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11/09/07 10:43 - 42ºF - ID#42058

chemical sensitivities

I still don't know if I explained the phenomenon well in the comment threads I was in-- I hope (e:paul) didn't think I was implying he was crazy.
So here's an anecdotal case study from my job, about Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.

The other day I got a call from a customer who was very hard to talk to. I kind of get a lot of these. Since our product is widely held within the MCS community to be helpful to people, we get a lot of calls from people who have the condition. Most of them already know quite a lot about the product. (Others have very... interesting ideas about the product that I don't know where they got.)
Most of them also, as I have mentioned before, are crazy. It's gotten to the point that we can tell within the first moment of a call whether it's an MCS sufferer or not.
Their voices are usually high and breathy, whether they're male or female; their tone is quavering, unsteady, and demanding. Their sentences are often illogical. They usually start out the call with a tremulous demand to speak to someone technical. They make outrageous statements, often indicating that there has been some kind of victimization of them by either us or some other entity.
Usually, the call takes the form of a long, drawn-out story full of irrelevant details, in which they tell us the story of their chemical injury, something about their environment that eventually may reveal itself as a pertinent detail, something of how they have suffered, and then how our machine has let them down, one way or another.
Sometimes things take a turn, and instead of complaining how we've let them down, they praise us. That's always nice.
Often they must stop speaking to cough, sometimes for extended periods. They sometimes lose the thread of where they were going with this. Sometimes they weep.
Most of the time the long story is an obvious passive-aggressive ploy: they want us to say, "That's terrible! Have some free shit/ We'll give you all your money back despite our clearly-worded policy to the contrary that we know you know about." When we fail to respond in this expected manner, they repeat the story. It is often difficult to get them to come right out and say what they want from us. Alternatively, they will begin the story with their demand: "I want you to give me back all the money for the machine I bought three years ago not even directly from you," and then tell the story.
(They are not always women. I would say 9 out of 10 of them are women. The male MCS callers do not differ significantly in manner or content.)

So I got one of these calls on Tuesday. She was a real corker, totally incoherent, borderline delirious. She'd bought furniture, it had made her sick, so sick, it had taken her two days to figure out it was the chairs, these wing-back chairs, they were offgassing, it was in her den, oh my, oh my. So sick. Violently ill. Etc. Even after sending back the chairs, she still couldn't go into that room. It had been two weeks, she'd opened the window and put on a fan to ventilate the room, she'd put her air cleaner (one of ours) in there, but she still couldn't go in there.
It took me like half an hour to get enough sense out of her to realize she was asking whether it would be safe for her to use the machine of ours she'd put into that room in another room, or if she should replace the filter. The filter she was using was not our one that removes chemicals particularly, so I asked her, with a sinking feeling, whether she'd ever tried our chemical one.
She answered as I'd expected: "Yes, but it gave me a headache." Sometimes really really sensitive people can smell the carbon and "react" to it and get headaches etc. Which would be why she had the other filter, then.

I told her that she was reacting to such extremely low concentrations of the chemical that I really couldn't speak as to whether the machine would retain any-normally I'd say no, because it would be such a tiny amount nobody would notice it, but this lady... I told her she would probably be all right not to replace the filter, but that she shouldn't do any experiments or anything.

She called back three hours later. I didn't recognize her. She sounded calm, crisp, and professional. "When I called you before I was delirious," she said. "I don't remember precisely what we discussed. I had wanted to ask whether I should try that chemical-removing filter, because while I react badly to it, it's less bad than the formaldehyde from those chairs."
It was like a different person, but she had the same name and the facts of her case, once coherently presented, were roughly the same as the earlier whackjob. The voice was similar enough, I suppose, but no longer trembling or hesitant.
"My friends think I am crazy," she said grimly. "I know, and I cannot entirely blame them, but you can hear the difference. I know you don't know how I normally am, but this is me normal, and earlier, that was me after I opened the door to that room and let it air into the rest of the house. But I had had the window open and a fan going for three days, I thought there would be no possible way there could still be formaldehyde in that room. They were wing-back chairs with wooden legs-only the wooden legs touched the floor, which doesn't have a carpet. How could anything still be lingering in there? I couldn't smell anything." She laughed bitterly. "My friends ask when I'll get better. They ask what the doctor says. They ask if there's a pill I can take. They think I'm making this up. I assure you, if I were going to make something up, it would be less stupid than this."

