Etsy Austin

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Local and handmade, what could be better? Here are a few Austin-local Etsy favorites I've run across:

katinkapinkas kirtKatinka Pinka makes wonderful, unusual jewelry and beautiful wrap skirts. She charges sales tax to us locals, but S&H is always free. My favorite of her stuff is this green Secret Bumble wrap skirt. It's $59, which is maybe a bit high, but it is really lovely and looks well-made. My only real complaint is that according to the description, it only fits up to a size 12.

mother necessity skirtMother Necessity also makes wrap skirts, or at least one, this cute pink one, and as they are intended for pregnant and post-pregnant women, they might actually fit me. And, good news, Mother Necessity is a brand new shop and she says her wrap skirt offerings will soon be expanding! Prices are similar to Katinka Pinka--$55 plus $5.95 S&H in this case, and quality looks similar as well. Mother Necessity also sells slings, bibs, and burp clothes.

maoilosa pendantWashi by Maoiliosa sells washi paper jewelry, and she's currently having a 10% off Mother's Day sale (through May 5)! My favorite of her current stock is this lovely blue tsunami coin pendant, which comes with its ribbon necklace and is only $11 plus $3 S&H.

elefeltJM Day's offerings are mostly felted items that come from recycled sweaters, an idea I love. I am particularly enamored by elefelt, a striped stuffed recycled wool elephant. He's just a little guy--5"X7" or so, but he's so cute and so environmentally responsible! I'd definitely consider him for a new baby gift. He costs $21 plus $2.50 US shipping.

the furyFinally, I have to turn your attention to prints by UneFemme. She's got some awesome stuff, some of it a bit macabre in that good way, she is currently having a BOGO sale (just through tomorrow, though, so act now)! My favorite of her featured items is The Fury, a mixed media tree print (it mixes text from architectural magazines with watercolor). It's 8"X10" and she's asking $20 plus $3 shipping for it.

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Good stuff from Etsy

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So my little Etsy shop isn't doing so well. Still no interest. But that doesn't keep me from checking out what everyone else has for sale over there and regaling you all with it. I seem to be particularly in to screen printing and letterpress these days. Here are some recent loves:

Stationary
Modern Printed Matter has great stuff. The dragonfly note cards are my favorite. They are $10 plus $1.50 shipping for a set of six.

pixelimpress swimmin alongpixelimpress has lovely cards as well. I'm particularly digging the purple and green "Swimmin' Along" set

Letterary Press has some funny cards, including this Gertrude Stein card, $4 with free shipping.

winifred studies dog cardMy absolute favorite stationary, though, is made by winifred studios. These ridiculously cute dog cards are $10 plus $2 shipping and handling for a set of four, and she also has a pug version!

Art
Mixed media artist Jamie Beitter sells her collage art at Living in Freedom. While some of it seems vaguely religiously themed and doesn't work for me, some of it is awesome. The "Be You" print is an 8"X10", and it's $15 plus $2 S&H.

I know I've posted about them before, but I still can't get over how much I love the "I Love Your Spatulas" and "I Love Your Eggbeaters" prints at studio mela. They're 8"X10", $20 each plus $5 S&H.

jelly beans cherry blossom printI am just nuts about Angela's work at Jelly Beans. It's hard to pick a favorite, but I really love her Cherry Blossom print, which is 8.5"X11" and $15 plus $4 S&H.

Jewelry
I already bought a pendant from Ling Glass. I love it so much, I want to buy another one. This other one. It's $18 plus $3.50 S&H.

steam punk pendantA ton of people are making pendants from paper overlaid Scrabble tiles, and I love too many of them to count. My absolute favorite, though, is Littleputbooks' "Steam Punk" pendant. It's $15 plus $2 shipping and comes in its own decorative box.

I am still, as always, lusting over the offerings of the Broken Plate Pendant Company. Right now I especially love this turquoise and orange graphic pendant, made from an Anthropologie plate. It's $30 plus $2 S&H.

joie de vivre pendanI love the ephemera pendants Bluevivor makes, especially this slightly snarky Joie de vivre one. It's $10 plus $2.25 S&H.

Clothes/bags
Boutique Mia makes beautiful clothes for adults and kids. My favorite thing is this funky, choose-your-own-fabric pillowcase top. It's $32.99 plus $4.60 shipping.

