I'm So Great: The Rantings of a Jaded Youth

When I grow up, I want to be just like me.

On Working Out and Losing Weight July 28, 2011

Filed under: My Life,Things I've Done — Stephanie Fantastic @ 5:30 pm
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I recently decided to start working out again with the aid of a relatively addictive app from MyFitnessPal (Damn you Jill! lol) and it’s gotten me thinking about weight and fitness more than I probably ever have. I’ve been overweight pretty much my entire life. Nowadays I’m apparently just over the line of being medically obese, although when I think of the word “obese” I don’t really think of someone my size. Who does, I guess. I’ve been 210 pounds and size 18 since I was about 12 so I’ve definitely grown into my weight over the years.

When I was growing up, I had the Mexican As-Seen-On-TV interpretation of all-American eating habits drilled into me: Bigger is better; if a little fat and grease is tasty, then a lot of fat and grease will be even more delicious!; and if at the end of a meal you can still move without feeling sick, you’re not thoroughly enjoying the meal. Apply these to a barely supervised child who lived with her best friend for an entire summer, and you get a couple of 11-year-olds who can down an entire 2-liter each and a backpack full of candy in a movie theater. We have a very round extended family.

I could never figure out how I couldn’t lose any weight. I mean, the skinny girls in my school were eating candy in class every period and chowing down on fast food lunches, whereas I didn’t eat breakfast or anything at school except the occasional soda or water. I waited until I got home, usually at around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, to even start eating. This was mostly because when people looked at me, they saw a fat kid who obviously couldn’t stop eating. How could I eat in front of them without them immediately judging me? Even though I didn’t eat at school, I still had people asking me if I had candy stashed away that they could have. Seriously, do people walk around with a candy shop in their backpacks? I never had anything but books and notebooks in my bag. So my metabolism suffered for years.

I think the only thing that kept me from ballooning after the initial summer when I had gained a ton of weight was my constant energy. I walked pretty much everywhere until I was about 19 and finally learned to drive. When I started doing an independent study program instead of school (bad idea for me academically), I ended up at the beach every day instead of doing any class work. I definitely tightened up, but I was still stuck at 210 pounds. I still had my rolly tummy and my flabby arms despite daily, extended exercise because my eating habits were still terrible. I was eating to excess and I didn’t even know it!

A few years ago, I started paying attention to serving sizes and calories and, lo and behold, I found my problem: I was eating a ridiculous amount of food. Not even particularly terrible food anymore because, as it turns out, I’m allergic to just about everything processed and preserved, and I get absolutely incapacitating migraines when I eat processed food or when I eat sugar before eating actual meals. I drank nothing but water for at least three years beginning at about 16, and I tried to stick to real food, instead of frozen meals, pre-made sauces, or anything that was likely to trigger a migraine. The problem was that I was eating three or four times as much food as I actually needed.  I brought this up to my boyfriend and we started to scale back the portions. After we moved out, we were still eating a lot less and suddenly we were also eating a lot healthier.

Now the problem I have is that I can drive and I work in a relatively sedentary job so I now have to make time to exercise, which I have finally been motivated to do, bringing me back to the beginning of this post. I don’t have too many body issues, as I’ve amply demonstrated on this site, but I’m not delusional. I know I’m overweight and, while I don’t hate myself, I’m not entirely satisfied with my body. So fingers crossed. I’ve broken the 210 pound curse with exercise. The second my tummy is presentable, I will…I don’t know…try not to become too slutty. Wish me luck! (On the weight loss, you pervs.)

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So the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball was fun even though it took me forever to post about it.

On July 1st and 2nd, the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball happened in L.A. and I was in attendance. I haven’t posted because I’ve been super laaaazy and I didn’t take nearly enough pictures. It was fun, but I think I missed the point until after it ended. Somehow, my group missed just about every show that took place. By “somehow,” I mean because the program that I retrieved from my e-mail labelled shows in rooms that didn’t exist or were named completely different things in the actual hall. Everyone’s costumes were amazing and elaborate though and I was too busy being shy to realize that the whole point of the ball was to get nerdy, crafty people in amazing conversation-piece outfits that made them schmooze. I did get to do a little schmoozing though because it turns out the dress I made for my birthday last year glows in the fucking dark! So I’m going to post up a line of pictures that you’ve seen already if you’re on my Facebook (not many people are) and say that next year, I’m going to be prepared with a camera and take pictures of everyone’s amazing costumes because it was super fun to have everyone accosting me for pictures of mine.

