Category Archives: Miscellany

The Allegory of the Artist with Depression

You’re baking a cake and it’s not going well. All the ingredients are perfect, your oven is exactly the right temperature and you’re using state of the art utensils but at every step you ever so slightly fuck it up. The butter isn’t creaming. You lost count of cups and might have put in too much flour. Despite the fact that this is the hardest you’ve ever worked on something in your life small mistakes keep cropping up.

Finally the cake is out of the oven and let’s face it- it looks disappointing. Not awful, just flatter and duller and dryer than it’s supposed to be. You want to toss it away, to be done with it but before you can do that everyone you know is in your kitchen and eating this flop of a cake. Hell, there are even some strangers there digging into big wedges of cake.

And the worst part? The worst part is that they love it.

Despite all your fuck-ups they still love the cake and so you tell yourself, “Maybe it isn’t so bad.” You take your first bite only to find that this is the most revolting thing you’ve ever put in your mouth. Yes the taste rots on your tongue but it does more than that, it creeps through your body so that every fiber of your existence is in revulsion.

All around you people keep eating this cake with joy. Seeing everyone else’s joy makes you feel worse about yourself. What’s wrong with you? No, what’s wrong with them? They’re wrong about this cake or they’re lying to themselves in a misguided attempt to make you feel better about yourself or maybe they’re stupid.

And you keep baking. You keep baking cake after cake after cake and each one is worse and worse and worse and everyone else can’t stop raving about them. Despite the compliments you want to stop, to break off this painful routine but you can’t. Whenever you try to stop you just end up back in the kitchen baking, whether it’s your own compulsion or you’re lured back by the kind words of those around you. Perhaps you even reach a point where you forget how to make good cakes. After all you’ve made so many bad ones that it’s all that you know.

You hate it. You hate the process and the result and you especially hate the part where people lie and say they love your cakes. You hate it and you keep doing it.

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I Kinda Loathe 16-Year-Old Samuel

There’s been a lot going on over the past few days and so I never really got a post together for today (I forgot it was even Tuesday until my Google calendar started screaming at me to put up today’s post.) In lieu of anything that comes close to being mildly interesting here’s a Facebook survey that I did when I was 16. I came across it a few hours ago and might as well make my humiliation complete.

A
– Available: depends on whose asking. (16-Year-Old Samuel, Not that clever.)
– Age: 16
– Annoyance: right now it’s the fact that Star Trek is loading (I assume I meant that Star Trek was loading slowly.)
– Animal: targ (I’m so hilarious. [Stab me.])

B
– Beer: Noooo thank you… (I was a judgemental asshole.)
– Best Friends: I don’t like this so I’m giving y’all nicknames Baby, Dictator, Donkey, Adorable, Bora, Chat, Dress-up, Jumpy, Sustainable, I know I’m missing one or two but my brain’s dead (I was also a complete idiot. I don’t even know who half of these nicknames refer to.)
– Body Part on opposite sex: I am a big supporter of body parts
– Best weather: stormy, like right now
– Been on stage?: if you didn’t know that about me then…you might not know me
– Believe in Magic: it’s the essence of our being (Seriously, stab me.)
– Believe in God: Mine
– Believe in Santa: Nope, Kris Kringle yes, St. Nick yes, Papa Noel yes, Santa nope. (What the Fuck was I on back then? Maybe this was some commentary on the commercialization of Christmas?)

C
– Candy: Lemonheads, wicked ones (In order for this to make sense you need to know that my first e-mail address was “wickedlemonhead” because I was an idiot.)
– Color: Green
– Chocolate/Vanilla: mmmm
– Chinese/Mexican: usually chinese unless it’s mexican I like.
– Cake or pie: pie, foolish question (Alright, I wasn’t entirely stupid.)
– Continent/Country to visit: England, Italy, Poland for now (the lands of my ancestors).

D
– Day or Night: night
– Dance in the rain?: but of course.

E
– Eggs: growing in our back yard (that is, being laid in our back yard).
– Eyes: brown, deep brown…I love my eyes
– Everyone’s got…: (a) sing and dance (I don’t know what that “(a)” is.)
– Ever failed a class?: I would like to think not. (Oh my fucking god you annoying little bitch, just say “No.”)

