Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another possibly thing.

I've known for a long time that there is a sensitive spot on the inside of my left ankle.  It responds entirely out of proportion to the amount of force applied.  It's hard to seek help for this kind of thing, because it's only a problem when I hit it, and because "it hurts when I hit it" is a difficult symptom to get people to take seriously.

Today I noticed that the tender area is visibly pronounced compared to the other ankle.  Something is going on there, I just don't know what.

Is this something to see a doctor about?  Is this something that should be dealt with somehow?  Or is it just a quirk of being me?

I do not know these things.

Vanilla is a flavor, too.

"[this blog] couldn’t live on a feminist site or a men’s rights site. I do not want to sign up to a shared mission statement or ideological aim. That would completely undermine what I try to do here, which is to consider gender issues without dogmatic or ideological constraint, to call the stories as I see them, and speak my mind because it is what I want to say, not because it is what someone wants to hear."

"I come to this place because of the neutrality and rationality of the commenters here."

These are quotes from a blog and it's comments that I recently removed from my RSS feed.  I do think that there is much of value being said on the blog, but I'm getting increasingly annoyed at statements like those.  It reminds me a lot of things said during the Epic Mansplainer Debacle (the one who tried to 'splain happiness to me, because if I didn't enjoy talking to him that was something I should try to fix about myself).  I am slowly piecing together thoughts behind why this annoys me.

1.  Neutral is an ideology.  Neutral is a choice.  Someone who agrees with some issues from one group and some issues from another is someone whose ideology agrees with one group sometimes and another group other times.  A Catholic who supports welfare but not abortion is not inherently more free of dogma than a feminist who supports both.  There is dogma from the middle as well as the sides.

2.  Neutral is not inherently better or worse simply because it is in the middle.  To Godwin this, no one thinks that being "neutral" about genocide is a morally superior stance to "full opposition." 

3.  In the first quote, the writer praises himself for a lack of dogmatic or ideological constraints, implying that feminists and men's rights activists do not.  It assumes that people who have these ideologies assume positions because of the ideology, rather than claims the ideology because it fits the position.

I do not support reproductive choice legislation because I say I'm a feminist.  I describe myself as a feminist in part because I support reproductive choice legislation.  My feminism is descriptive, not proscriptive.  Conversely, my father's conservatism is the same.  Implying otherwise is strawmanning and insulting. 

4.  Neutral is not the same as open minded.  Some people with neutral ideologies are open minded, some are not.  The hypothetical Catholic I mentioned, who votes Republican on abortion but Democrat on welfare, might be just as unwilling to hear the other side on either of these issues as someone who votes straight ticket. 

5.  I do not agree that "neutral" is a virtue.  I do believe that "open-minded" is.  Open minded means able to listen and understand opposing viewpoints and willing to critically examine ones own prejudices and assumptions.  Someone who is open minded is capable of changing their mind, but that's not the same as actually doing it.  Someone may critically and fairly examine all the arguments and still reach the same conclusion that they had before. 

6. I was proud of myself, recently, for blocking a Facebook conversation in which someone described people with equal signs for avatars as "smug" and "self-righteous," and criticized them for not being able to understand other people's point of view.  As if taking a side was a moral or intellectual flaw.  I hid the post, but it still grates on me. 

Another Dance Shoes Link

Last week I went ballroom dancing for the first time since the shin splint.  I stuck to slower dances: foxtrot, rumba, waltz.  I felt fine.

I went to Zoomba last night, and about 40 minutes in I could feel my shin again.  It didn't hurt, but it felt like a proto-hurt, maybe a pre-hurt, and so I stopped immediately and went home and iced it.

It's been almost a month since I went to the doctor for this.  I feel like it should be better.  I feel like it was better, but I injured myself as soon as I started dancing (or Zoomba-ing) again.

