Friday, June 28, 2013

It's Fashion Friday!: Exercise Caution When Choosing Exercise Wear

From what I know of
trying on things at Lululemon,
I guarantee these are see through.
  I was driving through town the other day and it was raining. It's been raining off and on pretty much all week. I saw a man running on the sidewalk. It's unusual to see people on the sidewalks in my town, as it is not really very walker friendly. I was shocked more by his attire choices, however, than by his existence in space and time. Not only was this man running shirtless, which I find somewhat rude, assuming, and inappropriate (he certainly didn't bother to ask if I wanted to look at his unclothed, middle-aged, drippy, booby torso - I would have said no thanks, I'm all set), but he was barefoot! No socks, no shoes, NOTHING. I find this to be a bad idea for many reasons including but not limited to: rusty nails, broken glass, dog poop, vagrant insects, teenage boys' hocked loogies (spelling? anyone?), MRSA, unknown flesh eating bacteria, need I go on? Running barefoot on the beach is one thing. The ocean has natural cleansing mechanisms. Your local town's dirty sidewalks DO NOT. For crying out loud, buy some of those ridiculous Vibram feet or a pair of Nike sneakers. There's so little to Nike sneakers anymore, you might as well not have shoes on. He probably thought he was exercising his feet all the while only exercising great stupidity.
          It's remarkable how off people's intuition can be about what is a wise choice for something to wear to exercise the body. I don't know if I've ever told you about this one woman at my gym - she wears tight white pants that have fake black pockets on the back, no underwear, and a black sports bra that has a giant keyhole cutout in the front to show off the cleavage of her surgically enhanced titties. It's not so much the outfit I have a problem with, it's the fact that I can tell she has no underwear on from twenty feet away. There's a fine line between choosing something that doesn't make you uncomfortable and something that doesn't make everyone else uncomfortable. The hot yoga room is a very dangerous place where this is concerned. Some people get the idea that since it is hot in there, they should do like the song and take all their clothes off. Since I chose to go to bed last night instead of stay up and write, I will now redirect you to a blog on Recovering Yogi with some guidelines for how to avoid turning yoga into ho-ga. (Let's see how many words I can nonchalantly hyphenate with the "ho" prefix by the end of the year, shall we?)

Of hot pants and pink bikinis in the hot room

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yo! Gurt Me Somethin' Else To Eat

These Fage yogurts with fruit
have corn starch in them. I DON'T WANT

           What is up with this country’s obsession with Greek style yogurt? For someone who
doesn’t like Greek style yogurt and prefers European style yogurt, it is absolutely infuriating. And by that someone, I am referring to myself. I don’t get it. It’s as thick as I imagine denture paste to be. You could probably stick a pencil in it and it would stick straight up for incalculable amounts of time. It is not smooth and creamy, and does not come in the multitude of flavors that I desire. And it does not come in the right size or shape container. It comes in a short fat container, like I imagine you will become if you continue to only eat Greek style yogurt.
            Yes, I am angry. No, I do not want to eat that Dannon or Yoplait shit. What I want is a
someone had quite the good haul of
Migros brand yogurt (that would be Swiss
grocery store brand). there's some raspberry,
apple pear, peach melba, vanilla rhubarb, and
red currant.
large selection of delicious flavors of European style yogurts like I would find in a Swiss grocery store. Is that too much to ask? I restrain myself from approaching the status of “world’s most annoying fan of Switzerland” by not regularly sharing how greatly superior die Schweiz is to die Vereinigten Staaten, but really, have you been there? Have you ever viewed their yogurt sections? They have mocha and coffee flavored yogurts in those nice semi liquid cream states in a NORMAL sized portion. They have blood orange yogurt. They have grapefruit yogurt. THEY HAVE KIWI YOGURT. Sometimes, their yogurt even comes with a spoon attached to the package. And usually, every piece of the package can be recycled. Sadly, I do not live in my desired locale. And I am stuck going to Whole Paycheck, where I have a small selection of boring flavors. But all the rest of you – you freaky people with your FREAKY GREEK YOGURT- you just CARRY ON. Go ahead and eat your weird, thick paste-like amorphous goop. FINE!

