song of the week

January 28, 2008 at 6:27 pm (song of the week) ()

best.  damn.  cover.  ever.

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the bucket list

January 28, 2008 at 6:25 pm (existential angst, movies, pop psychology, quality of life) ()

i went to the movie The Bucket List yesterday. while it was kind of slow to start, with a storyline that kind of meandered along, the sentiment is certainly strong. the movie centers around two terminally-ill older gents who make a list of things to do before they kick the bucket–the bucket list.

it’s a simple concept, and not a new one. a few years ago, a book came out entitled 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. it’s a perspective check, in a way–a method to help keep grounded into a place of thought-about goals instead of getting perpetually ground down into the minutiae .

The Seattle Times has an article on the subject. the article interviews several people about their own bucket lists. one person had this to say:

“It’s like the phenomenon of buying a red car — all of a sudden you see red cars all around,” he says. “When you take the opportunity to write down your goals, there’s a heightened awareness. It’s not that there’s more red cars; you just see things a little differently.”

put that way, it almost sounds like something from
the secret,
a book/movie empire that has circulated for a few years that highlights the ‘law of attraction,’ a notion that states that we attract into our lives the things we give the most energy to through thought and deed.

while not exactly a fan of ‘the secret,’ it does a good job of helping people refocus; just what the bucket list does. it is a psychological placeholder, as it were, that creates space for a dimension outside the here and now, a place for goals and wishes and dreams. it helps get us out of the daily grind and into a realm of possibility. so while it’s no great homage to scriptwriting or cinematography, it is worth seeing nonetheless.

so, what’s on your bucket list?

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song of the week — Martin Luther King Jr. Day edition

January 21, 2008 at 9:54 am (racism, song of the week) ()

cheesiness–check. excessive references to patriarchy-approved deity–check. vague references to conspiracy–check!

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a weighty issue

January 18, 2008 at 8:41 pm (healthcare, image, they hate you they really hate you)

ever doubt that there were tangible benefits given to thin folk? if so, this may change your mind.

Chris Schulz, president of Pacific Northwest Title, is offering an employee benefit with the potential to transform lives. Workers who shed extra pounds may get the added benefit of extra days off.

the local company is doing its own version of The Biggest Loser:

Thirty-two of the company’s 44 employees, including Tye and her boss, have signed up for the 13-week program expected to start next week. Schulz said Wednesday he’ll pay the program’s full cost, about $156 per person.

He’ll sweeten the pot with a gift of time. The biggest loser, by percentage of body weight, will get three extra days of vacation. Second- and third-place winners will get two days or one more day. Those are nice perks at a business where vacation tops out at three weeks after 11 years of employment.

the prize was apparently something he spent a lot of mental energy on:

“Either the first prize was going to be three days off or going to an all-you-can-eat buffet,” Schulz said. That’s laughable, but we all know the seriousness of obesity.

of course! because obviously the only people who would go to a buffet are the obese folks!

apparently the twelve spoilsports that chose not to participate are shit out of luck, getting neither free weightloss programming nor a chance at the extra vacation time. which isn’t to say that they suffer the poor employees; oh, no! they even have a “happy committee” which presumably benefits people who are achievement-focused enough to deserve other stuff:

Tye, 58, is involved in her company’s “happy committee,” which has planned outings to Mariners and AquaSox baseball games and other events.

the article goes on to talk about the local health district’s concerns about the obesity epidemic, and a King County plan to penalize HMO participants who do not adequately partake of healthy behaviors, by charging them more for their health plans.

the article closes with a flourish, noting:

At the Everett business, Schulz expects a boost in self-esteem, if not profits. “If people feel better about themselves, they’re happier, more productive employees,” he said.

because the key to a patriarchy-approved dose of self-esteem is that it’s only deserved after one has undergone suitably demoralizing actions to achieve it. being compared to your co-workers in a company-sponsored weight-loss meeting and having your body mass tracked by your boss? that’s empowerment, bitchez.

here’s the article

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ny times to fibromyalgia patients: adapt, and lose weight

January 14, 2008 at 7:29 pm (healthcare, mental illness)

wasn’t journalism objective, once upon a time?

