Friday, December 13, 2013

519 Days Since Our Last Public... Oh.

Maybe I just can't believe how often this happens. Maybe on the first anniversary (364 days young!) of the Sandy Hook shooting, this SHOULDN'T be happening.

88 days since the Navy Yard.

53 days since Sparks, Nevada.

Maybe these events shouldn't be happening more frequently than network Sweeps Week.

Maybe I'm a callous dick. Maybe I shouldn't have to write these stupid posts. Maybe I shouldn't be so jaded to all of it that my first reaction is "workplace accident joke."

Maybe this shouldn't be happening anywhere, ever, at all, let alone at a rate that is literally unprecedented anywhere else in the world. Maybe Colorado shouldn't feel like ground zero for this shit.

Maybe we should be able to have a grown up, adult conversations about why these shootings keep happening. Maybe they should be hard and painful and really introspective. Maybe they should look at all possible roots of the causes. Maybe they should look at the cultural zeitgeist. Maybe they shouldn't be reduced to soundbytes and fearmongering. Maybe they should be complicated. Maybe this is why we can't have nice things.

Maybe the solution is hard. Maybe the solution isn't just one thing, it's lots of things. Maybe it's lots of things all at once. Maybe that's really hard. Maybe we're not ready for it.

Maybe we have to be.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mommy and Me: Date Night at the Art Museum

Tenderheart Bear
You are thinker, organizer, peacekeeper, and leader all in one. You have a power to command attention and people listen to you. However, you are often so concerned about not hurting others' feelings that you don't tell them what they need to hear and this gets you both into trouble. But you always have loyal friends to help you out.
The good news is, every link to every LJ quiz I appear to ever have taken is dead. 
Except this one.

Man, remember Livejournal? And blogging back when it was just thoughtsinks of people's days, fanfic, and quiz results? Me, too. I miss those. When I didn't feel like I was writing "for an audience" (or trying to), or like every post had to be vaguely "on message." When I just got today out of my brain and in to the pensieve, to make room for other shit. Sunday was good enough to make it feel like a good time to bring those back.


My mom came to visit! She came out for my youngest cousin's 4th birthday party, up in Vail, then drove down to Boulder with me afterwards on Saturday. Long story short, I spent like 7 hours in a car yesterday, driving all over the mountains, then down to Denver for derby and the Nervous Curtains show. And then passed out at 1am and slept for 10 hours, counting the time change. For those of you keeping score, that is not only the most sleep I've gotten in a month, but also the first time in that same month that I've fallen asleep before the sun rose. And when I say rose, I mean was significantly in the sky. Insert commentary on the joys of insomnia and mental health disorder byproducts.

Anyway. I slept! Then headed to the Boulderado a little late, after scouring the internet for a good place to take her to dinner. My go-to, Root Down, was full up on reservations for the ENTIRE NITGHT, so I needed a plan B. Problem is, there is no plan B. Let's be honest, I don't eat at $30/plate restaurants very often (basically, unless my parents are in town), so I had a pretty small personal sample size to choose from. My friends on the intertubes had some pretty great suggestions, but they weren't quite what I was looking for. (And it seemed rude to go back and explain, a little bit more and more, after every suggestion, about my mom's personal tastes. But really, internet, your suggestions were what led me to the RIGHT place, so they really were sincerely appreciated.) It took me about 40 minutes to paw through everything the internet could teach me about every 3 star restaurant downtown (along the way, I got a refersher course in Things I Hate About Food Industry Websites - you're lucky I closed all the tabs, place that had an automatic audioplayer start up, otherwise I'd be calling you right the fuck out.) before I found what I was looking for.

My mom, to her credit, is pretty good at food. Better, at least, than the rest of my family, who could honestly live on McDonald's, teriyaki (fun fact: "teriyaki" is not in my computer's spellcheck, but "sukiyaki" is.) chicken, and pizza, if they so chose. And they often do. I broke out of that, after years of my own peanut butter and jelly, turkey hoagie, and pasta diet, when I went to college and realized that if I didn't start being adventurous, cafeteria food and ramen might actually kill me. So mom is up for SOME shenanigans, but not many. She's still a little squirmy about international foods, and anything too high concept - molecular gastronomy, weird portion sizes, etc - won't fly. At a base level, I personally object to any place that puts a $20 hamburger on the menu with a straight face, so there was a LOT of stuff downtown that got ruled out. Not to spoil the dinner recap portion of this entry, but we ended up at Beast and Bramble, which was a total home run.

