Category Archives: surreal

Normal For Norwich?

And now for some news from our friends across the sea.  In the Daily Telegraph today, an article about a 19 year old girl who found a bat in her bra. 

"In her bra" as in "in the bra" she was currently wearing.   At work. 

Abbie Hawkins, a hotel receptionist, thought her mobile phone was ringing when she felt vibrations coming from her clothes.

But she later discovered the tiny creature tucked away in the padded pocket of her underwear.

As staff and colleagues crowded around, Miss Hawkins, 19, produced the frightened bat, which was the size of her hand.

Yeah. 

I once had a cockroach on my foot at work, but this definitely trumps it.  Young Abbey seems very kind hearted as well, commenting that

"Once I realised it was a bat I was shocked, but then I felt quite sorry for it really.
It looked very snug in there and I thought how mean I was for disturbing it."

I’m not sure what I’d do if I found a flying rodent in my bra, but I suspect I wouldn’t spend time feeling guilty about removing it.  If my reaction to the roach is any indication, I’d be too busy screaming.

Childishly heartbroken

The question “what’s really bothering you?” springs to mind.

Last night I had dinner with my closest graduate school (though she’s Dr. Friend now having already completed her PhD) and her small son. She and her family are headed to Chicago for her first professional position. I’m thrilled for her — it’s a great job.
theo-and-nelsonAnyway, last night they came over to our apartment after we’d eaten. I was doing my best to amuse her small son (our apartment isn’t the most kid-friendly place) by pulling out whatever (vanilla) toys I could find. When they left, I gave him all sorts of cheap plastic toys I’d collected via McD’s Happy Meals. He was beyond excited by them and I was pleased to see them go.

And then he asked if he could have Theo. Theo is my plastic bite-y T-Rex dinosaur. He’s from the Natural History Museum in London and I tend to use him (at least in my imagination) to attack those who thwart me. I’ve had him for 5 years. On the other hand, the child asking is four years old, has a father who’s been unexpectedly away for two weeks due to a family emergency and had just this past week had to see all his things including toys, packed up and shipped away in a truck to some place he’s never been. So of course I said he could have it. I was glad to give it.

Except I woke up this morning feeling deeply sad about the loss of Theo.

Huh?

My only hope is that I’m really mourning the loss of my dear friend who’s moving away. I think that’s the case. I couldn’t really care this much about a plastic dinosaur head on a stick.

Could I?

When Politics Meet Fetish?

Article Three
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any
time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned
persons:

  • (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds,
    mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
  • (b) taking of hostages;
  • (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
  • (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without
    previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording
    all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by
    civilized peoples. (from the Geneva Conventions)

Some of you who’ve read this blog for a while know that it’s not normally quite so focused on kink.  In fact, I began it so I’d have a space to write about politics and feminism and the like.  It’s kind of evolved into being about whatever is going through my head (scary as that thought might be). 

Reading Republican Rep. Christopher Shays’ bizarre comments calling the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse a "sex ring" — abuse that was "more about pornography than torture," I found myself wondering what Shays’ idea of "sex" must be like.  He later "corrected" or expanded on his comments saying,  "[o]f course, the degrading of anyone is torture. We need to deal with it."

Huh?  Can you repeat that again Mr. Shays?  Or then again, maybe not.

I’ve commented in the past that despite my love of role-play, prison and slave scenes aren’t my thing.  But even so, I do understand the attraction because I understand the fantasy of being helpless –of wanting to play a role that gives my partner total power over me.

That’s just it though.  While some writers in newspapers such as The Guardian might argue, as Adele points out here, that playing with images of torture for art (or just pleasure) is disrespectful and degrading to the victims as well as the photographic subjects, to do so (in my opinion) misses what real degradation is, and itself trivializes the reality of torture.   To denounce set-up fashion photographs, dramatic films or consensual BDSM play with the torture that happened at Abu Ghraib seems to be the ultimate dismissal of the real in favor of condemning superficial fictions.

