Sexism on the Shelves

Director and screenwriter John Waters once said: “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!” Wise words, but I’d add: Especially if they don’t have books by women.

This article had me examining my bookshelves before 9am. I would not diagnose my bookshelves as being sexist. I actually had as many female authors as I expected, ratio-wise, and even found some books I thought were written by men were actually written by women!

I don't pick books by their authors unless they're on my list of names I actually know (and like). I have a set of favourites, but most of the books on my shelves are by authors I don't know, and I can't list them to you unless I can see their whole name on the spine... in letters big enough to read without leaning over.

Actually, glancing over, there are far more men with their full names on the spine than women. And that makes me sad, because it means women don't tend to be more forthcoming as authors - or (I assume this is more likely) their publishers don't tend to be more forthcoming to carry women authors.

But yeah, it's not usually the author I pick when it comes to perusing the shelves for a random new book not on my pre-approved author list. I judge books by their covers. And their titles. And friend suggestions. And most recently, a catchy promo video with illustrations by a friend. And if a friend actually wrote and/or illustrated it. Catchy title or fun cover usually does it, though.

There were authors with questionable names I had to look up - all of which turned out to be men. There were books I pulled off the shelf that I expected to be written by men that were actually written by women.

I have one shelf with mostly women on it, and I thought, weird separation there, but then realized they're all hardcover and needed the extra height that shelf offered.

My tallies covered my bookcases and my Kindle. I left out my comic book case and my Nook (which didn't have many authors not on the other shelves anyway).

Women authors on the shelf: 50
Men authors on the shelf: 100

Women on the Kindle: 25
Men on the Kindle: 45

Grand total of women authors: 75
Grand total of men authors: 145

(edit: got my Nook to work. 2 more women, 4 more men)

So damn... it's about a 1/2 ratio.

Edit again: Decided to do the comics (graphic novels) anyway - a highly competitive industry for women, but the number on my shelf runs much closer, counting anthologies for who edited the whole thing.

Women: 28
Men: 38


So... my dad died a week ago.

He went really peacefully, surrounded by family and friends (I was not there, though). Service was over the weekend, and I went to Toronto instead, because I needed to escape. We buried him on Monday afternoon. I hadn't seen his best friend in 20 years - he read the sermon. The hardest part was seeing my sister hug the coffin. I turned to my other sister who felt the same, and we teared up, and I asked her what kind of mascara she used, because it wasn't running, and I was looking for a good waterproof mascara. A bee flew among us, and me and mom freaked out, saying we didn't have our epi-pen if we got stung. Nichole said we'll leave the grave open just in case. I wanted to put a cigarette in the coffin (I don't care that it contributed to his death, he loved smoking), but I couldn't bring myself near it.

After, we went back to mom's to eat a lot of food, and exchange stories about his many arrests (for instance, when he stole a cop car and drove it into the canal, or when he stole a pack of bologna when he had at least a thousand dollars in cash in his pocket). We aren't a family that cries much in front of each other. We joke.

I've already mourned - a few weeks back, when they told me his days are numbered. When they told me the number isn't in double digits. I cried a lot. I cried, and I learned to knit to get my mind off things. Then I mourned again when mom told me it was the end (that was the day before I got the final call). When I did get the call, I ignored it. I ignored it for a few days. And Charles had to talk to her instead. It was at 2:30am, and I rolled over and went to sleep. I had work in the morning.

And I fucked off to Toronto for the weekend. It was glorious, except the last day where I got my period. Fucking fuck.

But like I said, I'm fine now, and I've already mourned. So I've not missed any work. I can't afford to miss any work. I don't get time off to grieve.

I've already made the "Halfway to Batman" joke. That's how I roll.

Random Update

Wow, it's been a while since I had a substantial post.

1) Friends
You know how there's roughly three levels of new friendship? Stage one: Indoctrination- getting a feel for your new friends and learning their social dynamics. Unsure whether you're really IN with them or not. Stage two: Sudden Insecurity: did I say/do something wrong? Did I screw up? Oh god, are they mad at me? Are they making fun of me? Stage three: "Hey Fucker" - You're totally one of the guys now. Congrats! You're in on a good handful of the inside jokes, everyone remembers your name, and introduces you around. You guys can talk and joke (even crudely) as if you've known each other for years.

I started in stage one, while my new friends jumped me directly to stage three, and after a day, I felt like I never wasn't part of their group! It's been a month since I started hanging out with them, and I'm having such a good time, every day! Yesterday, I walked around the block with Brian, and we discovered the Mexican diner offers free chips and salsa. I scorched my mouth on the spiciest salsa there.

