Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday Top Eight: We're Unsure We're Unstop We're Unstoppable

Hi, welcome to the new and improved Tuesday Top Eight. 'Cause of "The L Word," I probs won't execute a timely Sunday Top Ten 'til about April. I asked y'all for ideas and you came out full force, per always, and so I'll be doing one of your! ideas! every week as a Tuesday Top Eight until the lesbian television season ends. If you get another top 10 idea -- because who knows where thoughts come from, they just appear -- y'know, there's no deadline, this isn't like, Harvard or The Spice Girls Reunion Tour. It's just a little blog. Bloggity blog blog with rolling admissions. You can even use the Common Application if you want. There's just a small matter of verifying your identity via the correct transcription of a series of oddly shaped letters. Also you should take AP Calculus. You don't have to, but you might want to consider it.

You guys, seriously, you know how sometimes I make jokes/self-deprecating statements like "I'm not funny anymore," or "one day I'm gonna run out of words/ideas/things to say"? OMGGG I was the girl who cried wolf! Now it's for real! No, not really. Seriously I've felt uninspired for about ten hours and I think it's the end of the world.

I don't talk alot about the process of writing, mostly because I'm in denial that I actually "write" things, like I'm a "writer," I tend to think more that like, I'm a producer of entertainment that happens to take place in letters forming words forming sentences forming paragraphs forming hopefully LOLs or Deep Thoughts. But from time to time I enter phases where -- for no particular reason (because moods don't correspond neatly to writing ability like they do for other vocations -- as in ... a happy person is more likely to be a better waitress, but a degree of happiness doesn't correspond that neatly to being a better writer -- nor does extreme sadness, or anything, moods and writing are closely related but certainly not easily predicted how they'll match up, you never know really 'til it's happening ... no rhyme or reason, so to speak ... ) -- my writing time becomes 50% writing, 50% staring at the wall. Luckily, I love the wall. I love all kinds of flat surfaces. You may recall that I frequently (redundantly, even) describe my adolescence (post-11.14.95) as a long period of time spent lying on the carpet staring at the ceiling fan. I'm not being dramatic when I say that; totes true.

I've been staring at the wall a lot. It's like, "What's up, Riese? I am a wall. You are not a wall, even though you have many complicated emotional walls and enjoy the album 'The Wall'." The usual idea-to-wall-staring ratio is like, 20:1, but it's been more 10:1 lately. That'll pass. I think the problem is I haven't been spending enough time reading. I mean, I still read more than most people, but I need to read about ten times more than most people, and since I spend less time on the train than I used to, I read less than I used to, and that sucks. Yeah. New Year's Resolution. Ta-Da!

So I'm just gonna write stuff, and ... yeah. Um UPDATE: I'm calling this a Sunday Top Ten for no reason other than because I can, because it's my blog KAZAAM! It's basically the top ten thoughts that popped into my head. Don't worry, the other ones will be soooo much better, totes promise.

Someone suggested "things I should do at least once or only once or never or everyday." Who was it? I separated topics from author of topics because I don't want to be biased. Like, I might automatically pick Haviland, you know? Except Haviland didn't have any top 10 ideas, so I can't pick her.

OR, "things I should do at least once or only once or never or everyday"

A while back, I did a Top Ten on "Things I'd Like to do In Life Before I die" (Lozo's topic suggestion). So therefore, everything below ... are things I HAVE ALREADY DONE. 'Cause for that top ten I did only things I HADN'T done yet.
Get it? Got it. Good. Also 'cause I wouldn't be like "do this," even though I didn't do it, you know? That'd be totally hypocritical and weirdo. And I am many things but not a weirdo.

