Monday, November 22, 2010

So, I'm doing a really cool feature for Gothic Beauty...

Which will focus on the connection between goth and visual kei, and one particular individual's influence over the development of fashion in both scenes in Japan. Pretty cool, huh? But then I started doing some research and looking at lots of pictures and, well...

See, here's the thing. VK generations 1 (X Japan) and 1.5 (Luna Sea, Penicillin) were, other than the crazy cat lady hair, really pretty cool looking. One of the reasons for this was that the major style icons of the period were, well, honestly, really fucking hot. So when they wore crazy outrageous outfits it worked (most of the time), because they had the bodies to pull it off (OK, granted that there was no excuse for Yoshiki's wedding dress - no one could have made that look good). But then you got to generation 2, and while there were still some guys who could pull off the outfits (Gackt, Toshiya from Dir en grey), they were getting a bit thinner on the ground, and there were a few tragic cases of "wow, that outfit really isn't working for you". And then you get to generation 3, and...holy shit, what happened? Not only have the clothes gone to hell, so have the people. I mean really, I looked for guys who still looked cool, I really did. And I came up with...well, Uruha from Gazette is pretty hot, but what the hell is going on with his outfits? And Miyavi is gorgeous, and made a fabulous goth boy, but he seems to have outgrown VK for the most part. So that leaves...well, I guess Uruha will just have to carry the torch for "VK dudes who can wear hot pants without looking like complete idiots". But do they really need to be purple and shiny? And why are they so damn baggy?

Fashion critic is displeased by this evolution. Or devolution. Anyway, a visual illustration.

Generation 1.5 - Luna Sea. Observe how awesome he looks. Treasure this memory, kids, because it's all downhill from here.

Generation 2 - Dir en grey . OK so, on the plus side, great bone structure, and he at least looks like an adult man, albeit one who could use a few cheeseburgers. But the boots? Seriously, wtf is going on with the boots? And again - food, it is your friend. This seems to have been about when VK fans decided that anyone who appears to eat more than once a month is too fat.
Generation 3. Alice Nine. Oh dear God why? The eyes, they bleed. Also note the distinctly fetal features on most of these boys. And I do mean boys. Seriously, has the one with the red hair even hit puberty yet? Seeing anyone who looks that young in hot pants makes me feel like a pedo. Do not want.
Also these guys are a perfect illustration of the concept of why you need to try clothes on to make sure they fit. Not a single garment in this picture fits. Not one. Scroll back up to the first guy - see how much better he looks? OK, so he's just more genetically blessed than these kids, but also, his clothes fit. This is important. There is nothing sexy about baggy shorts, not even if they are made out of leather.

The one lone hope...Uruha, The Gazette. Though the rest of his band could use some work, especially the dude with the hankie over his nose. Anyway...seriously, kiddo, you're like Obi Wan for the VK scene - you are our only hope. There is literally no one else with the body to carry off the clothes in this generation, and that's just sad. Please don't let them starve this one into emaciation too.
Also, remember what I said earlier about clothes needing to fit? This guy's do (other than the baggy purple shorts), and observe the difference. It's like magic!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Argh! Why is it that OK Cupid guys cannot follow simple directions?

Sample message.

"How locked in are you to the age group thingy?"

From a dude who looks to be about 20 years older than me. OK, folks, look - some people are willing to date way outside their age range, and that's fine. But not everyone is, and that's not an unreasonable position to take. It's not a "thingy", preferring to date people around your own age. And I can't help but wonder how this guy would respond to a woman who's as substantially older than him as he is older than me sending him "how locked in are you to the age group thingy" messages. Because I can't help but notice that it's always men just blithely assuming that women young enough to be their daughters should be willing to date them.

So, in case anyone from there follows this link, just to make it clear...I am not interested in dating anyone more than 10 years older or younger than me. Friends that much older or younger, or even more so, are fine. But not romantic/sexual relationships. In fact, within 5 years would be ideal, so at this point that would mean people aged 32 to 42. People aged 27 to 47 might be acceptable if we get along really well. People under 25 or over 50? Nope, no way, not under any circumstances, because I don't want to feel like I'm dating either my child or one of my parents. And if I was a man no one would ever expect me to be open to dating people old enough to be one of my parents (though they'd probably pat me on the back for dating someone young enough to be my kid).

