Saturday, October 29, 2011

If You Don't flirt Back, It's Sexual Harassment

Weeks ago, I started writing this post. Working and re-working the text, the concepts, the content. Finally, I realized it was definitely all of the above. The old version of this post pitted trim, thin, and skinny women against their curvy, filled out fleshy counterparts. And I didn't want to add to the body hype. And since my message has implication across the spectrum of bodies, it made sense to put everyone on the same time against anger, loneliness and other such ethereal concepts. So here's my deal...or the deal...or one of a host of deals out there to be addresed as they relate to the getting together of guys and girls.

I'm in a Facebook community called, "if guys like 'curvy' girls then why do all the skinny ones have boyfriends?" Now, being a self proclaimed lover of curvy women and knowing that I'm by no means, the only one of my kind, this group is an affront to my sensibilities. Not that it exists...but that it needs to. I spoke a bit with the groups creator who expressed personal and observed frustration at a common singleness among the soft, sloping ranks of the curvy.

   There's a great scene in the film, Spanglish, in which the narrator ruminates on the nature of body image:

     American women, I believe actually feel the same as Hispanic 
     women about weight. A desire for the comfort of fullness. 
     And when that desire is suppressed for style, and deprivation 
     allowed to rule, dieting, exercising American women become 
     afraid of everything associated with being curvaceous, such 
     as wantonness, lustfulness, sex, food, motherhood, 
     all that is best in life.
I think she makes some interesting points. And I think that she's mostly right. There is a degree of internal comfort in the natural contours of one's body. Internal confidence engenders a high degree of self awareness and introspection. People with high self awareness and introspective natures make excellent partners. Healthy concerns, expressive emotionally, but not co-dependent. So, to all the self-sustained women living in the comfort of fullness; I want to date you.

   Here's the rub.
   In some way shape or form, before "happy couple", comes "flirting strangers." There seem to be a phenomenon wherein lots of people don't like to flirt. But, like that group is based on individual experiences, so is this post. But hopefully, this is more of a call to action, than pure lament. I am an insatiable flirt. Sometimes I even flirt when I don't want to. I do it for fun. I do it for profit. I do it to get places. I do it to kill time. It's a little like shopping.

But, it's more like a dance. It's give and take. It's compromise. And, as much as it pains me to say, in my experience, some girls do the dance like Blackpool Champions. While a lot of others act like they don't even like to dance, much less be in a dance club. 

   There's much fun to be had in flirting. I don't know why everyone doesn't do it all the time. Work. School. The mall. For a challenge flirt at the DMV. But even if my flirt radar is always up, it takes two to tango. Rapport building? Chatting up? Flirting? All of this has to start somewhere. A stranger says "Hi" on the street. A guy who uses the machine near you in the gym nods to you. The smiling cart pusher in the produce asile. No matter what something becomes, it usually starts as something else. Most experts identify flirting as a means or an end. If I sound a little obsessed, I don't always flirt...Sometimes I sleep. 

  A few women, in my experience, are on board with the anytime flirt mentality. At the gym, she's the girl who nods back, and may even remove an earbud for a chat. When you ask to sit next to her at Starbucks, she'll eye you up and may or may not offer you the seat. But, you got the once over. And that's all I wanted, a shot. 

   Before you decide that ALL guys are horrible, that they only date skinny girls, that they only date ______, make sure you are a little more comfortable with you, and that your flirt radar is pinging.

Flirting Sunset by ~krisagon on deviantART

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Still Voting, "Stewart 2012," Though

So, as presidents go. I really actually think this one is trying hard. I even think he's smart. I think that the weight and intrisic compromise of the office of the president are still suprising to him. I think he thought making a difference would be easier. A lot of people blast him for that. Which I guess it fair. But what blows my mind is when people attack him for doing things like ending our occupation of foreign states. I guess I'm just as confused about this whole thing as he is.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
End O'Potamia
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Monday, October 24, 2011

Highlight Reel (aka A Blanket and a Remote)

The universe conspires to keep the coolest things just out of reach of adults in the United States. Take nap time for one. Why should the under five crowd monopolize the quality sleep time, that is the middle of the day? And recess. Why shouldn't we take some time to play, just because? But kids aren't the only ones keeping all the cool tricks. Animals fly south for the winter. And, they hibernate! How cool is that? "Hey Honey, ready for bed? I set the alarm for early May. 'Cause when we got up last April, I was groggy 'til mid June."

Well, in honor of hibernation (,and higher sensibilities), here are ten films for the cold days and hot chocolate nights. Not only will these movies entertain you, but each offers an interesting value in personal development... I hope. In order of...random.

The Tourist (2010)- Despite being critically lambasted,  this is a fantastic story of internal change. Math teacher Frank turns a mistaken identity case into a chance to re-brand himself "an adventurer."
Italian policeman 2: You wish to report a murder.
Frank Taylor: Attempted murder.
Italian policeman 2: That's not so serious.
Frank Taylor: Not when you downgrade it from murder. But when you upgrade it from room service, it's quite serious.

