Sunday, May 31, 2009

What is the best pro-choice charity?

I will give a few hundred dollars to a pro-choice charity this week.
Which charity should I choose?

Saturday, May 30, 2009


If you listen to most of the folks in this article, steroids are like the fountain of youth.
[T]hese drugs are the bedrock of a burgeoning anti-aging industry, where those nearing 40 and beyond can go to a clinic and take effective and controlled steps that will aid them in reversing the aging process. Science, in the long run, will win out.

At least that’s what Clapp, who takes a Darwinian view of the matter, believes.

“If you have the intellectual capacity to move against [when you’re going to die,]” he says, “you’re going to move against it.

“There’s many more important things here than how a man gets a bigger bicep or hits a ball farther,” adds Clapp. “The survival of the human race can be based in this thing we’re talking about.
Hmph. Not survival. I doubt people are likely to breed more with steroid use. Life extension, I can see. For dudes. HRT for women has had mixed results. What happens if you give women steroids and balance them out with estrogen and progesterone supplementation? The same things? Or would that just be a one-way ticket to Chynatown?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dinnerblogging: Trout and such

We had a very yummy improvised dinner last night, which I thought it might be useful to document, should I or someone else want to recreate the savor.

Arugula Salad

Chopped caramelized pecans, shaved Gruyere, and balsamic vinaigrette over baby arugula: mmm.

Baked Waxy Potatoes

White new potatoes, washed and chopped into 1 inch cubes, tossed with a dash of olive oil, salt, pepper, dried chives, and a dash of turmeric. Bake wrapped in foil at 375 for 45 minutes. Cheerfully yellow and yummy.

Lemon Thyme Trout

Place fillets skin-side-down on nonstick sheet, salt and pepper, sprinkle with 1 tbsp lemon thyme leaves, and adorn with small cubes of butter (total about 1-2 tbsp). Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or so (next time, would turn heat up to 400 or 425 and bake for less time). Very tasty.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


What is the most unintentionally inappropriate song you've ever heard played at a wedding reception? I have been to multiple weddings where everyone present was chanting "we want prenup!" (too late, folks), but Get Low is a promising contender, if only for the location of the singer's dripping sweat. Not that these kinds of songs aren't great for dancing, but they can be a little funny if you listen too closely.

Mandatory disclaimer to my recently married friends: Your weddings were awesome.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Uniquely ridiculous?

The first few chapters of John Grisham's The King of Torts : me :: any episode of ER : my RN mother?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Särbo & Sambo

Sometimes relationship terminology can become frustrating. If you were Swedish, you'd have greater choice. I doubt "sambo" will take off in America, though, for obvious reasons.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Playing your song

On the difficulty of having a song, and the haunting power of old love songs:
When the song ended, I went outside, sat on the curb, and cried. Sure, I had lost my boyfriend, but it was more than that. I had also lost my favorite love song. The problem with the songs that once made you happy is they tend to remind you that you were happy once.
[L]ove songs have no sense of timing. You can't choose which one is yours. You can try to cue up your favorite song to play at the precise second you decide you've fallen for someone, but in the end, something like "Funkytown" is going to play at some perfect moment, and then you're stuck with it.
I relish how the passage of time has worn away the associations between some much-beloved songs and prior context. There is nothing like getting one of your favorite songs back.

Do androids dream of electric bags of sand?

Haven't been feeling very bloggy lately.

Non sequitur : Is Richard Morgan not a big fan of the ladies? Because from the writing of the sex scenes in Thirteen, I'm thinking he might not be. Breasts are always "sagging into" men's hands, and women's nether parts are described as "rubbery."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baby's got her blue genes on.

So I decided to get my DNA tested. In six to eight weeks, you will know if I was born bad or just drawn that way.

Hearts and flowers

Via Belle: MRIs of brains in love. What would your brain look like?

Friday, May 15, 2009

The psychology of Facebook profile pictures

Do you have a photo of your kid as your profile pic on Facebook? What about a picture of you and your SO? One girl I went to high school with has an ultrasound image of her second kid as her profile pic. Every time I see it, it weirds me out.
[BLURRY FETUS] is cooking dinner
[BLURRY FETUS] is studying for pre-comps
[BLURRY FETUS] is scrapbooking
It's like a cross between Look Who's Talking and Ally McBeal or something. Isn't accommodating pictures that are not of you the very reason why there is a distinction between profile pictures and other random albums you upload?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Walcott.

I don't see how a history of sexually harassing students is irrelevant to hiring decisions for a professorship if that professor would have to interact with students. Does the Oxford Professor of Poetry lecture to empty rooms?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


If a man publicly stated that he loved his wife more than he loved his children, would he be condemned or hailed as a romantic?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Review: Star Trek

So I saw it. And it was good.

I was afraid that I would be, per Belle, one of "the grateful mildly obsessive fans ... who are generally so happy to see some new incarnation of their Most Favorite Thing Ever that they are way too forgiving of the flaws and thus express too much enthusiasm," but it turns out that I am more of a "purist[] too devoted to The Canon and thus likely to be too critical of any endeavor." Eomer kept noshing on the scenery at every spare moment, but the guy playing Rebooted Kirk was not bad. The fanservice recitation of cliched lines was simultaneously cringeworthy and enjoyable. The pre-credits sequence was an exercise in eyerolling, but I loved the Young Spock interlude (although Winona Ryder's old lady makeup was really distracting---she is only six years older than the actor playing her son! Like there aren't actual age-appropriate actresses who need work?).

