Human Interaction Good Times

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Image courtesy of Jason Eppink. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This weekend, I volunteered at BaconFest, the annual Dad’s Garage tribute to bacon and beer. I did my eco-friendly part, and walked from my apartment to the venue using Atlanta’s super-excellent rails-to-trails program, the Beltline.

This was a mistake. First off, as I am reminded of while writing this, I am in terrible physical shape/do not consume enough milk, and if I walk at something speedier than an amble, my shins hurt for the next three days.

More than that, however, was the nice reminder that street harassment is a Thing. I normally assume that I don’t get harassed much out in public because I maintain an A+ bitchy resting face, or because I’m kind of mousy. Not (exclusively) so! I don’t get harassed out in public because I have the incredible good fortune to spend most of my transit time in the car. Continue reading

Delightful Terrible Decisions

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Image courtesy of Robotclaw666. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

On weeknights, I’m normally in bed by 11pm. This past Wednesday, at 11pm I was in Athens, GA, watching Tinariwen play at the Georgia Theatre. It was an unusually exciting Wednesday.

Athens, mind you, is an hour and a half away (at best) from where I live. This was an objectively idiotic activity choice for a Wednesday evening, particularly given that I had to be back at work at 9 the next morning (and my long-suffering parent had to be at his early-morning fitness boot camp at 5:30). The band wasn’t even scheduled to be on stage until 10:15. But two factors swayed me: 1) the tickets were free due to my excellently swank job, and 2) Tinariwen is made up of Malian Tuareg rebels, and so I figured the likelihood of their coming back through Georgia might be small.

(Long-suffering parent introduced me to Tinariwen, so he wasn’t just there for moral support. Plus he also thought Athens was 45 minutes away, so, whoops.)

Continue reading

Great White Whales (with Pockets)

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Image courtesy of Brian Gratwicke. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I am fatter now than I was in college, and was fatter in college than I was in high school. This does not bother me particularly. Given the fact that I entered the world breeched and jaundiced, wound up with a paralyzed face during delivery, had (rather botched) eye surgery as a child, and have been blind as a bat since the age of 9, most of what I think about my person is “holy shit, I am a testament to the human brain’s ability to override natural selection despite nature’s attempts to kill us.” (#TeamThumbs.) At any previous point in history, I would be dead 3 times over by now.

That said, the confines of this particular meat sack have forced me to lose some truly spectacular items of clothing. This came to the forefront of my mind this weekend, as I was walking—drunk on Fuller’s ESB and cheese toast—around my hometown square. Stepping into the local hipster boutique (by “local,” I mean “the one on that side of the square,” since there’s approximately 7 in a half-mile radius), I saw an absolutely beautiful pair of knee-high, wooden-heeled, burgundy Frye boots in the most completely gorgeous, buttery leather. They were 40% off. They were the last pair in the store. They were my size.

They were also, in the way of Frye boots, designed for tiny-calved people: despite the fact that they fit my feet, I couldn’t zip them up over my legs. My calves, inherited from my father, are giant.

Before the white whale of discounted leather boots, though, there was a pink lace dress. It was picked up in a second-hand store in Arkansas for $25, and it dated from the 1940s. The core of it, a sheath, was pink silk, with rose lace overlay on the skirt and torso. A foot-wide band of the lining tied around as a belt. The dress, which managed to survive a particularly drunken New Year’s Eve freshman year of college, died at the Great Gatsby-themed party where this was taken. I ripped a side seam in the torso due to beer/becoming an adult weight/enthusiastic dancing. At some point I will fix it and sell the thing, because it is gorgeous. Continue reading

Being Welcomed to Nightvale

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Image courtesy of Carolyn E Brown. Licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

Last week, as a pre-birthday gift to myself (today marking my official entrance into either my very early mid-twenties or very late early twenties), I attended the Atlanta stop of the Welcome to Nightvale tour.

Welcome to Nightvale for the most-of-you who don’t listen to it, is a twice-monthly podcast that is probably best described as Prairie Home Companion written by Lovecraft. It is narrated by Cecil Baldwin (voiced by Cecil Baldwin), who is both the cypher for the town’s own weirdness (there are angels that don’t exist, a dog park which is forbidden, and librarians who are scaly and to be feared) and himself the sort of person who would volunteer to be a public-access radio host.

It was a lovely hour of live theatre, with some charming folk music thrown in for good measure. This I had expected. What I hadn’t expected was the completely delightful people-watching options afforded by attending an event full of nerdy, nerdy 16-year-olds (said, as a former 16-year-old nerd who is now the sort of person at nearly-23 who attends live recordings of podcasts by herself, with all the love in my heart).

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A Perfectly Lovely Sunday

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Image courtesy of Emily Chapman. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I spent last Sunday vomiting up a wide variety of food and drink. Veggie burger. Orange juice. Blueberries. In my house. In my dad’s house. Out of a vehicle onto Morningside Drive, in front of a family out for a bike ride. (My profuse apologies to whoever’s streetfront that was.)

Unprepared as I was for the sudden strike of gastrointestinal upheaval, I wound up having to call my dad and ask him, feebly, to retrieve me so that if I collapsed from dehydration, someone would notice and take me to the hospital. (The cat, though he is a lovely roommate, is not very considerate about these things.)

