Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Working Cover Story Ideas for My Personal Lifestyle Magazine

How to Make Your Skin Look So Dewy a Brown Recluse Spider Will Think It’s Freshly-Mowed Grass at Dawn and Build a Cobweb across the Bridge of Your Nose

11 Direct Marketing Anti-Aging Snake Oils to Order through That Girl from Your Freshman Dorm at College Who Found You on Facebook Somehow

Things to Scream at Your Children When They are Cold-Cocking Each Other in the Face Instead of “DON’T MAKE ME READ SIBLINGS WITHOUT RIVALRY”

How to Gracefully Exit a Group Text Without Anyone Being the Wiser

15 Vitamin Supplements You Didn’t Cut in Half Before They Got Stuck in Your Throat for the Whole Morning

Life Hack: Save Time and Money by Eating Popcorn that Fell Between the Couch Cushions Last Weekend, and Also a Few Skittles if It's Your Lucky Day

The Best Lash Serums to Make Your Eyelashes So Long You will Trip over them on the Way to Yoga and Shatter Both Kneecaps.

Getting a Restorative Night’s Sleep While Also Eating Chocolate-Covered Almonds in Bed and Glancing at Trump's Twitter Feed Every Time You Get Up to Pee Which is Seven Times a Night

Great Summer Beach Reads to Burn in a Bonfire 131 Pages in Because How Bad is This Fucking Book and How Was it Even Published

14 Thirty Second Exercises To Turn Each of Your Butt Cheeks Into a Fully Inflated Soccer Ball in Under Six Weeks

How to Talk So Kids Will Shut the Fuck Up and Never Question Your Authority Again

Ways to Calm Your Children’s Anxiety Besides Whispering the Latest Car Accident Fatalities, Social Injustices, and Climate Change Statistics into Their Ears Late at Night When Their Brains are the Most Abosrbent

Fitting in Extra “Me Time” by Masturbating Furiously While Your Family is Out Grocery Shopping, Just Because You Can 

Fresh, Fun, Kid-Friendly Ways to Prepare Vegetables for the Compost Bucket

How to Spice Up Your Sex Life by Suggesting He Coat His Peen in a Smoked Chipotle Dry Rub

Weekday Go-To Dinners: Annie’s Shells in White Cheddar or the Orange Ones?: You Decide!

How to Give Your Girls Some Extra Lift with Nothing But This Pushup-Bra from Victoria's Secret, Clothespins, Binder Clips, Elective Surgery, Silicone, Opioid Painkillers, and $10,000

17 Flirty Lip Glosses That Will Make Your Lips so Shiny Your Bae Will Burn His Retinas Just Looking at Them

Fierce Fall Looks that Will Have People Mistaking You for a Rabid Mountain Lion

These Pee-Proof Mom Jeans with Will Have People Wondering if You're Being Ironic 




Monday, August 20, 2018

All Aboard the Kiddie Clusterfuck Express! Next Stop: Adulthood

“Welcome to the start of living in your car. This is my first day of school photo,” a friend texted me this morning.

Our kids went back to school in Juneau today, and I wished her luck on the next nine months of Kuber (Kiddie-Uber) driving. Or--if you prefer because they supposedly have better labor practices—Klyft. 


Either way, here we go again. That’s what I thought as I dropped both kids off at school this morning for their first days of fifth and second grades.

Typically, the Juneau School District’s late August start date means a 50-degree sideways monsoon on the first day of school. But July was beautiful; today was the mildest, sunniest August day I can remember since yesterday; and everyone seemed a little bit happier (and tanner) because of it. Parents milled about, taking pictures with their smart phones, chatting about their summers, and marveling at the extra inches the kids had grown. Some children hugged their friends while others clung to their parents, and teachers greeted their pupils.

All the while, I just kept thinking, here we all are, on the Kiddie Clusterfuck Express once again.