And now we get to the heart of my ambivalence: Spock. Constant Readers know that I have a soft spot for Spock. In my long-ago days as an avid consumer of Star Trek fanfic, Spock/Uhura was my preferred het ship. But seeing it play out on the big screen just showed how part of the appeal was the improbable and forbidden nature of said ship! In the grand scheme of canon rape, it was a small thing, considering the wholesale rejiggering of the Trek universe through time travel. But it undermined my enjoyment a bit, as did the almost total annihilation of the most interesting of the Federation's member races. These new factors may eliminate the Amok Time storyline! Does rebooted Spock even have to worry about pon farr? And isn't the logical choice at the end to avoid the false dichotomy, get some Spock gametes, and set about rebuilding the Vulcan race through artificial means? Does anybody else care? Okay, it's just me.

But things get blowed up real good, and Kirk fights lots of baddies, and Leonard Nimoy, looking older than God, passes the torch with wry aplomb. Sulu/Harold is a total badass and that Shaun of the Dead guy does a good Scotty. Go see the movie.

Corsetry to the rescue?

If I had a slightly tinier waist, I would not hesitate to buy this dress. As it stands, I am considering whalebone-based solutions. (via)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Your My favorite band sucks.

Related to this previous post: Why is it so hard to admit that something you love might not be perfect? Can't you just enjoy someone's company, or lame, psychologically problematic fantasy novels, or pop music without having to defend it on substantive grounds? Junk food tastes good. Mental junk food tastes good. The fundamental appeal of mainlined sugar and fat (or their fictional equivalents) is undeniable, just as is the fact that too much of the stuff will rot your teeth/brain.

(Full disclosure: I am typing this while listening to Ashlee Simpson, with a cat named after a Harry Potter character in my lap.)

(edited to clarify that Ms. Simpson is not my favorite anything.)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Playing catch-up with my vamp media

I finally got to see the first two episodes of True Blood recently. There's a romantic pairing between a vampire and a telepath. The telepath likes being with the vamp because she can't hear his thoughts and it's relaxing. Of course, readers of crap YA fiction know that a human-girl/vampire romance with blocked telepathy also features prominently in Twilight.* It seemed weird that this particular kind of pairing would emerge in two sources concurrently. I was deeply concerned: Was Alan Ball ripping off a Mormon housewife? My enjoyment of Six Feet Under would be retroactively degraded were this true. Fortunately, the 2008 True Blood TV show is based on a book series published years before the release of the original Twilight novel.

* Apparently there is also a love triangle in both involving the vampire, the human girl, and a shapeshifter who can turn into a canine, but I haven't gotten that far in True Blood yet.

Friday, May 08, 2009

You mourned insufficiently for the bodega!

Via Rita: Embracing diversity means getting victimized and liking it?
During a recent crime wave, I'd kept the bat by the front door, somehow imagining that I could use it to defend my family. Then, earlier this same evening, I had heard a scream outside. I grabbed the bat and ran into the cold dark streets. A young woman cried out "I've been robbed!" She pointed at a shadowy figure running across Tremont Street, the boundary between my turf and alien turf. I chased him. ... In a flash of panic, I swung the bat, and he fell.

Later, sitting in my dining room, all I could think was: I'm no hero. I hit a man with a baseball bat. A brown-skinned man. A poor man. Was this the "diversity" I had bargained for? This was the bat I had used growing up in relentlessly suburban, middle-class Lexington, Massachusetts, where diversity meant playing with a few Catholics and an occasional Jew. Six years ago, I had moved my family to Boston's South End, reveling in its economic and racial variety. Did I feel virtuous living there? Our son's school was a model of statistical integration: one-third black, one-third white, one-third "other." We met with neighbors on the multiracial council. Our boys played with black kids who lived down the block. The Latino guy across the street repaired our car. We sat on the front stoop on summer evenings and sipped Chardonnay while the world cruised by.

And now, I had raced out into those same streets and knocked a man down with a baseball bat. I had demonized the muggers and the burglars who were preying on our neighborhood, and now I had descended to their level. Or worse. Doubts welled up in my mind. Did I really understand what it means to live in a diverse neighborhood? Or did I just want cosmetic diversity as a backdrop for imposing my white, professional-class ways? Was our experimental elementary school serving the kids from the housing projects as well as it served the kids from the townhouses? When we celebrated the opening of a new trattoria around the corner, did we mourn for the bodega it displaced? Did we really appreciate the smell from the all-day backyard pig roast next door and the salsa music blaring from open car windows?

I looked at the splintered shank end of my Little League bat. This is what it means, I thought, to try to impose your will, your ways. If you really care about diversity, embrace it. And change.
What's the "change" that should have taken place? Calling the police (we've already heard that this is a swipply thing to do)? Ignoring the screams of your neighbors?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Random Roundup

Tell your guy that you think he's hot.

The spectrum of online friendship.

