Helpful True-Life Survival Tips for the Absent-Minded, Vol.2

OK, kids, today we address the heretofore criminally neglected branch of mental health risk that is trying to alleviate boredom by cliking through the potholed links on TVTropes.

Put simply, one should exercise great caution anytime one embarks on this seemingly harmless activity, maintaining full awareness to context at all times. Because there is always that possiblility that one will come across a reference to the classic short story I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, and think "Hmmmm, cool title, always wanted to know what that one was about," and clik thru without a second thought, and


…except I think Harlan Ellison may be dead by now. So there’s no recourse at all, which is kind of ironic when you think about it, which I do not, thank you much. As it was I had to go edit the Wodehouse page for a solid hour before I calmed down enough to go to bed.


In which I totally ignore the entire ‘Obama wins Peace Prize’ thingy.

Seriously. I mean, the only rational response to that is "OK then! Apparently the rest of the world was even more traumatised by the Bush administration than we realised!". And many, many more articulate people have already raced to their computers to make that point and related ones today.

I figure a quick repost of an interesting discussion I’m having in another LJ thread, on a subject I can actually claim expertise in, would be more to the point. ‘Cause I have actually had this happen in a lot of cases where my profession comes up. I am a buyer’s assistant in a high-end womenswear buying office.

Yeah, I know, you can’t resist, can you? It’s either "Ooh, designer labels are so shallow/stupid/a ripoff!" or "Ooh, unrealistic sizing drives me nuts! The other day I was looking at a size 00, can you believe it…"

I generally bear this kind of stuff with a grin, as I happen to agree with both POVs to a certain extent. My method for dealing with the excess madness — one that is thankfully supported by my buyer — is just to relax and have fun with all the pretty clothes. Not to mention, I admit, the massively reality-challenged culture that surrounds them.

Me, I’m never gonna be in with the cool crowd. I’m a 175-lb. 38-year-old in an office-full of gorgeous kids, I am by default — and a certain native eccentricity — the fashion granny. That said, I’ve learned a lot about how to make myself look good these past five years; not just in terms of following the trends, but in choosing colours and styles that flatter…

…And, of course, ones that fit. Definitely picked up a few hints about those. So when asked "What is the deal with specific sizes for men and not women, anyway? There are just as many variations in men’s bodies as women’s!" I am fully prepared to respond…


*grin* True, but there is also far more variation in female fashion.

[Disclaimer: The following discussion merely reflects present realities, and in no way should indicate agreement with or approval of those realities by the author. Thank you.]

 The original discrepancy arose in large part because men were the ones wearing uniforms on the job, in the military etc, so standardised sizing has until comparatively recently been a much bigger and more accepted part of their world. Standardised charts for women do exist of course, and I gather there is a movement afoot currently to use them across the genders/ages. But as long as women have (or are perceived as having) a more emotional, less rational investment in their clothing choices, so too will be their sizing irrational.

Put simply, sizing for women reflects body image. As long as you’re dealing in abstract numbers, you can make women feel however you want. You just lower the numbers, and hey presto! women feel like they’re beautiful and special in your clothes. Conversely, you can mess about with sizes for ‘above average’ women — saying 3X instead of XXXL, for instance — to help disguise the fact that they need them.

Within those various numbers you can further play around with form, function, fabrication etc., and heighten whatever the effect by hiding/minimising flaws, or enhancing/creating good points. Or just playing around with concepts generally, as on a canvas. Think about runway shows you’ve seen — it’s art, abstract art, with models simply being used as walky-talky clotheshangers for the designer’s ‘vision’. Standardising sizes would take you behind the curtain, so to speak, far too soon. 🙂

Besides which sizing, as I mentioned above, reflects label image and marketing. Yes, this is a pan-gender issue, but it’s much more directly reflective of physical perception in women; as we age, we are seen as wanting to hide more, as needing more ‘relaxed fits’, shall we say.
One label wants to be worn by hip teens; another, by their moms; still another by their grammas. All of these women may well share one or more general measurements, but if their mom can get into their Juicy tops, teens aren’t gonna buy, and if Gramma can get into them, both mom and grand-daughters will shudder as they pass the rack.