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Permalink: chemical_sensitivities.html
Words: 1021
Location: Buffalo, NY

11/07/07 11:48 - 37ºF - ID#42026

burlesque as nerdrotica

I finally found it! I found the article I was referring to earlier.
I wasn't saying that antique porn was more intellectual, I was saying that the current revival in antique pornographic art forms (i.e. burlesque) was spearheaded by intellectuals.

And this article explains it better than I ever could.

"Burlesque revival: more nerdy than sexy?" reads the headline.

""The base level of IQ is decently high," said James Habacker, 42, owner of "The Slipper Room," a burlesque-themed New York club that hosts Weldon's salon. "Even in the last year the supertalented old school have really stepped it up.""
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Permalink: burlesque_as_nerdrotica.html
Words: 110
Location: Buffalo, NY

11/06/07 08:41 - 39ºF - ID#41997

meditation on an autumn commute

I had a lovely commute this morning. I know that's a weird thing to say. But I got in my car, which didn't have snow or frost on it, and drove down nice little back streets in North Buffalo, some with beautifully-tended gardens and some with rusty K-mart shopping carts poking out of the long grass, and got onto the 198 and drove past the park and the art gallery and the big beautiful church towers on Grant St., and went around the curve onto the 190 and there was the vista of the river on one side, the drawbridge and the Peace Bridge up behind it a black latticework of iron arches decorated here and there with idling trucks, and came around the bend to see downtown spread out to my left, skyscrapers with antique buildings nestled among the concrete, and then I was into the First Ward with the hulking old warehouses and brick factory buildings, until I reached my exit and drove over the railway overpass and a tangle of ductwork, a neatly-groomed lawn and pretty garden on one side and a chain-link fence with weeds growing through it on the other, and up to the huge brick behemoth of the factory where I work, sturdy and weatherbeaten.
I had good music on the iPod, and it just felt like it was the opening credits of a movie. The sky was dark and dramatic, light from the sunrise coming through banks of dark clouds in black and gray lined here and there with a strong pale silver light. I saw both a pickup truck with a plow on it and a bicyclist riding to work, at the same time; the leaves are changing but the grass is bright green and flowers are still blooming. It was a very Buffalo scene.

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Permalink: meditation_on_an_autumn_commute.html
Words: 301
Location: Buffalo, NY

11/02/07 11:22 - 33ºF - ID#41939

this is only a test

This is a test of the upload ability.
Also it's an excuse to post the photo (e:zobar) just sent me.


He captioned it:
"self-explanatory and inexplicable all rolled into one"

It's a styrofoam coffee cup bandito and when I asked him what a styrofoam coffee cup bandito was, he sent me that photo.
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Permalink: this_is_only_a_test.html
Words: 56
Location: Buffalo, NY

11/02/07 10:31 - 33ºF - ID#41938

just wondering...

I linked a coworker to a particularly nice photo of (e:matthew)'s on this site, and all of a sudden I'm like, Crap, what if he recognizes my username from my personal email address that I used to email him once?
So hi, to my sort of boss, if you're reading this, and I swear, my older entries aren't interesting at all and do not contain possibly objectionable photos.

Actually I don't think I've blogged about my new job here at all. Now would be an absolutely genius time to start.

No, I'm not writing this at work!! I wrote this earlier and the server's timestamp is off!!

Oy. Oh well, I already sent him the link. We'll see how much of a detective my sales manager is. ;)
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Permalink: just_wondering_.html
Words: 129
Location: Buffalo, NY

11/01/07 11:00 - 42ºF - ID#41928

captain oblivious

So Z upgraded me to Leopard...
I haven't noticed yet.
I feel very sad and ungrateful. There are all these things I was like oh yay i'll use that all the time...
I kind of, well, just haven't.

I am a wannabe computer geek but I don't have the attention span. Boo.

In other news I totally downloaded that update to the flash thingy thing mahoo and yet haven't actually installed it because I am so lazy. Boo!