There’s an open parenting secret no one tells you—at least not in time to do anything about it: If you choose to have kids (not necessarily something I recommend, by the way) and raise them in conventional American society, you’ll likely end up on a metaphorical express train conducted by your kids and their jam-packed schedules. Your kids’ friends and classmates’ parents will be your fellow travelers and/or Klfyt passengers, and just like a real train, you don’t pick these passengers. You just have to hope you like them, because more often than not, you’ll need them. The practical reality is that I rarely see any adults whose kids’ lives don’t intersect with mine unless I really carve out the time, which between work and home-life is always at a premium for everyone.

It’s an interesting bond—that raising-kids-together-in-a-community bond. The whole “it takes a village thing.” It’s not really ingrained into American society, which fosters nuclear family units marooned in their own isolated silos. But there’s value in pushing back against that default because of the established benefit of many positive adult influences in a child’s life.

There’s a reason most parents feel happier when we’re co-parenting outside our nuclear families--when we know that we are taking care of each others’ kids. My kids were born in Juneau. I’ve known some of my friends since before we had kids, and our kids are now involved in the same activities or go to the same schools. Others I’ve met through my kids, whose sweet young friendships have made us frequent text-buddies and sometimes independent friends.

Regardless, and long after our kids are grown, we’ll always share that unique bond of having taken this journey together.

Here’s to my fellow travelers.





Friday, August 17, 2018

A Stripper Drops Science: My Interview With a Premier Local Exotic Dancer and Burlesque Performer

Last year, I wrote a blog post poking fun at a stripper pole for sale on Juneau buy-sell-trade. Afterwards, the stripper and exotic dancing community schooled me on a few things, for which I expressed my gratitude here

Ever since, I've wanted to do a profile on exotic dancers. It's a profession that's misunderstood, and one that people have a lot of preconceived notions about. So I sat down (electronically) with my pal Gertrude Edith D'Pall Mall (nee Rachael Byrd, stage name Lucy Bang Bang) a stripper and burlesque dancer here in Juneau, to get down to some stripper science. 

Here's her interview and insights, in her own words, lightly edited for style.

O.H.M.: Okay, so let's start at the beginning. How, when, where, and why did you decide to become an exotic dancer--a stripper?


Gertrude: I started in 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska at the Great Alaskan Bush Company. At nearly age 30, I decided to become an exotic dancer basically for the sake of adventure. Female sexuality has always been enticing to me. I was always a D student in theater class, but for some reason, I don't have stage fright while completely nude.

O.H.M.: Tell me more about the club where you got your start--the Great Alaskan Bush Company (GABC). 

Gertrude: The GABC opened in 1979 [during Alaska's pipeline construction/oil boom]. The club was popular with North Slope oil field workers, and had a flair for theater production beyond the more popular striptease performance style of the late 70's, 80's, and 90's. Over time, the club became nearly as famous for its high production value performances as it was for being one of the oldest, biggest (and sometimes only) dance clubs in the Anchorage area. The GABC remained a more theatrical type strip venue; not many exist like it around the country. It’s kind of a diamond in the rough.

O.H.M.: So let me back up. What is "burlesque" and how does it differ from stripping or exotic dancing?

GertrudeHistorically, American burlesque is a more seductive (in the striptease sense) version of the original Victorian style of burlesque, which focused on parody, humor, song, and comedy. The 1900-1940 American burlesque scene consisted of over 150 clubs nationwide by the '30s. It was extremely popular until New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia shut it down during prohibition for being too risqué and alcoholic. Social and political caricature has always been a staple of burlesque, which I view as a positive for social evolution.

O.H.M.: What drew you from traditional stripping or striptease to burlesque?


Gertrude: Burlesque immediately appealed to me. I noticed that some of the most talented exotic dancers I knew also had the best stage presence, character development, and behavioral comedy. Everything was starting to make sense and come together: burlesque was deeply rooted in the American striptopia, and this was somehow very comforting. I felt like the stripping industry was turning on its own history a bit by denying itself burlesque's classic theater background, which it was linked to anyway through weekly themed acts and performances. It seemed to be relying more heavily on trying to entice the public with the more common American strip club performances that flourished in the 80's and 90's. I think the GABC had sort of an identity crisis as striptease theater changed over time.

O.H.M.: How did you transition from stripping at the GABC to burlesque?