I’m bored.

Truly madly deeply bored. The kind of boredom wherein you spend most of your time, with things you’re interested in, wondering how on Earth you could ever have been interested in them. And frankly I do not see the situation improving any time soon.

This is bad. This is very bad, not least because this particular level of boredom is one in which I have a tendency to snack, randomly but quite steadily, just for the excitement value. Which is ably assisted by the futility value. "C’mon," I coax myself, in this mood, "not much going on anyway, who’d even notice if you had that extra Twinkie?"

This is exactly what got me into the situation where I had to spend most of last summer losing the twenty-five pounds I’d put on that winter. And I am not going to be one of these yo-yos who just put the weight right back on again. I am not.

But, honestly, I can’t think of much else to do at the moment. Besides maybe work up a rage against ex-Green Bay, now whoever’ll-give-him-the-time-of-day QB Brett Favre for what the hell do you think you’re doing, boy, leading the Minnesota Vikings into the town where there’s still a Brett Favre Steakhouse? Sheez.

…OK, that was kind of fun. But doing it properly would mean going back onto the ESPN boards at gametime, and nahhhh. You want boredom, spend time watching grown men try and come up with new ways to call each other homosexual. Hint: they don’t often succeed.

In other news, I have been paging through the back numbers of I Can Haz Cheezburger lately. Thus discovering that there’s a low boredom threshold on cute (excuse me, ‘kyoot’), too. But I keep on keepin’ on, because this is about the only bookmark I haven’t reread six times. Even my dead-tree reading is a recap of the Elizabeth I-Mary Queen of Scots rivalry (the admittedly excellent Elizabeth and Mary by Jane Dunn), and not that we haven’t covered that material at Shoe Central more than, oh, eighteen times now.

Clearly, drastic measures are required here.

Uh… anybody got any they can spare?

Do you remember…

Recently, on Facebook, I was offered the chance to friend people whose names were vaguely familiar, because ‘You both attended [high school].’

Ye-eah. No offense, helpful electronic data device, but somehow I doubt Brooke and Michelle et al are dying to know what became of the moon-faced kid huddled in the back with her nose buried in Uhura’s Song. (You young geeks generally, on the other hand, might want to spare just a moment for us nerdly pioneers, without whose struggle you might never have been graced with Chuck Norris or Katee Sackhoff. Show some respect! *whacks young’uns wiith plastic lightsaber*)

Anyway, I was thinking about how bizarre it all is, that you can just pluck people out of the chaotic mass of your former existence and award them relevance in the here and now. Bringing memories back to life like that is an awe-ful concept, when you think about it…

…which somehow leads me around to Oliver.

[imaginary screen fades, wavers, then coalesces again to reveal]…

Yeah, so about those sweet polite Canadians…

I dunno, maybe they all moved to Vancouver or something.

Short version for lazy clickers: The other night, former Ontario Attorney-General (and, as it happens MPP for my riding) Michael Bryant got into a crankiness with cyclist Darcy Sheppard at a major Toronto intersection, while driving an open-topped convertible. Sheppard – for what it’s worth, later revealed to have serious anger-management issues – dismounts, slams the car hood, grabs the driver-side door…

…and this Harvard-trained potential future Premier candidate just guns it and runs. Drags Sheppard about 100 yards before he fell off, fell under…


Couple things. First, CFRB 1010? Stop calling this the ‘Bryant Bicycle Tragedy’, like, right now. Words cannot express just how tacky it is that the live guy is repeatedly trumping the dead one – one would imagine a news/talk station would have the proper order on file somewhere – but here’s a hint: This is so tacky that your own host kept frantically trying to distance himself from it after every break. ("No, really, as I keep saying, it’s everybody’s tragedy…")

Next… well, yes, it does also kinda suck to be Michael Bryant right now, I imagine. I met him once, very briefly, when he came around our building canvassing for re-election. Given which he seemed unusually sensitive in dealing with a disheveled woman home sick that day who had only opened the door because she’d just woken up and had some vague idea he was the police. So I liked him OK.

