Friday, 28 November 2008

Let's Make This a Weekly Thing

After my Queer Bop debut, the bop season continues with the Fetish Bop tomorrow. The problem is that I don't own an extensive amount of leather, latex, fur, or anything else remotely kinky (unless someone really gets off on polycotton blends), so I'm going to have to go the dork route again. And this means I'm probably either going as religious fetishism, legal fetishism, or commodity fetishism. It still feels like I'm conceding defeat by wearing more clothes than I absolutely have to.

P.S. Never Google "fetishism." Pretty sure my IT department is going to have a word with me on Monday.

On Impeccable Timing

I was brushing my teeth yesterday and somebody knocked on my door, and because I figured it was probably Brian or Chase or Dan, I opened it thinking that I'd nod apologetically and go spit. But it turned out to be one of the maintenance crew, who blinked at me and then dumped a space heater in my arms. Apparently, all the heaters in my building have been shut off for no apparent reason, and they're sending someone to look at them on Monday. I wanted to ask why the heat was off and why it would take five days to have it looked at, except I couldn't, because my mouth was full of toothpaste and a toothbrush, and I couldn't remove that because my arms were full of space heater.

So it looks like I'm heatless until Monday, which is why I've set up my two space heaters directly across from each other to create an artificial weather pattern on the floor in the middle of my room. It's like twenty degrees colder when you leave that bubble, so I'm kind of worried I'll just be trapped in it all weekend. This is like some fucked up contemporary version of the Little Match Girl, where they'll find me frozen to death with like a half dozen space heaters piled up around me.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Ryan, You're Barely Alive

I'm not so stoked that the second chapter of my thesis is due on Monday, but I will be thrilled if I survive until then. Ever since I went to Queer Bop wearing nothing but jeans and ink, I've had that sneaking suspicion that I was getting sick and kept pretending like it wasn't happening, until I finally woke up this morning feeling like I'd contracted the plague. My timing is awesome.

Luckily, this is the weekend that I finally take my inner Organization Kid out behind the woodshed and unceremoniously shoot him. We elected a new president of LGBTSoc on Tuesday and I pass that off at our handover meeting this weekend, we have our last Queer Studies Circle of the term on Saturday, the president of our MCR gets back this weekend and I can go back to being the snarky, sarcastic secretary instead of politely and skillfully running meetings and dealing with administrators, which I'm terrible at. When all this is done, there's a very good chance that I'll just build a fort out of blankets again and spend a couple of days in pajamas watching really bad teen movies and reading literary theory. (And by "a couple of days," I probably mean "the month of December." I love winter break.)

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Queer Bop

...was a smashing success. I put photos up on Facebook, but this is maybe the first time that I've ever screened things out for being beyond the usual boundaries of sketchiness. (I make enough of a spectacle of myself when I'm shirtless on a dance floor with poles, but they also had a bucking mechanical phallus that we'll never speak of again. Except I should say that movies with drunk middle-aged women who hop on a mechanical bull and ride it sexily make it look much easier than it actually is. I hurt everywhere.)

The body as text was also a fantastic costume, and it only required a tiny shirt to start off the night and two Sharpies when things heated up. The downside was that when I looked in the mirror this morning, my body was covered in marker and had a lot of lewd commentary, plus "I am teh gayz," a little bit of German, a little bit of Spanish, the sentence "queer is an anti-identitarian term for sexuality," "problematic," "hegemonic," "identity" (in scare quotes), lots of arrows pointing into my pants, and the word "foetus" with a picture of a tiny fetus among many, many other things. Someone also poured a cup of cider down my arm and managed to spill half a bottle of Smirnoff Ice IN MY HAIR, so aside from the fact that I had to scrub off about four layers of skin and my body is now sort of bright pink and sort of post-Sharpie grey, it was about the most satisfying shower I've ever taken.

