offbalance: (Jem by this is yesterday)
As my facebook newsline says, I did something to my right shoulder this weekend that's been causing normal activities (like bending over to get my lip balm out of my bag) to become very, very painful ones. I have no clue what I did, but I took my mom's advice to skip the gym. When putting on your coat brings tears to your eyes and there's no painful goodbye involved, something is wrong. It's better today, though, so hopefully it'll pass.

Instead, I went home last night and finished reading How Sassy Changed My Life. Though the book reads more like someone's graduate thesis about Sassy than anything else, it was still an interesting read. Hearing about how it was all starting to go wrong at the end was the hardest thing to read. I still remember how bitterly I regarded the "Stepford Sassy" that happened after Jane was fired and they brought the new gang of idiots in. I remember the nasty letter from the editorial staff to the old fans. I remember my nasty letter to them, asking for a refund. I think I still have that somewhere. More than that, though, I remember the good times.

I was 11 or 12 when I first started reading Sassy. I'm kind of sad that I wasn't old enough to start from the beginning, but the first issue was in 1988, and I was very much not up to teen magazines at 8 years old. (I'm sure some of you were already having letters published in Scientific American and Psychology Today when you were 8, but I'm talking about me, here.) A friend's aunt had gotten her a subscription to Sassy when we were in 5th grade or so, but the magazine went so far above my head it was practically skywriting. It wasn't until I was much older that I encountered the magazine - I'm fairly certain that my first issue was the November 1992 issue with Mayim Bialyk on the cover. I was obsessed with Blossom at the time, and asked my mom to get it for me, which she gladly did. According to the book, the magazine was already on its way down at that point. But to me? It was glorious. Magnificent, even. Mom liked it, too. I asked for and received a subscription, and my love was cemented over time. I also read Seventeen and YM, but Sassy was the one that I devoured every month, cover to cover. I didn't always agree with the fashion advice, but the features were peerless. I wanted to be one of those girls. The magazine is how I found out about so many books and movies and bands that are now very important to me. If Sassy liked it, I had to seek it out.

Reading the book brought a lot of that back. I have a folder of some clippings, but my Sassy collection is long gone. They'd been cut up anyway - one of the "Working Our Nerves" columns featuring dopey fashion poses was on the back of my door for a long time - but as I read through them to decide what to keep and what to throw away, I realized that what I wanted to save was already gone. I liked Jane well enough, but like any sequel, it didn't really touch the original. But reading this book reminded me of listening to tapes of Belly and Sonic Youth and R.E.M's Out of Time over and over again, wondering if I really wanted to dye my hair that color, and felt myself starting to pay attention to and long for things you just couldn't get in Marine Park (basically anything artsy or sophisticated). Mostly, it was some small comfort knowing that I wasn't the only girl my age getting asked why I was reading. (A constant question all through my young years. By adults and kids. "Why are you reading? Are you doing homework? Did someone make you? Waddaya mean you enjoy it?")

It's sad that something like that can't exist. The book placed most of the blame on the sponsors constantly trying to dictate the content (quel suprise), as well as the religious reich once again getting their granny panties in a twist at the very notion that a young woman could have a working mind, a full and working sexual education, and most of all, the knowledge that they could seek independence from patriarchal, oppressive. misogynistic values inherent in the Judeo-Christian Religion System. They were deeply offended (to the point of trying to destroy the magazine ) at Sassy's suggestion that you could be gay, or single, or have an abortion, or have regular, old-fashioned happy and healthy (protected!!) sex outside of marriage and be a well-adjusted person. That part made me so angry I had to put the book down a couple of times. That's what mystifies me about the Christian Right - why can't they just ignore what they don't like and go about their lives? IF they're so secure that what they believe and how is the best there is, then why are they so paranoid about being threatened? I never got that.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. Sassy's fall led to the rise of so many important things and shaped so many voices that its impact will be felt for a long time. Everytime I read Jezebel, I know that Sassy lives on in all of us.

Enough proselytizing. I need lunch.
offbalance: (Jem by this is yesterday)
As my facebook newsline says, I did something to my right shoulder this weekend that's been causing normal activities (like bending over to get my lip balm out of my bag) to become very, very painful ones. I have no clue what I did, but I took my mom's advice to skip the gym. When putting on your coat brings tears to your eyes and there's no painful goodbye involved, something is wrong. It's better today, though, so hopefully it'll pass.