F
– Full name: Samuel Aloysius Zaber
– Food: Choco(late) covered Strawberries

G
– Greatest Fear: not being in control (Yeah… still basically true.)
– Goals: finish my knitting project, have someone whacked, be published, be elected, be talked about, I dunno (I like my priorities. Also, the fact that I wrote “have someone whacked” makes me feel like adolescent me wasn’t entirely the worst.)
– Gum: eh
– Get along with your parents?: HA! (yes)
– Good luck charm: my belief (and a bat pin I wear for exams) (Man, I could have used that pin when I was still in school.) 
– Game: winning. (This was before Charlie Sheen made “winning” not cool.)

H
– Hair Color: brown with red (Brown)
– Height: 5’8″ or so
– Happy: when ever I can be.
– Holiday: Passover, although we didn’t do it this year.
– How do you want to die: in a big leather chair with my cat and a leather bound book. (I can work with this.)

I
– Ice Cream: phish food. (Still true.)
– Instrument: piano.

J
– Jewelry: necklaces a few rings.
– Job: wednesdays! (I love it). (I worked on Wednesdays. No idea why I phrased it like that.)

K
– Kids: are not my favorite things
– Kick boxing or karate: karate. (Oddly enough I’ve recently had an interest in taking up kick boxing.)
– Keep a journal?: your asking me this? Of course, words are life. (I never kept a journal for longer than three days.)
L
– Longest Car Ride: To Belize and back, that’s a lie, maybe out to Michegann (It was to Detroit.)

– Love: everything, well, I try to. (Like Hell you did.)
– Laughed so hard you cried: Yes!

M
– Milk flavor: whole farm milk flavored
– Movies: Juno, Keeping Mum, Checking Out, Star Trek: The Search For Spock, and others (These are all movies that I still recommend with vigor.)
– Motion sickness?: on a ferris wheel, it was a big one, ok?
– McD’s or BK: CLAIRE’S!!! (I suppose I am sucking up to the boss) (Explanation: I was an idiot.)

N
– Number of Siblings: my parents pretend I’m an only child but I think they ate my other eight siblings. (True.)
– Number of Piercings: none, that I’m aware of. (SERIOUSLY, You’re NOT Clever, 16-Year-Old Samuel.)

O
– One wish: things such as wishes do not come in “one”. (STOP IT.)

P
– Perfect Pizza: would be delicious (Still not clever.)
– Pepsi/Coke: ever seen what it does to you’re teeth? (Pepsi)

Q
– Quail: enjoyed it the one time I ate it at the now deceased Inn On The Common

R
– Reason to cry: Hello? I’m a teenager, I don’t need a reason to cry (Oh man, I was deep and shit.)
– Reality TV: CORPORATE COPS; STARRING: MICHAEL MOORE (This is a reference to a joke Michael Moore did in Bowling for Columbine. It still makes me laugh…)
– Radio Station: 107.9, wait, this question implies that there are more than one radio stations, ridiculous, V/NPR is the only one. (Stand by this one.)
– Roll your tongue in a circle?: it’s a family trait.
– Ring size: I dunno (Still don’t.)

S
– Song: Lady Madonna (I can still remember when I first heard it: Ketchum Hill Road with Donkey) (Alright, that was definitely not the first time I heard that song.)
– Shoe size: i dunnom, eight maybe
– Salad Dressing: good salad dressing
– Sushi: the little I’ve had was good
– Slept outside: Ok, who ever is asking these questions really does not know me.
– Skinny dipped?: See above (At this point in my life the answer is once. STOP TRYING TO BE WITTY/EDGY/COOL, 16-YEAR-OLD SAMUEL.)
– Shower daily?: yes, whenever I can
– Sing well?: I have the voice of a nightingale, a dying one, one which is dying of bronchiatis
– In the shower?: that’s what showers are for
– Swear?: ONLY WHEN NECISSARY (it lowers your iq) (Seriously I fucking want to punch this little bastard right fucking now.)
– Strawberries/Blueberries: Strawberries… although my mom grows fine blueberries

T
– Time for bed: 8-9, pm (Still kinda is…)
– Thunderstorms: sent from above

U- unpredictable: like all Vermonters, predictably unpredictable (No idea what I was going for. I’m sorry.)

