Friday, February 29, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-29-2008

Hey Kids! We're in L.A., looking for: 1)Shane, 2)Angelica, 3)Haviland. We found "3." Also, Lozo and I made a Vlog, and it's gonna rock your socks off. When I edit it.
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quote: ""The world is ending out there and people are just getting cosmetic surgery and watching debutantes get screwed up the ass." (Claire, Six Feet Under)
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links: (1)Anorexia Amongst Ulta-Orthodox Jews (@The Forward), (2) JK About the Ten Dollar Bottles of Pinot Grigio (@The Boston Globe), (3) Everyone is in Jail (@The NY Times), (4) Episode 508 Lay Down the Law Podcast (@The Planet), (5) Ron Sillman on Blog Traffic (@Ron Sillman), (6) OMG I Saw Mary Oliver Read Already, It's Like the Spice Girls, I'm so Lucky!!!! (@Seattle PI)
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Temp Image of the day from Episode 509 of The L Word: Liquid Heat

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-28-2008

quote: "There are so many different ways to be connected to people. There are people you feel an unspoken connection to, even though there's not even a word for it. There's the people who you've known forever who know you in this way that other people can't because they've seen you change. They've let you change." (Angela, My So-Called Life)

links: (1) Manhattan Sex Clubs have a lot of ups and downs (@Mr.Beller's Neighborhood), (2) The Fate of Nabakov's Laura, Part Two (@slate.com), (3) The L Word is Longevity (@nerve.com), (4) Why Christina Ricci Lives in Seven-Year Installments (@nymag), (5) T.C. Boyles Remembers Dutton's Bookstore, closing after 20 years (@LATimes)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-27-2008

quote: "There's a time in your life when all the ups and downs start to look like a straight line, and the straight line starts to look like an adventure." (Pam Houston, "Like Goodness Under Your Feet")

links: (1) Garfield Minus Garfield makes John Arbuckle schizoaffective (@garfieldminusgarfield), (2) I am the biggest dork on earth, this is so thrilling I can hardly stand it: (@omnivoracious), (3) My hero Eileen Myles in NYC (@opencity), (4) Does poetry make anything happen? (yes.) (@Guardian UK), (5) Starbucks takes a time out ... for espresso excellence (@NY Times)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sunday Top Ten: There Must be A Thousand Things You'd Die For, I Can Hardly Think of Three

Sometimes I do weirdo things just to see what'll happen or go to idiosyncratic places simply for "the cultural experience." My definition of "cultural experience" is highly subjective and indiscriminate; it includes all things unpredictable, paradoxical, peculiar, highly specific, micro-culturally revelatory or secretly expository of pathos/propaganda/unspoken dichotomy. "Cultural experience" isn't this ambiguous category's proper name, maybe it's "things I enjoy solely because they intrigue me."

My best attempt at defining what I'm talking about when I talk about "cultural experiences" is example. As you can see, these experiences are not about Fun or Pleasure. In fact, they're often un-fun and not pleasurable.

A Tegan & Sara concert ISN'T, a Spice Girls concert IS.
Doing a reading ISN'T, being on an internet sex & dating panel at the MoSex IS.
Space Mountain ISN'T, Carousel of Progress IS.
Working at The Macaroni Grill in Michigan ISN'T, working at The Olive Garden in Times Square IS.
Taking a plane from Chicago to New York ISN'T, taking a Greyhound from Oregon to Chicago IS.
Six Flags ISN'T, the Clinton County 4-H Fair IS.
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i. Before All That

I blame A., who wrote in the "farewell Marie is going to boarding school" book my friends made for me in '97: Experience is the bread of a writer: sadness & happiness, prosperity & desperation, virtue & vice. Whatever you experience, whatever you feel, will increase the genuity of your writing 100%. That line about the bread; how trite/true, but also ...

... it made me think of Zingerman's bread-ends, the fifty-cent bags we'd pick up for lunch when short on cash, smear generously with free packets of mayonnaise and then eat on the back lawn of our hippie alternative high school while the older kids, stuffed into inherited cars in various stages of erosion, smoked pot and ate real sandwiches. Everyone's car had something special wrong with it; no air conditioning, broken parking break, occasional inability to start, 1-4 windows refusing to roll down, faulty wipers, a consistent "check engine" light.

I wanted to be an older kid, I wanted a car, cars were freedom, cars enabled experience ... "how vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live ..." (Thoreau)

10) Of all the cars in that lot, I liked Jack's big red pick-up the best. Nearly ten of us -- lying on our backs -- could fit in the truck's deep bed. A bisexual before it was trendy, Jack sported multi-colored hair and he safety-pinned political opinions to his motorcycle jacket. He seemed slightly dirty always, which grossed me out & made me uneasy to touch him, but everything grossed me out then -- I grossed myself out, most of all, which's why I hid beneath layers of oversized clothing and caustic, off-putting snobbery.

He liked to drive us (us=a tight self-righteous clique of 14-15 year old girls & scrawny boys) places and not tell us where we were going (which panicked me, my Mom was strict, I had to be home), like U-Mich campus buildings with secret rooms and hideaways. We'd climb in windows, shimmy up fire escapes, slip into small cubbies of unused space where decades of punks and squatters had left wall scrawls for each other, maybe even for us. We'd just sit there, then, crouched together, checking engines, breathing, whispering, wondering what kind of architectural accident made this happen, brushing hoodie-sleeves, until Campus Security pounded on the entry we'd sealed shut -- the best part was the running out, trying not to get caught. We wouldn't; we had the car, the cool metal sending shivers down the backs of our necks, eyes to starry sky.

He talked a lot about one particular place that I knew I'd never see -- "the scariest place in the world," my girlfriends told me, thick with privilege (their mothers allowed such expeditions, mine wanted me home and always calling from sanctioned locales). Jack took my best friends there -- I had no details; outdoors or indoors? in Ann Arbor? Dexter? Ypsilanti? Detroit? Farther? an experience, a pit, a darkness, what, what, what, what's so scary, what's the secret, what kind of darkness and how deep? and they'd say, "we can't tell you anything about it, it's a secret, but it's scary." I still don't know what it was -- maybe it was just a lie, a metaphor, a story they told to piss me off.

I needed to get older and fast so that I could go look at weird things and scary things, too.
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[photo by Vivian Joyner]
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ii. Now

I'm a nonstop repository of anecdotes and after spending a few consecutive days subjected to me telling weird stories about things I've done for fun or considered "a good experience" ('We used to go to Cabella's hunting store for fun!" "Why?" "Um, 'cause it was weird?") ( I found every anecdote clearly incredibly relevant to whatever we were doing at the time), Cait asked me if there's anything I wouldn't do "for the cultural experience."

"Of course," I answered quickly, but couldn't think of anything just yet.

"Would you go sky-diving? Bungee jumping?"

"Oh, I'd totally do that stuff, totally."

Full disclosure: I'd just justified taking us all to Epcot Center's "The American Experience" "for the cultural experience." And it's not that I think I've had some wild life, I just -- I don't know -- maybe it's more deliberately weird since I like to write about stuff? I feel both firmly in this normal world and often dashing valiantly into others and I think it's got something to do with cultural anthropology.
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iii. The Aforementioned Anecdotes

9) "You're in for an exciting adventure" at Arbuckle Wildnerness in Davis, Oklahoma, where wild animals come right up to your car for an authentic wildlife experience. Ryan was ecstatic -- THRILLED -- to bring me to Arbuckle during my first visit to his Oklahoma home (Ryan shares my taste for weird things; we spent most of that break video-interviewing people in Wal-Mart about religion and immigration). You're supposed to roll down your windows and feed the animals and Ryan thought it'd be a funny cultural experience to roll down and lock his Jeep's passenger window, so all at once I was attacked by five emus pecking furiously at the cup of feed in my lap, nuggets flying everywhere. He laughed so hard he could barely breathe, then unrolled the back window so they could get me from behind, too. I was screaming, totally scarred for life, never hanging out with emus again ever, it's only puppies for me from here on out.