Instead, I went home last night and finished reading How Sassy Changed My Life. Though the book reads more like someone's graduate thesis about Sassy than anything else, it was still an interesting read. Hearing about how it was all starting to go wrong at the end was the hardest thing to read. I still remember how bitterly I regarded the "Stepford Sassy" that happened after Jane was fired and they brought the new gang of idiots in. I remember the nasty letter from the editorial staff to the old fans. I remember my nasty letter to them, asking for a refund. I think I still have that somewhere. More than that, though, I remember the good times.

I was 11 or 12 when I first started reading Sassy. I'm kind of sad that I wasn't old enough to start from the beginning, but the first issue was in 1988, and I was very much not up to teen magazines at 8 years old. (I'm sure some of you were already having letters published in Scientific American and Psychology Today when you were 8, but I'm talking about me, here.) A friend's aunt had gotten her a subscription to Sassy when we were in 5th grade or so, but the magazine went so far above my head it was practically skywriting. It wasn't until I was much older that I encountered the magazine - I'm fairly certain that my first issue was the November 1992 issue with Mayim Bialyk on the cover. I was obsessed with Blossom at the time, and asked my mom to get it for me, which she gladly did. According to the book, the magazine was already on its way down at that point. But to me? It was glorious. Magnificent, even. Mom liked it, too. I asked for and received a subscription, and my love was cemented over time. I also read Seventeen and YM, but Sassy was the one that I devoured every month, cover to cover. I didn't always agree with the fashion advice, but the features were peerless. I wanted to be one of those girls. The magazine is how I found out about so many books and movies and bands that are now very important to me. If Sassy liked it, I had to seek it out.

Reading the book brought a lot of that back. I have a folder of some clippings, but my Sassy collection is long gone. They'd been cut up anyway - one of the "Working Our Nerves" columns featuring dopey fashion poses was on the back of my door for a long time - but as I read through them to decide what to keep and what to throw away, I realized that what I wanted to save was already gone. I liked Jane well enough, but like any sequel, it didn't really touch the original. But reading this book reminded me of listening to tapes of Belly and Sonic Youth and R.E.M's Out of Time over and over again, wondering if I really wanted to dye my hair that color, and felt myself starting to pay attention to and long for things you just couldn't get in Marine Park (basically anything artsy or sophisticated). Mostly, it was some small comfort knowing that I wasn't the only girl my age getting asked why I was reading. (A constant question all through my young years. By adults and kids. "Why are you reading? Are you doing homework? Did someone make you? Waddaya mean you enjoy it?")

It's sad that something like that can't exist. The book placed most of the blame on the sponsors constantly trying to dictate the content (quel suprise), as well as the religious reich once again getting their granny panties in a twist at the very notion that a young woman could have a working mind, a full and working sexual education, and most of all, the knowledge that they could seek independence from patriarchal, oppressive. misogynistic values inherent in the Judeo-Christian Religion System. They were deeply offended (to the point of trying to destroy the magazine ) at Sassy's suggestion that you could be gay, or single, or have an abortion, or have regular, old-fashioned happy and healthy (protected!!) sex outside of marriage and be a well-adjusted person. That part made me so angry I had to put the book down a couple of times. That's what mystifies me about the Christian Right - why can't they just ignore what they don't like and go about their lives? IF they're so secure that what they believe and how is the best there is, then why are they so paranoid about being threatened? I never got that.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. Sassy's fall led to the rise of so many important things and shaped so many voices that its impact will be felt for a long time. Everytime I read Jezebel, I know that Sassy lives on in all of us.

Enough proselytizing. I need lunch.
offbalance: (angry willow)
Everyone who knows me at all knows that I tend to be a purist about many things. It's only very infrequently that I feel that an adaptation surpasses the original version of anything, but it does happen, and I know that such things are out there.

HOWEVER:

I recently ran across a book that brought the flames to the sides of my face. It's a book of fairy tales, geared at girls. All the usual suspects are there, including a couple of other stories I'm not familiar with (an Indian story about a Princess who refused to marry, and a Japanese tale very similar to Thumbelina). I can't lie, I had many similar books as a child, and I enjoyed them. Hell, chances are, if there wasn't a ball gown of some variety involved, I wasn't interested in the story. (I got better). There's nothing wrong with reading fairy tales as a little kid. Some of them are really interesting, and they always set my young imagination ablaze. That's not the issue here.

While most of the stories in the book ("Twelve Dancing Princesses," "Cinderella," "Rapunzel," "Princess and the Pea," "Sleeping Beauty," "Snow White," etc) are all basically as you'd expect them to be (with rather nice artwork), whomever compiled the text for some of the others genuinely screwed the pooch.