Day 1 I went as a fawn. I had made some furry hoof leg warmers but very few people got to see them. Check out my sweet 80’s hair provided by my awesome mom, who was a stylist in the 80’s. Ernie (my baybeh) and James (some butt hole) are also sporting costumes made by me, however they’re not sparkly so I didn’t get many pictures…

Captain Ernie

Home made pants, yo!James

Y'arrrr!I’ve got these cumbersome glasses so I decided to just glue shit to my face instead of even try to figure out a mask. It’s all good though.


I saw the David Bowie from across the room and needed a picture obviously. It’s about the only pictures taken of me with another person that ended up on a camera I had access to. I’m still waiting for all the others to show up in the gallery and on google. Come on, everyone! Stop hoarding your pictures like I did!

B'awwww!

For the record, none of these photos are altered in any way. My dress glowed in a lot of the rooms at the Masquerade and out on the patio, which was effing awesome. I honestly didn’t even realize why everyone wanted my picture until I saw this picture. Also for the record, I was definitely NOT supposed to be up on that podium, but it had steps that led up. Other places I wasn’t supposed to be but inexplicably was: an alluring room upstairs, the hanging ring reserved for a performer, sitting in the sound technician’s chair.

Day 2 I went as a troll and didn’t get NEARLY as much attention for all the green paint I painstakingly applied. I kind of liked the green, actually. Well, until I tried to get it off much later in the night.

I decided to go for Scene Troll because my feets were still killing me from the heels I’d worn as a faun and I wasn’t sure I could walk up the massive amount of stairs in the Masquerade in geta sandals. Living in caves is so last generation.  As you can see, it was balls hot inside the actual Masquerade. Next time, I will definitely be going for a breezy costume. It was definitely a fun experience and I’d totally go again. If there’s anything I love, it’s making ridiculously loud costumes. You can check out pictures of people other than me at the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Facebook page since none of the photographers that were there have gotten their 2011 galleries up yet.

 

What I’ve Been Doing For Forever June 15, 2011

Okay, I know I’ve been mysteriously absent from the internet for a while now. Several private life things came up, but also I’ve been keeping a secret under my hat and I didn’t want to clumsily spill it off my head before I’m ready. For now, though, here’s what I’ve been up to:

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These dinosaur sweaters will eventually be up for sale in pretty much any color that fleece comes in. I’ll let you know when I’ve got that all set up.

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Baby monster footie pajamas!

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I’m going to both nights of the Labyrinth Masquerade of Jareth on July 1st and 2nd and I’ve been hard at work designing costumes for me and my babay. I’ve spent the last month being jazzed out of my mind about it and driving everyone around me insane.

So basically, my sewing machine has not stopped sewing for about two months and I’ve been working like a ferret on crack to get things done before birthdays and baby showers and balls in between work and sleep. Woo!

 

Just a Quickey Today May 15, 2011

Hey guys! I just wanted to mention that Hell on Heels is doing another show at the Brick By Brick in San Diego on Saturday, June 25th. No pasties from me this time, but I’ll definitely be there in my retro best because, as you’ll recall, Tatas Through Time was a joy. (Not sure what era they want us to dress in yet but there’s time!)

 

And Your Name? May 1, 2011

I work in security. For those of you who haven’t read my rants about it, it’s not as tough as it sounds. I sit in a very hot or cold little shack all day and check passes outside of a gated community. In doing so, I end up working with a lot of different cultures. One of the things that has always struck me as odd (and, in my job of checking lists and turning away accordingly, vaguely annoying) is the way a lot of Asians and Middle-Easterners westernize their names. Samir becomes Sam, Mohammed becomes Max, and Jangwoo becomes Jasmine. I understand the annoyance with outspoken, old white people who can’t pronounce their names or purposely mispronounce them (my dad). I get that fitting in is easier than sticking out. And I can sympathize with all of that in a roundabout way because I’m fat and a woman and I used to be a hardcore anime fan. Obviously I’m not saying that racism is the same as making fun of someone who owns all 26 seasons and 7 OVAs of Whatever-chan, Girl Superhero, but I understand trying to blend in.

The apparent logic falls apart though when I think about going to another country and changing my name to one of their names. If I went to the Middle East and told people my name was Suneetha or lived in Mexico for a year and said I was Estefana, I’d feel like a damn racist. Why don’t I just call everyone there Ahmed and Jose while I’m at it? I’d also feel like I was severely underestimating the national intelligence of my country of choice. If you know your name is hard to pronounce in a foreign tongue or uncommon in your new country, say it slowly, be prepared to spell it, and don’t get too hurt if it’s spelled or pronounced wrong. I’m not stupid. If you tell me your name a few times, I’ll get it no matter what it is. I can only assume the same of everyone else, give or take a few tries and not accounting for old people, who hate change and young people. I respect people more when they’re brave enough to give me their real name. Well, when they’re brave enough to just be themselves. If you’ve got a foreign name or accent or way of dress, don’t try and hide it. Own it. And if aspects of the new culture you’re immersed in are appealing, well own those too. Stupid people will always try and get you down, whatever your perceived flaw is, and the worst part is that, most of the time, they don’t even actually care.

