sad. Frustrating. But it's her life. I watched the show because of her but I won't continue to watch.
I ended up loving Huge. It never seemed to me that they were shilling for weight loss. In fact I think they portrayed how problematic a focus on weight loss can be. And an exchange between the head of the fat camp and our rebel grrrl was sweet and revealing. What did the leader get out of weight loss? She hated herself a little less. Is that all there is? Yep. The show tapped into a lot of social dynamics and I liked it.
I usually try to watch any show in which fat people are represented, even the weight loss shows. I can't usually watch those for more than a few minutes. They aren't useful. I have watched a bit of Too Fat for Fifteen, which portrays a real life fat camp. Hard to bear but there was a moment that stuck with me.
One of the teens has an illness ( the name of which I don't know), which has caused her knees to grow inward. She's had a lot of surgeries and spent a lot of time in bed as a result. She loves to read. She's the largest camper and she's fierce. She wanted to participate in a race and the medical adviser said she couldn't. I suspect there were concerns about her strength and stamina. There are two exercise councilors, one male and one female. The female councilor was upset about the decision. The male councilor accused the medical adviser of trying to cover her own ass. I was struck by how unwilling they were to consider a medical condition. For them it was all about pushing the kids. However, the woman councilor seemed to believe that the girls could do the race and was sincerely frustrated. She was in tears.
So Michele Obama, Jaime Oliver, all the well meaning people who talk in terms of childhood obesity and this councilor make me so sad. They do not get it. I support kids eating better food. I support kids getting exercise. I don't think they need to become athletes. Any amount of exercise will benefit any of us. Pushing kids to be something they aren't is hurtful.
I was that kid who would rather be reading. I always loved swimming. I always loved dancing. We never had a car so walked everywhere and I loved walking. I never liked team sports. I was never any good at them and I had no interest in learning. I loved yoga from the minute I learned about it. Different people. Different weights. It's about diversity and nature and teaching kids to ind their own truth. One of the kids on that show had a gall bladder attack. Rabid weight loss is associated with gall bladder illness. Why not just teach the kids how to raise and cook great food and enjoy their bodies in motion and bag the weight loss focus? Is it really about health? Or is it about hate?
Something about seeing "Suki" as a self hating fat woman breaks my heart. I realize these are both characters on a television show. I also realize that there's a fat actor who seems to devolved. The people who write the mean jokes are the haters I've always had in my life. They're boring and not worth much energy. Representation matters and fat hatred has become so ramped up. It's exhausting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I read an epistolary interview of J.M. Coetzee in Harpers in which he talks about psychology. He accepts the notion that understanding one's past makes it possible to let go of the impact of past events, although he refers to it as a touching idea of Freud's and notes that it does not seem demonstrably true. He think it might be more useful to pay more attention to mood. I smiled when I read it. A sad, ironic smile. I am always aware of my mood. I describe it in probably overly simplistic terms. I'm in a good mood. Bad mood. I think of myself as a moody person and I think of that as a problematic characteristic. Coetzee says he is never in a non-mood.
He goes onto note that he is (at the time of the interview) in a melancholy mood. He differentiates melancholy and depression by noting that depression renders one unable to work. Melancholy, he says, is a state of being and not necessarily an affliction. He equates melancholy with water. He makes it sound almost desirable.
The next issue of Harpers, which I read soon after since I had allowed the magazines to pile up, there was an article about a new trend in psychology titled: The War on Unhappiness, subtitled: Goodbye Freud, Hello Positive thinking. Really interesting transition.
I am highly critical of ungrounded positive thinking. Obviously it's better to have a generally positive approach in life but I see so much bad framing of people's experience. We acknowledge and reward "good attitude" and blame people when they are sad, or angry. Barbara Ehrenreich writes so clearly about this in all of her books but specifically in Bright Sided. She writes about being criticized for not being positive when she had cancer. In fact she was being neither positive nor negative. She was being curious. And she writes about how this "war" on unhappiness operates as a means of social control in the job market.
I am always comforted by Ehrenreich's lucidity. But I was almost delighted by Coetzee. I think I have always been a bit melancholy. I think if you aren't a little bit depressed you aren't paying attention. I've always loved something I thought Freud said: ( a Google search says it may have been Einstein, no one seems to know for sure) happiness is for pigs. Martha Graham says that restlessness and discontent are what drive artists to create. All of that said I realize that I slip too easily from melancholy to depression.
I've been miserable. Really, truly, deeply miserable. Unable to write. Barely able to read. The pool has been closed for a month, which hasn't been good. I've tried to do some yoga. Mostly I drift though the day, have trouble sleeping and find myself crying over random things. And I'm angry a lot.
There have been some turn around moments. A friend from EA came for a visit and told me some things that comforted me. I knew my lay off wasn't exactly personal. There were so many people laid off that day. Still, It's hard to not feel rejected. Another conversation with an old friend felt like a long drink of water after years of thirst. And so I feel ... better. Still unfocused and somewhat paralyzed. But better.
James Hillman says that depression opens the door to beauty. He also says that happiness is not something that can be pursued, it is a result.
The pool reopens next week. I can take my watery, melancholy self into the deep, clear blueness.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


There's a man living in my building. Or maybe not my building but maybe the building that adjoins mine. I hear him at night. He makes a loud noise that sounds like a crying out of some sort. The first time I heard him I listened harder worried that he was hurt. The noise sounded like it could be coming from someone in pain. It's not really a groan. It's a loud release of sound. So the first time I listened harder. I don't want to be one of those people who hears the sound of distress and ignores it.
Years ago I watching TV and slowly became aware that I was hearing someone yelling loudly, seemingly in combat and calling for help. By the time I became fully aware they had stopped. A few days later I was talking to a woman who owned a shop down the street. She had been the one calling out. Someone had come into her shop and stolen something. Her boyfriend chased them and they attacked him, hurt him in some serious way that I don't remember and then she attacked them with a fork. I think it was a fork. I'd been close enough to help. Call the police if nothing else. But I had no view of them. Only the sound. In the city you learn to ignore noise.
So the first time I heard the man I listened to try and hear and understand what he was communicating. It's hard to describe the noise. It could be the sound of someone coming to the end of a yawn. My mom makes a noise at the end of some yawns. It's more a release of sound than a purposeful communication. It might be the sound someone makes when they are drifting off and trying to stay awake. A coming back to awareness with a start kind of sound.
There's an air shaft between the two buildings. More than an air shaft really. It's a smaller space that opens to a larger patio and some apartment have back doors that open onto it. My living room window opens onto it. I hear the clatter of shoes on wooden stairs. I hear conversations and brooms and hoses and windows opening and closing.
I haven't been sleeping well. I start the night in my recliner. I turn off what ever I've been watching on TV, lean back, close my eyes and try to sleep. If I get in bed too soon I toss and turn but in the recliner I stay still. I lay there and listen to the drone of my internal dialog until I drift off. If I'm lucky I sleep a few hours. I wake up because I need to go to the bathroom. I go and get in bed. Sometimes I can't get back to sleep so I return to the recliner. I try to tell myself stories to quiet the drone.
That's why I hear the man. I'm right by the window in the living room. I can't tell what apartment the noise is coming from. I hear the noise a few times every night. Eventually it stops. Or I stop hearing it. I've already noticed that I hear it as a background noise and ignore it. There's an odd awareness of a choice to not pay attention that happens in the city. Or maybe it's just me.
I wish I could sleep.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Letting Go

