kitchen table

sock wrestling, fork in the head & other past times
October 5, 2006, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Darn Kids, friends, funny fun fun, the Farm

sock wrestling alex
Sock wrestling my former camper, Alex. In Germany! (Photo by Zeb)

In preparation of yet another weekend away with friends–aren’t I spoiled?–I’ve been thinking of all the fun games we can play at night, or as my pal Sean said, “When we have nothing left to say to each other.” I don’t think that’ll happen but I’m still bringing Scrabble, Boggle, and Cranium. I’ve also been racking my brain for other games, ones that don’t require a board or dice or a deck of cards. Enjoy:

1) Sock Wrestling. This game is played with two people, both of whom are wearing socks. To make things as fair as possible, each player should wear socks of equal length (i.e., knee-high, ankle, trouser). In actuality though, the only rule of sock wrestling is that a player cannot pull his or her sock up once his or her opponent has begun pulling it down. Otherwise, it’s a free for all.

The objective is to get your opponent’s socks off before they get yours. I like to call it the scrappy-est of scrappy games. It is perfectly okay to employ the following “tactics” to one’s strategy: biting, pinching, tugging, rubbing, chewing, flipping, punching, throwing, tripping, banging, faking, crying, yelling, screaming, and flailing. This game was taught to me by my friend Abi.

2) Fork in the Head. Games similiar to Fork in the Head exist under other names with slightly different rules. This version can be played with as many different people as you’d like and is somewhat casual in its rules. For instance, there does not have to be a particular order in which each player proposes nor is there a limit to the number of proposals a player issues.

Getting on with it: each player names two people–living, dead, or fictional, it doesn’t really matter–and the other player must choose which person he or she would rather have sex with. A player must choose one person or, if the selection is too gross, he or she may utilize their single pass for that round (a round lasts the entire length of the game, usually the day or evening). When a player wishes to pass, he or she answers, “Fork in the Head.” There is a possibility for players to add twists to their proposals by stating, “His/her way” or “Your way,” meaning that either the chosen character dictates the details of sex or the player gets to decide how it all goes down.

Potential for disturbing scenarios is high so choose wisely and consider your guests when picking this game. It is also recommended that the occasionally softball is thrown to a player who is obviously becoming disgusted with the game. If for instance, you propose “Geraldo Rivera or Ann Coulter, their way,” try the following during the next round: “Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, their way.” This game was taught to me by Carissa.

Share your own games–share! share!


people’s power: anorexics & the merits of tabloid coverage
October 3, 2006, 11:15 pm
Filed under: America, Feminism, friends, Gender

This whole skinny model, Hollywood’s skeleton chic thing has been all over the blogs, tabloids, and mainstream press lately. Still, I feel inclined to comment.

As I said to Brynn this weekend, if I was 16 and had an eating disorder, I would see the most recent cover of People magazine and buy it not as a resource for getting help, for a mine of inspiration. I know this because at 16 I did exactly that. The more photographs I saw of disgustingly skinny women, the more determined I was to get there myself. “It shows you that someone else is doing it so therefore it’s possible,” Brynn said.

One of the sidebar stories-within-a-story to the cover article featured a then & now of actress Portia de Rossi. I actually didn’t know she suffered from anorexia–must’ve been during college when I disappeared from the land of television–and wow, she was really sick. Included in the text next to her photos are quotes from de Rossi about how she did it and how she recovered.

“See,” I said to Brynn, “I would’ve read the ‘I ate 300 calories–a lot of jello’ part and told myself that from now on 300 calories and jello is my goal.” I would have copied her method to improve my own. Fucked up, I know, but probably not that uncommon among women with eating disorders.

In fact, the National Eating Disorders Association suggests on their website that recovering anorexics or bulimics censor the details of their own stories when talking with a person suffering from an ED:

Don’t provide ‘tips’ or play the numbers game. “I ate only XXX calories a day” or “He took as many as XX laxatives at a time” can turn a well-intentioned story into ‘how-to instructions’ for someone to follow.

All of this makes People‘s attempt at a responsible cover depicting the pressure young women feel to be emaciated–let’s not say “thin” here, it’s beyond that at this point–seem insincere at best. One would think that if People were truly interested in addressing the problem of eating disorders, they’d consider not running photographs of these sick women at all. Wait until they’re healthy. Tell their publicists that until the weight comes back on, only photographs showing them above 105 pounds will be published. I doubt that would jive with People‘s advertisers but if they’re serious about being a semi-serious gossip rag–hey, they write stories about “normal” people too–then they should consider taking on some of the responsibility. That cover doesn’t get them off the hook, it just sinks ’em in deeper.

