Friday, May 24, 2013
I have been on a real Taylor Swift jag this year. Her songs once personified my insecure teenage dog (to whom I sang "Fifteen" after she turned fifteen), and now that my dog is gone I am still afflicted with the Swift. I love her. I buy into her whole thing. I buy into her image of being a tender-hearted song-writer who flings herself into love and then responds to the outcomes through her art. Great.
With all that said, this blog-post is just to let you know the top ten thoughts I have on the Taylor Swift video "You Belong To Me", which I have watched over and over and over again over the course of the past two years.
1. This blond guy belongs to himself. Obviously.
2. I love, LOVE how the blond person is portrayed as being the underdog. REALLY? Really, T.Swift? It's so hard to be a mousy blond in this world, having to compete with raven haired girls wearing contact lenses. If only he could see the girl behind the blond! If only....
3. The wig on evil Taylor? It is remarkable. Like, maybe a Halloween wig from Rite-Aid.
4. The way that Evil Taylor greets her teenage boyfriend, by rolling up in her convertible and straight up grabbing his head for a very sensual mid-afternoon kiss.
5. Why does being a cheerleader make her evil? I was a cheerleader, and I'm not evil.
6. It seems like this blond fellow has been opening up to blond Taylor about his relationship in an inappropriate way. She shouldn't need to know the issues going on in his relationship with Evil Taylor.
It sounds like he is talking trash about his own girlfriend, when he really should be either working to resolve his problems or exit the relationship so she can be free to date someone whose humor she gets and whose music she likes.
7. If I may take a note from Dr. Laura here, it can be problematic to have a close friendship with someone of the opposite (or your sexually preferred) gender while in a relationship.
Don't get all twisted- I'm not talking old friends here, I'm talking (in regards to this video) someone whom you would fuck if only they weren't wearing American Apparel fashion glasses.
If you need to vent, vent to a friend, not some vulture who is circling your relationship, ready to pick at it's bones and rip off your football jersey at every mention of tension between yourself and your plastic-haired girlfriend.
8.Taylor Swift needs to mind her own business. He chose the evil Taylor. If he doesn't like her, that's his problem. No one's holding a gun to his head. He CHOSE that situation. She should really look at that.
9. Sisterhood is Powerful. Let no man tear you asunder, blond Taylor and brunette Taylor. He's not worth it. You have more to gain from remaining allies with other women, than from creating animosity based on their footwear and high/low femininity.
10. The "I LOVE YOU" signs at the end? Really? You LOVE him? LOVE? There's really nowhere to go from there. If you tell an acquaintance that you love them, then okay, what next? Where in the world can a teenage relationship go if you've brought home plate to the first date? I would advise Taylor to really consider who this person really is. If he is willing to talk about his brown-haired girlfriend behind her back to a love interest, then he is surely capable of doing the same to his new blond-haired girlfriend. Who's to say there isn't a ginger-haired Taylor waiting in the wings to pounce him at the next dance?
Consider it, Taylor. Just consider it.
Boundaries and feminism. That's all.
Also, better wigs.
p.s. I'm printing a zine/comic anthology of my six years of experiences at a senior citizen day center.
You can pre-order it, or just support it here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1601626698/tell-it-like-it-tiz-the-marie-smith-center-book
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
FIRST OF ALL: IF YOU ARE A MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT OR ARE UNDER 18, GET OUT OF HERE. SHOO! THIS IS NOT FOR YOU.
YOU CAN READ THIS IN 6-8 YEARS WHEN YOU ARE OF AGE.
Now that we've taken care of that...
This week I am delighted to offer advice from four certified geniuses instead of just one.
We are here to tackle your advice questions from our respective hometowns in California, Oregon and New York.
|Kirk Read (San Francisco) is a performance artist, all around great guy, and author of the book How I Learned to Snap .|
|Tara Jepsen (Los Angeles) is a comedienne, and a brilliant writer. She & Kirk Read previously hosted Kvetch in San Francisco. Photo by Amos Mac.|
Amos Mac (New York) is a photographer at large, and editor of OP: Original Plumbing and Translady Fanzine.
and me (Portland), literally THE smartest person in America, aside from these three.
Photo by Amos Mac.
