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Thursday, August 26, 2010
Let me begin by explaining that I don't like weddings. Whatever gene most women carry for white dresses and flowers and big rings, I don't have it. I've been to too many weddings, I've been bored by talk of tiaras and disgusted by both the chicken and the beef, and I see the billion dollar wedding industry as a scam.
That said, I will now count the ways in which Offbeatbride.com kicks ass.
I discovered it as a link on i09 (Gawker's sci-fi web cousin) about a geeky wedding. The featured bride and groom had Star Wars cake toppers and had their guests chant "so say we all" during the museum reception, overlooked by a real dinosaur skeleton. I instantly thought of my future hubby (yes, I have found my life-mate. And no, I still don't want a big wedding. And as long as KFC potato wedges are served, he's fine with that). Offbeat Bride (OBB) was the source site, and a bottomless blog of original, non-traditional, just-a-party-yet-a-blast wedding profiles.
Ariel Meadow Stallings is the original OBB. While planning her own wedding years ago, she chafed at the ideas and offerings for the holy wedding trinity: "timeless," "elegant," "unforgettable." Her first book (and eventually, the blog) Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides was born out of her own wedding plans. She quickly gained a following by espousing lifelong commitment, gay marriage, organic rings sans-blood diamonds, no stress parties, on a budget. The OBBs who create profiles and share their stories and photos do not take out loans for a 12-hour get together. They do not cave in to their family's wishes or insist that their bridesmaids wear the same unflattering dress.
Themes are the most popular types of weddings on OBB. Roaring 20s, renaissance, rockabilly, goth, ethnic fusion, gamer, geek, sci-fi, eco-friendly - it's all there. An interracial couple got married on Loving Day, the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling (see Loving vs. Virginia) that interracial marriage was legal. Another couple was the first to get married at the Jim Henson Co. lot with a muppet-themed wedding. They even had their own custom muppets made. (As someone who recently made a pilgrimage to see the touring muppet display, and begged to be allowed to take just one picture of the original Rolf, this just tickles me Mahna Mahna-pink!)
What impresses me most are the no-nonsense, independent attitudes of the blog contributors. Invitations that urge support of gay marriage (and the many gay-wedding profiles). Articles about dresses for wheelchair-bound brides (hey, wedding establishment - they exist!). A bride and groom married in a small, inexpensive library ceremony whose "family...just didn't understand why we weren't doing this huge, 200 guest shindig... We had to politely explain, again and again and AGAIN (people just didn't get it) that this was OUR DAY."
My personal favorite is from Gael Girl. Not just because her wedding cost under $100, that they walked each other down "aisle" (path in the woods) in Irish tradition, or that it was in a cave at sunrise. It's because she explains their desire to be married sooner rather than later because, "I'm disabled and Michael wanted to start taking care of me." That's love.
I have always been immune to the myth implanted into our cultural psyche that "a diamond is forever." I don't believe that an expression of love costs $4,470 ("the average spent on an engagement ring.") In fact, I'm confused and repulsed by that standard. We all know by now that a human being in Africa risked his life to dig that carbon-based nugget out of the ground, simply so you could display it on your finger. As you read this, another family's home was foreclosed... if only they had $4,470 to spare. It lifted my hopes for my gender when I read of one bride's diamond-less ring, "It cost $99. I love it." I'm going to frame this statement and teach it to my daughters: "when you talk exact carats, you're getting into the dick-size game." Amen, girlfriend.
At the end of the wedding day, the perfect cake is digested. The perfect flowers will droop and die. You will have seen another elderly relative do the chicken dance. Again. You will go home with one person. That needs to make you happy. Not a song list, or matching jewelry, or a dress you will never wear again. I will let OBB Krista8029 sum it up for me:
I've realized that all the tulle, champagne and twinkle lights that were so important last time may make the "perfect" wedding, but it doesn't make the perfect marriage. As much as I look forward to celebrating with family and friends, the thing I'm looking forward to the most is spending the rest of my life with my favorite person. And that's what it's all about.