I've been going through my blog roll again trying to knock it down to something I can actually get through. I am failing. As fast as I delete I add. I'm trying to use some kind of common sense. If I'm not reading someone and they aren't reading me then ... but I'm too attached.
I finally canceled my WoW account. I've haven't played in more than a year. The last few times I tried to play I ended up downloading patches and lost interest. Given all that you might wonder why I hadn't done it sooner. The minute I did it I felt sad. It's easy enough to rejoin. Sigh.
I'm not exactly a pack rat but I do have a lot of stuff that I should just toss. Little plastic animals from martinis, rocks and shells, piles of magazines.
The blog roll trip brought back memories. I've always liked big brain blogs many of which I don't even understand. I love art and photo blogs. And I love journals. I've stopped believing in a blogging community. I think they exist and are useful but I've never quite fit in.
I love the random stuff you can find. This is who I want to be when I grow up.
There is a lot of chatter about what the Internet is doing to our brains. I've heard this guy on a few shows. I have the radio on listening to the news from last night, which makes me angry and sad while I'm smiling over a photo of a baby. And I jump to Facebook every so often. Short attention span, multi tasking suits the Gemini brain. It's why I was a good line cook. I can manage more than one pan at a time. However, in the moment that I'm seething and smiling I do wonder if it's all too much.
Lately I've had days when I need to sit with my eyes closed. No sounds except for the neighborhood rumbles and bangs. It's a raggedy kind of meditation.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


When days and days go by and I don't write my inner nag begins to poke and question. I used to write about the political news of the day but now I often wonder if it's useful. There is almost nothing but opinion out there.
Friends post and link to fear laden articles about the worst possible outcomes. It's all Armageddon. Others post and link to positive action based stuff. Hard to want to criticize but it often feels like avoidance.
Things is tough all over. No doubt.
I read, listen to and watch a lot of political chatter so I must find usefulness in it all.
I don't know how to not have a broken heart. There is too much to mourn. So the question becomes how to hold it all and still want to take the next breath.
I don't have the answer.

Huge. Again.

Yeah. I am so boring that all I have to write about is television.
Second episode of Huge. There are things to like.
I've been reading other fat activist commentary and reaction, some of which given without a viewing of the show. There is the fundamental issue of how fat positive can a show about a diet camp be and I am with that concern. But I also think that the show is portraying some of the issues in fat life in a very subtle and even moving manner.
The intersection of food addiction and fat politics is problematic. In every gathering of fat community I've ever attended someone has whispered to me about their food addiction. On the one hand, maybe fat community isn't the place for that conversation. On the other hand the fact that a fat person can feel so unsafe to talk about it feels sad. The whole - no diet talk - position feels silencing and heavy handed. On the other hand, I've been on fat political list serves and forums in which someone blathers about their diet and exercise habits and it can become annoying. Sometimes when I'm writing about fat politics I feel the need to make a statement about my own feelings about food and exercise because I have very strong feelings about what constitutes good food. I'm less interested in talking about exercise but generally speaking I think moving is a good thing.
Our relationship with food is part of our experience. Most fat people have some diet history. Placing the show in a diet camp seems reasonable to me. And. It is a worry.
The manager of the camp has her own diet history and it seems to be linked to her relationship with her father. There was a moment when she was trying to write an email to her mother and ate a small muffin without noticing. I've had that experience. I have been eating and spaced out. It hasn't happened to me in a long time but I have had that experience. For some people it's a daily occurrence and source of concern. It is a real experience and was nicely portrayed.
The show may overly problematize food. And that would be a drag. It does seem like they also point out how overwrought things can be in many ways. In the first episode the tent councilor confiscates anything that might be "food", like gum, breath mints. When she asks if a toothpick is flavored she seems crazy. In last nights episode a package from home needs to be inspected for possible contraband.
I always have the same reaction. Instead of infantalizing why not empower? Why not try to engage people in a deep understanding of food and cooking? I sometimes feel at odds with the fat activist community because I am critical of what I call crap food. And I doubt I'd have much credibility in food political movements because ... I'm fat. What's a girl ta do?
The show has created so many interesting relationship story lines and is full of subtle moments. In last nights episode the not-really-fat and very pretty girl notices the younger sister of a new camper checking her own belly size in a mirror and has a look of concern. It's a fleeting moment. Easy to miss.
The thing that really worries me is the new campaign being launched from the show. They're talking about "living" to your fullest and there is a diet and exercise message.
So far I think the show is dynamic and interesting. Is it fat positive? Not exactly. Is it about the lives of fat people? Somewhat.
I have always wanted us to find a way to talk about food and food issues in the fat political community. It's not a simple conversation. But if we aren't a part of the conversation the people who think we need to be thin to be healthy own the debate.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I was really looking forward to Huge. The commercials were pretty great. There were things that I liked very much not the least of which was how many young fat actors now have jobs. I thought they created some interesting relationships and portrayed a variety of characters. It's a little hard for me to understand how they're going to maintain the fat rebel character when she's choosing to remain at diet camp but it will be interesting to watch. And most of all I liked that they showed how damaging dieting can be to a young person's sense of worth.
I'm not that well versed in eating disorders but I don't think there are fat bulimics. I might be wrong and maybe the portrayal of a young woman who eats a bunch and then throws up was intended to show a beginning bulimic. It just wasn't clear to me.
The Times did a review that begins with an assertion that gainer blogs are an offshoot of the fat pride movement. Um. Wrong. Someone trying to gain weight is pretty much as loopy as someone trying to lose weight in my opinion. Fat pride (a descriptor of the movement that always makes me a little tense) has nothing to do with trying to be fat when you aren't. It's about owning the body that you have and making food and exercise choices that are about ... food ... and exercise.
I think there many as many ideas about "the movement" as there are fat people. I've never loved size acceptance. It feels passive. Fat pride feels active but I don't feel any more pride about my weight than I do the color of my eyes. I'm fat. It's just one thing about me. It's become central in my identity because of the cultural crap about it. Not because I needed or even wanted to focus on it. I'm not ashamed. I'm not proud. I'm just fat.
The main character's rebel stance is an act of defiance. I understand that. I think that's often the way it begins. But the review in the Times takes home the message that being fat is about being discontent. And I can see how they got there. I'm not sure how they can establish a grounded notion of size being a fact of diversity. It's a show about a diet camp.
So we'll see.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


April linked this on Facebook.
In the morning we awaken loaded down with the weight of entropy and sleep. Our natural response is to turn over and go back to sleep and put off the crisis of stepping out into the world. Perhaps the promise of something better gets us up onto our feet. Most acts of engagement require an effort of will, desire and an emotionally charged image of how things might be different.
It's interesting because I've been thinking a lot about my mornings. I've always needed time to be slow in the morning. If I need to be somewhere early I wake up earlier to allow for slow time. I stumble to the computer, check email, play something mindless like Spider Solitaire while I eat. Even when I swim I wake up early enough to have a little zone time.
When I was working on the MFA and for a few years after that I got into a habit of listening to KPFA or KQED while I read blogs and wrote my post. I listen to the radio now but I don't blog very often. I half read some newspapers. Play a game.
I keep thinking I should try to do some yoga first thing. I am in the pool three days by 6 AM and by 8:15 on Saturday. Then I come home and zone.
Most acts of engagement require an effort of will, desire and an emotionally charged image of how things might be different.
I think there is something to just imagining how it might look if it were different. I don't begrudge myself some zone time but I wish it were shorter. I realize that I am the one who needs to make it shorter.
Writing often begins as a revelry. I walk around with a repetitive narrative and eventually I sit down and type. I have something in my head these days.
...will, desire and an emotionally charged image of how things might be different.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Book

I got a new computer. It's a very happy thing but it doesn't have a floppy drive. I guess those are being phased out. I was going through floppy discs looking for my book and I could NOT find it. I have some hard copies and there's a copy at U.S.F. I tried to let it go. Today I made one more effort to find it and ... it was on the first disc.
In the days between giving up and finding it I've been sad, angry with myself, resigned. I realized how deeply I've given up on it.
I really don't know how to revive my writing. I know it felt really good to open the book on the new computer. I feel like the book needs work and I've had ideas about it all but I just do not get it done. Maybe this will give me the nudge and get me writing.
I guess we'll see.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fat Stuff

