Archive for November, 2007

30
Nov
07

Ah…My First Love

That would be books, folks. Via Ottermatic, I found this awesome meme about the books you’ve read, haven’t read, tried to read and didn’t finish, or just couldn’t stand.

So here are the rules: bold what you have read, italicize what you started but couldn’t finish, and strike through what you couldn’t stand.

1984
The Aeneid
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
American Gods
Anansi Boys
Angela’s Ashes : A Memoir
Angels & Demons
Anna Karenina
Atlas Shrugged
Beloved
The Blind Assassin
Brave New World
The Brothers Karamazov
The Canterbury Tales
Catch-22
The Catcher in the Rye
A Clockwork Orange
Cloud Atlas
Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
A Confederacy of Dunces
The Confusion
The Corrections
The Count of Monte Cristo
Crime and Punishment
Cryptonomicon
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
David Copperfield
Don Quixote
Dracula
Dubliners
Dune
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Emma
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Fountainhead
Frankenstein

Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
The God of Small Things
The Grapes of Wrath
Gravity’s Rainbow
Great Expectations
Gulliver’s Travels
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The Historian : A Novel
The Hobbit
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Iliad
In Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences
The Inferno
Jane Eyre
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
The Kite Runner
Les Misérables
Life of Pi : A Novel
Lolita
Love in the Time of Cholera
Madame Bovary
Mansfield Park
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlemarch
Middlesex
The Mists of Avalon
Moby Dick
Mrs. Dalloway
The Name of the Rose
Neverwhere
Northanger Abbey
The Odyssey
Oliver Twist
On the Road
The Once and Future King
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Oryx and Crake : A Novel
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
Persuasion
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Poisonwood Bible : A Novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Pride and Prejudice
The Prince
Quicksilver
Reading Lolita in Tehran : A Memoir in Books
The Satanic Verses
The Scarlet Letter
Sense and Sensibility
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Silmarillion
Slaughterhouse-five
The Sound and the Fury
The Tale of Two Cities
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Three Musketeers
The Time Traveler’s Wife
To the Lighthouse
Treasure Island
Ulysses
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Vanity Fair
War and Peace
Watership Down
White Teeth
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Wuthering Heights
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : An Inquiry Into Values

Hm. I notice that quite a few of the books on this list I’ve read I wasn’t really fond of. Eh. I found a lot of the English authors to be so depressing (Oliver Twist, y’all. My Lord, that was tedious.) But I loved Ayn Rand, despite her longwindedness (I mean, those novels could be classified as weapons.) But on the bright side, I have books aplenty on my list to read. And just for fun, I’m adding some books I’ve read that others may be interested in:

  1. The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison)
  2. Tar Baby(Toni Morrison)
  3. The Third Life of Grange Copeland (This was Alice Walker’s first novel)
  4. The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
  5. Meridian (Alice Walker)
  6. Blues for Mister Charlie (James Baldwin; it’s a play)
  7. Fences (This is a play by August Wilson)
  8. Breath, Eyes, Memory (Edwidge Danticat)
  9. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
  10. The Cat Ate My Gymsuit (Paula Danziger, eh…I think I spelled that correctly)

Ok. So now I’m in the reading mood…I’m going to make my Amazon wish list. Christmas is coming, y’know!

29
Nov
07

This Just In: There is no Obesity Epidemic!

Addendum: I just had to share this with y’all:When I informed BuddingStarlet that there was no longer an Obesity Epidemic, she said: “What! No more epidemic?! We should have a funeral and bury it. I mean…if we are, we should wear black. It makes you look slimmer, dont’cha know.” Heh. I should probably find some better friends. 😀

You’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled. Suffice it to say you’ve been slightly misinformed. All of this anti-fat rhetoric and research has come to this:

About 33 percent of men and 35 percent of women were obese. The new rates were slightly higher than the 31 percent and 33 percent reported in 2003-2004 surveys.

However, in generalizing the results to the U.S. population, researchers calculated a margin of error that swallows up the differences between years. In other words, the increases were not considered statistically significant.

