Thursday, January 29, 2009

While we wait for the Proposition 8 saga to play out in the courts, a little bit of sweet justice:

Prop 8 Campaign Can't Hide Donors' Names

Lawyers for Protect Marriage, sponsor of the constitutional amendment [outlawing same-sex marriage in California] that won voter approval Nov. 4, said contributors have already faced consumer boycotts, picketing and even death threats after the state posted their names and other information in mandatory campaign reports.

They argued that the law requiring disclosure of all donors of $100 or more interfered with the campaign's right to participate in the political process and should be struck down, modified to raise the dollar limits, or at least not applied to contributors to the measure outlawing same-sex marriage.

They want special treatment to have the law " least not applied to contributors to the measure outlawing same-sex marriage." Are they for real? And actually, let's be clear exactly what these folks did: they provided financial support to a measure stripping gay couples of their rights to marriage, rights granted by the California Supreme Court months earlier.

So we should just make an exception any time there is any controversial measure up for a vote by which support (or opposition) could result in death threats? Please. There are yuppie tools in my building who would post a death threat on Yelp for feeling neglected by a waitress.

So what's the real reason behind the request for exemption? Could it be that the fallout is more enduring and more damaging than supporters expected, especially as it is becoming more clear to people -- even some supporters -- that is was WRONG and SHAMEFUL to support Proposition 8?

Hmmmmm, and boycotts can be bearable, but not coupled with a recession.

If you're unwilling to stand up for your beliefs, and are afraid of consumer boycotts because of said beliefs, then you are a coward and a slimy, hypocritical liar. And oh yes, I have checked the list and I have made my calls and written my letters and initiated boycotts, as have many of my friends.

And if you're ashamed of it being publicized that you are on the wrong side of history, then simply make the right decision. There is nothing wrong with gay marriage (and it's coming, it's just a matter of time), just like there was and is nothing wrong with mixed-race marriage. Yet the opponents of gay marriage use the same tired arguments that mixed-race marriage opponents did years ago. And just look how the opposition fared in the history books.

It's a sad truth that every Proposition 8 supporter who gave $100 or more to the campaign will be immortalized in history as backward and ignorant. Can you imagine 20 years from now, when these folks' children or grandchildren learn about the history of gay civil rights and their names pop up on a Prop 8 supporter list? That's right, they'll be filed right alongside the fools that preceded them. It will happen -- viva la internets!


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Alexander McQueen for Target.


I LOVE McQueen for his whimsy and tough girl looks. And he is my main squeeze for leather leggings and fur guilt.


If I'm truthful, I'm a little underwhelmed. This collection seems quite plain, and a little bit generic H&M/Topshop indie rock and roll basic. There are some cute pieces with a bit of quirky interest, like this vest. Also, this swimsuit is very cute. Waiting and excited to see the collection in person in March, but first visuals look a little, well, cheap.

I know. I'm complaining. About Alexander McQueen. At Target. Ignore me.

One more thing: Check out this nouveau 80s photo shoot for Paris Vogue with real 80s teen modeling sensation turned chicken-eating action hero, Milla Jovovich. Unwearable, but what a brilliant and gorgeous shoot!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nice little conversation starter for your next cocktail party or backyard BBQ over at Slate: Incest and Eugenics.

Does science support our laws against incest and cousin marriage? If so, does it also support other laws that would restrict sexual or procreative freedom in the name of genetic health?

Interesting, if short, read. Following their link to more on this matter:

The British Down's Syndrome Association has posted a chart showing the risk of producing a baby with the syndrome at various maternal ages. From age 20 to age 31, the risk doubles. From 31 to 35, it doubles again. From 35 to 38, it doubles again. From 38 to 41, it more than doubles again. Each delay multiplies the risk as much as cousin marriage multiplies the risks of all birth defects combined. By age 45, the probability of Down syndrome alone roughly matches the 4 percent cumulative risk of birth defects from cousin marriage.

You know, I never thought about it that way. Incest may be morally repugnant, but outlawing it for the flawed genetics argument is kind of ridiculous when one takes into consideration the miracles of genetic testing to track if you have a certainty of tragic genetic consequences, as well as the proliferation of older, and thus genetically riskier, motherhood.

And what of restricting procreative freedom in the name of genetic health, AKA eugenics?

