Thursday, April 30, 2009

Girl Talk Thursday: 50 Magical Dollars

I'm kind of all about the retail therapy. I'm also incredibly thrifty most of the time, so it's a very conflicting form of therapy. Usually when I'm buying something shiny to distract/reward myself, I wind up buying things like discounted socks from Sock Dreams, which ships free to US addresses, or a silly bar of chocolate from Whole Foods, or some kind of fancy craft beer, or a few weird-looking comics, or one of the t-shirts that I've been coveting.

In general I'm much more willing to spend on comfort foods/drinks than stuff 'cause I'm kinda a packrat and already have a lot of stuff, and also 'cause the chemicals in, say, chocolate or whisky have a more direct effect on my brain than the chemicals in t-shirts. (I HOPE.) But if I had a magic $50, unless I was having such a bad day that receiving magic monies couldn't dissuade me from wanting heaps of chocolate and whisky, I might go splurge on:

This bikini top. (I'd have to shell out nonmagical money for the bottom & shipping, obviously. And actually I really want this one, but sizes is all sold out, boo.) Have never owned a bikini! You heard me. I generally enjoy being not mostly naked in public, but might begin to make exceptions if a) oceans were involved, and b) my boobs had the support they deserve. And, okay, c) I maybe put down the brownies and did a bunch of crunches first.

The Study in Emerald pendant at the bottom of this page. Neil Gaiman + eldritch horror + Black Phoenix = ultimate geek attack. And I have very few pieces of jewelry that make people go "WTF DUDE." I'd like to add to my wtf collection.

This laptop skin, for the Dell Mini 12 I just ordered yesterday. (First laptop ever! Portable Intarwebs! So excited!) I am vaguely aware that I may be outing myself as a 20-something indie chick cliché, but guys, octopi and cake are two of my favorite things. And they could both live on my laptop! Netbook. Whatever the kids on the street are calling them in these, our modern times.

I feel compelled to tell you that my birthday is coming up on May 29th.

I wrote this entry for Mommy Melee's Girl Talk Thursday! Come join the conversation:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Girl Talk Thursday Friday: Community

The Internet really weirds me out sometimes. And, I mean, I've been active in various online communities since the turn of the millennium -- first on forums & bulletin boards for X-Philes, anime fans, and webcomics like PvP, and then for years on Livejournal, and then occasionally and half-assedly on MySpace and Facebook, and now here. And "here" is a strange concept, but I think that the bloglands are the best of all iterations of Internet community so far -- just like in meatspace, everyone has a façade to maintain and a responsibility to build real, intelligent content up all around it, all through it. We bloggers are entertainers, educators, reporters, and exhibitionists of the human condition. I have, at times, felt more connected to people who I'd only ever read about than those who were within shouting distance.

If you've been online for any amount of time, I'm sure you've felt that too. To follow someone's blog is to live their life vicariously and in real time. And if the writer has enough talent with words and experience, enough wit and humor, it is so, so easy to celebrate their victories and mourn their losses as though they were your own.

A blogger named Heather Sophr lost her little girl on Tuesday. Maddie had been born prematurely and been in and out of the hospital several times, but was basically a happy and healthy 17-month-old. Heather's posts from last week demonstrate that no one suspected anything was wrong -- she wrote about ice cream, about raising funds for her upcoming March of Dimes walk, and about Maddie having a bit of a cold that she'd need, as always, to go see a doctor about. A friend of Heather's made the post Tuesday morning: Maddie's cold had created complications, and she had passed away.

The response has been huge. In less than 48 hours, Heather's March of Dimes fundraiser has jumped (leapt, flown, rocketed like a puppy with roller skates and a jet pack) from a bit over $2,000 to a bit over $20,000. People have been putting up online memorials, making pledges to walk in their local March of Dimes events, and making plans to attend Maddie's funeral in L.A. Most of these people were not family members or friends or even particularly dedicated fans -- Heather's blog readership was strong but modest. She wasn't a superstar, but she had nudged something in people, just enough that those people had maybe told their friends or mothers about this little girl they'd read about -- this slight, sorta awkward baby girl, with smiles and solemnity as intense as only a child can manage, with the biggest, bluest eyes -- that when she died, hundreds upon hundreds of people heard, and remembered, and wanted to do something.

I hear news reports sometimes that make the Internet sound like some kind of cesspool, some den of sin, some dimly lit and dangerous place. And I suppose some parts of the Internet are like that -- some parts of any human community are. But other parts -- more parts than you'll ever have time to explore -- are bright, beautiful, and populated by people who only want to learn, to laugh, and to help where they can. And it does weird me out, this world of hour-long trends, sudden celebrities, and mass followings of niche interests. It's a weird sort of community, and more like magic than anything else I've seen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

females read press releases and they're pissed

Pehaps you do not read the blog Girls Read Comics And They're Pissed. It's about the unintentional hilarity to be found regarding women in comic books and comics-related media, and it's generally one of my favorite Intarweb things, and I've missed it bunches over the past few months while its writer, Karen Healey, has been busy doing 3-dimensional things. And okay, if feminist-geared dorkitude isn't your thang, that's chill, but dudes seriously this press release from Marvel about their upcoming merch line for women females is the most unintentionally most-funny thing I've read since the Twilight series. And Karen's post about it is, as always, rad. I've got two things to add:

A) I edit for a medical journal, and it's actually a common style point for med journals to never use the words "female" or "male" to refer to human beings, unless it's part of a multiword descriptor that would be awkward with less dehumanizing words like "women" and "men". 'Cause it's the 21st century and we're trying to encourage the medical industry to think of patients as people, not charts or numbers. I mean. I guess I'm glad that Marvel used "females" and not like "ALL TEH LADIEZ" or something, but. Perhaps the marketing dude is Ferengi and merely using the language that comes naturally to him?

B) The phrase "female product"? Makes me think that Marvel is gonna be selling like tampons with Spider-Man on them:

"SUPER Heroes, SUPER Absorbancy!"

"Fight LEAKS And ODOR Like You Have A Tragic Origin Story In Which They Killed Your Parents!"

"Scott Summers: Best For Heavy Flow Days!"?