I felt bad - I was running late and so engrossed in my restaurant research that I forgot to call and let Mom know, so she was standing outside the hotel for like 20 minutes. Rude. Do better next time, M'ris.
Drive down was sunny and uneventful. Mom made a last minute clutchtime decision to go to the Denver Art Museum instead of the Denver Botanic Gardens, so I pulled right at the split and headed thataways. (I wasn't too excited about the Botanic Gardens anyway, so I may have stacked the deck a little. Subtly.) I missed the turnoff for Speer, because Holy Fuck, that section of 25 has been under construction FOREVER, WHY CAN'T YOU GET MORE FUCKING SIGNAGE FOR THE SPEER EXIT, YOU GITS???
Parking, line, museum. Hooray for endless emails from endless Denver websites paying off, I remembered that Denver Arts Week is happening and saved $3 on admission. Sure, it's only $3, but hey. I like how every dollar saved via couponing feels like a tiny victory. Like the real life equivalent of finding items in a video game.

We had about 90 minutes before our timeslot for the audio tour of Passport to Paris, the rotating exhibit currently on display at DAM, which actually gave us just enough time to check out the adjoining sections. (There are 3 - Nature As Muse, a collection of Impressionst paintings, Drawing Room, an intimate room full of works-on-paper from the Esmond Bradley Martin Collection, and the main event, Court to Cafe, which features three centuries of masterworks. I totally cribbed most of that from the DAM website.)

I'd actually suggested the DAM exhibit without really looking in to it, and it wasn't til we actually got inside Nature As Muse that I remembered - Mom loves the Impressionists. They are, in fact, her favourite period, with Monet topping that list out by - well, as much as Root Down tops out my Denver Restaurant List. (Her second pick is Van Gogh, also applicable here, and then a very distant Georgia O'Keefe.)

The thing I always hate about crowded art museum isn't so much the crowding, or the other people standing around staring at the pictures, but the way I feel like I can feel all those other people's eyes boring in to my back when I move up to the picture to look at it in more detail, even thought they've all just done the exact same thing. Because, y'know, it's what you do. But I'm just a casual tourist, I'm definitely not a zillionaire art snob, so what right do I have to be taking up that time and space? I know, I know. That part is just in my head. Still. Makes me nervous, don't like it. The consequence of that is that I always feel rushed, and the consequence of THAT is that I always end up feeling like I've missed some ephemeral something.

They had one of Monet's Water Lilies paintings on display, along with several other works, plus some Pisarro, Renoir, and a lot of Sisley. Though I definitely had a moment where I really missed Dad, where the caption next to the Renoir went on and on about his masterful use of lines, dashes, exposed canvas, and squiggles. I then spent several minutes counting the squiggles.

In case you were wondering, there was one singular squiggle. A squig, if you would. In the river, in the lower left corner. Look for it, if you get the chance. It's pretty expressive. (It's a squiggle.)

I think the exhibit made Mom a little heartsick, because as we walked out, she told me how she remembered giving all of Grandma's art books away to one of the Hartford museums, after she died. Grandma would've really liked the exhibit, too.

Upstairs was the Drawing Room, which, while impressive in its own right, I wasn't super in to. Mostly I was getting hungry, trying to figure out if I should change the time of the reservation, and making What Does the Fox Say jokes in my head. See, like I said, Drawing Room is this collection of paper works, which is basically just sketchbook pages or simple pen/ink/watercolor drawings. (Not always, but usually.) The first display is some pages from a menu that Paul Gauguin did for a dinner party in Tahiti. They're actually some of my favourite pieces from the show, but they definitely involve a cartoon fox dancing around, and where else was my brain supposed to go with that.

By the time Mom was done in there, we were right on time for our timeslot for Court to Cafe. Which, sorry, I really don't have a lot to say about. It's a very well put together collection, a selection that shows the progress and evolution from pre-Louis XIV up through the impressionists, in a variety of media (including music and video), which is cool. But, ugh, I cannot stop being bored... bored is the wrong word. Fatigued, irritated, put out by - a lot of the Baroque oil paintings. I understand its place and relevance, historiologically, but man. Something about it just grates on me. Like, on a really fundamental level, the gloss of the paints and the finish of many of the works, makes me want to complain about it, a lot. Distaste for the subject matter, the focus on the ornate, lush lives of the nobility... blahhhh. Want to stab things. This collection did include a few more "subversive" (by which I mean "normal") works, (and I am a git b/c I forgot to write down names), but the guy who explicitly set out to paint normal people as snapshots from their normal lives, warts and all. The one they had on display was of a woman painted while she was suffering from some sort of head cold. Her hair is mussed, her nose is red, and she looks exhausted, not porcelain perfect and demure. That's the stuff I appreciate from that era. Oh, and the Rococo inlayed furniture. That shit's bonkers, yo.

