Friday, June 23, 2017

Paige Has Been on the East Coast for Less Than 24 Hours and HasComplained About Heat 490 Times So Far

Although this photo was taken in the Seattle Airport, it accurately coveys Paige's feelings about east coast heat and car traffic in Boston, where as I write this it is 88 degrees on a Friday at rush hour.

Not gonna lie: I'm straight up worried this Alaska girl is going to fail to adjust to real summer, even in slightly-cooler-than-most-of-the-lower-48 New Hampshire where she will be away at camp for a month. 

Whether Paige's intolerance for heat is the result of some genetic predisposition, her Alaskan roots, or some combination of the two, the end result is intermittent bitching--from a kid who in all fairness rarely bitches about anything--about how hot it is.


It's really quite dramatic. 

It's moments like this that I realize what it means to be born and raised in a temperate rain forest where, global warming notwithstanding, 45 degree days in July are the norm and the mercury rarely even hits 75. 

We did, however, spend the hottest part of the day in the air conditioned Boston Science Museum where Paige convinced my septegenarian aunt to go on a mini roller coaster and built a huge tower out of Jenga blocks. 

For science. 

Paige did experience her first ever planetarium show and announced that she was going to be a rocket scientist. I told her not so fast, homeslice. 

It's REALLY hot at Cape Canaveral.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Are You Here for Man Bun Ken?

Because I am, bros n' bitches!

Man Bun Ken is one of several new Ken Dolls Mattel introduced to the world in order to deal with the fact that regular blonde Ken is 80s AF, and no little girl wants to play pretend Barbie sexy fun times with Blaine from Pretty in Pink or the water skier from the Juicy Fruit commercial anymore.

As you can see below, there's also a Justin Bieber, a Bruno Mars, and a Taylor Swift boyfriend with nerd-chic Buddy Holly glasses.

But by FAR--by FAR--the best new Ken is "Man Bun Ken." The creation of Mattel Man Bun Ken™ is the canary in the man bun coal mine. But before the man bun goes the way of Flock of Seagulls hair, let's pretend that Man Bun Ken has a little computer in the back where you can press a button and he says like 10 different man bun things.

Twitter already had kind of a field day with Man Bun Ken, but no one so far--I think--has put words in the mouth of Man Bun Ken other than someone who claimed he looks like he would interrupt her and say "Bernie Would Have Won" which is just . . . MWAH.

Anyway, here are 10 things I think Man Bun Ken would say if he could talk:

1. "There's a great new brunch spot in Silver Lake."

2. "I am CRUSHING Tinder."

3. "OMG. I am SO OLD."

4. "I'm moving to an organic farm for the summer to do their creative."

5. "Please engage with my brand."

6. "I'm DJ'ing at Kompromat tonight." (Kompromat is the name of a made-up bar in Williamsburg)

7. "I'm doing a multi-media performance art installation at Kompromat tonight."

8. "Follow me on Instagram."

9. "I love your aesthetic. It's so authentic."

10. "My hair products are locally-sourced."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fucking Really? Why Do Mass Murderers Always Wash Up in Alaska?!


According to the Juneau Empire, four people possibly "connected" to the execution style-killings of 8 people in Ohio "took a vacation to Alaska" in "recent weeks" and authorities "believe the family has now relocated to Alaska, but would not be more specific." 


DUDES. Alaska is  663,300 square miles. So for Ohio authorities to imply that the public should be on the lookout for a family of four murderous rednecks is a bit of a needle in a haystack proposition, at least initially. (Then again, there's hope, see below).

Further research reveals that a child traveling with the wanted fugitives is named "Bovine," which speaks to questionable judgment (though not necessarily homicidal behavior), since it's kind of mean to name a kid after a cow and it also makes you pretty conspicuous if you register for daycare while on the lam (or lamb? BOOM!) 

Even in a state where naming children after mountains, trees, and weeds is common,"Bovine" sticks out.

For some reason, sketch-ass fugitive motherfuckers have this delusional fantasy that Alaska is going to be like their secret haven where they can just hide out forever. 

couple problems with this myth:

1. It's not as easy to hide out here as you think. Alaska has a very small population (738,500) and the lowest population density in the U.S. So everyone is six degrees of separation from everyone else. Newcomers are duly noted everywhere.

2. There's plenty of wilderness to hide out in. But the average fugitive who is dumb enough to shoot 8 people and hit the road is unlikely to survive here very long without Alaska kicking their ass to the point of serious injury or death.

In sum, there's good news and bad news to this story. 

The bad news is that homicidal rednecks still run away to Alaska and the myth of escape.

The good news is that the myth of the Alaska escape is just that, a myth, and people and sketch who live and belong here know how to flush out the people and sketch who don't.

Tick-tock, motherfuckers!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Think I Speak for Most Women When I Say I Wish There Was a Safe and Clean Way to Catheterize Myself Every Night

"Too lazy to pee" are four words I would have hoped I'd never use to describe myself, but welp, here we are.

