Archive for November, 2012

November 28th, 2012

Recommended Reading #126: Erotica Writing, Pt. II

      “Confessions Of A Literary Streetwalker: What’s Erotic?” by M. Christian (Writing, Perspective, Arousal) 9/10/12

I agree entirely with what I interpret as postulated in this piece and consider it an important recognition for writers of erotica. I appreciate discussions like this that open us (or remind us of) the vastness of what constitutes both sexuality and erotica as an art form.


      “Creating Pure Pleasure: How to Change Lives with Erotica, Telling Truths, and Orgasmic Cookies” by Donna George Storey (Sex and Culture, Art) 11/2012

I appreciate Donna’s framing of erotica as focused on pleasure, as well as the reminder that (and why) society still seems to find this alarming. As usual, I find it refreshing (and affirming!) to read her articulate observations about the cultural resistance to the work of erotic artists.


      “We Deviants. We Happy Deviants” by Remittance Girl (Sex and Culture, Academia, Writing) 11/14/12

I find this a beautifully insightful exposition on both human sexuality and the art of erotica.


Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

November 21st, 2012

Recommended Reading #125: Relationship, Pt. IV

      “The motherhood mystique” by Rachel Hills (Parenthood, Non-sex-related, Sociology) 11/19/12

This piece about Jessica Valenti’s new book, Why Have Kids?, includes quotes from her that I find strikingly insightful. The whole piece seems to me to address a profound issue and source of truth, and the comparison offered between the phenomenon in question and Friedan’s “problem with no name” strikes me as incisive as well. In addition, framing motherhood (and parenthood in general) as a relationship rather than a job resonates with me deeply. (For one thing, it occurs to me that it relinquishes the intrinsic recognition of the parent as “boss”….)


      “My Mom Had Lots Of Sex And Met Her New Husband Through Online Dating” by Kerry Cohen (Sex and Culture, Sex and Aging, Self-Awareness) 10/8/12

Not only do I love this as an illuminating exposition on sexuality and aging, but I also greatly appreciate the absence of furtiveness or self-consciousness about authenticating and acknowledging one’s sexuality and behavior. The thwarting of a number of absurd cultural assumptions seems central to the experience detailed in this piece, and it’s one of the reasons I recommend it!


      “The Cold, Hard Truth About Relationships” by Monica Day (Self-Awareness, Psychology) 10/2/12

I find this exposition about self-awareness, relationship with one’s self, and the relevance of both those things to any relationship with other brilliant.


Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

November 17th, 2012

(Belated!) Costuming Tails :)

So, for some reason it’s taken me half a month to post about Halloween this year. Let’s not dwell on whether that’s a result of procrastination, absurd scheduling, or some combination of both! Instead, as is tradition, I want to present my costume from this year and explain a bit about how it came about! (At least I’m getting this done before Thanksgiving.)

Rick Write and I once again hosted a Halloween party the Saturday before the holiday this year. His enthusiasm for Halloween translates into really going all-out with the decorating:

Which I myself enjoy quite a bit. :)

On to my costume, for the last six years, I have volunteered at a seasonal butterfly exhibit over the summers. When I moved in with Rick last year, the distance between my residence and the exhibit approximately tripled, but I love volunteering there so have continued to, even though I haven’t gone in quite as often.

This year, I particularly loved volunteering there, in large part because of the staff. There are a few staff members that have remained constant over the years, while several part-time positions have usually been filled anew every year or two. This year, all the part-time exhibit employees were new. I have always loved the regular staff that has worked there, and this year I felt a particular connection with some of the new staff members, making my time at the exhibit even more enjoyable than in the past.

Thus, one weekend as I was pondering what my Halloween costume would be this year, inspiration struck: I had never gone as a butterfly, despite how much I love them, and suddenly it occurred to me that I could create my own original butterfly costume patterned after one of the actual species of butterfly we house in the exhibit—the species that happens to be my favorite one there.

What is it? The emerald swallowtail, of course. :) (Yes, that really is its name!)

I knew immediately what would make up the bulk of my costume that I already owned, and that I would have to largely create the wings—which, of course, would be the centerpiece of the costume—because I highly suspected emerald swallowtail costumes wouldn’t be for sale anywhere. :)

The wings creation involved purchasing plain white fairy wings at the Halloween store and black spray paint, pipe cleaners, and this fabulous emerald green glitter tape I found at Michael’s. Armed with these ingredients, I found a well-ventilated area (i.e., the driveway) and painted the wings black. Since there were silver glitter swirls on the wings that appeared resistant to spray paint, I had to do a little more work to cover them up (namely tracing them with glue and pouring black glitter over them).