What happened in  Abu Ghraib was torture and, again in my opinion, clearly about power.  There was nothing sexual in the guards actions or the pictures they took humiliating their prisoners.  The Abu Ghraib abuses were about real humiliation inflicted on prisoners who participated only because they feared for their lives.

Calling that sort of behavior a "sex ring" or the pictures resulting from it "pornography" is like condemning a rapist on the grounds that he’s committed adultery.  It trivializes and dismisses the reality of the crime.

Christopher Shays should be ashamed.  Sadly, his history leaves me suspecting he isn’t and that the point of why Abu Ghraib shamed America will forever be lost on him.

Confess!

Even I have limits.

Which of you is the sicko that googled "enema Hermione"!?

I’m so not sorry you’re disappointed. Your kink is so not okay. 😉

(Afterthought – by posting this it’s even more likely someone will find this site while googling those two words.)

Catholic School Girl Fashion

When I go into my local Coffee Bean on the way to catch my bus for work (this means at like 7am), there are always groups of teens from St. Monica’s High School getting their morning java.  They have a uniform: black or tan pleated skirt or pants (depending on gender), white or green polo shirts and matching sweaters. 

This isn’t anywhere near as formal as the uniform was at my own girls’ school — the St. Monica kids can wear tennis shoes, for example — but still makes me think of how even within (or maybe especially within) a uniformed environment, there are constant attempts at style or fashion.

One I remember from my own high school days was the fashion of wearing huarache sandals.  Sandals themselves were not allowed because the school guidelines clearly stated that we had to wear "brown or black closed toe shoes," however, it was (of course) possible to find huaraches with covered toes. 

Such was the case of many fashion choices — obedience to the letter of the law while defying the spirit with as much energy as possible. 

Other perienial favorites were: shortening our skirts (though the 20 plus pleats made the difficult unless one wanted to pay a professional tailor), pushing the limits of "natural-looking" make up and hair color (one friend of mine actually got assigned a detention before her mother came and explained that her brown hair always streaked red in the sun), white socks "accidently" turned pink by washing, wearing turtlenecks or thermals under our school shirts….  This list could go on and on.  But what was interesting, now that I think about it, was that the conformity within our non-conformity was so profound. 

So what’s "in" at St. Monica’s this Fall? 

Socks.  Either knee socks (though not the fold-over kind, but rather ones that are just barely too short — how do they keep them up?) and "footie" socks (the kind that are completely covered by shoes, leaving the ankles and legs bare).  I’ve seen no ankle socks at all this year. 

Shoes.  Either Van’s slip-ons or Converse All-Star low tops. 

Skirts.  I suspect St. Monica’s has a "no more than 4 inches above the knee" rule.  Why?  Because whatever the girls’ heights might be, that’s the length where their skirts end.

As to the rest, I don’t know.

So About That Ear Implant…

Flashback:  In 1999 I was sitting in the worst airport terminal I’ve ever spent the night in (this would be United’s terminal at Newark Airport complete with families of MICE (and a couple of rats) scampering merrily about the waiting area) and saw a crazy man.

How did I know he was crazy?  He was dressed in ill-fitting black clothes and pacing while holding an animated conversation (including gesturing frantically with both hands) with an invisible no one. 

It was 5:45 AM, I’d just gotten off a red-eye from LAX and was waiting for Paul to do the same from LHR and was totally alone in the terminal with this loud crazy man.  I’d only just begun to make panicked plans in case he turned on me when I saw it.

Dangling from his ear, there was a wire.  Not mad…. well, not talking-loudly-to-imaginary-friends / enemies mad anyway.  He was on the phone.

Since then, of course, hand-free sets have proliferated like mobile phones themselves.  Bluetooth makes wires unneeded as more and more frequently people sport that look that’s part receptionist with a headset, part Doctor Who mind control earpods. 

I can’t get into them.  It looks too much like voluntary cyborg-ism — like the implants could somehow go directly into my brain.

