My List

Recently there have been a lot of events supporting peoples’ right to love whoever they love.  Something that we here at It’s My TV, It’s My Peanut Butter totally support.  I personally am a heterosexual spinster, but that doesn’t mean that even I don’t have a romantic streak.

Back when I used to teach Intro to Literature, I taught a short play called “Sure Thing.”  One of the central themes of the play is the idea that women have a mental list they look to check off when they meet a prospective suitor.  I’d like to put my feminist hands on my hips and deny it, but it’s fairly true.  At least for me.  I don’t want to speak for the entire female gender.  Contrary to what I suspect a lot of men think, however, my list has little to do with physical appearance and a lot more to do with other types of attributes.

I don’t think any prospective suitors are reading this blog, but just in case, off the top of my head, here’s my list:

He must know what continent Argentina is on.  (Yes, I once went out with a guy who didn’t know that.)

He must have read the United States Constitution.  This one is negotiable if he is not a US Citizen.  He doesn’t have to agree with me on interpretation at all, he just has to have read the thing at some point and made some kind of attempt to understand it.

I would love to make it a requirement that he have to know what year and place the United States won their independence.  But I have come to realize finding that is only wishful thinking.  So I will let that one slide as long as he’s not a US History teacher.  (Yes, that’s based on another personal example.)

In my youth I would have said that I wanted to date a guy taller than me (I’m 5’8” tall, but not super tall).  Now more mature, I don’t give a damn how tall he is so long as he isn’t insecure about my being taller than him.  And please not that no matter how short he is, I’m not going to stop wearing high heels.  His insecurity is no reason my legs shouldn’t look as nice as possible.

He doesn’t need to be rich, but he can’t be expecting me to be the family breadwinner.  (Let’s face it, I’m a folklorist, if he’s expecting that, we’d be in trouble.)

On that note, I don’t care what profession or field of study he’s in, so long as he doesn’t make fun of mine.  (I can tolerate some good natured poking, but the first time he says, “You majored in unemployment,” it’s over.)

On much the same lines, he doesn’t have to like the television shows I like, but he has to understand that my television is very important to me and many of those shows have been in my life much longer than he has.  He doesn’t have to watch with me so long as he doesn’t interfere with me watching.

Though I really think it’s important to be open-minded, I have to be honest and admit I’m not sure I could date a vegan.  I could date a vegetarian no problem so long as he wasn’t self-righteous about it, but a relationship where I had to feel awkward eating cheese or ice cream?  I’m just not sure it could work.

He has to be comfortable with the fact that I sometimes go to places in funny clothes; again, doesn’t have to do it himself, just understand that I am that particular brand of attention whore.

No guys in bands.  I keep caving on this one and then remembering why I created it in the first place.

He can’t (in seriousness) denounce all southerners as ignorant and backward.  That would officially make him a guy I can’t take home to Momma, and while that has its merits, I think it would be a problem in the long run.

He can’t be a push over/let me win every fight.  It’s boring and insulting.  Like I need his help to win.

He has to be willing to dance with me, even if it’s only when no one’s looking.

He can’t spend too much time telling me how beautiful I am.  A) While I’m not a dog, I’m not all that B) it makes for boring conversation.

I’m willing to negotiate on the issue of children so long as he understands I’m not physically having them.  And would like to keep my DNA out of the picture for the child’s sake.

He can’t be a smoker.

I don’t want to completely rule out guys with dogs, but if he does have a dog he can’t be one of those jackasses who brings it everywhere.  And he must understand I’m not walking it, scooping poop, or sharing the bed.

I’d like to say that’s the extent of my list, but there’s probably more (let’s face it, I’ve just been stalling till my internet connection came back) but we’re going to wrap up there.  I’ll get back to you, if I think of anything urgent.

I Should Learn to Watch the Weather

It’s been cool, dry and sunny for a week here.  I’ve been taking advantage of this one by leaving the windows open.

You see where this is going, right?

Yeah.  Every window open.  About 2 in the afternoon, I overhead someone coming past my cube at work telling another co-worker he’s going to need an umbrella.

