So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Censor's Dark Materials

Censorship is a terrible thing.

So thank goodness it never works, says Philip Pullman

When I heard that my novel The Golden Compass appeared in the top five of the American Library Association's list of 2007's most challenged books, my immediate and ignoble response was glee.

Firstly, I had obviously annoyed a lot of censorious people, and secondly, any ban would provoke interested readers to move from the library, where they couldn't get hold of my novel, to the bookshops, where they could. That, after all, was exactly what happened when a group called the Catholic League decided to object to the film of The Golden Compass when it was released at the end of last year. The box office suffered, but the book sales went up – a long way up, to my gratification.

Because they never learn. The inevitable result of trying to ban something – book, film, play, pop song, whatever – is that far more people want to get hold of it than would ever have done if it were left alone. Why don't the censors realise this?

In the case of The Golden Compass, the reason the book was challenged is listed as "Religious Viewpoint", a reason that appears in connection with only one other book in the top five, a picture book called And Tango Makes Three. This is based on the true story of a pair of male penguins in New York's Central Park Zoo, who for a time formed a couple and hatched the egg of a mixed-sex couple who were unable to hatch two at once. This, if you can believe it, was challenged for six different reasons: "Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group."

Religious Viewpoint? Penguins?

I hope the authors have done very well out of the increased sales they'll have enjoyed, but this kind of thing only invites the rest of the world to consider the American public demented.

In fact, when it comes to banning books, religion is the worst reason of the lot. Religion, uncontaminated by power, can be the source of a great deal of private solace, artistic inspiration, and moral wisdom. But when it gets its hands on the levers of political or social authority, it goes rotten very quickly indeed. The rank stench of oppression wafts from every authoritarian church, chapel, temple, mosque, or synagogue – from every place of worship where the priests have the power to meddle in the social and intellectual lives of their flocks, from every presidential palace or prime ministerial office where civil leaders have to pander to religious ones.

My basic objection to religion is not that it isn't true; I like plenty of things that aren't true. It's that religion grants its adherents malign, intoxicating and morally corrosive sensations. Destroying intellectual freedom is always evil, but only religion makes doing evil feel quite so good.

reposted. from The Guardian

Monday, September 29, 2008

bloody fantastic

though normally not one to review films and television on here, i find myself unable to keep my mouth/keyboard shut about the new HBO series True Blood. i simply must give it a dripping recommendation.

after only four episodes, i can already say that the show is fantastic -- for so many reasons.

first and foremost, one of its leading mmmen:

and if the man-god named Ryan Kwanten hasn't convinced you to turn on HBO, let me tell you more about True Blood.

provocative, sexy (or as a certain anonymous friend of mine called it, "boneriffic"), and just a liiiiittle bit scary. i'm already having mild nightmares, though that doesn't take much.

moreover, it's smart.
shortly into the first episode, it becomes clear to the viewer that this isn't just another vampire story; rather, it's an intelligent allegory to some of the most important civil rights movements in our society's history, including gay rights and desegregation. not in a preachy way, and not in an overly written, obvious way, but... smart. subtle.

here's what HBO has to say about the premise of its newest gem:

Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

* * *

take it from a guy who doesn't even believe in TV... this one's worth going over to your coworker's house to watch. or -- ideally, you'd have your own HBO, and you could watch it at home. and invite me over when you do.


as if we needed another one

one more (superfluous) reason to use Google over other search engines: they get it.

maybe it seems silly for a company or a brand to take a stance on the same-sex marriage debate, but i think that a public statement by such a major player can move mountains.

i think this is huge. mostly because the company gets it. they understand what's at stake. they see the hurt that can be prevented if those who can vote, vote NO.

Our position on California's No on 8 campaign

9/26/2008 03:23:00 PM
As an Internet company, Google is an active participant in policy debates surrounding information access, technology and energy. Because our company has a great diversity of people and opinions -- Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, all religions and no religion, straight and gay -- we do not generally take a position on issues outside of our field, especially not social issues. So when Proposition 8 appeared on the California ballot, it was an unlikely question for Google to take an official company position on.

However, while there are many objections to this proposition -- further government encroachment on personal lives, ambiguously written text -- it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 -- we should not eliminate anyone's fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.

so now you tell me!

apparently there's a "quiet car" on every amtrak train.


isn't that nice?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

like hell

forgetting to pack your iPod for a train ride.

to my right, an annoying teenage boy with HIS iPod loud enough that i could hear, and i didn't like what i was hearing.

in front of me, a selfish black chick who played games on her cell phone -- with the sound UP -- for 1.5 hours. none of my numerous LOUD sighs did anything... they never do.

behind me, a fat redneck who either has lung cancer or a some kind of bronchitis. he left a lung in Lancaster. i breathed through my hoody, which, thanks to cass, smelled like fresh downy.

and somewhere off in the distance, someone's cell phone alarm rang for fifteen whole minutes. apparently it didn't wake that motherf*cker up...

lesson learned.

still i seethe with rage.

