Thursday, February 26, 2009

All About Me (x5)

Narya gave me five words she associates with me. The deal is that I write about those five things and then if you want blog fodder yourself, leave a comment asking me to give you five subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your blog and elaborate on the subjects given.

Crosswords: So timely! I leave in 36 hours for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. I like crosswords because I'm dang good at doing them. I'm innately competitive, so the tournament is fun. And I've made a slew of crossword friends via the tournament and my crossword blog. All my male friends (aside from my husband) are crossword people, and I've befriended some terrific women via puzzles too. Friday night, I'll be part of a panel of crossword bloggers doing a Q&A thing in front of several hundred people. I have never done any public speaking in front of a crowd that size, so that'll be something new for me. Will I wig out or relish the attention? Time will tell. At least there will be plenty of friendly faces in view. I just came down with a cough and cold, so I'm not expecting to be at my peak when it comes to the actual crosswords. But that's OK. I'm gonna have a blast anyway.

In recent months, I've spent more time doing freelance editing/proofreading-type work on crosswords than on medical manuscripts, so doing crosswords can actually be a paying job. Who knew?


I have one sister. She's the older one, so naturally she's hewed more to our upbringing in how she's living her life. A house in the 'burbs, two kids, a garden with many of the same flowers our mom had in her garden back in the day. She's a good bit more traditional than me. She takes her Christmas decorating seriously, while I was delighted that taking a cruise over the holidays meant I could blow off the Christmas tree. My mom thought it was a little weird that I'd be willing to leave town for Christmas, I think, but the writing has been on the wall for ages. My honeymoon involved leaving the Midwest behind and going to the Caribbean for Christmas, after all. No house in the 'burbs for me, either—I like city living, the congestion, not having a lawn or garden to take care of. She also tends to work harder than I do—PTA volunteering, for example, running various committees, taking on the work everybody else says they can't squeeze in. Me, I'm lazier. Haven't made it to a single PTA meeting yet!

Back in the adolescent years, my sister and I often did not get along at all. But then we grew up and put that behind us. It's cool. We're good friends now.

I kinda wanted to have two kids myself, but it wasn't to be. Ben would like to have a brother, but I can't make one.

Vegetarianism: I stopped eating red meat when I was 12. Anyone in their early 20s with a vegetarian bent is invariably asked, "So, did you give up meat in college?" Naw, doofus. I was way ahead of that. This ain't just some collegiate fitting-in-with-the-crowd business. I never stopped eating poultry and fish, though, so I'm not a vegetarian. And now I have pesky dietary restrictions that mean I should eat most vegetarian protein sources in very limited amounts, full-bore vegetarianism is in store for me.

It's funny. When Mr. Tangerine and I go out to eat—he's an omnivore—he orders vegetarian entrees far more often than I do.

Feminism: I never took any women's studies classes in college, and possibly the only feminist treatise I've read is Susan Faludi's Backlash. I might've read Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth too...I don't recall. But no Greer, no hooks, no Dworkin, none of those classics. I've been brushing up on the tenets of radical feminism via I Blame the Patriarchy. As someone who likes being married to my husband, commitment to full-bore radical feminism is not for me. But as a general worldview, I can't deny that there is a helluva lot of truth to it.

I wear sensible shoes and hardly any makeup (really only the occasional bit of lipstick). The way I groom myself for a newspaper photo shoot is the same way I groom myself every day. Halfassedly blow-dry my hair, use no "product" to make my hair do anything other than what it wants to do (lie flat), wash my face with something like Cetaphil, put on a clean shirt, brush my teeth, and step into my cozy Merrells. Oh, but I do get highlights to hide the gray strands, and I shave my legs and underarms, and I wear underwire bras. So I'm not the perfect feminist by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not the worst either.

Supertasting: Some people have the supertaster gene. (Do not quote me on the science here.) Like me. Lots of foods my husband loves, I loathe. So I am always pleased to find foods I don't like on lists of things supertasters cannot abide. Coffee! I don't touch the stuff. Tastes burnt. Broccoli! No amount of cheese will help with that. And...I forget. There was a lot more on the list. Basically, a supertaster has tastebuds that are more sensitive, or more plentiful, or something. Supertasters taste unpleasantness where others do not. Here's the mind-blowing one: vanilla ice cream. I used to find it sweet and creamy, but now half the time I find it unpleasantly bitter. Olives, bell peppers, the more bitter salad greens, the highest cocoa percentage chocolate (don't take me over 60%, please), overly strong tea? I'll pass.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gendered language

Gendered language is well nigh inescapable. There are words that exclude or marginalize women—consider chairman, boy wonder, and Jack of all trades, all of which serve to elevate maleness. There are words that debase women—bitch, harpy, shrew—but generally are not used for men. There are woman-specific words for which there's no true male equivalent—mistress, debutante, "the other woman," maid.

Do you know of any resource, online or printed, that compiles a slew of these words in one place? If so, I'd love any leads you have. If not, please drop a few more examples of gendered vocabulary in the comments. I'll bet every commenter can come up with words that haven't been listed by the preceding commenters.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Aww! So sweet!

Salma Hayek is working with Unicef on various children's issues in Africa. She even nursed a sick newborn boy while she was there:

Isn't that terrific? She just shot way up in my estimation. She does drama! She does comedy! (She's been good on 30 Rock this winter.) She lactates unselfishly! She uses her fame to call attention to important issues. And she does so without wearing dorky sunglasses like Bono does.

Here's a post with more context for you.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Friday, February 06, 2009

Roger Ebert is en fuego

Like me, Roger Ebert is politically liberal and not into religion. His main job is reviewing movies, but he also writes a blog for his newspaper where ventures further afield. I appreciated his latest post, which is about Bush, evolution, the Bible, prayer, dinners with wealthy benefactors, the film The Reader, Rush Limbaugh, lying and shame, and whether you have the wherewithal to speak out when you ought to. Go forth and read Roger. You won't regret it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Were you born between 1954 and 1965?

Are you too old to be a Gen Xer and too young to want to group yourself with the Baby Boomers? You may be part of Generation Jones.

My friend Dean Olsher wants to compile a list of generational markers for his fellow Joneses. "Dean knows he's Generation Jones because he couldn't care less about where you were when JFK was assassinated." That resonates for me because hey, JFK was assassinated before I was born. I remember the day John Lennon was killed and the day Reagan was shot, but JFK? Before my time. The moon landing? I was too young. Summer of Love? I was a toddler. Nixon's resignation? Ooh! I remember that one. They made us watch it on TV in kindergarten and none of us gave a damn.

If you're part of Generation Jones, head over to Dean's blog and share your "How You Know You're Generation Jones" touchstones.

If you may be a redneck, send your identifying traits to Jeff Foxworthy, not to Dean.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Taking a whiff of clean white socks

...the kid says, "Ahh, I love the smell of chlorine in the evening."