Flight Papers

feminism and creativity, art, madness, and play

Clothing is evidently too complicated for me.

October 15th, 2010

Recently, I’ve taken to checking the weather before getting dressed in the morning. It’s a pilot program motivated by my tendency to wear a cute mini-skirt and some kind of tank top, only to go outside and find out, hey, surprise! It’s snowing. And then, having found myself in this predicament, I won’t decide to go back and change into something, for example, warmer. No, you see, going back to change at that point feels like an enormous chore. It feels like the sort of task Zeus would have set before Sysiphus if he hadn’t thought of that awesome rock thing. It feels like defeat. Which is how I end up at the bus stop, covered in two linear inches of snow and four square inches of fabric, praying for death.

It’s instructive that I never have the opposite problem. I think this has to do with the ways men react to me based on what I’m wearing. I have discovered a formula:

P(catcall | wolf whistle) = k Set

where Se is the percent of skin exposed, t is the outfit’s tightness (the percent of covered skin in contact with the outermost layer of fabric), and k is the coefficient of douchebag.

I haven’t walked down the street naked or in a cat suit, so the equation may be more complex at its limits, but I think it’s accurate to the first order. In any case, you’ll notice that the less clothing I wear, the more I get harassed by random men on the street. Since I don’t actually want this, you might expect that I would wear only parkas with culturally-problematic yet extremely effective veils. But I don’t do this, because it turns out that as much as don’t really want strange men harassing me on the street, I really really want strange women to harass me on the street. To date, this has happened exactly once (July 20th, 2009 around 8:57pm in Portland, OR), but hope springs eternal.

You guys, as I’m writing this, there is a guy sitting on the other side of the room. Whenever I look up, he’s watching me. It’s not a staring-at-my-tits kind of watching, either. It’s a more… nuanced sort of thing. Like he’s taking in the detailing on my purple combat boots, or trying to figure out if my liver would be flavorful enough to make a delicate pâté. WTF?

So, to stop myself from freezing… myself… to death, I have started checking the weather before getting dressed. This actually worked pretty well for a couple of days, but like all plans to improve my life, it was ultimately doomed to failure.

This morning, I asked the Internet to tell me what the weather would be like. “Seventy-five degrees,” said the Internet, “Also, sunny.”

“Thank you, Internet,” I replied.

“It’s no problem! Would you like some porn? Or maybe some LOW COST PENIS ENLARGEMENT?”

“Er… No, thank you. I don’t think I’m really in the target market, anyway.”

“Are you sure about the porn? Here, take a look at Autostraddle.”

“Weeellll…”

An hour later, as I was getting dressed, I noticed that the air blowing in my for-some-reason open window was… not warm. It wasn’t seventy-five degrees. It was something more along the lines of minus one million degrees. Shit, I thought, I can’t go out in this small skirt. I will fucking freeze my cunt off. I must put on leggings, I decided.

Besides, I continued, What do weather forecasters know, anyway?

You guys, I looked this up, and it turns out that weather forecasters know a fuckton. In addition to knowing the types of clouds and the water cycle and all that weathery stuff you “learned” in the first grade and “forgot” in the second grade, they also know all about fluid dynamics, which is one of those fields that looks really complex but is actually so incredibly fucking complex that the massive supercomputers that figure this shit out basically have to resort to guess and check. The weather, it turns out, runs on the Navier-Stokes equations. I can’t pronounce that either, but here’s what they look like:

Holy fucking shit, that is some fucking math, that is.

The only parts of that I understand are the “=” and the “∂.” “∂”s are partial derivatives, which sound like they should be easier than regular derivatives, but if my grade in Calc 3 is any indication, totally aren’t. If you don’t know what “=” means, this post must be very confusing to you.

The moral of this story is that if you’re picking a team for the Math Olympiad and you’re trying to decide between the nerdy guy who is always trying to talk to you after physics class but can’t seem to construct a sentence that doesn’t involve the word “tits,” and the nerdy guy who can’t stop staring at yours long enough to make eye contact and even initiate audible contact, you should totally fucking pick Kathy Sabine, y’all. She will pwn that math shit, and then she will feel your tits, which sounds pretty much magical.

That guy is still watching at me. But he just saw me looking at him looking at me, so now he’s doing the thing where he pretends to be reading a book.

