Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I Only Posted Twice in November

Take that, NaBloPoMo!

And I didn't write any novels, either.

But I did write a chapter about intersex classification for an anthology on LGBTIQ library service. And I read several great books. And FoxyJ and I celebrated our eighth anniversary. All in all, it was a good month. I just didn't tell you about it. But rest assured, I love you anyway.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The New Twenty

Upholding the family tradition of displaying the birthday bounty for the camera.

As of 5:43 this evening (Hawaii Standard Time), I am thirty years old. So why am I still smiling? Because I realized today that I simply needed to adjust my standard. See, I was a little worried about turning thirty because my entire life I've heard from old people who wish they could have stopped aging at 29, so I was under the impression that 29 is the pinnacle of human perfection, and then it's all downhill from there. And perhaps that was once the case, but things have changed. This is the twenty-first century. This is not your father's Oldsmobile. Don't believe me? I present as evidence examples from the two most important measuring sticks of American culture: hip-hop music and superhero comics.
  1. In the song "30 Something," rapper Jay-Z declared that "30's the new 20, nigga." And who can argue? Ten years ago, hip-hop was a young man's* game, and today we have people like Jay-Z, Wyclef Jean, Common, the Wu Tang Clan, who are all pushing forty, still putting out albums and being pretty successful. If these old men are still cool, then clearly I am too.
  2. For a good forty or fifty years, Batman and Superman were both generally considered to be 29 years old--the aforementioned pinnacle of human perfection. But by the time I started reading superhero comics in the nineties, that age had been pushed up to 33. Batman's young ward, Robin, was by then in his early twenties, so it simply didn't make sense for his surrogate father to still be 29. In current comics, these brightly-clad ideals of manhood seem to be in their mid-to-late thirties. A product of ever-growing backstories that need to fit in chronologically, but also an acknowledgment that the readership is aging. A couple decades ago, the prevailing logic was that comic book readers wouldn't want to read about protagonists old enough to be their fathers, but the fact now is that most comic book readers are in their twenties and thirties, so it's a non-issue. Finally these men can age. By the time I catch up to Batman and Superman, they'll be at least forty. And if they can still look good in tights, then by golly, so can I!

In conclusion, I may be thirty, but I am still younger than Batman and Jay-Z. Any questions?

*No, I'm not ignoring women, just acknowledging that hip-hop for the most part does.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stay flu-free with Sinus Rinse™!

(Because Nose Enema™ and Nasal Douche™ didn't test well with the focus groups.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Trick to Having a Happy Halloween...

...is to paint a smile on your face.

But beware! If your wife wears an x-ray shirt, revealing that your baby is proportioned like a monkey...

...it might make you cry. And if you cry, your makeup will run.

I hope you have a non-traumatic Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fob Bible Updates

I just learned that the Fob Bible is now available as a PDF for only $5.99. You can buy it here. (Note: This is the complete book, as opposed to the PDF sampler that is available for free.)

Also, thanks to Theric for pointing out to me that we got a positive review on Feminist Mormon Housewives, as well as another positive review that the reviewer linked to in the comments on FMH. As we were putting this book together, we were worried that it would be too... eccentric for some tastes, and surely it is for some, but it's great to see that a lot of people really get what we're doing, and like it. And thank you to Chanson for plugging us on Main Street Plaza a couple times now. I (heart) good reviews!

Mayhem of the Music Meister

Have you ever wondered what kind of Batman villain Doogie Howser would be? Wonder no more.

This is without a doubt the funniest, most entertaining animated Batman musical I have ever seen. And I'd say that even if I'd ever seen any other animated Batman musicals. Even if you're not a cartoon person or a superhero person, you really should take 20 minutes to watch this (click on the picture below to watch the episode).

Also, you can buy the soundtrack.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Coming Soon to an eBay Listing Near You

Don't you hate it when you're wearing pants or a skirt without pockets, and you have nowhere to put your things? Do you spend the winter rubbing your hands together because you have no pockets to put them in? Fret no more! Behold, the FobPocketBelt™:

Just slip this baby on over your clothes, and you'll forget you ever didn't have pockets. The adjustable drawstring makes this the ideal accessory for any body shape or size. Act now, and we'll include not just two side pockets, but also a handy butt pocket, complete with fashion tail:

The FobPocketBelt™ is a must have accessory for the practical- and fashion-minded of any age. But that's not all! Are you looking to inject a little zing into your love life? Look no further! The FobPocketBelt™ also doubles as sexy lingerie:

Act now while supplies last!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Advantage of Modern Technology

(Picture taken with my brand new webcam. The advantage of having a web-based job is that I feel justified in spending money on new toys essential tools.)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Signs of the Last Days

This is my 900th post. One month from Saturday I will turn 30. Yesterday FoxyJ told me that she thinks my hair is thinning on top.

It's all downhill from here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Post 899, In Which I Do Not Blaspheme

Today was International Blasphemy Day. The purpose of the day is "to remind the world that religion should never again be beyond open and honest discussion." I support the principle behind the occasion--it is important to protect the right of free speech that has so often been denied by religious authorities with more power than they should have had, and it is equally important to remember that ideas are not immune to criticism simply because they are based in faith--but I have chosen not to participate. I have little respect for religion itself and not much more for most religious organizations, but I respect and love a lot of religious people. If I were to blaspheme publicly for the sake of blaspheming, I might succeed in making the statement the day is meant to make, but I would also likely offend many people I've no reason or desire to offend.

A couple of years ago a close friend of mine observed that I "care about people more than ideologies or institutions"; as this came from someone whose opinion I value very highly, I was quite flattered by her observation. I don't know that it's always true--I often let my ideologies get in the way of my concern for people--but I certainly try to make it true. Ideals are important to me, but ultimately I believe the living, breathing human being standing in front of me is far more important than whatever ideology separates us.

That said, I believe it's for the good of the world that there are also people who are willing to offend, to be in-your-face and confrontational in order to make the rest of us question our ideologies. I simply am not one of these people and couldn't be if I tried; confrontation makes me physical sick, knowing that I've offended someone makes it impossible for me to think of anything but that offense for days or weeks thereafter. If everyone in the world were so weak-kneed, we might never have any wars, but we might also never effect meaningful change. I like to think there's room in this world for both warriors and peacemakers. If it doesn't offend you, I'll stick to being the latter of the two.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Solemn Occasion

This evening FoxyJ brought my attention to the fact that 2009 marks the 75th anniversary of a very important event that forever changed the world: the invention of briefs. As you can read about in this press release (with informational video!), in 1934, the underwear company that would later become Jockey created a new style of men's underwear, inspired by French bathing suits, and then there was no turning back. We here at the Fobcave salute you, Jockey, for your outstanding contribution to humanity--especially the manity part of it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

No Going Back

No Going Back by Jonathan Langford was a hard book for me to read. It brought me back all too vividly to my life as a teenage gay Mormon, being torn apart by my religion on one side and my sexual orientation on the other, and all the unpleasantness that entailed. Fifteen-going-on-sixteen-year-old Paul's story is hardly an exact replica of mine--Paul's is much more interesting--but he and teenage me have enough in common that immersing myself in his world was very much like taking a trip back to my youth. I haven't felt so angsty in a long time. Despite that discomfort, or more likely because of it, I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I flew through a year and a half of young Paul's life in less than three days, and would have done so quicker if not for distractions like work and sleep.