Friday, September 26, 2008

mea culpa

I’ve been in a rut, back and forth enough
Heart like a wheel
Without you around, so uncomfortable is how it feels
Every time you’re near trouble disappears
Under the ground
But when you go too far silver clouds will start hanging around...

you must be wondering if i've written a lovely poem about missing A.

maybe you're curious whether these are the previously undiscovered lyrics of musical genius Joni Mitchell.

at the very least, your heart is swooning from the power of these profound words, at first look presumably written by a poet-sage with many years of experience. decades of love and loss that must be expressed.

now that i've moved you, i'll confess to you that these are the lyrics of one of my current favorite songs. by miley cyrus.

i was skeptical when e gave me the cd. i guess after enough replays, any album can grow on you. except adele's. i hate that cd, and i'm not warming up to it, not even a little bit. but back to miley. i have to say that it took a couple months, but now she's got a presence on all my up-beat playlists, including GYM. which explains why this song in particular has been swimming around my head since my workout last noche.

while we anxiously await her video for it *crosses fingers*, you can access the song for free on youtube. maybe there will even be a lovely user-made video to go along with it. maybe a 14-yr. old homo dancing around his bedroom? it's worth tubing (like googling. use it.) the song title "Full Circle" to find out...

UPDATE: on second thought, don't tube it. i did, and it's not pretty.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


some mornings my daily horoscope is just so on point, it scares me a little. whoever is reading the stars did a good job today:

Although you may be quite pensive about the gulf between what you want and what you have, your day brightens when the Moon returns to your sign this morning. Still, you have much to reconsider, especially if your current line of thinking hasn't brought the rewards -- emotional and financial -- that you seek.


and it's SO true because all morning i WAS pensive about the fact that i really wanted toast or a bagel, but i don't HAVE either of those things, nor do i keep anything akin to bread in my home.

so, like my horoscope says, i really need to rethink whether my don't-keep-carbs-in-the-house mindset is really worth it. i mean, i'm still not at the optimal 2% body fat, and my modeling career remains on the back burner for the time being.

and all the while, i really, really want buttered toast.

i guess no one ever said life was easy...

FYI: as the gayest picture a Google Images search has ever turned up (above) indicates, i am, in fact, a LEO.

Monday, September 22, 2008

guilty as charged

Stuff White People Like #106: FACEBOOK

Social Networking sites have been embraced by white people since their inception. Because these sites use profile pages, white people can more efficiently judge friends and future friends on their taste in film, books, music, and inspirational quotes. Advanced level white people, fearful of being judged on their tastes from last week, will often only list one or two ironic things as their favorites. For example under music they would simply list “P.M. Dawn” or under films they would choose only Armageddon. In both cases these ironic answers serve as protective shields from the harsh gaze of other white people.

However, it is important to remember that the “where” is often as important as the “who” when it comes to social networking. As noted in earlier posts, white people are obsessed with being in the right neighborhood and the Internet is no exception.

In the early days, white people joined a social networking service called Friendster where they could connect with old friends and make new ones. Eventually, white people started to notice more and more of their friends on MySpace, so they closed their Friendster accounts and migrated to the new service. It was like living in a neighborhood that was pretty good but kind of far away, so you might have to miss out on a few parties. Needless to say, this was unacceptable.

For a brief period of time, MySpace was the site where everyone kept their profile and managed their friendships. But soon, the service began to attract fake profiles, the wrong kind of white people, and struggling musicians. In real world terms, these three developments would be equivalent to a check cashing store, a TGIFridays, and a housing project. All which strike fear in the hearts of white people.

White people were nervous but had nowhere else to go. Then Facebook came along and offered advanced privacy settings, closed networks, and a clean interface. In respective real world terms, these features are analogous to an apartment or house with a security system/doorman, an alumni dinner, and a homeowners association that protects the aesthetics of the neighborhood. In spite of these advances, some white people still clung to their old MySpace accounts. That was until they learned that Facebook started, like so many things beloved by white people, at Harvard.

Within a matter of months, MySpace had gone from a virtual utopia to Digital Detroit, where only minorities and indie bands remain.