Seriously, guys, introducing yourself in a way that makes it clear that you're not going to respect even the most basic of the other person's boundaries, with a side order of "oh those silly boundaries of yours!", is not a good way to get a date. At that point, not only do I not want to date you, I don't want to be friends with you either.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ironic moment given all the talk about women in journalism recently

Yesterday I went to do some local reporting. New client/publication for me, they're a start-up. While I was there I met this guy who's supervising contruction/restoration on an old building. And that's when things got annoying.

This guy repeatedly referred to me as a "cub reporter". Um...I am 37 years old. OK, granted, I probably look a little younger than my age, but not that damn young. And even if I was that young, it would still be rude and infantilising to refer to me that way. And sexist. What do you think the likelihood is that he'd have referred to a man, even a young man, that way? Not very strong. The chances of him referring to a man my age that way? Close to zero.

This guy was wierd and creepy in general - I have very curly hair, and he asked if he could have a lock of it. As in, just cut off one individual curl and keep it as a souvenir? Oh, no, that's not wierd and creepy at all. (Rolls eyes) I mean, I understand that my hair type (curly, but very soft, and naturally tending to fall into the kind of distinct curls most people only get through artificial means) is unusual, but still, to ask if he could cut off a bit of my hair? WTF?

It's guys like that who make me really appreciate all the men I have to interview who aren't creepy wierdos. I just did a pair of interviews last week and both guys were lovely, and they're rock stars - if they can manage to be polite and civilised, what's builder/architect guy's excuse?

Monday, October 04, 2010

My photography is getting better! Check out the latest set.

(I'm going to post to Flickr from now on - will upload the Arch Enemy pics at some point, they came out well too. Angela is super cool - so great to see a really strong, asskicking woman fronting a metal band, and not doing it in a bikini.)

Although this isn't at all the best shot (blurry, taken from far away) I really love it because it sums up the whole feeling of the show.

Now these are great shots.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Oh, Cosmo…

It was always a bit silly, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t always this bad. Or maybe I’m just remembering it with rose tinted glasses because I started reading it when I was 13 and didn’t have enough life experience to realize how stupid it was.

Check out the latest article. Which addressed Breast Cancer Awareness Month by…discussing ways to get men to pay attention to your boobs. Um, isn’t the answer to this question as simple as “be in the room with a straight man”? OK, so I’m oversimplifying and attraction is a complicated thing, but still. It’s really not that hard for a woman to get men to look at her boobs. Really, if a man is at all attracted to you, he’s probably going to be more than willing to give your boobs plenty of attention.

So why, then, do we need a huge article full of what are apparently tips to get your boyfriend/husband/random UPS guy to go “OMG, you have boobs, that’s so hot!”? They’re boobs. They accomplish that just by existing. They don’t need a PR campaign.

There’s also the weirdness of responding to a disease that causes many women to lose their breast and, you know, die, by reminding everyone that boobs apparently exist as toys for men to play with. Notice that all the tips are about ways to make sure that your boyfriend/husband enjoys your boobs, not that you enjoy them. (Seriously, people, hot pasta sauce on the nipples? Ouch!)

I’ve always had weird feelings about all this because I’m kind of on the busty side. So in my experience the idea of having to go out of your way to persuade men to pay attention to your boobs sounds completely ludicrous. It’s like “10 tricks to get your child to eat ice cream” – no tricks necessary, this will pretty much happen by itself. Most of the time the real trick is how to stop men from focusing on your boobs when you’d rather they didn’t.

It’s a weird position that I’m in relative to the media attitude towards boobs, because I’m bisexual, and I like boobs, I really do. Trust me, straight guys – I probably check them out at least as often as you do. But there’s a level of empathy there that men don’t seem to have, for logical reasons. So, when I hear about, say, the topless coffee shops in Portland, my first thought is “ouch, second degree burns on nipples from hot, hot steam” rather than “yay boobs!”. But at the same time I can see the appeal, for a guy raised with the idea that boobs are essentially toys made just to make him happy.

Society encourages us to think of boobs as somehow separate from the woman they’re attached to, is the problem. For men this probably makes life easier – they can enjoy staring at boobs without feeling awkward, because they can turn off their awareness of the woman the boobs are attached to. But for women it creates massive cognitive dissonance, because it’s bizarre to think of part of yourself as essentially disembodied. And for women who’re bi it’s even weirder, because we have the same “stare at boobs” impulse as straight men do, but we also know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the stare.

Also, I think part of my issue is how childish the whole thing seems. I have no problem with the fact that straight men love boobs – hey, it’s very much to my advantage that they do, so I’m not complaining about that – but there’s something so juvenile about the idea that they’re encouraged to act like they’re unable to recognize the fact that the boobs are attached to a person. It creates this weird situation where men are essentially trying to get past the woman who’s in the way and is blocking their access to her boobs, and they get all whiny and petulant when said access is not granted. Which makes me think of a baby crying for it’s mommy to breastfeed it, which just isn’t very sexy at all.

