Monday, July 07, 2008

Sunday Top Ten: Automatic Fundamentals/Look At You, You're Growing Old So Young

I was thinking about a Sunday Top Ten and ten hours later I was knee-deep in the cyber-quicksand created by switching topics every five minutes, trying to escape via creating a New Topic that'd encompass All Failed Topics. A-ha!: 'TOP TEN THINGS I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT." I asked myself "is that the best you can do?" Then, myself said: "Yes, it is."

[Yes, it is: a conversation between me and memememememe.] [It was maybe two years ago or thereabouts when she drew me a diagram on scrap paper to explain to me the "me" and "not me" -- the stack-sullivan psychoanalytic theory of selective inattention. good me, bad me, not me. she was explaining to me how, exactly, I'd managed to rationalize talking my way out of accepting responsibility for being an asshole.]

So I'm just gonna ramble. Ramblerambleramble.

Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme Morons
I saw Gimme Sugar. It's a new show about lesbians. The topic is: "Lesbians are pretty!" The sub-topic: "Much like straight people on scripted reality teeevee shoes, lesbians can also drink too much and talk about nothing." The girl who narrates sounds just like Jackie Warner. It's the "scripted reality voice-over voice."

I'd like to corral the writers of Gimme Sugar and the creators of Tila Tequila into a dark cave with The Iliad, The Bible, Mediated and "All Aboard!".

The thing is ... Gimme Sugar isn't even terrible/awesome. It's just terrible. After-Ellen thinks so too. I'm not sure why I care so much about the portrayal of women -- and queer women in particular -- in the media, but I do. I care deeply. AE says, and I agree, that basically if you're already into [other, hetero-based] shows that involve "seeing young people doing nothing and clubbing and coming up with bad business ideas" then you'll like this show.

Speaking of sugar, this weekend the woman brought us breakfast and announced the contents of the tray in great detail: "splenda, sweet & low, equal," etc. Everyone in Atlantic City says: "good luck!" 'cause they're counting on the gamble. We didn't know how to gamble [at games], we just thought the city itself seemed like a funny place to go. But we got lucky, and had good luck.

My first love [of all trump cards: "first"? of all first things: love] wore those jeans with "Lucky You" on the fly. In case we got there, and I forgot.
Taking Back the Internet: Last Week's Topic of Cyber-Talk

I don't know. We're/it's young, we're cyber-tadpoles -- still lightyears away from universal broadband access or a "worldwide" network that can provide all people worldwide w/high-speed uncensored content. There's problems with overexposure and conspicuous anonymity, the tipping balance between emotional withdrawal and frightening investment. Our backs hurt, our eyes burn, our wrists hurt. But everything has pros and cons. [Howevs, it'd be a 100% tragedy for interwebs users to inadvertently lose deep reading skills.] We live in a world where too much ice cream makes you fat. Just think about that.
"What the future might bring, Heaven only knew.
Change was incessant, and change perhaps would never cease.
High battlements of thought; habits that had seemed durable as stone went down like shadows at the touch of another mind and left a naked sky and fresh stars twinkling in it."
-Virginia Woolf, Orlando
I think we're still figuring it out. It's like when the cavemen first discovered fire. And Caveman #1 was like; "wtf why is my toe burning off?" and Caveman #2 was like; "OOOO all warmed up for the winter season!" Now, a bajillion years later, we know how to use fire responsibly, more or less. See what I mean? We're still figuring out how to keep warm without burning ourselves.

I like Emily and Keith and Tracie. I don't like Perez or TMZ or their collective insistence on permeating relevant spaces frequented by those of us who don't care.

Also, I like that the internet has enabled strong global grassroots networks like Students for a Free Tibet, smart pop culture commentary like fourfour and helpful gadgets & resources like MapQuest and Bartleby. I like when I read articles worth recommending. And poems.

I think, w/r/t Gimme Sugar and The Internet, that we've got to do our best to keep our fictions scripted. Also, we'll keep our realities improvised, and work with wherever we naturally attract reflection/attention, rather than attention for attention's sake.

In the future, we may find that the internet was invented in response to the hefty portion of the population who are simply more comfortable/eloquent when communicating via written words rather than spoken ones.