8) A temp agency in Michigan I worked for over holiday breaks had a $10/hour position that entailed wearing a Tony the Tiger costume for a professional recruitment event Kelloggs was hosting at the U of M business school -- I was like, this is the best job of all time, sign me up right now. They needed a Toucan Sam, my friend agreed enthusiastically (neither of us cared really about the money, we just wanted to wear the costumes). It's so hot in those costumes! You can only wear them for thirty minutes or so. They wouldn't let us take photos, which was the point, we brought our Nickelodian four-square cameras too ... but whatevs. We snuck a few pics during one of our ten undressings (30 minutes on, 30 off, 30 on, 30 off):

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7) EuroDisney: So, as mentioned in this blog, I visited Paris, solo, for no reason -- to feel romantic & pensive, I think, but some freakish curiosity drew me to Euro-Disney/Disneyland Paris. I was 18, hadn't had many chances to be alone yet in my life -- adolescence is, by definition, a constant subjection to company (as is boarding school and college) -- and this new freedom over-rode the potential awkwardness of visiting a theme park alone. I wanted to see what America meant in France, how it was bought and sold and translated over here. I wanted to see if the precise recipe of commercialized but ultimately well-conceived Americana could succeed here without tasting like photocopy. Would the dreams still be full-color, like they are here, in the Florida and California sunshine? I'd seen a documentary about Euro Disney's financial failures against initial expectation, and I love huge commercial enterprises in ruin most of all. I mostly took pictures, like when the weather turned:
6) Yes, I made everyone go to "The American Experience." We were drunk for about an hour (did you know Magic Kingdom doesn't serve drinks? They don't, but Epcot does. Champagne in France, obvs), and if I could go back in time, I wouldn't force anyone to sit through it rather than riding that buzz all the way to Imaginary Morocco. Howevs, if I hadn't been attacked so viciously for this decision, I would've made everyone go to the Hall of Presidents at MK (sober), which I think they would've liked less. ALSO if we hadn't visited The American Experience, we wouldn't've been outside at just the right moment for this lesbian couple taking photos of themselves to ask us if we wanted to take a photo of them which was a total lesbian moment, and then Cait got run over by a wheelchair.

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iv. Answering That Question

But then there are things I think would be valuable experiences that I haven't done but want to,

and then things that I think'd be valuable that I haven't done ... and never plan to, like these:

5) I've heard from those-in-the-know that heroin is the purest most ecstatic high ever but also instantly addictive. Plus, I'm high on life: sunshine, raspberries, unicorns, etc. Mostly, I'm freaked out by that scene in The Basketball Diaries when Leonardo DiCaprio's coming down from Heroin in a locked room. Also, that freaky baby crawling on the ceiling in Trainspotting, that was serious, imaginary babies freak me out. Also, heroin's so 90's!

4) Food's great, love it all day long, totally, but I'm not exactly a "foodie." There's absolutely nothing on earth I haven't tasted that I think I must taste to be alive -- I mean, most food tastes like other food, right, but different? Has tasting something new and exotic ever changed your life? I mean, obvs there's things you oughta taste that could become culinary staples, like salad & ice cream. But I'm not gonna taste pork chops then suddenly start preparing it for myself every night. There's only so many ways food can taste and so many feelings food can trigger. No interest in duck, quail, dinosaur, kangaroo, water buffalo, raw fish sushi, pigs, rabbits, or any other dead animals, especially ones with bones. Foodies always act like if you don't taste their latest concoction of dead animal and ambigious Chinese vegetables that somehow you're refusing to taste the very marrow of life itself, condemned always to a boring existence of Wonder Bread and American cheese. The last thing I need is another kind of food I enjoy shoving down my gullet, it's hard enough to choose meals as it is. I guess actually this isn't "something I think'd be valuable" and shouldn't be on this list, but too late, already written. And so well, too!

3) Once upon a time, my life's dream was to be one of seven strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. I'm too old now anyhow, but 'cause of the internet and the general abundance of digital, easy-to-reproduce media (and the reality-recap shows they spawn), being on reality television's officially lost its allure. In fact, I'm petrified of television in general, unless it's something I'm editing myself, like vlogs for my own website. (Speaking of vlogs, I'm gonna have to start interviewing replacements for Haviland in this interim period, like on The View. First up: Lozo. He's not a lesbian, but he's a lesbian supporter.) Like I don't wanna be one of those clips they show over & over on VH1 specials; Shandy confessing her hot tub tryst to her boyfriend, Bree throwing a fork at Stephen, Vanessa attacking Brandi's hair, Tyra yelling at Tiffany, Stephen slapping Irene in Seattle, OMG ... I start to hate myself after editing my own vlogs for a few hours, I'm sure I'd be appalled to witness what a real editor would do to me but it would've been nice if a camera-person'd been there to capture Cait getting hit by a wheelchair, as mentioned above. The woman goes: "you backed up into me!" as if it was her fault or something.

2) In the introduction to her essay collection A Little More About Me, Pam Houston talks about edges she's been to and mountains she's accepted she'll never climb and says that in the five years it's taken her to write this book, she's "run more than 40 whitewater rivers .. hiked in the backcountry more than 3,000 miles ... visited 43 countries on five continents ... had search parties sent out for me twice ... been on more than 400 planes and been told to get into crash position for landing four times ... been to every United State except North Dakota ... put a total of four hundred thousand miles on three different cars." In this interview, she says: "My father, when I was growing up, was very fond of saying, 'Pam, one of these days you are going to realize you spend your whole life lying face down in the gutter with somebody else's foot on your neck.' In many ways, the aim of my life has been to prove my father wrong."

Almost everything Houston's done is something I'd like to do one day, too, except for the essay where she camps out alone for a number of days in twenty-degree-below zero weather to build character. I've just spent a bazillion minutes trying to track down this essay, beginning with my shelves and ending with the often frustrating annals of the internet, to no avail. I'll just say I hate extreme temperatures, and if you own A Little More About Me, speak now!

1) Anything involving: forced socialization with large crowds of socially confident humans without interruption for long periods of time, waiting in really long lines.
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MY: And also [I liked] how you described yourself as the person who has friends that are slightly more adventurous than you, and it's your job to say, "Yeah, I'll do that." To make it okay.
EILEEN: It's like telling the story from Sancho Panza's point of view, not the hero, but the hero's friend. It's a more passive position, but you can describe everything that's going on from there because you're constantly watching.
(Interview w/Eileen Myles, Index Magazine )
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"I like to listen. I like to look and to watch. Maybe I have an Attention Surplus Disorder. The easiest thing in the world for me is to pay attention."
(Interview with Susan Sontag, The Paris Review, 1994)
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Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-26-2008

quote: "No body stops dreaming it's twenty-five or twelve, or ten, when what's possible's a long road poplars curtain against lost, able to swim the river, hike the culvert, drive/through the open portal, find the gold hive dripping with liquid sweetness." (From "Cancer Winter," Marilyn Hacker)
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links: (1) My hero Sam Anderson on blogging's place in literature, his review of Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks of the Wild Web: "Don't LOL" (@nymag), (2) The L Word, Episode 508 RECAP (@autostraddle), (3) ANTM Recap (@fourfour), (4) Write Like Nobody's Watching: Janice Earlbaum Explains Why You Should Have a Journal (@thepublishing spot)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-25-2008

quote: "Were she foolish enough to ask herself 'Who am I?' , she would fall flat on her face." (Clarice Lispector, Hour of the Star)

links: Frank Rich on Clinton's campaign: "The Audactity of Hopelessness" (@NYTimes), The Oddest Book Title Award (@Guardian UK), Seriously We Need to Whack Off This Guy, Tony Soprano-Style, Who's With Me (@CNN), Prime-Time Lolitas: The Nymphets of Prime Time Television (@RADAR).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

So I Turned it Up And Turned it Down and Turned it On

In 12th grade, my dorm elected me Fire Marshall. I remember giving an acceptance speech, but not what I said. Probably: "Thank you for trusting me to usher you to safety in case of an emergency. Please remember that when a building's on fire, you can't afford to waste time getting dressed! You must dash valiantly into the night in your knickers, camisoles and fuzzy-animal-head slippers! You can nip out, no judging!" JK. I probably said "SUCKERS! You're all gonna burn!" I'm pretty sure I ran unopposed; it all happened too quickly for me to really consider the impact this election might have on my future. Somehow I ended up on Student Council that year too, though I can't recall if I campaigned for that. I was Secretary. I wrote funny notes read by the whole student population. That was good practice for blogging. Anyhow, the future is now, and I'm grateful that I've already got so much election experience.

