succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, June 29, 2007

Amelia has many excellent posts on body image and fat vs. health culture and whatnot, and her latest reminded me of a whole other thing I meant to include in my Mom post. Although our visit was mostly grand, and in fact mostly exhausting for positive reasons (the crazy quantity of activities we smooshed into 7 days) as opposed to negative reasons (dealing with her patiently) there was this one thing - Judgement. Mom was talking about how she and Dad have been trying to discuss openly their biggest fears about their own (remaining) parents' inevitable deaths, to sort of preemptively deal with any conflict that's going to kick up between the two of them (good for them!). She mentioned how her own mother is the least judgemental person she's ever encountered, and that she feels sometimes Dad can be rather quick to judge, and she talked over with him that when she no longer has her mother's presence in her life she's going to be more sensitive to his more judgemental moments.

I didn't have the heart (guts) to tell her, but she (my mother) is one of the most judgemental people I've ever met! (granted, Dad can be condescending at times, but he doesn't make me feel insecure the way she does). Perhaps it is more due to the whole mother-daughter thing, or maybe she just hits my self-conscious buttons, or whatever, but she always seems to make me feel badly about my body. So much so that I even find myself fretting over my wardrobe, trying to pick clothing that will hide or minimize my 'faults.' Seriously, if my physical appearance ever changed significantly, I think I would very hesitant to go home for a visit.

We've both remained roughly the same size since high school, which means that by the time I hit full blown puberty I already weighed 20 pounds more than her and was 4 sizes bigger. I hate shopping with her when we're both trying things on. There's nothing quite like the ego blow of your 56 year old mother, who's given birth twice, looking better in clothes than you do. I know that theoretically it shouldn't be an ego blow, and that I shouldn't be comparing myself in terms of pounds and randomly assigned clothing sizes. But some days I just can't turn that voice off. And it's loudest when she's around, and I have to remind her once again that no, even though we are nearly the same height, I am most definitely not petite.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"A statistician is a person who has the lifetime goal of being wrong 5% of the time."
(Unknown origin, but sent from Dad)

So I had just enough time to shower thoroughly, sleep mightily, and do about ten loads of laundry before Mom arrived to spend the week with me (Dad was spending the week scuba diving in Cozumel, so she figured, why hang around WV by myself? I'll go hang out with Megan). She and Dad are both huge fans of The Vortex, so that was the first stop Monday evening, then Tuesday morning it was off to Helen.

We didn't actually stay at Bunny Foo Foo's house (or haus) but I thought the picture above was cute. We did stay at a cute B&B run by two hilarious, old(-ish) ladies. We ate vaguely German food, wandered around the chintzy Alpine Village, hiked in Unicoi State Park, stopped by a 100 year old general store (featuring the sign above), bought some handmade soap, lots of wine, and stopped by Babyland General Hospital. That's right. Where cabbage patch dolls are 'born.' Which, if you haven't been, is incredibly creepy. And awesome. Once.

For those unfamiliar with the cabbage patch doll mythos, they come with birth certificates and price tags are referred to as 'adoption fees.' Also, dolls are 'birthed' from a giant cabbage patch at the 'hospital.' Anyone there at the time can shout out a name for the new doll, first and middle, and while I was there there was an awesome group of kids from Uganda who gave the doll a really cool sounding name, but one that will probably never be spelled or pronounced right again. Also, at the 'hospital' they have 'premature' dolls in little incubators. Creepy!

The highlight of the rest of the week (for me) was a trip to Sam's (thanks Mom and Dad!) and for her, our SIX HOUR day at the mall. But at least we finally found Mom a beautiful dress for her college reunion.

Oh, and we went to see Nancy Drew. Hooray for incredibly dorky mother daughter outings! (it was actually remarkably good, once you overlooked all the annoying features that made it age-appropriate. and I thought Emma Roberts (Julia's niece) was quite good)

Afterward we hit the Highlands for a late dinner, and ran into one of the profs for whom I used to TA, and it turns out he plays in an Irish band! So after dinner we went back to the bar where he was playing and Mom felt extra cool since we were 'with the band' and therefore got in for free.