How do I stop having a crush on someone? I legit wanna be friends with this girl because she's awesome in a particular way that other people in my life aren't and she's said she cares a lot about me and really wants to have me in her life as a friend (and I believe her - don't think she's being polite), but I can't kill this crush I have on her. We've hooked up several times, had romance-y things, but she's on the other side of the country, in grad school, and not available for any of that anymore. Under different circumstances, I'd wanna be girlfriends. Right now I'm just not talking to her, but I don't wanna cut her off forever and I also don't wanna be in hard crush agony. Help!
Hard Crush Agony
Kirk Read: Have anonymous sex because it will help you shake off this cross country emailing friend.
Amos Mac: Watch a few seasons of a favorite guilty pleasure t.v. show within 48 hours to "get your mind off of things" then post 3 different Craigslist casual encounter posts using 3 of your most diverse personality traits, but allow them all to go to the same email address.
It works. At least for like 3 days.
Tara Jepsen: Just stop it. Don't over-think. If you won't let go, it's a surrogate for other feelings.
Call it what it is and keep it to yourself. Don't make it the other person's problem.
Nicole J. Georges: "The quickest way to get over someone is to get under someone else."
It is true! It is wise.
More remedies for heart-sickness include:
-Loud punk music
-Really good books
-Hanging out with old friends who can give you a little perspective on how small a blip this is on your epic timeline
-Volunteering at a place where you are interacting with other humans and can't think of the person.
-Throwing yourself into something you're good at.
-Parceling out how much of this crush was projection and how much was reality.
-Look at really awkward photos of them online.
-Watch the saddest movie of all time, Grave of the Fireflies, and remember that there are bigger problems in the world than your love life.
-Falling asleep really early
-Make a list of all the people you've ever had crushes on, so you can get a little perspective.
Ask an old friend to help you compile this list so you can feel the hot shame of having been head over heels for some truly rank individuals.
Is it true that Portland lesbians will not date femmes who dated transguys? if so, what is the reason?
Kirk Read: It's true. Portland is full of ruined women and these lesbians are just holding a line.
Amos Mac: This is a true or false question? I have no idea what Portland lesbians do. Sounds complicated and none of my business. Who cares who dates who... date who you LIKE regardless of gender... or don't. Did I even answer that?
Tara Jepsen: That is stupid shit that doesn't matter in the world. When the right person comes along, you guys choose each other.
Nicole J. Georges: My research indicates that having dated a trans-dude is not a barrier to dating lesbians in Portland, Oregon. The greater issue, in my opinion, is the idea that having dated dudes, you could identify as bi-sexual. *That* can be sticky when it comes to the Gold Star crowd.
In my experience, this community is more bi-phobic than they are trans-sensual-phobic.
At the end of the day, whomever you are dating or wanting to date needs to Take You or Leave You as you are.
You are not going to change the past, and you don't need to spend all of your time calming someones anxiety about it.
If you wanted to be with a dude you'd be with a dude, but instead you chose to date the person at hand,
so they just need to be able to sit with that and absorb your awesome summertime love vibes while they can!
My friends always try to set me up with unmotivated slackers who work in the deli at New Seasons. What gives?!
Where can I meet a tall hot motivated guy who likes it rough?
Don't let your friends set you up. Wait for the right dummy to knock on your door like the rest of us.
Kirk Read: Don't try to marry hot sex, have it on the side. Dress more slutty if you want someone to be rough.
Amos Mac: What is "New Seasons"? Where do you live? Deli guys can be hot AND rough... maybe you just need to find a more motivated deli guy, or move to Brooklyn.
Nicole J. Georges: I think the deli counter at New Seasons could be JUST the place to find a tall hot guy who likes it rough. Am I wrong?
As for the motivation part, welcome to Portland. I'm afraid I may be the wrong person to ask about where to find motivated men. The City Grill????
I'm sorry I've failed you, kind reader.
What if after many years of very questionable borderline behavior on the part of your parent, you just can't take it any more and you need to cease communication?
How would you say that without triggering your bad boundaries parent into acting out worse and showing up at your work?!
TJ: You can't control your parent. Do what's right and if they show up at your work keep doing your job. Let your manager knock when and if it happens, but not before.
KR: Parents are important. Figure this out with them without burning the bridge.