But first, let's just get this out of the way: we all know I don't deserve this "Lesbo Blog of the Year" honor. The best lesbian blog of the year is not "This Girl Called Automatic Win." It's OBVIOUSLY "Come on Ilene." In this delightful OurChart-hosted vlog series, Ilene Chaiken makes meatballs while explaining her L Word plot choices. I admire Ilene for her seamless combination of cookery and chatting, like Martha Stewart (who, p.s., if she met you, would probably stick cheeseballs in your eyes). Furthermore, she's the creator of Showtime's hit series The L Word. The only person who could possibly dethrone Ilene is Max, but his podcast is so good, they're keeping it a secret, like the lesbo YA novel "Keeping You A Secret."

Anyhow, for some reason Ilene wasn't nominated, so I'm left to battle it out with four other blogs not written by Ilene Chaiken. Sooo ...

I noticed that Lesbian Dad, one of the other nominees, posted a blog where she said sweet things about all of us and endorsed her own candidacy. That seemed nice, that's the real spirit of this contest, like Lilith Fair! In fact, all the other nominees have posted nice, amicable posts announcing their candidacy, saying pleasant things about the others when appropriate and encouraging their readers to vote for whomever deserves it. I've basically just been like "everyone vote for me now!" That's how I used to get pudding as a child, see photo.

Speaking of children: I've sort of acted like a child about all this, 'cause I've got a chronic inability to conduct myself professionally and/or take myself seriously, and I don't want to seem like an asshole. I've wondered, "What do these strangers think of me?" and I imagine these kinds of judgments: "Is that girl called 'automatic *cough* win' trying to ride her (fading) youth & (arguable) beauty all the way to the bank w/o even bothering to read Strunk & White?" I'm pretty judge-able ... 'cause I just ... say things. I abbreviate words and sell underwear. My friends are smokin' hot and I talk about things that seem frivolous on the surface, but I promise are bursting with depth if you dig deep enough. And so ... this is that post that everyone else already did last week when I was too caught up in the pure entertainment of it all/riding the Rock n'Rollercoaster. So I'm gonna be totally mature right now and not be the teenaged randomized aggro candidate of yesteryear. I mean, these other women don't have Lozo's penis gunning for them. 'Cause yes, I am honored to be nominated, and they all deserve to auto-win. Srsly.

I wish I could just do "teacher voice" and become mature and say mature things, I seem unable to do that when faced with a keyboard.

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This is a funny time though, too, w/r/t this nomination -- 'cause honestly, The L Word recaps really take a lot out of me -- I think this being the third season I've done, I'm just getting kinda burnt out, it's been many hours. And I refuse to quit, 'cause I'm clearly completely out of my mind. Also, I've been trying actively to adopt a lot of healthier habits in 2008 -- which don't enable L Word recaps quite like last year's did. And I'm also trying to polish a lot of stylistic and grammatical issues 'cause I basically write as the words come into my head and edit later -- and I wanna get faster and tighter. And wetter, obvs.

ALSO I JUST HEARD GUNSHOTS FIRED OUTSIDE MY WINDOW LIKE EIGHT FUCKING GUNSHOTS!!! Someone just went down in Planet Harlem, mark my words.

Anyhow! I feel bad that I haven't been able to update as frequently this month as you may've gotten used to. If you don't read the L Word recaps, I'm disappointing right now -- or maybe I'm not, mostly these are standards I set for myself. I mean, remember when I was posting almost every day? I do. That's when I was Emily Dickinson, it was a period of great productivity and very intensely focussed despair. But ... things are getting ... better. And not in a blindly optimistic way, but in real ways that I can touch and feel ... ways that make me laugh and smile.

I've been doing a lot of reading and a lot of thinking, too, about what I really want ... like out of life? I think when you barely even want to live (aren't making a living) (and are harboring a lot of anger and confusion) the big picture vanishes -- you do what you have to do to get through the day. And for me, that meant that for a large chunk of last year, I just wrote this blog and ate peanut butter crackers. I may never get back to that place where I posted 10,000 word epics or brand-new vlogs every day, but I'll be back to normal productivity (3-4 posts/week) in April, post-L Word. Like you might actually see Sunday Top Tens on Sunday.

But it's a transitional time for me & a lot of the people in my life right now -- clearly. I mean, Haviland's in Los Angeles, how did that happen. But it's also a good time. I've had fun just about every day this month with only a few exceptions. I've been digging 2008. Obvs ... I mean, you read the Auto-Fun. I mean ...

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So I have one thing to say: Sashey, Shatey, Shante Shante Shante. No, I'm gonna tell you about the other blogs -- how we are the same, yet how we are different. Just like gay people. All the same, because they're all gay, but also different, because some of us have puppies and some of us like apples and some of us like ten-inch purple dildos. Also, some of us don't like Jenny, which is fine, except that people who don't like Jenny are wrong.

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Dorothy Surrenders: I've actually been a fan of Ms. Snarker for a year or so now. Her writing -- "a gay gal's guide to pop culture" -- is tight, witty and relevant. Her pre-L Word run-downs, complete with a fourfour-ish knack for snappy telling screenshots, manage to do in about 300 words what it takes me 30,000 to accomplish. Her fingers are on the pulse of lesbian media and she isn't afraid to apply feminist criticism when necessary, like this week's look at the Scarlett/Natalie W Magazine Cover.

How are we similar? The L Word, a fondness for women in menswear, crushes on Jodi Foster and a suspicion that most sexy starlets who act gay are, in fact, gay. We both have regular segments -- she's got Straight Girls Acting Like Gay Girls, Naked Lady Mondays, and Weekend Crushes; I've got The Sunday Top Ten (occasionally: the Tuesday Top 8, Thursday Top 6 or Week-Long Top 15, I like to switch it up), and um, other segments I maintained for approximately 1-5 posts, like the Carousel of Progress, Great Mysteries of Life, etc. I've been good w/Auto-Fun. Anyhow ...

How are we different? I write about myself alot but also pop culture and books and stuff, she focuses only on pop culture. I'm cluttered, she's reliable -- she gets to the point and makes it well without excessive tangential journeys. She has not, as far as I know, shared photographs of herself or live-blogged a mental breakdown. She's got a real gig blogging for AfterEllen, I've got an imaginary gig blogging for my belly button.

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Lesbian Dad:

First, let's talk about what Lesbian Dad said about mememememe, 'cause it made my heart swell:
"Ebullient, hilarious, very verbally zingy. A pop culture junkie, which predilection she humors in a spin-off blog dedicated to a blow-by-blow of each L-Word episode, complete with the incredulous dialog of her Greek Chorus of chums."

"When I was young and spry — particularly on the crest of coming out — I’d have felt, reading Automatic Win, that a life of lesbianism could be downright fun. Rather than what I first thought it was, in 1982 when I came out: a blighted but inevitable path which no one I knew was treading except my sweetie and me, surrounded as we were by theoretically bisexual, understanding and supportive straight friends. All power to the internet, sisters. But the madcap world Automatic Win depicts — memorably rendered by Riese in loose, inventive language, undergirded with a wry self-deprecation — is, alas, quietly but determinedly slipping into my past. Reading her gives me a blog’s-eye-view of the Younger Generation, the lesbo Sex In The City set. Only the more hipster version. With far more text messaging. And irony. And about ten years younger. "
How are we similar? She IS a Lesbian Mom (or "lesbian dad") ... I HAVE a Lesbian Mom. One day I'll probs be a Lesbian Mom, I'm waiting to get pregnant like in Village of the Damned so that my daughter will have laser-beam eyes and no-one will fuck with us at Wal-Mart. LD went to UC-Berkley, I went to University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and those schools are similar 'cause they're both heavily populated by dirty hippies. We both studied English and Women's Studies, except that she has hands-on experience too, as in: she was actually a Lesbian Avenger, which makes her automatically 150% cooler than me forever. I like what she says in her "about me" when she describes her affiliation with the "Walt Whitman" system of writing: "Whitman tinkered with what he wrote over and over, past its first and second and umpteen print publications." (Rather than the Gertude Stein school: "first draft best draft." Obvs that's not the case, especially when ambien is involved. Speaking just for me now.)