Baffin Bags makes some CUTE tote/diaper bags. This sage green tote and wallet set is my favorite. It's $38 plus $6 shipping.

I've pointed out the lunch sacks at Sandra Kay Creations before, but what about this great Sami Ann tote? I love the size, shape, and fabric. It's $40 plus $8.95 S&H.

Kids' stuff
Gifts for kids are probably my favorite thing to look at on Etsy. Some of my favorite stuff is at Mountain Aven Baby. It's more money than one should spend, but this pink and brown jumping jack lounge set may well be headed to the home of a couple of friends of mine who are about to adopt their first child. It's $42 plus $4.50 shipping.

weiner dog gift setMore child gift possibilities come from Bella Blu Designs. I am particularly loving this weiner dog gift set. Look at the way the dog wraps around! Look at the bone on the butt! For $36 plus $4 shipping you get the onesie, pants, and coordinating burp cloth.

Another thing I am coveting for a baby present is Baffin Bags' Amy Butler patchwork quilt. It's 32"X32", and costs $45 plus $6 S&H.

That's what I've got for now. Buy handmade! :)

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Smacking Reed

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A couple of weeks ago, a Reed student died of a heroin overdose. This followed another near-death last December from the same cause. And I have been thinking I should say something about that, but haven't thought of what exactly to say. Then Jenny's blog led me to this article from The Oregonian.

And now I'm pissed.

The author, Susan Nielsen, begins her piece "Reed College can't handle the drugs anymore." She goes on to tell the stories of the two students who OD'd, then writes that it's time for Reed to "adopt a stricter policy toward hard drugs -- or at least to stop hiding the problem."

Wait just a fucking minute. There are a lot of negative things you can say about Reed, and you can even argue semi-successfully, I think, against Reed's "libertarian" drug policy. But it is completely ridiculous to say that Reed "hides the problem." If there is one thing drugs at Reed are not, it's hidden. They are open, everywhere. Nielsen goes on to say that Reed students produce a "campus guides that give detailed, chummy advice about every kind of drug." Unless something major has changed, that chummy detailed guide tells you pretty point-blank that heroin can kill you. Even if the tone isn't from on-high like good "Just Say No" propaganda, and even if its similarly honest about how good the drugs can make you feel, it isn't like it skips the part where you can be dead at the end. Seems to me that is exactly the opposite of hiding the problem.

It is a tragedy that this student died. The picture Nielsen paints, of an 18 year-old kid overdosing alone in a dorm room, is definitely a startling one. But it has almost nothing to do with Reed's "culture favoring tolerance and experimentation." There was no point in my experience with the tolerant and experimental culture where doing heroin alone in my dorm room seemed like an acceptable choice, nor was there, I'd wager, in most Reed students' lives. The whole point of the tolerant and safe culture is that you do your drugs knowingly, safely, and communally. There is a greater degree of safety in being able to talk openly about it, and in not having to hide it. That doesn't at all sound like what was going on with this kid.

What bugs me the most about the article, though, is the way the author presents Reed students' attitude. While she's right in calling students "free spirits and original thinkers" and saying that they feel that drug polices are an affront, she misses that part where that's about self-governance. It's not about anarchy, or about being allowed to be stupid, or about "misguided ideals about hard drugs." It is about Reed having a decades long history of making and enforcing its own rules, of treating its students as citizens rather than guarded children, and of giving them the freedom and space to make their own decisions, not individually, like this poor kid in his dorm room, but collectively. If Reed students are affronted, it's not because they are afraid someone is going to take their drugs away. They're smart enough to know that it is very possible for them to just do them in a sneakier manner, like every college kid everywhere else is doing. What is an affront, though, is the idea that because of this one tragedy, the tradition of self-governance is, as Reed's president put it "not working."

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A day late and a dryer short

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So Earth Day was yesterday. I had a post composed in my mind to write about that, but my posting ability was curtailed by my attempt on Monday night to cut my thumb off and my subsequent need to spend yesterday afternoon in the urgent care, where they glued it back on. Still, as I drove home from the urgent care, the only passenger in my SUV on a backed up freeway full of other one-passenger SUVs, I was thinking about Earth Day, and about how much we've changed our lives to be more environmentally conscious, and about how much more is needed.

We have definitely made some changes. We still commute by not-all-that-efficient car, which is bad, but we commute together, which is good. We recycle everything our curbside recycling will take, which is good, but we don't save the other stuff and take it to a recycling center, which is bad. We have mostly phased out paper towels in favor of cloth napkins, which is good. I still take a shower nearly every morning and a bath several nights a week, in very hot water, which is bad. We compost, which is good, but my dear partner and in-laws spread chemical fertilizer on our roses this weekend, which is bad. So while we're improving, it is definitely safe to say we're not there yet.

What else, I wondered as I sat in traffic, should we do? What one change should we implement on this Earth Day? But by the time I got home, I'd forgotten all about it. Why? Because I was greeted by a sweaty, ranting Mark and a disassembled clothes dryer. It stopped working. He took it apart and discovered that due to an ill-fitting pipe, hot air and lint have not been going outside, as they should, but back into the dryer's cavity. This, he suspects, has either led a thermostat to trip (good) or the motor to burn out (bad). It also very easily could have caused a fire, but luckily didn't. However, we're not sure at this point if it's something Mark can fix, or if it will have to be repaired by someone from GE. Neither of those things was really going to happen last night. And in the meantime, there was a load of wet laundry in the washing machine.

Mark said he was going to ask our neighbor if we could use her dryer. But it seemed to me there was a far better plan.

A clothesline.

We live in Texas. It's hot here, already. We've got solar energy to burn. We have a decently sized yard with lots of trees to string lines between. Why on Earth have we not been using a clothesline? Why has it never occurred to me? My mom almost never uses her dryer--in the summer, she hangs clothes outside, in the winter, she hangs them inside. Rural frugality works like that. It's ridiculous that I hadn't thought of it before.

So we strung up a rope, hung the bedding that was in the washer to dry, and put dealing with the dryer off. Mark seems skeptical about the whole idea, but he'll come around. He hated the idea of compost to begin with, too. I'm going to suggest we use the dryer on an emergency basis only all summer. And I'm going to go out today at buy some clothespins.

Happy Earth Day, y'all.

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Graceology

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Swiped from Frog.

TECHNOLOGY
Q. What is your wallpaper on your computer?
A picture my mom sent me from home, of the road they live o.

Q. How many televisions you have in your house?
One

BIOLOGY
Q. Are you right-handed or left-handed?
Right

Q. Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
Wisdom teeth

Q. What is the last heavy item you lifted?
Cat litter box

Q. Have you ever been knocked out?
Twice, once to get wisdom teeth removed, once falling off a horse

BULLSHITOLOGY
Q. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
Absolutely not

Q. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
At this point, I wouldn't change it. I used to want it to be Christine, though.

Q. What color do you think looks best on you?
Dark pink

Q. Have you ever swallowed a non-food item?
Sure.

DAREOLOGY
Q. Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100?
Uh, yeah. Or, you know, for free.

Q. Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?
Hell no.

Q. Would you never blog again for $50,000
Probably.

Q. Would you pose naked in a magazine for $250,000?
Almost certainly.

Q. Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?
Probably not.

Q. Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for $1,000,000?
No.

DUMBOLOGY
Q: What is in your left pocket?
Don't have a pocket.

Q: Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie?
No, stupid.

Q: Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house?
Neither--concrete.

Q: Do you sit or stand in the shower?
Stand.

Q: How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
Four?

LASTOLOGY
Q: Last person who texted you?
I can't even remember.

Q: Last person who called you?
My mom, maybe?

Q: Person you hugged?
Mark's parents.

FAVORITOLOGY
Q: Number?
8

Q: Season?
Fall.

Q: Color?
Red.

CURRENTOLOGY
Q: Missing someone?
Yeah, Melinda and Sandy especially.

Q: Mood?
Little bit sleepy, little bit overwhelmed.

Q: Listening to?
Whatever Pandora throws at me.

Q: Watching?
My monitor.

Q: Worrying about?
Getting everything done on time. And my skin.

Q: Wearing?
Denim skirt and a black tee shirt.

RANDOMOLOGY
Q: First place you went this morning?
Work.

Q: What can you not wait to do?
Finish a big work project, go to Boston.

Q: Do you smile often?
Yes, and widely.

Q: Are you a friendly person?
Not in particular.

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Em gets me thinking

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I just read this post by Em, and it got me thinking in a new direction for the day.