If you plan on befriending white people, it is essential that you join them in the digital suburbs and open a Facebook account immediately. It’s also a good idea to make up a story about how someone from high school sent you a friend request and after accepting you discovered that they were fat and unsuccessful. White people love these stories.

full list of swpl

i pooped.

well, i felt like i was going to.

when i received an e-mail from my first friend to receive news that he passed the bar exam -- in another state, though, so it doesn't mean my good news is coming soon.

october's not so far away...

for now, all i can say is CONGRATS MANUELITO!!!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

the view from my laptop

his new fave spot
if he be lookin' grumpy, it's cuz i had to wake him up to take this.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


from October's Men's Health, "Ask the girl next door" advice column:

When can I send a text? When should I call?

Texting is a perfectly acceptable medium for mindless flirting ("ur such a qt"), logistical updates ("w8 for me"), and quick inquiries ("u like Thai?"). For conversations that require more than a single back and forth, please pick up the phone -- there's too much room for misinterpretation and confusion when you're trying to communicate in 20 characters or less. texting is a no-no if you're canceling plans, apologizing, or delivering news she won't be happy with ("btw: going 2 Vegas 2nite").

When in doubt, dial.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

fear factor

i've always been secretly incredulous about people's silly phobias. when an adult explains to me that she has a terrible fear of water, usually stemming from an older brother pushing her into a pool/lake as a child, i nod with ostensible apathy. behind my understanding gaze, however, i'm thinking, "this is BS." how can people be afraid of water? it's part of our everyday lives.

the same goes for other fears. the fear of heights that's bad enough to act up even while safely inside a tall building? a fear of elevators? or, worst of all (and one of patrick's faves), the unreasonable fear of balloons. i can't help but think, "give me a break, people!"

but as with most of my peeves, i realize my own hypocrisy after a little reflection.

as i sat in my reflecting pool (read: bathtub), soaking in a luxurious dead sea salt bath from duross & langel (partly because it's good for the skin, but mostly because i'm sick), i realized i am not above such phobias. i was lying back, trying to immerse my entire, throbbing, sinus-infected head in the as-hot-as-i-could-tolerate salt water, when i had a tiny panic attack and had to sit up abruptly.

an epiphahy: i don't like water.

it should come as no surprise, i guess. there have been signs:
-when, at 5 years old, i refused to put my face into the pool water at swimming lessons and had a hysterical fit that necessitated calling my mom.
-when i failed my freshman year requisite swimming test at GCC because i refused to do any kind of breast stroke.
-and even last month when D and i were supposed to be snorkeling in honduras, my panic attack forced me back onto the boat like a poopy-diaper toddler, just me and that stupid old cuban woman who didn't want to get her red afro wet. "jew need mar praktees in la piscina," the old cow told me. "es la verdad," i responded, defeated, a failure at tourism. i should've thrown the old bag into the water, but i think we americans have caused the cubans enough pain for a while.

so it is here, in my online confessional, that i admit to having my own phobia -- if you can call it that. it's probably more of a distaste. a preference for NON-water, really.

i probably shouldn't admit such things, but it's been one of those days. deflated. defeated. frustrated. i've been dealing with this sinus thing for a while, and it's not getting any better. it just blows my mind that a team of the best doctors in all of philadelphia can't cure it. and by "a team of the best doctors in all of philadelphia," i do, of course, mean my friend brad, who just graduated from med school and is now living a real-life episode of "Scrubs."

wish me well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

nothing if not professional

[discussing the lack of a/c in the office]
me: i can't stop sweating
lois: and it's only gettin' hotter!
me: i'm about to take my shirt off.
lois: do it.
me: i'm serious.
lois: you should. take it off!

me: [in my sexy voice] you'd like that, wouldn't you, lois?
lois: [long mmmmmmmmm-hmmm that only a sassy black woman can pull off].

and while we're on the topic, can i just say: as the sun rises, beating its heat upon philadelphia like fists against a punching bag, i will be sitting here. complaining. in the heat of the 24th floor. by noon i may be in one of the worst moods of my life.

heaven help us.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

are you gonna drop the bomb or not?

my iTunes downloading has reached new depths of depravity.

but when something gets stuck in my head, what am i to do? how do i get you out of my head?

here's a more digestible version, for those of you who aren't wearing mascara and tight leather pants:

Monday, September 8, 2008

early mornin'

it is one of those mornings when it physically hurt to get out of bed. you know what i'm talkin' about.

i hear the alarm screaming at me (well, lately i've been waking up to the chris cox mix of britney's first 5 years of hits), and i want to cry.
i snooze. in the past week, i've snoozed twice. i never snooze.
i sigh.

"do i have to?" yes, m-dawg (that's what i call myself in my pep talks), you do! you're an adult now. a desk is waiting for you.