   Takeaway: You've done good things. You've done crappy things. You've done less than you'd hoped. But only you can decide to be the best version of yourself.

Temple Grandin (2010): Claire Danes's best film ever. I'm not kidding. Best. Film. Ever. The true story of a woman who is, "not like other people. [she] think[s] in pictures and [she] connect[s] them." Her mind for observation and incredible eye for detail allows her to solves problems in amazing innovative ways. And her autism creates unique social challenges that she overcomes with the help of her family and friends. This character is so dynamic that it even makes animal husbandry an exciting setting.

...They will be very calm. Nature is cruel but we don't have to be. We owe them some respect. I touched the first cow that was being stunned. In a few seconds it was going to be just another piece of beef, but in that moment it was still an individual. It was calm and then it was gone. I became aware of how precious life was...
   Takeaway: You have to outgrow your obstacles. What's your excuse?

 The Social Network (2010): Amazing film. See also, "Facebook Me."
Erica Albright: Look, you are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you're gonna go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole.
  Takeaway: Success is awesome. People are important. If you don't have someone to high-five for your millionth user, there's a bit of a disconnect.

Hitch (2005): Not quite on the same caliber as "The Social Network," for script craftsmanship. It's funny. It's light. What's crazy is that it's true. Well, not a true story. But they offer a lot of useful truths for men and women alike. From a prohibition forbidding lip biting while dancing, to an admonition to leave room for their 10 after you go 90.
"One dance, one look, one kiss, that's all we get, Albert. Just *one shot* to make the difference between happily-ever-after, and oh-he's-just-some-guy-I-went-to-some-thing-with-once." 
   Takeaway: As much as it sucks, and as much as the feminist in me cries "Foul!" Hitch is right, "With no guile, and no game, there's no girl." But, just as importantly,.."Basic principles? There are none."

Limitless (2011): They always said that drugs would open up your mind to new things. In this case, a drug opened up his mind to everything. Total recall and the ability to synthesize all available data are two powers of the down on his luck writer when he's introduced to NZT-48. He finishes a master novel, and makes millions in stock trading in mere days. Suspicious associates, blackouts,  and death, however, are among the less enticing side effects. Manipulation and hubris move the story right along.
Eddie Morra: [at a party] ... Well sure, you'd get a short-term spike, but wouldn't that rapid expansion devalue the stock completely in two years?
Kevin Doyle: No, 'cause there are safeguards!
Eddie Morra: Against aggressive overexpansion? There aren't because there are no safeguards in human nature. We're wired to overreach. Look at history, all the countries that have ever ruled the world - Portugal, with its big, massive navy... All they've got now are salt cods and cheap condoms.
[crowd laughs]
Eddie Morra: And Brits? Now they're just sitting in their dank little island, fussing over their suits. No one's stopping and thinking, 'Hey, we're doing pretty well. We got France, we got Poland, we got a big Swiss bank account... You know what? Let's not invade Russia in the winter, let's go home, let's pop a beer and let's live off the interest.'
   Takeaway: Nobody is going to give you NZT. What's the the next thing you're going to do to expand your mind?

These are a few good ones on which you can get started. I'll get a few more going and work up a reading list for my fellow bookworms. I look forward to your input and reviews. Happy viewing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

State vs. Church vs. World

Do you see the thin lines?

This is a horrible thing. No one should fear reprisals in life because of a system of of many exceptions being...a belief in killing for kicks...That's just all bad. But, in a general sense, it would be a bad thing if Christians were legally subservient to some other religious body/ group/ sect. And here? They are!

But, wait! There's more!!

A lot of people love the idea of a "Christian" America. And my assertion is in no way that a country united in it's devotion to God would be a powerful thing. But that's not what "Christian" America, would be, I am sorry to say.
  Morris!!! Why on earth do you say that?
     "Power corrupts. Absolute power, corrupts absolutely."
No one believes that when they're in power. Not even Christians...Especially not Christians.
  The Dutch Reformed Church in South a winner.

  Ireland vs. Ireland. Not only not Christians' finest hour, but Christian vs. Christian. TERRORISM!
  All of the Crusades. I hope I don't have to explain this one.
  Since the day Constantine used a sword to defend the faith, powerful Christians have done the same things that  powerful Muslims, powerful Atheists, and every other powerful interest has ever done... crazy stuff.
 I'm not even saying it's bad. I'm saying it's true. The legislative arm of the contemporary church is fixated on solving whatever problem they see as the most important on Capitol Hill. Alexis de Tocqueville talks about the tyranny of the majority and how it has the potential to drive democracy over a cliff. The craziest part?
The Craziest Part?

In 5 years. In 10 years. In 50 years when demographic distribution is totally upended, the majority won't look the same at all.

What would it be like if LGBTQ persons composed the majority?
Latin Americans?
Peace Lovers?

When they are the true majority, if they treat you, legislatively, exactly the way you want to treat them, could your handle it? If so great. But think long about it, before you start patting yourself on the back. In 50 years, it may not be so simple.

*(I really wanted to put the chess scene from the first X-Men movie here, but slow exposition dialogue scenes from action films are remarkably hard to find for use.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wait!..It's my birthday?

Throughout high school, I was highly involved. Student council, speech, on the list went. But most of my involvement was in the arts. I was president of the choir and in all the theatre productions, spending more time in rehearsals after school, than I did at home...or at least, it felt that way.
   My dedication to the stage rarely flagged. So, the fact that my birthday occured during tech week of our biggest show every year, meant that, in terms of celebrating my existence, the days and even weeks surrounding my birthday were uninspiring...every single year of high school.
   My senior year shaped up no differently. Landing the starring role in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma meant that most of October revolved around the stage in one way or another preparing for the first week of November's opening.
   Failing to note my own birthday is not new or unusual for me. Once, my PDA went off in church to remind me of my birthday...much to my surprise. This year, like many others, despite the reminders at home on the morning of, before mid-day it was another say full of things to do, teachers to appease, lines to run, and scenes to perfect. My birth seemed to be the least noteworthy thing about it.
   Four hour long rehearsals can really take their toll on you. And when the director called a "five," ordering us off the stage and to the choir room, for a stage sweep, it came as a much needed reprieve. We shuffled along to the hallway and into the room...
   Where my parents and a few good friends had brought in a huge cake. And the rousing sound of "Happy Birthday," performed by the cast and crew of the of the musical brought an unquentiable smile to my face.
   The "Five" was extended to a ten. But then it was back to the stage for the rest of the night. And even though my entire party was shorter than a sitcom episode, it was my best birthday since my third.

...which is another story.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Society Of One

I really enjoy exploring new ideas. I read a lot. And I try very hard to read, watch, and otherwise absorb a range of things. There are as many sides to a story, as there are people involved, and I try to at least glimpse them. I love it when I stumble upon a random story/article, OR I'm trolling Facebook walls and see someone's reposted story, and I get all juiced up and start looking up all the stories about "newly discovered subject X." From articles about fonts to blogs about cooking and gardening, usually it's information that I can't exactly use, but I get to feel smart, and sometimes it comes in handy. 
  What happens when the homogeneity of ads reaches the world of the search engine?
Ask Eli Pariser:

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Facebook Me"

If you haven't seen "The Social Network" yet...WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!? That movie is awesome. It's like "The Dark Knight" of interpersonal drama in true life. I'm ashamed that it took me so long to see it. And I want to minimize your self flagellation when you finally get around to seeing it.

The end of friendship as we know it. OK, that was a little harsh. But personal association was completely changed on February 4, 2004 in a Harvard dorm room. You know it. I know it. I'm not really going to talk about the rightness, wrongness, awesomeness, or lameness of the ubiquity of Facebook as a social media giant behemoth. I'm just here to talk about the people. The people, not necessarily as they are in real life, but just a chance to play with the beautiful spectrum of characterization in the film.

Mark Z- Tortured genius is the first way I think of the king of Facebook. Every moment on screen there's a profound internal tension between his successes and popularity, and the disconnect he feels from those around him. Nonetheless, he sees things that people overlook. He solves problems before they're problems. In ways which are elegant and Determined to succeed, he has a singular focus on the problem at hand.  There's a social challenge in Mark's every move. I have no idea who said, "The best revenge is massive success." But after a few social stumbles this man seems to have adopted it as life plan. But the end of the film plays more like the Randy Newman song, It's Lonely At the Top.


Eduardo S- Organized and effective, Eduardo unsuccessfully to incorporate conventional marketing and business organization to the infant Facebook. Fiercely loyal, he tries to enable, protect, and befriend Mark all at the same time. It doesn't work out nearly as well as he hopes. He wants to be an honorable person, but wants to make an impact at the same time. The tension which results, is prevalent throughout the film. Championing the safe play, Eduardo sees Sean Parker as a dangerous loose cannon (which he is), and not a brilliant marketeer (which he is). As a result, the two begin careening toward one another in a game of business chicken.

Sean Parker- The Sean Parker character in this movie reminded me of the episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, featuring the "Wild Card." Sean is charismatic. With unparallelled energy he blows into "the facebook" and brings a world of changes. The obvious? Nix the "'The.' Just Facebook. It's cleaner." The subtle? Redefine the friendship, that redefines "friendship." A touch of resentment and paranoia underscore his marketing brilliance. Sean just wants to, "Fight for [his] right to PARTY!!!"

"The Winklevi"- Between the two of them, they're a well rounded individual. With the idea that gave Facebook form, the Winklevosses see what's there to be seen. The simplest version of innovative thought. Take what's there and make it a little better. Make myspace exclusive, and that's about as far as they get. In fairness, these two are broad strokes people who think they are contracting the detail work. Looking to their network of connections, these two young men are opportunistic in the best possible sense of the word. They will change and improve things, to their own enrichment for years to come. And when their backed into a corner, the gloves will come off.

Marylin Delpy (The lawyer)- An almost invisible character in the film, Marylin is the silent reality anchor in this almost surreal litigation process. She reminds us that winning and losing aren't often what we think that they are. And, all business to you may be all personal to others.

This movie was a really cool look at the business of being personal.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks for tuning in.