Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Disclaimer: I know that people in America go hungry, that food stamps buy less and less, and that rising food costs lead to cuts in other areas, especially health care and education, for families near and below the poverty line. I want people to know that this concerns me, but I want to bring up the following point, which is:
Americans have gone from spending 22.7% of their income on food in 1929, to spending an approximate average of about 11.3% of their income in the early to mid 2000's. Yes, food prices are on the rise. We are spending in 2008 about the same percent of our income in food on average, as in the early 1990's. [Source: USDA Economic Resource Service.]
So, why is this making people freak out?
1. The "oil crisis". People are spending more on gas and it is upsetting.*
2. The "global grain shortage". By "global" the US means everyone else is low on grain. We're fine, but people don't know it.
3. General economic downturn. People know that the dollar is low and that we are headed towards troubled times and are panicking.
4. It's an election year. Uniting voters against Republicans by creating artificial crises is an excellent strategy. It worked very well for Bush when we invaded Iraq.
The average US citizen spent about 10-11% of our income on food in 2002. A U.K. citizen spent about 13%, contrasted with a Mexican citizen who spent about 27%. In 2002 the average spending on food in the Philippines was nearly %50 of one's income. [Source: USDA Economic Resource Service] My guess would be that everyone is now paying more, but that the difference between our expenditures has probably remained steady since then, though I do not have hard data to back this up.
I would conjecture that the reason that other countries spend more on food are:
1. America is massive and grows a lot of food.
2. More money is made by exporting food than keeping it in poor countries. Minority rich get richer and the majority poor stagnate.
3. Smaller nations and nations with different geological and meteorological circumstances probably cannot produce as much food.
4. The US government controls food prices through various means.
I think that the bottom line of global food is that, while technically every item is only worth what you or I will pay for it, every item has a certain cost associated with its production. We have been using artificial means to hold down prices. Instead of spending income on necessities we are able to spend income on crap that we don't need. It goes nicely with the enormous sense of entitlement. The concept of "affordable luxury", a car in every garage, and designer clothes for dogs probably stems from necessities being cheaper than they realistically should be.
I guess my point is that food and oil cost more everywhere else and at nearly every other time in the history of this country. If people in Spain and Norway can mostly afford food, so can we. We just can't afford that limited edition H2 and food and gas.
The real question is how are we going to make sure that everyone in the U.S. gets fed enough. If our poor can't feed themselves now, they will suffer. You and I will just buy bicycles or smaller cars, cheaper or fewer handbags, and do things our own damn selves. And unless you're buying domestically created cars or handbags (har har) only retailers (most of which are owned by the wealthy minority) will suffer. (And I couldn't care less.)
Quit your bitching. Almost all of us could and should pay realistic prices for our commodities. But what will/should we do for those who can't?
*Aside: I am irritated with Clinton's idea to temporarily abstain from taxing gasoline. A better way to alleviate the gas crisis would probably be to take that gas tax money and spend it on public transportation infrastructure for major US cities. When gas hits $8 a gallon this girl will have been riding her bike to work for months. Making gas 18.4 cents cheaper per gallon is not even a band aid, it's like sticking your finger in a ten foot wide crack in Hoover Dam.
I had previously been using Cetaphil to wash my face and Aveeno Clear Complexion Moisturizer to wash my face and there had been some improvement. Before that I have tried a number of things that I am too ashamed/lazy to relate.
Things seemed to be going pretty well with the Proactive, until last week. Last week a painful and massive (see also: hideous) zit appeared on my lower chin. It isn't super visible, but it hurts like the dickens.
You must understand that acne, for me, has never been painful (aside from mental anguish) until Jose.
Yes, I named him Jose. Jose has accompanied me everywhere for over a week alternately growing and shrinking and hurting and receding, like a respirating puppy. The day before yesterday I noticed, to my dismay, that Jose had decided to invite a few buddies over for drinks. I was now rocking three massive zits on my chin, line dancing along in PaPa Bear, MaMa Bear, and morbidly obese/exercise induced asthma suffering Baby Bear sizes.