I think you can divide people into two categories: people who're content to live within anything that'll fit within (even just barely) the status quo, and people who'd like to change it. The first category also includes people who've chosen instead to live in the past, or recreate it in fear.
The Long and Winding Road

I've traveled a lot this year. I was asked: "Do you guys think it's possible you're running away from something, maybe?" and I answered, "Obviously." I'd like a short & happy life, like Francis Macomber's, or a Short & Wondrous one like Our Friend Oscar, running could be involved. But really it's that we prefer fun to not-fun. We try to have fun. Okay, okay, it's Tinkerbell. She's a diva.

Don't get confused, I'm still only somewhat employed and owe Visa a baby or two. The rest is semantics or logistics --

Speaking of numbers, I missed Four -- me, Caitlin, Alex, Haviland -- and now my friend is back on this side of the country. Briefly, but here. Shortly, happily, wondrously.

So many things can go wrong when you're traveling, like our unexpected pullover en route to the airport to fly to The House of the Mouse -- we barely made it to the flight.

But this weekend we went to Atlantic City and we weren't surprised when they said our hotel was overbooked, since ridic snafus are our collective travel-fuk├╣ and we were prepared to pop a cot and then take a morning swim w/asbestos at the Seaside Motel [later this experience could become a rich source of anecdotes, in-jokes and makes-life-worth-it-style laughter] --- but the desk-woman tells us how the problem's been solved: we're being moved to a better hotel ... for free.

Again, that assumption about gambling. Really, we're just amused by anything that's heavily thematic -- lit up by bells & whistles & glitter & graffics and big laminated promises in disguise as the Queen of Hearts/Spades.

Then Caitlin totally WON big-time at the slot machines -- waiting for me and Alex she just stuck a nickel in and gave it a go, like to kill time and -- Magic! Later that day, an escalade took an illegal left in front of us, like that shit that happens all the time in the city and you almost die and then somehow you get a ticket for someone else's mistake 'cause you've got expired plates ... and he got pulled over!

Also, we saw Melissa Etheridge. They surprised me with it and got away with it 'cause Caitlin pointed out that she never asked for anything, so asking me to put some pep in my step for an 8 PM fireworks show wasn't much to ask-- even though I insisted it was still totally light out and we can't miss the fireworks, they're in the sky.

Anyhow, the ploy worked and we were on time for The Eth. The lesbos sang our little hearts out for every window we've ever screamed at, bare and wide-open. We listened to the gauzy-voiced acoustic assurance that sometimes love means following someone around until you've lost all your fellow travelers. Pretense-free, open-air I feel my feelings. She carved out her heart in the 90's, left it on the doorstep of a recording studio and then ran -- a prank played in the game of falling apart -- and we got to see her hold that heart in front of her face and then sing through it. Amazing.

Happy independence day!

"When I first heard "Like the Way I Do" in 1988, I had no idea that Melissa Etheridge was gay, and I thought she gave voice to us obsessive, neurotic women who long to be this direct and obvious about the neediness we feel for the men in our lives ... perhaps the joyfulness that I feel seething, overbrimming from so much lesbian music, even when it is at its most heartbreaking, has to do with the simple fact that just to have the courage to find a voice to sing with in the context of societally censored desires means that anything you say, no matter how depressing the thought, will never come across as completely dispirited."
-Elizabeth Wurtzel, "The [Fe]male Gaze."
dear good me & bad me & not me & also me & mememe, sincerely anonymous
or "the babies were only water balloons."

What if from now on I made my blog into a retroactive game of self-indulgence. I provide excerpts from my past diaries for the present date in different years. You match the lines to the years and if you're right, you win the next book club book.

July 7th Throughout the Years, Compiled on Monday July 7th, 2008:
[Options: 1986 (age 4) , 1991 (age 9) , 1996 (age 14), 1997 (age 15), 1999 (age 17), 2000 (age 18), 2002 (age 20), 2003 (age 21), 2006 (age 24), 2007 (age 25)]
[Names have been abbreviated when appropriate]

1/Michigan: "I feel like we'll never truly connect 'cause Chris's 100% un-interested in what art has to offer him as a human being. He likes things cut and dry. He wouldn't like my writing, because he never reads, he's detached completely from literature. His scope is narrow. I'm afraid he'll try to compare his career goal to be a vet to my writing. It's not just my Top Interest, it's How I Think."