So basically, Queer Bop is magic. I'd imagine that this is what Cinderella's morning after would have felt like if she were queer enough to leave her dignity and keep the shoes.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

And This Is What Happens If You Don't Clap Your Hands

I accidentally cut my finger last night and thought I'd stopped the bleeding before going to sleep, but I was apparently wrong. It kind of looks like Tinkerbell was murdered in my bed.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Overstating Our Case

D: "That smells delicious, what are you making?"
R: "Penne with celery, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Want some?"
D: "God, no. Celery is the devil's vegetable."

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Fashion Emergency!

So Queer Bop is this Saturday, and I managed to snag a ticket (it's the sole perk of being entrusted to sell the last fifty tickets), but now I have to think of a costume that's a) scandalous and b) impossibly clever. Last year, I used up Winona Ryder, a power lesbian, Narcissus, and heroin chic, so those are all out of the question. I think scandalous should be easy, but I want something that's witty and racy instead of just straight-up racy.

I like the idea of going as some type of abstraction in feminist or queer theory, so with that in mind, I have a couple of options:

- the body as text and/or the marked category
- penis envy
- scopophilia
- Cartesian dualism
- the lavender menace

The bop's on Saturday, and I have to get shopping that afternoon. Go!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Shooting Puppies is Passe

I just saw that California's Supreme Court is entertaining the appeal to overturn Prop 8, but the best part of the article was easily the accompanying photo:

"Would This Make Ellen Sad?" might replace WWBDD ("What Would Beth Ditto Do?") as the bedrock of my moral code. On a wholly unrelated note, I love that our incoming president and vice president bring each other cupcakes.

Change I'm Not Entirely Sure I Believe In

You know you're close to your friends when you meet just before lunch to pick up free chlamydia testing kits (um, you can never be too careful, but they also had free cookies), you take turns in your bathroom chatting and getting your bodily fluids together, and you drop off your samples and get your complimentary socialized donuts, sponsored by the NHS and Krispy Kreme. (I'm not really sure why they were handing out cookies and donuts. It's not like I gave a pint of blood; they only asked for like 15 milligrams of pee, and that can't possibly contain that much blood sugar. I'm not complaining, though, because the donut was awesome.)

The strangest part is that it didn't occur to me at the time that it was at all weird to do this with someone as a fun pre-lunch activity, and I only realized this later in the day. And even then, I began to feel sorry for people who don't have that in their life. (By "that," I mean platonic intimacy, not the sexually transmitted infection.) I'm guessing this is what my grandma felt like when she realized that over half the country had somehow voted for Obama, who she suspected of being secretly Muslim. Surprise, you are not a representative sample.

Speaking of Obama, remember when the campaign emailed to say that you could get a text message to be the first to know when he'd picked a vice president? Apparently, the NHS will send you a text message to let you know whether or not you have chlamydia. I'm not entirely sure I like where this trend is going.

Monday, 17 November 2008

I'm a Stepfather, Once Removed!

Or something! How adorable is this? Lee just emailed me a photo of his new puppy, Tabitha, who is this cute:

I saw this and I was like, aww, my ex boyfriend basically has kids, and I kiiinda want to visit when I'm passing through Boston in January. When your ex gets a new boyfriend, you go clubbing and robotically hook up with a total stranger for the sake of proving something to yourself, but when your ex gets a puppy, it is entirely acceptable to bow out gracefully. Look at that face, I can't compete with that. Hell, I might buy her a Christmas present.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

In Which My Work is Socially Relevant, For Once

Look! Disney is all tangled up in fashion, the financial crisis and the social lives of Malia and Sasha Obama. Yesss. If I can get the cast of High School Musical to sing a song about whether or not Hillary Clinton should gun for Secretary of State, this analysis will be so insightful and relevant that I may actually have to abandon it entirely.

Friday, 14 November 2008


X: I told everyone about you nominating Martha Stewart for Secretary of the Interior.
Y: She would kick Gail Norton's ass.
X: Oh, fuck Gail Norton.
Y: Right? EXACTLY. That is what I have ALWAYS SAID.