Uteri or Uteruses?
September 20, 2006, 4:03 pm
Filed under: Blogging, friends, funny fun fun, travel

While I was in New York, I got a chance to visit the Museum on Natural History–a lifelong desire, to be perfectly honest. My dear friend Brendan accompanied me on this adventure and even got me to screech a little upon seeing the infamous blue whale. I closed my eyes as he led me down a short set of stairs, allowed him to position me just right, and then looked up on his cue into the face of the whale. Screeched.

I also saw all sorts of rats in the “Mammals of New York State” exhibit and the following presentation of the evolution of the uterus:

According to this display, the uterus has become simpler. Amen, or something.

nice, little get away
September 20, 2006, 11:30 am
Filed under: Buffalo, City life, friends, Growing Up, love

“One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary, has ever happended to anyone before.”

Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That”

Somerville station, NJ

I flew into New York last Thursday morning, early enough to almost fall asleep on the subway. I made a friend though, an Argentinian woman who wanted to go to “Can-nan-nal” Street during her layover, and our small talk kept me half-alert until I could reach my friend’s apartment and promptly fall asleep in his bed.

The city was filled with rain and strangers who shared with me umbrellas and other sweetness.

Flung back into the life of a vagabond–where am I staying tonight?–both fun and excruiating. Now that travel has become a short thing of the Getting Away nature, and not my lifestyle as it was when I hopped from plane to plane, country to country, I am feeling its affects differently. As expected, I appreciate it more immediately for what it is: luxurious, an escape.

But there’s this other piece too, and I’m afraid I’ve got little choice but to be vague as I work through the feeling: I’m learning how a simple vacation–especially when you visit a place where you spent a few nights asking yourself hard questions or a few mornings waking up in bed with a lover or a few evenings walking with a blank slate of obligations–can shake the whole foundation of the place from where you departed.

I don’t know how to let something devour me slightly.

Frickin’ amazing
September 1, 2006, 10:35 am
Filed under: Buffalo, Darn Kids, friends

Anyone with any association with Buffalo should watch this.

the perfect crime
August 17, 2006, 6:22 pm
Filed under: Darn Kids, friends, funny fun fun

Not exactly criminal: My brother & his friends rolling another kid around in a trash can.

When I was younger, I used to fantasize about all the cool things I could do if I was only willing to be bad. Spray-painting the sides of parked cars–in the middle of the night, of course–and slashing tires seemed totally fun as well as the kind of crimes no one could catch me doing. Sitting in the back seat of my parents’ car, I’d gaze mournfully at all the clean, shiny cars lining the streets–untouched! If I could just get past the stupid dichotomy of right and wrong, I’d be rolling in fun and easy criminal activity!

My friend reminded me of these fantasies today when he admitted, without any provocation, that somtimes he wants to dump a gallon of black paint into a post-box. He said it would be even better if his enemy had just dropped off a bunch of letters in said mailbox!

I related to him my own fantasies of stupid–or as he put it, “Fuck You”–crimes which only encouraged him to open up even more. He also thinks it would be the ultimate to sit on a bridge and throw eggs on passing cars. Ha!

What I think is actually the most fun is not the doing of such immoral activities–frankly, we’re too wussy–but rather the detailed descriptions of how such crimes would be executed. Any fantasies of your own?

friends who menstruate
August 9, 2006, 9:22 am
Filed under: Buffalo, Feminism, friends, Gender, the Farm

Lauren & Sara, mural on Massachusetts Ave

Since moving back to Buffalo, in mid-March, I’ve acquired quite the collection of guy friends. Previously, the close, male friends in my life were more often than not ex-boyfriends or former lovers but now I’ve got a lot of men in my life with whom I’ve never been sexual or romantic. It’s good–not that it was bad before–and a change that I appreciate.

However, I’ve been craving women.

My college had a 3:1 ratio of women over men. Factor in my English major and women studies’ minor, and I easily had classes that were entirely female or contained less than four men. Since I graduated, the adjustment to a more normal ratio of the sexes has been slow; the adjustment to the ratio in the political business has been difficult. Where are the ladies? Why am I one of three in a room of 15 people? In work, in play, I’m missing the space created by women in a room together.

This weekend my dear friend Lauren, whom I met on the farm, visited Buffalo with her girlfriend, Sara. We ate food, drank beer, sang songs, talked politics, and laughed loud enough to welcome stares. It was wonderful. I talked with them over our diner breakfast about my lack of women-friends in Buffalo, about the general transition from the college bubble to a world where folks have a different education than me, and the significance of it all. They told me about another friend of theirs, one they were visiting after me, who said she was excited for their visit because she needed to be around people who menstruate.

I totally understand.