So as an experiment, I shifted back to the Cetaphil and Aveeno combo yesterday, and this morning Jose is all alone and a wee bit diminished in size.
I have no idea why Proactive eliminated the majority of my tiny frustrating zits and yet grew a small farm of hideous, painful, zits ala alien babies springing forth from my body/toothy alien-baby incubator.
Now I am back to not knowing what to do with my face AND facing the fact that I am the sort of person who names zits and blogs about them.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Someone googled "my little pony orale [sic] sex" and arrived here. Seriously, someone explain this to me. I am confounded.
2. What is that? It is my enormous ass, constructed with cookies and delicious cinnamon toast.
I don't snack. I eat a meal, I eat dessert, I will go for a snack with other people; but I have never been the kind of person who just gets up and has snacks while watching TV etc. I just don't. Until recently. Before I stupidly wounded my foot and didn't really take care of it, I would run when stressed. My junior year of college I probably put in 10 miles a day.
Now I can't run, and it seems that I have replaced unhealthful exercise binges with constant grazing.
Here I am eating toast and packing a box, nomm nomm nomm, and having a mini kit-kat while watching Bones, nomm nomm nomm, and how about a Japanese cookie, nomm nomm nomm.
I am going to be ENORMOUS if this does not stop soon.
3. Brief interlude.
Can we go back to the pony thing, actually. I mean how does that even work? Also it's a cartoon pony. Make this make sense.
4. Someone here is a quitter and her names starts with a 'q' and rhymes with 'pee on a'.
I am seriously considering quitting 101 Things in 1001 Days. Why? Because I don't really want to do all those things. And why should I stress myself out trying to take salsa lessons when I would be much more happy to watch a movie or go clubbing with friends, than to salsa dance. The whole thing is silly- unless you are a couch potato, and to be frank, I am too damn busy to flesh out my schedule with visits to places I would already go to if I was really interested. Also I'm a total curmudgeon.
Monday, April 28, 2008
1. Carry crap to street.
2. Light it on fire.
Actually, I am putting forth a real effort to lessen the amount of crap that I own. I'm finding it really hard to part with two things:
1. Really cute, in-style, and expensive clothes that don't really fit me anymore, but may someday, in QuianaLand, where ice cream makes you skinny.
2. Comics that I will absolutely never again read and that will never be worth any money (and maybe was not so crazy about at the time).
Those helping me move should be able to help me determine how successful I was based upon the number and weight of the boxes.
I'm properly housed, fed, and entertained. I am neither spoiled by more money than I can use responsibly, nor starved by so little I can't live. I live in a beautiful city full of things to do and people to see. I am blessed with predominantly excellent health and the technology and finances to get top rate medical care at any time. My pantry is full, and when I turn the tap I can have as much safe water as I could possibly want. My closet is full with more clothes than I can wear in a month, my shelves filled with years of books, comics, and films. I can call anyplace in the world with a phone in my pocket and drive to South America in my big blue car. My work helps the world to become a better place. I can vote, worship, speak, and work as I choose. I have a wonderful family to support and love me. I have a multitude of friends to make me laugh and challenge me.
Things are hard right now, and getting harder. I should be grateful for the charmed life I lead, and aware that I am in the minority.
I am American in every sense. My family hails from all over the world. They came to America to provide me with the ridiculous largess with which I live. My closet is bloated with shoes, my walls slathered in art, and my ears ringing with millions of different songs. I have too much. I eat too much. I spend too much.
I sleep deeply and soundly knowing I am safe, clean, and fed. Tomorrow I will eat three square meals of food enough for at least two people, work eight solid hours for fair pay, drink imported vodka at pub quiz, drive a car that seats six, and read a book in my bed big enough for three.
I have nothing to be sad about.
Friday, April 25, 2008
And it was fine.
Later I figured that since my hair was fine after the shampoo, why waste 3 bucks on fancy conditioner. My hair was tangly for the first few days, but calmed down.