How are we different? She writes about raising children, I write about being a child. She posts cute photos of children, I post cute photos of twentysomething girls who like to dress in hoodies or costumes. She has several legitimate writing spots on various queer parenting venues, I have several blogs.

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Sugar Butch Chronicles: First of all, her banner is hot. Sugar Butch talks way dirtier than Tina Kennnard, for sure. Her writing is trance-like and thoroughly, openly and explicitly erotic. She addresses gender/queer representation confidently and with the education/experience to make good points. Her goals are "to encourage lesbian sex and sexuality in ALL its various forms and manifestations, to spark conversations about gender and kink and power and sex in whatever might feel good to you and your lover." She mentions fisting like within the first two lines of the last post I read, score!

How are we similar? Well, we both dislike eating dead animals and celebreality. Also, we've both been published in erotica anthologies -- in Cleis anthologies, too! We both like having sex with girls. Also, we both enjoy making out with girls in bathrooms, and possibly have been kicked out of the bathroom for this very reason.

How are we different? Sinclair has a lot of labels, e.g., "kinky queer butch top feminist sex educator." I'm just "weirdo almost-hipster." I notice this a lot, especially in the sex writers circuit, that these words mean a lot to some lesbians and are vehemently unspoken by others. I don't hear "butch" or "femme" a lot in my circles. I'm not sure if "masculine" or "feminine" enable greater clarity or even mean the same thing, but those are the words I use generally (which intrinsically conforms to the limiting gender dichotomy, innately tying one's gendered expression to either "male" or "female" poles, lacking an ambiguous non-gendered adjective entirely separate from the existing patriarchal linguistics). I think I say "boyish" and "girly." Or -- especially when referring to the girls I usually go for -- "androgynous." I like the words "genderfuck" or "genderqueer."' Ultimately I admire SugarButch, and many sex writers like her I've met at various lesbian sex writer hoo-has, for carrying it on in whatever context speaks solidly in defense of their experience. Because her writing is super-hot, and anything that reminds people that lesbian sex, even when it's not between two plastics at a Malibu poolside, is delicious and wet and delightful.

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Hahn at Home is a 46-year old mother with teenage kids in Sacramento, California. We are 56% sure we actually saw her last week at Disney World, so Hahn at Home, if you're reading this and you were at MGM studios on Monday the 18th of February -- HOLLA! If not, then there's another lesbian Mom out there who looks like you, were we to pass this lesbian Mom at lightning speed and then try to judge her appearance from behind, walking backwards. That's a good sign for queer visibility. Apparently Hahn won last year but felt that people cheated and voted for her more than once, and then honorably refused to accept her prize, passing it on to the super-awesome Curly McDimple, who I met last year at the Blogger Wienie Roast located in Timbuktu, Brooklyn. That's really honorable. You guys -- feel free to vote as many times as you can, I don't have a serious soul.

How are we similar? Like Lesbian Dad, I must point out that Hahn is a Lesbian Mom and I have a Lesbian Mom. Also my Lesbian Mom has adopted kiddos like her, so really, we're basically bosom buddies. We both post photos of ourselves. She updates regularly and has a serious following; her writing is clear and casual and intimate without being too personal. I think we both trust our readers, which might not make sense -- but it does, to me, and it probs does to her, too.

How are we different? Obvs, again -- this woman somehow manages to blog, work and raise three kids on her own, whereas I somehow manage to barely raise myself. I don't think I could even pack my own lunch. Really on the surface there's nothing at all similar about us except that it seems we apply the same probing eye to what our daily experiences and the experiences of our friends/family/lovers mean about society, ourselves, and specifically how it feels to be the age we are. When I have a baby, I'm gonna give it a mohawk and then take lots of photos, it's gonna be awesome.

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How am I different from everyone? Two words: vlog vlog. No, JK. I think the main difference is that I'm all the fuck over the place -- I looked at my labels, which I'm terrible at applying properly so they really mean nothing -- see sidebar, I've added it for a brief moment of navel-gazing. Somehow "It's Britney Bitch," "Near Mental Breakdown," "Drinking on the Job," "Liberal Politics," "The Gym," "A Shot At Love With a Bunch of Lunatics," "Literacy," "My Hair," "Lozo" and "Magazines" are all on the same list.

It's hard to describe what it is I do here -- I talk about myself a lot. There's vlogs, underwear, lists of bad music, number one feelings and contests in which I purport to give away Haviland's underthings and Lozo's hand in marriage. Cait recently asked me if there's anything I won't do "for the cultural experience" or "'cause it'd be blog-worthy" (she asked me this re: "The American Experience") I think -- as much as I hate other people and wish I could live inside a cave talking to no-one forevs and evs -- I'm simultaneously addicted to the balmy undersides or garish presentations of psyche, cultural norms, history and existence, constantly questioning and probing, stuffing as much life into each day as possible. Because obvs my life philosophy remains that I don't want to say that I ever wasted time doing something unoriginal or boring, that I was always learning, that I tasted as much as I could of the world before leaving it. And then wrote all about it.

I engage my audience in intra-web social drama and catastrophe. I pretend blog is a forum for internet performance art -- poetry slamming with mysterious anonymi at 3 A.M., deleting my entire blog when someone makes me feel censored, publishing the letter that fired me, writing half an entry on something and calling it "crazytown" in the morning. And unwillingly but eventually for the greater good -- letting all of you watch my life kinda fall to pieces though I wouldn't tell you why 'til later ... and then building a cave in my room and refusing to exit except for a trip to the Hustler Club with Lozo. I do a lot of things "just to see what will happen," 'cause I think life is my private chemistry set for better and for worse. So that's what I do here. That's my bloggity blog blog.

It's become more than just a blog to me but a sort of community that offers viewers enough entertaining and quality writing and referrals to entertain and also a more in-depth interactive involvement with the auto-universe through commenting, donating to the tip jar, buying merch, joining the Facebook group or making out with me. If this was a sorority, I think this is the part where I'd make you drink a lot and then roll around in chocolate pudding and then kick [sic] [I meant "lick," but clearly this is the best typo ever] it off each other. Yum. These women are fantastic and I think the one thing we all have in common is that we're pretty dedicated to "blogging."

Ultimately -- I don't need to be the lesbian blogger of the year, because my Mom already thinks I'm pretty no matter what. But seriously, they have this RuPaul doll at rainbow depot and it's autographed by RuPaul, and I need it. Vote auto-win.