Shit.

So, my head pops up out of the cube like a prairie dog out of burrow.

“Seriously?  Is it raining hard?”

“Not hard, but steady.”

Crap.

Not much I can do from work, and by the time I could get home the rain would be over.  So, I came home to wet carpet, thankfully only in one room.  Yeah, because I needed this to happen with my folks coming in this week.  Fantastic.

In an age of weather reports literally at my fingertips, you’d think I’d figure out how to prevent things like this….

Isadorable Coffee

Would we drink coffee with Isadora Duncan?

Kristy: I kind of don’t know how I could say “no.”  I have a minor in modern dance and choreography, and in a very real way, that whole genre wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for her.  Yes, it’s true that most of her choreography doesn’t look that impressive today, but that’s because she was so influential that the norm of what was considered “acceptable” dance performance was absolutely revolutionized.

Add to that, she was quite the character. When it comes right down to it she had a rather sad life and might go down in history for one of the deaths that seems most inadequate when you consider every thng that she did (it just seems the founder of modern dance should have a “cooler’ method of death than her scarf getting caught in a wheel, but perhaps that’s overly morbid).  Admittedly, I have my doubts about how like-able I’ll actually find her, but I’m just too curious to turn down the opportunity to find out.  I imagine no matter what you’d leave with a couple of great stories.

Cammy: Hmmm.  I guess.  Maybe.  I’m dance ignorant and have all the kinesthetic sense of a lump of granite, so I certainly can’t discuss that with her.  She does seem like quite a character, although what little I know of her, she seemed to be a bit of sad sort by the end (drunk, broke, bouncing around from place to place), although somewhat understandably with the whole loss of her kids thing.  Sometimes that results in good stories and sometimes it just results in a depressing encounter of seeing how the mighty have fallen.  But, I understand she had a somewhat successful school in Germany, so that’s always a go-to topic.  But really?  I’m just going to sit quietly and hope that at some point Kristy manages to talk Isadora into dancing around the Spacial Anomaly Coffee Bar and Refueling Station.  Because, this is Isadora Duncan.  Seeing her dance is the thing, talking to her is just a side bar.

Haircut Let Down

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that on Friday I finally made up my mind to get a haircut.  Normally getting my hair cut into a slightly layered bob (think Agent Scully hair around the time of the first movie and season 6).  This is my goto haircut.  It’s usually followed by me thinking I’m going to grow my hair out and not really succeeding because A) I don’t really look good in long hair and B) my hair really just starts going to total shit after it gets a little past my shoulders.

I’ve had a few mishaps in the haircut department.  I lack the vocabulary to really tell the stylist what I’m looking for, and the pointy-talkie hand gestures from beneath the cape are not always effective at communicating the idea either.  I’ve only had 1 really horrible outcome with a truly bad cut, but I’ve had plenty where I’ve come out a little ho-hum thinking “It’s not bad, but it’s not really what I wanted, either.”

I finally got smart and took pictures of the cut I loved the most and I bring those along.  This has worked pretty consistently–until this time.  I like this stylist.  She’s cut my hair on and off for quite a while.  Trouble is, she’s mostly been trimming my hair during my “I’m growing it out” delusional phase.  I didn’t think this would be a problem as I sat down, told her I was ready to get rid of the length, and pulled the pictures out of my purse.

She instantly said, “Oh, a layered bob.  Sure.  Okay follow me back here and we’ll get you washed.”

Everything was fine.  This shop is generally entertaining because the women who work there harass each other openly, which means I can listen and laugh and not have to make small talk.  The stylist went to work, as she cut the back she asked if the length was right.  It was.  Snip, snip, snip.  First the length came off, then it was time to shape.  As she was working the top layer, she asked again if the length seemed right.  I couldn’t really see a problem.  It seemed a little short, but not too much. Snip snip.

The trouble is, along with my inability to verbally communicate what I want in a haircut, I also lack the kind of spacial perception necessary to judge length.  That top layer?  Too short.