Just one more example of how sexism screws things up for everyone, I guess. If a man can only relate to a woman as a collection of disembodied parts, he’s going to have a hard time forming strong, emotionally rewarding relationships. If a woman thinks of her own body as being made up of disembodied parts, sex is going to be really weird and awkward and not very satisfying. It would really be to everyone’s advantage if people would learn to appreciate boobs in a more grown up way, as part of the whole person/experience.

Yeah, not holding my breath on that one.

Friday, September 17, 2010

For any JRock fans who may be lurking...

So, I just interviewed Yoshiki yesterday, which was kind of funny timing given the explosion of arguments about health I've been reading and participating in all over the place. And it made me what extent is it ever really OK to question anyone else's decisions about their health? I mean here I am talking to this guy who's had multiple back problems and neck surgery, and he was totally upfront about the fact that he's aware that he might be risking his long term health by going back to drumming. In that kind of situation, to what extent is it anyone else's business to say, hey, are you sure that's a good idea? Is it ever OK to question the other person's decision? My feeling is no, not unless they're a family member or close friend. I mean, in some situations one can express concern, but even then you have to be careful that it comes across as "I hope you're going to be OK" rather than "do what I think is best for you".

I dunno, it was just interesting in the context of all the online arguments about weight going on right now, and the ones about women in broadcast journalism set off by the Jets players harrassing Ines Sainz (as another female reporter who often walks into male dominated, homosocial environments - yes, sometimes it is risky, but if you don't do it you're resigning yourself to a very limited career). Where's the line between reasonable concern for a fellow human being and unacceptable intrusion into someone else's life?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In which smart people on the Internet give me advice, and I realise that I am a statistic

So I've always been one of those women who was rather smug about the idea that even though most women wear the wrong bra size I'm not one of them. Why, I've been measured and fitted in a good lingerie store! OK, so that was years ago, but still! In fact, I've argued with people that although they insist most women with my band size tend to be chubbier than me that is in fact my band size. I just have big ribs, blah blah.

Well, as it turns out I was actually wrong about my band size. I thought I was a 36 (and in fact I wore a 38 in my teens, when I was at least as thin as I am now, pre-fitting). In reality? Well, I'm currently wearing a 34 as we speak, and thinking it may be time to get myself to a store and try on a 32, because I can still comfortably get my whole hand under the band of the 34, which apparently one should not be able to do. Also, the 34 is more comfortable than the 36 was - seriously, I put it on and immediately went "wow this is so comfy and look how totally straight the back is".

So I will be getting my ass to a store and being fitted soon. I was wearing a 36D or DD depending on style, and currently have on a 34DD, and I'm sort of bulging out of the cups a little at the side, so I think I may in fact need a 34E. Or, if it turns out that the 32 band fits, that would probably make me a 32F? Which I sort of don't even want to contemplate, because holy shit it's hard to find bras in that size. Bye bye shopping in department store sales ever, basically. I'm hoping that it turns out that the 34 is fine.

The lesson here, ladies, is get fitted. I honestly had no idea how much better a smaller band would feel. Though in my case there's a lot of formerly anorexic thinking of myself as a lot fatter than I am mental nonsense going on in there too.

Also, on a related note, I just realised that I'm not eating as much protein as I should be. As in, about half as much as I should be. Yikes. See, in general I have a pretty balanced, healthy diet, but I do eat a lot of veggies, and I guess I sort of gradually reduced my protein intake without intending to, thus getting to where I am now. And again, of course the ED issues play into this and old stuff I used to believe about how much I should be eating is always at the back of my mind (I can still come up with calorie counts with ease, and it's been about 15 years since I recovered). This stuff is poison, you never really get rid of it. I mean, I'm 37 and I'm a size 6, if anything that's way below average for a woman my age, but do I think of myself as thin? Lol no.

So now I'm sitting here contemplating how to add more protein to my diet while at the same time planning my upcoming bra fitting. Body issues, they just never stop.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The most incompetent management in the world

You know, working around the music industry you see some dumb shit. The business by it's nature attracts some, um, difficult personalities. But to turn up at a show you're supposed to be reviewing to find no press pass? Um...

But it gets better! On top of that add, no photo pass, when you've spent the whole day discussing how you're going to get pics approved by the next day. You know, the ones you need a photo pass to take in the first place.