I think it's an arch support problem.  I know that I have an arch problem; there was a while when my feet hurt so much I could barely walk, and getting arch supports fixed it.  I knew that lack of arch support can be a factor in shin splints, but I discarded the idea because if I had an arch problem, I'd know, right?  My feet feel fine.  It can't be arches.  Except I think it is. 

I know that some heels, and I would hope most ballroom heels, have arch support.  But I don't know how to tell if mine do.  I don't really know what shoes are supposed to feel like, I just know that the wrong ones will hurt eventually but it's not a direct "put on shoe = pain" kind of equation.

Last week I was in my new gold heels and my leg was fine.  Last night I was in cheap sneakers and my leg started to hurt.  If I fix the arch problem, can I dance again?

I have insoles in my Chucks, but not in either of the two pairs of cheap sneakers that I DIY'ed into dance shoes.  (Glue fabric, like felt or flannel, to the soles of the shoe and presto! Dance shoe.)  If I add support to them, will that make a difference?

What if I go to a running store and tell them to find me sneakers that are flexible and REALLY good for my arches, and then turn THOSE into dance shoes?

Is this something I can or should see a doctor about?  Like a sports medicine kind of thing?  Am I overreacting?  Under-reacting?

There is a ballroom dance this Friday, and a swing dance the next day.  I am out of shape and getting worse and the longer I go without, the harder it is to dance and I miss it so damn much.

I googled "ballroom shoe arch support," and found this store.  This particular shoe is probably not any different from what I'm wearing, but it's pretty enough to keep a link handy.

Step One Dance Shoes

I really won't be buying new shoes anytime soon.  Including the DIY'ed sneakers, I have FIVE pairs of dance shoes.  I might add another pair this week.  I only have TWO pairs of regular shoes.  But there will be a time again when I feel acceptable splurging on pretty and frivolous things.  And that shoe right there?  LOVE it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Six days or something.

I know, weird, huh?  I'm here, and still pondering the minute implications of three word texts.  I actually wrote a medium sized post about said minutia, but by the time I'd finished, I'd wrapped it up and it seemed so obvious and inconsequential that I just didn't bother.  End result: I'm in an "It's Complicated" with Cassidy.  That's fine.

Also, I have realized that the advice blogs I've been reading, e.g. Captain Awkward and Everyone Is Gay have been seeping into everything I write, and I find myself saying YOU GUYS instead of Dear Reader, and talking about FEELINGSSTUFF, and generally enjoying the uninhibited use of capslock.  You should go read those things and then you will understand.

Friday, April 19, 2013

More photos from IDC

Two more quick thoughts about this.

Well, I did change my username, not to symbolize anything special, but just to muddy the search engine a little.

Looking at the last two messages: my moxie totally disappears when I message women. 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Oh yeah, I finally took photos

of the tattoo I got last summer:

(also visible, bandage marks on my ankles from when I was breaking in new shoes)


I tried to get some good portraits, y'know, of my face and all, but I just don't like my face today.  At least, I don't like my face when it's more than, oh 300 px wide.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

States I have been in, states I have not.


New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
West Virginia
and Washington D.C.

Not visited:

New Hampshire
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota

Monday, April 15, 2013

IDC: early photo favorites

I don't actually enjoy taking photographs.  Shooting is work.  It's satisfying work, but it isn't fun.  I do it because I enjoy what happens after; I enjoy discovering what I have, and making it good.  I enjoy being part of creating something beautiful.  But the negatives and original files are just the starting point.  For me, shooting is the artistic equivalent of going grocery shopping.  I'm gathering what I need for later.

So when people ask me about the competition, I don't quite know how to answer.  I feel like I'm supposed to say that I had fun, but photographing other people dancing isn't fun.

And I was so goddamn jealous because they were dancing when I couldn't.  And sometimes that jealousy mixed with other jealousies.  I wanted to be up on the floor, looking like them, but being on the floor wouldn't make me look like them.  I began to resent them for their dresses, their bodies.  If their partners were better than mine had been, I resented them for it.  If they'd been dancing for a long time, I resented them for having that advantage.  If they were new, I resented their ability to learn quickly.