"You Better WORK!"
-RuPaul

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-23-2008

VOTE!
quote: "Unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don't do it." (Charles Bukowski, "so you want to be a writer")

links: Why do Fashion Guides for Women Still Exist? (@The Smart Set), Is New York still the city of dreams for writers? (@chronicle of higher ed), Solitude vs. Loneliness (@psychology today), Why We Kiss (Scientific American), 10 Best Cussing Scenes in Movies (@nerve screengrab)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day :: 2-22-2008

quote: "I don't feel wise. Why is it that human beings are allowed to grow up without the necessary apparatus to make sound ethical decisions?" (Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body)

links: (1) Marshall Herskovitz (co-creator of My So-Called Life) discusses launching the webseries quarterlife -- and also addresses with trademark poignancy the distinctly male environment of the internet and argues that "The further I've gotten into the Internet, the more I've become convinced that we've explored only a tiny corner of what it can mean and what we can feel there." (@slate.com) (2) Kurt Anderson analyzes the demographic destiny of voters in the Clinton-Obama race. E.g., "You are so weird, New Jersey!" (@nymag), (3) Inside the Mind of The 16-Year-Old Boy (@nytimes blog), (4) Sadie Magazine, "where feminism meets arts meets grrls" has launched! (@sadie), (5) Janice Earlbaum on writer's block (@girlbomb).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day::2-21-2008

quote: "I've been out as a lesbian for many years. I've stood on many stages in many cities and yakked on and on about being a lesbian. But as soon as I talk to someone from Lansing, especially someone older, I use the ability to say the "l" word. I was assuming, well, hoping, that George and Esther already knew. When I was home, Esther had said to me, "We've been hearing about your work in New York. It sounds very interesting." I latched onto the word "interesting." In my mind it becomes a midwestern word which means "deep love and acceptance for lesbians."" (Lisa Kron, "A Few Notes from the Midwest and Abroad")

links: (1) The Poetry Foundation's brilliant new project -- match great poems with great graphic artists for "The Poem as Comic Strip." Its mission statement & project archives can be found here, (e.g, Emily Dickinson!) (@poetry.org), (2) Interview with Ellen Forney on her new book of Illustrated Personal Ads (@the reverse cowgirl), (3) Newsweek investigates college sex mags and asks why people who talk about sex all the time aren't having any: "On-Campus Sexperts" (@newsweek), (4) It is becoming abundantly clear that I'm going about life all wrong, the new culprit is clutter: "Oprah's Clutter-Man: It's Never About the Stuff" (@mediabistro), (5) You're all gonna feel bad for not loving the Indigo Girls when you see this. (@youtube), (6) Statistics on email snooping (@salon), (7) Sneaker Shopping Party! (@nymag)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday Top Eight: It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

This weekend I had the esteemed privilege of visiting the real "Carousel of Progress" (inspiration for my "Carousel of Progress" blog segment), now located permanently in Tomorrowland, Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida. Howevs, my so-called friends didn't exactly grasp the glory of this laid-back journey into innovations past -- post-Carousel, Cait wouldn't even look at me and Natalie used it against me later when she wanted to ride this lame-o car thing. Believe it or not, this silence/blackmail treatment was a much more promising response than the group reaction to "The American Experience" at Epcot (also my idea -- I sort of go crazy at Disney, like I fully had maps and itineraries and stuff, which made everyone's heads explode), which I thought they'd never forgive me for. As soon as the lights went up, Cait said, "I can't talk to you for about ten minutes." Also though, I feel it was all very educational and they'll thank me later, probs around Christmas-time when someone breaks out the Trivial Pursuit.

So yes, last weekend I went to Disneyworld w/Cait, Alex and Natalie. It was wonderful! Magic! We made memories! Seriously, I can't talk about it right now, I miss it a lot, I'm moving to Tom Sawyer Island, my number one feeling is nostalgia. Actually, my number one feeling is "sick," 'cause I am. My glands are plum-sized, and the turbulent flight that made us all puke this morning didn't help this throat/ears situation. Luckily, I didn't start feeling sick 'til last night, so it didn't ruin our lovely weekend.

We Love Magic!
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Normally in this state of illness, I'd be lying in bed moaning softly to myself while reading. Howevs, now that I'm a finalist in the Lesbian Blog of the Year contest and receiving a lot of referrals, I figured I should probs update my blog so as to look deserving. I don't want people thinking Auto-Fun is all I do, 'cause obvs Auto-Fun's really like the potato product to the beefy entree of the blog posts themselves. I don't like beef, except cheeseburgers, but you get my drift. In the future, there will be no beef, only robots and spaceships, FYI. I've been to Tomorrowland, I know whereof I speak. Also I'm an astronaut, see photo, to the right to the right. So you have to vote for me now -- it's really important; if I don't win I'm going to scream and cry. Also, thanks for getting me this far kids, you're special people, I mean that.

So, back to my topic. Urm, I like things like the Carousel of Progress 'cause I love robot-people, a.k.a., auto-animatronic figures. I like history and I love old-school Disney stuff created to promote bizarre outdated American propaganda and a quaint exclusive belief that family, national history and Inventions are the foundation of society/alleged prosperity. (In truth, the foundation of our society is money, drugs and sex, obvs.) I just find it interesting from a cultural P.O.V., especially in comparison to my childhood memories of these exact shows. Also, I think it's super-weird and obvs I love weird stuff. For example, my friends are total weirdos; Natalie spent the entire flight to Orlando talking to the flight attendants in the back of the plane, seriously, the entire flight. She got free wine and cashews too. This is why Natalie is a Supreme Being, and one of my heroes for life.

When I told my Mom that everyone hated me after "The American Experience" she fully understood my affections: "It's like animated wax figures!" OBVS. My Mom gets me: we're bonded 'cause when I was a little fetus, I lived inside her belly for nine months, we had a lot of feelings together.

Howevs: we all decided that every Disney ride (aside from the 'coasters and Splash Mountain) could be improved by a sudden steep drop at the end. For example, Cait suggested that The American Experience end with the Mark Twain/Albert Einstein robot (he claimed to be the former, but looked like the latter, who yes, isn't American, but whatevs) saying, "Oh, BTW: gravity!" and then the whole theater just going WHOOSH and -- A DROP. You know?

Anyhow, The Carousel of Progress, which, as I said, my friends didn't appreciate, was a very cathartic experience and inspired me to think about all the ways in which progress hasn't been actual "progress" but rather "annoying." Coincidentally, I do think about this periodically for your entertainment in a little Segment I call "The Carousel of Progress." Previous editions include: COP: Melted Cheese/Dead Poets Edition (May '07), COP: Beverage Bottles, Google Empire, Transportation, Interns (May '07), COP: Promise I'll Be Perfect From Now On (Jan '08). This one, inspired by the number of "new-fangled inventions" cited on the ride, will cover some historical things that I wish we still used. It will be shorter than the introduction.

Also amazing: the real COP hasn't been updated since '94, so the "family of the future" is wearing virtual reality helmets, talking to their oven, and sporting high-tops, striped rugby shirts and pleated pants. Apparently the COP was Walt Disney's favorite attraction so they're not allowed to take it down ever, I dunno, there are some crazy COP fans out there. Hurrah! I'll be torturing my children with this in twenty years!
The COP focused heavily on electricity and so forth (it was originally sponsored by General Electric), like, "We've got this fancy gas lamp nowadays" and, "It only takes seven days to get to California by railroad train!" So I got to thinking about seriously old-school stuff that I wish we still had.

Wednesday Top Eight/Carousel of Progress: It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

8. Horses
First off, you can ride a horse home even if you're drunk. I mean, I wouldn't recommend it, but it's possible. Also: less pollution. In 8th grade, our Sex-Ed guest-speaker told us that girl horseback riders probs have special sexual thoughts while riding, which I don't think was true ... though it stirred up a lot of controversy among the disproportionately large horseback riding population of my dork-school. Another advantage to horses is that they're less expensive and they can talk, like Mr. Ed.

7. Non-Digital Cameras
Now that digital cameras are an option, you've gotta have one, otherwise everyone else is gonna have way cuter photos than you 'cause they deleted the ugly ones even before the three-second auto-save kicked in. But I miss the surprise -- that eager awaiting of your mysterious post-vacation photo development. Also -- I miss the efficiency afforded by winging it. Like: take the photo, the end. There's no taking it, checking it, taking it again, checking it, taking it again ... and so on. There are advantages to Digital Cameras, but my glands hurt so that's all I'm gonna say about that.

6. Telegrams
I'm not sure how these worked exactly, but I feel like it forced people like me to choose sparse and specific poetry over endless ramblings, and forced people like you to choose sparse and specific poetry over the telephone, which I loathe. Honestly most of my knowledge of telegrams comes from YA Historical Fiction novels where the protagonists received a telegram that Papa had got himself killed or had his leg blown off in World War I or whathaveyou. Really I just don't like the phone.