Also I think I am getting sick. I don't want to get sick. Unless maybe I get sort of just sick enough to be able to stay home from work with a cup of hot chocolate, and play with the computer, and pet the kitty, and then I feel better by the evening and can do fun stuff. That would be OK.

God I'm such a goldbricker.
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Permalink: captain_oblivious.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: porn

10/31/07 07:04 - 62ºF - ID#41911

Long-awaited. I am not *just* a tease.

So I promised some of my collection of antique porn. I actually paid for a subscription to a site, a real porn site, made up entirely of vintage porn, and I have stolen most of these from that site. I justify my theft by the simple expedient that I doubt any of you were planning on signing up to this site but are more likely to because of my plug.
The site is called DeltaofVenus, I'm not linking directly unless that autoformats into a link.

It's mostly images/videos of women, girl on girl, and straight sex, though in several of the films and a number of the photos, there's homosexual sex just thrown in there casually for good measure-- obviously the divide between straight and gay porn was narrower. Last week they uploaded a video that was of two chicks and a dude-- and the two chicks actually had more enthusiastic sex with each other than either of them did with the dude. (The film dates to the 1920s.

So obviously cultural norms were different. And a lot of the erotica was attempting to avoid censorship by categorizing itself as "references for painters"-- hence a lot of artistically-posed female nudes. On the whole the "tone" more often aspires to be higher, simply because any photographer had to have invested pretty significantly into the equipment-- but there isn't actually a whole lot of coyness. The fuck pictures are pretty straightforwardly shots of people fucking, etc. Some of the photos even look candid, which is amusing.
The standards of beauty are somewhat different, but one thing I have noticed: Nobody is fat. People are un-toned, sure; there's lots of pasty droopy flesh here and there. But the people are skinny. The obviously low-budget ones with amateurs mostly feature chicks with unexceptional, slender figures. It's only in the later sections of the archives that you start to see any kind of impressive breasts-- it's fair to guess that nobody working in porn before about 1935 had boobs over a C-cup.
People are bigger now. Taller, more muscled, and fatter.

I knew this already, and more than academically, because my parents are historical re-enactors. In his social group, my father was much sought-after for events because he has retained his 29-inch-waist, and so can fit into actual period garments. He is six feet tall and 140 pounds-- and so he can wear antique military uniforms.

But enough talking. This is enough text, I think, that nobody's going to get an eyeful of antique erotica that isn't prepared for it. ;)

The photos get more explicit as you scroll down. They're not chronological, but I bet you can tell which ones are later just by looking-- the hair, the undergarments, the setting, and most tellingly of all, the actual shape of the people.
Sure, she's untoned, but she's not fat.

She's pretending to be an artist's reference. Maybe she really was.

There's no nudity in this one, but it's more explicitly erotica than the one above.

I love this woman's expression.

Whoa! Boobs! This one is obviously the 60s.

I just love the posed coyness.

This one is modern enough to have color. Shocking!

This is totally just for painters to use to pose the female form. Actually this woman is hella toned-- and shaved! I don't know what year this one is.

Aaaand.... sex! I think this is meant to be a Parisian cafe. It actually might be-- France was a hotbed of the early porno industry.

Another amusing thing is how damned *early* many of today's porn cliches started. Here, it's the delivery boy. I've also seen a movie dated to the 30s of a dude boning the hot secretary. And there's a great one of "nurses gone wild" that's probably pre-1940.

Threesome!!! Mostly I just love the chick's stockings. OMG. It's not a sock fetish if I just want them for myself, is it?

There are several in this photo shoot and I just crack up-- they're all, OK, now it's time to assfuck the man! There's a lot of that. He's like, Uh, ok?

Yes. This is two chicks. You're not just mis-led by the low resolution. That is two chicks, one dressed unconvincingly as a man.

Sacrilicious! Lesbian crucifixion! But what's really great is the seated woman's expression.

This one is so totally candid. Also, is the standing woman pregnant? At least she looks amused. Also I love the stockings in this one too.

