On Women Killing It On Jeopardy! For the First Time Ever

I have a Jeopardy audition tomorrow.

I have in no way prepared for this at all. Today, instead, I am writing a paper on subversive children's books.

I HAVE AN AUDITION FOR JEOPARDY TOMORROW! (Anyone else going to be at a Georgetown hotel at 11:30?)

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 10:44 am 2

On Last Night's 'Downton'

Ugh, I spoiled myself after reading a Guardian article that mentioned "Lady Sybil's tragic end." Being pregnant, and being that it was 1920, it doesn't take much to see where it was going.

That doesn't mean I was prepared for it, though. Out of all the characters, Sybil was the one who I'd want to be around (aside from Violet because come on). She's the only one who was inherently LIKEABLE to me. Not that I don't love the others-- Edith has grown on me exponentially, especially if she's now Suffragette!Edith, and I love to see beneath Mary's veneer, and okay, I really like Cora, too, and I understand the others. But I liked Sybil and I thought she was interesting and I wish we got to see more of her-- what it was like for her to not have servants, what she did in Ireland, who her friends would have been. The world was interesting through her eyes.

So I did sob terribly and got all kinds of ugly when she died. And I was so mad at Sir Philip because he was a STRANGER and she was so young. And I really do believe that they were happy. Tom and Mary and Cora killed me when she died-- because Tom really is so alone now. He's been exiled from his home and he's living in a big house that he doesn't belong in, where no one likes him, and he has nothing to do. He's had his faults in the past, and I largely blame some bad writing on that stuff (apparently after Tom insulted Sybil's nursing, there was a scene where he apologized but it got cut-- and I think season 2 was largely the two of them talking about how hard it was to be in love, but we never got to see the moments where they did fall in love, and so it was harder to believe them).

Oh, but Cora. Her "my baby" speech just broke me, and Maggie Smith stomped all over my broken heart.

Mary's line was my favorite, though, when she said to Edith, "She was the only person living who thought that you and I were such nice people." And that's why I liked Sybil so much, and why I thought she played such an important role in the family, and the show. We needed someone who didn't think that the others were so terrible (because they really, really could be.)

Oh, Sybil. Jessica Brown-Findlay, I wish you well, and I hope it was worth it. But why couldn't you put your career on hold to make me happy?!

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm 0

On Interview With a Lapsed Christian Virgin

Posted on August 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm 0

On Interview With a Lapsed Christian Virgin

@CountessMaritza A website that I found that's been very helpful to me is:http://www.stuffchristianculturelikes.com/

The author does a great job of breaking down the differences between what Actual Christianity entails and what the pervasive, evangelical Christian Culture has perverted the teachings of Jesus in to. I carry a lot of hurt and bitterness from my time with my particular church-- feelings on everything from misguided relationship advice to my youth pastor giving me materials "proving" the earth is REALLY 6,000 years old, to flat out lying to me (us) about what constitutes a partial birth abortion (they told me it's when a doctor induces labor and then drowns the baby as soon as its delivered. 15 year old me says, "Isn't that murder?" and youth leader says, "YES EXACTLY!").

The main gist of that particular blog, and that which I see a lot of relevance is, is that Mystery is scary. God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit doesn't make ANY sense. It's hard to understand, and you're not supposed to understand it. That's why it's a faith; the Mystery is vital. But that's scary, and uncertain, and so it's easier to follow a list of rules than to embrace that Mystery and wander in the wilderness. Nevermind that those who wander are rarely lost stuff. The easiest way to MAKE SURE you go to Heaven is to 1) Make sure you know who isn't going to be there and Don't Be Like Them and 2) Follow these steps, etc. Modern (American) Christian Culture is entirely about following the rules, rather than basking in that great mystery that so many early philosophers and saints explored. Knowing what constitutes a pure heart is hard-- making sure no one touches your privates is a lot easier next to that.

Posted on August 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm 0

On Interview With a Lapsed Christian Virgin

@recoveringEvangelical I feel like we need to hug.

The fairy tale feeling is residual, I think. You spend so much time expecting God to surprise you, to drop the perfect man right there in your lap (without any effort on your part) that it gets to be the expectation of normal. In high school, I know I purposely didn't do makeup or anything because the man God had on mind for me would see past my plainness and unkemptness and see the holy, righteous, humble daughter of God that I was.

For me, it feels... Strange. I'm a liberal feminist sort-of-agnostic these days. Who I am now is so far removed from who I was, when I tell people how I used to be churchy, they likely don't believe me. So how do I get these two versions of myself, past and present, to line up? How do I get them to contribute to a healthy, happy future? How do I explain the two halves of myself to someone else when I barely understand it myself? And how do I explain to an adult male that the whole of me is inexperienced and will that make him laugh? I don't want to be with someone who would laugh- I'm worth more than that. But how do you know it's someone who would understand, and how do you know before you get to the point where you're expected to DO things? How far into a relationship are you expected to wait before you do those things? Obviously it's different for everyone and there are no hard and fast rules- one date, three dates, two months, what? I want to wait until I'm ready and comfortable, and I know I deserve that. And that anyone who wouldn't wait for me to be ready isn't worth the paper he's printed on. But how do you protect yourself before then?