It’s not hideous.  Even my Mom, who doesn’t hold back when she has a problem with a haircut, said that it actually looks nice.  But it’s not what I wanted.  It doesn’t look like a uniform bob.  It’s more Scully circa season 7 when she went a bit shorter.  If I pull back the top in a beret (a typical action for me anyhow), it looks just fine–exactly like it would look if I had the correct length on the top layer.  And, thankfully, in a few weeks that top layer will be long enough, I’ll go in and have the stylist even it out and life will be good.

But until then, the excitement of shorter hair is just not quite enough to make up for the let down of not getting what I really wanted.

While I’ve been Out

I haven’t had time to write much of a “real” post due to Thursday’s time vampire.  Instead I’m going to give you a brief rundown of what I’ve been doing this week in Music City. Being a folklorist I’m going to follow all the greatest ballad traditions and make things  very elliptical, leaving you to fill in the rest of the story through your own interpretive frames:

I saw a small child “redecorating” a bar.

I heard an academic paper which used the phrase “broke dick” repeatedly.  For scholarly reasons.

I saw at least one premiere scholar drink too much (okay, a lot more than one).

I received a head injury from Gene Autry’s guitar.

I got scholarly laughs by making bad puns.

I saw Little Richard.  Ten feet away.

I inadvertently wound up in someone’s wedding photo.

I sang a slightly inappropriate version of a traditional ballad.  (Please keep in mind, folklorists love inappropriate).

I ate real barbeque.

I had a waiter walk up to our table right as we were asking, “Who wants to have sex with your professor?”  He raised his hand.

I attended a business meeting which suddenly became a musical.

I saw a band which played a combination of old school country, 80s pop, 80s country and Bon Jovi.  Which a couple of “bad ass chick” more recent country songs (ie “gun powder and lead”) basically, if I had a band, and musical talent, this would have been it.

I saw a group of septuagenarian street performers wearing t-shirts labeled “Bang This.”

I saw a girl whose skirt was so short I could see the waistband of her underwear.  Not because they were sticking out over the top, either.

I introduced a Danish girl to Mexican food.  And to the leading scholar in her subfield.

So if I haven’t had time to write a more coherent entry, perhaps you understand.

I Still Love the Muppets

Nothing dispels the evil of a rough week at work like reverting to childhood.  My kiddie drug of choice takes me back to some of my very earliest memories:

The Muppets.

I’m on the truly devoted side of the Muppet Gap (there’s a bizarre cultural gap between people born about the same year I was and those born just a year or two after–those damn youngsters do NOT have the same appreciation and regard for The Muppets that their elders do–I think it has to do with lack of proper exposure).  You play “Rainbow Connection” and I will stop what I’m doing.  I hear the theme song to The Muppet Show and I work hard to refrain from getting up and dancing around the room like I did when I was about 4 and watching the show in syndication on a station out of Houston.  And even with refraining from dancing, I have never successfully managed not to sway back and forth for the last few bars “This is what we call the Mup-pet Shoooooooooow!”  Everything I know about anger management I learned from Miss Piggy (“Hiiiiiiii-yah!”).  And if you want to see me tear up like a baby, you play Tom Smith’s “A Boy and His Frog”.

But vegging out with an evening of assorted episodes of the show and a few of the movies is good for more than just the nostalgic flashbacks:  it’s still quality stuff all on its own.  When I initially bought the first season of the show, I was a little worried that my fond memories of the show were the stuff of childhood and that it wouldn’t really stand up under its own power now that I was older and more discerning.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I found the show highly entertaining even without the whole misty-watercolored-memories.

The humor is clever and covers so many types, from the sarcasm of Statler and Waldorf, to the pure absurdity of Gonzo, to the musical humor of Rolf.  The musical numbers cover just as broad a spectrum of styles from classical to musical theater to country.  And all that is just the Muppets themselves.  You add in the caliber of the various guest performances (as I type this I’m getting to rock out to old school Elton John) and, damn, I’m grateful that I had this kind of cornucopia of culture influencing my formative years.  I can’t think of anything equivalent for the poor youth of today(outside of those lucky enough to have parents who are passing down the Muppet-y goodness).