5. Record Players
They feel organic. I like the way albums look, and how they age, and the scratchy sound that may or may not be how records actually sound. They remind me of being a kid and leafing through my parents' collection of Beatles albums. I remember the smell. As far as I know, mp3s do not have a smell: they're just another set of words on a screen, like everything. Also records are super hipster now, yeah? And I'm an almost-hipster. So.

4. Letters in the Mail
I like e-mail too, but I really love old-fashioned letters. I've talked about this before, I think. Pen pals and so on? I won't repeat myself.

3. Dirty Books and Magazines
I feel there was something elementally pure about the (proverbial) old days when kids would discover sex by digging up an old magazine or finding a steamy scene in a pulp fiction novel, rather than clicking on a computer and seeing some weirdo woman made out of plastic getting sperm sprayed in her eye. Sexual activities are highly personal, generally intimate, and ridiculously specific and it seems our first encounters with sex should be either actual or, at the very least -- personal, intimate and specific. Books force you to engage your imagination in a way that television and movies, by definition, don't.

2. Knickers/"Knickerbockers"
UPDATE: My usage of this term has been questioned in the comments section, so let me clarify. The term "knickers" is now generally used to refer to underwear. Howevs, if you read pre-electricity lit, you'll notice that "knickerbockers" are commonly referred to as "knickers."

"The term "Knickerbockers" traces its origin back to the Dutch settlers who came to the New World — and especially to what is now New York — in the 1600s. By the late 19th century, the term had come to mean the style of breeches the settlers wore that buckled just below the knee, which became known as "knickerbockers," or "knickers".

"Until World War II, in the USA and Canada boys customarily wore short pants in summer and knickerbockers or "knickers" (or "knee pants") in winter." (Wikipedia)
Anyhow, I always wanted to wear Knickers like in Newsies. They're not really flattering, and some mainstream fashion providers have unfortunately attempted to co-opt the Spirit of Knickers into Capri pants, which are not the same thing. A lot of my pants that I think are long pants turn out to be knickers at heart 'cause I'm too tall for pants. I think baseball players still wear knickers, right? That's a funny word, knickers. I wonder if I have any NyQuill around.

1. Treehouses
As expressed in the Tegan & Sara song "Come on Kids," "we've got trees we've yet to live in." While in the D-World, we obvs took a climb around the legendary Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. It's probs the best ever made. I've decided that when I get older I am going to live in a tree like The Swiss Family Robinson. When it rains, I will wash my hair, and when it's cold, I'll curl up by the fireside and write letters to Mama, B., and Grandmama. I'll be like Julia Butterfly except with no purpose. Seriously, we were taking notes on the design of this thing. How hot would it be if I blogged from a treehouse? Then I'd win the contest for sure. I'd need a waterproof computer though and a better hairstyle (also waterproof), someone invent that stuff STAT.

You may notice that knickers are being worn in the center photograph.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-19-2008

Promise, I'll be putting up a real blog post super-soon. I was about to pass off the blame to Kick-Ass Fun, JetBlue, or Ilene Chaiken, but clearly it's my fault. I accept that. YES WE CAN.
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quote: "I hope you appreciate that I'm doing all my own stunts." (Kermit, to the Audience, The Muppet Movie)
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links: (1) Rosie on the recent L Word episode featuring a show called ... The Look (@rosie.com). (2) If I win, you'll get to see Lozo's goods, no lie: Totally Better Than a Dyke Duck (@WDWGDAB). (3) Beverly Clearly, my favorite author ever and the creator of my first fashion icon, Ramona Quimby, interviewed: Muse of Klickkat Street (@Oregon Live)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-18-2008

quote: "First off ... thanks to y'all and your fundamental awesomeness as people, I'm a finalist for the Greatest Lesbian Blogger Ever Award. Seriously, this's not even just about the dyke duck anymore ... if I win this, then that'll mean this year I've already won a Sweat-Drop Award and a Lesbian Blog Award, and seriously, it is not even March yet. So that'd be a pretty good sign, as far as future peace & prosperity for all humans is concerned. So between today (the 18th) and March 3rd, I need you, your mothers, lovers, friends, enemies, frenemies, annoying cats and local postal carriers to go here and vote for memememe ... or for one of the other wonderful ladies nominated for this prize, who probs deserve it too, maybe more. You decide. But also: vote or die. Just sayin' ... " (me, "This Girl Called Automatic Win")

links:
  • Just like me, Patrice O'Neal enjoys buffets. (@NY Mag Grub Street)
  • "Was there ever a time you thought -- I am doing this on purpose. I'm fucking up and I don't know why." The consistently compelling A.M Homes (The Safety of Objects, Music For Torching, some good eps of "The L Word") has a new story, "May We Be Forgiven." (@Granta)
  • Learning to Smoke. (@Esquire)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-17-2008

quote: "There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you'll be free if you truly wish to be. If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it." (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)

links:
  • The Daring Book for Girls ... "Just like Genesis, a chip off the old spare rib." (@The Times UK)
  • This kinda makes me sad: Is PBS still Necessary? (@The NYTimes)
  • I will be really sad if people stop paying me to write their college admission essays, but it could totally happen ... "Admissions Officers Wary of Slick Essays" (@The Boston Globe)
  • America just has way too many stores. (@Slate)
  • Susan Sontag's final wish: "she wanted hope, a reason to believe she would survive cancer. In a candid interview, her son, David Rieff, discusses his mother's battle to live and his struggle to hide the truth. (@Salon)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-16-2008

Quote: "I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be six or sixty. Call the child "innocence". The worst of us is not without innocence, although buried deeply it might be. In my work I try to reach and speak to that innocence, showing it the fun and joy of living; showing it that laughter is healthy; showing it that the human species, although happily ridiculous at times, is still reaching for the stars." (Walt Disney)

Links:
  • Tom Stoppard on the Nabakov debate: Burn It. (@The Times UK)
  • "There's nothing wrong with doing nothing" on vaycay (@The NY Times)
  • Generation Obama! (@The Nation)
  • The crazy-ass shit we do to get into the right classes in college (Wharton is the worst, apparently), taken to task: Class Warfare -- When Getting In is the Hardest Part (@The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day:: 2-15-2008

quote: "You believe that everything outside you ("reality") is a reflection of your perceptions, thoughts, ideas, etc. In other words, that you can see, feel, hear, understand the world. Other people. I don't believe that. I believe that I'm so apart from the world, from other people, that I have to explain everything to every single person to such an extent in order to communicate at all, that, for me, communication's almost impossible." (Kathy Acker, My Mother: Demonology)

Links:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day::2-14-2008

quote: "She fights and vanquishes in me, and I live and breathe in her, and I have life and being." (Miguel de Cervantes)

links:

Thursday Top 20: What The Snowman Learned About Love

It is a truth universally acknowledged that my itunes playlists are, by and large, "depressing," so you might think I'm too young to keep a good love song from goin' wrong. (Name that co-opted literary quote and co-opted song lyric, win a sticker!). I think it's 'cause I write while listening to music, and upbeat music w/aggressive lyrics is distracting, hip-hop's not really conducive to my process (my process is very complicated and involves a lot of feelings), and mostly 'cause if I'm writing and a hot track pops up that makes me wanna dance, what can I do? I can't dance and write simultaneously, I can barely dance at all as it is. Like "I Want You Back" just came on coincidentally, and what can I do? This song makes my number one feeling "dancing" instantly! But I'm going to sit here, tap my foot, and write this bitch. I'm listening to the "because of now" playlist. Very illuminating, my playlist titles. (Others, constantly vying for alphabetic superiority, include: a girl-girl thing, all we have is each other, and if i ever feel better, august melts, and so it is, all we have is now, are you happy now, baby it's cold outside, back in my head, beyond words, can't come quickly enough, cause we're young, c'mon get happy, crazy, dance party, destruct, drive, fair, get it out, holiday magic, hot fun in the summertime, july! july!, lesbian road trip, party party party, seasonal affective disorder, sunday, wistful night music, work it work it, writing).