V- Vacation spot: vacation spots usually insinuate beauty, which is everywhere, so the answer is: everywere (I really am so sorry that 16-year-old Samuel was ever allowed near the internet.)

W
– Weakness: I’ve found that I can’t stop stabbing/bludgeoning so that’s a weakness  (I will Stab and Bludgeon you so freakin’ hard, 16-Year-Old Samuel.)
– Which one of your friends acts the most like you: I pity any who do
– Who makes you laugh the most: “God” (think Voltaire) (Oh gosh, you’re so intelligent and educated and superior to everyone around you, 16-Year-Old Samuel.)
– Worst feeling: changes every time a new one comes around
– Wanted to be a model?: for others, I dunno, that’s pretty big pressure
– Where do we go when we die?: where we’re supposed to be (I’m in no hurry to find out where I’m suppose to be)
– Weather: wind storm!

X
– X-Rays: knee (after Donkey ploughed into me on a bike)

Y
– Year it is now: In my mind? Still mid-1600’s (I DESPISE YOU.)
– Yellow: A great color, one of my favorites (No, it wasn’t.)

Z
– Zoo animal: monkeys

LAST PERSON WHO…
1. Slept beside you?: Saedie and Bobo…it was GREAT. (Cat and dog.)
2. You went to the mall with?: Donkey and Chat. (No idea who “Chat” was.)
3. You went to dinner with?: Family I suppose.
4. You talked to on the phone?: Bora?.
5. Made you laugh?: God.
8. Held your hand?: Well, I had to keep holding her hand as she kept trying to get away (Dictator).
9. Spoke with?: Grandma (if I wasn’t against it there would be a heart sign here)
(You fucking pretentious little tit, I want to slap you. <3)
10. You cried over?: Abigail and John Adams
(Valid.)
11. Last person you texted?: Jumpy with Adorable…nearly a month ago
(“Jumpy?” “Adorable?” No clue.)(For reasons that I shudder to think of I posted this comic from Trek Life at the end of my note. Another example of me trying to be all cool by being like, “I like Star Trek and I’m not ashamed of it and so I’m better than you.” Again, I’m so sorry.)

Sod Off (Give Away)REMINDER: I’m giving away two copies of this print for free. Details are here.

Doctor Pulaski: Motherfucking Boss

A few weeks ago a blogger who shall remain anonymous posted on Twitter some very hurtful comments about Doctor Katherine Pulaski, the season two Medical Officer on Star Trek: The Next Generation. We bantered a bit (and I won*) and I decided that there simply isn’t enough Pulaski love out in the universe. On the rare occasion that Pulaski is even mentioned she’s almost always mocked or hated upon or otherwise maligned. And because I’m a freak I sat down to watch every episode she appears in and took notes along the way.

Upon concluding season two I’d like to propose to those gathered before me that Doctor Katherine Pulaski is a Grade-A Bad-Ass Motherfucker.

Pulaski’s first appearance (“The Child,” ep. 1) sets up her basic personality. She’s an older, stubborn, McCoy-esque doctor who really doesn’t take anyone’s shit. Though she’s supposed to report immediately to the Captain upon arrival she places the needs of her patients (Troi, who is suddenly and bizarrely pregnant.) above matters of not-so-urgent protocol. (Personally that sort of behavior is what I look for in a doctor.) She takes her job as doctor very seriously and even is willing to pull rank on the Captain if it means keeping him from dying because his fake heart needs to be replaced. (“Samaritan Snare,” ep. 17)

This is also a woman who constantly demonstrates her ability to keep cool in the face of danger. Even when she’s aging prematurely and facing death (Can we talk about how anytime Star Trek puts aging makeup on a character they look hilarious?) her entire focus is on staying calm and she refuses to put the rest of the crew at risk by returning aboard. (“Unnatural Selection,” ep. 7) She’s so badass that even Worf respects her and honors her with the Klingon tea ceremony (which she fucking takes part in because she’s cool like that.) (“Up the Long Ladder,” ep. 18)

Besides being an excellent doctor (Source: Every episode in which she practices medicine.) and the owner of a pair of steel balls this woman is also tons of fun to be with. She likes to take risks and will go toe-to-toe  with Worf in poker and is chill with Deanna Troi and has a pretty sharp wit. She’s on my list of people to hang out with in Ten-Forward.