Kindle book pricing
. I admit that I am much more likely to buy a book if it is less than $9.99, and almost certain to buy it if it's less than the paperback price. Those things make me feel like I'm getting a deal. Oh, and the most deadly thing Amazon is doing is to make the first book in a series $0-1. The $1 Robin Hobb book ended up costing me about $50.

Relatedly, Amazon should pay me to read my Kindle on Amtrak. I think at least three people are buying Kindles after seeing and talking to me during one ride, and I wasn't even trying.

El Presidente goes to my local burger joint.

Monday, May 04, 2009

If all your friends were dating vampires, would you date one too?

My Twilight review gets new readers. They don't appreciate criticism.

ETA: Apparently the recent influx is coming from here.

You really must check out the comments on the post linked above. Apparently I am just jealous of Our Heroine Bella because "[m]aybe [I] never had a boyfriend or got ask to the prom either."

Twilight the Movie: Liveblog

Belle and I got tipsy* and watched the Twilight movie. This is the result.

(Belle Lettre: Apologies for the bad formatting, though we tried really hard to extensively edit a raw Gmail chat transcript. Apologies for the lack of the "more" tag, for which we do not know the html. Apologies also for the insane length, but this was a two hour movie. But you're welcome for the hilarity that will ensue as we infuriate yet more teenagers, who are thankfully not a significant part of Amber's blog demographic.)

Belle: Hi Amber

Amber: Hi.

Belle: These brandy alexanders ROCK

Amber: They are creamy, boozy goodness.

Belle: So, ready to get crunked and watch Twilight and then blog our not-so-secret shame Amber?

Amber: I will now look askance at you for sayin "crunked."

Belle: You keep saying that I talk with a Southern California accent. I may as well go all the way. Anyway, preliminary observation: Kristen Stewart: pretty, but in a vapid, slightly plain way

Amber: Well, that pretty much sums up her character so it's good.

Belle: Robert Pattinson: I confess that I found him cute in that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie. I feel dirty saying this, because he's not much older than my oldest nephew. I keep getting older, and the hotties stay hot, and as my nephew ages so does my potential for shame.

Anyway, Pattinson/Edward Cullen: way too much hair in this movie. I fear the hair! It's like Flock of Seagulls kind of shit.

Amber: I found him aesthetically pleasing, but he's less good looking here from what I can tell.

Belle: Hmm, interesting. His good looks shift in quality? We will one day have to talk about what is 'good looking' and infuriate everyone in the blogosphere.

Amber: This is an important conversation. But right now, I will just say that I prefer alive to dead.

Belle: So, I haven't seen this movie, and I haven't read these books, out of principle--the principle that evil, shitty movies with bad moral messages should be avoided at all costs.

Amber: Right, and I've read the entire series, which I blame on a ticket snafu in Penn Station and subsequent inability to look away from trainwrecks.

Belle: It's okay. I still love you. I judge you, but I still love you.

(next conversation: love is not unconditional and allows for judgment)

Amber: But will you love me by the end of tonight? ( I knew I should have put more brandy in.)

Belle: I am ready to be corrupted! Love corrupts, as we all know. I will love you more by the end of the night, when we are both equally bad people. Let us show Amber to be likewise the unprincipled person that I am! Bring on the brandy ice cream and craptastic teen romance!

Amber: Let's get started! Right now all I'm seeing is deer butt.

(First part of the movie, a soliloquy from Bella. Soliloquies are very useful vehicles for narrative exposition. They are also appropriate for emo teenagers. See also, Hamlet.)

Belle: I don't get the "I never thought about how I would die" line from Bella. Every emo teenager thinks about that! And these are the emo-est! Tickle Me Emo; Whiny McEmoPants, etc.

Amber: We can tell Mom is wacky because she wears sequins and cowboy hats.

Belle: Dude, girlfriend is wearing a lot of clothes for Phoenix. Also, way unfreckled for a Sunbelt State resident. I call out the costume director and makeup artist.

Amber: And now ... BLUE! filter.

Belle: It's to enhance the emo. Though is she were tan, it would look like Jungle Fever starring Annabella Sciorra and Wesley Snipes, circa 1991 when she embraces the deathly pale Edward (and I know she will, teen movies are so predictable). Now she's holding a cactus. CLICHE symbol of the Southwest. It's like me, the Californian, holding a fucking orange. An ORANGE.

Amber: (The dad, in a fit of latent paternalism, has decorated his daughter's room in purple, the favorite color of five year olds.) Purple is cool. Not as cool as Black, of course. Black like her dreams.

Belle: Awkward but tender moment with absent, estranged dad. Are we watching an afterschool special? (Dad gives Bella a beat up old pickup as a present. It looks like something out of a documentary about The Dustbowl and the Great Migration.) Sweet whip!

Amber: Okay, who's the hot kid? Oh, Jacob. He looks completely age appropriate. It's doomed.

Belle: She can't get very excited, even about her Piece of Shit (POS) car. Was I this morose as a teenager, such that even my moments of excitement conveyed a deep ennui that weighed my limbs to the very earth? Probably. I was one of those kids that read Plath.

Amber: She doesn't know what a clutch is but they bought her a manual transmission truck?

Belle: She probably won't like Jacob back the way he seems to like her. He's cute, but Native American is not different enough. Must be a VAMPIRE to be forbidden love. And hey, I don't know how to drive a stick.