Some time later I forgot to pack conditioner while dog sitting and I ran out to buy conditioner and was pleased to find Pantene on sale.
Yesterday I conditioned my hair with the Pantene, combed it out and left it wet. No styling, no product, no blow dryer.
All day people kept asking if I had gotten a haircut and complimenting me. (Even Steve noticed.)
I can't believe I am so cheap that I saved $3, but apparently looked like a troll doll for a month, and yet spent $3 on Yoshi's Cookie for my NES at the thrift shop yesterday.
It is all about priorities.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
So what I will do is ask you about purses. There is yet another purse I want. It is a Disneyland exclusive called MickeyDoki.
There are a few designs, but I am most attracted to either the hobo (day-to-day use) or the messenger (briefcase-esque use):
So here is the question:
Is it weird to buy a medium range handbag with anime-ized Disney characters on it? What if you either have to order it from Disneyland DelivEars over the phone or off of E-Bay.
More stuff I want to buy and don't need:
Yoda Mouse and other extraordinary mice (that I could have made myself if I had bothered thinking of it and then gone thru the effort of making it.
Growing up super-poor has some very strange effects on spending desires.
Things I need for my new place:
Small sewing table with drop-leaf.
Two incredibly small nightstands.
Maybe a dresser.
Maybe a new bookshelf.
Comic storage solutions.
Things I want to buy:
Mice Stuffed toys.
Anything that is not a furniture item.
I think that my desire for unnecessary items stems from 1. not liking boring things and 2. being damn tired of being sensible all of the god damned time. However with layoffs fluttering around like zombie butterflies, I should probably refrain from buying mice and/or handbags and either buy furniture to use every day OR pay down my student loans.
I read a lengthy article about crashing economies and they say the number one best way to go into a depressed economy is debt free. Forget about having a job or having savings, but not owing anything is the best way to ride out economic disasters.
In other news:
Watch this video, it will change your life. NPR is now officially forgiven for ruining the end of season three of Lost.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
1. Fancier- see monocle and tuxedo.
2. Home owner- Castle Von Count.
3. Romance- Previously linked to Countess Von Backwards, Countess Dahling Von Dahling, and Lady Two.
4. Healthy relationship with Mother.
5. Super good at math.
6. Multiple TV, book, and film appearances.
7. Controls the elements- thunder and lightening.
8. Internationally beloved- ex. in Turkish he is called Sayıların Kontu
9. Excellent singer.
10. Still not a single gray hair at 1,832,652 years old. I should be so lucky.
11. Owns a pet octopus. (And bats and cats.) I am not responsible enough to own a pet.
12. No reflection = never having to see himself naked.
13. Wears a cape and no one makes fun of him.
THIRTEEN, THIRTEEN REASONS! AH AH AH AH!
Monday, April 21, 2008
What creators who are usually associated with a certain company (or, indeed, medium) would you like to see writing someone else’s title? For example, would you want to see JMS on Hellboy? Which DC character should Bendis have a crack at? Should George Pelecanos write Batman?
So here is the deal. I read comics. A lot. But unlike with "regular" books, I never actually examine who writes them. I do occasionally drop titles when the writers change- though I usually don't notice it until I am hurling the book across the room bellowing "This is BULL SHIT!"
I usually try to wait out bad art changes, but in the end, unless the art changes back to something I like the end result is also profanity and air born comics.
I do tend to read the same people's work over and over again. I'm not sure why I like them. They just seem to write stuff that I enjoy. Perhaps they write in genres that I enjoy, or maybe I really do prefer the work, without knowing why. I haven't put more thought in it than that. Anyway my top creators are:
The Luna brothers
Brian K. Vaughan
I am pretty embarrassed about my lack of comic thought and I really should put more effort into the comics I read. For someone who genuinely believes that comics are just as complex as "regular" books, I don't make much of a case for it.
But let's table my guilt-ridden comic analysis incompetence. Let's look at people who could write a good comic, who don't write comics at all.