I can relate to a lot of what Emilin writes. Though I don't share her job-fulfillment or her mommyhood, I do get what she's saying about how your politics and how you wear them can change as you age. I'm no less "liberal" than I was at 22. My core personal and political values have remained very steady, and if anything, moving in a more privledged social/economic class has made me more aware of how completely fucked up our class system is. Ben Franklin would likely not be impressed by my brain, because I don't see much chance of my getting conservative before I hit 30.

That being said, I certainly wear it differently now.

Em describes her 22 year-old self as going to protests in steel-toed boots. I wasn't a whole lot different. My hair wasn't naturally colored and was never so long. I wouldn't have been caught dead in the clothes I wear now. I hadn't yet accepted that straight was going to be the identity I got, regardless of how well I did or did not believe it fit me. The thing that Emilin wrote that really resonated with me, though, is "I'm no longer trying to impress people with my anger." That's it exactly. I'm still pissed. Extraordinarily pissed, sometimes. But I no longer define myself by it, or feel the need to share it in quite the same overt manner. And I no longer consider being angry an accomplishment. It may well be my birthright, but it isn't my destiny.

I never would have expected to be where I am now. The office job, the mortgage, the gaggle of pets, the (gasp) SUV. The friends all around me getting married and having babies. It wasn't at all what I envisioned for myself. I expected to be writing professionally, to be in a major city, to finally have achieved hip. And while I'd still love to be writing professionally, those other things are not only not my reality, they are no longer even appealing. I've been to enough major cities now that I know I am not keen on living in one, and hip ceased to be a goal sometime around when I gave up trying to keep the dog hair off me.

I'm not as fulfilled as Em seems to be in her post, mostly due to my job situation (which isn't bad but isn't as great as hers), but also because Em has already made decisions (marriage, baby, where in the country to live permanently) that I haven't made yet. Marriage is pretty well out, but kids are still a maybe, and my feet definitely aren't growing any roots yet. While I am not in a hurry to make those decisions (time still doesn't seem to be moving overly fast to me), I don't think I'll ever have the sense of contentment in Emilin's post until I do. And that's fine. I've been in transition, more or less, for 28 years now, I can transition for a few more.

On one hand, I am amused at how normal I've become with my job and my clothes and my house and my life. And yeah, I'm a little bit disappointed, too. I definitely see people living differently and feel jealous. But I also know something now I didn't use to--that you can have these trappings, live in this class, and still have a spirit and a soul and creativity inside you. I may look like an automaton, but I'm still the same person I have always been in my head. If anything, I am confident enough in that person now that I don't feel like the need to shove her down everybody's throat every five minutes. And I think that might be progress?

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Hillary's fourth wave

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Jenny asked for my thoughts on this article. I am only too happy to comply.

My first reaction is to ask, as I always ask, who are these crazy people who thought we were in post-feminist space? Who really thought that we'd done all we needed to do and we now live in an equitable world? I'm always puzzled by that. The article implies that you have to be out of your 20s to really "get" how sexist the world is, that nothing other than a decade in the workplace will teach you. I think that's bullshit. Sure, we face sexism in the workplace, but we were already facing it in the media, in our schools, in our families. I'm hard pressed to think of the moment when I first knew sexism existed--not because I never noticed it, but because it has always been there. I absolutely believe progress has been made by each "wave" of feminism, but to pretend it's over is just ridiculous, and it's hard for me to have much respect for someone who needed what has happened to Clinton to prove we still live in a sexist society.

That being said, I do think HRC's run for president and some of the reactions to it have made the depth of the sexism and the misogyny in which we are still steeped a little bit easier to grasp. Some of the bullshit leveled at her has been so outlandishly obvious in its sexism, it's hard to miss, even, I would expect, for those who had previously chosen to believe feminism was no longer needed. Things like why we find her voice "grating" or are more concerned about her "aging" than a male counterpart are subtle, but the Hilary nutcracker sure isn't.

What I am not willing to say, though, is that sexism is "worse" than racism in the U.S., or that the sexism towards Clinton has been worse than the racism towards Obama. It's a bit of a hard thought to put into words, but I have trouble separating sexism and racism from each other. They come from the same place, I think. The land-owning white men who devised this country thought of both Black human beings and female human beings as property, and to my mind, we're still living with the effects of that in both cases, probably more or less equally. I see the slights against Clinton more clearly, I think, because I am used to being a woman in this society, but that doesn't mean the slights against Obama, often brought to my attention by people of color, aren't there.

If people who were previously asleep to sexism are now coming awake, then Clinton's candidacy is worth even more to me than I thought it was. I can only hope that they'll remain alert and not stick their heads back in the sand once the election is over.

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Hit me with your best shot

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So I'm in a blogging rut, clearly. All I write about anymore is Buffy. While I have not intention of stopping writing about Buffy, it would be good to write about some other stuff, too.

So I appeal to you, gentle reader. Give me some ideas, some topics, some prompts. Ask me a question, tell me a lie, anything to get me started.

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Privledge meme

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This is a really interesting meme. More to it than most. I got it from Mostly True Tales, but it's originally from
What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, and Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

Bold the true statements. Explain if you want.

1. Father went to college
My biological dad went to college via the Air Force, but I don't think he graduated. My step-dad went for a couple of semesters as well, but had to leave when his father got sick and he was needed at home.
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home

My childhood home is and was full of books. My parents are both avid readers, and my mom worked for years as a children's librarian. Never any lack of books.
9. Were read children's books by a parent
Every day, I'd bet. An absolute blessing.
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
I took swim lessons at a public pool for several summers as a kid. I don't know how much they cost, but they must have been pretty cheap, because we didn't have any money at the time.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
I'm not sure how true this is--people in the media who dress and talk like I do now are portrayed positively, but people who dress and talk like the folks where I grew up aren't
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
I got my first credit card at 16, for the purposes of establishing credit before college. It was linked to my personal checking account, which I got at the same time.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
I grew up in a small single family home that my stepdad's father built, on his land. We were very lucky not to have house payments or rent.
25. You had your own room as a child

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16

31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family
We had a wood stove, so no heating bills.

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Worth a listen

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I like to listen to podcasts. I listen to lots of podcasts. My very favorite podcast is Kris and Betsy Smith's Croncast. Kris and Betsy are a married couple in suburban Illinois. He's a computer geek of some sort who had a childhood I very much recognize and she's a stay-at-home mom/professional thrift and resale queen/comedian. They basically just tell amusing stories about what is going on in their lives. Their motto is "life is show prep." They're very very funny, occasionally moving, and always worth listening to.

Right now, Croncast is in its last season. Once this season ends, Kris and Betsy are going to change the name of the show and go to a once-a-week format. This makes me sad sad sad, because I love to listen to them and want more, not less. On today's show, Kris announced that if enough of their loyal listeners get out and drum up more support for them, they'll increase the once-a-week plan for their new show to two or three times a week. I don't know what the rationale behind this is--maybe they just want to make sure there are enough listeners to make it worth their time? Anyway, I'm trying to do my part of help increase their listenership. So go, download, listen. Way way way funnier than Dawn and Drew.

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Hear ye hear ye!

The 21st installment of the Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans will be hosted by my other blog baby, Heroine Content. Co-parent Skye and I are super anxious to see what you've all got to add to the carnival, so please send in submissions ASAP. This carnival's specific topic suggestion is "Who Do You Love?" but anything blogged between February 7 and April 28 is game, as long as it is a feminist perspective on fantasy and/or science fiction.

Submissions should be sent to me or Skye before April 28. The carnival will be posted May 1.

For more general info on the Carnival, please go here.

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Watch them in anything?

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So EW has put up the first half of their list, 50 Actors We'd Watch in Anything. After taking a gander, I was less-than-shocked about how differently I feel than the good folks over there.

This is their first 25:

1. Kate Winslet
2. Alec Baldwin
3. Jude Law
4. Phillip Seymour Hoffman
5. Edie Falco
6. Morgan Freeman
7. Meryl Streep
8. Johnny Depp
9. Daniel Day-Lewis
10. Simon Pegg
11. Ryan Gosling
12. Rosario Dawson
13. Don Cheadle
14. Kristen Bell
15. Tony Leung
16. Nathan Fillion
17. Emma Thompson
18. Denzel Washington
19. Cherry Jones
20. Brendan Gleeson
21. Will Ferrell
22. Catherine Keener
23. Tom Selleck
24. Patricia Clarkson
25. Paul Rudd

There are only two names on that list that I'd actually watch in just about anything: Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Johnny Depp. Another five I'd go out of my way to see (Daniel Day-Lewis, Don Cheadle, Nathan Fillion, Catherine Keener, and Patricia Clarkson). Another few I kind of like (Kate Winslet, Morgan Freeman, Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson). A few I had to look up to figure out who they were (Ryan Gosling, Kristen Bell, Tony Leung, Paul Rudd). And a few I strenuously avoid (Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Tom Selleck). Who comes up with this stuff?

