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Sep. 12th, 2007

hand on head - b&w

Non-comformist appearance + musician + artist = hopeless drug addict?

Originally published at The Bee Hive. Please leave any comments there.

It’s hard not to be irritated with doctors in general right now.

Let me back up for a second. Ever since the rat problem in the back yard and the flea infestation in the house and all the cat sicknesses, and all the rest of it, Karsten has been having a lot of trouble sleeping. He hardly sleeps, and then when he does sleep, he’s been waking up with major anxiety attacks. You can imagine how, after a while, that would start to make you not want to sleep at all.

I’ve been trying to convince him to go to the doctor and get a prescription for Ambien or something similar. He’s willing to take something over the counter, but I foresee the possibility that this will turn into a fairly long-term arrangement and I feel like a doctor should be monitoring it.

But the problem is, doctors have had a history of misjudging and mistrusting Karsten, especially when he goes in asking for a prescription. They think he’s a drug addict, and this seems to be based partly on his somewhat non-conformist appearance and partly on the fact that he works in the arts. Once, when he was being examined for sinus problems, a doctor said “You’re a musician, so you’ve used a lot of cocaine, right?” while nodding his head at Karsten as if to encourage him to agree. When Karsten replied (somewhat indignantly, no doubt) that he’d never used cocaine at all, the doctor regarded him with a suspicious look and refused to give him any medication at all.

Another time, when our apartment neighbors back in San Jose were making our lives miserable (one actually spit in Karsten’s face) and we were both jittery wrecks, Karsten went to the doctor — a different doctor, of course — and asked for something to help calm his nerves, like Valium or something, because he couldn’t write at all. This doctor also asked about Karsten’s recreational drug use (none) and refused to give him anything stronger than what amounted to a placebo.

After all this, I think it’s pretty understandable that he’s reluctant to go in asking for a prescription for sleeping pills.

But I suggested that he explain his state of mind, explain what’s been going on, and ask the doctor for a recommendation. If the doctor refuses to prescribe something, I said maybe he should offer to take a blood test to prove he doesn’t use drugs. He actually seemed comforted by having that card to play and it sounds like he’s going to go.

Has anyone else ever received this kind of suspicious treatment from doctors? If so, what do you do to ensure the outcome you’re hoping for?

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Mar. 29th, 2007

ladylike (collage)

Femininity and feminism, and a magazine called Skirt!

theogeo critiques a new magazine called Skirt! (yes, the banger is part of the title) with which she is obliquely associated:

Tell me you've got a publication for strong, successful women and I'll usually be all, "Okay, right on," thinking we've got a
political-minded, informative, thoughtful outlet on our hands. Tell me
it's called "Skirt!" and my brain will start shutting down.
Suddenly you've introduced fashion and feminine markers into the
premise. Not to mention the secondary verbal definition of "skirt,"
which means to avoid or work around. It's indirect; it's passive.

The whole premise is bewilderingly patronizing. And it's not like I don't subscribe to fashion magazines -- I do! several! -- but I subscribe to them to follow fashion and admire clothing design. I know what I'm getting into when I open a copy of InStyle, and believe me, I don't read it expecting to encounter thoughtful essays written from a feminist perspective. Those types of publications simply have no credibility with me for that sort of content. But when I want those feminist essays (Bust, perhaps, or Off Our Backs? I admit I don't subscribe to either -- blogs provide me with ample content), I don't expect to be condescended to with fashion and beauty advice. And here the credibility issue works basically in reverse: include fashion and beauty advice in your progressive women's publication, and, for me, you cease to be a progressive women's publication.

This sort of mental partitioning may be uncommon, but I sort of doubt it. That's not to say that a cross-market magazine (or even cross-cross-market, if you think fashion-feminist-local) can't work, but this appears to be the reason to undertake such a venture with extreme caution.

Feb. 9th, 2007

hand on head - b&w

No mention of Mormons in this post

All this week I've been in Salt Lake City for a vendor training for work, and staying at the Little America Hotel downtown. Also at this hotel is an event called the Deaflympics.

