Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ysex? let me count the ways

you may have heard on the news this morning that researchers have found (big surprise) that college students have sex for all sorts of reasons. 237 of them, in fact.

well, you could plow through all the numbers and stats here or you can zip directly to page 27 and take the survey yourself.

i know i will. i'll consider it part of my coaching journey.

Monday, July 30, 2007

bad mommy monday: celebs have moms, too

over on Church Gal, i wrote this morning about a piece in the nyt mag on family leave and workplace discrimination and how it focuses on working mothers (though working fathers are also targets).

then i came across this article in the style section. (note: really good articles on gender and society can be found in the style pages, i think.)

it's more on the way our culture judges and scrutinizes mothers - even celebs' mommies:

But the amount of derision directed at mothers seems out of proportion.
“We still have a virgin-whore binary in American pop culture, and this governs motherhood as well,” Professor Douglas said. The same way in which girls are labeled either good or bad, so are mothers. The same level of censure does not seem to apply to sons, whose risky behavior is often seen as merely a rite of passage.
Professor Douglas thinks the reproach directed at some celebrities’ mothers speaks to the particular kinds of lessons that mothers are supposed to teach their daughters — lessons Lindsay, Britney and Paris seem not to have learned. “It’s supposed to be a mother’s job to train her daughter into how to domesticate her various desires,” she said. “If we see a young woman who hasn’t done that, the mother has failed her tutorial.”
i love that phrase: 'domesticate her various desires.' good mothers are supposed to teach us how to tame desire, make them homey, safe, appropriate. let's put a frilly apron on those rampant desires and make them 'feminine.' i also like the connection the piece makes to bourgeois class values and idealizations of womanhood. so victorian.

and it's clear that these attitudes aren't just fodder for literary or academic smart-assery; if you go to these different gossip sites (where female judgment runs rampant), you'll read that these lessons about appropriate motherly/daughterly behavior are well-ingrained and often-expressed. (though, apparently, easily discarded, as well.) whether we like to admit it, we LIKE judging other women, women's behavior, women's mothers and their behaviors. it's the first place we go to when we wanna snark on someone.

but, as the article notes, scrutiny of the father and of sons is avoided - and perhaps this is a serious cultural oversight. where is the surveillance of fatherly behavior? where is the constant preying on the behavior of sons gone bad?

(where is the chastising of joe francis' parentage, for instance? why has his home training gone unnoticed, while the parenting skills of the girls he preys on becomes fodder for vicious speculation? i.e., 'what kind of parent would allow their underage daughter to go to spring break blah blah blah?' come on. you know you've said it. i have.)

how would our popular discourse change if we, for instance, began to take a hyper-close look at sports figures and their daddy issues? (or their absent daddy issues?) would we say that doping and cheating and violence and dog-fighting and sexual assault could be laid at the feet of these athletes' fathers? (even if the fathers aren't present, their absence IS a presence, one could argue.)

but no. that's not as much fun as looking at a woman self-destruct and then blaming her mother. so much better to kick a woman than scrutinize a man.

Sometimes Mothers Can Do No Right - New York Times

huh. nerd=white?

who knew?

Nerds - Dress and Apparel - Intelligence - New York Times

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

2 weeks

it is two weeks until Agatha-extraction. against my will and despite my best 'think positive-ness' my imagination is full of those awful NBC Deadline-esque news stories: Stone Philips fills the tv screen with his big impassive face and says, 'It was an ordinary procedure. One performed millions of times before on millions of ordinary women just like her. But, sadly, the family and friends of Ding would soon realize that sometimes tragedy strikes despite the ordinary."

or something lame like that.

i can't help but think that if the next two weeks was a plot point in a novel bought in the checkout lane at the supermarket, i'd be worried about Me about now. reading about the protagonist who has made some questionable decisions over the past year and blatantly flaunted a 'whatever' face to the world at large, i would be worried that the author would take this opportunity in the narrative to 'teach Me a lesson'.

in such a mass market novel, this would be the moment in the story where the hard drinking/smoking/sexing wench would be given the opportunity to learn something valuable about strength in perseverance as i recover from the stroke i've had because my anathesia was wrong and i struggle to read or form basic words; or i learn the love of a good man as the doctor, who accidentally removed all my reproductive organs because he's a drunk, falls in love with me as i sue him in a malpractice case that will change the shape of litigation forEVER; or maybe i learn the identity of the 5 people i'd talk to in heaven after i bleed out on the operating table because i forgot to tell my doctors i've been taking an aspirin a day to stop a toothache.

these are the stories that fill my days when i'm not paying attention.

needless to say, i'm a little stressed out.

