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Solar Eclipse of The Heart

vamp

Me

I have never been friends with the sun. We’ve made our peace over the years with the help of things like sunscreen, hats, day drinking, and shade, but we both know it’s a tenuous truce at best. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try – tropical vacations, air-conditioning, designer sunglasses – the sun is still an oversized heater that makes sweating a competition. I don’t know how people in the South do it, or Africa, or cats. My sun bunny friends are usually from places like Florida, California, Texas, Mars. They have a tote bag with sun-friendly items ready to go by their front door – sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottle, chick lit, snacks – instead of the haphazardly thrown-together grocery sack I take to the beach with a bunch of middle fingers inside.

Because of this, the eclipse just didn’t hit my radar last week. Of course it was all over my social media feeds, but I willfully ignored it. I know it’s happening and that people spent hours in their cars waiting in traffic to get to some field so they can indirectly look at the same thing for ten minutes together, but that journey to Middle Earth just did not appeal to me. You could’ve said the sun was going to sing Jose Carreras’ buttery part in the Misa Criolla with Beyoncé while tossing down hundred dollar bills and fresh-baked bread (all of my favorite things), and I still would’ve been like “But I have this Game of Thrones recap to write.” Sorry.

Say hi to the sun for me. Tell him I bought two sweaters this week and can’t wait to see less of him this fall.

I do like the idea of the moon – a longtime cohort of mine and partner in darkness – blocking out the obnoxious radiance of our solar system’s biggest star, but not enough to do anything besides type ‘best solar eclipse photos of 2017’ into Google.

Most of what I’ve seen online are frenzied travelers and eclipse enthusiasts and What Not To Do infographics – How To Avoid Going Blind Forever By An Asshole Called ‘The Sun’ – and that put me off, too. If there’s an awesome thing going on that everyone is into, but it comes with dubious instructions like “Look at the sun but don’t look at the sun” and “the safest way to see the eclipse is through these non-prescription paper glasses your first grader made in school,” I’m going to take a hard pass. I’m glad it’s special for other people, but watching the sun turn into a blistering NuvaRing while it travels The Path of Totality (a path I think Tolkien would have appreciated) is not in the cards. Speaking of: a lot of my tarot card-loving friends and astrology peeps have been Dark Side of The Moon-ing over this solar eclipse, and bemoaning whatever planetary retrograde side effects it will have on our useless human forms. I look forward to that, as well as Bonnie Tyler singing Total Eclipse of The Heart during the eclipse. I always love a commitment to theme.

To check out photos of the eclipse throughout the day, the New York Times will hook you up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Safety of Smoke & Mirrors

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Much has been said about the clusterfuckery that came to Charlottesville this week, and more will be coming down the pipeline. I think it’s safe to say, as a progressive woman of color, that I stand firmly on America’s Team Punch-A-Nazi, even if I haven’t personally punched one myself. I blame arthritic hands and a tendency to turtle in times of stress.

The world seems crazy now. I know we’re only supposed to use that word in the correct context, but I think in this case, I am. I frequently ask myself if this is real life and then wonder if I really just said that. I carefully clip the shadow of fear from my spine every morning, even though it grows back stronger throughout the day. I’m an online agent of mass punctuation, grinding out worried exclamation points and throwing them in every direction, 24/7. This is my new normal.

Two things that fascinate me in America’s Fascism Reboot are storytelling and safety.

Everyone thinks their reality is the real authentic one. Because of this, I’m amazed that people agree on anything at all. To back up their reality, which is surely the best reality on the market, they will tell themselves a story. You can be a bleeding heart liberal, a diehard libertarian, a straight-up Nazi, or someone who doesn’t give a shit about this country; every day, we tell ourselves stories, backed by information from our favorite storytelling sites – New York Times, Fox News, Stormfront, your weird Uncle Pete – and then we tell those stories to others. We are a nation of storytellers, barely listening to each other.