1. Firstly, their version of "Beauty and the Beast" completely omits the part where Beauty leaves the Beast to return to her family. He just keels over in the garden one day. The point is missed - the Beast had to love Beauty enough to be willing to let her go, and Beauty had to love the Beast enough to want to return. I know I tend to judge harshly, as this is my favorite fairy tale. The people who get married at the end actually spend time getting to know one another first. They had dinner together every night for almost a year. It wasn't "Hey, you're pretty and you kiss good, let's get hitched!" Beauty loved the Beast for who he was in the end, and that had a big impact on me.

2. They include the tale of Cupid and Psyche, and gave it A HAPPY ENDING. I am so mired in the sheer wtf of this, I cannot comment further.

And finally, the one that made my head explode:

3. No doubt caving to pressure in the post-Disney landscape, whomever wrote this decided that the Little Mermaid would have a happy ending. Fine, whatever. In this one, rather than stab herself and become one of the daughters or the air, all of the mermaid's sisters come to the surface and sing to the prince about her sacrifice, and he then declares her his true love, and she's human forever.

Problem A: It doesn't ever mention her voice coming back. I have a HUGE problem with that, both actually and metaphorically.

Problem B: Where in holy hellfire did THAT ending come from??!! I mean, really.

Problem C: By changing this ending, the story completely misses what I consider the most important lesson of the story: that you shouldn't change yourself in order for someone to fall in love with you. Hell, even the Disney version managed to not leave that lesson out despite giving the story a shiny ending - Ariel had to learn the lesson, granted, but she got there. This version provides a hideous deus ex machina that totally defeats any lesson that could be learned from the original version, or the more sanitized one. This one is teaching the little girls out there to 'conform and be silent, and then a man will find you worthy."

I am completely and totally disgusted by this. If a story has an ending that might be too rough for a kid under a certain age, don't include it. I personally feel that kids should be exposed to stories that might be a little bit scary, because they often teach them important lessons. Little Red Riding Hood is a perfect example: she gets eaten by a wolf, but it's because she didn't listen to her mother about not talking to strangers. I know having to talk to your kid after you read them a story is too much work for today's dry cleaner parent, but it's much better for your kid in the long run than sanding down the edges of things that were scary or disturbing for a reason; to teach a lesson, even if it's an uncomfortable one.
offbalance: (angry willow)
Everyone who knows me at all knows that I tend to be a purist about many things. It's only very infrequently that I feel that an adaptation surpasses the original version of anything, but it does happen, and I know that such things are out there.

HOWEVER:

I recently ran across a book that brought the flames to the sides of my face. It's a book of fairy tales, geared at girls. All the usual suspects are there, including a couple of other stories I'm not familiar with (an Indian story about a Princess who refused to marry, and a Japanese tale very similar to Thumbelina). I can't lie, I had many similar books as a child, and I enjoyed them. Hell, chances are, if there wasn't a ball gown of some variety involved, I wasn't interested in the story. (I got better). There's nothing wrong with reading fairy tales as a little kid. Some of them are really interesting, and they always set my young imagination ablaze. That's not the issue here.

While most of the stories in the book ("Twelve Dancing Princesses," "Cinderella," "Rapunzel," "Princess and the Pea," "Sleeping Beauty," "Snow White," etc) are all basically as you'd expect them to be (with rather nice artwork), whomever compiled the text for some of the others genuinely screwed the pooch.

1. Firstly, their version of "Beauty and the Beast" completely omits the part where Beauty leaves the Beast to return to her family. He just keels over in the garden one day. The point is missed - the Beast had to love Beauty enough to be willing to let her go, and Beauty had to love the Beast enough to want to return. I know I tend to judge harshly, as this is my favorite fairy tale. The people who get married at the end actually spend time getting to know one another first. They had dinner together every night for almost a year. It wasn't "Hey, you're pretty and you kiss good, let's get hitched!" Beauty loved the Beast for who he was in the end, and that had a big impact on me.

2. They include the tale of Cupid and Psyche, and gave it A HAPPY ENDING. I am so mired in the sheer wtf of this, I cannot comment further.

And finally, the one that made my head explode:

3. No doubt caving to pressure in the post-Disney landscape, whomever wrote this decided that the Little Mermaid would have a happy ending. Fine, whatever. In this one, rather than stab herself and become one of the daughters or the air, all of the mermaid's sisters come to the surface and sing to the prince about her sacrifice, and he then declares her his true love, and she's human forever.