(reading the above, i realize that this is exactly the whole point of that annoying TNT series with Holly Hunter: the drunk, adulterous lady cop gets a divine intervention and mends her hard drinking/smoking/sexing ways.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

a new find: The Urban Beauty Source - Home

are you tired of that thrill of discovery every time you find that RARE mention of a product made specifically for brown girls in Lucky magazine (or Glamour, or InStyle or whatever)?
and the beauty section in essence is too small?

thrill no more. go to ambermag.com - The Urban Beauty Source - Home.

[h/t sid]

'haven't you heard of a thing called amazon?': oh, the wit of the border patrol

i'm back from windsor, ontario and our harry potter book-buying trip. had a lovely weekend reading, eating, reading, discussing various plot points and wondering where all the people were in windsor. (i mean, it's 9.30 pm and all the restaurants are empty! what's up with that?)

on the way back we encountered snitty attitude from the U.S. border guy who'd rather hassle a bunch of lawyers and such in a mini-van. you may scoff at our desire to READ, american border denizen of the booth, but at least we're not letting folks with TB enter the country.

(and the book? awesome. awwwsommme.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

love love love: Endless.com: Shoes & Handbags

Endless.com: Shoes & Handbags

i was hanging out with a gay friend once talking about shopping.
i said, 'you know, i only really care about 3 things: shoes, bags, and coats.'
he said, 'you mean the most expensive things in a wardrobe?'
'way to be frugal.'

who in their right mind can be frugal when you have a righteous website of affordable, hot shoes and delivery is FREE?? huh? who?

not me.

(you have to check out the pumps. soooo cute. so fricking cute.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

how to ruin lumpia: make them 'american'

Meat and Potatoes Lumpia - Allrecipes

oh, gack.
mayonaise? ketchup?
the filipina in me rises up in protest.

but the flowers are so pretty: on why da mayor ain't so great

Chicago Reader Blogs: Clout City

this post from the political writer at the Reader says better what i struggled to say to some friends during a cookout over the 4th: i like the mayor (as personality) but i'm not going to say he's the best mayor ever. in my job, i'm learning more and more about internal city workings and it's taking a lot of bloom off the rose; i think chicago is still a great place to live, but it would be great if things actually changed around here. it's not enough that the downtown areas and certain neighborhoods of this city are 'progressing'. it would be great if that kind of energy were spread around. but, the response is 'hey, it's not daley's fault! it's a corrupt system! he's doing the best he can! he can't do it alone!'

really? i mean, really? it's not his fault? he's been mayor an awful long time, it seems to me. i mean, we keep voting for him. you'd think something would change year after year. i appreciate the point made in the post about the mayor tolerating the CTA mess while his friend frank kruesi ran it; again, the response is, 'hey, CTA is part of MTA! it's the state's inefficiency! it's not the mayor's fault!'

we seem to be willing to forgive the mayor for a lot:
badly performing schools and craptacular test scores - not his fault, it's arne duncan and the CPS' fault!
police brutality - not his fault, it's the culture of the CPD and a few bad apples (though the sun times seems to think otherwise)!
the CTA mess - don't criticize ron huberman! he's cute and he's just trying to clean up the mess frank kruesi made!
the public housing mess - it's CHA, not the mayor!
the hiring scandal - hey, he had some out of control staffers!
the still flat economy for most working families - hey, the city council and that big box ordinance killed economic growth!
the TIF stuff - uh, what's TIF? (Commissioner Mike Quigley can tell you.)

anyway, like i said, i like the mayor. he makes me laugh when he loses his shit during a press conference and yells at a utility. but he's not a saint. he doesn't walk on water. he's neck-deep in bullshit just like the rest of us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

when the boss is away...

you hang out on MySpace all day and read blogs about comics.
for your consideration: (postmodernbarney.com)
g'morning, kids.
something i've learned since leaving a breakfast meeting at the Drake: don't have breakfast at the Drake. $108 for 4 people?? what the hell?!

jeebus. they really ding you on the orange juice...