Fucking! Most awesomely, the man is wearing sock garters, while the woman has removed her garters and is letting her stockings roll down. THe porno cliche of leaving your shoes on was well in force by the time photography was perfected.
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Permalink: Long_awaited_I_am_not_just_a_tease_.html
Words: 818
Location: Buffalo, NY

10/31/07 12:17 - 46ºF - ID#41897

vintage erotica

Elsewhere I mentioned looking at vintage porn and (e:vincent) was like, 'Uh, from the 70s?' and I realized I haven't blogged about it here. I am totally considering going into porn to support my novel-writing habit. I initially considered big-breast-fetish porn because well duh (there is a touching story about how I first became inspired to not be self conscious and defensive all the time about my boobs and to actually figure out what size bra I should really be wearing after I saw a bunch of softcore porn shots of a 34F chick and realized I was bigger than her and there she was making a living off her boobs, holy shit).
But then I was like, no man, no. I should do reproduction vintage erotica. That would be so rad.
I should probably address the whole burlesque-is-geek-erotica thing. There is this motion lately to reclaim the erotica of less-jaded (theoretically) historical periods, and it's more intellectual than sexual for many-- burlesque and pinups are the province of nerds, and are done not only for getting one's rocks off but also out of notions of feminism and identity etc.
So anyway.
Bandwagon-- am I on it? Hell, I AM it-- roller derby is another version of this, reclamation of former exploitation as new empowerment.
This is a somewhat ill-considered rant. So instead I am going to post some images that are vintage erotica. [...]


Yeah, I've restarted Firefox several times and I can't post anything, can't upload any media.

(e:paul), the Upload Media button, I can say pretty certainly, doesn't work in Firefox on the new release of Apple.
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Permalink: vintage_erotica.html
Words: 273
Location: Buffalo, NY

10/29/07 10:23 - 34ºF - ID#41856

roller derby info

Someone had questions about roller derby and now I don't remember who it was:
If you are interested in skating with us, either to be a referee or to skate on a team, come to one of our practices. They are from 8:30-10:30 on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and 8:30-10:30 Sunday mornings. It is best, if you have any protective gear, to wear it-we have some we can loan out, but it may or may not fit you or be any good.
To skate with us in drills, we do ask that you wear kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and a helmet. Some drills also require a mouthguard but you probably will want to just observe those for your first couple of practices.
"But I'm a good skater," you may say-"I don't need kneepads."
Yes you do-a lot of our drills involve falling deliberately, and our style of skating is predicated on frequent falls, deliberate or otherwise. Even our refs wear kneepads at least. You'll just be happier in protective gear.

Also we wear quad skates, not inlines; quads are required, and you can rent them, though you could probably use your own inlines for the first few practices to get a feel for whether you're interested in joining us more permanently.

Do people get hurt doing roller derby?
Bruises are frequent, usually arm bruises from blocking, and leg bruises from falling not-quite-properly. Collisions happen, though they're fairly rare and usually minor. Falls are frequent, but we practice falling to ensure that these are rarely painful.
More rarely we do have muscle pulls and sprains. In a year we have had probably 5 relatively serious knee injuries-two girls had pre-existing knee conditions that worsened from skating, and three girls tore their meniscus or ACL in falls while skating- of these three, one required surgery to fix it, because she KEPT SKATING after she was injured, and fell twice more. One girl fractured her leg very badly in a freak incident during practice last year. We also had several other somewhat-serious injuries-concussions, sprains, twists, cracked tailbones-but nothing that incapacitated anyone permanently. One girl broke a rib, but not so badly that she could not skate later that month. (In fact she didn't stop skating that night, and skated another bout the week after heavily bandaged, though that was largely because she's a total badass.)
My point? For the most part, it is reasonable to assume that you will be sore the morning after many practices. There is a risk of something worse, but it's uncommon. People get hurt worse playing hockey, more often-collisions in hockey are often head-on, while in roller derby everyone's moving the same direction.
So we do require that you have primary health insurance in order to join the league.

We have open recruitment until December. November 11th is our draft-we may not have another draft this year, so to get onto a team you'd have to have joined the league by then and pass your skills assessment. But we will have places for skaters who are not on a team, so it's not that we're turning anyone away.