I was a little hesitant going into No Going Back because I knew it was written from an orthodox Mormon view of homosexuality--that homosexual feelings are not a sin but homosexual behavior is--and over the past several years I have come to have very strong objections to this point of view (the latter part, not the former). I was happy to find, though, that I don't mind reading fiction written from a perspective opposed to my own, so long as the author doesn't warp his presentation of reality in order to support that viewpoint. Langford's novel is, as a blurb on the back states, a "thoroughly orthodox" Mormon novel in that the main characters remain loyal to orthodox Mormon doctrine, but he places them in a world that rings true to the world I see, where other characters are just as loyal to other beliefs (including several who fall closer to my own), and none of them are portrayed two-dimensionally. Just about every character, from the protagonist to his straight best friend to his mom and the bishop and the members of the high school gay-straight alliance, breathes with the life only an author's love can infuse. I certainly don't get the sense that Langford thinks any less of his non-Mormon characters than his Mormon ones. If anyone is portrayed unsympathetically, it's the members of Paul's priests' quorum who ridicule him for being a "faggot."

An English professor of mine liked to talk about good novels being both a mirror and a window (and I'm sure he got this concept from someone else, but I don't feel like looking it up). As a former gay Mormon teenager, I can safely say that this book does a good job of providing me a mirror--perhaps too well. An added strength of the book, though, is that it does not spend all its time in Paul's head. Much of the narration is devoted to Paul's best friend, his mother, his bishop, and several other characters. I enjoyed the windows this provided me into what it might be like to be a gay kid's straight friend, or to be a gay kid's mother, and so on. And lest we think the world revolves around angsty gay teenagers, each of these characters is developed beyond his or her role in relation to Paul, so we get equally enlightening glimpses into the lives of a woman going through a mid-life crisis, a man trying to balance his various roles, a kid struggling in school. This is what good novels do--they help us better understand ourselves and others.

Every now and then I read something that reflects a part of me so accurately that I want to tell everyone I care about, "Here, read this! You will understand this part of me in ways I'm incapable of making you understand." I had that experience with Alan Rex Mitchell's Angel of the Danube, a novel I read shortly after serving an LDS mission in Europe, when all other portrayals of LDS missionary life I saw were so different from what I'd known. I had the same experience when reading the antepenultimate chapter of Robert Mayer's Superfolks, at a time when I knew few would understand, when I hardly understood my reasons for returning to a heterosexual marriage when there were untapped universes of homosexual relationships to explore. No Going Back doesn't reflect my life as it is now, but it reflects a part of my life--and based on my emotional reaction, a part I still haven't fully recovered from--in such a way that makes me want to shove it in front of everyone I know and insist they read it. I won't actually do that (I've never been very good at proselytizing), but I will say that I think the book is worth your time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two Sins in One Post

I know this is both (1) tasteless and, even worse, (2) obvious, but I can't not say it:

Do you think he'll come back and use Whoopi Goldberg's body to make out with Demi Moore?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Just keep your eyes on the final hour

It's 9/9/09. And 9:09 am!


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

One of those days...

You know, when you can't find your Flash bookmark so you have to use your Wonder Woman bookmark even though it's a Flash book? Yeah, one of those.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Will Smith

His music is fun, in a mindless kind of way, but he sure spends a lot of time explaining why he is cool despite the fact that more hardcore rappers always say he's not. I think he might have a complex.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Those Fascinating Mormon Women

Yesterday FoxyJ and I attended the Sunstone Symposium. We'd been to Sunstone Seattle before and this past year Foxy attended the California version, but this was our first time at the big one in Salt Lake. My primary reason for going was to meet people, and I wasn't disappointed--Foxy, Green Mormon Architect, and I had a delightful lunch with C.L. Hanson, and I also got to meet a couple of Zelophehad's Daughters, Kaimi from Times & Seasons, and feminist blogger Holly. (Some of you may know that Holly and I have an... interesting history, so it was nice to meet her in person, and to see that she's a complete human being and not just this ominous online presence I've interacted with occasionally over the past few years.) As an added bonus, I really enjoyed all the sessions I attended. Foxy and I caught the tail-end of a presentation on polygamy, and then I went to sessions on the Book of Mormon's 19th-century context, gay Mormon literature (with a comprehensive bibliography, if anyone's interested), two films about religion and sexuality, and finally a panel on feminist and/or Mormon perspectives of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series.

The Twilight panel ended up being my favorite. I attended not because I've read the books or seen the movie--I haven't--but because my curiosity was piqued when I read my friend Theric's paper about the novels that he presented at Sunstone California, because I'd heard that panelist Maxine Hanks had an interesting take on the series, and because I was curious to hear what panelist Holly Welker had to say about the whole thing. I was not disappointed in any respect. The panel consisted of four feminist women and one man (who may or may not consider himself a feminist, I don't know) with very different takes on Meyer's works. This resulted in a very lively discussion and some great facial expressions from the panelists as they listened to their fellow panelists' differing opinions. All in all, the panel was an excellent reminder that feminism is not a single dogma but rather a wide range of perspectives and ways of interpreting the world.

Holly's portion of the panel is the one that has me up at 4am writing a blog post. She makes a very strong case against Twilight, pointing out with hilariously painful examples how the characters embody truly disturbing gender roles, and drawing comparisons between Meyer's works and Helen Andelin's handbook of submissive housewifery, Fascinating Womanhood. Holly's arguments about the series are based in pretty convincing examples, and they jibe with everything I've heard about the books, mostly from FoxyJ, who finds the character Bella utterly appalling. Maxine Hanks makes a compelling counterargument, that Meyer is portraying a wide range of gender roles and that Bella's powerlessness is just a step on the road to her empowerment, but not having read the books I can't say whether I agree with Maxine or Holly. But I will say that listening to Maxine's presentation is the only time I've ever seriously considered reading Twilight.

The place where Holly's presentation produced a disconnect for me was in her argument that Twilight is both a product of and representative of Mormon concepts of gender as a whole. The primary evidence she presents for this claim consists of (a) the fact that Meyer is a Mormon, (b) the fact that Helen Andelin is a Mormon and her book is popular among Mormons, and (c) the fact that Mormon women and girls love Twilight. This evidence doesn't cut it for me, though, because (a) Meyer is only one Mormon among millions; (b) Andelin is also only one Mormon and her book, though popular in the sixties, is mostly a joke now; and (c) um, hello, all kinds of women and girls (and men and boys) love Twilight. This is hardly a Mormon phenomenon.