I actually lost Mom in the exhibit - I didn't remember passing her, but when I turned in my headset, she wasn't outside the exhibit hall. So I snuck back in (literally, past one of the guards who was giving people a hard time for reentry), found her, and told her to text me when she was done. In the meantime, I wandered over to the Nick Cave exhibition (which is really just a video with some bad audio of some of the soundsuits in motion. Could've been really cool, but they'd clearly done it up as a kid's exhibit, not a for serious one), then headed up to the 3rd floor for some of their more modern art, which is much more my speed.

I was thrilled to walk in and find a whole exhibit full of Vance Kirkland's up (on loan from The Kirkland, obvs, which Mom had nixed because she's not really in to Modern/Pop/Bauhaus/Etc.) I really like Kirkland - he hits this note with me that's somewhere between Dali and Barbarella, or Ken Kelly (you know him by all the Manowar album covers.), and the stuff my dad used to paint when he was in college. Then I turned the corner and came face to face with an Barbara Kruger's It's Our Pleasure to Disgust, which, hi, I can't tell you how long I spent in undergrad dissecting her stuff (to a bunch of other comm majors who I'm sure were sick to death of me.)

Some requisite sunset shots from the Sculpture Deck, which I had completely to myself that afternoon, then up to the 4th floor to flop around in this womb/uvula/squishy bean bag floor/interactive art thing. Mom got a hold of me as I was done flopping, then humored me as a excitedly showed her a rug portrait that Chuck Close has spent 4 years learning how to create, and some sculptures made out of mylar tape. I may have also done a lot of cartwheels in Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza's interactive a/v exhibit, Transposition. Mom never openly approves of such shennanigans, but I always catch her smiling at me when she thinks I'm not looking. She secretly loves it.

We got out of there right at closing time, and I stalled on the street for a minute while I called Beast and Bramble to change our 6.30 reservation to 5.30. Mom was getting a little hungry-cranky and I - well, in typical fashion, I hadn't actually eaten all day. I detoured us around the Convention Center/Performing Arts Complex, to show Mom the giant blue bear, then headed over to food.

Sometimes Mom is really easy to make happy, when sightseeing - all she really wants to see is "old buildings," quote unquote. I tried to explain to her that Denver isn't really old, so there isn't a whole lot of that around, but she was actually pretty thrilled with the Franklin & Studebaker building, and the Jonas Bros Furs sign.

Beast and Bramble, to lead with the punchline (again) was a total hit. They were super amenable to us changing the reservation (even though, I know, earlier is always easier. And it was almost empty in there when we got there at 5.25), happy to switch us to a different table with better lighting, etc. Our server knew the menu really well, and was happy to offer any and all advice to Mom, who isn't really familiar with the whole "farm to table" thing.

And the food. Oh, man. If I were a food blogger of any capacity at all, I'd stop right now and let this be its own glorious, indulgent entry. But I'm not, so really, what you get is a whole bunch of "holy shit this was so good," which I will probably just copypasta to Yelp anyway.

We skipped the Chef's Course or whatever it was called (1 app & 1 entree of your choosing, plus an intermezzo course of the chef's choosing/creation), though the horseradish braised beef something something sounded pretty awesome. I'd already kind of drooled over some stuff on the main menu, so Mom just said I should order as many apps as I wanted, and we'd share. Fun fact: my mother is a filthy liar.

We put in for their pumpkin flan, some roasted parsnips, and a lamb cheeks with gnocci thing. While it was all wonderful (the pumpkin flan was like eating a pumpkin flavored cloud,) the lamb. Holy crap, the lamb. Again: not a food blogger, so I can't actually describe a damn thing - but here's this instead:
There is a very short list of dishes that I would (and have) thrown caution and/or dignity to the wind for, and literally licked the plate. There was a garlic butter escargot in Ghent, Belgium that I actually picked up and drank the snail-butter-garlic sauce out of the pockets of the snail-plate. There was a lamb at Dish, in Edwards, CO, that I actually picked up and licked. Christophe has photos. And there were the lamb cheeks at Beast and Bramble, where I sheepishly asked for a spoon when the waitress came to clear our plates, so I could drink the au jus at the bottom of the dish in a manner that wouldn't make me look like a total three year old. I don't know what was in there. Mushrooms and lamb and gnocchi and salt and pixie dust, or something. It could have been a meal unto itself, and I would have been happy.

Oh, and the part I didn't mention: Mom didn't share, so much as she made me eat both the parsnips and the lamb on my own, then guilted me in to finishing her flan. Because mothers.

Obviously, by the time the main course came, I was too full to eat my quail. Quail! I love quail. It was good, and is half sitting in my fridge right now (half of the dish. It is not half in, half out of my refridgerator.), while Mom finished all of her mint fettucini with chicken liver. I love some really weird stuff  - Ankimo (Monkfish liver) is actually one of my favourite foods - but man, I cannot get behind chicken liver. I always think I can, and then as just as soon as I'm about to make my peace with it, bam, there is is, that awful coppery aftertaste that makes me want to gargle with saltwater forever.

