Monday, July 27, 2009

Something New

Hello, all. I've started a new blog called The Wait. you can find it at It's about trying to get pregnant and weight loss and waiting for motherhood and all the little stuff that comprises this crazy period of my life. I'll keep this alive and will try to post here occasionally but I will be focusing on this new adventure. Come with me!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


So, I'm at my cousin's "going away party" and I'm super sad, and I'm having one of those someone is leaving me and i can't deal moments, and i can't talk to the people who are actually leaving kind of i have HUGE abandonment issues...and I don't like it when people leave me for any reasons...and the leaving, it's not so good anyway. Ugh. Why leave?I love Raleigh, it has everything, I don't understand why people are evacuating. Double ugh. and a Gah for good measure.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

You can go home again...kind of

so hello there.
It's been a long time. let's not talk about it.
Inspired by a friend I've decided to start blogging about books as I read them constantly and have no real outlet for talking about them, funny since I work for a compnay that owns used book stores.

But to start off, I wanted to post this picture

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It came into the store today as I was processing about a gazillion fiction titles and when I opened this one it made me laugh as I have a friend by the same name and I wanted to show it to her. So hey Melissa, I wonder if this is your book?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

olympics, family, hands

There is a great Barack Obama ad about how the hands of America are shaping the future of America, and it makes me ridiculously maudlin and weepy (I am the Target Market) as I am hearing stories of my uncles with 30+ years as metal workers in Indiana getting offered early retirement packages (thank God) as the industry is failing even there . I had a weird moment a year and a half ago as Jeff and I drank pints at out favorite sports-bar dive and watched a special report on a repeat of Oprah where she spotlighted the bizarre problem in Shelbyville, IN (my hometown that I narrowly escaped) where they have invested, literally, millions upon millions of dollars in the local schools to no avail, with an attrition rate in the high 30 % range. When I grew up there, kids discovered alcohol, sex and drugs early as we had NOTHING to do. The lack of youth culture inspired an adoration and emulation of backwards adult behavior. I remember girls losing their virginity in the sixth grade, y'all. I have always said that I am SO GRATEFUL that my parents pulled me out when they did, at the formative age between sixth and seventh grade, as I got to understand myself in a new environment and truly challenge my preconceptions about race, class and tolerance going from a white-bread elementary school of 200 to a multi-ethnic, multi-racial school of 1,400. I told Jenny this week that the best lesson I ever learned was not being the smartest kid in the room (and as any of you who know Jenny, that is impossible as soon as you meet her) as it challenged me to better myself and rethink my status-quo liberal think-speak. I may come off as a know-it-all but I am terrified all the time. Getting married may (huh huh huh AHHHHHHHH!!!) elevate these feelings of inadequacy as I am about to attach myself to a person who thinks I'm smart, but I am really, really, really not smart and I know this. He is smart; one time we were watching Jeopardy! and he answered every question about representatives by state correctly and I took him into the bedroom and ravished him. (TMI? ef u) I have been pretending my. whole. life. as I know a little bit about everything and get by. I mean I know I am smart but he is really really SCARY smart. And meanwhile, I am literally trying to play catch up with him when it comes to current events, politics, music, etc. The only time I feel like I own him is when it comes to literature, but Jesus, how many of US are out there. I am glad I am marrying someone who challenges me and is smarter than I am but damn, sometimes, it sucks being the dumbest person in the room.

Monday, July 21, 2008

On the threshold, leaning

Almost done with school. For the summer. I am soooooooooooo glad. My weddding, my social life, my LIFE have fallen by the wayside while I struggle through three summer school classes. Soon I will be able to go swimming with Jenny. Soon I will be able to sleep in. Soon. Can I get some advice about getting through the last year?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Uncanny Valley

So. Jeff and I had this conversation a looooong time ago about how things like ponies, and clowns and gorillas really unnerve me b/c they remind me of approximations of the real thing. Ponies are small horses (weird, disproportional horses), clowns are the extreme versions of people, and gorillas are like people but hairy and moody and unpredictably violent. Well, apparently my unease is nothing new, it's related, at least in part, to an idea called the Uncanny Valley. The gist of the idea, as I understand it, is that when something approximates real human physical traits, (Ala robots, AI, primates) there is something instinctual within us that reacts with disgust. As in, "I recognize this foreign thing and it is like me, but it's enough not like me that I am repulsed." Do y'all know what I am talkin' 'bout?
Anyway, that conversation started a long time ago, but a few months back, Bagel read an article about the hookers in Grand Theft Auto IV, and how they have reached the Uncanny Valley. What's interesting here is a few things: 1) This started as a conversation about my own idiosyncrasies and in turn became about something Jeff could empathise and relate to and even more importantly made me realize I am not crazy or alone: 2) that there is a convergence between how people feel about every-day, normal things and the speed of technology: 3) that these people who think they have reached the Uncanny Valley in video games/animation/media are dead wrong.