I will acknowledge upfront that my experience with Mormondom is by necessity limited and my evidence anecdotal, but I doubt it's any more limited or anecdotal than Holly's--it just seems that we are each limited to very different anecdotes. But I have never known any Mormon woman or man under sixty who takes Fascinating Womanhood or the principles it teaches seriously. (Admittedly, I know one woman over sixty who said she found the book empowering in her own marriage, but in my experience she is definitely the exception.) I believe Holly would argue that whether or not the book is taken seriously, its hypertraditional gender roles are ingrained into Mormon consciousness; I would agree that to some degree and among some Mormons it certainly is, and to that extent I mourn along with Holly the damage such thinking does to women and men alike.

But here's where my limited experience comes in. For most of my adult life, my association with Mormons has been in college settings. This means that most of the Mormons I've known are educated, and though educated does not equal feminist, it definitely skews the population sample in that direction. For the past couple years since I stopped attending church, most of my interaction with Mormons is through FoxyJ, who tends to associate with women like those who can be found on Segullah, Exponent II, and Feminist Mormon Housewives. One of my closest friends is Melyngoch, a very feminist Mormon and sister to the above-mentioned Daughters of Zelophehad. Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to several strong, intelligent, feminist Mormon women. Even my sisters, who are Mormon and I don't think would necessarily consider themselves feminists, are all strong, intelligent, empowered women. Those who are married have egalitarian relationships with their husbands and interact with them not through childish manipulation but through mature, two-way discussion. The one who's single is a successful, self-fulfilled woman. Among the hundreds of Mormons I know, I can think of only a handful who even remotely fit the mold of Fascinating Womanhood.

Holly argues--and I agree--that Fascinating Womanhood is really about fascinating girlhood, that it promotes the infantilization of women. If Twilight reflects this, it's because it's a girls' fantasy novel about a teenage girl. Girls like it because that's the point in life where they're at, and women enjoy it for the same reason grown men enjoy sports, video games, and comic books--it's a fantasy of immortal girlhood. I don't see that as evidence that these women (or at least the majority of them) actually buy into this depiction of gender as an ideal for adults to follow. This is escapist fiction; sometimes being a responsible adult gets old, and it's nice to fantasize about being swept away by a strong man so beautiful he sparkles, whether or not this would be a good idea in real life.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I completely disagree with Holly. Truly disturbing concepts of gender do exist within Mormon culture and doctrine--if nothing else, the fact that online classes teaching the principles of Fascinating Womanhood are still taught is evidence of this. But I don't think it's as widespread or pervasive as Holly suggests, and I believe that to make such sweeping claims is a great disservice to the multitude of Mormon women (and men) who have long since moved beyond girlhood.

(And if you happen to read this, Holly, I hope you'll take it in the spirit of open discussion in which it's intended, and respond with your thoughts. If I've misunderstood or misrepresented your argument, please say so.)

NOTE: Holly does make some clarifications in the comments section below, so be sure to read her comment before basing your judgment of her argument on my analysis alone.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Blog Party! Now in English!

Who: YOU!

What: Party!

When: Saturday, August 8th, 5:30pm!

Where: Here! (Comment or email for directions.)

Why: Chocolate fondue!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blog Party Forever

Mr. Fob and FoxyJ
are pleased to announce
the marriage of


child of Mr. and Mrs. Fobcave Reader.
This blessed union will be solemnized and consummated on

August 8th, 2009,
Orem, Utah.

RSVP to bgchristensen(at)gmail(dot)com for directions and to volunteer to bring a potluck item.

In lieu of a wedding gift, please consider donating to the
Equal Marriage Rights for Human-Real Estate Couples Fund.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Exmormon by C.L. Hanson

Exmormon by C.L. Hanson captures the experience of losing one's faith and finding one's self in exchange. Through the eyes of seven narrators and a wide cast of supporting characters, Hanson takes her readers through the typical and not-so-typical processes of growing up in the Mormon church, leaving the church, and figuring out where to go from there. The novel is split into nine parts--each of which serves as a novella on its own--plus an interlude, the titles of which represent archetypal aspects of the Mormon experience, such as "Youth Conference," "Saturday's Warrior," "Brigham Young University," and "Temple Wedding." Together these parts make up a sort of parallel to the Mormon experience, highlighting the points of deviation from the norm as each of the characters weaves in and out of Mormondom.

Hanson provides a character guide to help keep all the various characters from the different storylines straight, and you may find yourself flipping back to the guide now and then since there are a number of characters to keep track of. The payoff for this work comes, though, about halfway through the novel, when the different characters and storylines begin to converge and cross over. It's exciting to see characters from earlier parts of the book show up again, and to catch up with them as if seeing an old friend after a few years have passed. When a main character from one story becomes a secondary character in another story (and vice versa), the reader has the advantage of seeing significance in little comments and exchanges that the characters themselves don't see. The enjoyment of this omniscient viewpoint becomes a part of the narration itself in the final novella, humorously narrated by Elohim, who watches in amusement as the stories of his less faithful children unfold, and in the process ties up the threads of various storylines for the reader.

The magical moment of the book for me was the point when one of the main characters, Lynn, comes to an epiphany and realizes she no longer believes in the church she was raised in:
With this thought, I began to feel light and excited. I caught myself running. I had a tremendous sensation of stepping out into the sunlight to see that there's a whole world out there after having lived my life in a tiny, dark cellar. I felt free. I was free of the weight of petty, pointless rules and of trying to fit myself into a worldview and culture that were too small and limited to hold me.
I doubt this experience is unique to Exmormons--I suspect many people going through a major shift of paradigm have a similar feeling of sudden weightlessness. But I believe this is something many Exmormons have experienced, and I know it rings true to my own experience. One of the many great things about fiction is this ability to recreate sensations that are at once familiar because one has been there and fresh because they are now seen through new eyes.

Exmormon is serialized online, accompanied by delightful illustrations, here. You can purchase a paper copy here or here. Also, watch for new print editions and a Kindle edition this fall.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Conversation While Having a Picnic Yesterday

FoxyJ: The bread on these sandwiches got kind of soggy.

S-Boogie: Your mom has soggy bread.

I take no responsibility.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Great Team

I have talked about FoxyJ's and my marriage many times (back when my label Throwaway post actually signified a departure from the norm), but FoxyJ's public expressions of her thoughts on the matter are fewer and farther between, so her post yesterday on Segullah is a special treat. Go, read, be inspired by Foxy's wisdom and greatness.

I Know Who The Half-Blood Prince Is:

(spoiler alert)

It's your mom.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Doing Yardwork Makes Me Feel Manly

And I say so with the assumption that were I a woman, doing yardwork would make me feel womanly. Female readers may confirm or deny.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Tonight as I was fiddling with my TV antenna, trying to get it in the perfect position to get the best reception, I had a brilliant idea: Body antennas.

Just think about it. The human body is like the best antenna there is. If you don't believe me, touch your TV antenna and see the difference. And what do we do with human bodies when we're done with them? We dump them in the ground. Why not put them to good use? I propose, therefore, that rather than letting dead bodies rot away in graveyards, we convert them into TV antennas.