Gertrude: After four years of doing backstage productions and performance at the GABC, I began to visit local burlesque shows. The GABC wasn't really a "burlesque" venue. Instead, it relied on the striptease culture of the 1980s to define itself as a more "Showgirl" style venue, which now seems redundant to me, and not as inclusive in terms of embracing the burlesque culture. 
Seeing a connection, I reached out to the burlesque scene in Anchorage, which seemed to be thriving. I visited every show that VivaVoom Brrlesque or Sweet Cheeks Cabaret had to offer. Learning more through performance exposure and friendship, I played a vital role in introducing GABC to the increasingly popular Anchorage burlesque scene. After all, I'd already begun to produce my own shows at GABC, and ran their social media accounts. At this time, in 2016 and with connections I’d made in the community, the GABC became the notorious party spot and off-record social media sponsor of The Freezing Tassle Burlesque Festival - Alaska’s ONLY burlesque festival. It was here that I was introduced to the many different styles that encompassed what I'd first known as "burlesque." This festival was created and sponsored by VivaVoom Brrlesque, the oldest burlesque troupe in Alaska. It features classical, modern, neo, and the ever-seductive, highly-charged "boylesque" [male burlesque]

O.H.M.: In your experience, what does management at typical strip clubs think about burlesque?

Gertrude: I don't love the fact that strip club owners are so out of touch with the reality of this art; most likely because of money and antiquated social standards. It’s kind of fantastic and oddly captivating that burlesque artists, producers, and communities--who make very little money practicing their craft--have more respect for those in the exotic strip community than their own bosses, coworkers, and peers. I was greatly disappointed to find that a theatrical strip club that opened in 1979 was actually fairly regularly feeding into the negative feedback loop of the ‘emotionally downtrodden’ exotic dancer. I have yet to meet a strip club owner, manager, or anyone in a supervisor position who believes in exotic dancing as an artistic interest. Investing in erotic art could potentially make these businesses more valuable, because sexuality pretty much sells itself. So it seems redundant for the industry to act like sexuality is really the only important part.

O.H.M.: What sort of judgments do you get from others as a result of your stripping and burlesque career?

Gertrude: Starting a strip career in your thirties has its pros and cons, though I never really paid much attention to any negativity from employers, customers, club visitors, the media, or coworkers who perpetuated negative stereotypes of seductive theater. I found that burlesque striptease performers were often more supportive of the strip industry (certainly intellectually so) than my own bosses and peers. I felt at home there. I suddenly felt a strong, happy group of peers welcoming me from the strip club scene. 


O.H.M.: How do the burlesque and traditional striptease scenes interplay?

Gertrude: Well, not all burlesque performers are open to strippers and stripteasers. However, in my experience, most of them are. Not all burlesque performers are into the art of the striptease. Some are singers and comedians and have other equally amazing talents that are not striptease. Many burlesque performers have respect and support for exotic dancers and often don't bother to differentiate between the two. That being said, I don't try to qualify the range of talent I’m watching based on whether there is striptease involved or not. It’s a fantastically beautiful and amazing range of theater and performance that includes too much talent to hem into a specific genre. It’s about being all the "you" that's possible to be within your capacity for imagination. 

O.H.M.: What are some of the "unwritten rules" of burlesque performance?

Gertrude: As with all things, there are important parameters: You don’t copy someone else’s act and say it’s your own.You should include a wide variety of performers because we all live in the same whirling shit box, and life is too short to judge or exclude the LGBTQ/POC talents that exist out there in the world. Burlesque, for many, is a network of support, and it's important to showcase that. Burlesque is an art of self-expression and passion. It shouldn't be used to reenforce or caricature negative judgments or stereotypes, racial or otherwise.

O.H.M.: How do you identify on the LGBTQ spectrum, and how do your partners handle your career?


Gertrude: I’m more in the bisexual/pansexual rainbow. Women partners are often more understanding by miles and yards (for me, at least), maybe because I tend to date lady dancers and industry babes. I avoid jealousy like the plague. I truly find it a toxic human sickness. 

O.H.M.: How do you deal with partners that aren't okay with your burlesque or exotic dancing?