AM: A mediated break-up therapy session with the parent and a therapist.
NG: I suggest a certain anonymous fellowship whose members have sometimes had experience cutting troublesome parents out of their lives in order to maintain their own sanity.
Make boundaries, keep them, and steel yourself to the results. She may freak out but you do not have to react.
Monday, April 8, 2013
|Us with Sally Madden in Baltimore.|
Questions from tour: Part 2
All questions were submitted lively and anonymously during my book tour with Cassie J. Sneider. We read them & responded in a rapid-fire manner.
How do you be abiding toward someone you don't like to be around?
Ugh, how long do you have to be around them? Can you go somewhere else? On a walk around the block or maybe face a wall for a while?
If you have to be around someone you don't like, for a short period of time, be polite. Just be polite.
Just smile stiffly, nod your head, make the most basic small talk if you need to, and be kind.
If you have to spend a lot of time with them, spend some of that time trying to have compassion for them. Think about what their situation might be, and how that is adding to their current behavior that's making you uncomfortable.
What is the best way to worm an 8.5 foot boa constrictor?
Get some wormer, I suppose. Visit the reptile vet.
My 9 hens create their own special aroma. Personally, I do not enjoy it, though I am convinced they do. How often do I have to clean their coop?
It depends on how big the coop is, but with that many chickens, probably twice a week.
They do not like the smell. When I worked at a farm, we cleaned out the chicken's nests every day.
Chew on THAT.
One of my cats is a "tub pooper". She poops in our bathtub 1-3 times a month. How can we convince her to reform her practices?
Keep the bathroom door closed.
Or, Leave a couple inches of water in the tub. Cats hate water, right? There you go.
Should I get an asymmetrical/disconnected haircut?
There are some really beautiful, fantastical human beings with that hair-do, but in my opinion, the ship has already left the dock. Those on board are happily riding the tide of asymmetry.
If you aren't already on the asymmetrical deck, then consider staying on dry land.
The show's already started, the set's winding down, and it won't be worth the price of admission.
(But I do always recommend getting a Tootie haircut. Why not?)
Should I give my miniature weiner dog preventative supplements for spinal health?
Sure, why not. While you're at it, get some doggy steps to protect the little guy's back when he's getting on and off your bed or the couch. Don't let him leap from great heights!
How do you know when it's time to change cities or is it even necessary?
When a place doesn't feel like a home, you have nothing on the horizon, it feel stagnant, and THEN opportunities open up to you in other places. "The Universe" will tell you where you need to be.
How do you let a friend know you're interested in them and still stay friends regardless of their response?
Well. To answer the second part of your question first: you can't get aggro or mean if they say No.
That's the part that ruins friendships after crush confessions. No performative sighs or doe eyes.
If they're not interested, can the romance, turn the page and move on.
You may need to take a little friendly space from them if they say no, get over the disappointment, and then jump back in the hanging out game.
How to let them know?
Say something like: "I *like* you. Would you like to go on a date with me some time?" ,
OR the more round-a-bout, "What would happen if I asked you on a date some time? Just wondering." and then they will be baffled and say, "What the fuck are you talking about?"
and then you say, "Oh, uhhh,,, psych! J/k j/k. Um.... what?"
and then say you're going on a trip and you'll call them when you come back, and pretend to have a really great date in the Niagara Falls area, so obviously things won't be weird.
THAT IS MY BEST ADVICE.
I recently read that hair parted to the left indicates weakness. I have a left part. Should I change it? Is there any validity to this hypothesis?
I don't know. You should change your part every once in a while to give your bangs more volume and pizazz anyway. Be a bangs switch. Everyone likes that. They'll think you're versatile.
Why is it so hard to ask someone (a babe) out?
p.s. There are babes in this bookstore right now...
WHAT IF THIS PERSON MEANT BABIES!????
If memories serves, there were no infants present when this question was asked, but still. What If.
Anyway, good looking adults, why is it hard? That's not advice, that's opinion.
I guess it's hard because you fear rejection, but what's the worst that could happen? You're embarrassed for a minute? Who cares. You'll survive, the world will keep turning, and you can use the practice.
It hurts when I pee. Thoughts?
First thought: UTI
Second thought: Go to the doctor.