Oh first of all, speaking of Love Songs, Monday night we time-traveled to 1994 Pop Paradise to partake in the cultural event that is the Spice Girls Reunion Tour. It's hard to put into words, because it was music, and writing about music is like dancing about architecture. That's probs my number-one dance move: 'architecture.' I'm not exactly a music journalist, though I did a killer story in '02 about Sugarcult and a killer post in '07 called "Musical Memoirs." So what can I say ...
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Mostly I was concerned about their feelings: I think Posh and Ginger are both totally over it, but they're both hot, so it's cool, and the other three were clearly having a legitimately fabulous time. I'd never realised how smokin' hot Scary Spice is! Sporty -- my fashion icon -- can actually sing, too. The costumes were mind-blowing, the dancing was incredible, seriously it was like a SHOW, and I'm used to seeing like, lesbians with guitars, not lights & music & Ginger looking Haviland right in the eyes. It was a true pop music spectacular the likes of which I've never seen before in my life and probs never will again, because I'm old. Unless there's a New Kids on the Block reunion tour, clearly I'd be there in a hot minute. I think many of our feelings are best summarized by this photo of Alex:

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Spice Up Your Life! Seriously, Go For It!
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I made a "Auto-Win Lovesongs" CD to send out with pre Valentine's Day auto-apparel, and it took a really long time to assemble. Srsly. Love songs are complicated. Like, for example -- what IS a love song? I tried initially to be true to myself, including what I actually feel are the top 20 auto-win love of my life songs, but then I realised that I'd earn a lot of massively unimpressed customers if I sent out a bunch of cds containing tracks like Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream" and Dave Matthews Band's "Crush 16," so I revised the list to be the top 20 auto-win love of my life songs that aren't embarrassing. Then I decided to make the liner notes this week's top 20, therefore killing 20 songbirds with one rolling stone.

1. Love Song - The Cure
It's called "love song," for one thing. It's pure unapologetic feeling that manages sentiment without sentimentality, it's probs one of the top 10 love songs ever. You can disagree with me, that's fine, I will never love you, no matter how far away, how long you stay, etc.

2. Might Tell You Tonight - Scissor Sisters
Exuberant, catchy, golden -- this song is about brand-spanking-new love, being in love with a total critter -- like, yeah! Wear your sweaters and don't get cold! I love your toothbrush by my mirror! I hope that we're together when we're old! This kid is on a bus towards a two-way street of love magic, when you're that excited to tell someone that you love them and that they should stay all your life, you're probs pretty sure they're gonna say it back. Also, the instruments, whatever they are, sound like glitter.

3. Tonight - Stars
This is like the on-again-off-again-treacherous-relationship piano ballad. It's about how people fight and throw things (I imagine a boy sitting at his window, staring mournfully at the sky, thinking video montage-style about all the times it hasn't worked and all the times it has) but maybe they could just look at each other and think "let's make it work tonight." That's a nice idea.

4. Day Too Soon - Sia
Did you guys know that Sia has a girlfriend ? I didn't. I discovered her via "Breathe Me"'s prominence in Six Feet Under and her new album, oddly drop-bombed in every Starbucks ever, is brilliantly titled "Some People Have Real Problems" and I like all her pretty sunshine songs about serious things even more now that I know she's thinking about a lady when she writes them. This one is super dreamy: "Honey I will stitch you, darling I will feel you in my heart." "You're never gonna put me down"! Aw. She's like, pick me up, perfect timing, let's fly!

5. Underwater - Tegan & Sara
This is a cynic-crumbling song, my favorite kind. It mocks itself and still yearns loudly and fully. "I would go to jail with only boys just to prove I was as tough as you"? Amazing. They even do an "oh-ohhhhh" thing on the chorus, like that's how pumped they are about "silly love songs"! Also, can't say enough about this line: "I'm a car crash but I have to get up, and every morning it's a clean-up."

6. Late at Night - Buffalo Tom
This is the song that plays during the greatest scene in television history: the last two minutes of Episode 12 ("Boiler Room") of My So-Called Life, when Jordan Catalano asks Angela if they can, like, go somewhere, and then ... well. You'll just have to watch it, and see.

7. This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - Natalie Cole
This was the first track on a V-Day mix I got in '06, and I used to listen to it every morning to get excited enough about life to leave our apartment. It kinda works. Also, Ellen and Sharon Stone dancing in the last scene of If These Walls Could Talk 2? Seals the deal.

8. In a Manner of Speaking - Nouvelle Vague
Nouvelle Vague covers classic new wave singles, exclusively. They transform them into Brazillian poppy songs that sound like slow-dancing on tip-toes. This song is perfect, it's the musical equivalent of looking someone in the eyes or touching their fingertips with your fingertips.

9. Let's Get it On - Marvin Gaye
Um, obvs.

10. It's Good to Be In Love - Frou Frou
This song is like a trick, because it sounds so peachy and frou frouy, like "omg, it totally IS good to be in love!" But in fact, she's just pissed off that her ex is in love without her and probs about to set his house on fire. Still, though.

11. Both Hands - Ani DiFranco
Sorry, I had to. It's just that this is the 90's acoustic lesbian love song that gave birth to all future 90's acoustic lesbian love songs. Also, there was this girl we were all sort of in love with at Interlochen, and she played this at open mic and said it was one of the best songs ever and I thought "right on." It's a scene, and you can see it, and the scene is a white room and a bed that's not big enough and the whole sum of us bringing itself to bear upon some naked moment of decision if it's worth it anymore. It's like this is where we are, and now, what next. "I am writing graffiti on your body/I am drawing the story of how hard we tried/I am watching your chest rise and fall/like the tides of my life/and the rest of it all,/and your bones have been my bed frame/and your flesh has been my pillow/I am waiting for sleep/to offer up the deep/with both hands."
I dunno. It just sounds to me like a song that was written by someone who means it.

12. I Wanna Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
Dude! Sometimes I just wanna hold your hand! Yeah!

13. First Day of Your Life - Bright Eyes
This video, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, is an indulgent fruit medley of gender-flexible hipster love, and it's so earnest it goes all the way past corny and back to earnest: "I think I was blind before I met you," “this is the first day of my life/I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you /But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you/And I’d probably be happy." It inspired me to write in my personification-of-'hoods erotica story for in the flesh: "But I love the coffee, and his small hug, how genuine he is about lying. We fuck, he cries and blogs and takes photos of my body parts in appropriately etheral shafts of light, under which he'll then lay gently upon me and make love to the part of my soul that still likes Bright Eyes." Obvs that was for Williamsburg. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that doesn't work for me in real life, but is nice to think about in theory. Like yeah, you sing softly, i sing softly, we all strum softly for weirdo love! Also the last line is: "I really think you like me" and he goes me-eee-ee-eee-ee and you're just like, aw. And then you're like, oh gross, Bright Eyes. Whatever, post-hipster, you love it.

14. On & On - Erykah Badu
This is like the sequel to "Let's Get it On." Or like, the DVD extras.

15. Always on My Mind - Pet Shop Boys
All the things we wanted to do but didn't, all the things we did when we already knew what we wanted but didn't know what to do about it, or did ... "little things I should've said and done, but I never took the time, you were always on my mind."

16. Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix
Last spring in her dark room and Maggie singing, Tara playing guitar, me playing girl-in-the-oversized chair without a musical bone to offer. Or uptown on the street during one of the only months of the year I actually enjoy -- the crisp prologue to summer -- this song. This pretty little song. It reminded me of heart flutters and while she played it, I breathed easy. I love the word "little." It's a word that means what it sounds like it means. It's that person who makes you feel fun & light but also so light that she could fly away at any moment, which is sort of okay, because she doesn't ask anything in return besides just to inspire a million smiles.

17. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
Call me a weirdo, but I have always believed with something resembling conviction that this is truly one of the best love songs ever written ever. He's totally humbled to this woman and I think he's awestruck by her beauty and the privilege he's got to be with her. I used to hear it when I was a little girl and wonder if my Dad ever felt that way about my Mom and wonder if one day someone would ever see me and feel like I was a beautiful lady walking around with them and know that if that ever happened, I'd be like the lady in the song who was too insecure to even know how loved she was and also dealt way too well with her drunkity drunk drunk husband.