Gertrude: I leave them! It’s like people who refuse to fly. Not gonna invite them on the airplane. If they’re feeling adventurous, good. If they need to get off, see ya around.

O.H.M.: Any last words of wisdom you want to share on all of this?

Gertrude: Go find a creative outlet in this life. Appreciate the outlet others have chosen. Be a nice person, question the world around you, and treat others with respect. Glitter on!

You can catch Gertrude and the Capital City Kitty Burlesque Troupe tomorrow night, August 18, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Alaskan Bar in downtown Juneau in their show "Summer of Love: The Deflowering," produced by the Byrdcage Performance Arts. $15 cover.






Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Why Voting Matters

I want to say a few words here about why voting—simply the act of voting—matters so much.

There are certain choices we make as a society because they benefit the collective good. For example: in the developed world, trash recycling and vaccination programs are common because we’ve made calculated decisions that recycling and vaccines, on balance, benefit society. We’ve decided that if we don’t recycle, our planet will perish even faster than it already is, and that if we don’t vaccinate our children, preventable infectious disease will decimate the population.

Democracy is similar to recycling and vaccines, in that it requires societal buy-in to work. One soda can in the landfill and one skipped vaccine don’t matter, of course. But if every person decides their one soda can or their one vaccine is irrelevant, then these efforts fail completely.

The same is true of democracy. 


The foundation of democracy is voting. Individual acts of voting, without which democracy simply disappears. It’s easy to become cynical and overwhelmed by the state of our democracy, which in part is why turnout in state, federal, and local elections is abysmally low. Yet every time we stay home on Election Day, we sanction by our silence undemocratic forms of governance. And unless we want undemocratic forms of governance, we can't afford not to vote.

According to new data from the Pew Research Center as reported in the Washington Post last week, on the pie chart of “Who Do We Blame for Trump,” it is nonvoters—not Russians, Bernie Bros, Jill Stein, white women, Facebook, or anyone else—who handed Trump the presidency. Specifically, the 30% of Americans who were eligible to vote but didn’t is a higher percentage than those who voted for either Presidential candidate. Almost half of these nonvoters were nonwhite and two-thirds were under age 50.

It’s easy to be cynical, to think that your vote doesn’t matter, that our government is a joke and a corporatocracy. This cynicism is well-earned by our inept, gutless, and compromised leadership from the top down. But it’s a vicious cycle and an ironic feedback loop: the more cynical we become, the less motivated we are to vote, and each time we fail to vote, we enable and endorse the very system we’ve grown to distrust.

And it’s not just national and statewide elections. It’s local elections, too. 

In fact, turnout in local elections tends to be even lower—not just because these elections are often held on different dates from more high profile elections--but because local elections don’t always garner much publicity. Yet their outcomes arguably impact our daily lives the most, and are often the most closely contested. Especially in Alaska, where our population is small and elections are often decided by a handful of votes, it’s not just a bumper sticker platitude to say that every vote counts.

So please.

Vote in every election, every time. Do your homework about the candidates and issues on the ballot. It doesn't take long. If available, review sample ballots ahead of time so you know what you’ll be looking at when you get into the voting booth. Look up the dates, times, and locations for voting, and make sure you are registered well in advance. 

Voting is the single most effective, direct, and patriotic action you can take in support of American constitutional democracy. Vote like your life and the lives of your friends and neighbors depend on it, because they do.

The 2018 Juneau Municipal Election is October 2. The Statewide Primary Election is August 21. The Statewide General Election is November 6.






Sunday, August 12, 2018

Snail Jizz is Gonna Make Me Look Like Kylie Jenner

So here’s the truth of the matter, you guys: I don’t like getting older. Not one bit. Not from a physical standpoint, anyway. I don’t like insomnia, I don’t like creaky bones, I don’t like the carnage of erratic, vengeful menstrual cycles, and I ESPECIALLY don’t like wrinkles. 

I wish I felt otherwise; really I do. I wish I’d been raised in a less misogynistic and patriarchal society that didn’t brainwash me into believing that the only route to female happiness was to look as young and thin as possible for as long as possible, and believe me when I say I’ve worked hard to overcome this. 