Mhm. So…this whole “obesity epidemic” thing? Yeah, not existent. What’s that? You say, of COURSE it’s an epidemic! I see fat people everyday! Ladies and gents, allow me to introduce you to the word “epidemic,” courtesy of Merriam-Webster Online:

Main Entry: epidemic
Function: noun
Date: 1757
1 : an outbreak of epidemic disease
2 : an outbreak or product of sudden rapid spread, growth, or development

Emphasis mine. Now see, folks have been saying for quite some time now that there is no such animal as the Obesity Epidemic. And now, from the CDC themselves (ok, perhaps in not so many words, but y’know governmental folks have to skate around the truth) we see…no significant changes in the levels of obesity. So in other words…we folk in the Fat Acceptance movement were right. We were right to question these so called numbers; right to call shenanigans on the “ever-rising level” of obesity in the States. Because THERE IS NO EVER RISING LEVEL. I mean, it’s not as if folks are leaving home thin, going into convulsions, and dropping to the ground…only to arise much plumper than they used to be. I mean, it’s not like if I sneeze on you, you’re gonna immediately become chubby, right? Oh, right. Well, apparently, it ain’t always catching (perhaps there’s an immunity as yet undiscovered?), because if it’s gonna be called an epidemic, it should be spreading like wildfire. However, that’s just not the case.

But, as always, there can be no dancing in the streets, kids. Because just like when we found out being overweight wasn’t a death sentence, but it STILL IS UNHEALTHYOMG!!!!, we have been warned:

The rates are still too high, said Mark Swanson, a researcher who studies childhood obesity and school nutrition at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health.

“Until the numbers start to go the other direction, I don’t think we can consider this a success at all,” he said.

Well. It took these folks a while to admit there was no epidemic. Perhaps it will take a while longer for them to admit they don’t have a magic elixir (drug or otherwise) that’s gonna make folks thin and KEEP them thin. These here bureaucratic folks just don’t like to admit defeat. That’s ok. There were some of us who knew the truth before they, um, discovered and confirmed (*snort*) it, and we’ll continue to know the truth until they opt to discover and confirm what we know to be true yet again.

28
Nov
07

A Fashionable Day

I’ve been gone for a while. There’s no real reason, although I did catch up on some sleep. But when I flipped through my mom’s Essence magazine the other day, I got really excited.

Like, REALLY excited.

The holidays, of course, are upon us, and with these holidays comes the need for beautiful dresses and shoes. Ok. ANY time of year comes with a need for beautiful dresses and shoes as far as I’m concerned, but y’know, the holidays give you an excuse to go buy them. Anyway, I flipped to the holiday section of the Essence to look at the party dresses, and I thought…wow. That’s a gorgeous model. And man! What a gorgeous dress! And then it hit me why I was so enthralled with both dress AND model for a change: she looked NORMAL.

Wait! Don’t get the torches and pitchforks yet, because I have to explain what normal means for me. And it’s got a bit of a cultural thing attached, so bear with me, folks. In my family, you’re gonna get picked at for being “too skinny” (like my stepsister, who wears a size 0) as you are for being what’s considered too big (that’d be me, at a size 20-24 depending on the store). So, as a Black woman, “normal” isn’t very thin (ok, is anybody’s normal extremely thin? Most likely not) so to see a fashion editorial that begins at a size 8 (YES! A size 8! not a 0-4 like one is typically used to seeing in a magazine) is akin to finding an elusive pair of shoes in my size (I wear a size 10. Apparently, so does everyone else within 30 miles of here.)

I mean, these models had hips and bums and..wait. Is that a bit of a belly? OMG! So they do make models that look like…well, actual women! And I swear that the last young lady (the one in the fabulous Ashley Stewart dress I lust for) could be my body double…if I were a bit taller, that is. 😆

Like…I felt good, like I did when I first discovered b & lu and got happy when I saw some women that looked like me modeling the dresses. Like hey, dammit, now I have proof of what I’ve been telling folks all these years. Just because I’m fat does not mean I can’t look fabulous! I can be just as fashion forward as anybody else!

What a revelation, y’all. One akin to this one.

Ok, I have to go make a shopping budget. Y’all should too, and go pick yourselves up something fabulous to wear: life’s to short to not dress well!

23
Nov
07

Thanksgiving Cooking Debachles

Ok, so yesterday in my comments I alluded that my cooking did not exactly go as planned.

That’s a pretty mild understatement. I shall, as they say, begin at the beginning.

Tuesday night, the family and I were having a discussion about the sweets to be had at the feast. Sweets typically fall to me, as my mother is more fond of cooking than baking. Ok, so as I told y’all Tuesday, I was just gonna make the pie.