Oy vey, no way. I'm waaaaay too tired to go there. Those over-45 moms are vicious!

More seriously though, I will say that while y'all know I'm very pro-choice, funny that on very first thought I am a bit torn when it comes to fetuses that are going to be born and become part of society, and the responsibility a parent has to that child's ultimate well-being.

You know, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any asshole be a father.

Tod, Parenthood

Viscerally though, eugenics is wrong (Remember Gattaca? Before Jude Law was creepy?). But this also comes from a person privileged to live in a society where another mouth to feed doesn't have to be attached to a body that can till a field or walk 5 miles to a well in order for my family to survive, and where people aren't outcasts if they have a child with very severe disabilities.

Also, being pro-choice, I tend to focus on a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy, but I suppose reproductive freedom goes both ways.

We can't stop people from doing what they want to do. We'll tell them what's generally dangerous. And if they can adequately reduce the medical risks, by wearing a condom or taking a genetic test, we'll look the other way.

We humans are flawed, and we have to hope people strive to weigh their options and make the best possible decisions for themselves and their children, throughout life.

So, are y'all still in shock over the woman who gave birth to eight babies the other day? Gah.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy Year of the Ox!

BTW, I'm a Wood Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac. What about you?


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Here's to the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Some more hallelujah:

Obama Lifts Global Gag Rule

"For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back and forth debate that has served only to divide us," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. "I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate."

He said the ban was unnecessarily broad and undermined family planning in developing countries.

I love him.

Of course, there's the usual crap coming out:

"Coming just one day after the 36th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade decision, this presidential directive forces taxpayers to subsidize abortions overseas — something no American should be required by government to do," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio

Bitch, please. What kind of argument is this? The day Americans stop paying taxes for the things we don't support is the day our country falls even farther into the shitter than it already has. Boehner, you're rhetoric is truly embodying politics as usual. Look where this has gotten us with our own healthcare. A whole lotta bitter, hypocritical, stale and fruitless nothing.

But I digress. Americans shouldn't have to pay taxes for what they don't support, eh? Then we must mention not only the ridiculously inconsequential -- the possibility that abortions may be performed with the $.001 each that Mr. Boehner and his fellow minority of Americans may contribute to an international aid group by virtue of being citizens of the US of A -- but also the horrific: hemorrhaging tax dollars to a war internationally recognized as unjust, and paying for an administration that embraced American exceptionalism and thus destroyed our reputation with the rest of the world.

Boehner, I know where you stood on my tax money being spent on the Iraq War, you loon. And I think I have 1) a better argument for not paying, and 2) more of your American constituency behind me.

Can you get on that whole speaking for me and the millions of Americans who didn't support the war ASAP? Ta muchly.

Allowing funding to resume to groups that provide not only abortion services but other important services -- including counseling, contraception, gynecological exams, surgery, and STD education and prevention, to name a few -- is a no brainer. But then again, Boehner, you don't have to pass an IQ test to be [a public servant].

Conversely, thank the stars for our new president. He's done more good work in a week than BushCo did in a year.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Woohoo for the inauguration, hey? I'm sure y'all watched the festivities, so I won't go into how wonderful it feels to be an American right now, or how Obama's inaugural address and first day in office were absolutely inspiring. All I will say at this point is that I'm glad my president is not only inspiring, but also so NICE.

January 20th was a good day.

January 21st was also a good day. Trevor and I got up early and took BART and Muni into San Francisco to take advantage of free admission day at the newly renovated California Academy of Sciences, located in Golden Gate Park on the beautiful Music Concourse.

Holy smokes, was it crowded! But it was totally worth it. Definite highlights were the T-Rex and (87-foot!) blue whale skeletons, the Living Roof, and the Morrison Planetarium -- where we saw the most amazing digital show on the cosmos on their tilted 75 foot diameter projection screen. It felt like we were flying through the universe. Highly recommended!

Though the planetarium absolutely blew us away, of course the Steinhart Aquarium was the big draw. Gorgeous sea creatures, many that I had never seen before in person.

Some favorites:

Beautiful little jellyfish

Creepy nautilus -- it's like it's getting ready to jump out and suck on your face!


And of course, penguins! The penguins are African penguins, and they are situated at the end of a vast hall of really cool African dioramas. The approach is striking.