Things I'm Almost Entirely Positive Abolustely Everyone Should Do At Least Once:
Win. Straddle. Top. Dance. Get your heart broken -- not just broken, but totally torn up, ripped from your chest and run over and then dragged around the block 'til the whole neighborhood's aware you've been bleeding. Leave, be left. Read The Torah. Also: 1984 (George Orwell), Things Fall Apart (China Achebe), A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess), The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger), Lolita (Vladimir Nabakov) The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera), Girl, Interrupted (Susanna Kaysen), Hamlet (Shakespeare), Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Wolff), and really just read poetry, seriously, like anything. Be broke and do something you thought you'd never do to un-broke yourself and hate every minute of it. Read: Savage Inequalities, by Jonathan Kozol and Appetites, by Caroline Knapp. Give to someone in a situation where the recipient will not know it was you who gave, where you will never be thanked or recognised. Give and don't tell anyone you gave. Give just to give, give secretly and selflessly. Live Alone, live with strangers, live with friends, live with a lover, live with your family, live with an animal. Listen to these Albums: Kind of Blue (Miles Davis), The White Album (The Beatles), Blood on the Tracks (Bob Dylan), The Immaculate Collection (Madonna), The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd). Leave the country. Swim. Have sex with someone of the same gender: have sex without "traditional" heterosexual penetration and know that it is also sex. Divorce the idea of intercourse from the idea of sex, and then open up that idea and run around in it naked, touching and biting everything. Take care of someone who is sick because you care too much not to. Make sacrifices, allowances, time. Push everyone away and then let everyone in. Do something for yourself, purely wholely for yourself. Work in a restaurant. Tip your sever 100% and leave the restaurant before they can thank you. Leave the country. Go to a country where you don't speak the language: I was in Paris once, alone. I thought it'd be romantic -- I'd stroll side-streets, sit in cafes drinking pretentious coffee, feel inspired and full of possibility, meet strangers and develop brief but intense life-altering connections to them, order the wrong thing and then try to explain it to the waiter in a sort of slapstick skit that would ultimately result in me getting the right thing for free. But it wasn't really any of those things, it was just me: an 18-year-old girl in a strange city where I didn't know anyone and didn't really know why I was there either, walking around with nowhere to be and nothing to say that anyone else would understand. Do something you thought you'd never do for love. Call in sick to work because you're coming down from a bender, call in sick to work because your BFF is having a breakdown, call in sick to work because your heart hurts, be able to call in sick all those times because you never call in sick when you're actually sick. Acquire a bad habit. Listen to These Songs: "Simple Twist of Fate" (Bob Dylan), "Woodstock" (Joni Mitchell), "Yesterday" (The Beatles), "Redemption Song" (Bob Marley), "The Sound of Silence" (Simon & Garfunkel), "California Girls" (Beach Boys), "When Doves Cry" (Prince), "Ave Maria" (Handel). Do drugs ... I mean it -- loose your mind, even if it's just for a few hours or a weekend. Trip. Roll. Speed. Get high. Whatevs. I haven't done everything and I don't plan to or want to, but I think there's a value in finding out where your brain could go if you wanted to be crazy forever (you don't, you shouldn't, don't, don't ever) and just once ... Spend time, in whatever context (a volunteer, a teacher, a visiting friend, an employee, a convict), in an institution where people are locked in rooms and are not permitted to leave or make any of their own choices about activities, meals, sleep, waking, communication, therapy, punishment, reward. Pull an all-nighter. Get wasted. Like fucked-up blasted out-of-your-skull completely 150% wasted ... watch yourself do crazy things you've always wanted to do but never would've been able to do without your liquid thunder. Fast. Binge. Splurge. Save. Crossdress. Go to the movies alone, go to a restaurant alone. Drink alone. Be alone, be single, be in love, think you're in love but you're really not. Walk from the southern end of Manhattan to your apartment and call it a birthday party. Read a novel for fun, on your couch. Do absolutely nothing for a number of hours. Stare at the wall. Read blogs when you should be sleeping. Listen to music when you should be working. Have a torrid affair. Be a cliche, love it or not even know that it's a cliche. Also: The West Wing. It will really change your mind about what government is capable of ... I mean; it's fiction, obvs, but still. Do a walk of shame. Get fired. Cut off all your hair. Forgive. Talk to yourself out loud. Write an entire blog entry that sounds like a bad greeting card or like those annoying "dance like nobody's watching" posters they had up in your music classroom at elementary school that made you want to dance only when everyone you've ever known ever was watching, lest you be regulated to crappy font and gaudy purples and posters. End this paragraph because it's ridiculous enough as it is, even though you're sure there are 100 things you've left out.