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Fashion Friday!: When Generations Collide

in a galaxy far far away,
or unfortunately close

           I was lucky enough last week to bear witness to a startling anthropological encounter. It’s really a lucky thing that I was paying attention, too, because I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who witnessed the whole scene as an impartial observer, as my friend Beth was absorbed in her own thoughts about the lipstick she had just purchased and the $60 pillow she wanted to buy (and didn’t). We were traipsing down the hallway away from Nordstrom in the Burlington Mall, a little bit poorer than we were when we had entered the department store, just chatting. No doubt, we were discussing any other stops we needed to make, whether or not $60 was too much to spend on a pillow, and how proud of ourselves we were for not spending any money at Lululemon. I happened to have eyes on all the people around us.

            Walking towards us, along side the wall, was a group of three elder men. One of them was probably seventy. He looked of gentle disposition, his spine a bit hunched from wear. The little hair he had was snow white and combed back to cover his shiny, bald head. He had glasses – his eyes looked upward out of them though his head tilted toward the floor. The man in the middle was significantly younger, but disabled. He was hobbling with two crutches. I was unable to determine if his disabilities were solely physical or if they extended into his head as well. His hair was salt and peppered and he also wore glasses. The third man was a vacuum. He was so nondescript that he is completely unmemorable. He was there, he took up space, but other than an outline of a body, nothing remains in my mind to fill his place.
            As two groups of people walk towards each other, inevitably, they will pass. And we did approach this convergence. Suddenly, as if struck by a pang of life threatening indigestion, the man on crutches doubled over towards the wall. He was loudly switching between uncomfortable moans and sounds resembling “YUCK!” and “Mother of God!” The moans matched the contortions his body had to make to curl up in between the two crutches, which remained stiff at his sides. The gentle man lifted his hand to his face to cover his eyes and turned his head away. His sounds were softer, but similar. “Awf,” he cry-whispered. And, the unmemorable man, for a brief moment, has a face. A face of shock, of horror, of discontent. A face that floats in space without much more than that outline of a body, a silent body writhing in pain.
            “Good grief, I think to myself. What are they looking at? You’d think they’d just seen the Holocaust.” I looked directly across to where their eyes had been and I see colorful galaxies. Purples and blues and stars swirling. What a marvelously strange thing to see in a mall! Especially considering these galaxies were tightly wrapped around the sausage-y legs and bum, in the form of footless tights (AKA leggings), of a not so tiny girl sitting on a bench. The legs were splayed up and out like the appendages of the letter K, very much like the two legs of a child who has tumbled over backwards and is showing the world her knickers, certainly not a posture that would be advised for a young lady in any book on proper manners. I guess these elder men did not enjoy Miss Galaxy Crotch or the fact that she had chosen to wear just the galaxy legs as the only garment on her lower half...or the fact that she was shining her root chakra at them like she thought it was the sun. They seemed quite traumatized. So, the age-old question, or at least my question, of what do older men think of this whole leggings-without-pants trend, has been answered. They’d like you to put it away. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Fashion Friday!: Can't The Circus Come To Town?

COLOR! Fashion Rebel, Rated R,
and Mediteranee Eye Shadow Duo $34
           Have you ever pondered the progression of history that led to it being socially unacceptable to paint your face like a circus performer for daily wear? The cosmetics industry is a multibillion-dollar cash cow bringing colors in powder, gel, and glitter form to people all over the world. So, why not? French women AND men were really into caking on the makeup in an obvious fashion in the 1700’s and 1800’s. They didn’t want to look natural. The more artificial, the more aristocratic. This fascinating website I found says that sometimes people would trace their veins with blue pencil to make their skin look whiter. Sometimes they would use mouse fur to accentuate their eyebrows. How did this not snowball into something Tim Burton worthy? Maybe it was because people were actually killing themselves with the lead paint they used to turn their skin white….
            How did I find myself thinking about this, you ask?
Amour $29.50
at the Chanel counter
Well, I felt compelled to pamper myself with an irresponsible lip-gloss purchase this week. There’s just something so delightful and decadent about acquiring tubes full of sparkles. When I’m indulging, I find that I also want to acquire other kinds of color (in obscene $$$ quantities). Perhaps it’s the artist in me. Perhaps it’s just my inner five year old. Depending on which counter you’re at in Nordstrom, you will find different types of hues. There aren’t many circus colors at Chanel. They keep it classy. 
Wander over to Nars, however, and it’s like a crayon box for your face. Wouldn’t it be fun to look like a crayon box? At least sometimes? Without people thinking you’d totally flipped your cork?  
Okay this is not what I had in mind.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label Fall 2011.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

See Something Say Something.