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GOT RECAP, EP 4: BEING A DRAGON

aryabrienne

“I’ve had the time of my life, no I never felt this way before…”

Welcome to the shortest Game of Thrones recap I could possibly write, and that’s just because I cut out the entire battle scene. Spoilers ahead but I know you’ve already seen it, possibly twice (me, to be honest, five times – and I watched this reaction video a few times, too). To the past!

We open with two white guys on horses discussing castle maintenance. Cool.

Cersei daydrinks with her accountant, Mycroft Holmes.

Littlefinger plays smirky uncle to Bran, who totally owns him with “Chaos is a ladder,” which sounds like something my old drug dealer would’ve said about the government or love. Littlefinger gifts him with Valyrian steel — more specifically, the weapon used in Bran’s attempted murder — which I think is inappropriate because Valyrian steel is traditionally given on your 11th anniversary.

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Why I Write 


People always ask me “how the writing is going.” I often visualize a manuscript of mine, unconscious in a hospital bed, hooked up to beeping machines and fancy heart monitors. 

“Good,” I reply every time, briefly describing some piece I’m working on. They say nice things about my writing – or a random Facebook post that made them laugh –  and I say thank-you, then lightly deflect. 

It’s always HOW the writing is, like it’s a third invisible arm I broke that everybody knows about but no one can actually see. I know what people mean – I ask how things are at them all the time. How’s the job, how’s work, how’re things. I just never know how to answer. Things are good, I say. The writing is good. It’s not not good. It still is. It’s not nothing. 

Such brazen confidence. 

Occasionally, someone asks me WHAT I’m writing, which is more exciting but also brings extra anxiety. Now I must choose the right example and not over-explain myself into a corner of literary death. Not enough details and the listener will ask a bunch of questions you may or may not have the answers to; too many details and the listener might end up telling you they hate the whole concept. 

No one asks WHY I write, which I think I’m going to start asking my fellow writing friends because it’s far more interesting. I write because of passion and calling and creativity and sheer will, but mostly I write because of the J. Peterman catalogue. My mom would get those catalogues in the mail with their beautiful, other-worldly stories – a whole profile on a shirt being worn at a certain kind of party in Morocco, a story about a cobbler’s hat from Ireland and the man who wore it on his bicycle trips through the country – and I wanted to be every linen tunic-wearing woman traveling the Greek Islands with her lover, Kostas. That retail haven for storytelling sold me on telling stories. And I’ve been telling them, in various forms, ever since. 

Why do you write? 

GoT Recap, Ep 3: Five Queens A-Warring

dianarigg

QUEEN AF

Welcome back to my Why Didn’t I Pick ‘Bob’s Burgers’ To Recap Game of Thrones recap! This episode had lots of jokes, subtle as they were. I appreciated all the dialogue, as we had a lot to get through this week. Spoilers and Buzzfeed headlines (in bold) ahead!

The 23 Greatest TV Show Meetings Of All Time

Jon Stark lands on Dragonstone beach for some polite diplomacy and a dragon surprise. They walk to the castle by way of the beach, a cliff, the Great Wall of China, another cliff, and then to the Great Hall, where Daenerys is waiting. She comes off as young, cold, and demanding; Jon is stubborn, dismissive, and demanding. Internally, I was screaming OH MY GOD THAT’S YOUR AUNT THAT’S 👏🏽 YOUR 👏🏽 AUNT 👏🏽 but externally, I was rocking back and forth saying “Thisishappeningthisishappening.” Their verbal skirmish is interrupted by Varys with some bad news about their ships. Like, they’re all on fire or at the bottom of the ocean.

31 Cliff Confrontations That Will Make You Want Your Own Nemesis

Lord Varys does his best to snark up a cliff and intimidate Melisandre but she’s all Remember how I know more than you and have magic on my side and Varys scurries off. I can’t wait for him to confess whatever he saw in the flames as a brand-new eunuch — he’s connected to The Lord of Light, just not sure how.

9 Painful Truths Only A Theon Greyjoy Would Understand  

Theon gets fished out of the water by some fellow ironborn who clearly have no respect for him, which works for everyone because Theon doesn’t respect Theon, either.

21 Psychotic Ship Captains Who Resemble Current Rock Stars 

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