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toastykitten

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May. 18th, 2007 12:22 pm

sick again

toastykitten: (Default)
Ugh, I am so tired of being sick.

I am alternating between reading and sleeping. Here are a few things I've been reading:

LA Weekly - this week's issue is all about those independent bookstores that are so elusive.

Is it the Woman Thing, or is it Katie Couric - This article reminded me recently of a conversation I had with Mark:

Mark: Ugh, Katie Couric. I hate her.
Me: (Questioning look.)
Mark: Well, no I don't really hate her. I'm sure that there are as many male reporters that are just as shallow as her. Maybe it's because she's a woman that I expect her to have higher standards.
Me: So...you are proving the point that a woman has to work twice as hard as a man in order to be taken seriously.
Mark: Dammit!

I don't particularly like Katie Couric, but I do kind of feel sorry for her sometimes.

Village Voice sells East Bay Express to editor, investors.

Back to sleep.
Apr. 13th, 2007 06:53 pm

weirdness

toastykitten: (Default)
Oh hey, federal agents are still after JadeBlue, especially this one dude who is sending her creepy emails. Really, are our tax dollars paying for this one agent to send emails to JadeBlue telling her that "I need the love of one"? Really, what the hell?

Also, in other what the hell - what is up with the SFWeekly's drawing of this situation? It depicts some Asian chick with gigantic boobs and frozen nipples and ass running away what looks like Evil Mr. Incredible with flowers. That is just some bad drawing, right there.
toastykitten: (Default)
From [personal profile] gordonzola  's journal I saw the link to this week's SF Weekly story on Jade Blue. My first reaction was, no way! Then I saw the picture and instantly recognized her.

So Jade Blue was a contortionist (her other careers included, but are not limited to: martial arts porn, stripping, free labor for her aunt, and owning a crime-scene cleaning business). She is currently on the lam because she does not have legal status in America and decided it would be easier to leave the country than fight the federal agents who are wasting taxpayer money to pursue her because they consider her a threat to "national security".

One of the reasons I was really surprised to see her on the cover was because well, I had actually met her. I hired her as a surprise for a party I threw for Mark a few years ago and she did her contortionist act to an Einstürzende Neubauten song. It was really awesome. (Maybe I'll put pictures up on Flickr later or something.) She was very sweet and friendly, and we were all surprised to learn that her contortion stuff was something she only picked up a few years earlier. We were all under the impression that she had been doing it all her life - that's how good she was.

I was kind of wondering why she didn't just marry someone - but apparently she's quoted as considering that more "unethical" than taking the identity of a dead child. I think if she had married someone, things would have been way easier for her in the short run - she could have arranged to get a green card, actually establish herself as a legitimate alien, etc, but it would have been really hard for her to extricate herself from the marriage. In my family - when we sponsored our uncles, and arranged for them to come over here, they were not legally married to their spouses in China until after they'd been here for a certain amount of time. (Consider that my uncles are in their forties at least - so they've been waiting a long time to get their wives and children.) American immigration laws are fucking stupid.

I will miss her (I had actually been considering inviting her back for my next party, but obviously that's not going to happen). I hope she never gets caught and goes on to better things.

Huh. Jade Blue made an appearance on a William Gibson-written episode of X-files. The character was played by someone else, who does not look nearly as cool as Jade Blue does in real life.

In other alt-weekly notes:
  • I hate Ted Rall. I think he's stupid.
  • I still love Red Meat.
  • Does anyone know what the fuck is going on with Burning Man? I read both the SF Weekly version and the Guardian version, and I still don't know what they're fighting over, or how not releasing Burning Man the trademark into the public domain is going to protect it from commercialization.
  • The California healthcare reforms being proposed right now are going to be a total clusterfuck.
toastykitten: (Default)
There's a SF Weekly profile of DJ Shadow, which is really long, with a few surprises. It's kind of disappointing to learn that he lives in Marin County even if, by the writer's standards, it's "modest" - home prices in Marin are astronomical. It is funny, how he's been getting criticized by a bunch of his fans for getting into "hyphy" (which, even though I should know this shit, know nothing about) and having that influence his style. I think people hear about it and think Oakland = black = ghetto = too good for it.