If writers are my rock stars, Christopher Moore is my Jagger. So when I heard that he would be at the Brookline Booksmith on April 2 to promote his new novel, Bite Me, I took the day off work, drove an hour, paid meter parking, and waited in two lines.
How was it? As his narrator, 16-year-old Goth Abby Normal, would say, he rocked my stripey socks.
First, he was late. But, in all fairness, he had to get there from Boston in Good Friday traffic. Among his easy-going, devoted fans, only one beefy gent complained about a minor inconvenience that no one could control. The rest of us did Madlibs with the staff. We used plenty of word substitutes from Moore's work: sequined love nun, Minty Fresh, shaved vampire cat. The usual.
Moore called from the road and greeted us via the store manager's cell phone:
Moore: "Hello everyone."
Us: "Hello Chris/Christopher/Mr. Moore/Man!"
Moore: "So... what are you wearing?"
Once he arrived, he explained to us newbies that he does not do readings at his readings. He would entertain us for a while, answer questions, then sign books and take pictures. He said it would be like sex, with him smelling like magic marker at the end. I guess that made us his groupies.
In the used-book basement of an indie bookstore, while drinking coffee and taking pictures (with flash!), Moore opened up to his fans. We heard the stuff of legend. Did you know you could have fake testicles — nu-ticals — implanted, like they do for neutered dogs? Moore's got seven of them! (Sadly, we could not take pictures, even without flash.) The man who rewrote King Lear from the point of view of the Fool sold insurance before writing black-comedy novels. The lack of controversy over Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Friend disappoints him to this day. (Ironically, on that Good Friday, Lamb sold out. Also, at the end of this hysterically funny book, religious or not, you will cry.) To create the voice of Abby Normal for his second vampire book, You Suck (the sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends), he risked an FBI raid to find inspiration on Goth teen message boards. For Bite Me, the last of the trilogy of non-sparkly vamps, he discovered that those same message boards were gone, the underworld moderators presumably having grown up and moved on. The lack of intelligent, literate creativity (however mopey) saddens him. How else could a middle-aged man have brought this to life: "I started to feel like a malodorous soupcon of mashed assholes, as Lautreamont so aptly put it." (See his recent HuffPo piece about the Web-based, linguistic can of woop-ass the digital natives are pioneering).
Moore turned out to be quite the sweet talker, too. He probably tells all the regions this, but he said he loves the Northeast the most for the book-smart types (or, as the Midwest calls us, commie liberals) and asked if it bothered us Bostonians that the Tea Partiers have so dubbed themselves.
Moore: "Good, cuz they're stupid."
After about an hour he promised that his future work will contain more heinous fuckery most foul (i.e., messed-up situations), and the line reformed throughout the store for the signing. Those who could not fit into the basement to hear him speak were first in line, fairly. We waited about two hours, browsing through fiction, bargain, and biography. Suddenly, it was my turn. The Man was right in front of me. I had my brand new copy of Bite Me open and my boyfriend readying the camera. I managed to not fall to my knees and chant "I'm not worthy" or "Ohmygod I've read, like, all your books." I may be one of his biggest fans, but I didn't want to show it.
Moore made it easy. He thanked us for coming, signed the book, and joked with us. He's approachable, friendly, and talkative. And, unlike useless famous actors and singers that people usually worship, he didn't have a handler nearby with a headset saying, "Please do not touch Mr. Moore." That helped, too. But I still asked if it would, um, be ok if I could have my picture taken with him. He not only said of course, he offered to make a funny face. Just as I had made it through acting cool, my boyfriend ratted me out. Told him I'd read all the books, that I've waited months to see him, and skipped work. Moore thought I deserved free stuff for that and gave me a little black promotional t-shirt with the book's title written across the front. That's probably when I let loose the "ohmygodthankyouthankyou," and proceeded to literally skip out the front door.
Now my book reads "OMFG, Christopher Moore," my chest reads "Bite Me," and the next time he's around to promote his next book, I'll be there.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Only a chosen few will be taken in the Rapture. The rest of us will be left down here to suffer for eternity. And your little dogs, too.
A large number of people — way more than will actually be saved in this Rapture-thingy — think they will get to go upstairs. Believing so must give them a sense of joy, maybe even hope. But this is tempered by a major concern — what about the beloved pets?
Well, would-be-Rapturees, it's your lucky day! For 110 dollars and 15 dollars per additional pet, rest (in everlasting peace) assured that Rover will go to a good atheist home after you've magically disappeared.
Y'all, there's a menagerie of musings in my head about this.
To begin with — apparently, this is not a joke. In fact, there's more than one site offering such a service. But it is most certainly a scam. 110 dollars? Whoever created this is a genius!
I want in on this. For 110 dollars, even 10 dollars per person (greed is a sin, you know), I'll take care of your dry-clean only clothes and furs after you've gone. You don't want the damned heathens looting your walk-in closets and tossing your silks in common washing machines, do you? Hell no!
Ok, in all fairness, one site does include the following note: "A portion of income generated from advertising on this site is contributed to community food shelves/food banks in Minnesota and New Hampshire." But just a portion, mind you. Not the whole amount to feed the living humans here and now — that would be crazy!
Next, a question about the souls of the cute and furry. If God created all creatures, why don't the animals get to go, too? One trip on the Arc all those millenia ago and that's it? Is peeing on the rug really such a terrible sin?
There are 6.7 billion people on Earth. We are all sinners, some more than others. I'm thinking this Rapture selection will be very small, very exclusive. So, how will we know when it has happened? So many people disappear everyday, and we don't even notice. How do we know the Rapture hasn't already happened?
Also, what if you just happen to be kidnapped or disappear or die naturally and lay undiscovered, Rre-rapture, but the network of atheists doesn't know? What if Snowball ends up starving in your apartment, and later on, gets taken in by devil-worshipping (e.g., liberal) neighbors or given to a kill pound by relatives? And you've paid $100 or more for nothing!
I guess a sucker is left behind everyday.
While browsing through these sites, I did have a reality-based idea and was pleased to find that others had thought of it too. Military pets. There are networks out there for soldiers who don't have anyone to take care of their pet during their overseas deployments. I love that there's an alternative for military personnel to giving up their pets for good and never seeing them again. They sacrifice so much to serve their country — it's not too much to ask to come home to a best fuzzy friend. One program even has sponsors like Pedigree and Whiskas — these are not scams, they're just awesome.
Obviously, I have not done my usual thorough research. I don't know the details about the Rapture or where the religions stand on animal souls. Nor do I want to. I have better things to do with my time. But, occasionally I like to take a break from health care, tea parties, foreclosures, and endless wars and amuse myself. So please, don't enlighten me. Don't correct me. Instead, use that energy to volunteer at an animal or human shelter and do your little part to make the world a better place. Because, honey, we're all stuck here.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Since her unfortunate introduction to the rest of the country last summer (thanks a lot, McCain!), Sarah Palin has proven herself to be many things: corrupt, incapable of debate, completely ignorant of foreign affairs, hypocrite (charging that Obama "palled around with terrorists while she and her husband belonged to a political group that once asked Iran for help in seceding from the U.S.), a liar (by claiming that her husband had never been an AIP member when he was — even McCain staff knew that), unwilling to take advice, and unable to either form or convey a simple thought. After reading her editorial in The Wall Street Journal today, I'm convinced that she has just plain lost her mind. In this embarrassing opinion piece (opinion indeed), she writes:
...is it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that the Democrats' proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their health care by — dare I say it — death panels? Establishment voices dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans.
Let me explain that last sentence — even though legal and media fact checkers (and anyone who has ever read the healthcare bill) have repeatedly shown that death panels were a myth, a blatant lie, Palin doesn't need those pesky facts to get in her way. She said it, Republicans regurgitated it, and fear-ridden, ill-informed Americans believed it. Hence, it must be true!
She just can't let it go. The term "death panels" must play in her mind like a loop. She must cling to it, mentally, like a reassuring mantra.
Or maybe it makes her feel special. Much like when she told the McCain staff that she loved saying "palling around with terrorists," she just loves saying "death panels." Because when she does, people pay attention to her. Like they did when she was Miss Wasilla. Like they did when she was a fancy tee-vee sports reporter. Like the salespeople at Nordstrom did when she had $180,000 to spend.
But why is anyone listening anymore? And, more importantly, the part that scares me — what future vicious, damaging fabrications will her followers believe?
White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified — more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it.
Ah, the evangelical mind. God forbid we believe in evolution, but torturing other human beings is A-OK.
Can I get an Amen from my fellow secular liberals?!
Bruno is meant to "expose the rampant homophobia across the United States." The title character, a gay Austrian fashion reporter, "appears to have anal sex with a man on camera." The MPAA had a hissy fit over the dude-on-dude scene and handed down the harshest rating a non-porn film can earn.
Yet last month, The Last House on the Left was released with an R rating, and critics and audiences alike shunned it over the detailed, graphic, violent rape scene. One critic called it "stomach-churningly anti-human." The MPAA shrugged and gave it an R rating.
A teenage girl is brutally assaulted — yawn. Two adult men engaging in non-violent consensual intercourse — madness! In a review of the documentary, This Film is Not Yet Rated (which exposes the biases of the board members — and the board members themselves), Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter noted:
Board decisions in recent years reveal a strong middle-class, male, heterosexual bias. The board has declared that female orgasms in certain films go on "too long," and it comes down hard on shots of female pubic hair. Gay sex receives harsher treatment than straight sex. Graphic violence, even against women, skates free of the dreaded NC-17 rating.
The MPAA's answer to the anti-gay accusation: "We don't try to set standards, we just try to reflect them." Translation: "White, middle-class America hates the gays, so we do, too."
Ron Howard is considering working on "an adaptation of The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft — which is a graphic novel from Mac Carter and Jeff Blitz that takes elements of Lovecraft's struggles in real life and combines them with a fantastical element that includes transforming all of his darkest nightmares into reality"
You want to know Lovecraft's darkest nightmare? Barack Obama as president.
Artists, Lovecraft readers, and gothic/emo students everywhere have also chosen to ignore Lovecraft's larger-than-life racism and how intertwined his hatred was with his work. It's not enough that a bunch of "fans" gather at his grave in Providence every year to "celebrate" the man. A fan-created Lovecraft website contains a page explaining the misconceptions about the author. They don't even touch racism. They don't even try to justify any of the following:
The mass of contemporary Jews are hopeless as far as America is concerned. They are the product of alien blood, & inherit alien ideals, impulses, & emotions which forever preclude the possibility of wholesale assimilation...
The primal savage or ape merely looks about his native forest to find a mate; the exalted Aryan should lift his eyes to the worlds of space and consider his relation to infinity!!!!
Let's not be bothered by things like truth, reality, and history. Let's all go to the movies!
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
I've been acting silly lately. I've spent my time thinking about the
people out there who have lost their jobs, their homes, their
healthcare, even their health. I've thought about those who sleep in
their cars, on relatives' couches, or on park benches. I should've been
thinking about the people in this country who are truly suffering: bankers' girlfriends and Brown University students.
I'm always a bit late to the game, so I just discovered Dating a Banker Anonymous,
a blog written by the wives and girlfriends of Wall Street's finest
(the financial rats who, in the absence of the regulation cat,
destroyed our economy) who are learning to go without the necessities.
That is, go without jewelry, opera tickets, facials, weekend trips to
Europe, decent sex, and large allowances. These women thought they had
attained their goal — you know, relationships based on the exchange of
sex for money. If they can't be distracted by shiny things, they might
have to face the fact that they serve no real purpose in life.
Initially, I thought, like many others, that this was a joke. As the days go by, it appears that these women are very real and very serious. A beauty writer (Seriously? Beauty writer? Could you be more useless?) in New York told The New York Times: "One
of his best friends told me that my job is now to keep him calm and
keep him from dying at the age of 35," Ms. [Dawn Spinner] Davis said.
"It's not what I signed up for."
That whole sickness-health/richer-poorer thing...who knew you were supposed to mean it?
media has mentioned a "feminist backlash," but I have no doubt that
behind every foot-stamping girlfriend is a pouting, empty-handed banker.
suffering is not limited to Wall Street. It extends all the way to
Thayer Street...in Providence, Rhode Island, home to Brown University. Brown
students are best known to my fellow locals for blindly walking
straight into oncoming traffic on a daily basis. I guess a high SAT
score means never having to look both ways before crossing the street.
Anyway, Thayer Street is the trendy, crowded shopping center of the
college hill universe. Vintage clothing stores, an art house movie
theatre, and, of course, a Starbucks line the busy one-way road. All
was right in the Brown world...until two pizza joints opened too close
to each other. And now, like, ohmygod, the young are lost. A freshman
writer in the Brown Daily Herald student newspaper complains,
war between Antonio's and Nice Slice is affecting thousands of Brown
students...the central location of Antonio's and Nice Slice on Thayer
and their close proximity to one another makes choosing one pizzeria
over the other particularly grueling.
The unemployment rate in Rhode Island has reached ten percent. A few weeks ago, a homeless man froze to death
while sleeping under a bridge. But...too many pizza options...what's
a boy to do? Surely not volunteer, or fundraise, or even be aware of
the world around you. When the tough gets going, take to the blog! Take
the student newspaper's editorial page! You're spoiled as hell, and
you're not gonna take it anymore!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Is there blood coming out of my eyes?
I don't like the auto bailout plan any more than the next person. I don't for one second believe that this will save the jobs of auto workers, the plants they work in, or the towns they live in. I do believe that CEOs will continue to earn fat bonuses and fly privately. It also galls me that wealthy Americans have sneered about welfare queens and irresponsible behavior (No investment portfolio? Madness!). It's just plain different when old white millionaires have their hands out — who cares that they've driven these gigantic companies into the ground? (For the love of Pete — whoever that is — are ya gonna stop making $#%@*& Hummers already?) Republicans and moneyed conservatives also rail against government interference — deregulate! Drill baby drill! Unless we're talking about your private sex life or begging Congress for billions. But the world markets crashed overnight on news of the Senate not passing the deal, and I was certain our market would follow today. Eventually, it will. What is an American citizen to think?
Yesterday I read that Democrats quietly slipped into the deal a pay raise for federal judges. "District judges and lawmakers now earn $169,300 a year... There is concern among many policymakers that judges are not paid enough relative to the importance of their offices..." That's tough. Teachers and nurses everywhere feel your pain.
This morning I learned that the deal fell apart in the Senate because Republicans wanted auto workers to have their wages cut significantly. Now now, auto workers — think of the poor, disadvantaged judges.
Now I'm reading in Salon about Republican politicians who voted against the deal and benefit from having foreign auto plants in their states.
I ask you again — is there blood coming out of my eyes?
There's a special place in hell for Republican senator Bob Corker, whose area does have one domestic plant...which will soon close (they need to make room for the Volkswagen plant coming to his Tennessee town). It was Corker vs. the auto-workers union:
...Mr. Corker admitted to the union's representatives that
discussions over wages were "largely about politics in the
Mr. Corker said he proposed that wages and benefits of
U.A.W. members be competitive with lower rates at American
plants run by foreign rivals...Without that agreement, Mr.
Corker said he could not sell a compromise to other Republicans.
Apparently, this is how it works now: Republicans so badly want to screw over American workers that they will bring financial disaster to foreign markets.
Republicans — made in America!
Sunday, December 07, 2008
From CNN: Huckabee, Palin Top List of 2012 GOP Contenders, Polls Says.
Well, isn't that special? A lying moron and a white-supremacist evangelical. You stay classy, Republicans!
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