But the most fascinating animals in the aquarium were these small endangered fish from Australia, leafy and weedy seadragons. They are apparently very difficult to obtain, and must be procured through approved captive breeding programs. The aquarium had been on a waiting list for two years!

These little creatures were mesmerizing.

Weedy seadragons (and random German tourist)

Leafy seadragon

And hey, what do you know? My crappy iPhone camera did alright next to Trevor's new toy, a Canon Powershot -- a new toy which was, incidentally, bought with credit card points. And here I thought that stuff was a scam!

Anyway, another exciting, excellent day in a week full of excitement and excellence.  Here's to a terrific weekend.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

For years I slept with the covers pulled up over my ears because of you, good sir. RIP.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh lovely day!

Trevor's got a review of Nick Harkaway's Gone Away World up at the blog for Bay Area publisher Omnidawn. This will hopefully be the first of many. Check it, yo.

And speaking of books: someone loves me in London, and sent me a prezzie:

Fantastic! Need I remind you?

Plus, it was 77 degrees today. Bloomin' gorgeous! Forget the down jacket -- I'm cycling to work in a t-shirt tomorrow.

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Wow, this is so cool!

GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. It's a simple and compelling concept. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. Because it's powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates to your cause comes from its advertisers — the users and the organizations do not spend a dime!

Think about how often you search the internet. What a great way to help a nonprofit you care about, for free, just by doing something you do almost every day. You can even install it in your toolbar to make it easier. Love it.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

So, how about that best of 2008 list, eh?

I know, I know, it's January 10th but it wouldn't be my blog if I wasn't late to the party.

Probably goes without saying, but the older I get, the less new stuff I buy. No matter how hard I try, this is the inevitable conclusion. But I'm over it, and you will be too when you see what I did absorb. Quality over quantity, baby.

Anyway, here are some of the top things in 2008 that rocked my little world.


Tricky -- Knowle West Boy

There's nothing really new and groundbreaking from the trip-hop legend (and founding member of Massive Attack) on Knowle West Boy, but what's there is fantastic. Sonic assault to smooth soundscape to scratchy beats, with a soulful female vocalist -- sound familiar? Tricky's 1995 debut Maxinquaye and his 1996 classic Pre-Millenium Tension are IMO his best records, and his latest is a solid return to form. Got this album in heavy rotation, and really enjoying it.

Hayes Carll, Trouble in Mind

Even though he's from Houston, I'm convinced Hayes Carll is one sweet, rural, sentimental country boy. And I know he's hard-working. I saw him at Cafe du Nord in October -- halfway through his nonstop Fall tour -- and the man played an incredibly long set, even letting his band take a break while he continued to entertain us with some acoustic ditties. After a brief holiday break, he's back to touring for the Winter and early Spring of 2009, all to promote his beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking record, Trouble in Mind. There's a little Louisiana swamp, a little Randy Travis, a little folk, and a little bluegrass that all adds up to a great Americana record. I can't stop listening to:

'It's a Shame'

...and 'Beaumont'

Chad VanGaalen -- Soft Airplane

It's the Auto Tune era, as well as the era of the dime-a-dozen singer-songwriter, so it is refreshing to come across someone who can still make a haunting record in his basement with a guitar, a boombox, and an old tape machine. Rife with odd noise and dream-like lyrics, VanGaalen's MO is best decribed as experimental folk, and it is terrific. VanGaalen is also an accomplished artist; here is his video for the song from Soft Airplane that got me hooked, 'Molten Light':

Also, HUGE props to Funeral Crashers bassist Frankie Teardrop for turning me onto Scottish electronic pioneer Robert Rental. Props to his blog followers too, for posting links to Rental's long-lost (until 2008!) demo tape, Mental Detentions. Along with The Conet Project, one of the best noise discoveries of 2008.


A tie for best film of 2008.

Milk, Gus van Sant's inspiring and tragic story of the first openly gay American elected official, San Francisco's Harvey Milk.

Sean Penn is winning the Oscar. Trust. What a film, packed with other fantastic performances too. There should be a way for James Franco, Diego Luna, Josh Brolin, and Emile Hirsch to win an ensemble best supporting actor Oscar. Also features the under-used Victor Garber (love!).


Tomas Alfredson's Let The Right One In

Although now that I'm typing this up, I am leaning toward the latter -- an exquisite film where the trailer really doesn't capture the right vibe.