"call in sick?" stop it. you know The Secret. if you tell them you're sick, you're gonna get sick. you learned that lesson last spring when you lied to your internship coordinator about being sick so you could sleep in with A, and subsequently got the flu for 4 days.

ok, then, a few more minutes. but no. atticus is already sniffing my head, licking my ears, and slowly walking on my blanket-covered crotch, which still hurts because i have to pee.

i really do have to get up.

coffee helps. so does the prospect of breakfast: today, re-heated lasagna from last night's entourage premiere party.

and i tell myself, "tonight i'm getting 10 hours of sleep. it will feel so good to get up tomorrow morning." but nobody is tired at 8:30, unless maybe you work in a coal mine. but you don't. because you wouldn't be reading my blog. you'd think i'm an elitist like obamarama.

i guess mondays are supposed to be like this, huh?

it's the price we all pay for having fun, rather than catching up on sleep and laundry, every weekend.
when will we learn?

a few more mondays like today, and i might actually change my ways... ?


Sunday, September 7, 2008

tame that hair

let me explain.

my preev post, that is.

you see, the other day i downloaded HEART's greatest hits -- partly because they're some of the best pop songs you and i have known throughout our entire lives, but mostly prompted by this past-its-prime duo's bitchy insistence that the McDeath 08 campaign not use their song at the republican national convention or any other rallies. these dreams go on when i close my eyes...

suddenly i'm caught up in the emoworld of the early '80s. what about love? don't you want someone to care about you? oh man, i can't get my mind out of the never, never gutter.

oh well. my emotional reaction caught me off-guard. it was nothing at all... like anything i had felt before.

okay, clearly i'm losing my ish. i should go now. but just one more thing: please download as many HEART songs as you can. because they're hot, sassy, old chicks. and they stood up to the establishment. damn the man!

oh, and most importantly, you already love all these songs. whether you realize it or not.


heart strings

'til now, i always got by on my own
i never really cared until i met you

gawd, heart, you bitchez are rockin' me to the core.

maybe i should've been born a decade earlier.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

re-post from 4/27. still approp.

oh my blog, this is so lovely.
my cheeks hurt from smiling for the past 3 minutes.

it reminds me of that ridiculously cute bright eyes video... i'll post it soon.

Friday, September 5, 2008

bradbury says...

Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.

and you know what? i agree with him.

i didn't always. there was a time, not very long ago at all, in which i wanted to be saved. asked to be saved. needed. yearned. prayed.

what was i thinking? and why did i think it? it was never imposed upon me. in a household of 3 athies-- no -- agnostics, at best, i independently decided to seek salvation, which apparently comes packaged with republicanism. and where did it get me?

and where is it getting america? i've never been the most political person, but my heart holds a special place for conservatives -- especially the evangelicals. i understand you people. i've been you.

you're faithful. loyal. you truly do have the best of intentions, even while you're denying a faultless minority group their basic civil liberties. why? because you're trusting of authority. you've been taught for so long to seek guidance and approval from the lord and all his appointees.

but if you stop robotically agreeing for one second and just analyze what you're being told, by golly, doesn't it upset you just a scosche?

for instance, i can comprehend that global warming and the need for alternative energy sources means very little to a person who genuinely believes that the messiah will be returning soon. [okay. for all you non-churched folk, please suspend judgment for just a bit while we discuss this. thanx.] but let's just say, for argument's sake, that the son doesn't come back-- oh... i dunno, for 100 more years. now tell me this:

what about your children? what about their children? and if they're anything like today's most prominent conservative children, *coughbristolpalincough* what about THEIR childrenoutofwedlockborntoteenagers? hmm?

and haven't we all been encouraged by god since the dawn of time to be good stewards of the earth's resources? read the Good Book, y'all! you don't realize how far you've strayed, because the shepherd's stunt doubles guided you there.

there comes a point when you need to stop sitting there on the uncomfortable, hardwood, numb-ass pew nodding in agreement to every word you hear before even processing it, and make your own decisions.

you know, maybe jews ain't so horrible and confused. i mean, they all seem to be financially very blessed by the Almighty. take that as a sign that god loves them.

and maybe abortion isn't the worst thing to happen on earth. c'mon, we were ALL hoping that gorgeous little jamie-lynn would shine brighter than her trainwreck big sis. and her downfall was preventable. i'm just sayin', y'all.

and maybe our allegiance to the "conservative" party isn't necessary to faithfully encourage the lord's will on earth. eh? whaddaya say? it's time that you give a little. swallow your goddamn pride. you'll be glad you did.

...i am.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

hugo says...

I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes -- and the stars through his soul.

that's lovely, victor. and so true. oh, that it would always feel like that! even when the days are long, when the work is hard, when the waistband is tight...

what else matters?