Now I had never heard of the Deaflympics, but I have had a few reactions and ponderings as a result of coexisting in this huge hotel with this huge event and its participants:
  • How cool and humbling to be surrounded by people who are defining themselves by what extraordinary things they can do while not pretending that what they can't do (or can't do well) is not real or doesn't exist. 
  • This must be one of the dividends Salt Lake City can reap from its investment in the infrastructure required for the winter Olympics. I wonder how much that investment does pay back over time. I found this, which is an interesting angle, but it doesn't really get at what I'm talking about. This one is closer, but it only goes so far as to acknowledge the use of infrastructure for future functions, not quantify it. 
  • It feels almost like being in another country, being surrounded by people "speaking" a language I don't understand. Which is kind of a cool feeling to experience without actually leaving the country. 
  • Holy cheese, there's a lot of hot athletes here! It's major eye candy everywhere I look!

So yeah, call me shallow, but I tell ya, I ain't lyin'. Hubba.

Feb. 1st, 2007

hand on head - b&w

Beautiful awkwardness

Today at work they had some contractors in to do some wiring in the ceiling near my cubicle. Those guys were here most of the day, and every time I passed one of them, we’d make some kind of joke or friendly comment at each other. It was nothing much, but it was pleasant and it helped pass the day.

When they were leaving, they all made sure to say goodbye to me and wish me a good day, but one guy lingered after the others had gone. This was a guy I hadn’t really interacted with very much, but he nervously stood at the entrance to my cubicle saying a long goodbye. Finally he said, “I just have to tell you, and I hope this isn’t too forward, but you’re really very beautiful. I hope this is OK, but you know, you really have this whole intellectual look going on, but you still look like a model. And you’re just really, really beautiful.”

Here’s the thing: it really did make me a little uncomfortable, just because it was so out in the open and all (although it definitely would have been more awkward had I been in an office all by myself), but not so much so that I felt the need to say or do anything to address it. I mean, really, it was a nice thing to say and all, and at the risk of sounding conceited, it’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened, but it’s the kind of thing I guess that makes me feel like: what do you want me to do with that information? How are you hoping I’ll react? I’ve complimented people on something they’re wearing, or their hair if it looks really nice, or something discrete like that, but the overall “you’re so beautiful” comment leaves me genuinely wondering how to respond.

So what did I do? I’m sure I blushed and stammered some kind of thanks, and wished him a good rest of the day.

And hey, at least he wasn’t trying to ask me out or anything, which has happened, and at which point I definitely would have alerted someone at the company to notify his employer of inappropriate conduct. This felt very polite and I felt duly flattered; I just honestly have no idea whether the whole exchange went the way he was intending it to go.

Huh.

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Originally published at The Bee Hive. You can comment here or there.

hand on head - b&w

Beautiful awkwardness

Today at work they had some contractors in to do some wiring in the ceiling near my cubicle. Those guys were here most of the day, and every time I passed one of them, we'd make some kind of joke or friendly comment at each other. It was nothing much, but it was pleasant and it helped pass the day.

When they were leaving, they all made sure to say goodbye to me and wish me a good day, but one guy lingered after the others had gone. This was a guy I hadn't really interacted with very much, but he nervously stood at the entrance to my cubicle saying a long goodbye. Finally he said, "I just have to tell you, and I hope this isn't too forward, but you're really very beautiful. I hope this is OK, but you know, you really have this whole intellectual look going on, but you still look like a model. And you're just really, really beautiful."

Here's the thing: it really did make me a little uncomfortable, just because it was so out in the open and all (although it definitely would have been more awkward had I been in an office all by myself), but not so much so that I felt the need to say or do anything to address it. I mean, really, it was a nice thing to say and all, and at the risk of sounding conceited, it's not the first time this sort of thing has happened, but it's the kind of thing I guess that makes me feel like: what do you want me to do with that information? How are you hoping I'll react? I've complimented people on something they're wearing, or their hair if it looks really nice, or something discrete like that, but the overall "you're so beautiful" comment leaves me genuinely wondering how to respond.

So what did I do? I'm sure I blushed and stammered some kind of thanks, and wished him a good rest of the day.

And hey, at least he wasn't trying to ask me out or anything, which has happened, and at which point I definitely would have alerted someone at the company to notify his employer of inappropriate conduct. This felt very polite and I felt duly flattered; I just honestly have no idea whether the whole exchange went the way he was intending it to go.

Huh.


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Jan. 7th, 2007

bucky, beatles

Go read this. Please. Go.