Monday, July 16, 2007

so i'm doing some late night cleaning last night and i have the television on for some background noise. i had no idea that vh1 turns into weird skeevy-land on sunday nights. first i endure the final 15 minutes of Rock of Love while I scrub the counters (depressing AND distasteful); then came Scott Baio is 45...and Single.

wow. televised mid-life crisis. though it probably killed several brain cells in the process and made me one of the slack-jawed masses, i watched the whole episode because:
1) i was cleaning and there was nothing else on and
2) i felt intense curiosity about what he was going to hear from all the women from his past. (one word: ouch.)

i hesitate to make it a recorded event on the dvr, but that's ok. i'll watch it online.

Friday, July 13, 2007

send me in, coach!

so, uh, i've embarked once again on the road to self-discovery.
my first coaching session was last night and i already have homework:
list 5 emotional requirements i ask from relationships (hard!)
list 10 mistakes i've made in relationships and any lessons i've learned (i've actually already made this list)
there was a moment during my chatty blathering my need for a coach when she said, 'Ms. Ding, you know that coaching isn't therapy; we aren't here for therapy and the framework is different. but sometimes it's necessary to deal with things in a client's past that might help illuminate the present. well, i think we may have to do that in your case. are you ok with that?'

'uh, sure. like what patterns?'
'your intimacy issues.'
'they're like neon, aren't they?'
'mm, yes.'

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

talk about a 'hard line' policy: China Executes Ex-Food and Drug Chief

China Executes Ex-Food and Drug Chief

let's compare this with how we deal with government incompetence and/or corruption:
we tell them they're doing a 'heckuva' job (Katrina, FEMA and 'Brownie')
we commute their sentence (hello, Libby)

we ignore reality (no benchmarks hit, yet, assholes)

we vote for them - twice (frakking Shrub)

details mag: the lads are gross

i'm at work so i'll be brief: yick.

if there are ever guys who lurk here, some simple words of advice:
it's never ok to 'demand' a sexual act. that just makes you a pig.
and liking a sexual act (not because it feels good and brings pleasure to both people) because it strokes your ego and hurts your partner just makes you a bigger pig.
and recognizing that you can only do it when your partner is loaded off her ass and can't (legally) give consent just makes you a date-raping pig (who rapes ass.)

sex is supposed to be a mutual thing, you know?
if i want to stick my thumb (or any other implement) up some guy's butt, i'll make sure he's ok with that.


Monday, July 09, 2007

summer of 3: this one's for atalanta

my bloggy friend, atalanta, is a wonderful, smart gal who experiences a small agonzing death every time a potential online suitor sends her a horrific missive. i love her for her sensitivity. (she's even written about it on her blog.) yeah, sure; it makes us lingua-snobs but that's why english majors exist.

though my dating luck seems to have cooled as we enter a hot hot hot july, i'm pleased to say that i have yet to date/have a drink with/sleep with/exchange emails with someone who does not have a fluid, correct and witty relationship with the english language. from S-, to S-, and including the current S- (and even the maligned B-), my boys have been bright. sure, some suffered from clinical depression and lacked a few social skills but, generally, they've been verbally acute.

counts for something...

Jaimie Esptein - On Language - Dating - New York Times

Thursday, July 05, 2007

i have no deep thoughts today. nothing probing to say about politics, the state of freedom or reproductive health.

instead, i'd rather think about how much i love the summer.

tuesday night, i left the office early and dropped by the dominick's by navy pier to pick up some things for the, frankly, unsanctioned barbecue we were having at a friend's house while she and her boyfriend spent the holiday in cabo. we spent hours in a bacchic fog on her balcony, our bodies languid in the humid evening, but as the thunderstorm rolled in, stretching our legs and hands, thrilling to the lightning. not caring even we had to run through puddles to get back to the car. summer is for feeling the body get mucky.