I think that modern video game graphics are awesome. I am spoiled by the splendiferous variations of the Wii, the PS3, the X Box 360 and beyond. But to be honest? I don't care a fig about graphics. Now, let me say this, when I test a PlayStation One at work, it hurts. I am spoiled. I want crisp visuals, and no lag time. That being said, my favorite game system is still the NES. So what I have theorized is that the Uncanny Valley is not just bimodal, but a logarithm that expands across not just positive and negative but backwards and forwards.
Whoa, I think I just Math Geeked out, but hang with me for a second.
If the newest generation of game consoles is along the positive x axis, the old school game consoles would be at this point in time along the negative x axis, whereas they used to be on the negative y axis. Ya dig?
The original Nintendo is fun b/c the graphics are so far removed from real life that it doesn't even approach the Uncanny Valley. (Hence, the undying popularity of the really old-school game systems.) That is, it's not just nostalgia at work but a fundamental idea of entertainment that is as far removed from reality as possible. I can play the NES b/c it's 1) awesome, 2) fun, 3) not like real life at all. I guess what I'm saying is that I can move not just negative along the x-y axis but backwards as well.
I have a theory that once graphics become so advanced it feels
like we are manipulating real life, that gamers, web masters, illustrators, etc., will become disinterested in the current medium because it too easily replicates what already happens in everyday life. After that technology is available I bet we will see a resurgence in the popularity of older game systems, like we ( at my store, with friends, etc.) see now with the NES, the Super Nintendo, and with some people, (older, of course), the Atari.
You know how you hear that the suspension of disbelief is really important in regards to writing, film, what have you?
Well, I think that equally important is the suspension of belief. That is, the reason we seek media is because we are searching for distraction and as soon as it starts to truly replicate real life we will lose all interest. That is, media is interesting b/c it is not real life.
So anyway, anyway. Jeff said that essentially he agreed with this article about how the hos in GTA4 represent the Uncanny Valley but I disagree on a few fundamental levels:
1) Graphics are not so state of the art that this can happen.
I don't know about y'all but I have never truly believed a video game to the point that it made me uneasy. Maybe that's why I can shoot 'em up with the best of them in GTA4 and not give a fuck.
2) I think the queasiness that Bagel feels says more about his character than about the video game industries' proximity to the Uncanny valley. That is, I think the fact that he is not turned on by the hookers in GTA, and in fact finds them repulsive, shallow representations of women, says more about his feelings about women in general and their portrayal of media of all types than it has to do with the Uncanny Valley, though they are not unrelated. I guess that I think that b/c the graphics, as good as they may be, and as spoiled as I about them, are still nowhere near the Uncanny Valley region of discomfort.
So anyway. What do y'all think? And what is your favorite old skool video game? mine is Kid Icarus for NES. I hear they might be releasing an update for the 360...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

22 Lbs. and counting

Two words:
Wedding dress.
(not actual dress)
As much as I want a Caesar salad, hamburger from Char-Grill, sweet potato hash and pork chops, a sausage breakfast bagel from Brueger's or any of a number of my favorite foods, the terror of wedding pictures displaying what I affectionately call my "ham arms" (not actual arms) is enough to motivate me to eat better, healthier and be more active. The whole sleeveless things with corset back helps too.

It reminds me of when I was on Vision Quest and all I wanted were real cigarettes, a Dr. Pepper, and a sausage McMuffin from McDonald's. I managed the soda and the cigarettes within ten minutes of leaving camp and while others were reveling in the beauty of birds doing it while they sunbathed naked on the rocks, I was too busy thanking God for concrete, laundry detergent and nicotine. I remember the looks I got as I lit up that first camel, and though it was not a proud moment for me, it was one where I was unabashedly myself with no apologies. After that, I swore I'd never go camping again and that has been an easy promise to keep. I do not heart nature.

Jeff has lost 25 lbs too and looks great. He is growing a beard that makes him look all George Michael-y right now but the verdict is out on whether he actually gets to keep it. I have very sensitive skin, after all, and as hot as he looks with it, I'm not sure it's worth beard burn.
Wedding plans are coming along, we had a teleconference with our caterer at some ungodly hour of the morning on Friday, and we both feel better now. I am still looking for a photographer, florists and hair-stylist so if y'all know of anyone locally please let me know. The girls have picked out some really cute dresses too so I know we'll all look out best. Hopefully sans ham arms. I may put a picture of a ham on the fridge as an extra motivator. 30 lbs to go to reach my goal. 30 lbs in three months. Yikes. I suppose if I need inspiration I can go to some of the pro-anorexia websites I stumbled upon in research for diet pills. This is easily the most fucked up thing I have ever read/ seen on the web and that's saying something. Just google the term "thinspo" (an oh so clever smash up of the words thin and inspiration) and you will see shit like this picture and much worse. I was telling Jeff today that his parents must have been relieved to have three boys, boys being much easier to raise. Dealing with the potential for abuse, pregnancy and body image is a lot of shit to deal with as a parent. I know I am NOT going to so what my mom did, making me feel badly every time I ate and famously saying things like "Do you really have to eat dinner every night?" and "If you keep eating ______ you're going to weigh 600 pounds!" I know now that she didn't want me to go through what she did, being heavy as a teenager and later having a serious eating disorder. But all the scrutiny only made me have a bad relationship with food. I still hate eating with other people as I feel they are analyzing what I eat the entire time. I remember when I was 9 I made a diet up for myself that included raw carrots for dinner. I was fucking 9, y'all. Anyway, the important thing now is to lose weight without sacrificing my health for it. No ephedra this time. If I don't reach my goal weight then I that's just the haps. I'm not going to kill myself over ham arms. I'm also not giving up Char-grill forever.