The other moral of this story is that when the Internet tells you it will be seventy-five degrees, you should probably believe it.

I didn’t. So I put on leggings. Not the light kind of leggings, either. No, these were my heavy-duty leggings. My look-like-really-tight-jeans leggings. You could wear these in Antarctica, though as I understand it, you can wear naught but Jell-O in Antarctica, so maybe that’s not saying a lot. Satisfied that I wouldn’t die of chill, I went outside.

It was at least seventy-five degrees outside. I’d venture a guess that it may have been seventy-six or seventy-seven degrees, so maybe these weather people don’t have that Navier-Stokes thing totally figured out, but the point is, it was hot. Eighty degrees is widely agreed to be hot, and it was, at best, a mere five degrees under that, and there I was, wearing my fucking woolly mammoth hunting leggings.

“How silly of me,” a sensible person might expect me to say, “I should go back up to my apartment (which is very nearby, indeed, just up these stairs), and I should remove my boots, remove my increasingly-claustrophobia-inducing leggings, replace my boots, and then resume my day.” Though, honestly, if you think that’s where this is going, you haven’t been paying much attention.

Dude comes up to me.

“You have very nice legs,” he says.

“Thank you?”

“Are you writing a book?”

“No, I’m writing a blo—, uh… I’m working on homework.”

“Oh! Very nice.”

There is a pause at this point, during which he looks at me. I would call it an “awkward” pause, but it isn’t really any more awkward than the conversation surrounding it. It’s almost a relief.

“Very pretty,” he says, finally, eliding any mention of a direct object.

“Thank you?” I start to smile. I’ve been told I’m prettier when I smile, though I’m not really sure why I want to be pretty at this moment. That thought interrupts the movement of my muscles, and threatens to halt my face in some kind of half-smile, half-writing-face liminal state, as if the smile was lost in a transporter accident but some pieces tragically made it through to my face. I manage to regain control and land somewhere between “pleased” and “happy,” thankfully avoiding “flirtatious.”

He smiles, says “very pretty” again (and, again, doesn’t say what is “very pretty,” leaving me hope that maybe he’s talking about my handwriting or my government-standard notebook). Then he walks off.

Mystery solved?

Instead, I decided to take off my leggings in the car. Though you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise based on evry single previous sentence in this post, I did not decide to do it while driving. I did, however, decide that taking off my boots was just too much work, and I can just slip my leggings over them, and there’s nobody around anyway, so it didn’t even matter. I started pulling my leggings down. I had gotten them as far as my ankles before I realized two things:

  1. There was absolutely no way I was getting my leggings off without taking off my boots. Which, of course, I couldn’t do, since my leggings were bunched up over the laces.
  2. The owners of the car parked next to mine were coming to retrieve their vehicle.

I think they saw me first, because by the time I looked up, one of them was smiling a broad smile, and pointing out my predicament to his friend. They came up to me, both of them smiling the smiles of men who might be about to get flashed panties, and I realized, perhaps a little late, that my plan had two substantial flaws: I was essentially incapacitated. Also, I was essentially incapacitated. I know that technically, that’s only one flaw, but it’s such a large one that I thought I’d mention it twice.

“Hey,” one of them said. It wasn’t a neutral, friendly sort of hey. It was the other kind.

I smiled vaguely, and kept working my leggings over my boots, trying to act as though it was a perfectly normal thing to do. I do this all the time, I tried to say, wordlessly, It is a perfectly normal thing to do. And then I realized that while I couldn’t run with my feet tied together, I could drive. I gave them a little salute as I slammed the door and peeled out of the parking space.

Which is how I ended up stripping in the parking garage, trying to avoid having a breakdown while contemplating my failure to complete this, the most basic of adult tasks.

America.

September 2nd, 2010

You might have been led to believe that if you’re standing in Lehi, Utah, USA, that you are in America. You’re not. You’re in the United States—not America.

America, after all, is a vast, wild frontier, where any man—only the right kind of any man, of course—can make his fortune! It’s a place filled with adventure and danger (to other people) and, most of all, freedom. A place where brave settlers defend themselves against savages, on the every edge of civilization! Where we fight tremendous wars, and they’re good, and they’re right. It’s a rough, beautiful land where men are men and women are women.