2/Boston-->Michigan: "Today we drove for five hours and we finally came home. I saw Anna first, but we had nothing to say. My room had hebrew posters all over the walls and all my animal posters except for three were gone! My drawers were broken, and there was mold in the teapot, yuck! The people who lived in our house weren't very neat! The toddler scribbled in Lewis's books. We had homemade pizza for din-din."
3/New York: "When E has the nerve to go off at me, I say-- 'It doesn't matter, I'm leaving!' E says -- 'You're not leaving soon enough.' So now -- I am. Now. I'm in the airport, going. I feel like Marc's going-away party was mine, too, not 'cause the people cared/knew about me leaving, but 'cause it's the end of something. An era. But M said, 'You're the guest of honor's special guest.'"

4/Australia:" "It was hilarious to bring these grungy surfer boys into a nice restaurant. Clinton insisted we go back to the hotel so he could experience the sauna and they'd left their bags and surfboards there. They went swimming. We took pics, they listened to our music, we talked. Jeremy made fun of our accents a lot. They go to raves at night. Clinton is 17, he dropped out of school to work in a Toyota Factory. Jeremy's 15. We have their addresses, thank god."

5/Michigan: "We made our certificates and then we decorated the knight in armour. Then we rescued the baby from the dragon. And after that we played a kind of hide and seek and some people pretended they were he dragons and some pretended they were persons who catch the dragons. The babies were only water balloons. our mommies or our daddies came and we had cake and ice cream after we had cake and ice cream we went home the end."

6/New York: "I don't know what to do, if there's anything that I even can do. It's terror. I feel powerless."

7/Michigan: "no cherry bombs, no sparklers, black cats, etc this 4th. u know, explosions -- go america. Scot took my car to canada and left me a love note. life has been up and down. absolutely unbearable, sometimes absolutely pleasant. i present the "every other day theory": one day he's delightful, the next day he balances it out by being a dick."

8/At Sea: "It's difficult to open myself up to another strong connection w/a friend this year, I feel so exhausted by last year's. I don't know if she really communicates honestly with me about when or if I bother her. She seems both set in her ways and not argumentative. Is it because we click so well, or is it 'cause she doesn't ever want to talk about what's really going on?"

9/Michigan: "Yesterday went to a whack party, talked to AG 4eva. It was weird, like a punk rock show, I don't dig that scene. At the start it made me depressed to be there. It was fresh as hell that I got to drive home though. Well, not home. To L's. Today MR and I watched Altman's Nashville, saw Casablanca at the top of the park, Amanda came just to see me! Wowsers ... I had a freaked out dream about Interlochen."
10/Michigan: "Tonight, Mr. D told me he thought I looked about 10 pounds less than I did when he last saw me. He asked me if I was okay. The doctor told me I was too skinny and asked if I'd been losing weight. All these comments make me happy. I wish none of this had ever started. I wonder why my Mom is letting me go sometimes. I wonder if I'd let my 17 year old daughter move to the same city that Son of Sam is about."

Today I wrote this, and went to bed, and thought, holy shit, I talk a lot of whack hands down totes crazy. Will I ever learn to speak the grammar?
Stay tuned!
[all photos by julia fullerton-baten]
So, guess: match the number with the correct year, win a prize! The Dear Diary Award, very special.


caitlin said...

hi hi. it's 4:30 and i can't sleep and i thought whee i hope riese wrote something, and look, you totally did. that's why we're friends. this weekend was magic, i felt like it was the universe fixing all our travel nightmares all at once, free rooms, rockets, free money, road rage vindication. everything. also i love what you said about the four-- sometimes i think we talk about hav so much when she's not there to make it feel like she is. i may or may not download the remaining episodes of gimme sugar. that's all.

Anonymous said...

I'm jealous of the implication that you get eight hours' sleep at night. I think I'm going to put in a request that we trade lives. Then I will get Atlantic City, sleep, and good blog entries.

The Spaz said...

I love the photos you used.

I feel like there's maybe too many writing samples so I'm not going to venture a guess. Of course I am lazy lately...

Also, Good Luck! =)

Anonymous said...