Not to be forgotten in all of this lamb jus drinking awesomeness, is the fact that Mom and I had really good dinner conversation, too:
Mom: I wonder if there's a way to tell paint apart, like from the composition of it.
Me: Of couse there is. It's pretty easy, really. That's a really common way of dating paintings, actually - a spectranalysis of the chemicals in the paint.
Mom: Really? Like what?
Me: Like lead. Lead makes some really vibrant colors. That's why you don't lick the Van Goghs.

Mom: Oh, this {her clutch}? I got it in Venice {where she just was with my dad in the spring}. Just feel how soft it is!
Me: Oh, wow. Yeah, that's pretty nic - WHOA. Mom, this zipper is SO SMOOTH! {I proceed to zip and unzip the zipper on the clutch about 20 times, because seriously, it was a really smooth moving zipper. No resistance at all. Just glide. STOP JUDGING ME.}
Mom: Marissa! Stop playing with my zipper!

We debated over dessert a little too long while I simultaneously looked up movie times, eventually ordering a marscapone mousse that I was expecting, for some reason, to be kind of mediocre and uninteresting (why, M'ris? Everything else you had tonite has been amazing! Why would dessert be any different??), but turned out to be, obviously, awesome. I forgot to ask if they sell their rooftop honey, but man, I hope they do.
Dessert somehow took 40 minutes, and by the time we got out of there, we were running late to the movie at The Pavilions. Per usual, I got lost on my way to 16th street from Broadway, because that deke on to Tremont makes NO SENSE AT ALL. Luckily, there were about a thousand previews, so even though we kind of got lost in the theatre (and almost had a fight, thank god that was narrowly avoided), we made it to Last Vegas in plenty of time.

I'd actually wanted to take Mom to the Sie FilmCenter - she became a member of the local arthouse theatre back home a few years ago, and has really been enjoying the classes there. (My mom now loves Fellini! She saw 8 1/2! Twice!) But the only thing playing there that I thought she might be interested in was 12 Years a Slave, which I suggested, but thought might be a little heavy for the night. Then Last Vegas came up, and when I suggested it, she totally lit up. I should've known, it's all her favourite actors, in a comedy that Dad would despise seeing with her. (And, secretly, I have kind of really wanted to see it ever since I saw the trailer. Does that make me old?)

Last Vegas may only have gotten 2 stars most places, but guys, it's super cute. It really is The Hangover for Old Dudes, only without the gratuitous sex and uncomfortable jokes that made The Hangover just a little too much for me. Last Vegas, on the other hand, is actually really respectful of its subject matter (womanizing, fidelity, and eldering), while still managing to be hilariously on point. Old people jokes are so easy to turn in to cheap, meaningless laughs, but Kline and DeNiro are just all over them. Perfect delivery.

There's also this douchey dudebro that they turn into their servant boy and help reform his dudebro ways, and it's so minor to the plot, but it is SO AMAZING to see a plausible, accessible, mass media example of "Hey, jerkwad. You're being a jerkwad. Stop being a jerkwad. Here is a primer on how not to be a jerkwad, by which we mean how to treat women like they're people."

After the movie let out, Mom bought a $6 bottle of water from the concession stand. Nevermind that I have like 18 bottles of water in my car (that she's been bugging me to throw out since Saturday), nevermind that there's a 7-11 around the corner, as I tried to inform her. $6 bottle of concession stand water. Purchased.
We got back to the car, where I was disappointed to learn that $6 bottled water does not taste like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous:
Mom: Do you want some?
Me: Sure. Y'know, I hope this tastes like gilded lilies. Like saffron and rubies had a child, and it's this bottle of water. {drinks}
Mom: So?
Me: We're talking topaz, tops.
Mom: Better than quartz.

Finally, we headed off to 7C, so I could drop off a cliplamp as a stopgap til we can get one of the overhead lights replaced. I was kind of apprehensive about taking mom to 7C, and told her so - as much as I love that place, it's, well, ugly. Dirty. Disgusting. It's not the kind of place that Mom would feel comfortable in, at all. And so while there was a part of me that really wanted her to see this place that I'm so passionate about, I knew that even if she saw it, she still wouldn't really get it. And in fact, would probably actively dislike it. Which would invariably lead to a fight that I really just never want to have. (I left that part out.)
As I opened the door of my car, she elected to stay in there and wait for me. "Lock the doors," she called out behind me. "Don't forget about me!" she yelled as I shut the door behind me.