The article also compares his success with that of DJ Spooky, who is black, and while he's been successful, hasn't had the kind of fervent fanaticism that DJ Shadow inspired. DJ Spooky's style, according to the article at least, has been criticized in the past, for trying to sound too intellectual, even though he's experimented in the same way that DJ Shadow has.

While I think race factors significantly into how both are perceived, DJ Spooky's outspoken politics also factor into it. I know nothing of Shadow's political views, but I know a lot about Spooky's just from reading that one article in the Nation, and while right now it's not necessarily an unpopular viewpoint, it would have been considered pretty reactionary in the recent past by the mainstream. Whoever they are.

For the record, I like them both.
toastykitten: (Default)
I have the day off today, but it's not for fun - I have a couple of doctors' appointments today, and apparently no doctors are ever open on weekends.

Things I pondered this week:

How the hell am I going to cook the giant zucchini my mom gave to me last week? It is about a foot long and five inches wide. I am not exaggerating. She's been giving various giant zucchinis from her garden, and I am seriously starting to run out of ways to cook them. I've baked, roasted, grilled, fried, stir-fried, etc. And I really need to make us eat this one this week, otherwise it'll just go bad, and I'd hate to waste fresh food.

Mark and I have been trying to plan our meals - 1. to eat better, 2. to force ourselves to cook, 3. to save more money. It worked okay the first week, but we're running into some snags. The most annoying being - Mark hates leftovers, and he hates having the same thing twice in a row - like if we have Chinese food for dinner, he doesn't want it again the next night, even if it's not leftovers. He needs novelty, even though he's not necessarily a picky eater. The other thing I'm running into is that we're not eating enough of the groceries we get for the week. We always seem to want to eat whatever's not in the kitchen. Yesterday I caved and we ordered take-out, because I didn't eat lunch until nearly 2 o'clock, and that led to me being cranky and not wanting to cook. We're trying.

If you're in the Bay Area, you should pick up this week's SF Bay Guardian, because it's their food issue, and they have a pull-out magazine listing a bunch of different places to eat at. In their weird foods section, they recommended Yank Sing and said, "When's the last time you had chicken feet?" To which I thought, "Wusses! I ate that two weeks ago!"

Watched Project Runway last night. I *heart* Michael. You can look here for the Fashion Week presentations. Some of them did swimsuits this time, and yes, there is proof that Uli can design something other than halter dresses. I hated Jeffrey's. Laura's was pretty but boring.

Anyway, time for me to head out.
toastykitten: (Default)
Currently I'm just stressed out. I may be the only full-time employee in my department soon. We'll see how fast my boss can hire someone else, but I am so wary of training someone else on this stuff...

Anyway - I have some thoughts that are eating my brain but I am too hungry to link to anything:

1. Some people pointed me to the stupid Forbes article advising men not to marry "career women". Salon had a decent rebuttal.
2. There's a picture floating around of George Bush rubbing some black guy's head for luck. No, it's not photoshopped.
3. East Bay Express continues to investigate the coming merger of several newspapers under one company. I forget whose it is, but the latest development is that the Bill Gates foundation has contributed significantly to it, although the details are confidential. I find this ironic because currently the San Francisco Bay Guardian - the East Bay Express' competitor, is suing their owner, New Times Media, for selling their ads at a ridiculously low price and undercutting the competition. Anyway, SFBG has been making the same complaints about New Times Media ever since it bought up East Bay Express, SFWeekly, and the Village Voice that East Bay Express is making about the new, mainstream merger.
4. Speaking of East Bay Express, this week's cover story ticked me off. It was ostensibly about the new class of wine buyer (young, cheap, and unpretentious) and how no one caters to them. And then at the end it turned into a shill for the launch of their new wine review column. Bleh.
5. I'm media-obsessed, always. I just read today that the editor of Dwell magazine stepped down, because of her personal conflicts with the direction the magazine is going. I have a one year supply of the magazine, which I got because of my membership in MOCA, and I loved it. It was about people expressing their passion for a topic that they championed and loved, and was all about finding practical solutions for average homeowners, not just upscale millionaires. Dwell itself, right after the editor quit, announced a "re-organization". I haven't picked up Dwell in a while, but I believe it's gotten bigger, and their circulation has actually grown, which is highly unusual in the volatile magazine market.
6. Another interesting development was that Marie Claire changed editors and hired a former journalist for editor-in-chief. I bought the latest issue, and it had Maggie Gyllenhaal on the cover. The big deal, it seemed, was the editor ripping into Ashley Simpson for talking about being proud of how you look and then after the interview went to print, she went and got a nose job. The direction's supposed to be more political, "smarter", and more informed, while still being about fashion. It would be a relief from the Bonnie Fuller makeovers, that's for sure, but I was really disappointed in the fashion spread with different political figures like Hillary Clinton, John McCain, etc. Ok, I get that it's about fashion, but you couldn't have asked them any political questions?
7. Project Runway - the judges' comments about Michael Knight are driving me up the wall. "I love that he thinks!" "He's SO smart!" I'm just waiting for them to say, "He's so articulate!" I hate the Cardassian even more after watching the latest episode.
8. It's going to be the last season of Scrubs! Grr...
9. Currently making creme brulee for tomorrow. It's such a finicky dish to make, but I love cracking the burnt sugar.
toastykitten: (Default)
This is a really good post.

Insisting that people know English before we even allow them to immigrate is discrimination on the basis of social class -- and that discrimination is already one of the main sources of our immigration problem. Damn Foreigner had a great post recently on the difference between his experience as a legal immigrant and the experiences of the undocumented. The most important point he made was this: As a well-educated, skilled worker, he had a path into the United States. When we tell poorly educated, unskilled workers to "get in line," we're ignoring the fact that there's essentially no line for them to get into.

I picked up the San Francisco Bay Guardian today. It had an awesome interview with Paul Beatty about his anthology of African-American humor. Beatty studied under Allen Ginsberg! (It makes so much sense now.)

There was also a whiny review of two political blogger books by Tim Redmond. He liked the book, partially because it doesn't fall into the self-indulgent trap of arguing that the "blogosphere" is so important that the people on the inside are about to take over the world (and all the rest of us in the old print media are dinosaurs). Gee, I wonder what's bugging him? The following sentence annoyed me, though: The two men are particularly critical of the abortion-rights movement, and in some ways their strategic analysis is accurate. (There's not really any specific follow-up on that claim.) Can you guess why?

Today at my Dale Carnegie class I received a "Breakthrough Award" - which is a nice pen. Everyone in the class votes on the person they think has shown the most improvement in performance. So it was nice to get one, and to get validation that I'm actually improving in the class. I think I'm getting more out of the class than I expected to, but I wouldn't call it a life-changing experience. It's improved my public speaking skills a lot, and I think it's mostly because I'm forced to practice it every week. I don't know about other aspects of my life, though.
toastykitten: (Default)
Anil Dash comments, and there's a discussion at a Seven Days blog.

That editorial still irritates me, and perfectly illustrates everything I find annoying about politics here and the news media, alternative and mainstream.

I used to love picking up alt-weeklies every week, coming home from school or from work. It wasn't for the listings or the escort ads in the back; it was actually for the writing, and for stories I would never hear about otherwise - about who showed up to those meetings about school closures, what really happened with that girl who died from taking the RU-486 pill, etc. But you know what there was last week? NOTHING. SFBG's cover story was about Kelley Stoltz, a musician who's covered in fucking Entertainment Weekly. EastBayExpress' website keeps crashing my browser, so fuck them, and anyway the cover story's summary actually says "Now he's turned his lens toward, well, racier subjects." I mean, really, what century are we living in? And he's a successful photographer. What happened to highlighting the up and coming, the people you don't know are going to succeed or fail?

Oh yeah, ad dollars.