I livetweeted the whole event, of course, because I am disgusting. When I returned to work on Tuesday, I was reminded of which coworkers follow me on Twitter, because they all started conversations with me by saying, “Oh good, you’re not throwing up anymore!” So that was illuminating.

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Teen Vampire Lego Frozen Camp

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Image courtesy of Gibsonsgolfer. Licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

I occasionally joke that I don’t watch movies. There’s some grain of truth in it—I much prefer TV, if given control of the Netflix account—but just this week I saw two separate films in theaters, and another a few weeks before that. The issue is that the movies that I pay an unholy amount of money to see are not just a little bit embarrassing to disclose.

I haven’t seen a single serious film this year, but I have managed to see Frozen, The Lego Movie, and (most camp-fabulously) Vampire Academy. The first two made me cry. For all that I give off the impression of being a terrible snob, I delight in some particular campy-awful aspects of pop culture. I bored a coworker half to death with my Feelings* About Teen Vampires the other day, and then managed to fail to get a Big Lebowski joke***.

Y’all, I am failing hard at my East Coast Private Liberal Arts College snobbery.

(Maybe it’s because I went to a Methodist school. They’re so earnestly nice, guys. So nice.) Continue reading

Hanging out with my broken brain

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Image courtesy of Scott1723. Licensed under CC 2.0.

I was 15 when I had my first migraine. My family was at a moderately-fancy movie theatre, and it was a bright grey day, and I looked over into the parking lot and noticed that it appeared to be moving, which seemed unusual. I poked my dad and asked him to confirm whether the parking lot was moving or whether I was having an aneurism.

On the downside, the parking lot wasn’t really moving. On the upside, not an aneurism!

The migraines, a legacy inherited from my dad’s side of the family, didn’t make much of an additional appearance until I was in college. Either I was a remarkably low-stress high school student, or something about routinely eating fruits and vegetables staved them off until I started feeding myself a diet consisting of store brand boxed wine and Amy’s microwaveable meals. Continue reading

Lunar New Year Fun

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Image courtesy of Emily Chapman. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Despite Atlanta being a physically very large city (as evidenced by the recent, massive Snowpocalypse 2: Electric Bugaloo leaving folks with hour-plus commutes stranded on the highways), I spend my time in a small areas of town. I live and work in Midtown. I volunteer and drink cheap beer in Little Five Points. I went to school, grew up in, and now drink fancy beer in Decatur. The Westside, Mechanicsville, the Highlands–all within five miles of me–see me very rarely. I head outside the Perimeter maybe twice a year.

(Next time I complain of being bored in Atlanta with the same old things, feel free to point at this blog post and my completely habit-driven life. I’m like a hobbit.)

As a result, it was only through a friend’s invitation that I wound up out in Chamblee‘s Chinatown for this weekend’s Lunar New Year festival. It was completely delightful.

(Also, before you read this post, feel free to check out this excellent, wistful Toast piece on the new year: Your Third Grade Chinese New Year.)

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Religious metaphor swan

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Image courtesy of epSos.de. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

 

I’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks listening to Sufjan Stevens’ “Seven Swans” album, thanks to Spotify premium and a friend who–after getting a tattoo of a swan–reminded me of the thing’s existence. It is a lovely album, spare and Christian-y in the way that Sufjan Steven’s things are. I’ve been listening in particular to “All the Trees of the Field Shall Clap Their Hands.”

The song title, like most on the album, is a Bible reference. Because I was raised a heathen and my Methodist schooling mostly served to teach me about Hindu holidays, I didn’t know the verse. Google helped me out–thanks, Google!–and provided Isaiah 55:12:

For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands.”

Which is lovely. It is some Disney-level optimistic imagery. It is done justice by banjoes.

I’ve been thinking about the religious implications of the song this week, in part because I’m preparing to fly out of town for a cousin’s bat mitzvah this upcoming weekend. I’m excited to see the relatives, and pelt my cousin with marshmallows, and perhaps see what Nebraska has to offer.

Explaining my upcoming weekend plans has, however, led to multiple conversations about whether or not I am, in fact, Jewish. (Chapman is not, on the whole, a wildly common Jewish surname.)

Continue reading

Sleeping at Speedy Ortiz

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Image courtesy of Ethan M. Long. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This past weekend, I went to a concert for the first time in possibly several years (I’ve lost count). As anyone who follows me on Spotify can tell, my identity is not wrapped up in my musical choice: I alternate between listening to the Decemberists, the Avett Brothers, and Ke$ha more or less on loop. The process of finding new music is overwhelming to me, and so for the most part I don’t.

Needless to say, the show was not my idea–a friend texted me on Sunday evening, and reasoning that I didn’t have anything else planned, I agreed.

The show itself was at Wonderroot, a venue I had not been in since I was 16. It’s one of those all-purpose arts Things that I suspect most cities have–Atlanta has several–located in a big repurposed house with a recording studio and painting space and general artsy goings-on. There’s a community garden out back, because it’s that kind of place. They throw parties for folks who buy new art, and though I felt both too square and too old to be there, I am generally pleased that it exists.

The venue itself had all the aesthetic charm of someone’s Athens basement house show–dark and warm through other people’s body heat (and actually in a basement). Because I’m secretly a squirrel, the tight quarters and the darkness were fine by me. The fact that the beer was $1 a can was icing on the basement concert cake. I chatted with my friend and drank my beer and enjoyed being out of my element. Continue reading