Every day these days

On Sunday Chris and I went to the zoo, like we’d been wanting to do all summer, and so what if it’s not summer any more? There are only two slight disadvantages to going to Brookfield Zoo in the fall, which is that the flamingos are in storage and Baboon Island is deserted. (You really need to see Baboon Island. It’s like the animal equivalent of MTV Spring Break. And do they even air that anymore? I have no idea.) There was a sign that said “The Baboons are having their annual medical check-up,” and I imagined all the baboons lining up to board a big school bus driven by a kindly nurse. Mentally I am still eight years old when I go to the zoo.

We saw the monkeys and the penguins, like probably everyone else does, and we saw a traumatic video of a giraffe being born. (It just falls out! In this bag! Like chips in a vending machine! Only freakier!) We saw this little African deer thingy, I don’t rememember what it’s called, standing practically sideways on a rock, chewing and chewing and chewing. We overheard all kinds of hastily made-up animal facts from parents of little kids. (“I think the rhino is getting ready to hibernate, Tyler, and that’s why it won’t come out.”) We followed around a peacock (aka Nature’s Bling). We stayed until just before dark, when the zoo grounds were getting deserted and spooky and lovely. I have so much to do, so very much to do, so many things every single freaking day these days, but I liked Sunday.

One of the many things is swimming. When I was at Ragdale last month I started going to a pool at a nearby college in the mornings (well, okay, so I went twice), and I liked it so much I started using the pool at my gym. I like it because all you need to remember to pack is your suit, and when you get to the pool there is no aimless wandering around like on the gym floor; there is no thing you have to get on, or wait for; no TVs or magazines that you feel you should look at while you’re waiting to get off whatever thing that you waited to get on. When you’re in a pool, the only thing you have to do is stay alive. And it turns out I’m pretty good at doing that.

The big fat picture

Last Friday I dashed off that post about the fat Gaultier model and I kept meaning to come back and elaborate, and in the meantime plenty of you left comments. It’s last week’s news by now, but what the hell, here’s what I think, about both the model and the comments:

I think this fat model Velvet D’Amour is beautiful, but I think lots of people are beautiful. Like I think Paris Hilton is beautiful, except for her squinty left eye and her soul. And I think it’s nice that a famous high-fashion designer has decided that a fat woman is beautiful, but of course, famous high-fashion designers have also decided that junkies and dead people and Mischa Barton’s outfits are beautiful. So really, why should we care who thinks whoever else is beautiful?

But go on and talk all you want about whether Velvet’s hair was ugly, or her outfit was weird, or whatever. Because the only thing I love more than being too big for the largest pair of Gaultier Jeans is knowing that apparently it doesn’t matter whether the lady on the runway (or in the magazine, or the billboard) is skinny or fat, since either way, we’re going to pick her apart like an order of KFC. It’s not like any of you meant to be malicious—but still, what the fuck?

We’re entitled to our opinions and beauty is a state of mind, but maybe we need to get out of our own damn minds once in awhile. I’m getting tired of the whole world just standing around looking at little pictures muttering, she’s pretty, she’s ugly, she’s pretty but her hair is ugly, while the bigger picture looms behind us, and we’re all a part of it, and it’s full of plenty of things uglier than bad hair.

Randa linked to this interview with Velvet d’Amour, who can clearly see the big picture. Read it and see how the interviewer tries to bait her— all like, oh, don’t you hate these skinny models? Don’t they make you feel ugly? Don’t you think they’re ugly? And Velvet, bless her heart and her great big booty, doesn’t bite. Now that’s beautiful. But that’s just my opinion.

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On a related note, you know what else is beautiful? When designers go beyond the supposedly mind-blowing act of putting a fat chick on the runway and actually make clothes for her. Clothes that she can wear to work and to parties, because oddly enough, fat chicks do these things. Last year I bought a couple of tops from Igigi and liked them, and whenever I wear one of them I think idly, yeah, I should buy another one of these thingies. And one day recently, after I did just that I got an email from Ozlem, who works at Igigi, who offered to send me some stuff to try out. And then I bought them. On sale. Awesome.

Idi bitty tidbits of my week

Oh my sticky stars, I’ve had so much catching up to do now since I’ve gotten back from the prairie. I’ve gone from whispering into my cell phone and having cicadas chirp me to sleep at Ragdale to going out almost every night to attend various reading/party thingys. Somehow we are lucky enough to know people like Alpana Singh, Andi Zeisler and Lisa Jervis from Bitch, and John Hodgman, all of whom had reading thingys here in Chicago this past week. Somehow we are lucky enough to not know people like Idi Amin, because last night we went to a preview screening of The Last King of Scotland, which had just about everything you could reasonably expect from a movie about Idi Amin. It was a good movie, though of course it had moments where I couldn’t cover my eyes enough, not even if I had three dozen hands, not even if Idi Amin himself provided three dozen hands in a handy wheelbarrow for my convenience. Those scenes were definitely more unpleasant than drinking Malort, and that is saying A LOT.

Speaking of disgusting things, I thought I had a pretty high threshold of tolerance when it comes to freaky reality show antics, but that was before I watched the new season of America’s Next Top Model and saw Monique sprinkle furniture and housemates with her alleged Moniqueness. (I am talking about both the time she “marked her territory” on one of the beds, which involved just water—but still, the idea was there—and the incident where she subjected Melrose to That Shower-Fresh Feeling. I do not know how to relate it any more delicately. If you don’t watch the show, I assure you that whatever foul thing you have imagined will likely suffice.) And while I have not watched Flavor of Love this season (I caught a little bit of the first season, and I’ll watch again only if Sister Souljah guest-stars and storms the house and punches Flav somewhere below his timepiece), I have heard that one of the contestants left an even more substantial mark on the stairs, just for you-know-whats and giggles. To all this I say: Dear Hostile, Bodily-Substance-Flinging Reality Show Contestant, if your excuse for acting like an crazed macaque is that it “gets attention” and makes for “interesting television,” then it ought to be okay for the camera crew to shoot tranquilzer darts at you whenever necessary, because that would make for interesting television, too.

Finally, the little radio segment I did for Writer’s Block Party last week can be found online here. It’s supposed to be sort of funny, though I think I sound oddly mournful on audio. Oh, well.