Problem A: It doesn't ever mention her voice coming back. I have a HUGE problem with that, both actually and metaphorically.

Problem B: Where in holy hellfire did THAT ending come from??!! I mean, really.

Problem C: By changing this ending, the story completely misses what I consider the most important lesson of the story: that you shouldn't change yourself in order for someone to fall in love with you. Hell, even the Disney version managed to not leave that lesson out despite giving the story a shiny ending - Ariel had to learn the lesson, granted, but she got there. This version provides a hideous deus ex machina that totally defeats any lesson that could be learned from the original version, or the more sanitized one. This one is teaching the little girls out there to 'conform and be silent, and then a man will find you worthy."

I am completely and totally disgusted by this. If a story has an ending that might be too rough for a kid under a certain age, don't include it. I personally feel that kids should be exposed to stories that might be a little bit scary, because they often teach them important lessons. Little Red Riding Hood is a perfect example: she gets eaten by a wolf, but it's because she didn't listen to her mother about not talking to strangers. I know having to talk to your kid after you read them a story is too much work for today's dry cleaner parent, but it's much better for your kid in the long run than sanding down the edges of things that were scary or disturbing for a reason; to teach a lesson, even if it's an uncomfortable one.

Book Talk

Sep. 25th, 2007 10:09 am
offbalance: (book & teacup)
There are a lot of things I'd like to post about. Things like my Yankees-filled weekend (Could I love Joba any more? I don't know, but I want to find out!), and last night's TV premiere bonanza (Could I love How I Met Your Mother any more? I don't know, but I'd like to find out.)

Unfortunately, I don't have time for that right now. I do, however, have to post this bit.

Do not read if you want to avoid spoilers for the novel "Their Eyes were Watching God.  )
I have a feeling that this is going to make for a lively book club discussion.

Book Talk

Sep. 25th, 2007 10:09 am
offbalance: (book & teacup)
There are a lot of things I'd like to post about. Things like my Yankees-filled weekend (Could I love Joba any more? I don't know, but I want to find out!), and last night's TV premiere bonanza (Could I love How I Met Your Mother any more? I don't know, but I'd like to find out.)

Unfortunately, I don't have time for that right now. I do, however, have to post this bit.

Do not read if you want to avoid spoilers for the novel "Their Eyes were Watching God.  )
I have a feeling that this is going to make for a lively book club discussion.
offbalance: (Nemomento (kevinpease))
I know there hasn't been an update in awhile, it's been sort of busy around here.

Since I last posted:

1. Discovered that the horrific mood, inability to sleep and panic attacks were being caused by my antibiotics. So I stopped taking them. Even so, it was a shitty week.

2. I thought I was finally over the sinus infection, and now I have this godawful post-nasal cough that's totally killing me. I'm exhausted, taking everything I can think of, but the cough won't stop. This is seriously getting old. Everytime I get better, or close to it, someone else gets me sick. Granted, I'm not as sick as I could be (Puck and Laura had high fevers and more flu-like symptoms, but my flu shot seems to have protected me from most of that).

3. Work is picking up again. It's finally sunk in to those in charge that they have to let me learn to do things if they want me to you know, be doing them. Crazy concept, no?

4. I'm reading something really great, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] blergeatkitty: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. I was dubious, but as I trust her taste implicitly I figured I could at least give it 50 pages. 120 pages later, I can barely put it down. I'm really digging Giffin's prose style. She's not afraid to be smart, or to turn the genre that she might be lumped into onto its ear. More when I am (a) Further along and (b) feeling better.

5. Coughing makes it hard to concentrate.

6. I turn 27 in about 10 days. Yipe.

Now I'm going to attempt to sleep. Wish me luck.
offbalance: (Nemomento (kevinpease))
I know there hasn't been an update in awhile, it's been sort of busy around here.

Since I last posted:

1. Discovered that the horrific mood, inability to sleep and panic attacks were being caused by my antibiotics. So I stopped taking them. Even so, it was a shitty week.

2. I thought I was finally over the sinus infection, and now I have this godawful post-nasal cough that's totally killing me. I'm exhausted, taking everything I can think of, but the cough won't stop. This is seriously getting old. Everytime I get better, or close to it, someone else gets me sick. Granted, I'm not as sick as I could be (Puck and Laura had high fevers and more flu-like symptoms, but my flu shot seems to have protected me from most of that).

3. Work is picking up again. It's finally sunk in to those in charge that they have to let me learn to do things if they want me to you know, be doing them. Crazy concept, no?