i don't mind the long lines at the checkout, i don't care that the bus is crowded and slow. i like standing in the close air of the bus, stretching up to grasp the handrail and feeling the press of bodies against me while there's music in my ears and i can slip into a drowsy daze while the streets speed and lurch past my eyes.

anyway, summertime. if i had my wish i'd 'work' from home, take naps in the middle of the day, walk around in loose dresses and low slung white pants and forsake shoes. it's such a cliche - the sensory memory that plunges you back into a crystal clear image of a nostalgic past.

but that's what summertime does for me. things like walking across the river around 3.30, or sitting in the back garden at my local bar staring up at the trailing ivy, or sticking my feet into a square patch of sun in my apartment, or drowsing on my antique quilt in the middle of the afternoon.

they make me want to be a little girl in los angeles again.my sister and i would make a hammock on our front porch, climb in, and she'd chatter while i would read nancy drew or stare at the wooden beams overhead and pretend i was stowing away on a pirate ship hiding with the potatoes and crackers. (for some reason i thought that's what pirates ate: potatoes and crackers. or oranges.)

driving down lakeshore drive with my roommate yesterday and passing through the park, smelling all the charcoal. it was like the whole city was grilling. and this brings back the awesome (so over-used, that word) church picnics from back home. the scratchy blanket on the grass, some contemporary gospel on a boombox, and the smell of chlorine and sun mixed with tangy sunblock on sweaty skin, while recovering from thin white bread sandwiches filled with barbecued pulled pork, or baked beans, buttery corn, peach cobbler with real crust, or greens or really eggy potato salad.

missing the grit inside my red keds from running in the sand pit, the contrast of my nuttier dark tanned skin with my sister's tanned gold. the shadow play of my wild hair, big poofs of hair on the side of my head that only got bigger the more i ran around or played in the pool. (not that i could swim. but man i loved the shallow end.)

but there are advantages to a grown up summer that i never could have imagined when i was a kid. (am i the only one who's fascinated by how cool a kiss can feel even when it's 98 degrees outside?)

yes; things were fun back then, but summer's just fine now.
(was really looking forward to a date planned for tomorrow night and he has to travel for the next two weeks; he'll be back in the country when i'm about to go under the knife. am alarmed at how disappointed i am. like - REALLY disappointed. like - despondent disappointed. hm. that's a surprise.

NOW, what??)

Monday, July 02, 2007

horror, gore and misogyny

goodness knows i'm a fan of a certain kind of horror film.
self-referential horror that makes fun of itself while it scares me? check.
well-written old school ghost stories, vampires, haunted houses, monster flicks, scary cemetaries? i'm all for. (like, The Haunting, The Changeling, Ghost Story, Scream, and even The Exorcist because it was creepy as all hell.)

but there's a certain kind of film i can't stomach anymore: the Saws, the Hostels, the Turistas. all of them. can't. take it. the torture, the eroticized killing, the elaborate fetishistic murder just skeeves me out and makes me hurt the way looking at porn now makes me hurt.

just lately, i've been watching the quick tv ads for Captivity and it turns my stomach: stalker capturing a woman and some guy and torturing the hell out of her. this is entertainment? this is what we need to see to get our rocks off now? woman-hating death porn.


and, if you read solloway's column, you'll see the grossness isn't an accident. it's done on purpose; it's a thoughtful kind of 'accident'; the misogyny is how the film will succeed. it's built into the marketing and business plan.

sick, really. and if you read here, you'll see that the disgusting dude who created it is counting on our shock and repulsion to drive more people to the film. well, i don't want to drive folks to see the film. i want the film to disappear. so we're thinking about that at the office - how exactly to make it disappear.
i mean, if the fundamentalists can make a regular old movie about evolution disappear, can't we make a piece of woman-hating crap just fizzle out of existence?

jp in china!

my friend jp is off to china today. and perhaps indefinitely. sadness.
but i'll be reading his travel blog over here.

wish jp luck! (not that he needs it but you never know...)

(and my other friend, liza, has a travel blog about being a professor/corporate wife in india over here. fascinating and also affirming my opinion that, because i am soft and american, i would die in india.)