And let’s not forget that Professor Motherfucking Moriarty totes has a crush on her. (“Elementary My Dear Data,” ep. 3)

There is the matter of Data. When I was re-watching season two I tried to pay particular attention to any interaction that Data and Pulaski had and my final conclusion is that people focus on their preliminary interactions and not how their relationship evolves. Yes, in the early episodes she’s an ass about Data. Pulaski is old-school and has a hard time seeing Data as anything more than a glorified computer but as she works with him we begin to see her attitude towards him become kinder. The episode that I really point to is “Peak Perfomance” (Second to last episode of the season.) when she pushes Data to play Sirna Kolrami in a game of Strategema. In this episode she talks and interacts with Data as if he’s any other member of the crew and when his loss wounds him she basically uses psychology on him, admitting that he is more than an adding machine.

Apparently people are put off by Pulaski’s no-nonsense attitude and the fact that she doesn’t have an issue speaking her mind. This is one that I have a very hard time seeing as I find Pulaski’s personality to be very similar to Bones and Captain Picard, both of whom are fan favorites. Is it possible that we’re uncomfortable with a woman, particularly an older woman, who is strong and loud and bends the rules?

Or is it that we don’t like to see anyone butting heads so fiercely with the beloved Captain Picard? I adore Picard to pieces but I have to admit feeling a certain sense of happiness in watching him talk with Pulaski. Like Troi, like Crusher, like Guianan, Pulaski helps to show us the conflict that Picard inhabits as he struggles to not let his “Captain”-y side dominate his humanity. Troi and Guinan do this through empathetic conversations with Picard and Crusher does this through moments of sweetness and love and Pulaski does this by being blunt with the captain. As much as I would have liked to have seen Pulaski come back so we could watch her evolving relationship with Data, I would really like to have seen her come back so we could watch her relationship with Picard evolve.

Whenever you hear people discussing Pulaski there’s always at least one voice grumbling about how they don’t like Pulaski because she’s a “replacement” for Crusher. Is that really Pulaski’s fault? I adore Doctor Crusher, I adore her beyond belief, but I also really like Pulaski. I’m able to identify much more with Pulaski and I find her humor more entertaining but that doesn’t mean I can’t love Crusher too. I mean, loving Pulaski doesn’t mean I’m betraying Crusher.

And in conclusion: This is a woman that Professor Moriarty fell in love with. That’s right, Doctor Pulaski is the a Grade-A Bad-Ass Motherfucker who doesn’t get nearly enough love or respect.

*The real reason why I’m not revealing the name of the blogger is because I don’t want anyone to ask her about whether or not I won because the truth is that there was no winner.

Sod Off (Give Away)REMINDER: I’m giving away two copies of this print for free. Details are here.

Samuel’s (Star Wars) March Madness Picks

Yeah, yeah, I meant to do this earlier but whatever.

So StarTrek.com is doing a cool March Madness thing where fans vote for their favorite character (one side good and one side bad) and we get to see who the fan favorite characters. Cool. I’m marking my favorite character in each match-up by putting their name in italics.

3/26:

Princess Leia beats out Padme Amidala

Jango Fett beats Bossk

3/27:

Chewbacca beats Wicket

Tarkin beats Count Dooku

3/28:

Captain Rex beats Ahsoka Tano

Emperor Palpatine beats IG-88

3/29:

Han Solo beats Obi-Wan Kenobi

Darth Vader beats Darth Maul

4/1:

Yoda beats Luke Skywalker

Jabba the Hutt beats Cad Bane

4/2:

R2-D2 beats Princess Leia

Boba Fett beats Jango Fett

4/3:

Chewbacca beats Captain Rex

Emperor Palpatine beats Count Dooku

4/4:

Yoda beats Han Solo

Darth Vader beats Jabba the Hutt

4/5:

R2-D2 beats Chewbacca

Emperor Palpatine beats Boba Fett

4/8:

Han Solo beats R2-D2

Darth Vader beats Emperor Palpatine

4/9:

Han Solo beats Darth Vader

 

Agree? Disagree? Think that I’m wrong to pick Yoda as the favorite over Luke or R2 over Han? Whose your all time favorite? Make sure you vote (http://starwars.com/This-Is-Madness/) or I will force-choke you.