None of these observations are new though. I went to school with Nedas and Bishoys, and a lot of the high-schoolers today feel no shame in telling people their given names are Bahar, Asad, or Ienna. That’s kind of what I love about living in the age we’re in, in the country I’m in. People worry about being singled out when they first move here, and they are regarded warily for a little while because they’re new and different. Then they make friends at work and their kids all go to school together and see that these kids aren’t any different from them, and within a couple generations everyone is accepted as normal. The strange becomes mundane and the world moves on. It’s awesome.

I guess I can’t really blame first generation Middle-Easterners and Asians for wanting to blend in when they first get here. I can’t imagine picking up my life and moving to another country, so I have to give them credit for bravery and for paving the way for their kids to be part of the All-American melting pot. Still though, if you don’t introduce your culture to us, we’ll never be able to accept it as normal. You’re laying the groundwork. The more we hear Parwaiz, Wagdy, Wei Young, Chul Ho, and the phonetic difference between Nguyen and Huynh, the less outlandish it becomes.

Feel free to weigh in if anything I’ve said was offensive or outright wrong. I say all this from the perspective of a white-washed mongrel-American.

 

Rocktopus by The Dread Crew of Oddwood. April 27, 2011

Did I say Period? That’s right. No more needs to be said because that name is pretty much as awesome as a CD name gets, but I’ll indulge your curiosity because I love to talk.

I’ve been mysteriously absent from the internet because I have had several things clumsily hidden under my hat and I didn’t want them all to spill out in a moment of unsure-footed exuberance. The lesser of those things was making five costumes for the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Irwindale, Ca in a single week, totaling about 90 hours of work when combined with my day job. But just look at how awesome we looked as swashbuckling pirate brigands!

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But enough about me. (Sorry, I love me.) While perusing the many fine attractions of the RenFaire with my ever-fluctuating gigantic group, we stopped in a smoking section. What should we hear while standing amongst smoking monks and knights, but pirate shanties, my favorite type of shanty! I wandered away to watch a truly metal performance of Cities Burning, complete with hair-banging. “Rape! Burn! Kill! SLAUGHTER!” We had been on the way to lunch, but I couldn’t leave. The Dread Crew of Oddwood had sucked me in. They are amazing, and incredibly mobile onstage for guys lugging around a cello and a toy piano, not to mention the most visually appealing drum set I’ve ever seen. They sing some of the filthiest songs I’ve ever heard and you know how I relish face-contorting smut. I was bummed as hell when their set was over because even their grossest verses were hilarious. I went right over to buy their CDs and was delighted again by Rocktopus and Reign the Helm.

The bawdy drinking songs they performed on stage were much better live than recorded (as usual), but they also have a great selection of epic ballads that I can’t stop listening to. Seriously, Kraken Skulls? God yes. So give these guys a listen. They’re insanely awesome. And if I haven’t convinced you yet, just look at this CD cover.

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And as an end thought, I keep trying to embed the link to The Dread Crew’s web site, but apparently WordPress will only let me put in one link per post and I wasted it on the RenFaire site so here’s the address: http://www.thedreadcrewofoddwood.com/

 

Spoiler Alert: Everything About the Movie Brothers is Infuriating March 20, 2011

I don’t usually write movie reviews because I don’t watch a lot of movies and when I do, I’m generally never impressed or angry enough to want to tell people about it. Brothers, however… Okay, I knew it wasn’t going to be an incestuous Brokeback Mountain with Toby Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal, but I had hoped for at least a few lingering brotherly hugs. Whatever, you knew I was a perv. The commercials painted this movie to be almost a horror movie, with the suspicious husband coming back from Afghanistan and terrorizing his wife and brother for the affair he suspects. I did not expect a long, rambling drama with petty, unlikeable characters and no fucking end.