2) Father
Last week, my dad got really sick and ended up in the ICU ward of the hospital. He has severe COPD (emphysema and a high carbon count in his lungs), as well as late-stage muscular dystrophy, and shingles (which he has had all winter long). He is 90 lbs. His carbon count was at 95% (it's now around 70%).

I went to the hospital to visit, and oh my god, it was so horrific. He could barely breathe, His frail body was hardly bigger than the tubes connected to him. He cried for help because he couldn't breathe, or because he was in pain, or because he wanted to eat, or lay down, or look up (he can no longer lift his head).

We all prepared for the end. We were all convinced his numbered days were no longer in double-digits. But then he started getting a little bit better. He can breathe a little better, and is in less pain. He will need surgery (a stoma in his throat, so now he'll sound like a robot), but they are wary to perform it, because his muscular dystrophy is so severe.

When I visited him, he was unable to eat, but I brought over a loaf of banana bread anyway, and he made a big deal about it, because it was the only thing he could eat, and he really loved it, and he yelled at any nurses who got near it. ^_^

As a direct result of this stress, I learned how to knit to take my mind off things.

3) Voltaire
I went to Buffalo to see Voltaire on Saturday. I brought a handful of "Voltaire Signal Corps" buttons to hand out to members, taught the handshake to one person, and gave the rest of the buttons directly to Voltaire. I met a bunch of new people (and the opening band, BlurrAngels, has a new fan in me). It was super fun, but also a little weird. My friend Tempest met me there, and she'd met V a couple weeks earlier at a convention in Detroit (Voltaire's Instagram was riddled with photos of the two of them, noted as the prettiest girl at the Midwest Media Expo, the prettiest cosplayer, etc). They talked about me (*blush*). And then in Buffalo, I saw just how close they'd become, as they started kissing and cuddling behind the merch booth. Like, for real kissing. I felt a little weird, because she is exactly his type, but really young (only 20), and he falls in love hard and fast. I felt a little worried for him in that respect, not only as a friend, but also, if she broke his heart, would he associate her friend, me, with that heartache? Maybe, maybe not. But other than that, we had a lot of fun. Tempest and I hung out a lot, and we chatted before and after the show. I liked that connection, which we don't seem to have sometimes, so maybe that's changed between us, for the better ^_^

Chilling out by the merch booth resulted in a whole bunch of goofy photos and videos of Voltaire, too.

4) Random Internet Firings
FawnBot has yielded some pretty amusing status updates based on previous updates, including great ones like "The Termite King is Milhouse," and "Why oh why have I need to bed."

I finally got around to separating my tumblr into two separate accounts - one for my original content and one for reblogs.

5) Art (and Voltaire, part II)
I am cooking up a few projects which hopefully bring in a little revenue. First course of action: get my etsy shop going again. Second, organize an art-in-envelope fundraiser. Third, finally finish illustrations for the new website.

I sent my application to vend in the artists alley at the second annual Voltaire's Wicked NecroComicCon! I get official word in June or July whether I got in. The convention is September 18-20.

And lastly, I have made a freaking video. I drew the picture in about 4 hours, and then took roughly 12 hours (collectively, over the course of three days) to edit. Painful process. I had to use a low-res version (my HD version was too big for my free vimeo account), but it's all worth it to get my first time-lapse video off my plate! I tried to contact Acker & Blacker and Workjuice for permission to use an episode of Beyond Belief to use as audio (it's about the same length as an episode), but they never got back to me, so I used some "open source" music that fits the theme. Play the video with sound for a collection of old-time radio music!

I loved doing it, but I don't think I want to go through that editing process for a while.

For Reference

I'm learning to knit, and I've chosen to knit a sweater with directions from the book Pretty in Punk.

I just want to keep these two links for reference:
Black yarn
Green yarn

Those are the two colours. I bought them at Joann's (their only mohair-esque yarn), but they are, like, half-sized skeins, and I need to buy more (unfortunately, these were in short supply - especially the green - at the store, so I'm going to have to keep those links). I just ran out of the black on the second section (with only 4 more rows to go to finish off the section. Damn).

This is the sweater:

It says it's supposed to be big (like, a bit baggy). I'm pretty sure this will be a really tight fit for me, though (I am short, and 220lbs), but will at least be good practice, and an nice gift for someone.

Some photos

Here are a few random photos I've taken this past week since Spring finally sprung.