So, How Did YOU Find My Blog?

One of the greatest parts of being a blogger who talks about sex is that we get some particularly unusual search terms leading to our blogs. I mean, I think anyone who has some sort of internet presence gets some bizarre search terms linking to their blog but adding sex into the mix brings along a whole new layer of odd.

I present to you a list of my favorite search terms used to find my blog as cataloged by WordPress’ stat-counter:

  • sex bake– Honey, I have no idea what you were looking for but I really hope you found it because that sounds great. Seriously, call me. Also, this search has linked people to my blog 5 times. Either there’s a big fanbase of people who like to combine sex and baking or there’s one very persistent fan.
  • jk rolling stole roomate– If Ms. Rowling stole your roommate then you really should be calling the police and not going to Google…
  • jk rowling puberty– I can get it if you’re looking for something about how Ms. Rowling treated puberty in her novels but if you’re not… were you looking for pictures of her going through puberty?
  • was emily dickinson?– THIS IS DEEP, Y’ALL.
  • sex+porn+aunt+sanctuary– Sex+porn, alright you’ve got me. Sex+porn+aunt, um, maybe you wanted to look at incestuous themed porn? Sex+porn+aunt+sanctuary, perhaps you’ve a church fetish or really like that sci-fi show? If you wrote this and are now reading this post then please, please contact me. I really want to know what you were looking for.
  • erotisk baking youtube– Erotisk was probably meant to be erotic but that doesn’t clear it up… I kinda want to look up “erotic baking” on Youtube now…
  • sex with aunt literature– Cool.
  • militants sex aunts– I don’t know what this means but it would be the greatest band name ever
  • porn sprint men– Do you want porn that features men sprinting or does this porn relate to the Sprint company? Either way I’m in!
  • emily dickinson hunger about sex?– This isn’t particularly unusual but I’m just glad to know that I’m not the only one who Googles this.

By the way, my title is actually a serious question. I’ve been getting some regular traffic and am starting to get likes from the same people and I’m curious how y’all found this blog.

Why Two Elderly, White, Upper-Middle Class, English, Fictional Retirees Are My Personal Heroes

Image from Waiting for God’s Yahoo fan group.

Are you familiar with Waiting for God? You are? Awesome.

What? You’re not? That’s terrible. I’m so sorry, but you do have the privilege of getting into one of the greatest shows to ever come out of Great Britain. Think I’m joking or being sarcastic? Wrong. I take my BritComs very, very seriously.

Waiting for God is the story of Tom and Diana, retirees confined, sorry, living in the same retirement community in rural England. Simply put it’s about two feisty pensioners making life a living hell for the insufferable management and tormenting their empty-headed children, all set in a facility where every resident is more eccentric than the next. That’s the simple description of it but in reality it’s far more marvelous than that.

I’ve been re-watching all of WfG, starting from the very first episode, and I’ve begun to realize how big an impact Tom and Diana have had on my life. Upon watching episodes that I haven’t seen for years I’ve been astounded to see how many of my principles and  ethics can be linked to watching Tom and Diana in my formative years.

Those who know me can make the easy connection between me and the acidic Diana. Like an avenging Fury draped in shawls and leaning on a cane, Diana delivers her own form of justice with a glee that borders on the sadistic. During the five seasons that the show ran she smacked impertinent middle-aged idiots with her cane, stole cars, humiliated those who deserved it and carried out more acts of vigilante justice than I can remember. What makes Diana so fucking brilliant is that while she definitely takes pleasure in dispensing justice she is dedicated to true justice. Well, true justice according to Diana’s moral compass. There’s something of the New Woman about Diana. Fear? This is the woman who spent her sixtieth (or was it her fiftieth?) birthday hanging from a helicopter while photographing a war zone. With a stiff GnT, sarcasm to spare and an unblinking gaze, Diana tackles every injustice she sees.