There's probably a whole other entry about how, even at 30, I still want my mom to approve of my life and the things I do and care about, and how disappointed I can be when I know that she won't grok something the way that I do. And to that end, honestly, it was probably better that she stayed in the car. Still, I wish she could see what I see in places and spaces like 7C, and how important what we're doing there is for all the communities that intersect around it - Denver, touring musicians, teenagers, etc etc etc. Like I said. Another time.

Then blah blah lamp delivered, Jorden hugged and kvetched at, new kid vaguely scared of me, mission accomplished all around. This is also just about the point in a Livejournal entry where I would start getting tired of writing all this verbose nonsense, and sum the rest of the evening up in like three lines. Ready?

Drive up was uneventful as I continued to hate-listen to the audiobook of James Dashner's The Kill Order. It's really fucking terrible. A lengthy explanation of my love of hate-listening to audiobooks is probably also best left to another post.. Dropped Mom off, swung around, headed to Dark Horse to meet up with the guys and their M:tG decks, then peaced out around 12.45 and came home. 
It's now 3am, and I've been writing this 4000 (3700, if we're being picky) word blog post for two hours. I suppose this should be the part where I sleep, now.
Requisite Denver sunset photo, sculpture deck of the Denver Art Museum

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Things I Think About on the Way Home From Derby

Someone sometime said that I should take all the things I think about while I'm driving home from derby and write them down. Because apparently, they're kind of fascinating? Sure, why not. Maybe I'll remember to google the answers for some of these, sometime.

So. Potential new weekly feature: Things I Think About on the Way Home From Derby. TITAOTWHFD? That's terrible.

- The smell of dogfood just after leaving practice will never not be the grossest thing in the world.
- Dogs. What are dogs actually supposed to eat?
- Dogfood came from... where DID dogfood come from?
- Seriously, What are dogs supposed to eat? Like, in the wild. Are there still wild dogs?
- How long have we been domesticating them? Are wolves and coyotes all that's left?
- Dog breeds are weird. How did we end up with so many different breeds? So quickly?
- Why do Chows have purple tongues?
- Is dog DNA like apples? Or pigeons? Is it just really, really easy to manipulate dogs into what we want them to be like?
- How come there aren't as many domestic breeds of cats?
- What's the dog equivalent of a sabretooth tiger?
- All cats really do look pretty much the same, less their hair. It's not like there's a Great Dane of domestic cats. Or designer cat breeds. Is there? There's that hypoallergenic cat. I don't think that counts.

- I should blog about this. Is that pretentious?
- Do other people think about weird shit like this while they're spacing out driving?
- Great, now that I'm thinking about how to think about things while driving home from practice, I can't think of anything.
- That's weird.
- Actually, if the only time I can't think of anything is while I"m trying to think about something, that might be brilliant.
- In a roundabout self-sabotaging my overactive brain sort of way.

- Why am I so squicked out by dudes explicitly stating what sort of sexytimes they'd like to have? Isn't that just them being open and honest? Isn't that the point?
- But it's icky. Why is it icky? If I actually knew them and they told me these exact same things, it'd be fine.
- Well, maybe it has to do with what you're looking for. You're never looking for those things right up front. You've got other priorities.
- What are my priorities? Would other people be just as weirded out if I put what I'm really looking for up on the internet?

- No one on 36 can merge. Augh.

Here. Have a puppy.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Betsy's a Liar Liarpants.

Sometimes I wonder if I should give my anxiety a really stupid, cutesy, humanizing nickname, like "Betsy," or something. Just so you can see how easy it really is for it to show up in my daily interactions.

Like, why I'm home with Fringe on a Friday night, instead of a) at services, b) at my friend's aerial dance performance, c) at a laser show, or d) roller skating.

Last week, I went to a haunt with a friend. We grabbed burgers afterwards, and had a very normal friend-talk about his living situation, which was stressing him out.

Fast forward to, y'know, now:

Friend: Hey, I just wanted to thank you for last week. It was really helpful, and you're the best.
Me: You're welcome. I'm glad it helped. {I feel ok about myself for half a second and then}
Betsy: He's LYING. LIAR LIAR LYING. You shouldn't talk to him again. You don't have any business helping him, what the fuck do you know? You don't have roommates. All your roommates were drug addicts, and now you live by yourself. Just stay home and shut up. You're useless.
Me: ...Bwuh?

And then, y'know, you can't have a fight with Betsy, because then you really start to feel like you're crazy.

