Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Can’t there a more modern and efficient way to vote in this country? It just seems so messy. No one asked me for identification: I just showed up, told them my address and name and signed on the dotted line. They gave me a voter card, which I then handed right back to them (there must be some sort of law that states I must touch the card) before I stepped into the Vote-a-Tron machine. The machines we use look like something out of , I don’t know, Communist Russia. That giant lever, that dirty vinyl curtain, the weird mini knobby things? Pulling the lever over all the way to the right, it makes the loudest chunk-chunk sound. It just seems so shady. Is this really the best and most accurate way to record my vote? I feel like we might as well go back to the system of dropping colored marbles into a jar.

Nicole and I brought the girls, who were the punch line of many “Starting young, eh?” jokes, as well as the “starting early, eh?” joke, which I wasn’t sure were referring to their tender age or the fact that it was barely seven in the morning. The Democratic Inspector (the best title I’ve heard in a long time) showed a fondness for the girls and was filled with all sorts of advice, including the horrifying suggestion that we should let the girls chew on chicken bones to help with teething.

Our internet is not working properly, which means I don’t even know if I can post this. Cable can’t make it to our apartment to fix it (hopefully) until Friday. So until then, we have very intermittent service. When I do get online I have no idea if I have three seconds or three hours. I know I don’t comment much, but I read so many blogs in the pockets of free moments in my day and it is torturing me, not being able to check in on other people’s lives.

I had another feminist existential breakdown watching the Tuesday’s Today Show. I know I could just change the channel, but the other options are really not much better. There needs to be a televison version of NPR (PBS doesn’t cut msuter).

They keep extending these morning news shows—The Today Show is up to four hours—so that means they need to fill these four hours. The end resut is ridiculous, empty, worthless segments.

It’s a pet peeve of mine, but I am tired these shows that beg you to stayed tuned, and promise to show you how to fight insomnia after the break, promising solutions, and then they showcase the same advice we have heard for a century. Don’t eat a big meal before bed. Don’t drink caffeine later in the day. Try a hot bath or warm milk. Don’t stress. Make your bed a cozy and comfortable haven. This is new? These are solutions? I take issue with the “Don’t drink alcohol” right before you sleep advice: Speaking from experience, drink enough alcohol and you will have no trouble sleeping through the night and most of the next day.

My feminist breakdown started with a segment on dressing, during which one expert offered this stunning advice: Accentuate your good body features: Because I thought of drawing a giant red bull’s eye around my “flaws” and accentuating them. Can I go back to the concept that men’s bodies are never discussed in terms of their so-called flaws? Or as fruits. We women are described as pear-shaped, apple-shaped, bottom heavy, top heavy and, my favorite, boy-shaped, because apparently our lexicon is so limited that we can’t think of adjectives that describe our body that doesn’t nod to our paternalistic society. And all of these descriptor are said in a negative way. Men’s bodies are rarely discussed, and if they are they are never referred to as “squash shaped” or heaven forbid, “girl-shaped.”

There was also a segment on the various treatments women can pursue to prevent and hide wrinkles, blotches, “turkey wattle” and other imperfection on the neck. Great, all this time I have been worrying about my hips and thighs and butt and waist and chest and ankles and face. I never even thought of what an eyesore my neck is. What’s next? My toes? After said neck segment, they offered a second segment called “Dressing Your Neck,” and showed how to wear scarves and turtlenecks to HIDE your ugly neck. The first model said her issue is that she has aged and her neck has gotten gaunt and skinny. By the way, she was 45 years old, so I guess “aged” women are those in their 40s. The solution created for her by the stylists: They added hair extensions (!), put her in layered shirts and drew attention away from her ugly ass neck with a tangle of 10 or 15 necklaces. Is this for real? Do people really add hair extensions to distract people from the supposed train wrecks that are their necks? Does this really happen?

I dragged myself out of my cozy home on Monday night and saw There Will be Blood. It was amazing. I am dying to talk about it with someone who has seen it! It was great in ways that I can’t describe, so limited is my film vocabulary and background. I think I can safely say it is an instant classic. The soundtrack blew me away; I bought it yesterday.

Pictured above is nothing, as I am sure that the internet will crap out before I can load up a picture.


K J and the kids said...

Well it let you post :)

I agree...what's next...that little bit of skin we have just behind our ears.

K J and the kids said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

De-lurking to say I really enjoy reading your blog and I totally hear you about news features heralding "new solutions" to anything. I especially love the weight loss ones that tell you to eat vegetables, exercise more and drink lots of water. Really?! I have NEVER heard that before!

calliope said...

watching Today right now. They are making over men and have yet to use any of the evil language that they use for women make overs. I think they just told a guy he had a round face- but that was it. All the outfits selected were picked as they made the man more "hire-able" or they "capture the spirit of his job". No mention of having large asses or problem thighs.

It's lame.

I miss the photos.


judy said...

At forty I refuse to worry about my neck...I have these god awful knee bags to worry about.
I have been reading for awhile and just yesterday posted my first blog. Would you go over and check it out? Please?

MsPrufrock said...

God I hate this. Not this blog, but rather the aesthetic inequality on shows like that. Ugh. Necks are the issue du jour it seems - I can't read anything about women of a certain age without mention of turkey necks.

I would love to see There Will Be Blood, but films take an age to get to the UK, plus we lack babysitters, so...Glad to hear you liked it, and I look forward to seeing it myself. Eventually.


I agree- the voting machines are sort of out-dated. Part of me, however, feels reassured that when you pull that vinyl thing and it makes that loud crank sound... there is no way my vote can be canceled or manipulated to reflect that I magically voted for GW Bush.

Congrats on the home purchase- i guess having made a decision has got to feel good.

starrhillgirl said...

I just saw TWBB (heheh) and I thought I was the last person on earth to see it. Whew. Glad to not be alone. Also, I loved it, but cannot even begin to describe it's effect on me. So good, so beautifully shot, so f*cking claustrophobic in that stupid silver mine. The soundtrack was excellent - in that kept me curled up tight in my seat because I was sure Something Bad was going to happen way. Oh, god. It was so good. Clearly, I also lack the movie vocab.

Anonymous said...

Here we have the computer voting machines. I miss the clunky ones that actually shot out paper ballots to be counted. The computer ones are completely unverifiable if something goes wrong. (Also the company, Diebold, that makes them is owned by a major Republican contributer, which makes me feel icky).

As for necks, I think the "I Feel Bad About My Neck" book by Nora Ephron dragged them (so to speak) to the fore. I can nver keep up with what I'm supposed to feel bad about anymore.

Sia said...

Well, you could always start worrying about your armpits. Seriously... I don't know about the US, but across the pond Dove started a lovely "real beauty" campaign a couple of years ago. Promptly doubled (or even trebled) their sales and generally went up in a lot of people's esteem. Now, the latest Dove ads are marketing a deodorant that gives you silky smooth, wrinkle free armpits. Yeah? Because we need one more patch of skin to be obsessing over.