1. Trenton Lee Stewart- I would love to see working on Runaways. His previous books show a mind built for complex mysteries written with lyrical but simplistic word choice. His characters that are fascinating and surprising and accessible to younger readers. A keen understanding of teens and children, of being unique and lost would definitely work for Runaways.
2. Cormac McCarthy- Fell or Elephantmen. I think his sparse style would mesh really well with Fell. I think that Elephantmen could also use his ability to create stand out characters full of introspection and hidden humanity. He also has a little bit of a quirk that would probably make him fairly good at these dark and twisted stories.
And that is all I've got for you guys, I could probably continue, but this could keep me busy a while. Thanks for inviting me to play ball!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
2. Today I am tired, but have officially resumed a non-phlegm state. The mucous is gone. (Enter cupcakes and fanfare.)
3. I have made an error at work. It is minute, but now I owe favors, and inconvenienced someone and I HATE owing favors. (No cupcakes or fanfare for me.)
4. If it snows tomorrow, ruining the second Steve & Quiana BBQ of the year, I will be sad. (Then I will get cupcakes.)
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
2. I need a new comic storage solution. I want to be able to get into the boxes easily. Are drawer boxes the only game in town? Has anyone tried those magazine holders?
3. I am a little stressed out about decorating new spaces after I move. I think I'm nesting. Perhaps this is when I descend into my hermithood?
Or maybe I am just sick and tired and not thinking clearly.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Meet The Robinsons. An animated Disney film, very loosely based on the book A Day With Wilbur Robinson. Tom Selleck invents a time machine. (We'll just pause to let you absorb that piece of info.) And then a villain named Bowler Hat Guy travels back in time to sabotage a memory-scanning machine that a kid named Lewis has invented, which gave rise to all the amazing inventions in Tom Selleck's utopian future. ("Tom Selleck's Utopian Future" will be my next band name.) So Tom Selleck's son Wilbur has to travel back in time to our time, to make sure Lewis repairs the memory-scanning machine.On io9.
So, still sick. Nothing much to say about it. If you would like to read my awesome daily phlegm updates, feel free to check out my even more boring blog: Smart People on Ice.
Here, take these thoughts in lieu of an actual post:
1. Last night I hauled my phlegm infested carcass to the Moore to hear Marjane Satrapi speak. She was very funny and brought the entire topic of animalistic behavior (war and wackiness) back to a lack of 3 things:
3. Not being pestered
She is a smart lady.
2. I'm looking forward to relaxing today as I am going to be busy until Saturday and mostly just want to lay around in my bed filling numerous tissues. Everybody, please stop having fun until I am well. Thanks.
3. I'm really irked by Obama's comments about small town America. Also irked by the response of other candidates. I'm just going to hide under my bed until the election is over.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
In all honesty, I absolutely have nothing (NOTHING) to relate as my days have been spent sort of watching (read: napping through) TV shows. Unless you would like more details of mucous. (Anyone? No? Really?!)
But I want to have things to say. So uhm... here:
1. Welcome new readers, I hope you look forward to stories about poop, raccoons, and nothing. Because those are my specialties.
2. Not Welcome: perverts who seem to be googling creepy kiddie-porn topics and somehow finding this. I am tracking my readers and, if I can figure out how, will find out where you are getting your "stuff" and then I will call the cops and you will go to jail and then you will become a much scarier man's (mens'?) bitch.
3. Today I've eaten: a banana, cherry m&m's, a latte, and two souls. Please do not provoke my dangerous ire. I will make you cry. Even if you are a dude. I am taking no shit today, friends. Watch out.
4. Yesterday someone left me a VM at work thanking me for doing my job. It was awesome. I plan to record it and put it on my desktop for use whenever someone yells at me for not magically making them smart enough to properly complete their legally binding affidavit. (No, idiot, you sign HERE, where it says "signature".)
5. This week's midnight movie at The Egyptian is Alien. If you have not seen this in a theater I encourage you to do so. It is AMAZING.