Cable and satellite, your fifteen minutes of fame are done. Now begins the age of the body antenna.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Very Useful Chart

I became a Mariah Carey fan around the time of 1995's Daydream (specifically, with the first single, "Fantasy"). I followed her during the following years, even buying Rainbow when it came out during my mission (the mission rule was very vaguely that we were only to listen to music that uplifted us... isn't Mariah uplifiting?), but the disastrous Glitter and then the mediocre Charmbracelet happened to correspond with my conversion into a musical snob, at which time I decided I was too cool for popular artists like Mariah Carey. So until recently, I owned only her middle five albums. But then this past week, a few stars and planets aligned: (1) I had a few weeks' worth of Amazon.com gift certificates from work accrued, waiting for me to use them; (2) perhaps because I spent all week listening to Michael Jackson songs and tributes, I decided that I'm no longer too cool to enjoy pop music; and (3) I realized that there were several Mariah Carey songs I liked but didn't own. So I fixed that. First I bought her first three albums and MTV Unplugged EP, and then I figured what the hey, and bought the two most recent ones as well.

Having completed several hours of research now, I will share my findings with you.

As you can see, Mariah is on a relative upswing. We'll see if she keeps that up with her new album coming out this summer. Stay tuned in, and on the edge of your seats.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Probably Not

I am physically incapable of typing the word "probable" without first typing "probably" and then backspacing the "y" away and replacing it with an "e." Which is unfortunate, because I have to type "probable" pretty frequently for my job.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

By the way

I'm missing the middle part of my background image. I think it's because my UW account expired. I'll fix that one of these days, once I feel like I'm not playing catch-up with the rest of my life.

Fob & Foxy Plus 3

I don't think I've ever watched an entire episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8, but I find myself fascinated, along with the rest of America, with the recent(ish) announcement of their separation. In the first place, my heart goes out to both of them and to their kids, because I have an idea of what that's like (from both the parents' and childrens' perspectives). Secondly, it's got me thinking about when Foxy and I made a similar announcement (though to a much smaller audience) a couple years ago. I've also been thinking about our separation because over on A Motley Vision they've been discussing "Abraham's Purgatory," a short story of mine that is so strongly linked to that period of my life.

I'm not sure I have much to say beyond that, except that it's been on my mind, and I'm happy to still be married to FoxyJ, and I'm happy that she and I can own that decision as ours alone and not something anyone else told us to do. I also hope the best for Jon and Kate and their family, whether that means their separation becomes permanent or that they get back together or whatever, and I hope that when you talk abou them--if you care to--that you remember they're real people and deserve real compassion.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Strolling Down Main Street and Hoping Not to Get Hit By a Trolley

The Queen of Outer Blogness, C. L. Hanson, has kindly offered me the opportunity to showcase the Fob Bible on Main Street Plaza. Being the egotistical fellow I am, the excerpt I chose to post is my own short story, "The Changing of the God."

Hey, why are you still here? Get over to MSP and read the story!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today's Confessions

  1. I'm kind of sad about Michael Jackson dying.
  2. I will totally buy the inevitable posthumous release, despite feeling like that's a betrayal to artistic integrity, since the only reason the album he's been working on hasn't been released yet is because he didn't think it was ready.
  3. I will do the same whenever (Jah forbid) Lauryn Hill dies. Like Jacko, she's got to have a buttload of recordings being held back by her perfectionism.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's Like Ten Thousand Spoons When All You Need is a Knife

Back when I was a faithful churchgoing person, my least favorite day of the year to go to church was Fathers' Day. Among other things, I've always been uncomfortable with the hypercodification of gender stereotypes that tends to go with talks about the importance of fathers.

So of course, now that I don't go to church anymore, one of the few days a year when I do go is Fathers' Day, because I figure if my daughter is singing (with the Primary) for me, I ought to be there to hear it. To be honest, the talks bother me less as I distance myself more from the church and become more comfortable in my own role as a parent and human being, but what really made it worth it today--apart from watching S-Boogie being adorable on stage--was the Snickers bar they gave to all the fathers at the end. If they gave out Snickers every week, I might consider reactivating myself.

(Note to my atheist friends: No doubt some faithful member of the church will now offer me a Snickers a week to attend church, so you should consider it your humanist duty to provide me with a counteroffer of, say, two Snickers a week not to go. Let the bidding begin.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Even More Fob Bible Goodness

Tyler Chadwick at A Motley Vision wrote a very nice review of the Fob Bible. A commenter noted that Tyler's review did a much better job of explaining what the Fob Bible is than anything she'd seen previously, so if any of you have been wondering what exactly is this thing Mr. Fob keeps trying to sell you, I'll let Tyler explain:

The Fob Bible, an anthology of stories, poems, closet drama, and email correspondence, positions itself within this general tradition of enhanced, altar-type, family Bibles, though with a significant revisionary difference: instead of constructing a new apparatus intended to direct our study of the scriptures in specific, predetermined ways or offering a new translation of a text that has already been translated repeatedly, the contributors to The Fob Bible have re-imagined well-worn Old Testament stories, revisiting Eden and its surrounds, the Deluge, the final moments of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham and Isaac’s ascent to Moriah’s pinnacle, the relationship between Isaac and Esau and Esau and Jacob, Joseph’s—then Moses’—journey into Egypt, Balaam’s bond with his ass, Samson, Solomon, Rehoboam, Naaman, Ezra, Job, Jeremiah, Daniel, and, of course, Jonah and the giant fish.

These postmodern visitations reshape each historically privileged narrative and narrative voice from the perspective of the less-privileged story, the unheard voice, offering new characters—or familiar characters recast in new molds—the opportunity to speak and, in the process, to influence the world “in exciting new ways.” For instance, Danny Nelson gives voice to Job’s wife, a woman unnamed in the canon whose scriptural screen time amounts to one line of dialogue and two obscure references, three slight appearances from which she is sometimes judged to be “bitter, angry, and wrong.” Yet, Nelson gives the woman a name, “Hadasa,” the whole cast of human emotions, and a book of her own, a space in which she (or Nelson’s version thereof) can flesh out her poignant account of Job’s tale, which is, in the end, their story and deserves to be told in her voice, too.

Tyler goes on to talk of the "revisionary proclivity" of the Fob Bible, attributing this to the fact that all the writers are Mormon, part of "a Christian religious heritage founded on a restorationist theology." Though I don't consider myself Mormon anymore, I like Tyler's take on this idea, and I'm happy to attribute any revisionary proclivities I might have to my Mormon heritage. It makes sense. But don't take my word for it; go read Tyler's review. As Theric points out in the comments, the review itself is a work of art, and we don't just say that because he says nice things about us. (But it doesn't hurt.)