The movie kicks off with Toby Maguire, playing Captain Sam Cahill, writing a letter to his wife Natalie Portman (Grace). He is distracted and distant because this is the letter that will be sent out if he dies on his mission in Afghanistan. Okay, strong start. It gets progressively worse from here though. Flash back to Sam and Grace and their happy family. Their younger daughter, Maggie, is a cute and rambunctious five-year-old who loves her daddy. She wants nothing but hugs and playtime. The older daughter, Isabelle, who also looks about five but is apparently old enough to read a giant novel in bed while giving her dad the cold shoulder, is a little darker and remains so throughout the movie. The flashback centers around Sam going to pick up his older brother Tommy, Jake Gyllenhaal, from jail, where he’s been for a number of years, and Sam’s family asking why HE needs to go pick up his screw-up brother. Sam brings Tommy home for the first of several birthdays. This movie has more birthdays that a goddamn Bubba Gump’s. It’s like the writers were looking for an excuse to get the whole family together when really, if the grandparents had been over for dinner, I would not have questioned it at all. So older daughter Isabelle starts off the night by telling Tommy that Mommy doesn’t like him, leaving Grace to sputter and not ever actually say anything because she has the personality of a door knob the whole movie. Then Granddad shows up and scowls at Tommy. This exchange in particular pissed me off.

Tommy (in an attempt to get his dad to stop harping on him for not being Sam): The food’s good.
Granddad: Compared to what?
At this point, if I were Natalie Portman, I would have asked Granddad what his fucking problem with my food was, but like I said, she has the personality of a houseplant.
Tommy: Compared…to…other food…?
Granddad: Prison food?

Tommy then slams his hand on the table, furious, and scares the shit out of older daughter Isabelle, who is sitting next to him. Grandma takes Grandpa into the kitchen to scold him. At some point in the movie, it is revealed that Tommy and Sam’s real mom is dead, which is completely useless in furthering the plot because no mention is ever made about their real mom, who the new woman is or how they feel about her, or any life-altering things that happened because their mom is dead. Good job, you wasted a scene to make the movie more confusing and slow.

Blah blah blah, Sam is back in Afghanistan and suddenly some Marines are at Grace’s door to tell her he’s been killed in a helicopter crash. Tommy comes to Grace’s house later that night to drunkenly return their car which he insists Sam said he could borrow any time he wanted, tell her that the broken tail light was some other ass hole’s fault, and then yell at her for not liking him. She tells him that Sam is dead and he yells at her some more, making himself into an even more unlikeable character.

There IS a surprisingly touching moment when Grace walks into her daughters’ room before the funeral to see that older daughter Isabelle is no longer in her funeral dress. She falls into mother mode and asks the little girl to put it back on. The older daughter replies, face down from the bed, that the dress is uncomfortable and she doesn’t like it. Younger daughter Maggie complains in the half-hearted way of a child who is very, very sad that her dress is itchy and she also doesn’t want to wear it, and Grace has a moment where she is clearly torn between convention and the fact that her two very young daughters have just lost their dad and probably shouldn’t be made to wear itchy, uncomfortable dresses at his funeral. Cut to them in dark, but sensible, sweaters and jeans.

Of course, Granddad is back for the funeral and, while there was no booze at the cemetery and he had to have driven there, Tommy is asking for his keys and telling him he is not fit to drive. This results in a blaming war about who was responsible for Sam’s death in Afghanistan even though there is no way either of them could ever be responsible for him dying in a helicopter crash. Granddad gets a few more jabs in about Tommy being a jobless bum and then walks home. Are you starting to see how long this fucking movie is? The whole movie is set up for Sam to come home and be pissed when the set up should have been quick and the repercussions should have been the long bit.

Cut to Sam, alive. Unfortunately, this is not a big surprise because the commercials already told us that the movie would be about his return after everyone thought he was dead. It’s like when you read the synopsis of a Chuck Palahniuk book and they tell you things that are revealed on the last fucking page. Some people need to learn to tell stories. If I had just thought this movie was about the possible affair between widow and brother, I would have been delighted by the twist of Sam being alive, although not enough that this movie would be good by any stretch of the imagination. Anyways, he’s captured by Afghans and put in a hole with a private he saved from the crash and then video-taped being tortured and later beating the private to death at gunpoint.

While Sam is going through POW hell in Afghanistan, Tommy slowly becomes a part of Grace and the kids’ lives. He starts out as a nuisance, calling Grace up at three in the morning to pay a bar tab that he was going to walk out on and then sleeping at her house because he’s got nowhere else to go. Wanting to do something nice for her, he calls some of his friends to help him redecorate her hideous kitchen. I’m kind of bummed that Ethan Suplee lost about a million pounds and he still always plays the fat dumb guy, but I’d like to think that he refused to be the fat dumb guy who wore brand new pants to paint a kitchen with two little girls in the single-digit age group and for that I salute him. Seriously, who does that? Also, did Natalie Portman write this movie? Every person who comes into her house has to comment about how pretty she is. I know she’s pretty. It’s not like in Drive Angry where they had to set up that in this alternate universe ladies totally dig Nicolas Cage. So Tommy and Grace start off rocky but eventually get to talking and drinking and share a kiss. Grace immediately leaves and nothing more is said, a surprisingly smart move on both their parts. Tommy stays around though and becomes a second father to the girls, becoming very close with older daughter Isabelle, who feels like she is loved less than younger daughter Maggie, but nothing else ever happens between him and Grace.

Suddenly, Sam is back. There is no talk about how he got rescued or what happened. The last third of the movie (the interesting part) happens in a rushed blur. Sam’s back and he’s eerie and he’s cooly asking Tommy if he fucked Grace while Sam was officially dead. At dinner, he is confused about a joke the youngest daughter makes and he won’t let it go, which is evidence that he’s disturbed because little kids never make any fucking sense anyhow.

Then at younger daughter Maggie’s birthday, Tommy shows up with a random girl he met an hour before who completely dominates the conversation (“OMG, Grace is SO pretty.”). Isabelle, who is already pissed that this woman is here taking Uncle Tommy away from her, begins to make a lot of annoying noise while glaring daggers at New Broad. Finally, Sam can’t take it anymore and he lunges across the table and pops the balloon Isabelle is making noise with. Isabelle bursts into tears and rails at her dad for being in Afghanistan for her birthday but coming home for Maggie’s. Everyone is taken aback but she’s a little girl and couldn’t possibly understand how hurtful what she said was, right? Then she yells, “Couldn’t you just stay dead? You’re just mad cause Mom would rather sleep with Uncle Tommy! Mom and Uncle Tommy had sex all the time!” What? This kid is 8 at the oldest. This is just bad writing. What the hell kind of 8-year-old would know that that was the most painful button to push? I’m not saying that 8-year-olds don’t know that sex is around but I’ve never met an 8-year-old who was perceptive enough to know the role that sex plays in adult relationships. If anyone should have planted the seed of doubt into Sam’s head about Tommy and Grace, it should have been Granddad, who had come over early one morning and saw that Tommy had slept over. Isabelle is relatively dark and hurtful for a kid, but Granddad is just the kind of ass hole to draw his own conclusions about Tommy sleeping over and make a snide comment to Sam about it.

Anyhow, little Maggie in her party hat with her untouched birthday cake in front of her asks to leave and Sam takes his family home in furious silence. Back at Granddad’s, Tommy’s lady has split and Tommy says he’s headed to Sam and Grace’s to sort this mess out. Granddad yells at Tommy’s back that it’s none of Tommy’s business and (step-?)Grandma suggests that they should immediately call the police. Impending shit-storm tripled!

Grace tucks the girls in and asks Isabelle why she would say what she said, especially since she knows it’s not true. Isabelle says she doesn’t like Daddy and wishes that Uncle Tommy was her new dad and Maggie agrees. Grace goes downstairs to stare at Sam and not say anything while he completely freaks out and destroys the kitchen Tommy redid, smashing pretty much everything and pulling cabinets off the wall. I love a good destruction scene, so even though I was worried that Sam would eventually turn his rage on Grace and beat her to death with a coffee-maker, I enjoyed the tornado of rage. Of course, just as Sam calms down enough to stop screaming and throwing crap, Tommy walks in cautiously and with his hands where everyone can see them. He very slowly walks up to Sam and very slowly hugs him. Then the police sirens sound.

Sam flips out again and pulls a gun, shrieking at Tommy for calling the police and leaving a barrel impression in Tommy’s cheek. Grace books it up to the girls’ room screaming and tells them to lock their door. Sam ends up outside screaming at the police, nearly kills himself with the gun, and is taken to jail. His one phone call goes to Tommy to say, “You’re my brother.” I guess that was supposed to be a truce moment, but it really could have meant anything the way he deadpanned it.

Cut to Grace visiting Sam in a veteran’s mental hospital. She tells him she’ll leave him if he doesn’t tell her what happened to him in Afghanistan, he spills, movie over. That quickly. No aftermath, no epilogue, nothing. I feel like I could have been at least okay with the movie if there had been some kind of wrap up. I mean, Isabelle just listened to her dad almost kill her mom and then himself because of a lie she told. That’s going to fuck a little kid up, probably for life. And now neither the grandparents nor Sam is sure what went on with Grace and Tommy so even if Sam does get help and get out of the mental hospital, that’ll always be looming over their marriage and their family life. And Tommy never did get a job as far as the movie was concerned so how has he even been surviving? The whole movie was frustrating and then nothing was solved. Don’t watch this movie. Honestly, I’m sorry if you read this whole review.