If you haven’t gone back and bonded with the Muppets in a while, or if you were one of the unfortunate ones on the wrong side of the gap who missed out on the wonders of “Veterinarian Hospital” and “Pigs in Space”, spare a little room in your Netflix queue for a Pig, a Frog, a Bear, a Dog, A Weirdo & Friends.

Academic Time Vampire

If any of you have been trying to connect with me this week you have probably failed.  There’s a good reason.  I’ve been kidnapped by this week’s Time Vampire:  Academic Conferences.

Now don’t get me wrong; I love academic conferences.  It’s like a vacation to nerd town.  What’s more, it’s your neighborhood of nerd town.  It’s a place where you can make a joke about an obscure theory and have people laugh at it.  It’s hours and hours of people talking about the things to which you’ve decided to dedicate your life.

The downside?

It’s hours and hours of people talking about the things to which you’ve decided to dedicate your life.

Which means you want to be in the thick of things all the time.  And that massive project due in one week you’ve barely started?  That stack of papers you’re supposed to be grading?  That medieval saint’s life you were supposed to read?  That blog you help run?

All fall by the wayside.  Which means you’ll be scrambling like mad next week to catch up.

In the midst of this you’re circulating and networking and trying to secure a career for yourself once you graduate.  And serving as a representative of the groups you’re already affiliated with.  Oh yeah, and you’re in a city you’ve never visited and may never visit again, trying to actually see something besides the interior of the overpriced hotel.

And this says nothing about the preparation.  Writing your presentation.  Packing.  Oh packing.  Trying to find the outfits that will best help you represent yourself to people you only see every year or so.  That may be hiring you in a year or so.  Dying your roots, because you’re about to see people you only see every year or so and don’t want them to know how much grey hair you have.

Oh yeah, and as much fun as it is, it’s also exhausting, so it will take you a couple weeks to physically recover.

Seriously.  I’m having an amazing time, but I also feel like this conference has stuck its pointy teeth (incidentally, in my field we actually have panels on vampires.  And colloquial expressions, like “time vampires”) into my life and is just slurping away the next month of it.

Musikalischer Mittwoch: Canadian Invasion Update

Back in February I alerted you, gentle readers, to Canada’s subtle invasion of the US via music in TV shows and commercials.  As promised, I’ve continued to keep an ear out for other instances of our rocktastic northern neighbors creeping into our musical subconscious (much to my great delight).  However, I’ve been remiss in updating the Invasion Playlist until just recently.  Here are just a few of the new additions:

-“Model Homes” In-Flight Safety, (heard on Chuck)

-“Who Taught You To Live Like That?”  Sloan (heard on Castle)

-“The Laws Have Changed” – The New Pornographers (which I noticed in a Gilmore Girls re-run)

-“Stuck for the Summer” – Two Hours Traffic (the only time I have ever watched Royal Pains was because I heard this while I was channel surfing–I changed the channel when it was done)

-“It’s a Curse’ – Wolf Parade (I really don’t know what the show was–some form of drama involving people in cop uniforms and other public servants–maybe one of the million Law & Orders?  It was another case of heard-while-channel-surfing)

-“Take Me Anywhere” – Tegan & Sara (Grey’s Anatomy re-run)

There are some other new additions beyond this.  A few that other people pointed out to me and some that I had jotted in my notebook with no clue as to what ad/show they came from.  And these are just the ones available on R3.  “River’s Edge” by the Great Lake Swimmers was in an episode of Bones,and “Before I Knew” by Basia Bulat was in a Subaru add, but neither are available for linking on R3.

That’s it for the fall update on the invasion.  Toodle over to the updated Invasion Playlist and familiarize yourself with our new overlords.  If you feel up to it, feel free to get in touch with your inner Ranger and drop a line if you catch any others for the list.

People History Screwed Over: La Malinche

Welcome, gentle and not-so-gentle readers, to a new, highly irregular series here at It’s My TV, It’s My Peanut Butter.  I like to call it “People who got screwed by history.”  Tonight we explore the life and times of La Malinche (aka Malintzin Tenepal).