I Like People

I often get frustrated with people, either because of their stupidity or my own lack of social skills, and declare that I want nothing to do with the human race. This past week, though, I've felt rather fond of our little species. Following is a list of people for whose existence I have been grateful this past week (if you're not on the list, I think you should ask yourself, to paraphrase Janet Jackson, "What have you done for Ben lately?"):
  • FoxyJ, who has filled the role of Supermom superbly, both before, during, and after the move, despite the fatigue of being two months pregnant. When she and I do difficult things together, I'm reminded of what a good team we make.
  • S-Boogie and Little Dude, who remain lovable as ever, despite how frustrating they can be sometimes.
  • My sister L, who did the footwork of househunting for us so we could just get here and unload the truck into our nice new home.
  • My mother-in-law, Earth Sign Mama, who flew out to Davis, helped us pack, helped FoxyJ drive across Nevada, and helped us unpack here before flying back home on Monday.
  • The elders quorum in Davis, who helped us load a 16' truck in about 45 minutes.
  • The relief society in Davis, who helped us get our apartment cleaned a good hour and a half ahead of schedule.
  • My mom, two sisters, brother, brother-in-law, and my sister's boyfriend who I'd never met before, who all were ready to unload the truck as soon as we got here.
  • Green Mormon Architect and family, who stopped by to help while we were unpacking on Saturday.
  • Edgy and Dec (or is his blogonym now Flameman?), who would have helped, had I arrived two hours earlier, as I intended to.
  • My brother-in-law L, who showed up Monday morning to mow our overgrown lawn.
  • Tolkien Boy, Brozy, Samantha, and all the other friends and family we've seen and/or will see soon, reminding us of why we moved back to Utah.
  • My boss, who said a couple weeks ago, "Hey, I heard you were looking for a full-time job. Do you want to work full-time for us?"
Life is good. I'm kind of exhausted now because we've been going nonstop for a couple weeks, but I'm happy. I spent a good portion of the drive here grinning, and I don't think it was just because I was in the moving truck, with not a screaming child in earshot.

My Gambling Addiction
How I Lost All the Money in My Wallet

Last Friday night we stayed at a hotel in Winnemucca. I arrived first, so while I was waiting for Foxy and the kids, I wandered into the casino. I had a dollar in my wallet, and I've always been curious to try a slot machine, so I put the dollar into one. I pressed the button and... lo and behold, I was rewarded with two gold dollar tokens! I decided to be a smart gambler and quit while I was ahead. I had, after all, doubled the money in my wallet.

Then Saturday morning, as I was leaving, I was faced with the choice of turning in the two tokens for two dollars in real money, or trying to win something more worthy of turning in for real money. So I put the two tokens into a slot machine and... I lost.

After driving home from Winnemucca with no money in my wallet, I have learned my lesson: I will never gamble again. Unless, perhaps, I have two dollars in my wallet next time I'm in a hotel in Nevada. That way if I lose the first one I'll have a second to gamble with.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Observations Upon Listening to the Radio For the First Time in Years

The Foxmobile has a CD player and an auxiliary outlet for plugging in MP3 players, so I never listen to the radio in the car. The moving truck, though, has no such extravagances, so today I listened to the radio for about five and a half hours. I observed the following:
  • The rotation on Sacramento's top twenty station starts over after about an hour and a half. Which, if you think about it, makes sense--that's about how long it takes to play twenty songs. Maybe a little longer with commercials.
  • Every third song on that station has Kanye West either rapping or singing on it. Now, Kanye West has made some music I enjoy (but of course I liked him before he was cool, because I'm way too cool to like things average people like), but he hasn't made much that I like in a couple albums. I'm especially not a fan of his singing--much as I give him props for experimenting with different musical styles. But still, he just can't sing. The autotune or whatever he uses to warp his voice doesn't make it any better (or maybe it does, but in that case his natural voice must be pretty horrible).
  • I was able to get Sacramento stations almost all the way to Reno. This surprised me, as I'd imagined I wouldn't get anything in the mountains.
  • After Reno, the selection slowly dies down. I listened to NPR for a while and wondered why I don't more often. When NPR went to a jazz show, which was nice sounding but not loud enough to keep me awake while driving, the best thing was a seventies rock station, which wasn't all that bad.
  • By the time I got to Winnemucca, the only available station was country. I considered just turning the radio off, but decided to bear with it. Country is actually kind of entertaining, in small doses. I particularly enjoyed a song about a widow who was accused by the Hartford Junior High School PTA of being a bad mother because she wears short skirts and drinks too much. She then tells the PTA off by pointing out that they're all hipocrites, and then the shocking twist at the end (spoiler warning) is that the woman is... the singer's mother. Shocking!
Stay tuned to find out what entertaining observations I have to make about the second half of my trip tomorrow!*

*DISCLAIMER: I probably won't make observations about the second half of my trip, unless I hear something really incredible on the radio. I'm stretching the limits of reader generosity to expect you all to read just this one post.

Friday, June 05, 2009

It's a Girl!*

*Gender based on Chinese gender chart and the personal preferences of the unborn child's parents. And c'mon, that line is definitely pink.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

Drive Carefully

Because the Fob Bible hits the streets today! Order your copy now. (By way of disclaimer, I haven't ordered my copy yet only because I'm moving next week and don't want to lose it in the mail.)

According to the official description, The Fob Bible is "The Old Testament re-imagined through poetry, verse, closet drama, e-mail, and short story." I would add that said re-imaginations strike just the right balance of thoughtful reverence and humorous irreverence toward the source material to please believer and non-believer alike. And that it's really good.

And anyone who can tell me the difference between poetry and verse wins bonus points. There's certainly enough variety of poetry and verse in the book to warrant two labels, but I'm just not clear on the distinction.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Fourth Wall

This week Foxy and I signed a lease to rent a home in Orem, close to Scera Park. Not an apartment, mind you, but an actual house, and for three hundred dollars cheaper than we're paying for our apartment in Davis. The plan is to rent for a year while we save up for a down payment, then buy something, ideally within the same elementary school boundaries, next summer. We're both excited to have four walls of our own--living in three-walled sitcom sets gets old after a while.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fob Bible Release Party Recap

Thanks to those of you who stopped by the party. To those of you who didn't make it, you can still relive the fun here. The highlights of the party were live readings of a few excerpts from the Fob Bible, which I'll happily repost for you here.

FoxyJ reading "Capitulation: Forbidden Squirming" by A. Arwen Taylor:

Me reading an excerpt from "The Changing of the God" by B.G. Christensen:

Eric reading "Them Bones Them Bones Gonna -- Walk Around (a bar song)" by Theric Jepson:

Lady Steed reading "Philistina" by Danny Nelson:

Me reading "Wings" by Sarah E. Jenkins (sorry, Sarah, I'm not a great poetry reader):

And finally, Eric reading the illustration captions as if they all go together in a long, nonsensical story:

Now that we've whetted your appetite, buy the book!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ere you left your computer this evening...

Did you think to stop by the Foblog after 6PM PDT to check in on our Fob Bible Release Party and say hi? (Click the link Foblog link to sign up for an email reminder.)