Perez, TMZ, and DListed are all pretty trashy and misogynistic, yet I still read them. Jezebel seems to better a better one... maybe a few steps up from Defamer and Gawker?

I have a lot of feelings about how women whom are not stereotypically feminine are treated on pretty much all the gossip blogs from the bloggers and comments, not just limited to Perez and TMZ. For real, just check out what they're saying about Samantha Ronson (Lindsay Lohan's gf), and Christine Marinoni (Cynthia Nixon's gf).

Glad you had a fabulous Independence Day, Riese. Seeing Melissa Etheridge could be considered like going to Mecca... or is that seeing the Indigo Girls?

Mira said...

2) 1991
4) 1996
5) 1986
6) 2007

I think all the answers are in your archives. Maybe later today I will figure out which is which. 1, 3, 7 and 8 all seem they could be interchangable. 10 seems like it is from maybe someone else's diary, like mine.

JD said...

Alright, a lot here to potentially comment on and haven't gotten through it yet, so I'll prob be back. Two quick things:
-Congrats on winning big in AC-both monetarily and musically. I was there last weekend for a bachelorette party, and not surprisingly didn't touch a machine. AC is always gaper-inducing for me in so many ways- like I walk around with my mouth open, conspicuously watching and listening to people and thinking "really? REALLY?"
-Also, like that you're working lingo from Oscar into everyday use. A friend at work also recently read Oscar and whenever anything shady happens management-wise, we look at each other and say "we've/someone's been Trujillo'd"...lame, but it amuses us.

eric mathew said...

I feel like your weekend down in AC was like that episode of Sex and the City, minus someone climbing all those stairs to find their lover in bed with someone.

I really agree with how people are portrayed in media, mine being gay men. I feel like I have seen them getting better, and not always having to make the gay man a hairdresser, etc. But yes, I could go on and on, but it's not worth it. You understand.

Anyway, off to Puppet Class. Yes, I am taking one... but I'm not sure if I like it, because the fashion girls are kinda trife....kinda...

stars said...

-I don't know what TMZ is. I could find out, but I'm lazy. I read your blog. I read what you tell me to read. I like it when you ramble. You put up a good ramble.

-I do remember the good me and the bad me and the not me, that must have been back in 101. I know enough psychology to not be a textbook example of it. I find old habits are hard to beat.

-If I can't sleep tonight (wide awake we count the lines), I'll try to win a book. Confessing that I haven't read Oscar Wao yet. Maybe I don't deserve it. I don't. But I don't want all my work to be for naught so I'll put it out there.

I started. Most of the answers are here.

2. 1991

4. Australia is 1996.

5. 1986, unless you are still playing with dragons these days..

6. 2007. Live through this and you won't look back.

8. 2006. The cruise gives it away, by default because 6 is 2007.

10. 1999.

riese said...

caitlin: There are so many reasons why we're friends! Also, I am thinking that maybe when we decided that on January 6th the whole world was gonna change, what we meant was that on July 6th the whole world was gonna change. Except sorta really on July 4th. But it was a holiday weekend. You know. I'm gonna download all the episodes of gimme splenda.

burningsteady: Oh, it's only because of the ambien. Don't worry., there's nothing to be jealous of about the way I live my life.

the spaz: I love this photographer, Julia something, I think I found her through typeish. I feel like other commenters have already given it a good start, though looking over it I realize by taking out names and other identifying details, I've created a totally impossible contest. Maybe I'll make it easier later.

anonymous: Yeah, Jezebel is owned by Gawker media and at first i wasn't digging it, but it has definitely grown on me and now I think I read it more than anything else on the internet. (howevs, found this slightly off-putting, but who knows.)

and oh yeah, fo'sho re: the stereotypically feminine thing. The way people deal w/Rosie makes me want to scream. It's always the same 'ol thing -- we love lesbians as long as they look like Portia Di Rossi. Sam is at least skinny, which protects her from some misogyny.

I've actually never been to Perez or TMZ, but I hear about them and they sound annoying.