No silver lining to this one, folks. Sometimes, you just stay home with Betsy and Joshua Jackson, because you're afraid that if Betsy got out into the real world, things would be even worse.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Warning: Contains Girl Parts

Just once, I'd like to make it through a 24 hour news cycle without becoming hopelessly despondent. 24 hours without a story about another suicide via bullying, or rape case turned victim blaming, or casual racism/sexism/homophobia being treated like something normal. Just once, I'd like to hear about stories about it getting better. Of people learning from past mistakes, of examining privilege and leveling up. I'd like to hear about things that don't make me wonder if anything is ever going to change, or if we're all just going to have to walk around with WARNING: CONTAINS GIRL PARTS signs around our necks forever.

Just once.

Here. I'll start.

Back in September, I spent a day in my hometown back east, running errands.

As I was hustling across the SEPTA parking lot towards my eyeglasses place, I had the following exchange with a stranger, a 40-something heavyset black man.

Me: {hustling}
Him: {across the street, yelling}Hey! HEY!
Me: {Oh god, what now.}
Him: Hey, sweetheart! I really like your green hair!
Me: Thank... thank you?
Him: You're welcome! Have a great day! {smiles, finishes crossing the parking lot}

//end scene

What's surprising about this is scene is that it's surprising. No woman expects her casual streetside encounters to be casual streetside encounters. We certainly don't expect them to be civil, earnest, or complimentary.

But man. How cool would it be if we could.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Should I Send This Dick Pic?

At some point in every man's life, there is a question that they must ask themselves:

Now that I have taken this photograph of my penis with my camera phone, Should I Send This Dick Pic?

It's a very complicated question, and we here at RaGDB do understand that. So, for your (and our) benefit, we have created this helpful flowchart* to assist you in your decision making process. Good luck, and may the pics be ever in your favor!

*With thanks (and apologies) to Erin Gloria Ryan

Friday, June 21, 2013

Above the Game: It's Not Abuse.

First off: I'm not here to castigate Kickstarter. They not only admitted to and corrected a mistake, but they also did a Good Thing, in donating a significant amount of money to RAINN.

But guys, let's talk about Above the Game, a Kickstartered "seduction guide" aimed at teaching dudelings how to, well, seduce the womens.

Above the Game has recently been dragged into the internet spotlight for some of its included text which, when read on its own, sounds pretty abhorrent.

Things like (and I'll quote Casey's blog, here, because the original text on reddit has already been taken down:)

5) Get CLOSE to her, damn it!
To quote Rob Judge, “Personal space is for pussies.” I already told you that the most successful seducers are those who can’t keep their hands off of women. Well you’re not gonna be able to do that if you aren’t in close! ”
“All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality. Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.”

“Decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.”
Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.”

And, yes, universe, this is vaguely weird and creepy. Even when it's in the context (which, in the chapter, it is) of the situation already being one of known mutual interest and attraction (this text is not directed at any ole dude meeting any ole lady for the first time, something which seems to have been lost in all the rabbling), there is something admittedly disconcerting about having these actions and these intentions spelled out so blatantly.

But that doesn't make the book a "How-To Guide for Sexual Abuse," as some petition that I can't find this split second has called it out to be.

Internets, it goes much deeper (and yet, much shallower) than that, and burying this book in a blanket statement of "It's abuse! Get it awayyyyyy!" is doing everyone a disservice.

Let me say it again: THIS BOOK IS NOT ABOUT ABUSE.
If this book were "about abuse," there would be entire chapters dedicated to things like "how to fuck with a woman's head so bad that she will never ever leave you," and "how to make friends with cops so that domestic disturbance calls will never get written up in the ledger." Things like "what to do when a woman doesn't respond to your catcall," and "you have the power: a primer to pushing a woman down the stairs and making her internalize it." There would be an entire appendix on "it's not rape if..."

This is not that book.

If you look at TofuTofu's summary of the book that he has been pushing on reddit, two things become very clear, very quickly:

1, The "no." The author makes it very clear at every step of this book that if the girl is not in to doing something, for the love of god, you clueless male, STOP IT. Forcing a woman is never, ever cool, and even if you're reading this seduction (fun fact: I keep typing "seduction" as "seducation") book, respecting boundaries is still a thing that needs to happen.

2, This book is for dudes who are bad at things. Things like, yes, seduction, but also things like taking initiative, believing in themselves, reading body language - in general, this is a book for the socially inept. (Who I love.)

So. Why does it tweak us all out so bad?

Because this book is saying something that no one really wants to talk about. It's basically a how-to guide for male privilege.

TofuTofu isn't giving out insidious information to dudes looking to take advantage of women. He's spelling out, very carefully and explicitly, how to operate with male privilege; to a group of males who don't recognize that they have it, let alone that they, as males, have the ability to buy in to it, or to use it.

And that? Yes, that is totally squicky. Because when you get down face-to-face to male privilege, it is weird and squicky.

This book is a primer on How To Be A Modern Alpha Male.