Also, don't forget to pre-order your copy of the Fob Bible!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Proof of My Inability to Learn From My Mistakes

Summer 2000, Spain

September 2007, Hawaii

May 2009, California

A Tiny Little Victory

The California High Court has ruled to uphold Proposition 8 (bad), but also to legally recognize the same-sex marriages that were performed before the ban (good). This decision comes as no surprise after the hearings and legal commentary thereafter, and of course I would rather the entire thing had been overturned, but it's a huge relief to me to know that the people I know (as well as the ones I don't) who were married last year don't have to fear losing their marriages. It's a small step forward, and there's simply no denying that come 2010 or 2012, California will take that final big leap toward equality. And it's also nice to know that by then it will be in the company of several other states.

Now if only Obama would make good on his promises to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA, the nation as a whole could make those same little steps forward...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fob Bible Goodness

The Fob Bible will be released on June 1st and is now available to pre-order. Whether you order because you want to see Old Testament stories as envisioned by literary geniuses, because you don't want to feel guilty next month when I ask you what you think of it, or because you want to donate money to the LDS Humanitarian Fund, rest assured that you're making the world a better place for you, me, and poor kids in Africa.

To celebrate, we'll be throwing a release party this Friday, May 29th, at 6pm PDT. Can't make it to the Fobcave in Davis, CA? No problem. Pop into the Foblog sometime Friday evening, see what's going on via liveblogging, say hi via comment, and pour yourself a glass of sparkling cider to celebrate with us.



—sans, for obvious reasons, Judges 19—

translated through means of memory and nightmare
out of the pre-translated tongues (being mainly English):
and with the former translations ignored,

or—in special cases—
dictated but not read,

by His Fobbiness’s
special command, in perpetuity,

worlds with very definite (and sometimes good-looking) ends,
albeit of a feminist bent in places,
with far too many references to behemoths and leviathans,
and thus, being indebted to the grace of your most gracious progenitrix,
published in the year of the FOB seven
(using the Jepsonian calendar for its ease of dates).

Fully Authorized Fob Version

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Haunting of Old McDonald

Remember how in Big you know the fortune-telling robot machine is possessed by Satan because it works even when it's unplugged?

A couple years ago we got a toy tractor for our kids at a thrift store. There are buttons on the steering wheel that are intended to make animal noises and play music when you press them, but by the time we bought the toy, the sounds had been reduced to a drunken mutter. Happy to have less sound produced by our children's toys, we never looked into replacing the batteries or anything.

But then a couple months ago, after the tractor had been left out in the rain one too many times, it started making animal noises and music loud and clear, except not when you press the buttons--just whenever it feels like it. At first we found this amusing, but this morning at five o'clock when outside my bedroom window I heard


louder than should be legal and over and over and over again, I was not so amused. After the ninth or tenth time and a good half hour of not being able to sleep, I stumbled out onto the patio with a screwdriver, took out the batteries, and then stumbled back into bed.

And without the batteries it didn't sing anymore, which I suppose means it's not possessed by Satan. But still, that wasn't very comforting at five o'clock this morning.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Curious Narration of Benjamin Button

How is it possible that the 80-year-old version of Brad Pitt narrates the story?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

It's Fun to Stay at the EQCO!
(You can hang out with all the boys)

Last week a friend in the elders quorum presidency of FoxyJ's ward asked me if I'd like to come on the elders quorum campout this weekend. I hesitated because I wasn't sure if I'd feel awkward while they had their planned scripture study and testimony meeting, but I figured what the hey, these people are the only real live friends I have in Davis and they're fun guys. And despite the fact that this was only my third time in ten years, I really love camping. So I went and I had a lot of fun. We ate pulled beef sandwiches, s'mores, and pancakes ; stayed up until 2:30 talking about the relative virtues of socialism and capitalism, gay marriage, and fifth-dimensional vectors (or matrices or axes or something like that--I admit at that point I was out of my depth); and had a crazy scavenger hunt/water balloon fight this morning.

The discussion of gay marriage was surprisingly not awkward or uncomfortable. This was nice because a significant contributor to my discomfort during the first few months in Davis was that my only real-life social outlet was FoxyJ's ward and at the time they were all (or most) involved in the Prop 8 campaign, which led me to keep my distance rather than risk heated arguments with people I barely knew. I remember in particular noticing a Yes on 8 sign in the window of a member of the ward and assuming he was just another of those people who support the proposition because his prophet told him to, but hasn't given it any thought of his own. As I learned in our discussion last night, though, this guy had indeed read up on the issue, had a very keen sense of both sides of the argument, and was very aware of the flaws in the arguments popularly made by people on his side. Above all, I got from him a strong sense of empathy for everyone involved and an awareness that situations like this just plain suck. Ultimately I disagree with his position on Prop 8 (anyone who's been reading this blog for a while knows that), but I have a much greater respect for him as a person and I was glad for the chance to get to know him and the other guys as human beings rather than as the faceless pile of Mormons I tend to make of those I don't know well. I feel sad that we're leaving Davis now that I've begun to make more friends.

And as it turned out, there wasn't a whole lot of scripture study or testimony bearing--just enough to remind me that I've no desire to attend church, much as I like my friends who do.

Time Heals All Wounds and Scrubs All Unpleasant Memories

Yesterday as I got ready to leave for a campout.

FoxyJ: This will be one of the few times we've spent a night apart since we got married.

This afternoon after I got home.

FoxyJ: Oh. Duh. Remember how we were separated for three months a couple years ago?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

That I Might Look Down Upon My Less Educated Readers

I am now the proud owner of a bachelor's degree, two master's degrees, and a traffic school certificate of completion.

(Did you know that a red arrow means you should stop and wait for the light to turn green? Now I do.)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Lessons Learned on FoxyJ's Birthday

1. When your body is not used to eating meat, having a beef and lamb gyro for lunch and then a pizza covered in every kind of pig part for dinner is not a good idea.

2. Costco's meat lovers' pizza has enough meat on it to produce the equivalent of a Hummer in greenhouse gases.

3. Even though you're buying two pizzas and there are three different kinds to choose from, it's okay to just get two of the one you know you like.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Bad News

The fine for traffic light violation is just about covered by the extra hours I worked this past month in order to save up money for the summer.

The Good News

The fine for traffic light violation is just about covered by the extra hours I worked this past month in order to save up money for the summer.

Happy Earth Day!

Celebrate by becoming a vegetarian!

If I were to start my own religion, I'd totally make one of the rules be that you should eat meat sparingly. Do you suppose many people would actually heed that counsel or would they blow it off in favor of flashier dietary restrictions on tobacco and alcohol? Hm. I wonder if anyone's ever tried something similar...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea

Good idea:

Pooh-shaped crackers.

Bad idea:

Pooh-flavored crackers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Change I Can Believe In

FoxyJ decided a few months ago that she's just not that into her PhD program. She enjoys the classes and does very well in them, but she just doesn't care about getting a PhD that much and a PhD program is the kind of thing you have to care about if you're going to commit all the time and effort required. More than anything, I think she's felt that at this point in her life she wants to focus on being a mom more than on being a student. As she worked through her feelings about school, I was resistant to the idea of her dropping out, mostly for stupid reasons, but also because I worried that she was giving up on something that mattered to her out of a sense of Mormony obligation to be a stay-at-home mom. She assured me this was not the case and I promised that I would support her in whatever she chose to do.