But there were a lot of times when I could look at a well-executed move and think YEAH!  I was genuinely happy to see my friends succeed.  I wanted to photograph, not just so I'd have something to do or something to show off, but because I wanted my friends to see how great they look.

I've spent a lot of time here talking about being out of the in-club, and I'm just now realizing how much that's changed.  There is an in-club, but membership isn't dependent on being pretty or popular or bffs with the right people.  The gold-shoe girls don't even require gold shoes.  Entrance into the club is gained by signing up.  I went to Star of the North; I'm in the club.

Last week, when I dropped out of the competition, it seemed perfectly natural and obvious that I would go anyway.  No one was surprised that I showed up at 7am on a Saturday to be with the team.  I belonged there.  When my teammates post photos the next day with funny captions, I get the jokes.

I woke up at 5am to do my hair and makeup.  Then I went to a ballroom competition and spent the next 14 hours photographing other people dancing.  And then, at the end of a long day, I danced a farewell dance for a friend who's gone, then packed up and went home.  Any one of those things could have made for a miserable day.  To have them all together and still feel more like shrugging than crying is a kind of miracle.

And now I'm going through what I shot—1,950 images is a mind-boggling number for someone who's used to shooting 60 frames of film on a good day—and these are some of my early favorites.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


If I had waited a few minutes before replying, I would have known who was sending me his number so I'd have it on my new phone.  And, since I haven't allowed myself to text him, I'd write back and say "ok thanks."  But what I wrote was

and then we were bantering back and forth.  It doesn't take much, really.

He wooed me over banter, over conversations like this.

I could have stopped it.  I can still choose to stop.

But part of me thinks that trying to not think about him may be counter productive.  If I spend a day fighting the desire to write to him, then he is a bigger part of my life than if I send a quick text and don't hear anything until evening.  Part of me thinks that there isn't any point in trying to not love him.  It doesn't work that way.

And he is not the only person I pine for.  Just the most piney.  Sometimes I feel like I never let go of anyone, that I just keep adding more pockets to my skirt to carry all my unrequited loves.  Now I have one more pocket.  I love him, but he's not my boyfriend.  That's just how it is.

If You Would Like to Drive to Stockton, CA (Mysterious Repost Edition)

I retagged many of my old posts, designating "photography" as opposed to "art." (A muddled distinction, I realize, in this case, I used "art" to mean "art of an unspecified medium," or "general discussion of art," and "photography" to mean "anything in the medium of photography, regardless of artistic merit or intent."

And, for some reason, this one post got re-dated, as if I'd posted it today.  Just this one.  Don't know why, but here it is:

You can see my photographs while you're there.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I'd been meaning to show you:

This is what I'm doing.  I put up photos for as long as I enjoy looking at them.  As new ones get added, the groupings will probably change.  There used to be another three or four, but they didn't last.  I'm still not letting myself ask, is this good?  I can only ask, do I enjoy looking at it?  It's funny how different those questions feel.  I think I spend too much time worrying about the first when it's the second that's important.

My phone case won't arrive until Monday, so Pinkerton (my phone) still has all the plastic on it, which makes for pretty but smeary images.  And I am still looking around at camera apps.  Also, since my desktop is old and doesn't get cloud access, I need to email photos to myself in order to get them on a computer.

(One solution would be to upgrade the OS on my iMac, which is still running whatever was current when I bought it in 2008.  I might lose Fallout or the Sims.  I'd definitely need to actually back up my data, instead of just saying I will.)

It's making me think about images and their physical existence, because if the point of these isn't printing, then does it matter if they only live on my phone, tablet, interwebs?  If I can edit, crop, and drop into a blog post, or pass around at knitters' breakfast, and all from a phone or tablet, why is it that they don't feel like I don't really have them if they're not on a "real" computer?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I feel out of control.