4. I'm reading something really great, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] blergeatkitty: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. I was dubious, but as I trust her taste implicitly I figured I could at least give it 50 pages. 120 pages later, I can barely put it down. I'm really digging Giffin's prose style. She's not afraid to be smart, or to turn the genre that she might be lumped into onto its ear. More when I am (a) Further along and (b) feeling better.

5. Coughing makes it hard to concentrate.

6. I turn 27 in about 10 days. Yipe.

Now I'm going to attempt to sleep. Wish me luck.
offbalance: (amalthea by antheia)
I've been reading The Bell Jar this week, for the first time. I'm very nearly done, and if I really give it 100%, I'll be done with it by the end of today. Not sure if that'll happen, but I want to be done by the time I see Carly tomorrow. She's read it a couple of times, and I love it when I can discuss books with her. (It's also a freebie I got at work, a very heavy large print edition that I'd be very happy to be done carrying around).

a few musings on the book, some spoilerish )

I've also been on a major Tori kick lately. Tori, and Ben Folds and Joe Jackson. Now, resident Joe Jackson expert [livejournal.com profile] quodlibetic may either agree or come after me with an axe for this, but I've been amazed after re-listening to Night and Day and then Whatever and Ever, Amen and Rockin' the Suburbs again how similar Ben and Joe are stylistically - they have similar senses of humor and can write equally strong melodies. Plus, sometimes I think their voices sound somewhat alike at times. I'd LOVE to hear them duet on something. Like "Real Men," or "Breaking Us in Two" or something.

But yeah, Tori Tori Tori. I was listening to Little Earthquakes on my way to meet mom & [livejournal.com profile] quasisonic last night and it felt fresh. Not new, since I still know every word of every song (I think), but it felt exciting to listen to again, which is nice. I always loved that album.

Most disturbingly, I keep having flashes of odd moments of Albany. Like walking up that stretch of gravel parking lot near the humanities building facing the campus center, in early spring, just after the rain. I smelled that place the other day somehow, and when I closed my eyes I could picture it, plain as day. Also the bus stop at the new library and Collins Circle, same time of year, on a foggy day with damp air and a light grey sky, the air permeated with a wet grass smell.

Two days ago right before I went to sleep I sat on my bed and had a very potent memory of it being finals week or reading day, and being at Kurver Kreme on Central avenue, and how the trees looked and the air smelled. How am I remembering how the air smelled? It's so strange. But it's not disturbing, it's almost peaceful.

I wish I could figure out what my brain is trying to tell me, if anything.
offbalance: (amalthea by antheia)
I've been reading The Bell Jar this week, for the first time. I'm very nearly done, and if I really give it 100%, I'll be done with it by the end of today. Not sure if that'll happen, but I want to be done by the time I see Carly tomorrow. She's read it a couple of times, and I love it when I can discuss books with her. (It's also a freebie I got at work, a very heavy large print edition that I'd be very happy to be done carrying around).

a few musings on the book, some spoilerish )

I've also been on a major Tori kick lately. Tori, and Ben Folds and Joe Jackson. Now, resident Joe Jackson expert [livejournal.com profile] quodlibetic may either agree or come after me with an axe for this, but I've been amazed after re-listening to Night and Day and then Whatever and Ever, Amen and Rockin' the Suburbs again how similar Ben and Joe are stylistically - they have similar senses of humor and can write equally strong melodies. Plus, sometimes I think their voices sound somewhat alike at times. I'd LOVE to hear them duet on something. Like "Real Men," or "Breaking Us in Two" or something.

But yeah, Tori Tori Tori. I was listening to Little Earthquakes on my way to meet mom & [livejournal.com profile] quasisonic last night and it felt fresh. Not new, since I still know every word of every song (I think), but it felt exciting to listen to again, which is nice. I always loved that album.

Most disturbingly, I keep having flashes of odd moments of Albany. Like walking up that stretch of gravel parking lot near the humanities building facing the campus center, in early spring, just after the rain. I smelled that place the other day somehow, and when I closed my eyes I could picture it, plain as day. Also the bus stop at the new library and Collins Circle, same time of year, on a foggy day with damp air and a light grey sky, the air permeated with a wet grass smell.

Two days ago right before I went to sleep I sat on my bed and had a very potent memory of it being finals week or reading day, and being at Kurver Kreme on Central avenue, and how the trees looked and the air smelled. How am I remembering how the air smelled? It's so strange. But it's not disturbing, it's almost peaceful.

I wish I could figure out what my brain is trying to tell me, if anything.

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