The growing certainty of Foxy leaving the PhD program meant we would need another source of income (she has a nice stipend), so a couple months ago I started looking for full-time employment. At a point where I had already been struggling with depression, this process proved enormously stressful. In the first place, the current economic climate is a horrible one to be looking for a job in--I've applied for several jobs, most of which I was more than qualified for, and not gotten a single interview. In the second place, I really enjoy my current job and am hesitant to give it up. It's only part-time but it pays very well, it allows me a lot of time at home with my family, and it requires very little creative energy, which is a big deal to me because writing is very important to me and I like having as much creative energy as possible for the few hours a week I have time to write. In the third place, the thought of moving to a new city for the third time in three years was a sickening thought. I'm tired of starting over from scratch.

Feeling overwhelmed by all of this, a couple weeks ago I asked Foxy if she wouldn't consider staying in school for just one more year so that we could remain in our current comfortable (for me) situation long enough at least to see what comes of the novel I'm currently revising in hopes of publishing and establishing something like a writing career. She didn't like this idea and I realized a couple days later that it's not fair to ask her to do something she doesn't want to for the sake of saving me from doing something I don't want to. And then I found a solution that makes both of us happy: Utah.

Neither Foxy or I am crazy about Utah as a place to live, but we have a lot of family and friends there and, having lived there for about ten years of each of our lives, it's familiar and comfortable. We'd been talking for a while about how we missed being close to family and maybe we'd be willing to live in Utah again to make that happen. Also, it's much cheaper to live in Utah than in California, which means I can keep my current job and either Foxy or I will just need to find something part-time to supplement that income--she's hoping to teach at UVU. There aren't a lot of full-time prospects in Utah right now because everyone has a hiring freeze, but sooner or later something will come up, perhaps at the library I worked at for three years and would love to go back to, and we'll settle into something more permanent. Above all, the thought of moving back to Utah doesn't make me want to curl into a ball and hide. As an added bonus, our daughter, who is tired of being jerked around and would have otherwise hated the idea of moving yet again, is excited about being closer to her cousins.

So to our Utah friends and family: We're excited to see you in June.

To our California friends: Sorry. We love you. We'll visit.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Plain and Precious Parts

A year and a half in the making, the Fob Bible is nearly here. On June 1st, a collection of prose and poetry inspired by the Old Testament and written by members of the Friends of Ben writing group (and illustrated posthumously by Gustave Dore) will be available to purchase here. In the meantime, whet your appetite with selections we call "Plain and Precious Parts of the Fob Bible"--you can read it online here, download a free copy for your eReader here, or buy the Kindle edition for $0.99 here.

The stories, poetry, and drama in this anthology are written by some of the best writers I know, including fellow bloggers Theric, Tolkien Boy, Melyngoch, and editorgirl. The hard copy (once again, available June 1st) will feature three stories of mine: a slightly revised version of "Abraham's Purgatory"; "The Official History of the International Society for the Spiritual Attunement of the Friends of G.C. Benefield, Chapter 34," which serves as an introduction to the world of the five-book YA superhero fantasy series I'm currently working on; and "The Changing of the God," which features a conversation between Old Testament God and New Testament God. Of my three stories only "Abraham's Purgatory" is in the "Plain and Precious Parts" sampler, but you'll also see there a wonderful collection of pieces from my friends and fellow writers that explore Bible stories you may or may not be familiar with in creative and thought-provoking ways.

All proceeds from the sales of the Fob Bible will go to LDS Humanitarian Services, a charity whose Mormon heritage reflects that shared by most of Fob and whose humanitarian goals we are all happy to support, regardless of our current relation to the church.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Year and a Half Later...

The rough draft is complete. 144,659 words; 437 pages double-spaced.

This is not the first novel I've written, but it is the longest (twice as long as the previous record holder) and by far the most ambitious. It will also be the first one that I make publishable and therefore publish.

Now begins the heinous task of doing just that.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kindle Thoughts

Having played with it for a couple weeks now, I can say definitively that the Kindle 2 is pretty darn cool. As far as the reading experience itself goes, I much prefer holding a lightweight device with a paper-like screen and flipping pages with the push of a button to holding a real book and flipping manually.

The really cool thing about the Kindle, though, is the infrastructure they've built up around it. With wireless service included in the cost of the device, it's incredibly easy to browse the online store, buy books, and read them without dealing with the hassle of downloading first to my computer and then synching files to the device via USB cable. I especially love that everything has free samples--the first chapter of books or the first two weeks of a magazine subscription--so I can get a better idea of what I'm spending my money on.

There are only two things that are holding me back from using the Kindle exclusively for all my reading. The first is that I'm not in the habit of buying books--generally I borrow from the library, and if I'm going to buy a book it's either that I can't get it at the library or that I like it so much that I think I'd like to lend it to friends in the future. Owning an electronic copy of a book negates the possibility of lending unless I want to lend out the whole Kindle, but for books I can't get at the library the Kindle is a great option. As it happens, I currently have a job that frequently gives me Amazon.com gift certificates, so getting in the habit of buying books is more economically feasible than it has been at other points in my life.

The second thing holding me back is that a good deal of my reading time is devoted to comic books, which are not largely available in Kindle format and even if they were, its black-and-white and just-a-little-too-small screen make the Kindle less than ideal for the medium. If Amazon or someone else were to produce a similar device with a larger screen in full color, though, I would love to see the world of monthly comic book publishing go digital. I likes me my new comics every Wednesday, but who needs boxes and boxes of old comics cluttering their house? If they were digital I'd always have them available, without the clutter.

For the time being I mainly use my Kindle for reading the two magazines I've subscribed to: The New Yorker and Narrative. I enjoy The New Yorker primarily for its fiction and Narrative is actually an online literary journal I could read for free on the web, but it's worth the three bucks a month to be able to read short stories when I'm, for example, watching my kids play on the playground, whereas I would never ever sit down at the computer to read those stories because I spend all day at a computer and when I have non-work-related computer time it's for writing my own fiction, thank you very much. Considering that what I write is prose and until a few weeks ago all I was reading was comics, I think it's a very good thing that the Kindle has got me reading prose again. And fairly good stuff, at that, as literary writing goes.

One of the things that excites me most about the Kindle is that I can load my own documents onto it. This means that when writer friends send me their novels to read, I can do so on my couch instead of at the computer, and that when, for example, I finish my current book and want Edgy to read it, I can send it to him electronically, he can make comments on it on his Kindle, then send it back and I can read those comments on mine. Trees around the world rejoice.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blogging from my Kindle

The Kindke's web browsing feature is actually kind of slow and clunky and battery-consuming but I just think it's cool that I can.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Even my Lucky Brand glasses are celebrating:

For the sake of your clean thoughts, I won't post the photo of my green underwear.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The utterly unexpected arrival of a very generous gift goes a long way toward redeeming an otherwise horrible day.