Facts about la Malinche are hard to come by, and those that we have are basically all contested in one way or another, but the basic story of her life, as best we can put it together is as follows:

She was born into an aristocratic family in a Nahautl (that’s Aztec to you gringos) speaking tribe, but was sold into slavery to a Maya group.  Then she was given with a bunch of other girls as a gift to Hernán Cortés when he invaded.  If you’re keeping track, she was fifteen years old and had already been traded as property twice.  She was also bilingual.  Cortés found this to be helpful being as he had someone with his group who spoke Spanish and Maya, but no one who spoke Nahuatl.  He was plotting to conquer the Aztecs, and it’s always helpful to have someone who can translate, just so people know they’re being conquered.  Clearly Malinche (that’s the name that got written down.  We’re pretty sure that’s not actually her name, but we have no clue what said actual name was.) fit well into said evil plans.

She wound up acting as Cortés’s translator during the conquest of Mexico, and if you’re thinking “translator” is some kind of euphemism, you have good instincts.  She also had a son with Cortés named Martín.  Eventually, Cortés had her married off to one of his lieutenants, Juan Jaramillo.  They had a daughter and she disappeared from history but is believed to have died young.  All round the poor girl had a fairly lousy life.

So you’d think history would show her a little sympathy.

Yeah… not so much.

Instead she gets called “La Chingada” (vaguely “a woman who’s been raped and liked it”).  To be Malinchista is to be a Mexican woman who is trying to be a gringa.  She’s accused of betraying her people to the Europeans (clearly this fifteen year old girl should have gone up against the Spanish army).  Strangely the warriors from other tribes who actually took up arms to help the Spanish fight the Aztecs don’t get blamed at all.  Nope.  Let’s pin it all on the chick.

Long story short, girl had a crappy life and then had the hell beaten out of her by history.

There’s some hope.  Mexican feminists have been calling “Bullshit” for the last half century or so and have made some progress in redeeming her memory.  But they have a lot of work left to be done.

If there’s a lesson to take away from her story it’s this:  History prefers martyrs to survivors.  And as long as most history books are written by men, everything that can will be pinned on a woman.

Coffee With….Maria Cunitz

Cammy: Definitely want to have coffee with this woman.  There’s a shortage of women in the history of science generally, and an even greater shortage of those who get any press time (besides Marie Curie, bless her little Polish heart).  Cunitz was an astronomer in the 1600s in Silesia (Silesian roots, represent, yo).  She improved on Kepler’s laws of planetary motion (and apparently let the housework slide while working on it).  She also spoke seven languages (if you know anything about the location of Silesia, you know that at least 2 of those were just part of the area:  Polish and German).  She allegedly also had skill in music, art, medicine and poetry.  But the fact is, there just isn’t much known about her.  Part of this is due to, well, it was circa 1650.  And part was because of the times.  Many of her contemporaries ignored her astronomical calculations, her correspondence with other scholars had to be addressed to her husband and that same husband had to write a preface to her published work openly disclaiming authorship–because obviously no one would believe a woman capable of math.

So basically?  I want to have coffee to get the straight story here.  How pissed was she at playing games just to discuss her field with others?  When was she born (there are no accurate records to even tell us that much)?  Fleeing Silesia to avoid some of the Thirty Years War Conflict–was that done to avoid conversion to Catholicism (like her siblings who remained behind did), or just because?

Kristy: Yes.  Let’s face it, I might lack anything beyond a very basic understanding of physics and I lack even that when it comes to math.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect it.  And a woman of her era who managed to achieve that level of accomplishment in a field people didn’t even think women were biologically capable of comprehending?  That deserves something greater than just respect.  Besides, she seems to have been a serious Renaissance woman (in the figurative sense of the word).  Gotta love a woman who can write comfortably in multiple languages and who advocates the vernacular.  So yeah, I’d drink coffee with her.  I might get lost listening to her and Cammy talk about Germany, Silesia, and science.  But I’ll nod and smile convincingly.