Mecca = The Indigo Girls, now and 4evs.

mira: OMG firstly, you're right about so many things! You could be the winner! Do I get to fill in the blanks? "1" is 2003 ... yeah I think I made it too hard. "10" is 1999, I had a phase ... also, I'm not really that interesting. Though if you are combing through the archives, I hope it's entertaining, it's like a memoir scavenger hunt!

jd: It was my first time visiting AC. We had so many "really" moments. Mostly involving really daring employments of prints and patterns.
-I love that you're incorporating Oscar into everyday use too. I feel like we do that a lot with teevee shows, and I'm loving right now that I can reference a book I know most people have read. It's sort of my greatest dream.

eric mathew: Yeah I was imagining it to be just like that episode too, I was ready to fire back some serious comebacks, like Miranda/Carrie style. "What's your excuse?" I think sometimes lesbians should be hairdressers, like Shane. Shane is my favorite lesbian on media, totes not a puppet.

stars: You are many things but not lazy! Srsly I am impressed! I also feel like the cruise is a dead giveaway. You can win the prize if no-one else enters. But I'm not sending you a book if you won't read it. I think you're on the right track, in any event. This is the good you.

Also on the right track with just reading what I tell you too. Stick with me kid. We'll live through this for sure.

NEP said...

1. 1997
2. 1991
3. 2002
4. 1996
5. 1986
6. 2007
7. 2003
8. 2006
9. 2000
10. 1999

i feel bad that i got most of the answers from stars and pretty much blindly guessed on the remaining years.

good to hear you got lucky in AC! i was not so lucky ... this july fourth i learned that "unbreakable" glass is a myth.

a;ex said...

I hope the next city takes care of you just as much as AC took care of us. Wow, talk about terrible/SO SO AWESOME.


riese said...

nep: I was certain that you'd win and was about to be like, omg, you won, but then I looked at your answers and unfortunately you did not win! omg. I know, I am so complicated. You should get one of those trick bottles that pretends to break.

a;ex: HAVILAND IS AT WALTER'S. I know. It's okay, we've got our chairs and nerds.

basia said...

how about:

1. 2003
2. 1991
3. 2002
4. 1996
5. 1986
6. 2007
7. 2000
8. 2006
9. 1997
10. 1999

riese said...

basia: Hey stranger! So close ... yet slightly far away ...

I'm not sure if people are guessing at random or fo'real, but if it's fo'real, then I should point out that I've been in and out of NYC sorta at random for about 9 years.

NEP said...

hahaa omg it is so embarrassing that you gave away 2 answers and yet i still failed to fill those in correctly. i was reading on my bberry and all of the scrolling hurts my thumb which made me lazy.

i'm ashamed at my almost win.

my friend was under the assumption that she had glasses that could not be broken. naturally, as soon as she said this i decided to tomahawk my glass to the ground to test the theory. needless to say, it shattered into a billion shards of flying glass. everyone within a 3 foot radius of the test site was bleeding from all the shrapnel while i belligerently yelled about false advertising.

i should probably lay off the drink.

mindy said...

I watched about 15 minutes of Gimmie Sugar then my brain melted.

Sounds like you might have watched an entire episode. I really hope you're ok.

Really though, we're very much on the same page about the mis/representation of women in the media, and this is just another example.

(I loved this: "In the future, we may find that the internet was invented in response to the hefty portion of the population who are simply more comfortable/eloquent when communicating via written words rather than spoken ones.")

e. said...

1 - 2003
2 - 1991
3 - 2000
4 - 1996
5 - 1986
6 - 2007
7 - 2002
8 - 2006
9 - 1997
10 - 1999

These are my guesses. They're probably wrong, but I think I should automatically win 'cause July 7th is my birthday.

basia said...

damn! though i have to admit i was mostly guessing, but sort of trying, but really stealing other people's guesses and tweaking them slightly... i suppose it's better that i didn't get it, like, how weird would it be for some rando to win... (though a total rando i am not, i just haven't commented since 2007)

-M- said...

This could prove to be super super embarressing for me, but I'm going to give it a try.:
1. 2002
2/ 1991
3. 2000
4. 1996
5. 1986
6. 2006
7. 2003
8. 2007
9. 1997
10. 1999
and if I've got this all wrong, then it should prove that #1) i do not, nor never had, read your diaries and #2) you need to call me and keep me in touch more frequently.
and if I'm right, then ::ta-da:: I am the best mom in the world! (who doesn't read your diaries and who you could still call more often)