Oh Tom. Dear, kind, daft, balmy, old Tom. A man who has lived a quiet and pleasant life, Tom’s entered his dotage with a cheerful resolve to have adventures. Despite an aging body Tom spends his days climbing Mt. Everest, hanging with JFK and preventing World War II by properly negotiating the Treaty of Versailles. Tom’s adventures are almost entirely the product of his active mind and I take inspiration from the way in which he creates joy around him. He’s the wonderful counterbalance to Diana’s borderline cruelty. Like his companion, Tom is single-minded and eager in his pursuit of justice. Where Diana is marked by her piss and vinegar, Tom is full of optimism, good cheer and unshakable faith in the innate goodness of humanity.

What’s lovely is the fact that Tom and Diana are both just as effective as the other, it just depends on what the situation is. Sometimes Diana’s bulldozer-esque tack is called for and sometimes its the disarmingly cheerfulness of Tom. Tom and Diana aren’t two different people who happen to get along, they are two parts of one person. Yes, they are comic exaggerations of intense personality types but they can’t exist without each other. Tom without Diana is a mild-mannered accountant with a fantasy world and Diana without Tom is a bitter woman with vindictive tendencies. Once united they are an unstoppable force bringing progress from the retirement home’s management to Whitehall.

You taught me that in order to stay alive I needed to be bloody-minded; thank you, Diana. -Tom Ballard; “The Christening”; Season 1, Episode 4

How could you not love this show? (I screencapped this image from some episode...)

How could you not love this show? (My own screencap)                                         

 

 

 

Sunday Steals: Libraries? Libraries! LIBRARIES!

I’m turning Sunday Steals into a semi-regular weekly post where that Sunday’s post focuses on a theme. Will I stay on this plan? Who the fuck knows. Bets are opening now.

So I’m a big fan of libraries. Unfortunately I don’t live in a library and because of this I need to live vicariously via the internet. These are some of the sites that I use:

Websites:

  • School Library Journal: You know how there’s always that one weird kid in high school who spends his spare time reading back issues of School Library Journal and when he’s not reading SLJ he’s checking the blog section of their website? Yup, that kid was totally me. Even though I’m no longer involved with a library I still like to check up on their website. Why SLJ instead of LJ? No reason other than the fact that I grew up on the former and never really interacted with the latter.
  • The Library of Congress has a beautiful photo tour of various rooms and murals of the library. Want library porn? Go here.
  • Speaking of the LOC I just registered for an account on their website. I’m still exploring what I can do with my account but there are some beautiful online exhibits and you can make collections of your favorite items in the LOC’s collection.

Blogs:

  • A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy: Liz Burns is, well, I was going to say that she’s a kinda a celebrity in librarian circles but let’s face it: she is a celebrity, particularly when it comes to librarians who are looking at the new wave of technology with an eager eye and an open mind. She’s quite intelligent and her presence on Twitter (@lizb) makes me really happy. Check out her blog/Twitter for book reviews and the latest scuttlebutt in the library world.
  • Bookshelf Porn: It’s totally safe for work but careful: some of these photos are so beautiful that you’ll shriek from joy (and jealousy). Basically a Tumblr blog of awesome bookshelves/collections of books.

Twitter:

  • I already mentioned Liz Burns but there’s also Kelly Jensen (@catagator)
  • Nancy Pearl is on Twitter. I REPEAT: NANCY PEARL IS ON TWITTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. @Nancy_Pearl
  • If you’re reading this post then odds are you’re a bit nerdy and so I’m betting you’ll find Fake AP Stylebook as funny as I do. @FakeAPStylebook
  • NPR Books (@nprbooks) and the Huffington Post’s book section (@HuffPostBooks) both have pretty solid literary related Twitter accounts.

Swag:

  • Jeph Jacques, creator of the popular online comic Questionable Content, has a t-shirt and tote bag (I have it on good authority from a librarian I highly respect that the tote bag also doubles very effectively as a diaper bag. And who among us can’t use another tote?) emblazoned with a “She Blinded Me With Library Science”-print. QC is also home to the wonderful Tai Hubbert, an undergraduate librarian with quite the love life…  I’m in love with her.

Note Bene: Sunday Steals is my semi-weekly series where I pick a theme and post links to other people’s stuff. Want to suggest a topic? Leave a comment or e-mail me at HypatiaOfVermont@gmail.com.