Things I Personally Think You Should Do At Least Once, But Really, It's Only My Opinion, Probs Not Right For Everyone:
Read: Where I'm Calling From (Raymond Carver), Bad Behavior (Mary Gaitskill), Birds of America (Lorrie Moore), The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion), Between Angels (Stephen Dunn), Cowboys are my Weakness (Pam Houston), Our Town (Thornton Wilder), The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen), Bastard out of Carolina (Dorothy Allison), The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls)Wasted (Marya Hornbacher), The Safety of Objects (A.M Homes), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers). Watch Six Feet Under, My So-Called Life. See (you don't have to agree, but give it a shot): Roger & Me, This Film is Not Yet Rated, Bowling for Columbine, Farenheit 9/11, 7UP! --> 49UP!, SuperSize Me, All Aboard!, When the Levees Broke. Do something fantastic and then celebrate by dancing around your room to Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes) or Umbrella (Rhianna). Listen to Tegan & Sara. Shut up. Turn off your phone. Make an escape plan. Visit New York City -- not because I live here (I'm busy obvs) but because it's important. Oh also: Empire Records, obvs, and Six Degrees of Separation. Keep a Journal. Let yourself go. Shape up. Buy Automatic Apparel. Um, whatevs. Follow your heart. Tell the same story twice. I just said that so I can tell this story, which I maybe told before, but I don't care to check, which's that in 2000 we were in a real estate office on 72nd and Amsterdam and we'd just dropped out of college to move to nYC for no reason really and the cute Israeli boy that'd showed us apartments all day 'cause the one we thought we were moving into wasn't ready yet and they'd fucked us over royally and now we'd be living somewhere ridiculous and more expensive and we found a place and it was great but also more than we'd planned on spending and I put my head in my hands and said Ryan, why the fuck did we do this? What the hell were we thinking? and all our stuff was in this U-Haul outside, we'd just taken all our stuff from Sarah Lawrence and our friend SF was in Philly with her van ready to go as soon as we knew of an address for her to move into and I said ryan why the fuck did we do this? and the cute Israeli real estate boy said "You have to follow your heart," and that was the best thing anyone has ever said to me ever. Also when he told us he played bass, Ryan thought he'd said that he drove a bus, and that was a funny convo.

Things Everyone Should Do Every Day:
sleep, wake, eat, move, read, think.

Things Everyone Should Never Do:
Hurt innocent people needlessly or with malice/intent. Kill.
Promote hate or ignorance
Eat chicken wings in front of Riese, because the bones gross her out
Watch "That 70's Show"
Make me watch you play video games.


Crystal said...

I really enjoyed this. I mean, I enjoy all of your posts but this one was exceptionally awesome. That's an impressive list of things you have done, seriously.

When I ran off to Hong Kong I lived in a non-English speaking territory. It was total struggle street, but not being able to communicate made me appreciate life in some wicked ways. I also tell the same story twice, or more.

ms. malapropos said...

Good post. Had an idea for a comment, and then I saw Crystal's post, and changed my mind. Here's something to add to the list (even though it's your list, I know): how about traveling to a foreign city with a broken heart and a broken wallet. Hong Kong is that city for me: I was alone, broke, broken. And it was beautiful.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

No wings and video games? Guess I have to scrap that Halo 3 Party invite I was planning for the auto-universe ...

Also, this: Divorce the idea of intercourse from the idea of sex, and then open up that idea and run around in it naked, touching and biting everything is a wonderful sentence.

Lozo said...

i haven't read this yet, but i look forward to giving it a once over after a big meeting this morning about the Penske file. apparently there was a mixup in accounting and now the client is upset. i think "mixup in accounting" will be my new buzzphrase.

kazzie said...

When I was 17 and fresh out of school I ran off to Pusan (South Korea). At first it was a total bust, but I did learn something that came in handy - I didn't need to verballing communicate to get what I wanted, I could just point at the fries symbol on the menu at McDonalds and they would appear right in front of me in a matter of seconds.

Also, as I am typing this I am watching Nate and Brenda get married. Best. Show. Ever.
But yes, this was very enjoyable to read. What a life you have led(!)

Lozo said...

"have sex without 'traditional' heterosexual penetration and know that it is also sex."


i have done many of those things you demanded i do. i think that one of the things you should do as well is stop telling us all what to do. you're not the boss of me!

and another thing -- i've noticed that only people who have had their hearts ripped out, crapped on, bathed in gasoline and lit on fire say that everyone should go through that. i never got that. i wouldn't want to make anyone go through that. it's awful. how come no one ever says, "hey, i survived terminal cancer somehow. it was awful, painful, terrible and grueling and i wanted the sweet release of death. you should try it."

i have plenty of friends who have never had their hearts broken -- or had terminal cancer -- and they seem OK. i think i'd prefer that.

and i hate to say this, because the last thing i want you to do is fall out of love with me, but i have watched many episodes of That '70s Show. Red kills me.

chrissy said...

So all the things you've done...surprisingly, I've done a bunch of those. This makes me feel...accomplished? I guess because it makes me seem not as lazy as I thought I was.

I'm sort of glad that I've never had my heart broken...

OMG my word-veri: yogzm. Like, a ghetto version of an orgasm...I dunno, it sounded cool.

Snobber said...

definitely agree with all your literary musts.

Adam said...

Painful things (like terminal cancer) to do once (and only once):

Be utterly lonely in an impossibly crowded place (esp. NYC)

Look someone in the eye who is sure they're going to die (even if they're mistaken)

Give up

Give in

Know that your best wasn't good enough

Know that your best would have been good enough, but what you gave wasn't

Realize, suddenly, that your tragedies are common, and that by and large you've had a good go of it

re: why do we wish the worst (heart incineration etc) for other people rather than celebrate their good fortune?

Because the worst thing that's ever happened to you is the worst thing that's ever happened to you, no matter how easy or hard it actually is on the scale of hard things, and because if you didn't convince yourself that you're somehow better for having gone through it you'd go batshit insane.

Also...BB...I say throw the invite out and we'll just blindfold Riese. I mean, that's kinda hot to start with, and she won't have to see our wing and video game fueled joy.

wordver: mzvnxjbz
as in: amazing ex bjs...I don't know where you learned that, but you sure as hell didn't know it when we were together

Adam said...

correction...my wordver was mzvnxbjs, not mzvnxjbs, which would have been one of like four werdvers in history not to make me thnk of sex.

inability to edit comments = lose.

AK said...

This is a very illuminating list, but I'm with Lozo; some of these experiences are unecessary, existential, psyche damaging, pointless exercises that we're lucky to have survived. So I am compelled to leave a counter list. 1) Learn how to fight with your hands (or with a hand weapon that is not a firearm) to the point at which you could kill, but choose not to. 2) Find two people who don't speak the same language, but whose languages you do speak and translate or mistranslate for them at your will. 3) Build shelter for a lover in a strange place and spend the night in it. 4) Grow or raise something living and eat it. 5) Exceed safe speeds in a human powered vehicle. 6) Destroy something valuable with a sledge hammer. 7) Exterminate pests with your own hand. 8) Go out in inclement weather not in a car. 9) Evacuate your loved ones from a place under imminent danger. 10) Travel across the planet, access autowin and leave a comment.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

Adam -- Deal.


word veri: tpdpn

Top Dippin.

I'll dip your top.

asher said...

that's pretty much all i could ask for from my suggested top ten. yay!

and i loved. "have sex without 'traditional' heterosexual penetration and know that it is also sex."
it didn't make me lol (like some people). it just made me not feel slightly fractional for a minute.

so thanks.

Lozo said...

adam, you never actually answered the question. it's your horrible experience. great. why do you want everyone else go through it? i never heard my friend's jewish grandfather say, "the holocaust, now there is something that really made me a better person. you should try it if you can."

i'm glad ak gets it. the lesson here? sexy chicks get me.

riese said...

crystal: ... that means a lot coming from you bc i think you've done more stuff by the age of 23 than almost anyone else I know.

ms.malaprops: It would seem this Hong Kong place of which you both speak is an important place to go. I guess also ultimately, it's all about forced humility ... i think.

brooklyn boy: It's just when people gnaw away at the bones on the wings, omg, I can't handle it.

lozo: listen, i don't have time for this i have five calls waiting on the other line and a dial-in from tokyo. brb.

kazzie: You can count on McDonald's to always give it to you your way right away all over the world. I think.