I can't help it. Aunt B said it all so well that I have to link to it. If you have any interest in gender equality, size acceptance, conduct on the internet, or just human decency, go read it.

Don't worry about the backstory. Aunt B explains all.

Even though Sista Smiff accused me of being articulate yesterday, I have never been this articulate in my life.

Amen, Aunt B. Just... amen.

Jan. 2nd, 2007

hand on head - b&w

The bad hair day WILL be televised

Well, it figures. It's a day off from work, and I'm recovering from yesterday's recovery from my New Year's Eve hangover (yowch), so I didn't bother at all with my hair or makeup. Washed my face, pulled my hair up, and called it done.

Naturally I got interviewed for TV news.

We were riding bikes downtown near the site of the proposed Westin hotel, and rode by a cameraman and anchor dude looking to get man-on-the-street interviews. (Update: It took some digging around on various TV news web sites to figure it out, but it must have been Marc Stewart from WSMV.) The news guy asked us as we rode by if we were from Nashville, and we said we were. He asked if we had any thoughts about the Westin, and I said that, yes, I thought it would be great to add to the tourism downtown but not at the expense of historical structures. He looked relieved and asked if I would be interviewed because I was the first articulate person he'd found.

Yikes.

Well, yeah, I suppose you'd be hard-pressed to find any Nashville residents hanging out on Lower Broad most of the time, unless you were looking for the homeless/busker angle, and it's a chilly day so the odds are even lower. And not to stereotype, but the 2nd Avenue / Lower Broad attractions aren't exactly fine culture. So yeah, as awful as I looked, I don't think they cared about how my hair would look on camera. I cared, of course, but I also realized that it would be a chance to get the issue of historic preservation in front of the news viewing audience, and decided it would be worth my hair humiliation.

Anyway, he asked me the same question on camera with a few follow-up questions, and I tried to make statements supporting both downtown tourism and historical preservation. I worked in a mention of our historic near-downtown neighborhood, but they may edit that out, who knows.

Honestly, I hope in some miniscule way it helps further the dialogue about historic preservation and even the possibility of a downtown overlay, even if it is just evening filler on a slow news day.

Anyway. Nashvillians, look for me: I'm the articulate one with bad hair. :)

Oct. 16th, 2006

hand on head - b&w

Impossible Beauty?

Someone on my Friends list (maybe vito_excaliburVito?) linked to a web page some time back that showed a model before and after being Photoshopped like crazy. Along those same lines, Dove's new commercial shows a woman being made over for a photo shoot and then Photoshopped almost beyond recognizability as the same woman. The tag line is "no wonder our beauty standards are so distorted."

Adrants has a link to the commercial and some questions about the value or wrongness of doing this in advertising.

[...] in one sense, it nets out to the importance of reflecting reality versus the importance of presenting something, however unreal and unattainable, toward which people can reach.


I don't even think it's so much the unattainability of it that's bizarre and questionable, although that's a fair point, and I don't know how valuable it is to give people something like that to "reach" for. I just think there's a freakin' huge spectrum of possible beauty, and the tastemakers (such as those in advertising) are only presenting us with a sliver of it.

Your thoughts?

Aug. 10th, 2006

epiphone, guitar, no strings

And you say I only hear what I want to

Ever since I got these new funky glasses, I've started getting a lot of comments about how much I look like Lisa Loeb. Someone said it again last night at Cabana. The burgundy-brunette hair probably adds to the similarity, but still, I just think it's funny how one little accessory can create such a strong visual link.

Did you know that, with the song "Stay (I Missed You)," Lisa Loeb was the first and only unsigned artist ever to hit #1 on the American charts? So sayeth Wikipedia. I love that song, and I've always thought of it as one of the best uses of repetition of the first line(s) of a song. A lot of songs use that technique, but without adding any meaning to the story. In "Stay," the use of the first line (which is the title of this post, in case you don't know the song) at the end of the song gives the line a twist and packs a sassy punch to the "singee" of the song. It takes a little extra work for the songwriter to set up that kind of payoff, but it's really rewarding, don't you think?

Jul. 7th, 2006

hand on head - b&w

From Sandra to Geena

From time to time, I've been told that I bear a resemblance to Geena Davis, but this is the most I've ever seen it, and it's probably only because I'm so far away and blurry. :-)

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