And most importantly: ROLLER DERBY IS FUN. It is the most fun it is legal to have. Also it's an entirely volunteer-run organization, involved in the community, by and for women. It's a great networking opportunity and also is way cool. At my tenth high school reunion no one cared about my crappy job and unimpressive life-they just all thought it was so cool that I skated on a roller derby league.

Oh-(e:Vincent) was asking about my wristguards:

I'll blog about the party later, I just wanted to write that up while I was still thinking of it. My obligatory roller derby pitch!!

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Permalink: roller_derby_info.html
Words: 629
Location: Buffalo, NY

10/27/07 08:53 - 58ºF - ID#41831


One last plug: Tonight from 9 pm to midnight is the Goth N Ghouls open skate prom at Rainbow Rink in North Tonawanda. It's $7 to get in which includes skate rental. Come in a crazy costume, buy merch and bake sale items, skate around, ogle some rollergirls' tits, and then go to the (e:strip) Halloween bash-- it's a great way to get additional mileage (literally!) out of one costume, and also you can support Crisis Services, to whom we're donating part of the proceeds for the evening.
And now to your regularly-scheduled post:

Halloween is a very special holiday to me. As a possessor of a ginormous rack, and an appreciator of the human form in its many complexities especially the more rounded (or smooth, for that matter) ones, I love the fact that people, mostly women but also certain demographics of usually-pleasingly-shaped men, tend to use Halloween as an excuse to Release Their Inner Ho-Bag.
Last night we had a party at the Knockouts' team captain's house wherein we drank beer, swapped iron-on letters, and cleaned our skate bearings. (The bearings are the little thingies that make our wheels turn, and most of us have no more idea of how to maintain the things than we know how to fly a plane. One of our OCD teammates, who can be relied upon to know how to clean anything [and also is a teacher and thus can be relied upon to explain things clearly], gave a little seminar on cleaning them.)
At this party one particular teammate was talking about how she'd helped her friend with her costume. This other girl was going as Amy Winehouse, and my teammate was in charge of Sharpieing the tattoos on. My teammate took it upon herself to take over design of the costume. The wifebeater was too conservative, so she cut it. The bra was white-- no, that could not be, so she ransacked the girl's closet and chose another one. "That bra is really hoochie," said the costume-wearer. "And it shows now that the shirt is ripped."
"You have to commit to your character!" my teammate said. "What would Amy Winehouse do?"
"You're right," the girl said. "You're right! I have to commit to my character!"
Apparently the tattoos were spot-on by the end-- even smudged a little to mimic how awful Winehouse's real tattoos are. ("Why are you licking me?" the girl asked as my teammate used her dampened thumb to smudge the ink. "Commit to your character!" my teammate snapped back.)
She stood back and admired your handiwork. "Girl," said my teammate, "you are going to make out with somebody tonight."

I think this is the spirit of Halloween. You dress up as somebody else, expose parts of your body you normally wouldn't (but, hopefully, should), commit to a character and do your freaky thing.
I do sympathize with (e:hodown)'s weariness with girls whose idea of "costuming" is to put "slutty" in front of any other word and run with it-- most of the girls who do this have no fucking imagination, so the end result winds up being alarmingly tedious. (I say alarming because it seems terrible to contemplate a situation in which a chick revealing most of her body is tedious, but then you remember that in essence, most humans are idiots, and idiots are tedious no matter what they're wearing.)

So I'm looking forward to tonight-- most of my roller derby leaguemates are anything but tedious, and all are more than moderately hot. Many of them have promised either boobs or ass tonight in their costumes. Given that my impression of the hotness of most of these people was formed during long sweaty baggy-shirt-wearing interludes of getting my ass handed to me, I am anticipating a great deal of awesome.
I'm not saying that this event is a gross ogle-fest, I'm just saying, I appreciate me some scenery and also I look forward to having my boobs ogled over. It will be fun. Also there will be roller skating.
And then I will come to the (e:strip) party and maybe I'll still be on roller skates! I cleaned my outdoor wheels' bearings so I can skate fast in them. :D

And now for something completely different:
This is Chita's favorite hang-out spot. This may become my new userpic. I love the Tits-N-Pussy theme.
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Permalink: Titsmas.html
Words: 730
Location: Buffalo, NY



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