lozo: terminal cancer can kill you -- no one's ever died of a broken heart. no one wants to have their heart broken.

i wouldn't recommend it. but i think that if you take a certain amount of risk in your life, it's almost guaranteed to happen ... and i think the benefit, lozo lozo lozo, is that it makes you a more compassionate person. in march of 01, this lesbo couple i lived with was breaking up, super drama, it was taking months, and i was like "wtf, why are they still being all drama? why is lauren still such a mess?" and my roommate eric was like "have you ever had a bad breakup?" and i was like "no, my relationships have all ended cuz I was moving or they were moving." and he was like "you'll see." and then two years later, i was entering like, month 7 of the year-long breakup with a boy I'll call "asshole," and then I was like, you know, this is a living hell, but I get it now.

I think it's humbling ... to be thrown into like total insanity over a person you probably can think of 100 reasons not to be with anyway. it's one of the only experiences like that that most people will experience in their life, and survive. that's all.

I'm not recommending heartbreak. You shouldn't seek it out.

This list is abstract and doesn't have concrete applications to life.

It's a blog, for crying out loud. (you should do that too: cry out loud)

chrissy: that's great that you've never had your heart broken. seriously. go team intact heart!

snobber: thank you.

adam:i agree.

ok i will respond to the rest later because now there are new comments but i gtg lateezzz

elec-tri-city said...

Distraction = Riese. I should have been grading midterms all morning, but I've totally been floating around in firewalled areas, reading, thinking, analyzing, and lol'ing every now and then (time spent on autostraddle, of course).

But I digress (like, always).

Through all my masterful distracting time today, I've been listening to my iPod intermittently, and I just listened to Regina Spektor, "Samson." And it made me wonder if you've listened to it. Because if you haven't, that is my formal opinion on Things Everyone (Especially Riese) Should Do At Least Once, If Not 4 Times a Week.

That's all. I'm going to grade now. Maybe.

WordVer: theegoy. Isn't goy a Jewish term for a non-Jewish man? Or did Sally J. Freedman as Herself mislead me? So then, this is a Shakespearean illumination: "Ah, thee goy approaches! Doth thou cometh with thine horse?"

I don't know. My brain hurts.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

elec - I might have listened to Samson on loop for my entire three-hour commute one day the other week. So slow and yet completely captivating. Crazy.

.elida. said...

I all kinds of heart this post and "So What". That's probs my fav song on Kind Of Blue.

Also, your list of things that people should never do (i.e. chicken bones, video games, etc.), I 100% agree with you. I hate, hate, hate watching people suck on the bones, escpecially if they're taking a break from making me watch them play video games.

That's just gross. And boring.

RE: telling the same story twice:

My friend JP was telling me a story the day before last and she kept losing her focus and stumbling. She said, "Sorry, I keep leaving things out. This is the first time I've told this story. I haven't perfected it yet." Love it.

Lozo said...

i would respond to your comment, but beth in accounts receivable had to go home early because she got sick at lunch, and there's a paper jam in the copier that's led to toner getting on everything. let me go. i need to set up my out of office reply message.

Oo Lynnie oO said...

reise! this was a good post, i enjoyed it. i'm going to do hard drugs now. jk. maybe. probably. not. - but actually i agree with alot of the stuff you said, because i feel like so many people i know just do...nothing, ya know? like, comfortably numb & such.

my computer has broken & it makes me quite sad and actually kind of furious, so here i am on campus looking cool leaving a comment.

the rest of this comment is directed towards ms. haviland...so i hope she sees it. - haviland, i was delighted one day when i saw your friend request on facebook, and then i was like 'oh, ill leave her a comment' and then i never got anything back. i cry a little each day. i hope you dont hate me!

Diana said...

Your rambly blog posts are some of my faves.

Auto-Universe Public Service Announcement: Tegan and Sara Spring tour dates are out. NYC-5/12, Terminal 5. On sale Friday. You're welcome.

Adam said...

loz: I'm terribad. I was trying to say "coping mechanism" and instead I wrote two paragraphs.

My list still stands though for "things I need to cope with by thinking I'm (and anyone would be) better for having done them."

Fragolina said...

Great post, Riese.