Spending money.  An iPhone.  And a shockproof case.  And this top:

Smitten top from Kiyonna

The top photo is the color I got.  The bottom is to show how good it will look with a poofy 50's skirt. 

I am excited and worried and happy and guilty.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


I was sitting in the back booth at George's three years ago, and a mild appreciation for someone in my class had suddenly become a crush, the kind that obliterates everything else around it, and it felt as if I would be obliterated too, in a blast of longing and lonliness. But I was also 30 years old, and I knew that I could bear it, because I always had before. I've had a lot of crushes in my life.

And so I tried to put together data on crushes, looking for the equation that would predict how much longer I would feel this way. It didn't work, because this kind of data is the kind that disappears as soon as it's over. One of the benefits of getting over a crush is that it feels as if it were never there in the first place. I also tried to quantify crush time as binary: time with crush ON versus time with crush OFF. Which, in retrospect, is a terrible way to interpret the data. A crush is a graph over time, with a sharp incline and, usually a slower, lingering trail back down. And even after it flatlines, there can still be occasional activity even years after. As evidenced by that same crush, not flatlining, right now.

This time around, he is a welcome distraction. Something light, predictable, manageable. He is not Cassidy. But I wish that I had been able to come up with a working equation, even though I know it isn't possible, because I have no relevant data. There is nothing like Cassidy in all my history.

It is getting better. It doesn't hurt like it used to. I go longer without missing him in my daily life. I don't automatically reach for my phone, for him, all day. I even managed to be emotionally untouched by a week of email silence. And so I think, look I'm better now! I start thinking about starting a new OK Cupid profile, a new name, new text, because I'm not the person I was when I first started and I want to reflect that change. What would a new name be? If I were starting from scratch, what would I say?

But he does write back, like I knew he would. I wasn't calm about the silence because my feelings for him have changed, I was calm because I trust him again, and I know that he will write back. And I am joyous when he does. Everything I learn about him, everything he does, it never ceases to make me like him more.

Friday, April 5, 2013

This Week in Angela, part 1: Fat

Some of the potential benefits of a CPAP machine are:
A.  Less strain on the heart leads to a lower risk of heart attack
B.  Uninterrupted sleep leads to more energy during the day, improved mental functions, coordination, etc.
C.  Fewer breathing interruptions leads to a lower chance of suffocation during sleep.
D.  Improved energy sometimes leads to more activity which can lead to weight loss.
E. Opening the breathing pathways eliminates snoring.
This is what I've determined from reading about sleep apnea, mostly online.  Since I have had no complaints about my energy or quality of life, I was mostly concerned about snoring (superficial I know, but at the time I was sleeping with someone), and the whole less-likely-to-die bits.  Getting a CPAP was sort of like quitting smoking.  It's something I wanted to do in order to avoid future regret.  So I went to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, told him all of this, and got tested for apnea.

Given that I have told him, repeatedly, that my quality of life is good, and I am rested and active and happy, given that the potential benefits from the CPAP machine include NOT DYING, I am starting to get really pissed that the one thing the doctor continues to mention and check with me is my WEIGHT.  When he was telling me about the benefits of the machine, he told me about the possibility of weight loss.  When he proscribed the machine, he told me that I might lose weight.  When I came in for a checkup this morning, he asked if I'd lost weight.  The guy who rents the medical equipment mentioned it, too.  Possibly more than once. 

It assumes that I want to lose weight.  It assumes that I'm trying, and not succeeding.  It assumes that the reason I'm not losing weight is because I don't have the energy to get my fat ass up to exercise.  If I only had more energy during the day, I'd be able to stop being so fat.

I will put together a version of this in a letter.  I will let them know why I will not be returning for services again.  That much, I can do.

ETA: And it will be an actual letter, because they have no way to contact them by email.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New plans, determination.

Shin Pain (Shin Splints)

Treatment: rest, ice, ibuprofen, NOT DANCING
Treatment time: 2-4 weeks

I can't go to Hawkeye Swing Fest.