Amber: Me neither.

Belle: I hope that no one pounces on that as a pun of "that's what she said!"

Amber: Why is Eric wearing a tie?

Belle: Asian hipster kid: no chance with Bella. Oh hey, scene of co-ed PE. Why is the PE co-ed? Why do people play volleyball indoors? They should only play volleyball in the Southwest, where you can play outside year 'round. (traumatic flashback) In high school, they called me "Butterfingers" because I kept missing the ball with my arms in volleyball. Fuck high school.

Amber: I always got hit in the head. No depth perception.

(Amber and Belle have a bonding moment about high school ostracism. Movie shifts to some guy kissing Bella on the cheek as she's surrounded by new friends. Amber and Belle have flashes of indignation at undeserved acceptance of awkward Bella by the entrenched social clique.)

Amber: Okay, sexual assault much, kissy boy? Seriously. even in small towns nobody gets this excited about new girls.

Belle: I don't get how she is so popular. She has NO personality.

Amber: And nobody knows her.

Belle: Auto ethnography: the popular kids are criticizing the Cullens for being "insular," and they mention the incest taboo. Twilight, the crucible for our social norms.

Amber: Edward Cullen: totally gorgeous? What's up with those mismatched eyebrows?

Belle: Edward Cullen: So PALE! Such big hair! Scary ass motherfucker. Oh wait, I just made an incest taboo joke. Wordplay! Bella is standing in front of a fan in a dramatic pause! Who the fuck is the director, or did we just switch to a Pantene ad?

Amber: Definitely a Secret ad

Amber: Strong enough for a man, but pH balanced for a vampire.

Belle: Ha, and she's sniffing her hair. Why is he gagging?

Belle: Who wears t-shirts on the outside of long sleeved thermals this side of 1994? Oh wait, he falls in love with her scent, right?

Amber: Yes

Belle: Weird. Maybe she uses that Pheromone perfume from the 90s. It is always about the '90s.

Amber: Gardenburgers, very 90s also.

Belle: I hate Gardenburgers.

(Movie transitions to some scene involving vampires attacking some fisherman. Sucks to be the fisherman.)

Belle: "Things were getting a little...strange." Great dialogue!

Amber: Shift to dramatic pursuit scene. And ... mysterious death. We are shown that Bella is clumsy. This is called foreshadowing.

Belle: "Security guard killed by some kind of animal" Somewhere in here is a terribly written essay about the destruction of authority by the anthropomorphized beastly outlaw.

Amber: Edward questions Bella's judgment... also foreshadowing.

Belle: Their kids will be like phosphorescent white.

Amber: You'll see. If he is dead, why does he have huge bags under his eyes?

Belle: Bella has a minor league baseball player stepdad: Bull Durham, ten years later, with a vampire-obsessed emo teenage stepdaughter, and hilarity ensues. I should write movies. They can be mashups!

Amber: You'd think after 100 years he would have a better comeback when people noticed his color-change irises. "Fluorescent lights"?!

Belle: Edward Cullen looks like James Dean, but if possible, even more sullen and emo.Vampire saves the day! He's a GOOD vampire. This is called demonstration of ethos.

Amber: Yet the other vampires are angry.

Belle: They are BAD vampires. (ok, I have no idea. Maybe good/evil are not so black/white. But I suspect that in this movie, it is.)

Amber: No, they just don't understand how good she smells

Belle: Dude, Peter Facinelli looks like a freak show. Why do I know his namer and the fact that he's married to Jennie Garth, also known as Kelly from Beverly Hills, 90210? I blame my dentist sister and her waiting room full of People magazine. Anyway, I don't understand the penchant for peroxide among vampires.

Amber: It's probably because they don't age. they need some way to alter their appearance.

Belle: "I am super pale and freaky looking. Let me bleach my hair and look even freakier and completely devoid of pigment!" Anyway, I guess that's one way of dealing with a 200 year beauty rut. According to the women's magazines, because I have been wearing the same hairstyle and lipstick for ten years, I am in such a rut.

Amber: Is Bella having a sexytime dream? There was an awful lot of panting for a PG13 movie

Belle: Edward in bedroom! Vampires show up in your room at night to watch you sleep and talk to you about Serious Stuff! They copied Buffy!

Belle: I feel dirty. Aw, lame dude asking Bella to prom. Did I ever tell you no one ever asked me to the prom?

He is so rejected! And yet, I feel for him.

Amber: Ouch.

Belle: I was a late bloomer. Also, psycho strict parents a known commodity, so why bother asking. Maybe this is why I somewhat enjoy high school themed movie/TV drama. Vicarious living! Ok, TMI.

Amber: how did Edward know about her private conversation with another guy? and why is he bitching her out for slipping?

Belle: My dad is like that. He loves you so much, he is angry when you get hurt. It's the kind of frightened anger one can have when the object of one's love is shown to be beyond one's grip, and can be lost or injured. So he got really mad when my mom fell, or when I got injured for a non-medical reason. This is not unlike abusive amounts of love as control, because of course we can't/shouldn't love things so much we get angry at our inability to control what happens to them. It's one thing to be protective and fearful, it's another to get angry over such things. Again, this movie is evil.

Amber: Your experience will help you understand this movie. Bella plus Dad = lots of plaid

Belle: Sometimes I'm worried that I'm a social conservative, because divorce makes me sad. It's like I have this secret "family values" campaign in my head.

Amber: Divorce is sad. And here is Edward, being emo and telling her he knows best.

Belle: Dude, if your mood swings are so volatile for a TEENAGER, you are BEYOND emo.

Amber: If he really gave a crap he would just not talk to her at all Instead of being all Mysterious

Belle: E: "What if I'm the bad guy." B: "But you're not. I can see that it's a defense mechanism. Let's hang out." This is FUCKED UP. She sees him as a PROJECT.

Amber: Well, yes.

Belle: Oooh, feminism, sort of! Bella counsels friend to ask a guy out!

Amber: Hot Native guys approach!

Belle: This is the one glimpse of chutzpah! This is it, isn't it.

Amber: pretty much. Here's more "I shouldn't talk about this thing that will make you incredibly curious"

Belle: If I were centuries old, I would have more than a high school education.

Amber: But then you'd look like a dropout to all the HS hotties

Belle: All vampires are hot. Why is that? They also look like the mosh pit people at Coachella.

Amber: Because the vampire magic keeps away zits?

Belle: I don't get why she doesn't buy that book on myths and monsters from Amazon, when there was clearly that purchase option. "No, let me pretend to be enthusiastic about prom dress shopping with my friends so that I can go all the way to some far away town and buy this book at full retail value!" This movie is stupid. Maybe this is some message about supporting your local independent bookseller.

Amber: Because then Edward couldn't stalk her to the bookstore

Belle: It is anti online shopping.

Amber: Oh look, more apples. How dramatic

Belle: Oh yeah, I just noticed that. God, that is lame symbolism.

Amber: Bella is the worst friend ever. "Here are my castoff dates." "Your dresses are meh."

Belle: Yes. You and I are shallow though. We are genuinely excited to try on dresses together. I think we are really destroying our feminist cred with this post, aren't we.

Amber: We can reestablish it by condemning this scene

Belle: But we are good friends. Dear Internet: Belle and Amber will be excited by your fashion choices! Go shopping with us, and then we can talk about feminism!

Amber: Girl attacked by dudes, tries to take control, but must be saved by scary dude

Belle: Man, I hate gang rape scenes. What did Edward do, growl at them?

Amber: Yes

Belle: I wish she had busted out Krav Maga. She is the anti-Buffy.

Amber: Her dad is a cop. Shouldn't she know what to do?

Belle: Seriously. And what's with the "seatbelt" talk, and why is he scoffing at her attempt to establish normal conversation so that he can't hear the rapey thoughts of the dudes he just saved her from? You should wear seatbelts!

Amber: because vampires are indestructible, practically

Belle: Whatever. Bad message. Kids: Wear your seatbelt! It's the law! This movie is full of morally destructive messages.

Amber: I can hear an angry parent now. "When you're a vampire too, you can not wear your seatbelt. Until then, missy, keep it on!" "Along with your pants!" How did he knows where she was? Because he is a stalker.

Belle: It is highly dramatic to pretend to leave a restaurant when you have no car and no means to get home from the boondocks of wherever.

Amber: she could have gone home with the girls

Belle: Her mind is not so impenetrable or insightful. He is not missing much by not being able to read her mind.

Amber: Of course But of course she immediately thinks there is something wrong with her

Belle: E: "I don't have the strength to stay away from you anymore." B: "Then don't!" They stole this line from "Meet Joe Black."

Amber: At least this movie is shorter

Belle: If his hand is so cold, having sex with him must be painful. Much less pre-teen technical virginity stuff.

Amber: Maybe he could wear a hot water bottle as foreplay.

Belle: I swear the Dad Vampire is wearing Max Factor pan cake makeup.

Amber: If only she had the pepper spray earlier this evening ...Dad needs to be more on the ball

(Bella is looking through the book of myths and monsters and figures out that duh, Edward is a vampire.)

Belle: Sarah Vowell wrote that her favorite thing about Buffy was that The Scooby Gang's immediate response to any problem was to research it. It was the ultimate in nerd pride! Somehow, despite the fact that Bella is going to the books to figure out this, I am not optimistic about the conclusions she'll reach.

Amber: To be fair, she has no Giles

Belle: It's like "Oh, so they're cold blooded killers. But so dreamy, too!" And she's no Slayer.

Amber: It's like women who marry imprisoned serial killers

Belle: YES.

Amber: they're so intense

Belle: cough Mrs. Menendez cough.

Amber: why is she walking in the woods alone after realizing that he's a killer?

Belle: Her laundry list of his attributes makes him very unappealing. What does she see in this dude?

Amber: all the camerawork is making Amber dizzy

Belle: I like walking in the woods. I do it recreationally. I am mad that they are making this some dangerous, taboo activity fraught with the potential for emotional betrayal. Next thing you'll tell me is that they're going to the same to sex. She said the V-word! Not virginity.

Amber: it is when the woods are rife with murderers. Okay, he just grabbed her really violently

Belle: The spinning cinematography and lens filter reminds me of an R&B music video, and not in a good way.

He looks like one of those hologram stickers from Lisa Frank. Vampires' skin sparkles like diamonds?!