No. I made the pie, a cake, and tea cakes(I’ll explain these in a bit).

Ok. No big deal. I’ve made these before, so this will be…a piece of cake, right? Eh. Kinda. We’ll start with the pie…and then move on to the main course.

So, I dig up my Pyrex pie pan and grab my refrigerated crust. As much as I love to cook, I can be a bit of a lazy cook. And I just don’t see making pie crust when it comes ready to go in a box. I follow the directions and carefully press the dough into my pan, and do a blind-bake (you pre-cook the crust) like my recipe called for. I pull out the crust and….it’s ballooned in the middle. I go into a mild panic…until I see (in both the recipe and the box) that this is normal, and to just press the crust back down with a spoon. I do, and life goes on. Pie completed! And it looks good! Until I cut into it, that is. Apparently, my mashing with the spoon tore the dough(and I didn’t notice) so some of the pie juices sank underneath my crust. Now, my crust was cooked, but it was stuck to the pan. So when you cut a piece, half of you pie slice stays right in the pan, and must be scooped out with a spoon. But, it’s quite tasty, so I count it as a minor setback for my first pumpkin pie.

On to the cake. Now, this was at lil’ bro’s request. He wanted a caramel cake. No prob, I know how to make those. But we didn’t have the sour cream required for the cake. So, I made a plain cake and decided to put some caramel frosting over (the original has both a caramel flavored cake and icing). The cake making was awesome…it came out moist and dense. Just wonderful. I used a buttermilk cake recipe, because it’s so lightly flavored any type of icing will take center stage. What was the problem? T’was the icing, folks. Oh, boy. That icing.

OK, I have nothing to say in my defense here. I didn’t thoroughly read my recipe and I didn’t separate the sugar properly. What’s that? How do you separate sugar? Well, the recipe will give you a set amount of sugar you need (here, 3 1/4 cups) and you’ll need to put a certain amount to the side (here, 3/4 cup) for use elsewhere. However, I didn’t read my directions, and I assumed 1/4 of the sugar needed to be set aside. I’m thinking that here was the beginning of the end. I figured I’d be able to resolve the problem because I continued with the recipe, and it looked like it was supposed to look….and when all was said and done and I’d iced the cake, it was beautiful! Just lovely. So I continued with my other recipe (the forthcoming tea cakes). Once I’d put that dough in the fridge to chill…I looked over at my lovely cake. And the icing had POOLED AROUND THE BASE. I mean…just a lake of my icing all around the cake. Now, this happens when the cake has not cooled before icing is applied. That cake was ice cold. My icing just didn’t set up like it was supposed to. Ok, so now I’m pissed. But lil’ bro thought it was both cool (the whole icing melting thing was awesome to him. Did I mention he’s almost 17? That might have something to do with it) and delicious (he promptly cut into that cake and took down a slice). So yeah. All’s well that ends well, right?

But the good times continued with the aforementioned tea cakes. For those who never heard of tea cakes, no, tea cakes don’t have tea in them (like lil bro assumed), even though if you do a search for them on Food Network you’d see some recipes that do. Those recipes that do are not true southern tea cakes (you’ll want Paula Deen’s version for the tea cakes I’m referring to). So, why are they tea cakes, then, you wonder? Simple. They’re intended to be eaten with your tea. They’re lightly sweetened, so you can enjoy your cake (it’s actually a cookie) and your tea without that dreaded sweet-cancels-sweet thing your mouth tends to do. I don’t care for them, because a cookie without chocolate is blasphemy to me, but since Mom isn’t a real sweets kind of person, they work for her. So I made her some.

Since it had been a while, I’d forgotten how squishy and sticky the dough gets. So once all the flour was mixed into the butter (simplest recipe ever, y’all: flour, baking soda, salt, butter, vanilla, sugar) it was all runny. And I’m thinking, dammit, I’m battin’ a thousand with these here desserts today. But I slapped it in the fridge, it firmed up, and the recipe was saved. Crisis averted. And Mom was impressed and happy: since me and lil’ bro don’t care for tea cakes, she had them all to herself.

Whew. Are y’all still giggling? Good. Because it just gets funnier. I still have to cook my lil’ chickens Cornish game hens. So, Thursday morning I roll over and “feel up” my hens (Mom’s terminology). I’d marinated them in a herb and garlic marinade, and I then rubbed em down with an herbed butter. I tossed them in a baking bag with some onions and a splash of chicken broth. And I’m exhausted, because my “monthly issue” is upon me. So, I go take some ibuprofen and lie down.