But clearly I’ve failed, because I am now seriously considering jacking off a snail and getting him to “safely give up the goo” if it means I might look a tiny bit less old for even one more day of my ever-diminishing youth. You see, the collagen on my face is fleeing the jurisdiction faster than Paul Manafort with a hacked ankle monitor, and it seems the only solution is snail jizz.

Now before any of you snail biologist PhD types explain to me that snail slime is not in fact jizz, and that snails lay eggs and their slime is something else and their jizz is yet another thing entirely, let me make clear that IDGAF. It’s easier to call it jizz, and that’s what I’m calling it. 

Snail Jizz, aka, “the elixir of youth.”

This snail-jizz-as-everlasting-youth thing is actually a great side hustle when you think about it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many snails we have here in soggy-ass Juneau. They’re everywhere! And to think I’ve been spending a small fortune on a rotating stable of creams, serums, lotions, and potions when the secret to my crow’s feet was under an actual crow’s foot in my kale beds all along!

The only wild card is how to make these little guys “safely give up the goo.” That’s the $64,000 question. Do I show them like, snail porn? Like a girl snail in pasties and a thong? Do I take them to an erotic snail dancing club? I bet that dance takes a long time and the snail stripper pole is like, what ... an alder branch? 

Also how can I make these little bros jizz “safely,” right on my face? Snail jizz (or any jizz) on my face is not generally a preferred skincare product but again, if jizz means one less wrinkle give me a goddamned five gallon bucket of the stuff—snail, iguana, koala bear, gorilla—IDGAF.

Anyhoo back to safety. Safe for who? The snail? Me? The snail can die in ecstasy for all I care. And I can’t imagine that these tiny snails pose any danger to me? I didn’t bother watching the video to find out and once again I don’t care.

I’m ready to do what it takes to fluff the shit out of every snail in my garden and look like Kylie Jenner tomorrow k thx bye.




Thursday, August 9, 2018

Recent Juneau Municipal Dramz, Summarized

THE GREAT FLUORIDE DEBATE OF '06

Issue: Should Juneau fluoridate its municipal water supply?

Pro: Yes, if we don’t fluoridate our water, everyone’s teeth will rot out of their heads tomorrow. If you disagree, you’re an elitist asshole with dental insurance. THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

Con: No, if we fluoridate our water, our dicks will fall off immediately, our skin will glow in the dark, and we might as well call Juneau the next Chernobyl. THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

THE WHALE SCULPTURE

Issue: Should we install a giant humpback whale sculpture near the cruise ship docks?

Pro: Yes, an enormous breaching bronze whale in an infinity pool will make Juneau a world class city. Take a seat, Eiffel Tower! Juneau is now the Paris of the North. If you disagree, you are a lowbrow philistine who will NOT LET JUNEAU BE GREAT AGAIN.

Con: No, every cent that went into this whale should have instead gone to math textbooks and a needle exchange. Not to mention the cruise ship industry now wants to bankrupt us and bury us in litigation. THANKS, TAKHU!

THE ROAD OUT OF JUNEAU

Issue: Should we build a road out of Juneau?

Pro: Yes, we are marooned in the forest and dying of cardiac arrest every minute. If we can’t drive our Ford F-150s hundreds of miles up an avalanche chute, we might as well renounce Statehood. Also our watermelons will continue to be prohibitively expensive. THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

Con: No, we should not spend the GDP of a small developing nation on this death trap of a boondoggle. Moreover, if we do, it will be littered with the corpses of extinguished stellar sea lion colonies and discarded “Why Extend the Dead End: Ferries Go All the Way” bumper stickers.

RAINBOW CROSSWALKS


Issue: Should a mystery Banksy-esque street artist be allowed to keep painting downtown crosswalks in rainbow colors?

Pro: Yes, the rainbow crosswalks give us LIFE, ya fuckin’ homophobes!

Con: No, the rainbow crosswalks violate the rule that says government must have zero chill and everything it touches should resemble a drab, Communist dystopia.

CHICKEN YARD PARK

Issue:
Should there be a private driveway running through a weird old dilapidated playground nestled into precariously steep streets?

Pro: Yes, everything should stay just as it’s always been forever.