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Self-promotion

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I wrote what I think is probably my best Heroine Content piece yet this week, and it hasn't garnered a single comment. Which makes me sad. So I'm linking to it here in hopes someone will go and read it?

Firefly and Serenity.

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Active watching: TV as text (Undead TV)

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undead tvA bit back, I wrote this entry sticking up for TV. I argued that TV is a morally-neutral medium like any other, and it is how you interact with it, what you choose to watch and how actively you watch it, that makes watching it better or worse than any other use of your leisure time. I have been thinking more about that since I wrote it, and last night I came across something in a book that I thought spoke to my point very well.

In Undead TV: Essays on Buffy the Vampire Slayer there is an essay by Mary Celeste Kearney (a faculty member right here at UT!) about Sarah Michelle Gellar as a teen "cross-over" star and what that means in the late 90s, when the teen market demographic is huge and when a star's presence is not limited to television or movies, but television and movies and the Internet (and music and video games and...). In the essay, Kearney mentions that when the WB started showing Dawson's Creek, they also opened up an online space where viewers were encouraged to go after each episode and fill out private or public diaries about how they felt about the episode, their thoughts, etc. Folks, in my liberal arts education, we called that a reading journal. You know, to encourage active reading? Sure, 90% of those Dawson diaries were probably full of comments like "Dawson iz so hawt! OMG!" but just the fact that kids were logging on and writing anything is a start. After all, do you really think there is nobody who was hooked on Pride & Prejudice because they had Darcy-lust? Come on.

The Dawson diaries are just one example of how the Internet can and has encouraged active participation with television texts. Show based chat rooms, of which there are a surprisingly huge number, are another way people watch shows and then think and write about them (active participation). So are sites like Television Without Pity--reviewing something requires interaction with it. And fan fiction..rewriting the text, using its characters to write new stories, filling in the blanks you don't see--what is that if not active participation?

As I think back, I realize that I was expressly taught, early on, to be an "active" reader. Even before I could read myself, my mom read to me, and she didn't just read to me, or even just read to me and then discuss it with me. She'd read me a chapter (I remember the Little House books as the most clear example of this), then tell me to go act it out, or to act out the part that didn't happen in the book. Sometimes she prompted ("how would this have gone if Laura had made a different decision?") and sometimes by the time the chapter ended I had my own ideas. This became my favorite part of the whole exercise. Later, when I grew out of my sun bonnet phase, I was less likely to act out the parts left out of books and more likely to write them out. There wasn't really a name for it then, at least not one that I knew. Now I'd call it fan fiction. And I'd give it credit for my being able to string words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs. How was this childhood interaction with books any different than what is happening all over the Internet around TV shows?

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Music from your birth year

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Have you ever thought about what was on the radio the year you were born? I was actually born into kind of an interesting musical moment--disco was still king, but it was failing, there was still a punk undertone, but Sid Vicious died. And some legendary country songs were released, too. It's fascinating. I had no idea, until I started making this list, that 1979 gave birth not only to me, but also to London Calling and The Wall.

What about you? What was playing the year you were born?

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April Giving

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Sorry, day late...

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so my giving dollars are headed out to the National Sexual Violence Research Center.

May you be safe from sexual violence this month and always.

Also, on a semi-related note, if you are following my debt reduction tally at right, you'll see I'm down $2,806.27 since 1/1/08. I feel pretty good about that.

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Pretty pretty princess Grace

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Turns out that if I wore a whole lot of carefully applied and expensive make-up, I'd look like this.

grace made up.jpg

Go to Taaz to do your own.

Thanks to Jenny for the toy.

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Play List: Power ballads

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This one is too funny not to share. I'll admit it, I love hair metal ballads. Love to sing 'em at the top of my lungs. You should try it. I know you remember the words.

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