And sit straight up 2 hours later. OMG. O. M. G! My chicken! I forgot about it! It’s burned!

No. It isn’t. Lil’ bro and Moms kept watch. It was perfectly done on the counter. Whew. I should mention I’m shaking like a leaf now, because I scared myself so badly.

And I finished my dinner with my wild rice, and it was good. Yeah.

So, all in all, dinner went well. Even with the missteps, everything turned out lovely, and nobody was concerned about the state of the desserts but me.

And since talking about yesterday’s dinner has made me hungry, I’m gonna go grab something to eat now.

20
Nov
07

Change of Plans

Y’all, I’d originally intended to give a whole rant about how my folks tended to treat me at Thanksgiving. As mentioned in the post before, I also intended to write said rant on Wednesday.

Yeah. Not so much.

Why not? Truthfully, I’m tired of giving my family the reins to my enjoyable turkey day. I’m tired of dwelling on how I felt cornered during holiday gatherings because it felt like EVERYONE was eyeballin’ my plate. My mother fell victim to this too. So, every Christmas and Thanksgiving, moms would cook a meal at home. This way, she and I would be able to eat without being scrutinized.

But I don’t feel like ranting (ahem, anymore) because I won’t be around the, um, “concerned” part of my family this year. ‘Cause it’s just me, moms, and little bro, with visits to the always awesome Godmama, g-bro, and g-sis. And this part of my family is more concerned with if they cooked all the things we kids love to eat and the always popular “Well, didja get enough?” as opposed to “Ain’t that enough yet?” Since I won’t be going there physically, I sure ain’t bout to go there mentally.

So, instead, I’m gonna talk about the dinner I’m helping to cook. As I’ve mention before, I love to cook. In another life, I was gonna be a gourmet chef. Actually…I might try out for The Next Food Network Star. But we’ll have to see. Anyhow, since all us kids are home, I get to help with the meal. Part of this is because I have certain foods I don’t eat (no beef nor pork, or as I put it , “all things that go oink or moo”) which pretty much takes down half the treats included in a traditional southern feast. For those of y’all not familiar, southern folks have a tendency to put pork fat, pork parts, cow parts…and so on in their meal. It’s not just the ham and roast. These meats get cooked in the veggies, too. Let’s just say any kind of meat in general ain’t got a chance in hell around these parts. Especially in Texas, where I am now.

So, since I do enjoy poultry every now and again, I’m baking up some lil’ chickensCornish game hens, making some wild rice with portobello mushrooms, curried butternut squash soup, and my first pumpkin pie from scratch. Mmmm. I feel the need to indicate that the soup is mine. Nobody else eats squash but me. Heh. I’m okay with that. The pie? Well, lil’ bro may give it a taste, but he has let me know in no uncertain terms he’s pissed I opted not to make sweet potato pie. Eh. I make it every year. He’ll get it for Christmas.

I also get to try my hand at the greens this year. For my non-southern (and international readers), greens is not a reference to salad greens. Greens are big bunches of leafy veggies that I DO NOT recommend eating raw. I learned this the hard way, folks. You boil them up in a broth (veggie, chicken, beef, or hell, just plain water, if you want) and a meat (smoked turkey since I don’t eat hamhocks) until deliciously tender. It’s simple enough, but I’m a woman who CAN’T make something as simple as a gravy to save my life. So, I get a cooking lesson from the master cook in the house: mama.

So, this Thanksgiving will be awesome. Because I’ll be around family I love and that loves me, and because I get to experiment with food. Now, before I leave y’all to finish watchin’ Paula Deen fry her entire Thanksgiving supper (seriously, folks. She’s fryin’ layer cake, for goodness’ sake!) I figure I’d share another gem from Blogthings. I’ve now learned what kind of pie I am. I’m excited because it’s my second favorite pie (behind sweet potato) and the pie I always ask BuddingStarlet to make, ’cause she can make the hell out of some pie.


You Are Apple Pie


You’re the perfect combo of comforting and traditional.You prefer things the way you’ve always known them.You’ll admit that you’re old fashioned, and you don’t see anything wrong with that.Your tastes and preferences are classic. And classic never goes out of style.Those who like you crave security.