I've withdrawn from Iowa Dancesport Classic.

But there is a memorial Jack and Jill swing dance contest at IDC, and it means something to me.  Not just because swing dancing is where we met, not just because it was something we shared, but it was something we shared when we were at ballroom dances, it was the thing that separated us from everyone else.  When I was just getting used to ballroom and my instincts were wrong and it all seemed so affected and closed off, she was the one who understood.  So it's not just because it's a swing dance contest, it's because it's a swing dance contest in the middle of a ballroom competition.  I can't dance it with her, but I will dance it in memory of her because my instincts are better now, and no one's closing me out anymore, and I can't thank her for that but I can dance.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A photograph of someone I used to love.

Fourth of July, 2008

The Universe is often on my back to stop whining.

The thing is, as I've been moping for the last few days, feeling fat and lonely, the universe has been sending me meaningful compliments from crushes, from friends, both close and distant, from editors, none of whom would give a shit if I were thinner or prettier.

The best thing.

Some attractions never go away, they just drift into my periphery and linger in wait.  And so That One Guy I Was in a Class With Once, who spent two weeks front and center of my every thought, is now someone I only catch a glimpse of every few months or so.  A wave from across the building, a quick, smiling nod as he walks by.  The attraction is there, it just isn't pressing anymore.  It no longer demands my full attention.

But, oh, when it does.  When it comes back, for instance when he runs into me and asks to show me what he's working on and then says, twice, that I'm smart and also he misses having my insight in critique, something like that leaves me wobbly and grinning because is there anything better, really, than knowing that the person who was once your entire world is glad that you're in his?

It's a GREAT song.

Photo by Jen Waicukauski

There's this Regina Spektor song, from the album she got famous with, and I used to sing it all the time, because it was amazing and perfect, although it turned out that my boyfriend hated it, but he never complained.

Hey remember that time when I found a human tooth down on Delancey

Hey remember that time when my favorite colors were pink and green 

Also by Jen Waicukauski (These are old, beaten up, contact sheets.  Her final prints were MUCH nicer.)

Hey remember that month when I only ate boxes of tangerines

I don't have much in the way of old diaries or journals, and I've lost most of the poetry I used to write.  What I have are these negatives, strange and silly and lovable and terrible.

Here's that time when I sewed a dress made entirely out of Christmas tree tinsel and made cheesecake poses on a tree skirt for my friend's final project.

Here's that time when I dressed up in a tank top, leather corset, tutu, and doll makeup and sat in a bathtub.

Here's that time when every photo I took was out of focus.  And then the time when I took every photo three times, in three stages of focus.

Here's that time when I shot everything from a moving car.

Here's that time when I shot everything from inside a plastic bag full of water.

Here's that time when I took secret photos of the guy I had a crush on and then wrote a (non-rhyming) sonnet about having a crush, and printed the sonnet on top of the photo of his face and I had to critique it in secret so he wouldn't find out.

Here's when I switched from 35mm to 4x5, and here's when I switched to Holga, pinhole, here's that photo I took while standing in the middle of Times Square in the rain, using a paint can with film taped inside for a camera.  Here's when I started using my boyfriend's camera.  Here's when it became my ex-boyfriend's camera.  Here is San Diego, Baltimore, Berkeley, Oakland, Omaha, Iowa City, New York City, Newark, Delaware, and St. Augustine.  And a few roads in between.

Here is a llama:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The plot was compelling!

I got a personalized rejection!  They LIKED it!

Now I just have to decide if I'm going to listen (probably) and if so, what to do about it... I have some thoughts...

Also, in a somewhat related screenshot:

Seriously?  The fuck?  Google Docs wants to autocorrect "all right" into "alright?"

Monday, April 1, 2013

And then he writes back,

and he tells me about his week, and his daughter's new compound bow, and he makes sure to check that I'm ok with him writing.  Just in case.