I've had a few moments-of-fat lately. Some positive and some not.
The not list begins with a local news/entertainment show on which I saw a doctor who works with the AIDS ride. She was telling a story about a woman who went to her doctor reporting sudden and extreme weight loss. The doctor asked why she was worried because everyone wanted weight loss. She had the good sense to go to another doctor and was diagnosed HIV positive. When weight is used as a metric for health the bias for less weight causes problems for all of us.
A friend asked me if I'd heard about the new guide lines for obesity. I had not. She told me by those guidelines she was fat. She is not. Not at all. Not by any standard.
There's a commercial in which two women are in a laundromat. One asks the other for quarters because she's trying to shrink some jeans. She explains that she's been eating whole grain cereal and she's lost weight. I have so many problems with it. I eat whole grain cereal. Fat people eat whole grain cereal. The part that really bugs me is the actress playing the part of she who has lost weight is extremely thin. I don't like to make negative comments or assumptions about extremely thin people but if she's lost weight she's lost too much. She is bone thin. The other woman does not look like someone who needs to lose any weight at all. There is an idea of healthy weight being communicated that looks extreme. Weight bias is not useful in any discussion of health. It should go without saying but clearly it needs to be said over and over. The culture seems to be moving from fat phobic to pro ana.
However, I stumbled upon a new to me show on TV: Drop Dead Diva. I found it on Hulu. It's sad how much anxiety I feel when I see a fat person on a television show. The show is about a thin model who dies but is returned to earth in the body of a fat lawyer. She retains the memories of her thin life and the IQ of her fat life. Convoluted way to set up a thin person learning what it's like to be a fat person.
In the first episode she is sitting in a meeting with a client and can't take her eyes off a plate of doughnuts. I was reminded of the first episode of The Practice on which Camryn Manheim was supposed to eat a doughnut. She didn't want to be the fat girl eating so she (the actress) shoved the doughnut into the mouth of her boss (the character). Apparently it worked so well they decided to keep it. Drop Dead Diva eats the doughnut. It is kind of cute though because the thin girl inside the fat body hasn't eaten doughnuts and her enjoyment is the joy of discovering taste. That theme is repeated. Food, flavor is a revelation.
In the first episodes her disgust about her fat body is annoying. But in each show she is confronted with unfairness. Bartenders who bought her drinks when she was thin ignore her when she's fat. People don't take her seriously. Former friends shun her. She reacts with outrage and is always coming to levels of acceptance about who she is now.
It's not perfect but I've watched almost all of the first season and it's pretty great. She delivers one diatribe in a court room that could have been written by the fiercest fat activist. I'm pretty hooked.
Better that that is Fat Dinosty. Wonderful, wonderful! SO good! Such a soul reviving, joy inducing, belly laughing, great, good thing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


If I get irritated watching Oprah I have no one to blame but myself, especially if she's talking about weight loss. I have the bad habit of using the television as background noise and I was flipping through the channels the day she had Geneen Roth talking about her new book. Oprah is talking about the book like it's fill of new ideas. It's not.
Many of the ideas in the book are the ones that I embraced as a teenager and many of the ideas are positive. She talks about loving yourself now and not waiting until you're thin. The problem is that she says when you fully embrace the ideas you will inevitably lose weight. It's a re-articulation of the same old tired message. Being fat means something is wrong specifically in terms of your relationship with food. Do self work to reveal what's wrong and your relationship with food will heal and you'll lose the weight -- for good. It's not that different from Oprah's earlier articulation of "make the connection".
I do often enjoy Oprah's affection for personal process. On the show she talked about a recent self revelation.
"Oprah says even she turns to food when life gets hard. "There's still anxiety when I have to say no to someone," she says. "I still worry, 'What are they going to think' ... [That happened to me recently and] I did not eat a pound of potato chips. I ate a pound of lettuce. But it's the same thing. I've switched the drug from potato chips to lettuce."
In that moment, Oprah says she started questioning her actions. After saying no and standing up for herself, why was she so anxiety-ridden that she had to eat a bowl of lettuce? "I went back to what you had said in the book,” she says. “What I'm really feeling is every time I have ever been beaten by my grandmother. ... What I recognize as I'm stuffing myself with the lettuce is I still have that feeling of if I don't do what pleased the other person, then somehow that person has the power to annihilate me."
I have some of that issue. I wasn't beaten but Mom and I did live with her parents for my first twelve years. I did get the message that we could be homeless if the grandparents got too angry. I learned to accommodate and never really trust the affection of anyone. I don't really think my grandparents would have kicked us out. Mom paid rent, which was a benefit to them. I know they loved us. But my grandmother did have a way of seeming to threaten. And when I was younger and trying so hard to do self analysis I did make connections between those kind of issues, how I ate and my weight. At some point I realized that there was no amount of any food that could take away the feelings of loss, rejection, anger, sadness, and so on. I wish there were.
There are people who will read this book and have insights and make changes in how they eat and they may lose weight. And I don't really have a problem with that. Awareness is good. Is Oprah one of them? I doubt it. Oprah has demonstrated what a fat person's body does naturally. She gains weight. Again and again. When she exercises rigorously and makes modifications to her diet she does lose weight. But clearly she can't sustain those things. I don't know her so I don't know what she does but we've watched her regain weight for so many years. I mean really. When is she gonna get it?
I remember a show back in the "make the connection" days. She was in a grocery store talking about healthy food choices and she was so excited about red and yellow bell peppers. It was cute. I support her attempts to eat well. I don't really care how much exercise she does but exercise is good. I just wish she'd stop believing that her weight is something she can control. I wish she would accept that she is a fat person and make food and exercise choices with no thought about her weight.
I resent the way the book says to do that very thing in a completely disingenuous manner. The book talks about loving your body at any size but implies that when you do that you will lose weight. I resent the idea of a god that wants everyone to be thin.
There's a really good video of Kelly Bliss in which Lynn McAfee talks about the will power it takes to walk out the door in the morning. I love the way Kelly talks about being someone who eats in a healthy manner and exercises and is still what is considered fat. The video shows women of different sizes exercising. It's good.
I have a lot of good thoughts about Oprah. She loves books and reading. She's done a lot of great work specifically in support of young women. I just wish she'd use that overwhelming media power to promote a world view in which Lynn McAfee doesn't have to summon the will to leave her house.

Only The Impediments

"Rather, a loner troubled by longings, incapable of finding a suitable language and despairing at the impossibility of composing messages in a playable key -- as if I no longer understood the codes used by the estimable people who wanted to hear from me and would have so much to reply if only the impediments were taken away." - Saul Bellow.
Bellow wrote that in a letter to Cynthia Ozick. I read it the other night and keep rereading it because it's such a beautiful sentence. He writes a lot of apologies for not writing in his letters. For me the beauty of the way he writes about not writing erases what ever lack of writing might have been. And since writing about not writing is my most common theme these days it resonated.
I've been in a wretched mood. I feel like I'm underwater surfacing long enough to catch a breath and then submerging again.
There's no one reason why I'm so cranky and there's a surprising array of things that pull me out of the funk: little bits from the reading I'm doing, catching up on Glee, finding more fresh peas when I shop, the way the light hits the water when I swim. And then the dive.
R & N are coming for a visit, which will cheer me up. In an embarrassingly frequent reflex I seem to have been even more grouchy not as a result but almost as if I'm purging.
Bellow was writing apologies for a lack of correspondence, of which I am also guilty. He, however, was pouring out fiction at the time. I'm -- well -- dusting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blog Rolling

Before the job swallowed me I spend every morning listening to KPFA, reading blogs and writing my daily post. I've been trying to get that grove back with no success. I tend to write posts later in the day now and I rarely read anyone. It's not that I don't read because I'm not interested. I'm just still relatively caved in emotionally. And also, it's overwhelming.
This morning I tried to get through my blog roll. I keep trying to make it smaller thinking that might help but ... I just can't. I have always been amazed by how intensely emotional blogging is and how much it has always felt like the school yard always felt to me. My longing to belong is almost as strong as my longing to be left alone. I remember the thrill of seeing my blog on the blog roll of someone I admired. Extending the metaphor of the school yard, it felt like being one of the cool kids. Ironically, the cool kids in blogging (for me) were probably not that cool in school. I like the big brains. Bigger brains than mine. I don't always get them but I like the feeling of pushing toward the thinking. I like the artists and the poets and the mommies. I like too many. I can't let go of anyone.
I wish I understood this place I'm in. I know I need to connect. I want to connect. And I want to bury myself in a game or a book or a movie or dusting or anything. I think I'm afraid to fail. But. I mean. What does that mean?
Bloggers have books out and have television shows and there are movies about them. Bloggers are referred to as news sources. Bloggers have blogged their way onto the big stage. I stopped blogging and stopped writing and stopped thinking and feeling to some extent. Obviously not entirely but ... yeah. I used myself up dragging myself through my day, my week. Years went by. I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm uncertain, floundering, stuttering. Hopeless. Hopeful. What do I care about? Why do I care?
I think it might be more accurate to say that I'm writing a journal. I'm not interested in being a pundit. Well that's not true I am interested. I'm interested in writing about being fat in political terms. I have things to say about everything else but the chattering is already so loud, so hyper and so bifurcated. I turned on CNN this morning and the (cough) news person was voicing an opinion about Miranda rights. And that's what's happening now. Opinion. Even when I agree I often find it annoying. I did not agree with this particular person so I was a little extra annoyed.
So I'm writing a journal and I'm trying to understand things about myself out loud in public. At this point I'm mostly talking to myself, which is probably best.
A friend of mine wanted to leave a comment on the food blog but found the process onerous. It is much more complicated than it used to be. Signing in, password protections. I understand why but it does hamper the spontaneous act that commenting can be. Oh lord I used to love comments. I didn't always love the snarky, the need to correct my spelling and my grammar, the just plain mean ones. But, hey. If you put it out there you need to deal.
Oh jeez I don't know what I'm doing here. This is a reaction to reading as much as I could and seeing some beautiful pictures and some news about families. This is a reaction to seeing that my name has been taken off some blog rolls. Of course it has. I didn't write for years. This is a reaction to wanting to write and not having anything to say and having a torrent of things to say stuck in the back of of my throat and wanting to be in the mix.
I'm going to go wash some dishes.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


I have written reactions to the ways in which fat people are represented on television in the past. These days I struggle with "what's the use" and I have to push though it.
The other night I was watching Grey's Anatomy. The show began with the doctors being lectured about sensitivity. As the first patient arrives at the emergency entrance it becomes clear why. The patient is an extremely fat man who arrives in the back of a truck. Right away I'm worried. The patient makes a lot of self deprecating jokes, which the staff struggles to ignore. His beautiful (by cultural standards) wife arrives and reveals that she is pregnant.
The first and, for me, truly terrifying moment comes when the head of the hospital says he won't OK a surgery the man needs because of the risks. He says something about not giving him care since he obviously doesn't care about himself. It's an uncharacteristic response from this particular doctor and he reversed the decision quickly in the next scene. I realize that this is television and a drama but it was terrifying because it felt too real. The man refuses the surgery because, despite all of his laughter, he is dreading having a child because of what he won't be able to do with his child and fear of the child's shame.
The wife had all the good lines. She overhears some of the doctors wondering how the couple has sex and she jams them. Her confrontation with one of the doctors is the turn around moment in which the doctor confronts the patient and talks him into the surgery. The surgery was graphic, which is sort of the way this show does things. He survives and in the end is told he needs to make "lifestyle changes", which he willingly agrees to while he smiles at his wife. Picture my grimace.
The actor who played the part is a fat man who wore a fat suit. I was reminded of an episode of House in which Pruitt Taylor Vince wore a fat suit. I am some what irritated by this but maybe there aren't a lot of 700 pound actors. I preferred the characterization on House because the man was able to be his own advocate and not need a beautiful wife but both men were resigned to death because fat people don't really love life and don't have the will to fight for it, right?
On House the man has terminal cancer. He will die, not because of his weight. Irony. Or something.
I've been trying to sort though what I think is understandable in terms of what it takes to create a drama and what I think is unnecessarily hopped up and what is just plain offensive. The phrase life style choices, for example, sets me off.
People in the high numbers are referred to as super sized by the fat community. I'm not really feelin that term. It just feels like a way of trivializing. I don't believe anyone gets that fat from too many calories and not enough exercise alone. I think something else is going on. It's difficult to articulate in positive terms.
Any idea that fat may be unhealthy causes tension in the fat community. It's understandable since the health industry continues to use fat as a one size fits all basket into which everything wrong is dumped. Fat people will never get good health care while this is true. I believe fat to be a natural expression of physical diversity. That doesn't mean my weight isn't a factor in things that go wrong. My knees probably do hurt more because of my weight. That said, until all people with sore knees are fat it's not useful to focus on my weight. I want doctors who talk to me about a health issue the same way they talk to any size person. I don't really mind when my weight is mentioned in a laundry list of things because my weight is part of my health history. I will have issues that other people don't have. When it's part of the whole picture it's normal. When it's singled out as THE issue, it's just not useful.
Talking about health in binary terms is not particularly useful for anyone. The book I'm reading quotes D W Winnicott:Health is tolerant of ill health; in fact, health gains much from being in touch with ill health with all its aspects. He's talking about psychological heath but it's an idea that works for me in more general terms. No one is healthy. All of us are dancing along a path that encompasses health and ill health. It changes every day for reasons we can control and reasons we cannot control.
The book goes on describing people with denial about health issues and the value those patients gain when they own their issue. Before the acceptance the patients are: continuously encoding information about their defective bodies and at some level they do indeed have knowledge about their handicaps and the emotional implications thereof. I am not saying being fat means you have a defective body. In fact I think this language is less than useful for the issues that the book is discussing. However, fat people are told they have a defective body almost daily. It's a struggle to unseat that internal identity. And with the struggle to unseat the conflation of defect and genetic expression often goes the understanding of real handicaps and the emotional implications thereof. If I deeply understand and own that I am a fat person and have no particular value attached to that fact I can own and parse related issues. Life style change is a buzz phrase. Not useful.
Should people who are so fat they become immobile diet and exercise to lose weight? I don't know. I think everyone benefits from a healthy diet and moderate exercise. My wish is that people of that size would be in a dialogue with the health care community, which might reveal a deeper understanding of how it happens. What I want for them is enough space and care to be as healthy as they can be with or without weight loss.
Darlene Cates is a fat actress. There's a moment in the Gilbert Grape movie when she is meeting her son's girlfriend for the first time and she says: I wasn't always like this. The girl friend says: I wasn't always like this. It's one of my favorite movie moments. It's so real and so leveling. I don't love everything about the representation in that movie but there were some great moments.
What's the use? Television and movies are about entertainment and the story always organizes around the "beautiful" people. It's a chicken and egg. Are those the beautiful people or do we just see so many of them we have come to see them that way? They all look alike. It's boring.
I wish there was more complexity in the way fat people are represented. I did get a smile from a recent episode of Glee in which the token fat character shakes off body shaming with a wonderful song.
Yeah. I feel that. Don't you bring me down today.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Self Care

I did some yoga today. I'm stiff and my breathing is ... well ... I'm barely breathing. I managed one breath deep enough that it hurt. I imagine that part of my lungs hasn't expanded in a few years. When I was young and tried to do exercise that I hadn't done in awhile I would be able to do it. I might feel stiff or achy afterward but I could do it. Not now. I have no range of motion, no stamina. Everything feels like a strain.
Barbara and I had an interesting talk about several body issues the other day. She has this great articulation about self care. When you're a baby and even a young child your parents take care of you. Hopefully. As you grow up you begin to take over. Again. Hopefully. But when you're young it doesn't usually take much time or energy. As you get into middle age self care begins to require time and energy. That has certainly been my experience.
I remember when I was a preteen and teen I was excited about self care. I bought lotions and acne creams and nail files. I read teen magazines for instruction. In my late teen and young adult years and became more invested in a rock and roll identity I began to eschew self care. Drugs, alcohol, risky behavior. Yeah baby. At the same time there was hippie identity, which included macrobiotics and yoga and drugs that didn't cause irreparable damage. All of which was expanded upon by the New Age in which self care revealed the true depth of one's self worth and probably concern for the planet.
I remember a time when I ( and many of my friends ) went directly from aerobics class to a bar and usually straight to the bathroom where we had a rolled up dollar bill in one hand and a cocktail in the other. And it always seemed to me that the people who partied the hardest were the first to show up at class the next day.
This is the American way. A commercial for junk food is followed by a commercial for a weight loss product and then one for a pill to enable the consumption of foods that may be difficult to digest and then an exercise program.
I always leaned toward the identities that hurt. And I think I did that as an act of rebellion. I'd been told for so long that, since I was fat, I was ugly and unhealthy. The simple eat less/exercise more equation was never simple for me. It required eating so much less and exercising so much more and never really resulted in success. Read: thin. Rock and roll, hippie identity gave me the attitude needed to reject some of that junk, buoyed no doubt by my grandmother's disapproval of dieting.
The book I'm reading mentioned referenced the Lacan Mirror theory and sparked a memory of standing in front of a full length mirror as a preteen admiring my flattened belly and budding breasts. My thighs were still "too big" but another week of diet soda would fix that. Uh. Not so much. I compare that to how I feel when I look in the mirror now. Older. Full belly. Drooping breasts. I've done standing in front of a mirror and work on changing what I see bit. And I often have moments of seeing beauty. What I'm certain of is that the view in the mirror changes even when my body doesn't. What is really reflected is how rooted I am in any given moment.
I feel resistance, bordering on contempt for people who do self care. I used to hate the lotion girls. You know, the girls who have a lotion for every part of their body. Now I am a lotion girl. Lotion for my feet. Lotion for my legs. Lotion for pain. Lotion for my hands on the desk, at the ready. It's exhausting.
My knee is much better but still hurts sometimes. And I experience days when all of my joints ache. It can be completely debilitating. Hence the yoga.
I watched an episode of House the other day in which he comes to realize how his anger and mistrust of everyone is a way of keeping him separate. I'd seen it before but something about it hit me this time. I'm trying to understand my own self imposed isolation. A conversation between Moyers and Barry Lopez brought on more thinking.
"And then you have to ask yourself, "Why does the Dalai Lama laugh? Why does Desmond Tutu--you know, was somebody that I worked with once--why is he capable of such laughter?" And I think part of the answer is that they're fully comfortable with the riotous expression, the darkness and the light, of what it means to be alive."
I like that. It feels lucid and useful.
"There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light."
Every week I rotate my plants. I enjoy watching the way they move toward the light. I have a plant that is only happy in one spot in my apartment. It really wants more direct light than I have available but it survives in that one spot. I move the furniture around it. Some of my plants are fine far away from the window and others need to feel the rays of the sun. So a "worthy expression" is determined by our individual natures.
I am someone who like the autumn and the early sunsets. I like the retreat inward. I also like this time of year when every morning is a bit brighter and every evening comes later. I know I need my inward time but I also need to be in relationship and dialogue to grow. How much of each changes all the time and my default is withdrawal. I have to push myself out the door. When I was younger it was the opposite. I wanted to be out in the mix all of the time.
I watch as House resorts to snarky, meanness and then watch as he becomes aware. In and out.
Yoga requires inwardness. I do often listen to the news while I do yoga but it seems less useful. Yoga is now physically and emotionally difficult. My resistance to self care continues. I lean toward it. Off balance and stiffly.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I like to think of myself as tech savvy. Maybe I should say tech savvy-ish because there are huge gaps in my knowledge.
I downloaded music for the first time today. Six songs. Six bucks.
What Can I Do? - Antony
I Will Internalize - Martha Wainwright
You Are The Everything - REM
Gotta Have You - The Weepies
In My Arms - Teddy Thomson
Starlight _ The Wailin Jennys
I'm enjoying them. We got a MP3 player when we finished an expansion pack. I used it sometimes but I like having my ears open. I can put them in my Blackberry, which I sometimes listen to when I'm doing laundry.
It's cool to be able to buy one tune but I love buying discs. I love the feel of a stack of discs in my hand. I love cover art and reading lyrics. But I don't have the money to go crazy buying discs. And six bucks, new music. It's all good.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