That said, having watched my father use his phone while driving, I can definitely see that they’re needed.  But not for me.  I mean, I can’t even commit enough to my mobile to do more than have Virgin’s pay-as-you-go plan.

Where is the media?

Just before going to bed tonight (okay so I’m writing this first!), I clicked over to Daily Kos.  The top entry was a link to this story.  In case you don’t want to read it, it’s a story about a family afraid to answer the phone should their caller ID show that it’s the USMC calling.  Why?  Because they effective kidnapped 19 year old Axel Cobb from his work place and spent hours pressuring him to sign up.  They can’t block the calls because apparently we’re not allowed to block calls from the government.

Now, I’m not even going to go into how well the war in Iraq must be going if the "volunteers" are having to whisked hundreds of miles away by car to secret locations and have their phones confiscated in order to be convinced to sign up.  "Not well" would seem to cover it.  My question is why isn’t this being reported elsewhere?  Why does the Seattle Post Intelligencer see this as a "Lifestyle" story rather than front page, or at least front section, news?   It seems our media have become so afraid of being called "liberal" and "biased" by the Right in this country that they’re afraid of offending by reporting that the war doesn’t seem to be very popular and that parents are having to worry about their teenagers being pressured into the service.

My opinion, worth next to nothing given how in the outs my party is, is that if Bush can’t convince his own daughters that this is a cause worth fighting and perhaps dying for, no Marine recruiter should be kidnapping Marcia Cobb’s child and trying to strong arm and guilt him into going.  Or maybe he could convince his daughters, but like most Americans he and his wife would rather not see their children fighting the seemingly endless war in Iraq.

Tanks cause sig alert?

tankI had to create a new category called “surreal” for this blog entry. (This photo was mailed to me, so I’m not sure where it came from. If it’s yours, please let me know so I can credit you.)

Apparently two tanks came to last night’s anti-war protest at the Federal Building on Wilshire near Westwood Villiage. They didn’t stay long and, from watching the video, weren’t threatening or firing on people, but WTF? It appears they were just trying to get through traffic and decided to stop in front of a war protest. Did the soldiers want to see? Participate even?

My first thought (after wondering what effect this had on traffic), being from Los Angeles, was that they were heading to a night-time filmshoot. Then I wondered if they had something to do with the VA hospital (also near there). Someone else on my department listserve suggested that maybe it had to do with the kidnapping yesterday at the Mexican consulate.

Whatever it was, the confrontation between tanks and anti-war protesters isn’t something I want to see.

Let’s hope this was part of a movie.

Update

This just gets funnier.

According to a friend who talked to someone in Congressman Waxman’s office, the tanks (there were two) were visiting Los Angeles from Camp Pendleton for Veteran’s Day (they’d taken the 405, of course). They got off the freeway and headed up Wilshire — which means they were going the wrong way — being “lost”, they quite naturally stopped at the anti-war demostration to “ask for directions.”

Who knew the army would have the first men to break the final gender taboo?

Faith and despair

Inscribed in bronze on UCSD’s campus is a memorial plaque with the text, "In honor of George Winne Jr. who immolated himself in Revelle Plaza in protest of the Vietnam War in 1970. He held a sign that read, In the name of God, end the war."

When I woke today, P gave me the news that a 25 year old researcher from Georgia named Andrew Veal had committed suicide at the World Trade Center site, apparently an act of despair over the outcome of the election. Any other election of my lifetime I’d have thought this reaction was incomprehensible. But the odd thing is, I do comprehend it. It’s a powerful gesture of powerlessness that demands the audience ask themselves how strong their own convictions are. Although I understand why, I wish Andrew Veal hadn’t climbed that fence, hadn’t been taken by despair. There’ll be another election in less than four years and I have faith that things can change, even though I don’t exactly know how to make them. I’m hanging on until I can find another way. My thoughts and prayers go out to Andrew’s friends and family.