It teaches men who don't know any better (otherwise, why would they be reading the book?) how to be "a leader." How to be pushy. How to believe in themselves. And it teaches them to recognize what advantages they can take - advantages that they did even realize were options. What boundaries they can push - boundaries that they didn't know could be pushed on. It teaches them - no, it TELLS THEM ABOUT social norms - norms that they didn't realize existed, and certainly didn't realize that yes, they too, could be taking advantage of.

In short, this book is telling a bunch of clueless dudes how not to be clueless, by telling them exactly how every other clueless dude in society operates, when they're not even thinking about it.

This book is an up close and personal look at the normal social values that the everyday male accepts and undertakes as part of their day-to-day lives. That are like background noise. But in bringing that noise to the surface, TofuTofu makes it visible. And when all that is on the table, in the open, staring us in face? It's not very comfortable.


Calling it that is doing a disservice not only to the work itself, but to women. To feminism. To the idea that we're not just trying to live in a world where people don't have to walk down the street wondering when their rape will come, but to get to a world where people don't think that rape is a valid option.

We're never going to get there by pointing fingers at things that we already know are wrong, and we're not going to get there by hiding things that make us uncomfortable under a blanket of "it feels icky so it must be wrong, the end."

Above the Game makes us uncomfortable not because it's teaching anyone anything new, but because it's teaching people the same old shit. If we don't like it, that's fine. But let's talk about why we don't like it, and why seeing these social norms spelled out on paper makes us want to shake our pitchforks and rabble all the internets.

Let's talk about why "seduction guides" exist at all, or why some men think that there's a "formula" to figuring out women. Let's talk about the male gaze. Let's talk about why these guides teach men to be dominant and controlling in dating situations, or why that's parsed as a universal good to the readers of these books.

Let's talk about every single thing in this book, in all of these types of books, that leave women shaking their heads and feeling misunderstood and preyed upon.

But that's not abuse, internet. That's literally the culture of the society that we live in. So let's talk about that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You've Got a Troll Face, or, How NOT to Take Rejection on OKCupid

I wish I had better news to report from the internet-dating-o'sphere, but there's almost never anything to
write home about, unless it's comically bad.

Like this dude.

He sent me a message at 6am, calling me "deliciously evil" and something about wanting to "steal (me) to Texas and keep (me) forever." (Dude is a law enforcement officer, so that's double-cool.) I glanced at his profile, figured we wouldn't be a good match anyway, and simply deleted his message.

8 hours later, this happened:

This happens in internet dating ALL THE TIME. Dude sends gal message that isn't particularly cogent to begin with, then, almost immediately (whether or not they get a response), gets aggressive. When he's shot down or questioned, he gets even MORE aggressive.

Guys, this isn't going to work. I mean, ok, maybe it is, and you can keep dating submissive/passive aggressive ladies who are in to that sort of thing. But if you're putting out crazy, you're likely pulling in crazy, too. And then you don't really have a leg to stand on when you whine about how all the ladies you meet are kind've apeshit.

Plus, it's just plain disrespectful. If someone doesn't understand you, or where you're coming from, that's no reason to resort to namecalling and insults. It's not attractive when you're 12, it's even less attractive when you're 30-something.

And let's talk about creepy for a hot minute, ok? If you went up to someone in real life, having never met them before, and told them that you'd like to "steal them away and keep them forever," - how do you think that would come off? I mean, assuming you're not at the BDSM club or something. (Not that any/everyone into BDSM is in to those sorts of lines, either - the dynamic of "capturing" clearly requires boundaries that only exist AFTER an initial meeting.) Go up to someone on the street and say that, and let me know how that goes.

Like my friend Melzah pointed out, "people are not possessions!" And referring to them as such ("keeping," like I'm a sticker book or something) reduces individuals to objects. When you say "I want to keep you," you're not saying "I like you," "I think you're awesome," or even "I want to be with you forever." You're saying "You are my desire, I want to maintain mastery over you, and I don't really care what your say in the matter is." And, hey, if that's the boundaries you've set up with your SO, that's supercool. But if those boundaries AREN'T in place? Train to Creepsville.

Being wary of such an approach doesn't make someone paranoid, let alone "less," for being wary. It means that we exist in a reality that's real, where people say terrible things without provocation, and where we expect to have our boundaries crossed, with or without permission. And but there's no reason we should willingly LET those boundaries be crossed, not even in jest.

Calling someone out on such things speak only to your OWN perceptions of power and equality - or, really, the lack thereof.

Of course, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir, here. Guys who respond like this generally aren't interested in being told that they're wrong, or that their behavior could stand to be amended (especially not in the interested of being nice to anyone, let alone respecting the people of their preferred gender identity.)