There's something about the way I play the Sims that I think is peculiar.
I play with the aspirations in mind. I mostly make family and learning Sims which seems congruous with how I understand myself. I like community and learning. Popularity and fortune Sims annoy me but I make a few of each of them. Superficial friendship and money. Not my thing but I pair them with a family Sim and they add some kind of balance. And then there are Romance Sims. I do make them but I play them as if they are in a separate game. I don't like them to mix with my families. There is one exception. I let them have relationships with my learning Sims. Romance and learning go together for me.
So I've been doing my death march through my Sims world and having lots of fun with it. There isn't much game play specific to elders. I talked about this with the designers who did agree but for the most part didn't care. The game is designed by young people and they are driven by their own interests. I made a plea with lots of game play ideas once to a designer on Sims 3 and he liked the ideas but ... there's only so much time and energy and they believe they're more likely to sell to younger people.
When my Sims are elders I usually move them in with one of their adult kids so they can help with the babies and toddlers. Keeps the annoying babysitters out of the way. I've worked my way though all of my families. Part of the thing I want from all of this is a tombstone on every lot because learning Sims like to see ghosts. While I was playing out the last days of each elder life babies were born, kids grew up, adults realized lifetime goals, houses got bigger and full of more stuff, ghosts appeared. Fun, fun, fun.
I had one family made from two learning Sims. The male learning Sim had an affair with a romance Sims and I moved him in with their adult son. He'd been living with another one of his children but I needed him to get out of that house for a variety of reasons. He and his learning Sims wife had been separated for awhile because she lived with another of their children. When he moved in with the son by the romance Sim I forgot that the learning Sim wife didn't really know that family and I moved her in. I didn't realize it until I had the elder couple flirting and the adult freaked out because ... it was his father flirting with a woman who wasn't his mother.
I never have romance Sims get married and if they flirt in front of their kids the kids will cry and freak out but I didn't know the adults freaked out.
The father died a day or two before the mother. There she was in a house full of Sims with whom she had no relationship. It was kind of sad. This whole complex drama developed because I forgot about something I'd played earlier.
Playing through the families was pretty straight forward with exceptions like that family. I moved a few couples around. All fun. And now I'm in the romance world. The goal there is to make sure each romance Sim has woohoo with every other romance Sim. That means I have to jump from house to house. This morning I was playing with one adult romance Sim and jumped to one of her elder lover's home so that the elder could introduce her to another romance elder and yikes! As soon as the elder romance Sim greets her elder lover he goes to kiss her and the adult romance Sim has a jealous fit. Now she hates them both and I have to get her to love the elder male so they can fall in love. I don't have to repair the relationship between the two women but ... I probably will.
And this (after all of that) is what I find peculiar. In my life happiness is not a goal. I like being happy but I'm more interested in being whole. Life feels complicated and I think it's best to be aware of as many of the moving parts as one can be. I look toward something like a point in the middle of it all. When I play the Sims I want everyone to be happy.
And. Yes. I know they aren't real.
More peculiar yet is the whole keeping romance Sims separate thing. Again, in my life marriage is not interesting. Commitment is interesting. Love is interesting. But a civil ceremony (especially one denied to a whole bunch of people) isn't interesting. It's about property. And I do value sensuality and romance. In my Sims game I have my happy little families and my swinging romance hoochies. Separate.
It makes me wonder if I know myself at all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I started blogging after I'd graduated from my BA program. I was exhausted from running my coffee cart at school and attending classes. I wasn't sure what I was going to do next. I started poking around in the blogging world and decided to try it. It was always about trying to write but it became about being part of a community. I said something during that time about feeling reclusive and my friend said it was like me to make a bunch of new friends while being a recluse.
I'm not sure what happened to me during the last four years. I wasn't happy. I didn't feel like I was part of anything. I just dragged myself through the day. And I ignored my inner dialog because it wasn't ... useful. It didn't feel useful.
I really am having so much fun playing with widgets. But somewhere in the back of my mind a voice is nagging me about having a blog to write not to store social network links. I mean. Ya know. It can be both. But the writing should happen. Some time. I think.
I just can't believe how hard it is. The food blog writing is inching along.
Sometimes ideas start to surface but I lose the thread.
I did a bit of clicking though my blog roll the other day. I'm not the only one writing about not being able to write. It's so interesting.
Today I just thought I'd try. I've been sitting here. Watching news out of the corner of my eye. Eating a tangerine. Checking out widgets.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I decided to change the Blogger feed to FB. This one updates through Twitter feed so I switched to the Food Blog. Maybe they'll both update now.
Anyway. I noticed that the food blog had a place for titles, something I hadn't been able to find on this blog and needed to use for the Facebook notes feed. I decided to update my template.
One false click.
I mean they warn you that you'll loose all your stuff but I just ignored that and all my sidebar links were gone. Gone.
It was that time of night when I wanted to put on my pajamas, kick back and watch TV or read. I did not want to figure out HTML. Plus I still had a sink full of dishes. I did most of them and sat down at the computer ready to do battle. But no. Blogger has made all of this extremely easy. I even figured out how to put my Botero picture in my header. Still haven't figured out how to add a title here.
More fussing about may occur.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I did all of the things I thought I was supposed to do to connect the food blog with Facebook but no luck. I'm trying not to care. Facebook seems really buggy. Or maybe I'm buggy. I did three check ins with Four Square the other day and only one showed up. It looks like I never leave my house, which is close to true but not totally true. It's silly for me to use Four Square since I don't go out much and then when I do it doesn't even work. Sigh.
I was hoping writing about food would kick up more writing for this blog but ... not so much. I wrote a post today, which reminded me of my first attempts to write my book. It suffered from an and then and then and then quality. First drafts can be like that. I could have worked on the post but I was too wound up. The and then and then quality is exactly how I feel.
I don't care. I don't care if the writing is good. I don't care if it's interesting. I just want to keep trying stuff.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Friday night I was playing with my Cafe World restaurant and noticed that there was a new menu item but it was only available if you were in Mafia Wars. I was immediately irritated. There is another menu item that you can only get if you're in the email club. Also irritating.
Two things that have been so loathsome on the Internet that software was designed to destroy them: pop-ups and spam. Facebook games are loaded with both. I get so tired of closing pop-ups that remind me to invite my friends, or be a fan, or sign up with email. And there is no way I want a gazillion emails reminding me to feed a pet, or harvest my crops.
I should probably make note of my spectacularly bad mood. It's about pain. My knee is way better but still hurts. And it's limiting. I pushed myself to get to the pool the other day. It hurt to walk up there and it hurt when I was swimming and it hurt for three hours afterward. Swimming is essential to my well being. So I'm cranky.
But Facebook games have been increasingly annoying. I've ranted about my unfinished stable and spice rack. Friends have made efforts to help me but they don't always have what I need. If I could add together all of the things that people have sent I could have three spice racks but the game is designed so that different friends have different items. I have lots of secret spice and no bleepin spice rack. Is this some one's idea of a challenge?
Most of my Facebook friends don't play the games. I've begged a few of them to sign onto a few because I needed them to level up and I've stopped playing games because I arrived at a place where I couldn't get higher without more friends. I know that Facebook is a social networking site. And I know I'm not that interested in networking. I have enjoyed finding and having been found by old friends. But I'm not really that into networking.
I have seen two solutions to the need for friends in games issue. Create a second (or more) FB account with an alias. And 'friend' people who you don't know. I have two 'friends' who I don't know. I accepted their friend request because they knew someone I knew. It soon became apparent that they were gamers looking for neighbors. It bugged me a little bit but ... oh well. I came close to creating an alias account but decided against it. I don't think there's anything really wrong with doing that but ... it doesn't exactly feel right. What really feels wrong is the fact that I need more friends to play.
Zynga seems to be trying to link up their games. There's Farmville toys in Petville and now Mafia wars in Cafe World. I guess the idea is to make sure everyone knows about every game.
All of the games I'm in I joined because someone asked me to join. I don't really go looking for them. I have enjoyed some of them. I usually like them all the first time I play. I really like the restaurant games. I don't really like Farmville. I get tired every time I load the game and see all the trees and animals ready to harvest. So much clicking! But there are two games that I never wanted to play: Owned and Mafia Wars. And now I need to be in one of them to be able to make a new dish? It's not really a big deal. I used to make every new dish but I stopped. Some of them are too much time on the stove for too few servings. It's just the principle of the thing. It feels coercive.
And then there's the time. Time to take care of my own stuff and visit all my neighbors and accept my gifts and send gifts. And now I need to try and remember what everyone needs and they're supposed to remember what I need? It's too much. These are supposed to be casual games.
So. Yesterday I didn't play many Facebook games. I'm new to Social City and am having some fun with it so I did play that. Although even there I'm on the edge of needing more neighbors.
The fun to frustration ratio is off. Maybe I just need to wait until my knee isn't aching and see if my mood improves but there's only so many hours a day I want to be playing a game and ... I'd rather be playing with my Sims.
I have observed some of my friends on FB being engaged in playing with their friends. They help each other and they seem like they're having fun. I admire their spirit. I wish I was ... I dunno ... more playful.
Anyway. I'm not playing for awhile. And I feel sort of bad about that. Which I think is me taking things too seriously.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Originally uploaded by fatshadow1008
Grocery stores put things by the cash register to educe impulse purchasing. It's smart marketing and sometimes fun. Yesterday I bought the new Tricycle. I love magazines. I have purchased Tricycle in the past, usually because there's something I want to read in it. This was all about the cover. The peace and tranquility in that face captured my imagination.
The bagger made a comment about it and a funny conversation ensued. I wish I could quote it verbatim but it was fast and frenetic. The gist being that a Buddhist magazine had effectively marketed to me. And they used the same technique that magazines often use. They used beauty.
The bagger suggested that the young man has an erotic look and, yeah, he does. We only see his face and a bit of his shoulders. He is in recline. One arm is above his head and
the other is at his side. He has a slight smile. Uh ... yeah. Erotic possibility. And that might have been what caught me. But not consciously. What I thought I was reacting to was the beauty of tranquility.
Beauty is an important part of my life. I posted a picture of my breakfast last Sunday because it looked so beautiful.

Originally uploaded by fatshadow1008

I don't always take the time to make my meals look beautiful but I often do. I always do when I'm cooking for someone else. And sometimes things look beautiful to me even when I put them together casually.
I bought more tangerines and made extra effort to find the ones with leaves.
All of this made me think about beauty and fat people, including myself. Sometimes people will talk to me about size acceptance and say things like people should people shouldn't be judged by their appearance. I don't agree. Judge me by my appearance. Just try to think about your judgments. Any knee jerk reaction to appearance is suspect. My hope is that people look at each other with an open and receptive mind and heart and then become active in the process of reacting. Of course, given that we live with a media drenched idea of beauty I don't have much hope.
But I do have some.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Started Wednesday with a nice swim. Came home for breakfast and then went to see Barbara for a great adjustment. The sun was out. The sky was clear. All was well. And then ... I sat down and did something weird to my knee.
I really don't know how I did it. There wasn't anything fancy about the way I sat down but as I did the back of my knee seemed to rip. Mom leaves a cane here, fortunately. I've been hobbled. Lots of ice and ibuprofen. I'm still hurting but it is better. Pain is exhausting.

Monday, March 08, 2010

At EA I worked with mostly young men who weren't that into the doll house aspects of The Sims. They would use the money cheat to mac out a house and play parties and they killed Sims in every possible way. I'd venture to say that the many ways there are to kill a Sim are well tested. It kind of irritated me but these days my game play is all about killing Sims. I'm not trying to set them on fire or swarm them with flies. I'm just playing the game until they die of old age. I'm doing this with all of the Sims I made to build my community. It's actually a very emotional experience.
This morning I started to play in a house in which the grandfather had died and the grandmother had a day of life left. When I entered the house the grandmother was having breakfast with her grandson just as I had left them. The game zoomed in on the table when the lot loaded and seeing them there made me weepy. I played out the day and put the grandmother's headstone beside her husband's under a lemon tree in the back yard.
They both had long and successful lives. In her last days she wasn't rolling any wants that I could meet. It was like she had given up. For no obvious reason one of the dogs began to sleep on her bed with her. This is my favorite kind of game play. Filled with surprises and sweetness.
In the Sims it is possible to resurrect a Sim but I don't really play the occult stuff. I like seeing my Sims floating around as ghosts. I like the alien abduction/pregnancy scenarios so I let them happen but no zombies, werewolves or plant people. I did test the occults when I was working.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Clean the kitchen week did not go that well. I got distracted by too many things. The goal is to do really deep cleaning, which means taking a gazillion things off the butcher block and wire shelving so I can sweep and mop under them. In the process all the stuff I take off gets cleaned. This is my favorite kind of cleaning. Everyday cleaning makes everything look better but deep cleaning makes everything feel better. When I was still working I gave some thought to hiring people to clean the kitchen before Mom came. But I didn't really have the money for that even then.
There's always a point during this kind of project when everything looks much worse. That was last night. There were dishes and kitchen machines (Cuisinart, juicer, etc) pots and pans all over the living room. I've gotten a lot done today. I'd say I'm mostly done.
Times like this make me feel old. I don't have the stamina that I used to have and things take longer. I get frustrated.
But I love walking in the kitchen right now. Even though things are still messed up. The parts that were really dirty are shiny.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mom said they read my comment with no commentary. My biggest fear was that they would take parts of it out of context, or say something snarky about it. By eight o'clock they hadn't read it and I wanted to get to the pool. I knew I could hear it on the internet, which I did after my swim. He didn't read the whole comment but he did read it well, gracefully smoothing a place where I'd dropped a word and he pronounced my name correctly. I must say, that was pretty cool.
If my biggest fear was that he would say something snarky, my biggest hope was that he would imply that I'd given him food for thought. It all feels so fraught sometimes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A few days ago I mentioned posting a comment on a piece by Scott Simon. Today I got email from a producer for the show. They want to read my comment on the air. I'm torn between being happy and being completely freaked. Freaked because I don't know if they will read the whole comment or just part of it. If only part, which part? And to what end?
Needless to say ... I will be listening this weekend.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Theoretically this will post directly to Facebook because I hooked up Twitterfeed. (Thank you Willa.) It might not work and the post may show up twice because of the other hook up I have. Hopefully I'll get it together.
I'm not sure why I care. It's not like I'm doing any particularly compelling writing. I'm pushing myself to do some. I'm pushing to do some every day.
It's funny but linking to Facebook feels more public than blogging ever did. That has something to do with my love of great conversation and how one sided a blogged conversation can feel. A blog is really a monologue but I always wanted to think of it as more of a letter. Comments are the reply. You can't see some one's face when they read your blog. You write and then you wait. It's better if you write with no thought about the reply. But. You know.
And it has something to do with how many of my friends have found me on Facebook. Friends from almost every phase of my life. I feel oddly shy. Or something.
Talking used to be the way I processed. I loved talking. In the last ten years that has become less and less true. Writing took over to some extent but I can barely write email now.
So this is a push.
I met a woman on my commute. It's interesting because we've lived a block and a half away from each other for years. We went to the same place to get our hair cut. We have the same favorite restaurant. The minute we began to talk we connected. It was great fun to talk and talk. We share the same polling place. She drove to work on the day we both voted for Barak. That was fun.
It wasn't that we agreed about everything. One day she began to talk about blogging and how odd she found it. Why would anyone want to write about their life in a public format and why would anyone want to read that kind of thing.
I have never had an answer to the first question but I have always loved reading personal blogs. I don't think I've ever been able to clearly articulate why and I'm not even going to try now. I'm just going to check for spelling and grammar errors ( inevitably miss a few) and click on publish.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