Living for the Weekend (or so the song says)

(I'm sorry for not commenting so much on all of your entries, guys. I do read most of them, I promise)

I got so excited for last weekend, because it was supposed to be my first 3-day weekend in a long time, and I had absolutely no plans (aside from a much-needed movie night with Meagan that also involved proverbial gut-spilling and eating a pint of ice cream)! I desperately needed a weekend to myself!

I didn't do much - just unwound, showered, chilled out, and did some little things. I wanted to save the big things (laundry and such) for my Monday off.

But I did finally organize my tea! Not only have I condensed the pre-packaged satchels into minimal space (got rid of some mostly empty boxes), but I now have a menu of tea for friends and family who come to visit. A few weeks back, I offered my visiting mum some tea and she asked what I've got. "No, no, you tell me what you want, because I'm certain whatever you ask for, I have." She asked for Chai. "Okay, what kind?" "THERE ARE KINDS??" So now I have a menu, separated into Caffeinated, Chai, Green, and Herbal, with stars aside the loose teas, and brands aside each listing.

Then I got a call. The woman I've been covering for on Mondays was supposed to return to work this week, giving me back my extra day. She called Sunday afternoon and asked me to cover again. I said no at first, but then thought about it...

I need money. I don't honestly care whether I work or not. But moreso, I am always bitching to my boss and coworkers that she never calls me to cover when I gave her my number for that exact reason. So I called back and said okay. Goddammit.


In other news, I've been spending a minimum of 3 hours at the cafe every weekday with my new friends - namely Brian. Brian, Ryan, and Tim. Those are the names of the three friends I've made. Plus loads of others I get to talk to when they're around. It's wonderful. Brian and I hung out on the roof of the parking garage the other day. Tim tossed me a cigarette and I caught it without realizing he lit it first. Ryan correctly guessed the professions and star signs of some of my ex friends based on how they hurt me. And I talked to a girl who knew Brian, who I knew from school, who I saw perform at Lovin' Cup, who I thought didn't like me at all based on her attitude toward me in school, but is actually pretty awesome. I like connecting with people.

Concert Series

An Incomplete List of All The Bands/Performances I've Seen
in no particular order, to the best of my memory, and updated from here on out.

Kriss Kross
Joan Osborne
Barenaked Ladies
Blues Traveler
Duncan Shiek
Tori Amos
Ben Harper
Ani DiFranco
George Thorogood
Jars of Clay
Evil Mothers
Meg Lee Chin
Nine Inch Nails
MC Chris
Bella Morte
Gogol Bordello
Man or Astro-Man?
Rusted Root
School of Seven Bells
Prefuse 73
Dead Can Dance
Tracy & the Plastics
Jaqueline BonBon
Anna Oxygen
Johnny Hollow
Andy Stochansky
Silent Auction
Sisters of Murphy
Dreamland Faces
Hypnotic Clambake
Bitter Flesh Thing
Shonen Knife
Lacuna Coil
Front 242
Flogging Molly
Dropkick Murphy
King Missile
Gravity Kills
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Grim Faeries
Suicide Commando
Matthew Sweet
Saul Williams
Lords of Acid
Frontline Assembly
Maroon 5
Dar Williams
Creature Feature
Mister Tim
Deadstar Assembly
Sara Slean
Steve Martin
--updates from here--

Other Shows

Henry Rollins
Stephen Colbert
Neil Gaiman
Crispin Glover
Phantom of the Opera
Evil Dead the Musical
--updates from here--
Welcome to Night Vale (Murder Mystery Dinner)

Evolution of My Musical Tastes

I didn't actively get into music in my youth. Pretty much, I just liked what the folks listened to on the radio or watched on tv. My little sister got into music long before I ever did, so I endured her favourites, too.

The radio played a lot of oldies and classic rock. My parents played oldies first, because classic rock had more mature themes. I liked them alright. The "band" at Chuck E Cheese played oldies, and one of my favourite cartoons, Tiny Toons had MTVesque episodes that introduced me to more modern tunes (namely They Might Be Giants), as well as some good oldies.

I'm not actually that young, Tiny Toons aired a couple of my musical eras later, but it segues nicely into the video I'm sharing.

Yakity Yak, by The Coasters

Other oldies I liked: Summertime Blues, My Girl, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Wooly Bully, Earth Angel...

Back when MTV played music videos all the time, my mother would crank it every so often, especially when Tears for Fears's song SHOUT came on, which I hated at the time. The ones I liked most were the ones that reminded me of cartoons, but also a couple of other really exciting ones.