And I think I speak for most women when I say I wish there was some way to safely (and painlessly) catheterize myself overnight, for the simple reason that my bladder won't last through the night on its own. It wasn't just the kids. I've always been like this. It's just that now, I can't go back to sleep again, because here's what happens:

I suddenly worry I haven't set the alarm so I go double check. But whoops!

Since my alarm clock is also my calendar, maybe I should take a quick peek just to see what meetings I have tomorrow.

And then because my calendar is my weatherman, I need to look at the weather to figure out what to wear to the meeting.

And then because my weatherman is also telling me that the weather is going to be unusually warm, I start to get nervous about climate change and open my newspaper, which surprise surprise, is also my weatherman.

And once I open the newspaper, all bets are off, and I might as well check my email which is right next to my newspaper.

And I'm wide-awake and mad at the world at 4:00 a.m.

I know what you're going to say. Why are you sleeping with a smart phone next to your bed? Don't you know that's the EXACT thing that every expert in everything since smart phones were invented tells you not to fucking do? 

And that if you do it you are seriously the worst person on earth, and might as well be smoking 800 packs of cigarettes and eating Junior Mints by the bucketful every single day?! And how but no, seriously though, you shouldn't do that it's terrible sleep hygiene.

To that I say: PISH-POSH! I might come up with a good idea for a blog post, (and often do from dreams). And also, how will I know when something horrible happens to a relative on the east coast?

You can see the problem. 

And, at the risk of offending someone who actually needs a catheter for medical reasons, this is why it all comes down to wanting a catheter simply to avoid losing three hours of precious sleep to Donald Trump's early morning tweet-storms.

Not Equipped

I am not equipped for this task. That’s what I thought, for months after he asked me. His message sat in my in-box, blinking, criticizing, reminding. I see you, it said. I see you not doing this thing you promised to do.

He didn’t ask again, but I knew he wouldn’t. My disappointing failure to do this was going to be just that: My own failure and my own disappointment.

I wrote to him and told him I was halfway there. I had read my friend Ishmael’s book of poems, Rock Piles Along the Eddy, but I couldn’t do the second part. I couldn’t write about it.

Sorry it’s taken me so long. I haven’t forgotten, I promise. But I’m not equipped to do this. That’s what I told him, in so many words. I thought your poems were beautiful, but what do I know? What does a Jewish woman, born and raised in New York City, and an Alaska transplant/intruder/interloper know about the poetry of an Inupiaq and Tlingit Alaska Native man?

Moreover, I’m not a literary critic. I write about farts, nipples, Cheetos, and Donald Trump's spray tan for tweets, shares, and viral laughs. I don’t know anything about poems. Or if I do, I’ve forgotten. And when I did know, it was the classic western kind. Keats, Yeats, Walt Whitman. Norton Anthology stuff. I have nothing to say.

He assured me that I did have something to say, which is why he had asked me to say something. And over the course of some back-and-forth, I realized he was right. The problem was not that I had nothing to say. To the contrary, I had plenty to say. I was just afraid to say it.

The night before, I’d asked Geoff what my “angle” on this post should be. He said “don’t go there.” By “there” I knew what he meant. He meant The Things We Don’t Talk About. For us, maybe why we chose to circumcise our son and why we don’t have a Christmas tree. The Holocaust, slavery, genocide, diaspora, assimilation, competing in the historical trauma “suffering Olympics.” As if there could be a Gold Medal in such a thing. 


But, Ishmael said, this is the crux of dialogue. It is the crux of my blog, too, though the medium seems trivial, petty and ephemeral. To explore and probe with authenticity and sometimes vulgarity, and hopefully some depth, the things we don’t like to face. The Things We Don't Talk About. To stare into the blinding sun of those things, open my eyes wide, and let them burn my retinas.

What does it mean to do that in this particular instance? Well, I think it means to acknowledge that there is a reason I do not like to wear my Alaska Native jewelry and why my lavender kuspuk stays buried in a drawer, out of sight. It feels dishonest and appropriating to adorn myself with these objects. 

It means “passing” as “white,” and collecting all the prizes—big and small—awarded for the genetic happenstance of white skin. Being in, of, defending, and benefiting from the systems erected and imposed amid the ruins of a very recent and evident cultural genocide, the reverberations of which are felt, seen, and heard everywhere, every day, in this state. 

To concede the point that it is more than “white guilt” or “white tears.” Or being “woke” or "calling people out" for being “not woke.” It is those things, of course, but above all, it is white complicity.

A few lines from one of Ishmael's poems in RPATE (my invented acronym for this, Ishmael’s second collection of poems) reminded me where the rubber of my reluctance met the road of necessity to do the simple thing Ishmael had asked of me:

This is Native land.
Until you recognize this, there is no justice.
Until you act on this, there is no justice.
Until you dig deeper than empathy, there is no justice.
Until you give up what you never should have had in the first place, there is no justice.
Taking up the space, the land, the airtime, the mic, the profits,
the recognition, the dialogue, the conversation.
It’ll never feel right.

Steps Toward Dismantling Collective Psychosis on Colonized Land is the title of the poem from which this excerpt is taken.