I mean I sorted it out and was able to get in and take photos, but holy crap that was a mess. And that was after forgetting to tell me about an event that I would have covered if they had in fact told me about it.

And now we still have to get through the pic approval process. Oh joy!

It's really sad when fantastic artists are paired with management that's impossible to work with. Seriously, the artist? Love. The management...well, saying "hate" would be bad for my karma, but definately do not love.

(These people manage writers too. When I finally finish my novel, remind me not to have them represent me - I prefer not pissing off people I work with.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wait, Finland isn’t in the Western Hemisphere?

File under “xenophobia makes people stupid”. From a PR release about a band from Finland that’s releasing an album in America.

If you live in the Western Hemisphere, chances are you won’t understand a single word Regina sings, and that’s OK. The Helsinki-based three-piece band sing in their native language of Finnish, lending a surreal, otherworldly quality to their distinguished blend of electronic beats, folk and world music, wild percussion, and slightly hazy melodies.

Um, I’m sorry, I’m confused. I was under the impression that Finland was in Europe? Which is in the Western Hemisphere? I mean, you can catch a ferry from the UK to Helsinki. Apparently it’s the world’s first long-distance ferry, capable of crossing multiple oceans?

Note that languages that are not English are “surreal” and “otherworldly”. You know, if you’re incredibly, embarrassingly parochial. Also, is there some community of people in China or India that would automatically understand lyrics that are in Finnish? I mean, since people in the Western Hemisphere obviously wouldn’t understand them (OMG the words are so long! With so many vowels!), I’m assuming this implies that people in the Eastern Hemisphere would be more likely to speak Finnish? Because all places that seem “foreign” to a (stupid) American are all just one giant homogenous mass.

Who wants to place a bet that the person who wrote this would also identify, say, Mexico as being outside the Western Hemisphere, even though it’s geographically located directly south of the United States?

Xenophobia doesn’t just make people assholes, it also makes them really really stupid. In fact maybe that’s the way to get people to modify their behavior – since clearly they don’t care if they’re being assholes, maybe pointing out that their xenophobia makes them sound like fucking morons is the way to get them to think twice about what comes out of their mouths (or keyboards).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hail Satan and pass the sunblock

Holy shit this is the most hilarious marketing idea I’ve ever seen. I thought the Linkin Park MMPORG game was bad, but this is worse/better.

From the press release.

TESTAMENT confirmed for 70000TONS OF METAL!

Amon Amarth Death AngelEpica FinntrollMoonspellObituaryRaven Saxon Sodom Sonata Arctica Stratovarius SwashbuckleTestamentTrouble Uli Jon Roth Witchburner

70000TONS OF METAL will sail Monday, January 24, 2011 aboard the Royal Caribbean “Majesty of the Seas” from Miami FL to Cozumel, Mexico and will not return you to the real world for four days until Friday, January 28, 2011.
Make no mistake, 70000TONS OF METAL is not your grandma's cruise. It's also not one of the cruises that share the ship with normal cruise guests. This is an all heavy metal cruise! Can you imagine that? A whole luxury cruise ship full of metalheads? And since there is no backstage area you will have the opportunity to mingle side-by-side with the artists in this incredibly fan-friendly scenario that has no comparison. It's like everyone has a backstage pass!
Ticket prices start at US$666 plus US$249 taxes and fees per person and include all on-board entertainment, all meals, non-alcoholic and non-carbonated beverages at the dining rooms, most on-board restaurants and 24 room service!
What are you waiting for? You might even need a vacation from this vacation when all is said and done! Check out for more information and book your cabin NOW!

OK, so, does the ship’s captain wear a Viking hat and have a raven sitting on his shoulder instead of a parrot? Does he have a steel instead of a wooden leg, encrusted with studs? Do they serve devil horn breakfast pastries and Odin’s Blood cocktails?

Also, yeah, man, Cozumel is so metal. You guys can hang out with all the super metal families on vacation and kids on spring break. Couldn’t they at least have gone to Stockholm or something?

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Pictures!

Verdict so far on the new, better camera - I love this thing. In fact, I love it so much that now I kind of want a proper DSLR. Dammit I hate it when my Dad is right. (He thinks I should get a Canon Digital Rebel or a Nikon D60 - what say you, photography nerds? I think the Nikon is too heavy - the D5000 is more appropriately sized for my dinky hands and dislike of carrying bulky crap around, but it's expensive.)
So anyway, some shots with the new camera. Some of these are pretty damn funny - I love it when rock dudes make ridiculous rawr metal faces, it makes for such silly pictures.

First, some moody shots with cool lighting (the old camera would have just made this one big blur).

(And yes, that is indeed a 6 ft tall punk rock dude wearing a skirt. The skirt was kind of cute, actually, but I seriously question his leggings, sneakers and bare ankles decision. Someone please buy this man some socks.)


I want to give the audience a hug? (He's not really getting into the whole rawr evil metal spirit here, I have to say)

Oh hey there photographer lady

Hilarious Hamlet pose

Getting sweaty?

Look at me, am I not hot?

The absolute winner of the night, though, was...
I'm a little teapot short and stout (figuratively speaking)
Is it just me or does he look like he's attempting to entertain a room full of kindergardeners? Yes, sweetie, you are so hardcore.

More pics to come!
Race Fail 2010 - Part 62132154534

I was going to post this in comments on the latest Race Fail Opus on Jezebel, but it looks like they closed the comments. Is someone over there finally realising that they need to moderate this shit? Because it was a fucking mess, what with all the whining about how white women feel so excluded from conversations about racism (yeah, let that one sink in for a minute) because WOC are just so mean to them. Apparently "that thing you said was racist" is the same thing as "STFU white lady, you don't get to speak". You know, if you're a whiny, entitled, overreacting idiot.

I have to admit that as a young, na├»ve college student I too was confused when I first encountered the notion that WOC feel excluded from mainstream feminism. I didn’t understand why. The thought was upsetting. I didn’t get it.

Then I started to pay attention to what happens when WOC try to speak in feminist spaces, and to observe the consistency with which white women try to re-center themselves and make the conversation about their hurt feelings, and the racist bingo that ensues when WOC object to that pattern. I observed the way in which even the mostly gently worded pointing out of racism is interpreted as a violent attack (seriously, fellow white ladies, you need to calm the fuck down - someone telling you you're wrong on the Internet is not equivalent to them beating you up, and I have to wonder why you only seem to have these panicked little freakouts when it's black people telling you that you're being a jackass).

So now I get it, what I didn't get back then about why WOC feel like mainstream feminism isn't exactly welcoming them with open arms and taking their concerns seriously. Sigh. Suggestion to my white sisters – any time you feel the urge to tell a WOC that you just can’t listen to her until she moderates her tone because she’s making you feel attacked? You’re being an asshole, and you should probably shut up for a while until you can get some perspective. You know how pissed off you get when men tell you that you’re being hysterical castrating bitch and they just can’t take you seriously until you put things in a way they find more congenial? Maybe you should stop and think about how infuriating that is before you turn around and do the same damn thing to other people. Racist (and sexist, and heterosexist, and so on) systems need to be examined and critiqued in order for changes to be made, and if that makes you feel uncomfortable, well, too bad. It’s not personal…unless you respond by throwing a fit about how awful it makes you feel that WOC feel marginalized, at which point now it is about you, because you’re being an asshole and that makes you part of the problem in a very direct sort of way. You know the song We Shall Overcome? You are now the thing that needs to be overcome, as a direct result of the choice you just made to respond with defensive attempts to maintain your role as the most important person in the (virtual) room rather than with empathy. Congratulations, you win the "how to kill feminism in 10 easy steps" prize.

I’ve read through all the comments on that post and haven’t been able to find any examples of the “all white people STFU” thing that a lot of white people claim is happening. What I see is people being called out for making dumb, offensive comments and then trying to derail the conversation into a discussion about how having racism pointed out makes white women feel bad. It’s worth noting that there were plenty of white women participating in that conversation without being told to STFU, so, those who insist that their race is the only reason they’re being called out, well, clearly they are incorrect. Are they even reading the things people are saying to them? Because it’s not “STFU white lady”, it’s mostly “that specific thing you said was really dumb and here’s why”.

Most commenters on Jezebel are pretty good at spotting when a man is speaking from the “my privilege is being challenged, man the barricades” perspective, so I’m not sure why so many people seem to find it so hard to take that same sort of critical thinking and apply it to race issues. In theory that should be a fairly easy logical leap to take, but a whole lot of people don't seem to be able to make it. Or maybe they just don't want to.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Just like the quote in the article says - holy shit!

See, this is why I swim in swimming pools. Nice, safe, totally lacking in giant animals with sharp teeth swimming pools.

Also a question - why do so many people have a lemming-like instinct to do incredibly dangerous things even when the danger is pointed out to them? I mean if you're in Cape Town, a known hub for shark attacks, and there's just been one, and the authorities have told you to stay out of the water for now - why are you swimming?