And that is how you exit a dinner party.

Waugh Night

Yesterday was the debauched evening known as Waugh Night, where everybody dresses up in 1920s attire for a champagne toast, a four course meal, and excessive cocktails in honor of Evelyn Waugh, who is famous for writing Brideshead Revisited and hating being a student in our college. (No hard feelings, Evelyn.)

Appropriately, I woke up this morning in various parts of a tuxedo and was unable to get out of bed until noon, so I built a fort out of blankets and watched High School Musical II to take my mind off of the fact that I felt like I'd been run over repeatedly by a truck. It worked!

And while I still plan to be Mr. Ryan Efron someday, this redefines fabulous slash terrible. I was like, what? I'm simultaneously turned on by and embarrassed for you. That is not supposed to happen. It did distract me from throwing up, though.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Leftist Infighting Makes Me Sad

So I was just reading this (excellent and thought-provoking) op ed on Prop 8 in the LA Times, where Jasmyne Cannick gives a pretty damning indictment of the white bias in the No on 8 campaign.

I think it's one of the best op eds I've read about race and the vote in California, but then I spent all day reading about coalitional politics and kept coming across that Gloria Anzaldua quote about the queer somehow crossing racial and ethnic boundaries, and then I started thinking about what an actual progressive agenda founded on coalitional politics might look like. And I still have no idea (although I think I'm convinced that particular niche issues aren't as useful as a strategy that focuses on broader agenda items like equal opportunity programs, privacy legislation, and better funding for public services), but toying with the idea took up the better part of my afternoon. So maybe No on 8 didn't do a great or even passable job of reaching out to minority groups and building a coalition, and there are obvious reasons why marriage isn't a priority for everyone, but I do want to believe that it's possible to rally behind an issue when it's not at all relevant to your daily life, and that's where I think the tone of the op ed sat uneasily with me. I understand why people would care less, structurally, but the progressive agenda is doomed to fail unless people care about issues that have nothing to do with them but do have to do with justice, equality, and opportunity. And that includes making white, privileged people care about racial profiling and prison abolition just as much as it includes working with disenfranchised communities, because let's be honest, it probably makes sense to demand that the well-resourced, privileged groups do their part before they start asking marginalized groups to line up behind their agendas.

And this is why I transcribed one interview today. Frown.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Rhetorical Questions

X: "Oh, it seems we've put your money in Australian dollars."
R: "Yeah, that's what I thought."
X: "Why in the world would we have done that?"
R: "..."
X: "..."
R: "Wait, are you asking me?"

That was maybe the strangest 45 minutes I've ever spent inside a bank.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Bucket List

Nothing is quite as awesome as turning 24 surrounded by approximately 500 drag queens.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Comedy of Errors, Act II

Remember that botched wire transfer in the summer, when my bank in the UK inexplicably sent my money to Wachovia, who were unable to transfer it to my actual bank in the US so they sent it back minus about $150 and nobody could tell me why? We finally compromised and my bank here agreed to refund all their fees and charges, which were about $75, and encouraged me to try again with their deluxe service. So I did.

Without boring everyone to death, it would appear that $200 has disappeared over the course of this latest transfer because my bank decided to first convert the money into AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS before sending it off to the US, where I'm sure they had no fucking clue why they were being given thousands of dollars in a very random currency and flipped it back before putting it into my account. Given that I do not bank anywhere remotely near Australia, I plan to call my bank in the UK and absolutely flip shit on Monday. It's going to be awesome.

The White Witch

3:17 Ryan
the party yesterday was actually pretty awesome
they had a big markerboard where everyone could design their ideal obama cabinet
my favorite was sarah palin as ambassador to africa

3:20pm D.
maybe narnia would be better

3:20pm Ryan
i'm worried she'd shoot all the fauns from a helicopter

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Newsweek is Awesome

I'm tempted to subscribe to Newsweek solely to get this every four years. My favorite part:

"The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, "I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'.""

Barack Obama is my hero.

On Countries and Continents

Not to be mean and not to pick on Sarah Palin when she's down, but OH MY GOD. Fox News has been covering some of the foibles of the McCain camp that were off the record until after the election, and they are like early Christmas. Among the highlights: Sarah Palin didn't know that the countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement (hint: they're in NORTH AMERICA, and you can see two of them FROM YOUR HOUSE), and thought that Africa was a country and not a continent. I have no joke about that one, that's just incredibly depressing.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Remember, Remember the 5th of November

E: "I can't believe they actually advertise this. Does anyone actually go to Starbucks because they've changed the color of the cups?"
R: "Okay, don't judge me, but I saw the sign advertising the red cups yesterday and made a mental note to go to Starbucks on November 5th."
E: "..."
R: "It's the start of the holiday season!"
E: "You have to be the only person in my life who I shouldn't have complained to about this."


This morning, I went to my friends' apartment for a celebratory yay-Obama, let's-not-think-about-the-map-we're-refreshing-of-Califonia breakfast. I looked (and felt) like hell, but the breakfast was amazing - orange cinnamon rolls, a roasted vegetable frittata, and homemade sourdough toast, with mimosas and freshly ground coffee.

And excellent company, obvs. And on the way back, I stopped into Starbucks and got a (red) cup of coffee, which means that winter has officially started AND I didn't pass out in a gutter on the walk. I was starting to weave a little and got nervous, but the caffeine got me home in time to pass out on my bed fully clothed for a couple of hours.


And tonight was Guy Fawkes and I kicked back with V for Vendetta, because a) it's cold and b) it's rainy and c) my nerves are so frayed after my all-nighter that I wouldn't be at all surprised if I blew off my hand or fell asleep in a bonfire. I figure staying indoors and watching the film is probably safer than actually celebrating, so long as I'm not indoors in Parliament.

Brought to You by the Number Eight

Yeah, I'm not sleeping until I get the results from Prop 8, and leave for the breakfast soiree at 8, at which point I'll have been glued to a TV or laptop obsessively monitoring returns for exactly 8 hours.

Something tells me that mimosas are going to be toxic at that point.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Barack and Roll

Yeah, I've just written off tomorrow entirely. I know I should probably go to bed to get three hours of sleep before a celebratory Barackfast in the morning, but after drinking four cups of coffee tonight, that's pretty unlikely. I meant to go to a party at a friend's place out on the Cowley Road and then stop by Univ, but then I stopped home after drinks ended around midnight and James and Mark were watching TV in the tearoom and I accidentally never left. Jamie and Dan showed up and lasted until about 2am, when Erika and Ellie rolled in, and now it's 4am and I just rocked upstairs to check out the ballot initiatives, House and Senate races, and local results from the US. And surprise! Unlike 2004, I'm not drinking watermelon vodka under a table.

I got antsy because the BBC was focused pretty exclusively on the presidential race and not much else, and I'm sort of obsessed with the ballot initiatives on abortion, marriage, affirmative action, the ConCon in Connecticut, the income tax in Massachusetts, and that whole personhood thing in Colorado. BUT I do have to say that the BBC was HILARIOUS, especially because John Bolton and Simon Schama were seated next to each other and almost got into a fistfight multiple times. And John Bolton got into an argument with a BBC reporter about whether Sarah Palin was a mistake, and then they kept cutting to a cocktail party of marginally iconic cultural figures (Eddie Izzard, Erica Jong, Ricky Gervais, Jesse Jackson) to get their largely irrelevant take on the democratic process. And they had all sorts of hilarious BBC folklore, like the time a computer broke in 1992 and suddenly projected the entirety of the East Coast for Ross Perot. I might just stream that next time I'm watching an election in the US.

Ooh, CNN just projected the country for Obama. Goodnight, and yesss.