Land of Confusion, by Genesis

In retrospect, this one really set the tone for my visual tastes for the rest of my life.
In this playful style, I also liked Sledgehammer, [I got my mind] Set On You, Take On Me, I Want My MTV, etc.

In the earliest of 90s (or maybe the latest of 80s), I was deemed ready for some heavy stuff. Namely, PINK FLOYD. I hated Dark Side of the Moon, but instantly fell in love with The Wall (I owned the 2-record album, which made talking about it- later in life when no one even had cassettes anymore- a little awkward when I got confused looks when I mentioned which "side" for which song). I wasn't allowed to watch the movie til I was in high school.

Another Brick In the Wall, Part II

Other bands I was finally allowed to listen to, despite them not holding a candle to Pinkie: The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues, The Who (for some reason, I was allowed to watch Tommy as early as this, but still not The Wall), and Metallica, thanks to my uncle...

Remember when I mentioned my little sister's tastes dominated what I listened to? Neither of us really went crazy for the Boy-Band of the Era (New Kids on the Block), but she was obsessed with these two kids who wore their baggy clothes backwards. And so...

My first concert, at which I fell asleep after 3 annoying songs.

2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th concerts, attended with mother & sister:
Joan Osborne, Aerosmith, Barenaked Ladies, Tori Amos

I finally started making some interesting friends at the end of my middle school days, some of them older, and they introduced me to hippie (and modern hippie) music, like the Grateful Dead, David Bowie (who I've, of course, loved since Labyrinth), and Phish. My dad saw that I was finally getting into the good stuff, and even gave me his Jimmy Hendrix cassette (in exchange for my 10,000 Maniacs cd). With the hippie music coming back strong in the next generation, and a whole shitload of back-issues and newer issues of Rolling Stone being sent to me by a friend, my walls were completely plastered in images of these bands.

Me and Bobby McGee, by Janis Joplin

Other hippie & new hippie bands: Deep Banana Blackout, Abbey's Cafe,

Alongside the rise of the new hippies, came the rise of garage bands, and though I wasn't really into Nirvana or Hole or Blues Brothers or Dave Matthews, I found my niche.

Zombie, by The Cranberries

Other bands I fell in love with, and still love to this day: The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Cake, Radiohead, Bjork...

There were also some dark ones that slipped in. Some of them great survivors. Tool, White Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, etc. And their videos carried into my visual tastes today.

The 90s were the height of my musical acclimation. I have even made two | mixes

Closer, Nine Inch Nails

Nobody makes videos like this anymore.

For a couple years, because I had to take summer school, I got to make friends from other schools, and they introduced me to some of my long-running favourites, giving me a solid Top Three (which didn't include David Bowie, as he needed no mention).

Chemical Marriage, by Mr. Bungle

This is also the first album I ever bought myself.
2&3: Stereolab, and Man or Astro-Man? (who I saw very recently)

When my best friend died, it hit me like the train that hit him. I didn't get out of bed for weeks, and one day, I started reading this old Carpe Noctem magazine and found an interview with a man with a singular, historic name. Voltaire. This is the moment, age 17, that I discovered my all-time favourite singer. The article talked about his animations (some of which I'd seen countless times on MTV and Nickelodeon, which I wouldn't realize til years later), and his new album Almost Human. My first time out in ages led me to the mall to pick it up.

And I fell in love instantly.

(By the way, I was in this video. Me and a few of my props, including a cake!)

On the day I ran away from home, I attended my first unsupervised concert with my new chosen family: Pigface. When I ran away from home, I started attending the local goth clubs, Piranha and Vertex, which introduced me to goth, industrial, metal, punk, and other great sub-genres of music. Many of my favourites, Bella Morte, Emilie Autumn, The Pillows, The Mountain Goats, The Magnetic Fields... They have only been mine for the past 10 or so years, and I can't even recall how I discovered them. Friends, I imagine, and later, the internet.

The last band I declared a favourite

And like Voltaire, the lead singer is also an author, and now a filmmaker!

I've loved countless bands


I'm thinking I want to secretly keep one weekend to myself. Maybe in a couple weeks. Just tell everyone I'm going away, but secretly just stay home and get stuff done around the house, uninterrupted.

That said, I love hanging out with my friends!!! I really do. But as a social introvert, it drains me. There are only two, maybe three people who can make me want to stay out with them forever and ever. But it's still hard sometimes. I'm not in my 20s anymore. My metabolism is shot, the weather affects my mood in a big way, and I'm starting my day with "battery- 30%" most of the time (chiefly in winter and pre-spring).