Amber: Edward, trying to push Bella away: "I'm a killer!"... of deer

Belle: It's like this line from 30 Rock: "I have hunted the most dangerous game. Man...(cough), excuse me, as I was saying, "manatee." Hmm, Bella seems unperturbed by Edward's violent, murderous (of animals) past. She has a very permissive view of juvenile criminal justice. "I've killed others! I want to kill you!" Bella: "It's okay!"

Amber: I think he could be tried as an adult

Belle: Edward: "Your's like drug to'" OMG. He talks like William Shatner. And this sounds like a lyric from Evanescence.

Amber: His delivery here is so stilted. I can tell that the actor had utter contempt for the character. (Which is apparently true.)

Belle: I can imagine all the teen girls masturbating to this scene on repeat. I feel REALLY dirty now.

Amber: ew, let's not

Belle: Pause, question: would we have felt so intensely attached to this book/movie at 17? Or actually, 13.

Amber: No. But then I didn't watch Titanic eight jillion times either.

Belle: me neither. This is why other girls didn't like me enough. I don't get the appeal of that movie. I don't get the appeal of this.

Amber: Other girls will be eaten by vampires. It's Darwinian and you WIN

Belle: We will be bitter and alone, but we will be ALIVE! Bella: "Then why did you hate me so much when we met?" Edward: "I did....only because of how much you made me want you." What is with the fucking abnegation of agency and free will?! This is not unlike all those defenses about intimacy as vulnerability I rail against Take responsibility for your feelings and relationships, people! No one MAKES you do anything. And I have been super emo because of love in my life! We're talking "listening to Mariah Carey on repeat" emo! But seriously, no one MAKES you fall in love.

Amber: Love is a sickness, Belle.

Belle: Did my parents escape Communism for no reason?!I HATE the love is a sickness argument!

Amber: He needs to accept a higher power and learn to live one day at a time without Bella-smell.

Belle: This movie is EVIL .Teenage girls everywhere are now afraid of the power of their sexuality

Amber: Even alcohol cannot mask its insidiousness. She can't help it if every guy in school and random men in alleys and scary stalker vampires want to do her

Belle: they are now apotheosizing themselves and their sexual powers and allure, and thinking it's THEIR FAULT some guy goes crazy obsessive in love in a borderline abusive, controlling way with them. This is Chris Brown/Rihanna bad.

Amber: totally

Belle: Did you read that Hilzoy post responding to Hirschman on domestic violence?

Amber: Yes, it was great.

Belle: How Hilzoy described a learned helplessness model of DV, one in which the victim learns to be weak, and that it is all her fault? This is not unlike the model of love perpetrated by this book/movie. Powerless in love, powerless to control sexual allure, powerless to stop the violence, and apparently here, love is violence. Sex is destruction

Amber: Her agency is a sham. She's shuttled from place to place, herded like a cow to slaughter by this ancient, pasty freak, and then she just falls in love with him. Because otherwise he would have to kill her. He couldn't take it, I'm sure.

Belle: I'm getting total domestic violence vibes from this. He is hovering over her.He scoops her up like a paperweight. This is SCARY. I would not want my daughter to watch this/read this, except for my liberal First Amendment principles. I would almost rather have my kid read the Marquis de Sade. Which I have read. It's extremely perverse stuff. But so extreme, you know it's way off the Kinsey scale and most sexual mores. This is celebrating a retrograde, controlling model of love/sex/romance that appears to be totally acceptable. Whereas this model of love is made NORMAL, acceptable, DESIREABLE.

I don't get why she trusts him. Bad imagery: He presses her against a wall. She's not afraid of him? She's afraid of LOSING him? Ok, she's talking like a victim.

Edward: "I've been waiting for you for a long time." I fucking hate this whole "feelings of destiny" bullshit. I don't believe in soulmates. Bullshit model of romance that is DANGEROUS, because it keeps people stuck pining unrequitedly for the wrong people. Edward: "So the lion fell in love with the lamb." Bella: "What a stupid lamb." Edward: "What a sick, masochistic lion." this is BULLSHIT dialogue!

Amber: The lion/lamb thing is a very religious piece of imagery

Belle: Yeah, I hate that.

Amber: There is really no other religion in here, though, besides the Native myths.

Belle: Love is not transcendantly spiritual. This is a terrible philosophy of all consuming love.

Amber: Doesn't anyone care about the existential questions raised by vampirism?

Belle: So, when Edward first saved Bella, and scooped her up, it reminded me of religious iconography of ascendance. Fuck that shit.

Amber: He is the resurrection and the life? Or at least he is in Book 4.

Belle: I have to admit, I was once this fervently in love. I was 17. Were you ever that fervently in love?

Amber: Yes. But not with a bloodsucking murderer.

Belle: Ah, and now they go "public" with their relationship. It is sad that so many young relationships are shrouded in shame (over what?) and "to go public" still means so much. I can sort of get it in the vampire-human context, but I bet teen girls everywhere are celebrating the gallantry of Edward owning up to actually liking/respecting a girl. See also, "Grease." Anyway, Edward put her arm around her against school-wide disapproval. I am reminded of Logan and Veronica. All forbidden love is alike.

Amber: Except that was actually good.

Belle: Yes, true.