Hi. I get very deeply & emotionally attached to animals, especially cats, since my family was fucked up when I was a kid and the only creature I felt loved me was my cat. 8 years ago I got a cat whom I loved more than anything; immediately I began having anxiety. 5 years ago she was diagnosed with a chronic illness and I spiralled into a deep anxiety for years. She died in September and I loved her truly, but I don't know if I should ever get another cat. What do you think?
I think you should get another cat.
I think you need some time, and I think you need to work on your anxiety. Once you have some anxiety management tools in place, I think a cat could be great for you. They are energy healers, you know...
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Good morning, readers!
I've just returned from a month-long tour of the United States, where I answered anonymous advice questions in a live setting, along-side the incredible Cassie J. Sneider.
I have a backpack full of these tiny slips of paper, and will try to answer them in a rapid-fire style as the Spring wears on. Hopefully I can even have Cassie guest on a few posts.
How much job satisfaction does one need? Is living in the cubicle kingdom ever okay?
You need to either have a job that satisfies you, or a job that doesn't drain too much of your brain power so you can do the things you like to do after work. One or the other. Most artists do not make a living off of their art, which is why it is important to have a job you can deal with during the day in order to fund your projects and not vampire you to death in the meantime.
I want to be a writer, but I don't even take myself seriously when I say that. Also, I'm in a mega depressive funk and can't make anything so I feel like a fraud when I say "writer". Help?
If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write. Even if it is only for 20 minutes a day, just write.
Then walk to a photocopier, put it together into a little booklet, and pass it out to your friends & writers/publications you respect. Voila- you are a writer. It is not rocket science, do not trip out on it. If you are a writer it is because there is something you need to write. Just do it.
Hello! I'm in a primary partnership with myself. What are some fun free date ideas? (completely serious)
Go for a walk, go watch t.v. at the gym, go sit somewhere and write or draw, go to karaoke, take yourself to a movie for $3, have some quality time with your vibrator, go to Powells and read, go to Zumba, go pet dogs at the Humane Society, go spend a nickel on an ice cream cone.
How much do I like this guy? Enough to put up with occasional pot smoking and weekend drunkenness? Am I too old for this?
It sounds like you are too old for this. This question reeks of growing resentment. Cut & run! It sounds like he's getting on your nerves, and he's not going to change, so if you aren't willing to change (you don't have to, actually) then bail before you are dragging your anger like an albatross!
How do I politely tell my friends they are being politically incorrect, even when they should realize that they are...
Ugh. Please do not passive aggressively call them out on Facebook. If you must talk to them about something, because it's hurtful or will get them in trouble, do it privately. Try to make a personal connection (i.e. My uncle is ___________ , or say "you aren't allowed to say _________!" and explain why).
Don't let it eat at you. Your new mantra: "We are on the same side." At the end of the day, are they well-meaning? Do they politically have your back when the chips are down? Remember that! You may live in a radical bubble, but in the grand scheme of things that is rare and worth something.
Take off your judges robes and powdered wig, set down the gavel and have a friendly conversation about semantics if they're bugging you or embarrassing themselves. Otherwise, chill!
I'm from Montreal and have lived here most of my life, and a lot of people I love are here. But winter makes me want to smash my face into the sidewalk- should I move away?
Sure, try it. Not forever, just try spending a month or two somewhere sunny and see how you like it.
Texas, California, Arizona, Hawaii- sign up for a residency somewhere and dry out for a bit.
If you are too homesick you can always move back. Remember, you just get this one life. If you see yourself somewhere tropical, go do it!
What are good ways to meet people that isn't a bar?
A karaoke bar is a bar, but really it is such an excellent place. Okay, otherwise- volunteer somewhere. I don't know what your gender situation is, but volunteering with the Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls is an amazing way to meet strong, interesting women-identified-people from around the world. Look it up in your area, get in your car, and go help out.
What's a good "just because I think you're the best ever" gift for my friend?
Flowers, my new book Calling Dr. Laura, Cassie's book Fine Fine Music, some chocolates from Lagusta's Luscious, or a Lil' Bub totebag.
This person I like seems desperate, like they would hook up with anyone willing. Should I even bother, or am I going to be another warm body?
Firstly, you sound a little judgmental and like you are painting them with a very broad brush. Can you investigate their current desperation situation without getting too far in?