18. I'm Your Man - Leonard Cohen
This scene in The L Word seems cheesy and improbable in conception and is absolutely flawless in execution. I never forgot it. Also, I can't make a love songs CD without Leonard Cohen on it, unless it's for someone who hates Leonard Cohen. And, sidenote: I don't know anyone else who's a Leonard Cohen fan really except for me, but I don't care, I don't need you guys, I can take care of myself!

19. My Love (T.I.) - Justin Timberlake
I just like the dance beat on this one. I'm not sure I'd want Timberlake's love, as he's sort of a narcissistic asshole, but if I knew how to dance, it'd be nice to dance to this song.

20. I Want You Back - The Jackson Five
Did anyone else think it was weird that Micheal Jackson sang this when he was like, 10? Like how could he have possibly not only ALREADY had a relationship, but ended it and wanted his girlfriend back? Or boyfriend, whatevs? Anyhow, I'm just into this song this week so it has to be on everything. Even though the lyrics are about fucking up and wanting somebody back, it's got the energy of "A-B-C, it's easy as 1-2-3!" 'Cause maybe it is, or something. Easy as , or not. Whatever. I wanna be a dolphin.
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The original playlist is titled "autowin love songs" and had 55 songs on it. The 35 songs that failed to make the final cut include: Beautiful (Aimee Mann), When I See You Smile (Bad English), The Luckiest (Ben Folds), Forever (Ben Harper), Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan), Save me from Myself (Christina Aguilera), Feel Like Makin' Love (D'Angelo), All I Ever Wanted (Depeche Mode), Here You Come Again (Dolly Parton), More Than Words (Extreme), Bohemian Rhapsody (The Fugees), I Need You Tonight (INXS), Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin), Alright (Kinnie Starr), Borderline (Madonna), The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side (Magnetic Fields), Everything I Need (Melissa Ferrick), Signs of Love (Moby), Turn off the Light (Nelly Furtado), Happy Valentine's Day (Outkast), Maybe I'm Amazed (Paul McCartney), Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd), Here Comes Your Man (The Pixies), Music to Fuck To (Portishead), We Danced Together (The Rakes), Baby You Got Me (The Roots), You Are the One (Shiny Toy Guns), Nothing Compares to You (Sinead O'Connor), Baby it's You (Smith), Beautiful (Snoop Doggy Dog), Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover (Sophie B. Hawkins), I Believe (Stevie Wonder), Nineteen (Tegan & Sara).
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I think though really that holidays exist so bloggers have automatic topics to write about. Sooner or later, heads explode, and ideas vanish into thin air.
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I love how pop songs seem profound
when we're in love,
though they wound us too sweetly,
never seriously enough.
I love the good home
cliches can find in an authentic voice.
-Stephen Dunn, "Loves"
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[gloria aniela]
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day::2-13-08

quote: "It would be embarrassing behavior if the person was real. But he wasn’t. He was a writer. The character was going to starve unless he made money on his art. Which was basically my ideal. Nobody ever told me how to live, they told me what not to do. In all these books about the lives of artists that I read, I mean they weren’t guide books but they took the simple beliefs in art and freedom and carried them to outrageous lengths. I could do that. " (Eileen Myles, "Inferno")

links:
  • Now in English: A Conversation With Jorge Luis Borges (@Habitus)
  • I honestly couldn't care less about the Grammys, as they seem to have nothing to do with good music (neither do I, I just won the sweat-drop award, obvs), but I think I will pretty much read anything that Rich writes, and agree with every word, and be glad I read it, and so: Grammys Recap, grasshopper. (@fourfour)
  • Emo Caves For Everybody! Down With Happiness! (@newsweek)
  • The Planet Podcast for Episode 505 (@the planet cast)
  • It's your SECOND-TO-LAST DAY to vault me into lesbian-rubber-duck ownership by nominating me as the lesbian blogger of the year!!! Put the URL in the body of your comment -- I'm in the Top Three but Aiming for The High Valuts of Magic Shooting Stars so you must join ranks to make the dream a reality to achieve and, so on.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day :: 2-12-2008

quote: "Now there are some things we all know, but we don't take 'em out and look at 'em very often. we all know that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you'd be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There's something way down deep that's eternal about every human being." (Stage Manager, Thornton Wilder's Our Town)

links:

Monday, February 11, 2008

When Two Become One VLOG

Several thoughts happening at once in my head:

1. About two weeks ago, rolling down 125th in Cait's car with my weirdo friends, I noticed a strange noise and so I asked my traveling companions: "What is this music we're listening to? This is terrible. It sounds like a fake band from a Disney made-for-television afternoon movie ... like, there's five of them, and the lead singer is a ten-year-old girl wearing a Limited Too skort-set --" and Stef interrupted the evolution of this brill extended hypothetical situation with a swift declaration: "It's The Spice Girls."

I enjoyed their poppy singles back in the 90's, or whenevs they were popular and I was retarded, and I still believe that "2 become 1"is an enchanting and well-constructed pop ballad. Furthermore, Sporty Spice has been my fashion icon for as long as I've known how to tie my own shoes and I saw Spice World the day it came out. But apparently, aside from those seductive singles, they've created entire albums worth of terrible music, and tonight, because I must love terrible music, I will be attending the Spice Girls IN CONCERT in New Jersey. A winning combination, truly. It'll probs be awesome.

2. I won an award from the International Hyperhidrosis Society. It's the best thing I've ever received in my entire life on earth, see:

It's in the shape of a SWEAT DROP. You can't see it in the photo, but the bottom is blue, so when you hold it up to the light, the whole award looks blue. The only thing that could've made this award better is if Cyndi Lauper had accepted it for me.

3. I'm going to write a Sunday Top Ten on another day of the week, but not today. Seriously, I am all kinds of suck right now, but I think I'm gonna get my shit together in 2009.

4. I made a Vlog, kiddos. It might be the last one for many weeks 'cause Haviland's going away for a while, she's going to one of those camps where they teach you not to be gay. JK, she's going to Los Angeles. Lots of gays there, and I know, because I've seen The L Word. If I mysteriously come up with a vlog despite her absence, look closely: it could just be Lozo in a Haviland wig.

I didn't have a lot of footage left since I'm insane and made the last vlog over six minutes long, but I did what I could with what I have. Take these pebbles from my hands, grasshoppers:

Auto Fun of the Day :: 2-11-2008

quote: "When I'm standing up onstage; when I'm sitting in my studio at home writing songs; or when I'm laying in a fetal position in my storage room, wondering how to get through the next couple of months -- whatever experiences I'm having in my life, I look forward to those moments where I can change somebody's life, for just a second." (Tegan of Tegan & Sara, Alternative Press)

links:

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Auto-Fun :: Gradually Evolving Weekend Edition [Feb 9-10]

quote: "I am a man: little do I last/ and the night is enormous./ But I look up:/ the stars write./ Unknowing I understand:/ I too am written,/ and at this very moment/ someone spells me out." (Octavio Paz)

links:
  • "Involuntary hospitalization becomes still more complicated when you’re dealing with bipolar disease, the very nature of which is cyclical. Being crazy doesn’t make you stupid. As long as you refrain from attempting suicide, homicide or any other documentable action (legally, there needs to be “specific and articulable” evidence of your inability to function normally to continue a hold), you’re free to sign yourself out ... [by trying to avoid wrongful commitment] we have cast out Britney Spears, and others much less famous, from the havens where they might have been helped.": Learning from Britney Spears' Troubles (@NYTimes Op-Ed)
  • You guys, everyone is totally still reading after all: Dawn of the Digital Natives (@Guardian UK)
  • For those of you who still believe girls look better in thongs than in boyshorts, Lozo's store is open for business (@CafePress)
  • "How could I NOT have a crush on Obama?": Obama Girl (@nerve.com)
  • M is for Mememememe: Erotic Alphabet Contest (@cleis)
  • Nate from Gossip Girl swings at life as a teenage heartthrob. (@NYTimes)