Let The Right One In is a vampire story, but more than that it is a story of adolescence, and of childhood lost. Set in winter in Sweden in what looks like the 1970s in both dress and perfect filtered drab, the cinematography is breathtaking, the images poetic and visceral. The film is both terrifying and beautiful, displaying a mythos ironically lacking in pretense and fable. This is a cold white North reminiscent of Atom Egoyan's masterpiece The Sweet Hereafter -- cruel, relentless, tragic. Real.

Oi, forget the sparkly-skinned cheese-angst of Twilight -- most impressive about Let The Right One In is how well it captures the near-catatonic misery that would result from never aging coupled with the need for human blood. One I'll be buying on DVD.


One book that really stood out to me this year was a New York Review Books (love this publisher) edition of Rebecca author Daphne du Maurier's amazing short stories, Don't Look Now. du Maurier's stories are perfectly formed tales of the supernatural, and are so unassuming and well-crafted that they can make even the most jaded of thriller readers fall right into them. Trevor and I agree that the title short story has the most perfect ending ever.


Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Warfield.

What were your bests of 2008?

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

I recently got a hit on my blog for the Googled phrase, "open mouth, o wisp." The hit came from a link to my January 2007 archives where I discuss Trevor's poetry, as well as a 2003 poem containing this phrase by friend and ex-Oaklander Michael Cross (who has just had this poem published in a chapbook, In Felt Treeling: A Libretto, by Chax).

So what if Captain Copyright was actually looking for a download of the album, Open Mouth, o Wisp, by the Oakland band Gorge Trio? More interesting to me is that I discovered this band (noisy fun) and that this album, released in 2004 after a three-year process, begs the question -- chicken or egg?

Also more interesting, yet unsurprising, to me is that the chapbook is fucking brilliant. Can't say it enough. Get it here.

Moving on, this isn't meant to be a post to wonder at the myriad ways someone gets to one's blog. Or to merely pimp Michael's achingly amazing work. It is, ultimately, about me!

I took the opportunity to re-read some of my earlier blog posts from almost exactly one year ago, and further back than that. Holy smokes, did I blog (and rant) a lot more, and IMHO about a lot of interesting stuff!

Since I've been so ho-hum in the blogging department lately, this was a somewhat depressing revelation.

What could it be? I have been pondering this over the last couple of days. Am I not inspired? Drinking too much (or too little)? Devoid of drama?


When I started this blog, I had just stepped hesitantly into my thirties. I worked in a soul-numbing job at the wholly irritating and taxpayer-dollar-hemorrhaging State of California, and my place of employment had just moved from an easy bike ride from my apartment to a 45 minute car commute to an industrial wasteland. I was beginning my second Master's degree widowship, with three years to go obstructing my view of any light at the end of the tunnel. My best friend was readying herself to leave for Asia, with no plans to return.

In other words, I had the luxury of a lot of Western annoyances to bitch about.

Now, I am fully immersed in the mid-thirties and I feel I'm at my very best physically and mentally. I have a soul-affirming job that uses its donor-based funding reasonably well, can be only slightly irritating, and is a bike ride away from my place. The hubby has finished his degree (anyone looking for a librarian/archivist/information wrangler?), and my bestie is readying for her USA comeback.

The verdict? I have been at my most prolific, thoughtful, and interesting as a blogger when I have been miserable. I have been lazy and negligent in my blogging when I have been a happy camper. A generalization for sure, but oi, how terrible!

I'm not one for resolutions, but let's just say I'm going to try to be a more thoughtful blogger. Well-composed dissections of art and music don't have to come to life only whilst going through the motions of a boring job, right? Rants don't necessarily have to be born from anger and misery, non? And machinations to rule the world don't need to be wrought from aspirations to kill everyone around you (I hope).

So friends, I do resolve to once again earn your readership, quite possibly without being a hater.

And hopefully that means I will post more than once a month! :)

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a terrific time ringing in 2009. Me, I saw more friends in one night than I have in the last couple of months. In addition to lovely peeps, I had fantastic food and phenomenal drinks at Flora in Oakland. Wound down with Anchor Steam and Evil Dead II into the wee hours. Can't ask for much more.

Wishing you all the best for the new year. Here's to a wonderful 2009.

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