Friday, I spent the evening in Buffalo and East Aurora, mostly at this one shop called Viddler's. The shop is like Honest Ed's but with more trinkets and fun stuff (and no wall of Elvis busts). There's a room for everything, and I could compare every room with a specialty shop in Rochester - kitchen, fabrics/findings/crafts, greeting cards, clothes, office supplies, chocolate/candy/baked goods/popcorn, toys, soaps, fairy gardens, and all kinds of other things I don't usually find in one store. I'd text my friend when we lost each other "where are you?" "The one that's like Cook's World! Where are you?" "The one that looks like Parkleigh!" The one that looks like Archimage is where I saw the world's saddest Pharaoh mask.

We also went to Tom's diner for dinner (our former usual spot, that used to be 24-hours, until they changed owners- or something- and it went to shit). We made it there just before 10pm, but our waitress disappeared, even though I was ready to order the whole time (fish fry! But only til 10). I tried to call her over and she looked right at me, scrunched her face, and continued to stand around doing nothing but chatting with the other staff - were I not so tired, I'd have straight-up demanded to switch waitresses. And because of her, I missed the deadline and was no longer able to order the fish fry. My second choice was also only served til 10. That waitress gave us nothing but attitude, like we'd inconvenienced her by making her do her job. Then as 11:00 rolled up, they rushed us to finish eating and get out! What the fuck kind of place does that!? When I waited tables, we accepted people right up until 20 minutes before closing time, and we let people enjoy their meals with no rush. This was my last chance for Tom's, and they blew it.

Saturday, Emily had a birthday party that started at a Mexican restaurant (I forgot the name of it). I arrived at the restaurant just in time for Emily to text me to say Brendan and Casey hadn't shown up yet (they were gonna carpool). I called Casey to see what was taking so long and how long they'd be, to determine if I'd stay at the restaurant or go over to Emily's. I ended up at Emily's, where I immediately got a call from Jackie inviting me to dinner on Sunday. Then I met Emily's enormous cat Radar! I'm a big girl, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that cat was the size of my entire torso. I thought my cat was huge. This one is twice his size! Anyway, when the rest of the gang arrived, we headed back to the restaurant where we met up with Troy and DJ and ate piles of Mexican food, margaritas, and chips/salsa. Then headed out to bowling!

I haven't gone bowling since I was in high school. That's roughly half my lifetime ago. My first roll, I got a strike! Then it went downhill from there. I rocked round 1, placing 2nd by 2 points. Emily placed dead last, because she guttered almost every roll. Round 2, I guttered almost every ball, but started to pick it back up right at the end. I haven't done anything extracurricular with these fingers except hold a bow and art supplies since my last experience, and they were feeling cramped. Also, my shoes kept slipping, so I couldn't move fast toward the lane, but slowly walked (note about my shoes - everyone kept asking if I brought my own, since they were brand new and matched my outfit, but it was mere coincidence). So, dead last round 2. Round 3 I moved back to 2nd place as I got a feel for the ball again.
We ended the evening with cake at Emily's house. Very delicious!

Sunday, Jackie invited me to try out one of the recipes from her Blue Apron box. She let me pick, and let me tell you, it was a fair fight. I ultimately chose the Spicy Thai Chicken Noodle Soup, because the second place (out of 3) called for shiitake mushrooms, which I don't really like.

So, before I go on, here's what Blue Apron does: They send you a box per week, with 3 meals portioned for two people (there's also a bigger family-sized option). They gather the supplies in their proper measurements, package them into a coldpack-insulated box with recipe/picture cards, and ship it to your door. From our experience last night, they definitely know what they're doing as far as measuring out what we need. We didn't need a single measuring device (except one for the 5 cups of water). Unfortunately, you're paying for this convenience. It's $10 per meal per person, which adds up to almost $60 a week. So it's about the equivalent of going out to eat all these times (only a tiny bit cheaper). The recipes are available on their site for free, though.

We had a lot of fun cooking it. Every time we got around to a utensil that would make things easier, I'd stick it on my list of things to buy her for xmess. I love crushing garlic, but mincing it, ugh. "I'm getting you a garlic press for xmess," I said, along with a grater/zester, a laddel, and chopsticks. And a sushi mat, just because. Anyway, it turned out great. Smelled great, too. We had to contain our runny noses due to the spices (we also declared that we should probably not put in ALL the green curry next time). I'd definitely make this recipe again. It's a good freezing soup, too. Great for cold nights.