In Alaska, we live in the wake of a massive cultural genocide perpetrated with surgical, devastating precision on a complex and rich culture. This is a fact. To acknowledge it as objective reality—and not a matter of subjective perception—is, just maybe, one tiny step toward dismantling the collective psychosis that none of it ever happened.

Monday, June 19, 2017

This I Spy Junk Board is a Hard-Won Trophy of Short-Lived Sibling Harmony

If I'm honest (and I usually am), a full 70% of my kids' interactions with each other are hostile. Scratch that. It's more like 80%.

This statistic defies my only-childhood fantasy of sibling bliss. Despite being forewarned by veteran parents, I had naively assumed that my kids would be best friends at all times. Now I realize they're just two people who got stuck with the same parents and chromosomes. Under more primal circumstances, they would surely try to kill each other in the wild in a Darwinian quest for resources.

The deflated expression on Isaac's face in this picture provides a glimpse into the tempestuous evening that led to the creation of this "I Spy" junk board.

I'd come home from work in a mood. A bad one. My eczema was flaring up again after I'd let myself believe that an expensive magical medicine had cured it forever. The state legislature was marching grimly toward the fiscal plank of a devastating shutdown that would put a serious cog in everyone's financial works. And natch, because it was a day ending in "Y," Vladimir Cheetos was barging through the China shop of American democracy like a raging orange bull.

In short: My data limit for the intolerable had just been exceeded, which is my kids' cue to go into roll-over minutes.

I tried to go to my "happy place" of adult coloring on the couch as I listened to Paige and Isaac devolve into pointless conflict over nothing.


"WELL SHE SMALL-PINCHED ME AND CRUSHED MY NUTS!" ("Small pinching" is exactly what it sounds like, and so is "nut crushing").

I just sat there ignoring them both, slowly rolling a magenta glitter gel pen around and around inside the petal of a pen-and-ink flower, pretending I was somewhere--anywhere--else. 

Somewhere I didn't have to hear my kids arguing with each other, for the sound of my kids arguing is even more unbearable to me than Nickelback and/or the sound of Donald Trump saying words, which is really saying something. 

Finally, I played the "no screen time or sugar for a month if you don't quit fighting" empty threat card. Fortunately, my kids still fear my making good on this threat, notwithstanding all historical precedent to the contrary. They fell into line. 

Under Paige's able (if slightly despotic) leadership, my kids cooperated to both get rid of junk AND use their imaginations!

Of course, this "I Spy Board," as Paige called it, was itself destined to become the object of a future fight. But for now, it was a hard-won trophy of short-lived sibling harmony, and it would be documented for posterity.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Face Hurts from Glitz-Related Smiling

The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Waverly Place, a few blocks from Stonewall. Boys Night at Twylo. Provincetown in summer. The AIDS Walk. Gay and lesbian couples in my familial orbit. 

These were all staples of my very straight, very cis-gendered childhood in New York City. So I'm certainly no stranger to drag. And all I can say is Juneau fucking BRINGS it when it comes to drag and Pride.

It was only by the grace of a friend whose husband was performing as one of the queens that I scored a seat to what I didn't realize (but will certainly note for future reference) was the hottest ticket in town. (P.S. to note to self: DO NOT WEAR JEANS, WOOL SOCKS, AND CLOGS, K?). I couldn't stop laughing and smiling watching all the drag queens and kings just fucking kill it up there.  

And I honestly teared up looking at all the people who had come to see this flagship Pride week event. Because it's one thing to celebrate Pride and the LGBTQ community in NYC, where tolerance abounds, and it's quite another to do it with so much love and so much enthusiasm in the capital of Alaska.

Everyone has a different story. I'm not LGBTQ myself, and I don't pretend to know what a lot of the people in that room and on that stage have been through.

I was reminded of it, though, when the emcee who was down from Anchorage mentioned that there were protests planned against Anchorage Pride, and called on the audience to just love one another.

I have to confess it's hard for me not to be repulsed by (much less love) people who would take time out of their day just to show up and rain negativity on fellow human beings who have nothing to do with them, and are just trying to celebrate their own humanity.

Then I decided that if I couldn't dig up any love, I could at least find sympathy. Because really, you have to feel sorry for people who are that sheltered, damaged, and afraid. You just have to feel compassion for someone who can't find it for others. For people with that kind of misguided, clueless hate in their hearts. It must suck so hard to be them, and hopefully love and Pride will drown out their sad, tiny, shitty little voices.

To end on a lighter (grosser?) note, I had an insight tonight about "test-farting" and gender-neutral bathrooms. 

Test-farting is what I do when I have to fart and I'm not sure what the fart situation is. Like is it a mild one-off? Or is it about to be like the kind of thing where I just need to go home?

That's when I realized what the bathroom wars were really all about. I AM afraid of gender-neutral bathrooms! Why? Because I spent my entire younger life trying not to be the girl who accidentally gave up the biggest secret of her entire gender.

One of the drag kings was wearing a tank top that said "GENDER IS OVER," which is all well and good. But that doesn't change the fact that in a post-gender society with gender-neutral bathrooms, a hot guy might hear me fart.

Now THAT'S something to protest, motherfuckers!