That's all I've got.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Jezebel brings us a Statistical Guide to Why You're Not Getting Laid. Showing the statistical imbalance between the genders by geographical location. (AKA the chart in National Geographic that my Grammy used to point out that I have no excuse for not having provided her with grandbabies.)
If you live in Seattle you are not getting laid because you are either:
1. A dude
2. Utterly useless (see: Quiana)
If you live in New York it is because you are either:
1. A lady-person
2. Not wearing the new Prada Spring Collection.
Rush Limbaugh is a pathetic piece of shit who doesn't deserve a name and who will be roasting in the pits of hell (and judging by his physical condition- rather soon).
RL says that feminists hate men and get 2 0r 3 abortions and that is why they vote for Hillary Clinton.
I know that my hating of men often culminates in huge amounts of unprotected sex. I always fuck that which I hate. (Strange side note: I also hate seafood. Anyone up for an aquarium run?)
Having now slithered through the slime which is RL's uncomplicated, bigoted, misogynistic, drug-addled mind, I think it is time for some Muppets.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
These lectures are held at Benaroya Hall (and other locations nation-wide) and cover archeology, anthropology, zoology, geology- basically you name the 'ology'.
Last night herpetologist Brady Barr spoke and showed video and pictures from his various projects. He was (like every speaker at this series) extremely diverting and very knowledgeable.
Here are a couple of clips of Brady Barr that you might find interesting:
Dressing up as a crocodile to infiltrate... as suggested by school children.
Here is a link to when he attempted it with hippos.
Brady taking quite a bite in order to attach transmitters to a large large snake. In a cave. Full of snakes. Full of bats (which scare him). And waist deep bat guano.
Not every lecture is this action-packed, but I've never been bored.
There are still tickets for the remaining lectures, I encourage you to try one.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
I guess I will run to the comforting arms of Bottega Italiana, now open a few blocks from me in Green Lake.
2. I am completely tired of April Fool's Day. Yes, everyone, you are very funny and creative. (Perhaps you can experiment with the "funny" all year?) Now can we please get back to business?
3. I ordered a new battery for my iPod (also known as my iSuck(balls) so it will be exciting if this causes the bastard to play music while not plugged in. If it doesn't work, I'm pretty sure that I will have screwed the pooch. Then I guess I'll be forced to buy a Zune OR figure out the MP3 phone situation.
4. Speaking of music, here are some things I am listening to:
The Feeling, Sewn. Which I could not embed. Rude.
Miley Cyrus, See You Again.
Yes, I should be ashamed, but I really like this song. And it is all Steve's fault.
I guess there is no real music video for this song, hence this apostrophe-less abomination. Anyway, the song is in the background.
5. My Grammy gave me Proactiv. The gift that says, "Here, love, take care of those hideous spots please."
I had to have a horrible (read: serious) conversation with someone last night (the second part of a two part clusterfuck). The major problem with having a serious conversation is that I’m super not-good at conversing with other people about things that may hurt feelings or be important or change how things are right at this moment. (For those who don’t know me well, I am always ‘happy’ with things right now- even if I’m not- as long as I don’t have to risk any sort of change).
Last night I had to do the 'smart thing', as opposed to the 'dumb, crazy, short-sighted, stupid thing'- the tempting path of least resistance, which is always lurking.
I could even have done the 'mean thing'; which is second easiest and was nearly always my first choice my entire life. But that is not a good choice when you are busy trying to avoid making every chance meeting with Serious Conversation Buddy the most painfully awkward and gut wrenching moment of the week by doing the smart thing in the first place.
Most unfortunately, I had to do the 'smart thing' using only the arcane tools with which I came into this world- my word making abilities (“honed” by years at a well respected liberal arts college) and innate understanding of feelings. (Hint: not super skilled in either of these arenas.) So… that went poorly and left me with the feeling that I suck and will continue to suck (until I die).
So today I feel shitty. Predicted feelings in my Weekly Feelings Forecast: shitty through the midweek, but lifting into a heavy malaise in time for the weekend. Don’t forget your umbrellas, because it sucks out there. (This is probably my fault.)