I’ve also been thinking about blind panic, what happens when something – someone? – gets too close. Mind you, my field tests have been on nothing like this scale; but I have done some incredibly stupid and painful things to myself while in full-on getitoffgetitoffGETITOFF!!! frenzy. Trying to shake off the teeniest of spiders. Seriously, I almost dislocated a shoulder once. In those moments, it’s goodbye higher function, hello… I don’t know what, but I suspect the spider did.

I’m wondering if this sort of instinct goes so far as fellow sapiens. Hard to imagine it would – that common humanity wouldn’t’ve kicked in at least when it was clear the guy was stuck – but. Bryant was in the car with his wife; maybe it had been a freakishly bad day; maybe he’d read one too many screaming Sun headlines about gang violence. I don’t know. There are reports that he actually climbed the sidewalk, frantically brushing Sheppard off against mailboxes, banging him into light poles. It defines belief that any rational human would treat another like a bug – unless that’s exactly what Bryant’s instinct thought the cyclist was.

In the aftermath, here’s Darcy Allan Sheppard, who by all accounts was doing the best he could with the crummy hand life dealt him, dead. Michael Bryant, politician maybe not as sleazy as the rest, facing the ruin of his career at best and a life sentence for criminal negligence at worst.

Right, we can get back to sweet and boring any time now, universe, OK?

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty; that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

The fragrant velvet of a rose
curled lightly into my hand
This is my offering;
A solemn devotion,
dumb-show of ecstacy
Thine is this twilight hour, thine is the Kingdom

In the pageantry of Eternity I am strange and lost
But I can feel the cool relief of a summer rain
And afterwards the earth smells strong with growing things
the roses will come soon

–Shoebox, age sixteen (and fresh off TS Eliot in sophomore English)


Yeah, I know, the real happiness is not having to read poetic efforts on LJ. But I really couldn’t figure out how to express today’s subject in prose without rattling on ad nauseum, and probably way too heavy on the nauseum to boot. You takes your happinesses where you find’em, is I guess the motto of this installment.

Put simply, I am and have always been receptive to the myriad graces of the natural world. It is my sure path to spirituality; all logical and scientific arguments aside,I find it impossible to believe that there is no further point to natural law. If only in the fact of our being able to respond to it with such peculiar intimacy, and at the same time, limitless awe.


when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
and the sun strikes to gain a living wage-
when thorns regard their roses with alarm
and rainbows are insured against old age

when every thrush may sing no new moon in
if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
-and any wave signs on the dotted line
or else an ocean is compelled to close

when the oak begs permission of the birch
to make an acorn-valleys accuse their
mountains of having altitude-and march
denounces april as a saboteur

then we’ll believe in that incredible
unanimal mankind(and not until)

–ee cummings

Happiness is…

…the sudden realisation that I don’t, in fact, have to wait for the Happiness Meme to come back around before posting a week’s worth of things that make me happy.

This is good. Because I really, really need some cheering up. I have hit a patch where even attendance at a three-day spiritual feast seems to be more about pointing out what I’m not accomplishing than feeling good about what I am.

Recent events have made it wrenchingly clear that what I thought was security has actually meant the avoidance of natural growth; the refusal to embrace change. Now I’m sitting here realising exactly what I’m missing…and even worse, realising that to make up for it, my brain has elevated one of the causes – aggravation over a memory of a minor TV show – into a Big Huge Honking Dramatic Deal that’s worthy of being posted for all the Net to see.

In retrospect, sitting around eating Oreos and reading Etiquette has probably not been the best way to handle this.

Yeah, it’s that bad. Double Stufs can usually beat ’em back when all else fails, but this particular crisis has all the annoying characteristics of a perma-angst. So…what I need to do is spend a little while among the genuinely good, not just feeling superior to the bad. Remind myself of all the good reasons there are to really reach out.

Let’s kick off with a tribute to the fuzzy little buddy that was providing this kind of therapy since before I even discovered the Interwebs, even. Seriously. Not many cats – nor humans, for that matter – have a default expression for"Mom, The Matrix is Just a Movie and You Really Should Relax Now, OK?"…but Lucy did.

Pretteh kitteh pics under the cut…

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