There will be a debate on Nightline titled: is it OK to be fat? You can watch it here. It took me all day to get through it because of the rage that would well up. I had to keep taking breaks. It was previewed on GMA.
The rage was mostly triggered by one of the woman saying it was not OK. I saw her on CNN the other day and Paul Campos wrote a bit about her in which he linked more info. I can barely control my rage when she speaks. One of her more notable comments was to quote a study that said fat people's brains are smaller.
But the sad truth is that the women speaking for size acceptance didn't totally work for me. They got stronger as the debate went on but there was so much I wished they were saying. I'm sure the pressures of television are intense and I don't know that I could have done any better. Rage makes me stutter.
The debate was badly framed. If someone asked me if it was OK to be fat all I could say would be - it's all right with me. There was more than one question in the actual debate mostly having to do with health. There was full agreement that healthy food choices and exercise are a good thing. The point of departure begins with the assumption that those two things always create weight loss, or weight control. And that they are never employed by fat people.
I get frustrated with these conversations because it seems hard for fat activists to say that being fat might cause health issues. I know that it does. I also know that thin people who crap food and don't exercise have many of the issues being blamed on being fat. And fat people who eat better food and exercise moderately are healthier than those thin people with the crap food and lack of movement. The people who say that being fat can never be healthy remind me of that old saying: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
The only way I will get good health care is when my doctor is size neutral. I need to be able to walk in to the doctor's office knowing that my weight won't be blamed for everything. I never object when it's mentioned as a part of the things going on with my health. I only object when it's the beginning, middle and end of the discussion.
And I get frustrated when the question of discrimination isn't confronted clearly and with vigor.
I think the show I linked to will be edited for tonight's broadcast. I won't be watching. I need to take a few deep breaths and calm myself.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I linked a piece from Kevin in which he was saying he didn't want to talk about the Southwest thing anymore. He has written more.
The whole thing seemed to have died down on the news but then Saturday I heard Scott Simon talking about it.
I like Mr. Simon well enough but there were so many things in what he said that bugged me. He doesn't want to be behind a fat person in an evacuation. I suspect he doesn't want to be behind a disabled person either. Would he feel so free to say so? He infers the only exercise Kevin gets is walking through airports. Might be true but it's an assumption none the less.
Paul linked an article in which the comments seem to be more worked up about about the bad journalism than they do Kevin. I actually smiled.
I am increasingly sympathetic to Kevin. He is saying he is fat but not that fat. I am that fat. He isn't really speaking for me. But he is beginning to understand the hate in my world.
It's hard to stop talking about it. It's a situation that feels unjust.
I liked what April wrote. She talked about the failures of the system.
I left a comment on the Scott Simon piece, which I ended with this:
Kevin says he feels much of his humanity had been stripped away as people discuss him as a concept and not a person. I am a fat woman who wants the fullness of my humanity to be reflected upon as often as the size of my ass is hated. Kevin just wants this airline to articulate a more consistent way of enforcing their policy instead of offering disingenuous apologies and chump change.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Once when Mom and I were shopping she decided to get some tangerines. These tangerines had leaves on the stems, which she started pulling off. I asked her to stop.
This is a difference between Mom and I. The tangerines will sit on my kitchen table for the week in a blue bowl. I will enjoy the smell of them and I will enjoy the orange and blue colors together. The leaves add an element of beauty. For Mom they were just garbage to be torn off. Why not do it there at the store and let them deal with it? I tried to explain to her why I wanted them but she didn't get it.
I understand her. She's a no nonsense, down to earth pragmatic woman. She was buying food to be eaten, not art.
I remembered it tonight when I was picking out tangerines for the week, purposefully looking for the ones with leaves. Beauty is transient. One by one the tangerines will be eaten. The leaves will indeed end up in the garbage. But all of my senses will be fed until they are gone.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I've been in a soft kind of paralysis most of the day. I went swimming at 6:00. Came home and ate some eggs and toast. Drank some tea. And then ... I just sort of ground to a halt.
I wasn't in pain, or sleepy. I was just void of course. I couldn't read or even play on the computer. I watched a movie I'd already seen and the end of another, which was pretty good. I wasn't even fully watching. I was flipping through magazines and books, checking email. Mildly fidgety. Mostly just ... stopped. A stopped person.
It hasn't been bad really. Just vacant.
Anyway. I was checking in on Facebook and saw the last three blog posts. So I want to see if this one will.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In an effort to get my blogging on I am going through the blog roll. It's bringing back memories. I used to start every morning reading blogs. My blog roll was and still is a bit unwieldy so I'm cutting it down. I don't know how much I can do but I have the time that I didn't have when I was working at EA.
I've been hanging back. Trying not to get back in the mix. I guess I'm afraid that I can't write regularly anymore. Or write at all. It's not about ability. I know I can write. It's about will and spirit and heart and (maybe) a sense that it matters. I'm feeling through it. I feel a lot like I did when I first blogged. Extremely uncertain.
It used to drive me crazy when someone I read stopped writing. I felt abandoned. And then I stopped. The commute. The job. My general state of mind. I just couldn't get it done. I'm not sure that's changed.
I think I'll move the URL here because it's easier. I just have to figure it out.
I've been playing with my Sims. Even after days of working on the game I always enjoyed playing with my own Sims. If we were doing a lot of overtime I usually didn't play much but most of the time I played on weekend mornings.
I still play Sims 2. I have a lot of investment in what I've been doing with my community and, although I love a lot of things about Sims 3, the game play changed in ways that I don't love. It's still the Sims. It's still fun in many of the same ways.
I learned a lot about gaming and gamers while I worked at EA. I learned about play style. There was one woman who played as much if not more than I did but played in a different way. I'm always telling a story with my game. The story happens in my head. The plot is a bit weak but the story is always in my head. She was more about setting a goal and accomplishing it. I micro manage my Sims trying to keep their moods met and their aspirations being filled. I would look over at her screen and her Sims would be starving and exhausted because she was pushing them to plant some amount of tomatoes, or something.
I started a community with thirteen families and thirteen romance Sims. I started them in college so they had time to develop relationships and build some skills. College is the only Sims game I really don't enjoy. It just takes too long. But I like having double want clicks. They all graduated and had babies and I paired up those kids. Those kids graduated and had kids. My big game goal is to have all of my original Sims become ghosts, their kid's kids begin to graduate and they become elders. I'm very close to that now. One of my Romance Sims died.
If you don't play the game or ignore the aspirations and needs then none of this will make any sense but this Sim's death demonstrates one of the reasons I love the game. I have my story but the game shapes it in many ways. Things that happen in one Sim house impact Sims in other houses. When this Sim died one of her grandchildren in another house went into aspiration failure. I didn't realize that and I played the kid into college. When she arrived at college she fell on the ground and the aspiration failure animation played. It's very cute. There's a goofy psychiatrist who drops from the sky and helps the Sim pull it together. So she gets out of the taxi with her three new school mates has the big break down, they look at her like she's crazy. It's the kind of thing I try not to let happen. I like happy Sims. But it was really cute and funny. And it adds a whole dynamic to my background story. If the game holds together I could imagine playing for a long time.
I never understand why some Sim families are just more fun than others. It's really the same game play. There are slight differences in aspirations but it's pretty much all the same. But I am so charmed by some of my Sims. I find myself smiling the whole time I'm playing. And some of my Sims annoy me. It's very odd.
I don't really know gamers outside of EA. And no one there really got into my stories. They all thought I was kind of weird. There was one time at EA when I was able to show a producer my home game. He got excited and called other producers to see it. That was fun.
I wished the producers would listen to me more. I never really felt as valued as everyone told me I was. And how valuable could I have been? I did make it through the first two lay offs last year. Sigh. So here I am comforting myself with my dolls.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm going to try this again. The theory is that when I write on Blogger it will show up on Facebook. It is showing up but when other people do this you can click and go to the full post. Not sure why that didn't kick in for me.
I also updated my Twitter this morning and that's supposed to show up as my status, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Today it didn't. I wish Facebook would spend as much time making things work as they do creating new entry portals that everyone hates. I've lost so many gifts lately.
It is Fat Tuesday. I love Fat Tuesday. I love a day that celebrates abundance.
The flurry of news reports about Kevin Smith yesterday have been followed by silence, which is how it goes. A day of making fun of fat people. There will be more.
One of the meanest things I heard yesterday was a woman who was the head of some anti obesity something who kept talking about life style choices. I'm wary of pathologizing weight but I have met fat people who believe they have a food addiction. Telling them they're making a life style choice is like telling a drug addict to just say no. There are also fat people with heath issues that make weight loss difficult. I always feel like I need to know a lot about medical stuff I have no interest in when I try to make this case. And people working two jobs trying keep up may chose high carb and fat fast food because it's what they have time for and can afford. Are they making a life style choice? And really if the issue is life style choice ... should a thin person making the crap food and no exercise life style choice be charge more for airplane travel?
Teenagers are getting the surgery. No one knows what the long term impacts will be. It's heartbreaking to me.
I may have forfeited my chance to be a part of the public debate by letting my blog whither. And I don't know if I care. I feel completely defeated.
But it's Fat Tuesday. So ... laissez les bons temps rouler, cher.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Picture me slumped in a chair pouting because that's pretty much what I'm up to these days. I keep trying to write. Writing usually begins with some internal dialog that becomes more and more organized. My internal dialog is messy and annoying and never really comes together into anything useful.
And then Kevin Smith got kicked off of a Southwest flight because of his weight. I don't need to link do I? I mean the chattering masses are revved up. When I first heard about it my pout became a sort of smile/sneer. Famous guy gets all agro on Twitter. I wondered how long would it last and how stupid and mean would it get?
Kevin Smith wasn't really saying that the policy is discriminatory. He was mad because he doesn't believe he is too fat. His seat belt fastened and his armrests went down. He says he's fat but not THAT fat. So really... what does his outrage mean to me? Welcome to my world dude.
I posted a link about it on Facebook. I haven't been posting much on Facebook. Just hitting like now and then and playing games. Kristina posted the link and then I did and then another friend posted. Most of Kristina's posts turn into lively discussions. Only one one of her friends hit like. Wonder why? And then the comments on the other friend's post were all about being uncomfortable sitting nest to fat people and being turned off by Kevin. Nice. My friends were supportive and had their own stories, which was sweet and sad.
Kevin is already worn out. Imagine my surprise. He writes that the topic is beginning to taste " mediciney and fruitless." And really, that is exactly how it feels.
My seat belt does not fasten and my arm rest might go down but not without digging into me. I am always as careful as I can be now to touch the person next to me. I usually get off of planes aching with the tension of trying. Should I have a comfortable seat on an airplane?
It has been mildly interesting to hear the differences in the way it was covered. One guy did a whole thing about fuel costs. A spokes person from NAAFA on CNN spoke completely beside the point. Not a word about the idea that a fat person might have a right to comfort and safety.
So my pout turned smile/sneer is now a scowl. And yet, somehow, I think that might be a step in the right direction.