People can rely on you to be true to yourself – and true to them.

You’re loyal, trustworthy, and comfortable in your own skin.

And because of these qualities, you’ve definitely earned a lot of respect.

What Kind of Pie Are You?

Well, this will most likely be it until Friday (I gotta prep the lil’ chickensCornish game hens, roast my squash…yeah. Y’all know what I mean.) So, till I post again, y’all have a wonderful, delicious, stress-free Thanksgiving!

20
Nov
07

Something Fun

Since this is the week for family and treats, I’d thought I’d take a break from ranting postpone my annual Thanksgiving rant until Wednesday night. As I perused the Internets, I ran across this website that has cute little quizzes you can take about any little thing. I took a few for fun…I’ve since learned that I’m ready to date again (*snort*)and I should go to grad school. A fun one I found? What kind of cookie I am.


You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie


Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.You’re friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular – without even trying!

What Kind of Cookie Are You?

Mmm. Chocolate chip. Oddly enough, this happens to be my favorite cookie, even if the description is a bit off (Conservative? Hah!) Bonus: the results come with an HTML code you can use to put your results on your blog. So, what kind of cookie are y’all?

15
Nov
07

This Makes Me Sad.

So, I was doing my usual blog-surfing (I managed to miss Project Runway! Dammit.) and I ran across this article on Jezebel. Sometimes I forget how far reaching the all-powerful media can be. I mean, seriously y’all. Once I read the exerpts, I (foolishly) went to the thread to see if it were really as bad as it seemed. Dear sweet God in Heaven. It was worse. Much, much worse. And I’d like to add that this is on Teen Vogue’s message boards, y’all. I mean…TEENAGERS WROTE THIS:

today i hade lemon zinger tea with one packet splenda 0 cal and water and took my meds…then during the day i just kept taking sips of hot tea to fil me up…. so far ive had o calories total!!! whooohooo…

but i still need some good exercising tricks..and tha kinda stuff…

share your skinny secrets!!

The responses to this thread? Whew. Here are a few:

good job!

Im on a diet right now because i want to lose alot of weight before December.

Soo… this is what i ate today:

3 plain rice cakes

2 small bites of a banana

(I diddnt eat it all at once- it was spread all throughout the day)

so it was

145 calories

Im planning on doing some crunches and leg lifts too

Btw, i love tea too! its great for weight loss – especially green tea- it makes you burn more calories!

I also love the feeling of hunger. I feel so clean and light and empty.

That last one damn near sent me over the edge. Man. Oh, and those reflections were from three seperate posters. Now, I do feel the need to point out that the entire thread isn’t filled with the high praise of not eating. Other young women came in and berated these girls, (and y’all know how I feel about that, so I’m not gonna include any of that here) but reading over the thread really made me think: what is all this fat hatred doing to the younger generation?

I mean, with all of the reports that obesity is gonna kill us, fat is bad, omgobesityepidemic, putting kids (four month olds!) into gyms…seriously y’all. Folks don’t realize the gravity of the images placed in the media. Children and teens don’t fully understand that all of these images they are bombarded with day after day after day are nowhere near real. Nowhere! But with all of the “War on Fat” rhetoric plugging up the airways and television…all these kids can think of is fat=bad and thin=good. What also got me was that the young women that were all about eating 145 calories per day is that they were AWARE that it was unhealthy…but they wanted to be thinner. In their minds, they NEEDED to be thinner. And trust me, not all doctors worry about your actual health, as long as you are skinny—or are becoming skinny. Where does the madness end, y’all?

Now, I’m not a health professional, but I’m thinking these young women need some help (I’ll add here that some of the responses were kind pleas for the “dieting” girls to please get some help). But the media, these doctors, these researchers, their followers—all that are on this fat is unhealthy and will kill you and it LOOKZ BAD OMG kick—need help too. They need to take a step back and look at what they are pushing these children to do to themselves.

I’m just not gonna go into how pissed I am that Teen Vogue has allowed this thread to stay up. I mean do these people monitor what’s on these threads? Clearly not. Because I reckon this thread don’t cross the line of “offensive”. Or at least not to them. Whatever.

It just breaks my heart to see that this is what the world is coming to. Folks aren’t focused on being healthy and living the best life they can. They’re focused on being thin—no matter the cost to their body or their psyche.

And that focus can have mentally draining and sometimes deadly consequences.




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