Look around. You don’t live there. Nobody lives there. We all live here, on bloody land stolen from people who don’t have the decency to either attack like wild animals or lie down and die. In a place where black and brown people freely walk the streets as though they belong, as though their lives are anything but an uncomfortable reminder that the triumphant throne of whiteness is stacked on a pile of bodies that could overflow a thousand mass graves. Where people with cardboard signs saying veteran. disabled. please help line the streets because they didn’t get the memo that you’re supposed to come back perfect and whole and blonde or in a box or a bag or not at all. It’s hard to live here—hard because the government takes everything to give to those lucky brown immigrants, hard because your Social Security check isn’t near big enough, hard because they keep showing bleeding, broken children on the news like it’s our fault they were in the way of our bombs, hard because you can’t just shoot a man on the street or slap some sense into your woman.

It was better, back then. Better in the past. The past, after all, is the only place where America lives. Maybe it was your parents’ time, or their parents’ time, or maybe if you’re lucky and old enough it was your own childhood, but whenever it was, that—that place, seen through the perfectly smudged glasses of memory—that was America.

Of course Liberty Land is a hoax—Extruded Liberty Product With Real Freedom Filling. Everyone knows that. But maybe it’s enough for now. It’s just a taste to keep us going. To remind us of what it will be like when we bring it back. When we kick out the fakes, the immigrants, the interlopers. When we bring back real America, where men are men and women are women and our wars are just and our lives are simple, clean, and good.

Balanced.

August 16th, 2010

Dear Internet,

I just ate a piece of pizza. I know that it is making me fat. I am aware that it contains polyunsaturated something-or-other, hydrolyzed this-or-that, and also sugar and, god help me, corn.

I know that half of what I just ate is giving me cancer even as the other half is preventing it. I know the wheat is shredding my intestines even as it murders my children. I know that the corn is genetically engineered and that it’s giving me cancer, because as everyone knows, genes cause cancer. I know that I probably need more B12 or B7 or K or something, I know that fructose is the new cyanide, I know that I’m probably allergic to goddamned near everything, and yes, I know that if I add a teaspoon of sugar to my tea I may as well be mainlining crystal meth.

Oh, and hey look! Something about gut bacteria. My gut bacteria, or possibly my lack thereof, are making me fat and maybe also killing me. Okay, I know that now, too.

I know that I need to work out more. God, do I ever I know that. I know that I should be working out RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND. (And yes, I know that the aspartame I just sipped in my diet coke is killing me in exactly the same way as sugar, but with a funny aftertaste.)

But you know what, Internet? I just. Don’t. Care. The aggregate cost of filtering, processing, and understanding a constantly-shifting stream of breathless information about THIS thing which causes toe cancer in genetically engineered lab rats or THAT thing which prevents aging in soybean nematodes—let alone the vast array of things that affect my chakral alignment or the quantum moment of my vitreous humors—has just become far higher than any conceivable benefit.

When you can show me a living person who is 300 years old and who doesn’t look a day over, say, 50, then we can talk.

Until then: please, please, shut the fuck up.

<3
~ v.

p.s. I either ALREADY HAVE brain cancer, or I NEVER WILL. Either way, unless you’re whining about the antenna in the fucking iPhone 4, please shut the fuck up about cell phones, too. Actually, on second thought, don’t say anything about the iPhone 4, either.

Failure!

August 13th, 2010

You guys, I just failed to cook something.

That’s kindof a big deal. Cooking is one of the few things I can do reliably and well. I’ll fuck up crazy experimental food (what happens… if I stuff peanut butter into this bell pepper?!?! Nothing good, it turns out.), but this was pancakes.

Pancakes are not experimental.

What’s more, I failed at pancakes by adding too much baking soda. That’s like failing at partying because you took too much ecstasy (and, incidentally, tastes similar).

Two days ago, I burned Daal. I’m not becoming a fantasy writer (“the Da’al wound their way up the to’wer, donning their ky’aap’es and activating their læn’tyrr”iens”). Daal is lentils. Lentils in a pot. With spices. I burned lentils in a pot with spices. I still don’t know how I did this.

I just tried another pancake, made with new batter. It’s vaguely tolerable. I think I still added too much baking soda, or maybe my baking soda has been absorbing the taste of ass. Maybe it absorbed the smoke from the burnt Daal.

I think I need a time-out. No, wait, what’s the thing in that Canadian game, with the sticks? I need to go into the penalty box. The ingredients will have a power play in my kitchen during which I will not cook them, because apparently I pissed off M’oskyo’wyts, the goddess of cooking stuff.