(In which Edward tells Bella that he and his family are "good" vampires, who eat animal blood rather than human blood, and thus consider themselves "vegetarians." And in which Edward invites Bella to meet his family, which is apparently scarier than finding out your boyfriend is a vampire.)

Amber: This whole veggie vampire thing is silly

Belle: Seriously!

Amber: I have it on good authority that vegetarians can be completely satisfied.

Belle: I wish my boyfriend liked tofu. Vegetarians should be offended at this movie.

Amber: We are lucky to have the closed captioning on so we know this is a slow, exotic theme.

Belle: Why did he have to rush around the car?It's not that hard.

Amber: so they can get to the house with all the other vampires super fast?

Belle: I really love Danish modern furniture. These vampires have good taste!

Amber: wait, they don't have to hide in their house? the walls are made of windows!

Belle: They even cook well! Why is it funny that "if this ends badly...badly as in I become the meal"?

Amber: and why is jasper all freaked? he goes to school every day with humans.

Belle: This is a very weird.

Amber: He has no bed.

Belle: No sex!

Amber: This does not bode well for her no-pants dreams

Belle: That solves that. I mean, what do teenagers do when they don't have beds?

Amber: he does have a car. oh look, they're dancing to what even I recognize is lame classical (Clair de Lune)

Belle: he wants to make her dance?! She's no puppet! And now he's doing some kind of stupid Spider Man fantasy. This guy is controlling. Oh, and now he's whisking her out the window, to fly from tree top to tree top. Hmm.

Amber: the problem is that her hold on him is not vampire-strong. she could die

Belle: His world sucks. Even if it includes beautiful views.

Amber: She has to leave her world and enter his

Belle: What do they have to talk about? Well, I guess he's read The Catcher in the Rye like 500 times. Maybe he just talks about how much he identifies with Holden. and she swoons. Much like the Jennifer Aniston character in "The Good Girl."

Amber: I never saw that

Belle: Ok, I, Super Emo Girl (TM) am hereby declaring a ban on the Emo Boy leading boy character.

Amber: Ew, her dad is pumping her about boys. And her mom. And her boyfriend is a old hand at B&E

Belle: Creepy. He breaks and enters. And he is fascinated by her sleeping. This is one creepy motherfucker. They're kissing. He's pushing her away when she becomes too aggressive in her kissing. This is fucked up.

Amber: And of course she apologizes

Belle: He broke into her room! He kissed her first! He now says he'd lose control with her! Her sexuality is too powerful! Now they're just hanging out. B-O-R-I-N-G.

Amber: Why is she snuggling him? Isn't he like 60 degrees? The shotgun toting dad is so unsubtle.

Belle: Edward is used to courting people in the 18th century. Dude, I do not want a guy to ask my dad permission to date me.

Amber: and assuring men that he'll care well for their chattel

Belle: Even though my dad would prefer that. I do not want to perpetuate the patriarchy! I Blame The Patriarchy!

Amber: Your dad has no say by this time.

(Edward, resigned to let Bella stay in his life, invites Bella to play baseball with his vampire family. They can only play during thunderstorms because their superhuman strength means that the bat hitting the ball makes a sound like thunder. They must be using titanium bats, because a wooden bat would break and a metal bat would dent. But whatever.)

Belle: Are the vampires trying to embrace some American past time by playing baseball?!

Amber: I guess.

Belle: I like baseball a lot.

Amber: I don't think it's physically possible to hit a baseball with an aluminum bat so hard it's thunderous

Belle: This is a perversion. And the Yankees are evil, so I am upset that they're wearing their uniforms. Unless those are red stripes (can't tell with the moody camera filter), in which case the Vampires are OK.

Amber: Uh oh,

Belle: Scary Goth vampires with dread locks and long hair approach!

Amber: Since when do French vampires play baseball? The wind is blowing her delicious smell at the bad vampires!

Belle: Seriously. Now there's a showdown, with both sides of vampires in a half-crouching, ready to wrestle position. This is like the Pat Benatar Love is a Battlefield (wordplay!) video with the vampires facing off in that pose. I expect them to shake their shoulders. See also, Michael Jackson and "Bad."

Amber: Why are Edward and Bella leaving alone?

Belle: Seriously.

Amber: Isn't she safer with a half dozen vamps?

Amber: can she even rent a motel room? she's like 16

Belle: This is heartbreaking to watch her leave her father. And she is really saying hurtful things. I feel for the dad.

Amber: But it's for his own good

Belle: This movie is making me campaign for more parental authority.

This movie is evil.

Amber: she has to very obviously leave so the tracker vamp won't go to the house

Belle: The family that slays together, stays together. Nice that they're protecting her.

Amber: she's part of the family after about five dates?

Belle: Seriously. Again, bad model of teenage romance. I suppose this is the complete opposite of that "hook up" culture written about so much in the newspapers (a trend I believe as much as teenage pharm parties, but whatever, I think in our day it was called "dating." Anyway, apparently they're married after five dates. Great family values.

Amber: She is his life! His undead life! She's only not safe because of him. Who trusts a vampire? How can she be so stupid as to trust the evil vampire? He'll just eat her and her mom.