Thank you, Svoid.

I'm going to go play with my Kindle 2 now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Deep Thought about Learning Empathy

We usually park in one of two lots--a small lot that's close to our apartment, or a larger lot that's not so close. Whenever we pull up to the small lot and all the spaces are full, we feel bitter and angry. And then it occurred to me this morning: the other people who park there probably feel the same when they pull up and it's full because we're parked there.

So really you'd think that, knowing what it's like for us, they'd be a bit more courteous and just park elsewhere.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Old Me, Obamiconized

For Future Reference

The old me:

Money-Saving Tip of the Day

If you are filling out an online form to buy something and there's a space to enter a Promotional Code, take a second to do a Google search for "[name of company] promotional code." If you're lucky you will find a code listed on one of many coupon/code sites and when you enter that code you'll get $25 off the very expensive glasses you're buying because you don't like the ugly glasses your insurance could get you for free, and that just might make you feel a little better about your flagrant splurging. You may also want to remind yourself that the insurance wouldn't have paid for the deluxe anti-glare lenses that just may make it possible for you to keep your staring-at-the-computer-all-day job without going blind, and/or that the ugly frames the insurance wanted you to buy would not have lifted you up out of your depressive funk by creating a new you and thus solving all your problems like your cool-looking expensive frames will. So really, it was a good deal.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Equality in Utah?

During the Prop 8 campaign in California, the LDS Church emphasized that it was not "anti-gay" and that it "does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights." In an effort to work together with the church in ensuring that same-sex couples in Utah have these rights, Equality Utah launched the Common Ground Initiative, a group of bills currently being discussed in Utah's 2009 legislative session. These bills do not seek to legalize same-sex marriage or anything like it; rather, they seek to ensure that all Utahns have the rights specifically named in the above quote from the LDS Church.

Whether you support same-sex unions or not, I would hope that you, like Equality Utah and the LDS Church, support legal protections that treat all people fairly and equally. If you live in Utah, I urge you to contact your representative and encourage him or her to support the Common Ground Initiative. You can find your representatives and their email addresses here, and this page includes sample messages that you can copy, paste, and personalize as you see fit.

You don't have to be a gay activist to support equal rights. If you live in Utah, please take a minute to do what you can.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Climate Change We Can Believe In

I don't understand why liberals are so concerned with climate change. Aren't we supposed to be progressive? Isn't change a good thing? Pshaw. Predictable weather patterns are so last decade.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


In his acceptance speech on Election Day, Barack Obama specifically mentioned "gay and straight" Americans--I believe that was a first for a presidential acceptance speech. This morning in his inaugural address, President Obama said that Americans are made up of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, "and non-believers." Say what you want about political correctness, but as a gay agnostic, I appreciate being included.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Not-So-Great Depression

Symptoms of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health:
  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
Check, check and/or check.
  • Irritability, restlessness
Double check.
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
I'm too tired to even check this one off.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
What now?
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Off and on, yes, and yes (to the extent I can get away with it).
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
Yes to the former.
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
No, thankfully.
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
Yes, no, no and yes (but persistent aches and pains and digestive problems have been an accepted part of my ongoing existence for as long as I remember, so I can't say I've done much in the way of treatment in the recent past).

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2008 Report Card

The good thing about posting my yearly goals on my blog is that it helps me remember what they are and I feel a sense of accountability, as if all my hundreds and hundreds of loyal readers are anxiously awaiting to see how I do. The bad thing is that remembering is not the same as doing. Mostly what it means is that I spend much of the year feeling guilty because I'm not making much progress on my goals and thus am letting down all those hundreds and hundreds of loyal readers. With that in mind, here is what I did not do in 2008:

1. Drop body fat level down to 15%. I was doing pretty good with this for the first half of the year and seemed to be making progress. I worked out consistently and for a few months denied myself after-dinner treats, and the scale showed small but significant results. Then we spent a month and a half moving and then settled in here where I fell into a depressive slump where all I wanted to do was read comics and eat, and then the holidays arrived and by that point I just didn't care. When I checked my body fat on Thursday the scale said 22%, which is where I started the year. But today after lifting weights and jogging I checked again and it said 18.5%, so I'll go with that. And I just bought a membership at the UC Davis gym so before long that 18.5% will be more than a midday fluke.

2. Finish the novel I'm writing and sell it. I did neither of these things. Just like the first goal, the summer totally killed the momentum I'd built up over the first six months of the year on this one. But I started writing again a few weeks ago and I'm excited about the book again and, all things considered, I did accomplish a lot that first half of the year--the book is about halfway done and clocking in at 222 pages (72,025 words), which means it'll end up being about twice as long as the longest of the previous books I've written (I write YA, so short is the norm). And in my completely objective opinion, this is shaping up to be by far the best book I've ever written.

3. Finish school (forever) and get a good job. Yay! I actually did this one. Sort of. I did finish school (forever) and I did get a good job; it's just not the full-time librarian career-type job I had in mind. But that's by choice, as the part-time work-from-home job I did get is ideal for our current life situation. And there's a chance both job and life situation will be changing this year, so we'll see what happens here.

4. Have more compassion. Yeah, this was totally a passing phase. I've had moments of compassion, to be sure, but between political events and a six-month marathon of being irrationally angry at my kids, I've had some real low points here.

So that all adds up to something like 37%, or a big fat F. Woot!

Bonus Points:

While I haven't done so well with goals, I did phenomenally with my New Year's resolution. I have responded (at least with a general "thanks for the comment") to every single comment posted on this blog. I'm glad I did, too, as it made me feel more like this is a social activity and not just me practicing verbal masturbation while people watch. (Isn't that a nice image?)

Also, this year I saw the fruition of 2007's writing goal, which was to "make five writing submissions, or one successful submission, whichever comes first." I did not make five submissions in 2007, but I did submit a paper on the last day of the year, then found out a month or two later that it was accepted, and then just last week I found out the article has been published in the most recent issue of Knowledge Organization. So watch your local academic library specializing in library and information science for "Minoritization vs. Universalization: Lesbianism and Male Homosexuality in LCSH and LCC." It's a real nail-biter. (And just in time for the above-mentioned possible job change, which entails sending out CVs, now fortified with added publication.)

And, because I'm a masochist, watch this space for 2009 goals, coming soon. As soon as I figure out what they are.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Who dat is?

That's just my baby daddy!

If not for the magicks of the internet, treasures like this might be lost forever.

You know you're a grownup when Santa brings you underwear...

...and it's one of your favorite gifts.

Apparently Santa doesn't know what size I wear, though, as he got me a size too big. It happens a lot--my rear is surprisingly petite. Today a trip to Target alleviated that problem. (They didn't have any larger rears, but they did have smaller underwear.)

And now my belated Christmas present to you, dear blog readers, a picture of me wearing my new underwear:

...keep scrolling...

...you're in for a real treat...

...and here you go, a picture of me wearing my new underwear:

And looking pretty darn sexy, with that extra chin!