Also, can I just say that Savage Inequalities just killed me when I read it? I think I stayed in bed for a week. And I'm only slightly exaggerating. I tried to read Ordinary Resurrections (which I understand is slightly more optimistic) but I was too depressed.

When I used to live outside Chicago, I used to pass New Trier High School every once in a while, and I always sort of cursed it as I went by because, after reading that book, I could really only see it as the symbol of all that is wrong with the American public school system. (Oh, and Donald Rumsfeld being an alum didn't help.)

riese said...

AK: Those are amazing things to do. I have only done 7 & 8.

asher: OMG you get free auto apparel. you have to pick yr size & stuff, and email me.

elec-tri-city: I haven't, though I'd like to. I haven't heard it, will you send it to me? "goy" is a gentile, yes. Sally j. Freedman would never mislead anyone, obvs.

my brain hurts too.

.elida. Kind of Blue is the Hot Love. It is everything. I think it is my desert island album. It's totally cliche, but I don't care, some cliches are cliches for a reason, and that is one of them. And chicken bones; like, ew right? I don't understand why it's okay to do that in public. THen again, people probs feel the same way about me kissing girls.

lozo: I'd reply to your comment, but I have a meeting at 506 at 7, and my assistant just switched up a fed-ex that was supposed to be going to the west coast office, so instead, i will just tell you about what i should be doing instead of doing this.

oolynnieoo: comfortably numb ... i love that song.
Also Haviland loves you, she says your name at least 100 times in every vlog, and often inserts it in conversation.

Diana: Oh, hot, and, thank you.

Adam: I'm on Team Adam.

Fragolina: Yeah Cait and I were talking about this today ... I feel like it explains so much of what is wrong with the world. Like if everyone knew exactly what people at these crumbling urban schools are up against when they try to just like -- get a fucking textbook -- there'd be a lot more compassion in this country for people who grow up pissed, y'know? Yeah, it like, changed my whole understanding of the world. depressing but necessary, I think?

alicia said...

Couldn't agree more with the "everyone should have their heart broken" portion of the list. Because until you do, you can't really help anyone who has had their heart trampled on, or you know...be extremely paranoid and watch for the warning signs of commitment.

Also, you're the best human library catalog ever.

JCorkle said...

First, thanks for letting us link to your blog! I was told it's proper etiquette to ask and thank for this sort of thing!

Secondly, I also whole-heartedly agree with you when you say get your heart broken. I don't think people should look for it because that's just weird, but until it happens, you're virtually no help to others in pain. On that same note, while reading the rest of this I had one of those moments where you're toolin' along a list of words and then you hit one that makes you hurt in the chest a little. To have "get your heart broken" and "forgive" on the same list is/was my life lesson for the moment. Cheers to that, man.

Also...thank you for saying get wasted/out of your mind. Blackouts and hangovers bring perspective and resolutions. Totally worth it.

AK said...

I haven't actually done #10 but I have it scheduled for next month after episode 6 airs. Also the tsunami never came, but it was really exciting there for a bit when we were the last ones to drive up from the beach after being evacuated by chopper from the lava fields on the Big Island. And the only shelter I ever built that was finished soon enough to spend the night in was a tent. Still, having my heart broken has not been all that useful except for writing poetry.

caittt said...

i loved this cause it was kinda my top ten, random thoughts that pop into your head? told you it would be good.

i've done a lot of these things, totally plan on doing most of them except stare at the wall. just saying.

Haviland Stillwell said...

oolynnieoo - of course i don't hate you. i'm bad about commenting back on facebook - good on my blog, bad everywhere else...fyizzz

riese, my love - this is beautiful. One thing I love about "us" is how fundamentally different we actually behave (srsly, auto-winners, it's astounding...) But, But! I read your words, and I feel better about how I live my life, like, even the worst thigns I've done or the biggest regrets I have are actually, well, ok. You know?

My Dad and I are having lots of contemplative discussions about personality, happiness, where do we go from here?, etc...because we're both at pretty big crossing points in our lives, and everything I moaned about, ever regret I had, everytime I said, "I know rationally i'm being a lunatic, but it still hurts..." he just said, "Well, Hav, that's okay..."

It's my birthday week and I refuse to crawl into a hole. There, I said it. Hold me to it, mkay?

(also, this is something I normally would write in an email, but you know, what the hell?)

dewey said...