Monday, 3 November 2008

The Update Everyone's Been Waiting For: What Underwear I Plan to Wear for the Most Historic Election of My Lifetime

I just survived an MCR meeting that lasted two and a half hours, which means that I just made dinner at 11 and suddenly realized that I forgot to do laundry today. And it was kind of imperative, to the point where I'm totally going to have to wear my Superman briefs tomorrow. They're sporty, but they're not the most comfortable underwear for lounging around glued to a TV for hours upon hours of gazing at Tom Brokaw.

On the plus side, I guess it's good to steel my body for my all-nighter watching poll results, because the results from California aren't going to roll in until about 6 or 7 in the morning. (I'm so ready for this election to be over, it's not even funny. I just got an email from my grandma that basically paints Obama as the antichrist, and has charming bits about abortion, stem cells, and gay marriage. And I sent back a very terse, polite email telling her that I've been an absolute angel about not evangelizing to my family about any of the political work I'm involved with, and asking/telling her that I expect that to be reciprocated, especially where gay rights are concerned. And then I got a frantic, apologetic email back, and now I feel guilty, which is fairly fucked up. I can't wait until Wednesday, especially if it culminates in a celebratory Barackfast.)

Sunday, 2 November 2008

You Only Live Twice

I know this makes me a terrible feminist, but it's an open secret that I have a very, very soft spot for stylized, fast-paced, hypersexualized action films, especially when they're self-aware and a little campy. Obviously, this includes the entirety of the James Bond franchise. I remember being pissed two years ago when Casino Royale was released because I had to miss it to interview for the fellowship that I'm on, and then being almost manic in my insistence to see it as soon as I got back from the interview in Des Moines. (If you read the newspaper article that they did they day after, the reporter mentions that I planned to see Casino Royale with my dad and brother later that day. What they don't mention is that I'm not sure either my dad or my brother really wanted to see it, and that the reporter showed up literally an hour before the movie, so I sat through an interview barking out short, tense answers until the reporter and photographer left, and then I was like, "GET IN THE CAR, WE CAN STILL SALVAGE THIS AFTERNOON" and basically kidnapped my family and dragged them to West Acres 14. Or that two weeks later, my boyfriend's mom and sister were staying with us for Thanksgiving, and I very, very enthusiastically recommended that all of them go see Casino Royale. And they hated it, and then I backpedaled and spent the next couple of days trying to prove that I was a sensitive partner for their son and not a violent misogynist.)

I couldn't see Quantum of Solace on opening night because of the Google party in London, but I did go with R. Dave and Mark to the late-night showing at the Phoenix yesterday, and it is SO GOOD. It's not quite as fun and camp as the rest of the franchise - like, there aren't really any gadgets, and one critic complained that it suffered from Bourne Envy - but I thought it was still good in its own right. So much pathos! So much seething rage and angst! (And Olga Kurylenko was awesome.)

I forgot that it doesn't come out for like two weeks in the US, but at the risk of embarrassing myself again, I'm still telling everyone to go see it. And watch for the villain's ambiguously gay sidekick (who, in a barely noticeable moment, sets down a daiquiri at the party where everyone else is sipping martinis) and the comically ethnic fonts that they use to introduce each locale. (I kind of envy the guy who gets paid to pick the Frenchified font for Haiti and the stripped down, pseudosoviet font for Russia.) I wouldn't recommend hosting a Queer Studies Circle on anti-feminine bias beforehand, because I did feel residually dirty about picking apart the nuances of misogyny and then sneaking off to watch Bond. I guess it's about as gross as I felt when we talked about the commodification of sexuality and spent two hours deconstructing Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl," and then I promptly went to a ball and dropped to the floor for "Get Low." Um, I promise that my politics look nothing like my consumption habits.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


"Seriously. We have all had sex with people we have met less than twice."

- A commenter on Wonkette, responding to criticism that John McCain didn't vet Sarah Palin throughly enough.