           Like an abandoned backpack in an airport, the disparity of consequence I see for government action and civilian action is disconcerting. Great journalists show you exactly what they are looking at, and then let you draw your own conclusions. This is not something I excel at. Handing you my conclusions, however, does not get you anywhere. Since I do believe this abandoned backpack is more frightening than anyone I would actually see in an airport, I will try to show you what I’ve seen, and let you decide whether or not it is dangerous. 
This map is from The Guardian article on NSA's
Global Surveillance.
            It has recently been confirmed by the Brits, via the Guardian, that our government is spying on us. They are collecting “metadata,” which they want us to feel better about than them actually listening in on our phone calls, and surveillance on our nation more than they are on Russia, Turkey, Mexico, and North Korea. While a secret court granted the government access to our phone records because of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Patriot Act, I still consider it a violation of our civil rights – a violation of the law. I’m sure the foreign surveillance violates international law as well – that’s why spies try not to get caught. The executive branch of our government has broken the law, lied to Congress about it, and violated our trust. Will they be held accountable? Will anyone lose his job? Will anyone go to jail?
            At least 27 people have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen since Obama’s speech on reigning in the drone strikes on May 231. These people are described as most victims of drone strikes are: “alleged,” “suspected,” “believed to be militants.” Sometimes names are given, as in the cases of Pakistani civilians 16 year old Tariq Aziz and his cousin 12 year old Waheed Khan 2. Sometimes identities are unknown. Often bodies are too disfigured post-missile for identities to be confirmed 3. When a sniper shoots, one bullet kills one person. Missiles and explosions don’t target individuals. Governments don’t discuss collateral damage because they don’t want you to think about it. In the Boston Marathon Bombing three people died; more than 100 people were injured 4. Car bombs on the border of Syria and Turkey on May 11 killed 40 and wounded about 100 5. For some reason, when you’re supposed to not be upset about the victim of an explosion, the number of wounded is not reported. It’s also not mentioned that other things may have been destroyed such as the alleged militant’s wife’s only picture of her mother, or his son’s favorite toy or entire bedroom. It’s not mentioned that the missile may have blown out the windows of the alleged militant’s home, but also the windows of the neighbor’s home – sending shards of glass at their innocent child.
What crimes have these alleged militants committed? Hating Americans? Being religious fundamentalists? Thinking about blowing things up? I don’t think any of those things are crimes on American soil. And even if they were, you would need to be charged with the crime and taken to trial before you would be sentenced (or killed). These suspected cohorts and members of terrorist organizations spend time in compounds (that’s what they call houses to dehumanize who they want you to think might be criminals someday) on another continent. The Westboro Baptist Church terrorizes people in America every day. They probably think about committing crimes against gay people. Are we given the right to preemptively kill them? Many of the alleged militants are farmers. Most of them are poor. Lots of them are parents. They live in sovereign nations. Pakistan DOES have its own judicial system to deal with crime, if its citizens were to actually commit a crime by their laws. (They’ve recently found the US guilty of war crimes against Pakistan, FYI 6).
President Obama said “we are safer because of our efforts…. Simply put, these strikes have saved lives. 7” Who is safer? Whose lives have been saved? WHO DECIDES that an American’s life is more valuable than the life of a Pakistani, Afghani, Yemeni, or Somali? And will the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces look THEIR CHILDREN in the eye and explain to them WHY that decision has been made? He also believes that he is not violating other nation’s sovereignty or international law: “Moreover, America’s actions are legal. We were attacked on 9/11. Within a week, Congress overwhelmingly authorized the use of force. Under domestic law and international law, the United States is at war with al-Qaida, the Taliban, and their associated forces.”
Like it or not, what the US government does now is setting the standards for a new era in international warfare. It will only be a matter of time before the likes of Russia, China, and N Korea (God AND Allah forbid) have and are using their own killer drones. Who will hold them accountable? Who will hold our government accountable? Who is the terrorist here?

For a complete listing of every reported US drone strike since 2002 visit Dronestream on Twitter.