Belle: Bella: "I'd never given much thought to how I would die. But dying in the place of someone I love seems a good way to go." Wow, the self sacrifice bordering on self-immolation is terrible. Also that being lead to your death is being lead to your love.

Amber: and it's not even effective

Belle: seriously?! creepy: slasher porn. Bad vampire wants to film himself devouring her?! Great, she is described as fragile And he just broke her bone

Amber: Don't worry, stalker boy will save her

Belle: This is a very violent against women movie. (Bella is bitten by the evil vampire and envenomed. Edward's father lets him choose whether she will change or be saved.)

Amber: He has to make a choice? SHE should get to chose!

Belle: Seriously! Even Mary Jane got to choose to stay with Peter in Spider Man! I actually liked that line. "Don't you respect me enough to let me choose for myself?" This is lacking from this movie.

Amber: You can't suck venom out. Someone is going to die of snakebite from this movie.

Belle: Lack of Female Agency In Twilight: A Deontological Discussion.This is like a really bad dissertation.

This movie IS evil!

Amber: It is the worst movie ever

Belle: Great, another teen movie celebrates death by saying "Death is beautiful....easy. Life is harder." BAD message! Public Service Announcement: Dear Teenagers: Call your suicide hotline TODAY.

Belle: This movie is a glorification of The Guy In a Hoodie.

Amber: See, now it's her fault if she gets hurt

Belle: Great, he is breaking up with her to protect her from getting hurt.

Amber: because he told her he'd hurt her more if she stays

Belle: Bella: "We can't be apart. You can't leave me." This is EVIL. This movie is 1) misogynistic, 2) paternalistic, 3) BULLSHIT. ends in a prom scene. This is like Sweet Valley High.

Amber: Oh, it's Jacob! ... to tell her to break up with her boyfriend.

Belle: Ok, WTF. Native American dad of Jacob pays his son to tell her to break up with her boyfriend Does Bella have any decision making capabilities of her own?! Does she have ANY control over her life, or are mengoing to tell her what to do for the rest of the series?!

Amber: She decided she wanted Edward, that's where her agency stops. It's been signed over

Belle: And this is the main problem of Twilight. This is a chattel model of love.

Amber: At least her dad didn't sell her to Edward for dinner.

Belle: I think we have stared into the heart of evil. And it makes her puke. Jacob says that her his dad will be "watching her." WTF. Police state! Patriarchy!Why are they dancing like they're in 1986? I missed proms. It is not an important rite of passage. I am mostly ok.

Amber: Because Forks is liberal enough for fake gambling at prom but not for freak dancing

Belle: Why aren't they breaking out in a coordinated dance number like in "She's All That"? She has the worst outfit ever. Halter tiered dress, converses, and a beaded shrug.

Amber: He's telling her she's dancing, but he's doing it all for her.

Belle: Yes.

Lack of Agency, again. He didn't want to turn her into a vampire, because she can't be corrupted.she must be pure.

she wants to spend eternity with him, and will die if she lives without him.or rather, she'll die eventually and that sucks, because life without him, or death without him, is hell. This is like Tuck Everlasting, but the WRONG end.

Amber: They don't even know each other!

Belle: I know! They've SMELT each other. He's sniffing her right now!

Amber: He is illogical

Belle: She'll grow old, and he'll always be beautiful This is not a good plan.

Amber: Maybe he digs grannies

Belle: It's like failing to plan for retirement when you're 17. Old age sounds great now! Except for the incontinence later. This is supposed to be a happy ending, isn't it. The song is saying "I found you, flightless bird, grounded, bleeding or lost you" The lyrics, they are prophetic or rather, symbolic. She is a flightless bird. Lacking power.

She is incapable of escape, flight, freedom, without him. I am super lame. But the movie and the music, it brings out the lameness in me.

Amber: This music is so obvious

Belle: I feel really shitty right now.

Amber: I guess middle school girls are not subtle. why?

Belle: and it's not because of the delightful brandy alexanders. Of which we only had one. Because we just watched a really shitty, evil movie.

Amber: It was only a dollar

Belle: And yet I feel compelled to read/watch the other books/movies in the series.

Amber: Don't do it!

Belle: This is like Dan Brown for teenage and middle aged women. Compulsively readable, but complete shit.

Every sentence is 3-5 words. Every paragraph is 3-5 sentences. It is really bad writing obscuring weak ideas, shitty philosophy, and EVIL moral premises. This is evil, and it has taken over the world.

Amber: It's just emotional pornography. porn is popular.

Belle: true. Why am I not surprised that Linkin Park is part of the soundtrack? Well, so overall, what did you think?

Amber: Wretched, poorly directed, distracting camera work, and evil.

Belle: Me too. Well, I guess that's my final insight. "Me too."

Amber: This was fun! Sort of.

Belle: It was!

Amber: Insofar as evil can be fun

Belle: Yes. Maybe we should watch some other evil movie together. If we watch good movies, we would have nothing to talk about. Let's rewatch Titanic.

Amber: It's like MST3K but for teen lameness ... and on that nerdy note I will sign off.

Belle: Me too. Night!

* One beverage apiece. Because we are lightweights. Always drink responsibly, kids.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Wittle bitty horns

I had to leave the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival early lest I purchase a pygmy angora goat. Goats are not allowed in my neighborhood.