I like this list, but I feel something important was missed...

...everyone should go to a Spice Girls concert at least once, like I am tonight!!!

Anonymous said...

Try a book that you normally wouldn't read...The Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne.

Caution: religious thoughts contained therein (but you've read the Torah, so you can handle it).

Great lists.

Fragolina said...

Riese: I totally agree on Savage Inequalities. It completely gives the lie to that particularly American notion of self-reliance and self-determination, that anyone can become anything if they just try hard enough. Sometimes the chips truly are stacked against you. It's so much easier/comforting for most people to think that those in dire circumstances are in them because of some deficiency or flaw, instead of the inherent unfairness of the system. So....basically exactly what you said.

Have you ever readCourtroom 302? It's fascinating and horrifying and depressing like Savage Inequalities, except it's about the legal system instead of the education system. I had to read it when I was going to be covering criminal court in Chicago. Reading it and actually being there, I have never felt like such a spoiled, sheltered little white girl in my entire life.

Also, since we're recommending things, I think pretty much everyone should read Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino, if you haven't.

Oh, and Haviland, I know it's been said a lot around these parts, but I just wanted to chime in and say that you (and your comments) are lovely. Happy Birthday(Week).

riese said...

alica: yeah -- exactly -- I feel it's important not to build character, but to improve a person's ability to be a compassionate and caring friend. LOZO.

JCorkle: If you ever need anyone to justify a blackout, I tend to be your proverbial go-to girl.

AK: I think heartbreak poems have their own category on poets.org. I like in love poems better, I just feel like when I've been there, my friends who'd been through it were the best help, and subsequently I've been able to help others having been through it.

caittttt: You would change your mind if you had a Magic Eye poster on your wall.

Haviland Stillwell: ... I love you. Same to you ... it's funny that as I get to know you more, I find out more ways that we are different (hmmm ... it's almost like we should have our own advice column ...) rather than more ways we're the same. Your words make me feel better about how I live my life, too. We're getting there, puppy, fo'shizzle. I feel a trip to an island is in order.

dewey: OMG try to make out with ginger for me.

sam: I love religious thoughts. I'll give it a go. The title sounds good.

Fragolina: Exactly, exactly, exactly. Exactly. I read this comment on my blackberry and was nodding like a lunatic on the street like "amen, sister." Or something. Like -- ok -- some people will work at McDonald's and clean floors, some people will be professors, some will be rocket scientists, that's the way the world works. And I don't think every school needs a lap pool, obvs. But the fact that some schools don't have books or pencils or toilet paper or janitors or walls or teachers ... and then, that followed by a friend of mine doing teach for america in the bronx and seeing it first - hand ... the horror, the horror ... changed everything. And seriously as soon as I get rich and famous, that is my number one issue I'd like to attend to.

I haven't read Courtroom 302 ... I saw a documentary about women who've been imprisoned for life for defending themselves against abusive husbands and I was horrified (similarly to how I was affected by Savage Inequalities) ... just w/r/t how the court-appointed lawyers and etc essentially just let these women and other poor underprivelged people get sentenced unreasonably and forever (and the whole crack v. cocaine, minimum sentencing thing .. etc etc ... I could go on)
anyhow, thank you for the recommendations. and so on.

Haviland Stillwell said...

Fragolina: thank you, dear. :)

Riese: m'kay! let's go! there is conveniently a fresh, new, white bikini, ready to roll.

free mp3 downloads: yours is my favorite auto-win comment ever...you auto-win, fo shiz.

Razia said...

Wall staring is a fine art and I bet you do it well.

Don't even compare this post to those dumb forwards/posters that I hate so much. Every time I come across one of those the psychotic voice of J Beals tries to get me to do things that could have me arrested. Arson, Arson.

Translation: This post is great, those posters are not.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see top 10 songs that inspire Riese

Liz said...

wow, so very and truly facinating. I now feel a sudden urge to get up from the couch and actually start on that list. instead of spending the entire day watching reruns of I love lucy. you suck! now i have to do something. but it's great. kind of like a jar of pickled sardins. it sounds discusting, but very intriguing. and in fact, it is kinda discusting. but one should try it before one dies. everyone should. go buy sardins!