As for the rest of the interaction - I really liked the part where because I'm suddenly a troll face (his first message praised my looks), I'm supposed to have lower standards or be more understanding of people treating me like shit - it went about the way you'd think it would:

I blocked him after this, though not before he managed to get in one last jab, suggesting that the body shot I have up on the site - a beach shot, no less (and I'm not even going to humblebrag here - that shot has ZERO things to be ashamed of in it) - should be removed.

Guys, here's one last thing: if you're going to slam a girl on her figure, at least have the common sense, if not decency, to not do it do someone who's in better shape than you are.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Online Dating & Hate Speech

I don't write a lot about my online dating experiences. Sure, I have the drinking game, but for the most part, I keep things pretty much on the DL. Tonite, however, I ran across something I'd never experienced before, in all my years (let's not count how many) of online dating: hate speech.

I neglected to take screenshots of this convo, which I now seriously regret. But it went pretty much exactly like this:

Dude: Too lazy to start a conversation with anything more than a Hey.
Me: Too lazy to end a conversation with anything more than a no thanks.
Dude: thanks, your Butt Ugly and I just wanted to copy/paste, if I had seen your jewish I would not have wasted a single letter!

So, yeah, that happened. I'm pretty stunned. Lots of people dislike me for lots of reasons, and I've been told off plenty of times, especially on the internet. This was the first time someone has gone directly for the Judaism jugular - and, yeah, it stings. Way more than I thought it would.

I don't know how much there is to delve in to here. I'm proud of being Jewish, and some yutz on the intertubes isn't going to rob me of that with one flippant email. And I understand that this dude is totally childish (butt ugly? That's the best you can do? Also, my picture on there is fucking GORGEOUS, even if you're not attracted to me. Also, my butt is aces.), but I wasn't aware that antisemitism was still casually running around, lurking in the hearts of bruised young men.

There's nothing I can do about this. (Though I blocked the user and reported him to the site for violating their TOS.) It's just unsettling, and, luckily, a little bit funny.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Birthday Freebies in Boulder, CO

I've been accumulating this list for a few years, but never published it. Not sure why.

Anyway, here's some free stuff you can get in Boulder on your birthday. Most of it requires some planning in advance. I won't be in Boulder for my birthday this year (I'll be here in Philly, at the dentist's. Really. Wooooooooo.) So hopefully this list will be of more use to you.

Aveda - Coupon for free birthday gift (usually a fullsize product) redeemable at Aveda salons. Sign up online.
BJ's Brewhouse - Free Pizookie dessert. Email signup.
Cork - Free entree. Join their Connoisseur Dining Club.
Dairy Queen - Join their Blizzard fan Club, receive a coupon for a free birthday Blizzard
Daphne's Greek Cafe - Free entree. Email signup.
Denny's - Free Grand Slam, just show up with your driver's license.
Firehouse Subs - show your ID, get a free sub.
Glacier Ice Cream - Free ice cream cone OR small gelato on your birthday. Join their Birthday Club online. (7 days in advance)
Noodles & Co - Sign up for their email newsletter to receive a coupon for a free birthday meal. (60 days prior)
Old Chicago's - Active members (have made use of membership in the past 6 months) of their World Beer Tour program receive a $15 birthday credit for food. Must sign up for WBT in person.
Red Robin - Join their e-club, get a free birthday burger.
The Sink - Free appetizer or cookie on your birthday. Sign up for their S Card program.
Spicy Pickle - Sign up for the email list, get a coupon for a free birthday sandwich. (You might have to buy a drink.)
Starbucks - Register any giftcard you have for them online, a free birthday drink should come up when you check your rewards.
Ted's Montana Grill - Free dessert. Email signup.
Tee and Cakes - Join their Birthday Club. $5 gift certificate in the mail. Must sign up prior to birthday month.
Walnut Brewery - Members of their Mug Club (must sign up in person at Walnut Brewery) get a "special birthday gift every year." (Walnut Brewery is part of Rock Bottom

The Bus Stop - Free lap dances.
Snooze - Free birthday pancakes

If you're willing to trek to Denver:
The Broker - Buy one entree, get one free. Plan it in advance w/ them, and bring a friend.
Denver Zoo: Free admission on your birthday. Register online in advance.
The Fresh Fish Company - Not free, but members of their birthday club receive a percentage discount equal to their age. Sign up online.
LaMar's - free donut & coffee when you show up in person & join their LaMar's for life program. Register your card online & they'll load a free birthday donut on it.

Around Colorado:
Atwater on Gore Creek, Vail, CO - free entree with reservation and ID. (This seems insane to me, but it's right there on the website.)

That's all I've dug up. If there's a local deal I've missed, let me know!

I can't draw. EvaDestructionTM can, thank god.