And maybe that's the real residual effect. Believing that you can be protected. Believing that you SHOULD be protected, when really it's the battles that make you stronger and better for next time. You have to be willing to be embarrassed and disappointed and hurt in order to make the rest of the good things even better. Right? I don't know. At the end of the day, I'm still scared. I still feel apart. And I'm left feeling that I'm the one who has to change that, not a boyfriend.

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 7:52 am 1

On Interview With a Lapsed Christian Virgin

@Dragon Yes.

Actually, we were supposed to write a list of what we wanted in a man and pray over that. I kept mine in my bible. And God would be like the tooth fairy or a genie and bring you exactly what you prayed for at 12 when you were of marriagable age (about 20 in Evangelicaland).

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1

On Interview With a Lapsed Christian Virgin

@recoveringEvangelical Baby, I am so there with you.

I'm 26 (and a half). I went on my first real date at 24. I don't know how to kiss. When I was 12, my youth pastor lead us through I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris and that became my church's second bible, for all intents and purposes. I signed a commitment to "date God" at 16. Most of the people in my youth group are married to one another. We weren't even supposed to date, because dating was just practice for divorce. When you were good enough, God would bring the right person along and you would know and he would know and be modest and don't you go looking for a man because he's supposed to find you and women should NEVER be the aggressors in a relationship and don't you want to be pursued?

I feel socially broken. I ran from boys in high school because I was... afraid of them? Afraid of failing God by being around them? I mean, I'd be friends with them, but I got so good at shutting people down that I don't know how to NOT do that now.

It's a hard place to be in. I'm not a Christian anymore, I don't think. I don't believe that I need to wait for anything anymore. That change happened around 21/22. But I feel like I lost out on 10 years of social education and experiences-- making out and blow jobs and PIV and practicing intimacy. I've never even seen a penis in real life. And I don't even know how I would tell these things to a boy, should I find one that liked me back. Should I find one and should I figure out how to tell him that I liked him and I don't even know how these things work. I don't know how adult relationships work. My God, I don't know how adult relationships work.

I feel so broken. Like, I don't work. For the most part, I'm comfortable with myself. But in our world, it's like you're not a Real Adult until you've had certain experiences, and done certain things.

And the thing is, I'm sure my church wouldn't care. They don't care about the emotional trauma that they put people through. I feel lost in a world that I don't know as well as I should.

I'm so glad you're here, too.

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm 2

On Behold!

Augh, gimmegimmegimmegimme. I want it NOW.

Posted on July 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm 0

On RIP, Nora Ephron

"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."

How did she know?

Posted on June 27, 2012 at 11:59 am 13

On The Gift That Keeps on Giving


And I love these ones:

1) A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith. Has a shy, bookish, observational little girl ever had a better friend than Francie Nolan? I've never before met a character whom I was so sure would be my bosom friend, my kindred spirit, if we ever met in real life. Francie was my sister, my friend. One day, she'll be my daughter. Every time I read that book, I know the Nolans are poor, and I know Johnny is no good, but Francie is so rich in senses, in imagination. Smith writes in that explanatory way that Laura Ingalls Wilder writes, but in a way that is less about wooden pegs for nails and more about color and sound and real good history and you're there with Francie and you just want her to be well, to be everything that she knows she can be. Goodness, I love that book.

2) PERSUASION by Jane Austen. Keep your Lizzie Bennets, your Marianne Dashwoods. Give me Anne Elliot any day. (She and Francie would get along, I think). Of course, it doesn't help that the first time I read this book, I was lying in a hammock in the garden of a converted monastery in Tuscany. I loved the letter (if you've read it, you know the one) so much that I copied it word for word in my notebook. You pierce my soul, Persuasion.

3) This one I just read: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein. Holy shit, I shit you not, holy shit. I can't tell you anything, ANYTHING, about the plot because that will ruin it all. But I will say two things. 1) It's a YA story that is focused entirely around the friendship between two of the most badass, amazing young women I've ever read. No love interests! It's amazing. It's just amazing and I LOVE friendships in books and they don't get enough credit next to love triangles and romance. 2) As a reader, I was like AAAAAAAAAAAH and as a writer I was like OOOOOOOHHHH and it's amazing and it just came out and it should win ALL of the awards for Young People's Literature this year. All. Printz, Morris, Carnegie (the author is a Scot-- I think she still counts for the Carnegie).

Posted on June 15, 2012 at 5:36 pm 0