If it is true, that they are throwing themselves around indiscriminately, then it sounds like you might catch something. Pass on the opportunity, unless you also are hard up and can see this as a purely functional arrangement. Like just to get your vibes rolling, or for physical fitness.
I think I have a drinking problem. What should I do?
Go to AA, duh.
Not a joke. Just go there. Can your excuses about not wanting a higher power, and just step into some meetings. DO IT.
What do you feel is the best way to memorialize Whitney Houston? How did you?
With karaoke, recording a cover song, making a zine about her life or painting a portrait of her.
How do I hit "Rock Bottom" already?
Make out with a puppet. See example: Graham.
Should I dye my greys?
Only if they are blended in with some other hideous hair color you are trying to hide.
Otherwise, be grey and free! Distinguished!
Best place for water sports apart from a bath tub?
A tarp. A bed with a rubber sheet. The kitchen or the back yard. Or a bucket!!!
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
|Photo by Chelsey Johnson, 2008|
As you may or may not know, I am keeper to two very geriatric dogs. Beija, who is recovering from cancer, and Wishbone, the senile terrier. As of this week, I am down to one dog.
We had Wishbone put down (you can read her obituary here) on Monday, and I wanted to give you the most valuable advice that my sister gave to me: Have your pets put down at home.
Secondly (and this is from me), look into Euthanasia far in advance, so that when the time comes and your mind and heart are all fogged up and confused, you know what your bottom line is.
If you have pets, please take a moment and consider this.
I know that you are attached to your animal, but don't worry- magical thinking isn't real. If you accept that Euthanasia and death are and option, it is not the same as putting a hex on your creature. What it is, is making a plan for the future to give them the gift of a compassionate, swift exit from a failing body.
It's just like a living will- consider under what conditions you would and would not want to be alive if you were them. Also consider what you are willing to do, medically, to keep them alive. What is fair to them, what is fair to you, and what you can afford. It's vulgar and awful to even mention money when considering your best friend's life, but it's real.
For my dogs I've assessed their quality of life (happiness, mobility, appetite, comfort), then their age.
You can also consult an official Quality of Life Scale as your pet ages, to keep track of changes and discomforts that may have happened so gradually you take them for granted. Here is another one.
About home euthanasia:
It is such a "duh", I can't believe I never considered it before being lectured by my sweet sister on how it was the right thing to do. I didn't even realize it was an option.
A kind, professional veterinarian came to our home, administered a sedative, and then the final O.D. to stop Wishbone's heart.
Wishbone got to die while laying on my chest, sleeping. She was so at peace, she didn't even lift her head the whole time the vet was in our home.
She didn't have to be transported to another venue full of bright lights and unfamiliar smells.
Another bonus was that Beija got to be a part of the process. She got to sniff Wishbone after she was gone, and understood immediately what had happened. This might sound morbid to you, but it saved Beija from having the anxious searching that dogs sometimes have for their companions when they don't know why or where they've gone.
In Oregon, I recommend Compassionate Care Pet Euthanasia.
They were kind, professional, and handled all of the after-death issues as well (cremation, etc).
Be well, love your pets, and thank you for reading this and considering this in advance.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
My mom is a scrappy & obstinate 59 year old. She plans to move soon to a smaller, easier to manage and maintain home due to health issues and gradually waning physical strength. I am her only remaining child & will be doing approximately 90% of the grunt work involved in the move. How can I appeal to her (should I?) to jettison the 100+ bowling balls she has obsessively & randomly collected over the last 10 years? I will have to pack, move, & unpack these goddamned things! WHAT TO DO?
Dear Bowling Ball Child,
You need to say: "Mom, I love you. I am happy to help you move, but I cannot move those bowling balls. I just can't do it. They are unwieldy and it is stressing me out. I'll help you with everything else.
If you want to keep them, we need to find you some movers."
I was raised without a t.v., and up until now, lived as an adult without internet, or most technologies. However, I just got and iPhone. I realize I have no ability to tune out media. How do I learn to not be constantly sucked in?
Dear iPhone K-hole,
First of all, buy this print by Dan Moynihan, because TIME IS FLEETING.
Then get off the internet.