Oops, I didn't actually mean to go on for that long; I have to say, even though the EastBayExpress site crashed Firefox, Firefox saved my post so I didn't have to rewrite it. I *heart* open source software.
toastykitten: (Default)
Woman struck, killed by train - it's the one I take every day (not at that time). They still haven't identified the woman or whether it was a suicide or not. There are only two reasons to be crossing the Caltrain tracks - 1. You really, really want to die, or 2. You're stupid or in the care of someone really stupid. There are several big warning signs; one of them says "Tracks are for trains", which always makes me think of "Trix are for kids", for some reason.

We had our "holiday lunch" today. I know, I know, we're two months late; what can I say, we were really busy. My secret Santa gift was really nice - I got a Death Cab for Cutie CD and a gift certificate to Borders. Guess what's across the street from my workplace?

The short cab ride there was hilarious. Do you know how many liberal rants you can cover in ten minutes? Our cab driver was very nice, but as soon as we got settled in, we were captive to his opinions on Social Security, the State of the Union address, big oil, poverty, Katrina, etc. until he dropped us off in front of the restaurant. I now know more about his politics than many people I talk to everyday, like my coworkers. (On the other hand, I work in a pretty liberal company.)

I seem to keep having some variation of this conversation with people:

Me: Could you please get me an apple?
Other: Here's an orange.
Me: Thanks, but that's not what I asked for. Could you please get me an apple?
Other: But I gave you an orange.
Me: I know, but that's not what I need. I really need an apple.
Other: It's the same thing, really. Have the orange.

On the way home, I picked up SFBG for some light reading on the train ride home. I read Tim Redmond's editorial, and had to put the paper down, because it was the most moronic thing I have read in a while. In the editorial, he compares Craig Newmark, the guy who runs Craigslist, to Wal-Mart, because When Craig comes to town (and he's coming to just about every town in the nation soon), the existing community institutions – say, the locally owned weekly newspaper – have a very hard time competing. In many ways, he's like a Wal-Mart – yeah, landlords get cheaper real estate ads, and consumers find some bargains, but the money all goes out of town. And he puts nothing back into the community: He doesn't, for example, hire reporters or serve as a community watchdog.

I mean, really, how's that for hyperbole? I admit that I feel pretty defensive about craigslist, because I owe a lot to it. I got my job, apartment, and a bunch of furniture through craigslist, and I didn't have to pay a dime for any of it. (Well, some for the furniture, but not much, and it's not like any of that actually went to Newmark.) Craig Newmark's given back plenty to the community - I mean, craigslist itself was created initially because he wanted "connect with people better".

The whole thing just seemed like sour grapes. Is Craig Newmark hiring illegal immigrants? Is he outsourcing labor? Is he paying subpar wages to his employees? How, exactly, is he actually acting like Wal-Mart, besides being successful?

The alt-weeklies and mainstream print papers are all terrified of how he's going to basically shut them down or something, but I have yet to see them offer an alternative that's even close or better than what craigslist offers. If I wanted to look for a job, the only ones I would find in the alt-weeklies are for bartending or egg donation. If I wanted an apartment, I'm stuck reading acronyms for exorbitant San Francisco lunchbox apartments in a tiny 1 inch ad, and if I wanted to buy some cheap furniture from someone the person posting the ad would probably spend more than I'm willing to pay for it.

This rest of this week's SFBG sucked as well. That editorial irritated me a lot.

I should be cleaning up.
toastykitten: (Default)
Wikipedia and women and follow-up post.

Wikipedia and race and New Orleans.

Reverse racism and whether it exists or not.

The Unexpected Movie. Why, critics of the film asked, would a Palestinian make a movie focusing on the disturbing, private problems of one Palestinian family, rather than about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The critics answered themselves: The film is clearly a Zionist trick.

SFWeekly has a feature story on the crappiness of the SF legal system. Different case from the SFBG, but still too similar for my tastes. I don't like the New Times site makeovers. The site design is too busy and the front page wants me to download third-party Quicktime software. No thanks.
toastykitten: (Default)
For those of you who can't get enough of Brokeback Mountain, there's KCRW Bookworm with Annie Proulx - turn up the volume, because Michael Silverblatt talks really low.