Most people “manage to get through life with some vicissitudes, but we adapt,” said Dr. George Ehrlich, a rheumatologist and an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “People with fibromyalgia do not adapt.”

well, that’s refreshing. we have an article full portrayals of malingerers who sway to the winds of the mighty pharmaceutical companies. and the not-so-subtile, yet entirely predictable rejoinder:

The potential for weight gain is a special concern because many fibromyalgia patients are already overweight: the average fibromyalgia patient in the 2007 survey reported weighing 180 pounds and standing 5 feet 4 inches.

actually, this article almost reads like it could have come out of some 1800’s medical journal commenting on the prevalence of hysteria. although sandwiched into the middle of all of it is some good, undeveloped commentary on the pharmaceutical industry’s role in generating modern definitions of pathology.

New York Times article

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song of the week

January 14, 2008 at 6:27 pm (song of the week) ()

from her upcoming album, Jukebox;

it’s a reworked version of her earlier Metal Heart–and the only song on the new album that was originally hers.

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the politics of shame

January 9, 2008 at 8:27 pm (blogging, flamewars, healthcare, mental illness)

there are many contexts in which vigorous conversation leads to a changing viewpoint, or strengthening of an existing viewpoint. sometimes we can take a bit of what the other party presents in a way that, at the very least, gives us a sense of the strength of our convictions. in the feminist community, there are plenty of topical opportunities for this; just look at all the debate stirred up over things like body image and who gets to call themselves a feminist.

but there are some topics that are so charged, so flammable, that it just doesn’t appear that folks can civilly disagree. the post that started here with kactus over at Feministe talking about her relief at getting pharmacological assistance in dealing with her symptoms, quickly escalated into a flamewar. a subsequent post commenting on the contention also escalated quickly.

mental illness is not a politically neutral topic. never has been. Read the rest of this entry »

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back from school

January 7, 2008 at 8:39 pm (school, travel)

okay, so i’m back home again from school.  once a month, i go down to santa barbara, california for an intensive three-day weekend of courses.  the rest of my time is spent working and doing readings and writing for school, and other stuff that floats my boat.

i have to say, the flights down and back were the most eventful i have ever experienced; damn near everything went wrong that possibly could, short of the plane actually falling out of the sky.   i’m certainly considering other options for making the trek in the future.

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song of the week

January 7, 2008 at 8:27 pm (song of the week) ()

hat tip to Steph for this one:

okay, so the video is kind of dorky, but the song rocks.

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travel woes

January 4, 2008 at 5:59 pm (travel) ()

question for the day: why do people in crowded airport waiting areas feel so entitled to use a seat solely for their belongings?

i regularly patron four airports, and find this to be the case.

is it related to object love? sort of a my-Coach-bag-shall-not-touch-the-floor kind of thing?

is it an action that reinforces a space bubble? Americans, famous for their colonial pioneer spirit, tend to like their space. they can go to great lengths to identify ownership of space through other devices such as brands, fences, gated communities, and space bubbles that (to my jaundiced eye) appear bigger than in places where people actually have to get along together.

is it a power thing? (i was here first, so my briefcase and ken follett paperback stay put, dammit!)

or is it a variety of things, all of the above, or the stunning absence of community?

anyhoo, what’s coming across to me today is that people in these airports are communicating one big thing: they’re afraid of each other. it’s there, in the staking out of territories of naugahyde, and fences made of carryon luggage and half-consumed foodstuffs. it’s in the lack of eye contact, the absence of solicitousness one hopes is present at least for the elderly.

okay, so i’m writing this in what is shaping up to be a gigantic storm here in California.(CNN coverage of the storm) hopefully it will resolve by the time i have to try and get home on sunday.

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