Con: No, our children will be pancakes. THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

SECOND CROSSING ON DOUGLAS

Issue: Should we build a second crossing from mainland Juneau to Douglas Island?

Pro: Yes, it’s OUTRAGEOUS that we have to drive an extra ten minutes out of our way to buy a bathmat, and also we are dying of cardiac arrest every second.

Con: No, the crossing cuts through the middle of the Mendenhall Wetlands; all the ducks will perish on our exhaust. THINK OF THE DUCKS.

DEBATING ALL OF THE ABOVE ON THE INTERNET

Issue: Should we continue to scream at each other re: all of the above on Juneau’s toxic community FB pages?

Pro: Yes, recreational outrage, quasi-anonymous saber-rattling, and misdirected rancor is a fun hobby that leads to productive dialogue.

Con: No, shit-posting your recreational outrage is more useless than tits on a slab of bacon, and not worth the elevation in blood pressure because it's not even bacon.




Sunday, August 5, 2018

Holy Shit Balls, Folks! People Exist Who Will Pay 10K to Make You Formally Watch Their Wedding Videos!

This article in the FAILING NEW YORK TIMES is in a sub-section of the fashion and style section called "Field Notes." 

So named, I presume, because it requires intrepid reporters to venture, anthropologist-like, into the deepest, unexplored recesses of bourgeoise narcissistic darkness to report on a little-understood culture of Sapiens: one who would happily pay $10,000 to force their wedding guests to come BACK and watch a movie of the wedding they attended--likely against their will in the first place--months earlier.

Quick personal disclaimer: Although I've been to too many weddings to count, I don't have much patience for 29 year-olds who stomp their feet until their parents shell out the GDP of a small developing nation so they can be Prom King and Queen for a day. I prefer to make myself the center of attention EVERY day, for free, on the internet. 

Moreover, I didn't have a "real" wedding. I married for health insurance behind the credenza in in my mother-in-law's living room on Long Island with just a handful of crotchety relatives in attendance, one of whom told me the outfit I was wearing made me look "like a prosecutor." 

So perhaps I'm a biased critic of this practice.

Still, there must be SOME objective, mathematical point at which the wedding industry reaches the event horizon of laughable fuckery. To quote one of my favorite writers, Jill Filipovic, on Twitter: 
Expecting all (or any) of your wedding guests to attend a viewing of your wedding video six months later is, I'm sorry, fully insane, and probably a sign that you are too narcissistic to stay married.
Yup! Couldn't have said it better myself, which--pro-tip--is why I simply quoted a far better writer than me.

Anyhoo. 

This "service" is UH-mazing. For the price of a new British motorcycle, you can force your closest friends and family to fly or drive to a screening room at a fancy hotel and sit there drinking wine and sparkling water and eating movie theater popcorn and candy while the bride and groom "fully experience every moment from their wedding" all over again. The company that provides this "very luxurious service" also makes the movie using drones (?!?!?!?) a director, and probably Steven Spielberg, though his people did not return my request for comment.

The owner of this racket claims that “the first time people are in awe . . . the second round they get to see everything they missed, all the details they didn’t catch before.” One of the brides who paid for this "luxurious service" added: "eating your cake a year later is so cliché. Every year from now on we’re going to do this instead.”

Let's break down just a few of the unsupported and insanely self-absorbed assumptions here:

1. The assumption that people are "in awe" at your wedding. No, they're not. Not exactly. At BEST, they are extremely drunk and moderately happy for you. More often than not, they are some combination of inconvenienced, put-out at having to make small talk at a table with strangers, and "in awe" of the likely price tag on those flowers.

2. The assumption that there are details they didn't catch before--AND that they care about them. While the bride and groom clearly care about their own wedding, why are they forcing everyone else to pretend to? PSA FOR ANYONE PLANNING A WEDDING: The only detail people do not want to miss at your wedding is a seven-hour open bar of top shelf liquor. Full stop.

3. The assumption that anyone will do this once, much less every year. This is my favorite. "Every year from now on we're doing this instead," she says. Either this woman has extremely patient friends, or she and her husband are gonna have a lot of leftover popcorn to eat.