I just finished reading Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen. I'd forgotten how good it is. I like Elinor as a protagonist much more than Fanny, even though the two characters are superficially similar. I didn't realize how much scandal(!) there was, too; women being seduced! Libertines! Of course our heroine does not succumb to the libertine. She has too much honor for that. Although I think it would be interesting if she did.

I browsed the magazine section today, like I always do, and sort of marveled at all the magazines with very, very specific markets. There's Conceive (which, I don't know, if you're trying to conceive and you have no real problems, wouldn't it only be worth about 2 issues?), there's Hair and Short Hair, Cosmo, CosmoGirl, Cooking with Paula Deen, etc, etc. I would really love to be at those meetings where they pitch them - "Look, we'll have this cooking magazine, but it'll have Paula Deen writing in a Southern accent and then people will think it's authentic!"

I kind of like TeenVogue. I used to like NYLON, but it's all style, no substance now. Not that there was much substance then, but I'd at least look through the magazine again. GiantRobot is going bimonthly this year, so I think it's about time I subscribed. This month's issue was awesome - lots of great art, lots of interviews with interesting people, including an Asian American guy who shot up a school and is in prison for life.

I haven't even watched the latest Project Runway yet, and I already know who lost. (Don't know who won yet - don't tell me.) And you know how I found out? From reading fucking James Wolcott. He's supposed to be writing about politics!

Politics sucks. What else is new?

The San Francisco Bay Guardian changed its look. I like it; it's much cleaner, and it's smaller, thus easier to hold up. I don't know if I like the editor's note being on the cover page, though. Looks a little messy. Last week's cover story was about how the police did nothing about an attempted murder. How this is shocking, I don't know.

LA Weekly also redesigned-their website at least. There's an interesting debate between one of the movie critics there and Roger Ebert, about whether Crash is the best movie of 2005 or the worst movie of 2005. I haven't watched the movie yet; maybe we'll rent it one weekend or something. I just find the commentary about the race relations interesting.

My pick for best movie of 2005 is A History of Violence. I think I watched it when it first came out and I still can't get it out of my head. It is seriously disturbing.
toastykitten: (Default)
Approximations of Comments Overheard on NPR:

"I'm a journalist, so I am only reporting on this and do not have an opinion on it." ("It" is the fact that the CIA is holding terror suspects in secretive "black sites" without any oversight. Maybe you don't have an opinion, but maybe you might have a conscience?)

Commenter: "We should do things like pull these people's fingernails or anything, but these people are terrorists and should not be subject to the Geneva Conventions and the CIA should definitely be allowed to operate in secret."

Commenter: "Wal-mart has been really great to poor women. I live in San Francisco and I shop at Wal-mart all the time and all the women I've talked to have said that Wal-mart has really helped them with their lives and stuff." (Meanwhile, Walmart got sued again. She neglected to mention that California's minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage.)

Worker for New Times: "We take a 'pox on both your houses' approach to politics."
toastykitten: (Default)
I used to read alternative newsweeklies, mostly because they were free. Eventually I followed them more because the stories were better and more in-depth than a daily newspaper. PopCultureJunkMail also used to run another blog that tracked interesting stories from alt-newspapers, but I think she stopped doing that to focus on other things.

I kind of miss it, and I'm thinking of maybe doing something like that. It's going to be pretty California-centric, though. Papers that I know of:

SF Bay Guardian
SF Weekly
EastBayExpress
LAWeekly (my favorite of the bunch)
VillageVoice (although truthfully I only read Dan Savage and occasionally Tristan Taormino from there)

SFWeekly and EastBayExpress are owned by the same company, and SFBG just ran a story about how they're planning to merge with VillageVoice, which brings up all sorts of questions about monopolies, fair competition, the definition of "alternative", etc. The company that owns SFWeekly and EastBayExpress also shut down New Times in LA, and that created a shitstorm over there, if I remember correctly.

I started wondering whether New Orleans had an alternative paper. I think it's the Gambit - they haven't really updated their page like The Times-Picayune, although SFBG printed an op-ed from a New Orleans native.

Maybe if I do things once a month? I don't know how it would work.
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