I managed to get back to work for two short days before the craziness (and fantastic-ness) of the US Social Forum set in (occurring simultaneously with my roommate moving out. seriously, between my own schedule and the half-empty house, I think I'll feel unsettled all summer. but it's ok). I'm taking lots of notes and pictures and will post back about all that progressive, liberal goodness once Comcast decides that I deserve internet access again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Convince yourself that everything is alright, 'cos it already is"
-Pete Yorn

So apparently Manchester, TN occasionally shares climate attributes with the desert - walking back from the Flaming Lips around 3am it was actually cold enough to see our breath! But of course the sun came up Sunday morning on another scorching 90 degree day. So we climbed out of our tents and made some damn fine scrambled eggs (who says camping actually has to be 'roughing it'?) and broke camp. I left a bit early to catch Pete Yorn (who was lovely and awesome, as always), leaving the other three to finish packing up the cars. I felt a bit guilty, until my early departure scored us one of the last remaining spots of shaded land, where we reclined and enjoyed Wolfmother (Sudhir and I did some requisite dancing and thrashing about towards the front of the crowd, but I had to call uncle pretty quickly and head back to the shade in an attempt to not turn completely pink. Alas, this meant no crowd surfing for Sudhir (he was counting on me to help launch him up)).

After that it was time to make the rounds at all the vendor booths, then put in appearances at Martha Wainwright (Rufus's sister; decent enough, but I'm not running out to buy her album or anything), The Decemberists (clearly talented, but too slow and nap inducing on a sunny afternoon for our tastes), Feist (awesome and funny - she got the crowd to do bird calls!), and the first few songs from the White Stripes before departing for home (still didn't get home until close to 1am). The White Stripes were good, but frankly I was more disappointed to miss Franz Ferdinand (though the Police were clearly worth it!).

Overall I have to say I'm most satisfied with this Bonnaroo experience (as compared to the last two). Each has had things that were better/more memorable, but I think my overall enjoyment of music peaked this year. It helped that the schedule was set up in such a way that I had few conflicts and really got to listen to nearly everyone I was interested in. I also slept remarkably well (considering) and so wasn't all that tired or sore to distract from my listening enjoyment. I'm sure it helped that I spent much more time near the front of crowds this year - that really does improve the experience. Only twice did I get nervous - once in the bottle neck moving between stages, just because the crowd had completely stopped moving and I feared someone might start pushing and again during the White Stripes, just because we were so tightly packed and being shorter than everyone else I couldn't really get any fresh air, and then the girl directly behind me didn't help when she exhaled a huge lungful of pot smoke directly around my neck. I guess really that time I was more annoyed than nervous. But yeah, definitely trouble breathing.

I didn't take as many pictures this year, not sure why. But the photo gallery over at is definitely worth checking out.

Next up, Mom's visit!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"But I don't like to play naked!"

- Sting

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The day started nice and slowly, with bagels and burgers at the campsite, then Regina Spektor and Damien Rice as the first shows of the day. I've been digging Spektor's radio release, but I have to say I was underwhelmed by her show overall. Then again, it could have just been the sun melting my brain. Rice's music is slow and beautiful and creepy. If you're not familiar, he did the entire soundtrack for Closer.

A quick stop in the mist tent and a few minutes of Ziggy Marley rejuvenated us from the afternoon heat (of course everyone we would want to see would be on stages rather than under the shade of tents. I'm pinker than I was the day before). Sudhir and I split off to grab food and make brief appearances at Spoon, Ween, and Franz Ferdinand before working our way as close as possible to the front for The Police. We worked pretty close for the first few songs of Franz Ferdinand too, who were great, but we had other priorities. So we weaved our way around hippies during the last of Ben Harper's set (which was a pleasant surprise and awesome, welcoming Ziggy Marley back for a final rousing "Get up! Stand up!").

And success! We worked out way up as close as possible. Not quite within sweat range (the 'floor' was blocked off and required waiting in a separate line with no guarantee of getting in), but we pressed up against the barricade immediately before the bocked off floor section. We made friends with two ladies from Chicago and a third who thought she might pass out because her first concert was The Police, back when she was 14! And then there they were! I got to hear Message in a Bottle, Synhronicity (which means I won the bet about what they would open with, but Sudhir was a close second), Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Walking on the Moon, Wrapped Around Your Finger, King of Pain, The Bed's Too Big without You, Every Breath You Take, and everything else I could have asked for. And they were fantastic! Top of their game! All the rumors and kinks were clearly worked out and they were great and funny. And as a special added bonus, Andy Summer talked Sting into taking his shirt off* for the finale! (alas, no dancing among us, as promised). It was great - one of those things that easily could have disappointed, considering how high the expectations were, but it was just right.

Afterward Sudhir and I were exhausted and our feet and legs hurt, but a couple of caffine-infused cliff bars and we rallied to once again maneuver through a giant crowd to decent viewing for the midnight to 2:30am Flaming Lips show.

Which was the perfect ending to the night. Once again, Duncan was near, as Wayne talked about loving each other and taking care of each other and played Do You Realize and the show ended to a recording of What a Wonderful World. Perfect.

*I was going to include pictures with this entry, but alas, the picture cd from target appears to be incompatible with vista. Shocker.

UPDATE! Pictures! Yay!

One more day to go...