I’m going to get stoned now, and eat the rest of my vaguely ass-absorbed pancakes.

Emphasis.

August 7th, 2010

She smeared long trails on her face and jeans as she worked. Bits clung to her ankles. “It’s not so bad,” she said, sawing. “It’s not like I killed them all.”

Our training is a bit worse, actually.

January 12th, 2010

(09:40:29 AM) Friend: They way you become a Mord Sith is: you’re kidnapped as a young girl, beaten and tortured mercilessly until there is no humanity left in you, then kill your father to complete your training.
(09:40:55 AM) Violet: Oh, so just like how you become a feminist.

Nidal Malik Hasan: civilian casualties “highly suspect”

November 6th, 2009

“Every conceivable effort made” to avoid civilian casualties.

FORT HOOD, Texas — An Army psychiatrist who led a ground assault against U.S. forces stationed at Fort Hood said that yesterday’s ground assault was a “surgical operation,” and that reports of civilian casualties are “likely overblown.”

“We will be performing a full and thorough investigation,” he continued, “Provided we are able to secure the support of authorities on the ground.” U.S. authorities have thus far not allowed Hasan access to the area in which the attack was conducted.

“Of course, caring for injured soldiers remains our top priority,” Hasan said, his breathing assisted by a ventilator, “But I’m actually feeling pretty good right now.”

The U.S. has alleged that anywhere from two to five civilians were caught up in Hasan’s attack. The allegations have not yet been substantiated. Military police refused to comment, citing an ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile, Afghan and Iraqi leaders have offered tepid, sarcastic condolences to the families of those killed. “Yeah, wow, that sucks.” Iraqi president Jalal Talabani wrote in a press statement, “I can’t even imagine. Twelve lives lost. And for what?”

“Well, never mind that,” the statement continued, “CNN is so depressing. What else is on TV? There must be something good. Isn’t it sweeps week?”

Façades

October 20th, 2009

Last night, Ann and I helped out a family a little. They’d just moved from Seattle on a Greyhound bus. They had the name and number of someone who was supposed to meet them and take them to an apartment. He never showed; when they called, the number was disconnected. They walked to the rescue mission. The rescue mission doesn’t accept women or children. The only shelter in the city that does was full. They walked to a police station. The police told them they couldn’t have a motel voucher since it wasn’t cold enough, and it wasn’t snowing. They came up to us outside our apartment. We gave them a lift to the grocery store and helped them get some food and some money for a room. When we dropped them off, I gave them my phone number.

“The first three digits are 666,” I said, “Number of the beast.”
“That’s bad luck.”
“Yeah, it is.”

On the way back home, we got a little turned around. They’ve been building up new apartments all around where we live. They just finished a complex a block away, and it still hasn’t quite sunk into the city. It still looks strange and alien and not all there, like maybe it’s a backdrop for a movie someone’s filming, and when they’re finished they’ll kick out the two-by-fours and carry the fake brick sheets off to a back lot somewhere. It’s draped with a huge NOW LEASING sign, though, and the windows are open so you can see inside. All the lights in the building are on full, showing off six stories of bright, clean apartments. Empty, to a one.

9. witness

August 2nd, 2009

He is fucking me. On a thin blanket laid out on a concrete floor in the middle of a tiny Indian apartment, he is fucking me. I can smell the faint residue of his Bidis and whiskey on his face. His chin and cheeks rub roughly against my face as he thrusts, my makeup smearing. He grunts with each thrust. I’ve wrapped my legs around him, and I’m trying to keep up. Together, we smell like beer and smoke and sandalwood and sex.

His cock pulls me wider, wider, more open.

I scream as he fucks, and it’s part pain, part pleasure, part the raw intensity of the sensation.

“Hijra pussy is the best,” He says between grunts, and I don’t correct him.

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Just one more.

July 27th, 2009

Portland was amazing. Photos, mostly not mine, to follow soon.

One more episode (digression: are these “episodes?” “installments?” “chapters?” anyway, there’s one, or maybe two, left), then something a little different.

Update: Ooh, see Ann for some delightful notes we found in the Sweetpea Bakery. Actually, I found them and she photographed them, so it was kindof a team effort. (Either that, or she stole my frag.)