Since the emerald swallowtail is, obviously, a swallowtail butterfly, I wanted to make the swallowtails to add to its wings—not doing so seemed to me to make the costume far less authentic. :) I achieved this by forming the outline of their shape with black pipe cleaners and cutting out black cardboard in the same shape to glue the pipecleaners to. (It occurs to me now that I could have just used the black cardboard, but the pipecleaners did seem to highlight their shape somehow.) Glue did not seem to hold this well, so I ended up stapling them to the wings, which worked like a charm (lol).

When the paint was dry, I positioned strips of the green glitter tape approximately where the stripes of iridescent green are on the actual butterfly’s wings. Considerable paint fumes and seemingly pounds of glitter strewn across the garage floor later, the wings were ready!

I purchased antennae as well, of course, and almost everything else in the costume I think I already owned. Obviously the costume works best from the back, so the pictures below are generally from that angle. :) Here it is, my emerald swallowtail costume for Halloween 2012:



And here is its inspiration. Isn’t it gorgeous?


Happy belated Halloween!!


“And everywhere she goes, everybody knows, she’s so glad to be alive, she’s a butterfly…”
-Martina McBride “Butterfly”

November 14th, 2012

Recommended Reading #124: Transformation

      “Confessions of a formerly sexist man” by Hugo Schwyzer (Sociology, Self-Awareness, Gender Socialization, Feminism) 10/31/12

I find this piece strikingly insightful and articulate. I couldn’t agree more with the assertions about gender socialization and its detriment to both individuals and society, and as far as personal revelation, this kind of elucidation on self-awareness (which I see as almost always a part of transformation) evokes profound appreciation in me. The commentary on feminism as a philosophy strikes me as fascinating as well, and I will admit I don’t know if I’ve ever consciously perceived it that way.


      “It’s just a ride” by Bill Hicks (Recommended Watch, Philosophy, Spirituality, Non-Sex-Related) 9/3/07

As simple and/or comic as this may seem, I see it also as true.


      “10 Signs You Are a ‘Good Girl’ & 10 Tips for Discovering Your ‘Good Woman.'” by Candice Holdorf (Self-Awareness, Gender Socialization, Sociology) 11/9/12

While this strikes me as poignant because I am aware there are numerous ways I still tend to act like a “good girl” as purported here, I love and find resonant the descriptions of the perception of a “good woman.” I also like that this is not a piece (it seems to me at least) about how to “act differently” or embark on some other maneuver to, ironically, gain further or different approval. It is about internal experience and connection with oneself. Beautiful—and reminiscent in general of transformation.


Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

November 7th, 2012

Recommended Reading #123: Politics, Pt. V

      “Romney Is President” by Maureen Dowd (Non-Sex-Related, Sociology, Humanism) 11/10/12

This resonates with my own sense that the Republican ticket of the most recent U.S. presidential election seemed geared toward a quite traditional white/straight/cisgender/normatively-abled male populace, and how disturbing I found what seemed to me the open and unapologetic catering as such. I am and was both relieved and heartened to see the defeat of such as well as what appeared to be appreciably progressive signs in elections and election results across the country.


      “Should We Discriminate Against Chick-Fil-A?” by Dr. Marty Klein (LGBT, Sex and Culture, Censorship) 7/26/12

While this seems outdated in literal terms, the overall offering strikes me as more far-reaching—as well as nicely put. I of course find the open anti-gay stance of Chick-Fil-A’s head honcho as distasteful as anyone, but I agree that disallowing the business to be somewhere based on the company president’s public stance about something oversteps a concerning line. Practically speaking, I do feel uncomfortable with government stepping in to disallow a business to operate based on government’s disagreement with a public stance of the company’s leadership. That does not seem to me to be for government to dictate. I like what Marty focuses on instead toward the end of this post about the heartening nature of the mayors’ speaking out, both in content (what they said) and in practice (in, as Marty points out, the current political “play-it-safe-ism”). That indeed, it seems to me, is lovely to see!


      “Letter to a future Republican strategist regarding white people” by Eric Garland (Non-Sex-Related, U.S. Public Policy, Politics) 11/9/12

While I perhaps don’t agree with every tonal nuance and/or point made in this piece (and there are a number I would add), on the whole it resonates highly with me—and I much enjoyed reading it!


Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday