I read somewhere (maybe Fatshionista, or Fatshionista, I can’t remember – ETA: It was in the comments of this great post by my pal the Pretty Pear) that a number of mail-order purveyors of women’s plus size clothing, such as The Catalogs, insist on using straight-size models, despite the fact that doing so often makes their clothes look ridiculous, out of some misinformed notion that fat women won’t buy clothes that other fat women are wearing. And, you know what? Fine. Whatever. Go ahead, pin those 12Ws to hell and back on a size 6 model. These retailers are usually so fashion tone deaf anyway that getting them to jump on the Fat Pride bandwagon by using fat women to model their plus-sized clothes is akin to teaching a puppy to drive a car before you even train it to stop peeing in the house.

So it’s not the fact that Chadwick’s is using a straight-sized model to display its plus-sized dresses that bothers me. It’s the fact that they are manipulating the photos of these straight-sized women to turn them into impossibly spindly, spaghetti-shaped, wire hangers, like so:

No wire hangers! Another example of a manipulated image.

If either of those two models are naturally that shape and size, I will not only buy that dress, I will also eat it.

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Dear Poor Neglected Blog,

There’s this dream I have sometimes. In a frenzy of stomach-clenching knowledge that I’ve forgotten something indescribably important, I rifle madly through cabinets, closets, handbags, and discarded suitcases. I dig into the back of long-forgotten cupboards. I push aside dust bunnies and peer under the bed. Eventually, I find what I’m looking for: a baby. Sometimes, a kitten or a puppy. But it’s always something helpless, and it’s always something near-death due to my own selfish neglect. Once I found a baby in the back of a kitchen cabinet, barely alive and only then thanks to a stale package of cheese straws. If I have this dream tonight, I will be unsurprised to find a gasping, wheezing WordPress blog disintegrating into darkening pixels at the bottom of a broken cedar chest.

I really hate this dream.

I do have my reasons, though, for abandoning you in the wilderness. The first is that navel-gazing quandary as old as blogging itself of being unable to address the scope of external issues that I deem important with anything approaching the necessary reverence and attention, balanced by an unwillingness to get too personal, tempered by a recognition that remaining impersonal while lacking the time to delve thoroughly into the external leaves me with very little to write about. That’s really a wordy way of saying I feel both overwhelmed by possibility and empty of ideas.

The second and more practical reason is purely physical. I have a day job in which I sit at a desk, turn on a computer, and proceed to write for the next eight to ten hours. Sometimes I read, occasionally I research and sometimes I contemplate or analyze (although I am a very kinetic thinker and tend to write my way through tricky turns of analysis) but mostly I am just writing writing writing. I have little time for clandestine work-time blogging, and at the end of the day, the least appealing activity I can think of is sitting down at a different desk, turning on a different computer, and writing some more. Not only that, but my hands, wrists, and forearms are barely able to sustain my current occupational levels of typing. Slowly but surely I’ve eliminated most beloved manual leisure activities (minds out of the gutter, please, for I am speaking of crochet, embroidery, creative writing, video games, and my vow that I will one day start playing the guitar again I swear (by which I mean that I no longer make that vow, as realistically, my hands could not handle the additional strain)) and that, alas, has included this blog.

So that’s it. In short, dear blog, it’s not you; it’s me. Now stay out of my dreams.

Love,
Ottermatic

I’m not dead. I’m just resting my eyes.

This is a meme from Odd One Out. Bold the things you’ve done. I’m an exciting individual!

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo

11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (Never eat buffet food right before closing time.)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables (badly)

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Skied a marathon (I didn’t even know this was something people did.)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (And lost my powers! Wait, that was something else…)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (booze cruise, maybe)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (I candy striped in the birthplace of my ancestors – I’m like a millionth generation Delmarvan. I’ve never been to the British Isles, which is the origination of my ancestors, but since we’ve been in North American since the 1600s and claim no kinship to the Motherland, I’ll still say yes to this.)
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught myself a new language (tried, failed.)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt (Been to Wyoming, though.)
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (My friends in college drove an old ambulance as their main form of transportation. Heh.)
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (I know, I know.)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt (unsuccessfully)
73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades (Been to Florida, though.)
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (I was IN FLAGSTAFF and did not go to the Grand Canyon because I was too hungover. I know, I know.)
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (Heimlich maneuver. It’s good to know.)

90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person (Been in Texas, though.)
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (Been in Utah, though.)
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Ridden an elephant

Conclusion: Time to leave the continental US.

From the Election Protection website:

The nonpartisan Election Protection coalition was formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.

Through our state of the art hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) and 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota (administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund), this website, and comprehensive voter protection field programs across the country, we provide Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive voter information and advice on how they can make sure their vote is counted.

If you see or experience any shenanigans at the polls tomorrow, please call 866-OUR-VOTE/888-VE-Y-VOTA. Volunteers there can help you find your polling place, confirm your registration, educate you about the voting laws in your state, or in some cases, send mobile field units or contact election officials directly to address the problem.

We are not powerless, and we will be counted.

So… David Foster Wallace hanged himself this weekend.

In 1997, I moved back to my parents’ house in my small hometown from Boulder, Colorado after escaping a relationship to which I will show unearned kindness and describe as merely disastrous. Somehow, after short stints as a temporary high school office receptionist and a telemarketer at a memorial park, I wound up working first at the pizza restaurant where I waited tables in high school and then at the record store where I worked during the summers when I was in undergrad. I had regained all the weight I so victoriously lost my senior year in high school and kept off throughout college by rigorously courting an eating disorder. Within a week of returning home, I totaled my grandparents’ car. I was unbearably lonely. I was depressed, although unable to recognize that at the time.

And that’s when I first read Infinite Jest. My mother was a member of Quality Paperback Book Club, and could never remember to stop the book of the month shipment and so IJ arrived in our home and sat on a bookshelf in what had once been my bedroom but had been immediately transformed into an office when I left for college. The last minute addition of a day bed on my prodigal return made the tiny quarters fairly uses as either bedroom or office, but that’s where I slept. I remember that the book was in my line of sight in the morning, and I looked at it a lot as I laid in that day bed until the promise of a long, reality-suspending read and the resonance of the name’s clear applicability to my life prodded me to pull it off the shelf one meandering Saturday morning and see what the giant book with the cloudy cover was all about. I stayed in bed and read most of that day, and carried that heavy fucking thing around with me everywhere I went until I finished it two weeks later. Then I took a couple of weeks off and read it again. It would be a bit too dramatic for my tastes to say that Infinite Jest saved my life, but it certainly served as the closest thing to a friend that I had during one of the stupider periods of my adult life. And it would not be an overstatement to say that for the next year or two, I was deeply in love with David Foster Wallace.

I’ve re-read IJ three or so more times since then. To be honest, I don’t love the book as much as I used to, in part because it evokes those unpleasant feelings of intense loneliness that I felt when I first read the book. But it’s still a good read, and funny, and eerie, and prescient. It still paints a starkly accurate picture of addiction and depression. It still features a tennis academy with the motto, “They Can Kill You, but the Legalities of Eating You Are Quite a Bit Dicier.” For me, I would classify the rest of DFW’s books from exceptionally brilliant to nearly unreadable. And I’m not in love with him any more, although I will always think of him fondly.

But still.

I walked into the living room on Saturday and my husband said, “Did you see this?” and pointed to the computer screen. There was the AP headline “Novelist David Foster Wallace found dead.” It would not be an overstatement to say that my knees buckled a little, and I backed up half a step to sit down abruptly on our coffee table while I read the rest of the short article. Getting up, I noticed a white blobby smear of some substance on the table where I had been sitting. I craned my neck to inspect the back of my pants to discover that I had sat on a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, a forgotten snack that my husband neglected to return to the fridge.

It is meaningless that in my gentle grief at the lost of a dear old friend I sat on a wedge of processed Swiss cheese, but I found some solace in the absurdity anyway.

This song goes out to everybody who had a shit week, or who just wants to practice for the next Dance Dance Party Party:

Damn, Mary J. Blige is the hotness.

Employment Law Tip of the Day: Want to create a company policy that will ensure all your personnel decisions are fraught with racism, sexism, ablism, ageism, gender normativity, and size discrimination? Try rating your employee’s looks on a scale of zero to five, and put the ones who don’t conform to an “all-American, clean, wholesome, or the girl or boy next door” look in the back room folding clothes where they are unable to disgust customers and dilute your brand image with their nonconforming presentations.

Just like Abercrombie & Fitch did!

Make sure that you claim, loudly and often, that you are working on diversity, by providing managers with a “look book” of appropriate faces that include Black, white, and Latino/as. You know, all the races! When somebody points out that you have no Asian faces in your look book or in your marketing campaigns, just point out that for some reason, Asians just don’t like A&F so hiring and marketing to that demographic just doesn’t make good business sense.

My friend L sent me this link to the Omnivore’s Hundred, and I love a meme, and I am really hungry right now (contemplating some vending machine carrot cake, L!!!! (she hates it when I do that)) so here we go. Bold what you’ve eaten and strike through what you would never eat.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile [I have, however, eaten alligator.]
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
[I actually don’t remember trying this but my husband assures me that I have, so okay.]
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
[I am counting this as a yes because over the course of my lifetime, I have easily eaten my weight in scrapple, which is a delicious regional variation of head cheese. RAPPA SCRAPPLE FOR EVA! ETA!!! Head cheese is actually more like souse meat than scrapple (which is more like liver pudding than head cheese) but as I’ve eaten souse meat, I shall leave number 25 as it is.]
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar [Never had them together!]
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine [I’ve never had poutine but OMG do I ever want to try it. French fries, cheese curds, and gravy? Yes please.]
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin [I am crossing clay off this list in the hopes that I never have to it.]
64. Currywurst [BRING IT ON.]
65. Durian [Durian fruit is as bad, if not worse, than every terrible thing you have read or heard about it.]
66. Frogs’ legs [Animals I will never eat include: cats, dogs, frogs, turtles, and rabbits. If I’ve ever had it as a pet, or if it starred in a beloved children’s book I read, I won’t eat it. Arbitrary, but effective.]
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill [What can I say? I come from an area of the country where if you hit a deer, you take it home and dress it.]
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. [I have enjoyed the tasting menu at Tru, but that’s as close as I’ve come.]
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare [Edit: MissPrism informs me in the comments that rabbit and hare are actually quite different, so I have un-bolded number 86. I also opted not to cross it out, since I’ve never had a hare as a pet and as such would probably eat one.]
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I came across this gallery of USA First Ladies and I’m just totally fascinated with it. First of all, Dolley Madison was the Chubby Hotness. And there is something about Louisa Adams that makes me want to sit up all night drinking and playing cards with her. Also take a peek into her hat closet. I swear Hannah Van Buren looks like somebody I know. It shouldn’t, because people are people (so why should it be???), but it always kind of throws me when people in old photos look like modern people, just dressed up in dusty clothes from the Old Time Photo booth on the boardwalk.

I also find it interesting to see how, around the time of Sarah Polk, so the mid-1800s and right before the Civil War, women’s fashion got really dowdy and intense. Mary Todd bucked that trend, but the Washington wives and the press really tore her a new one for it. Things didn’t really seem to lighten up much until Frances Folsom Cleveland, who was 21 when she married Grover in the Whitehouse and was considered to be pretty saucy for her day.

I also like to see how beauty standards have changed over the years. We went from the crazy frizziness of Helen Taft’s hair, to Lou Hoover’s considerable eyebrows to Lady Bird’s immaculately symmetrical brows and immobile hair helmet. And we never looked back.

So we’ve learned that sexxx appeal is paramount for female Olympic athletes, and that they are totally inconsiderate for not considering how their preference for breast compression might be really bumming out hetero dudes in the audience.

ETA some more things we’ve learned: women athletes are gold diggers, not gold medalists; our president is a complete fucking creep.

But did you also know that while male Olympic athletes should eat lots of calories in the form of a wide variety of delicious food, such as pancakes and sausage and delicious cheesy bean things and big old sandwiches on white bread, women should be sure to eat only “clean” foods? And that it is totally adorable when a man doesn’t cook at all, but women should always make their own food and never order pizza? And that eating junk food like oatmeal or cereal is very bad for you? And that an appropriate amount of “extra protein” after an Olympic caliber swimming workout consists of two eggs and two slices of toast?

Well, now you know.

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