A few rules: when you are around other human beings, especially ones you don't see every day, stay off your phone. Keep your ringer off. At meals? Stow it. Having a conversation? Ignore it. At home and want to commune with loved ones instead of zone out like an alien? Keep the ringer off and put it in a drawer.
If you have a real problem, like you can't get any work done or you think it is effecting your relationships, enlist someone (your spouse or friends) to remind you to quit it if you slip and use your iphone when you are supposed to be working or communicating with physical humans.
There is a guy who hired a woman to come to his house and slap him across the face whenever he looked at Facebook instead of doing his job. Get that, only don't pay them.
Also, there are programs you can download to shut down your internet while you are working. Check it out!
How do I tell a relation (whom I love) that he's selfish and a big sponge, without ruining our relationship forever?
All you can do is make boundaries and take care of yourself so that person can't sponge off of you.
Accept that they are a lovable mooch, they're not going to think about you (because as you said, they are "selfish"), and that you just aren't going to do them copious favors or give them money. They'll be fine, they'll survive, and you won't have to give them anything that makes you uncomfortable or resentful.
Telling that person your harsh judgments of them is not going to strengthen your relationship or make them a better person.
Sometimes when I wipe my butt after pooping, there's blood. Is that what being a woman is like? Should I bring this up on dates so I seem more relatable? Please help.
Do you see the kinds of "questions" I have to put up with when I do live advice? People testing my knowledge of math and physics, people asking personal questions about my love life, people asking hogwashy philosophical questions to be cute. and now this. A man asking me if blood coming out of your butt is what it's like to be a woman.
No, that is not what it's like to be a woman. THANKS FOR ASKING!
Never mention this to a woman.
Go see a doctor, stop straining so hard, and gimme a break. That is my advice.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Good Morning, Advice Lovers!
I present Part II of live speed advice given at the Short Run Small Press Fest in Seattle, Washington last month. Read on.
How can I make shoes at home?
Staple a strip of cloth to a piece of wood and then slide your foot in there. Voila, it's a shoe!
Or, use empty Kleenex boxes.
The ghost of my dead cat keeps visiting me at night when I sleep. How can I tell her spirit that it's okay to rest now?
I think it's more a matter of you resting and letting go. Do you know what I mean?
It is important, once the initial grieving process is over, to take down the giant shrine that you've made to your dead cat. A photo (or pet portrait, ahem) is fine, but if you have many kitten and cat photos strewn around the house, or her collar on your bedside table, you are haunting yourself with the ghost of feline past, and it will not help your brain move on to the present and put your sweet cat to rest.
Tell her, audibly, that you loved her so much, but it's time to go now. She'll understand.
If your cat persists, then perhaps she is a part of your psyche that represents something else.
Name one song based on crows. NOT BLACK BIRDS!
This is not advice.
But how about any song by Counting Crows? Mr Jones? I know that doesn't count, and I'm sorry for reminding you that that song exists at all.
What do you think of Cross-Fit? Is it a fad, or a good exercise program?
I think Cross-Fit looks very difficult, which is great. It doesn't matter if it's a fad or not. It probably is a fad, but so what- it's better to vary your exercise routine and work out different muscles at different difficulties than to do non-fad things endlessly for your whole life. What's not an exercise fad, walking? Zzzzzzzz.
All of that said, please be careful if you do Cross-Fit. If you are not used to the crazy things they make you do, you may damage something, so make sure you are honest with your self and your body, don't try to be a hero about it, and listen to your instructor.
Who let the dogs out?
Who? Who, who?
How do you get WiFi up in this piece?
I never found out- I just used 3G.
Ask the front desk.
What should I do to kill time at Short Run when my bf is wandering for hours?
It depends if you are at a table or not. If you are stuck at a table,
construct narratives in your head about each person who approaches your spot.
Imagine a story line for them, and how they are related to the person who walked by before them.
Are they swingers? Step-brothers? Co-workers at a rat milking factory?
I also like to imagine how much better every person would look with a good haircut.
I used to do this when I went to Midnight Mass with my family on Xmas. I would give every lady a black bouffant hairdo in my mind, like Michelle Mae from the Makeup. She had some of THE BEST hair I had ever seen on a contemporary person. They looked great.
If all else fails,
Go buy the Bad Roommate Zine from my table, hole up somewhere and read it.