Monday, June 30, 2008

That Whole Body Image Thing

I've typed about this before, but I really love to show my love of women with meat on them and my "lost cause" wish for women to collectively stop obsessing over their scale number or relative size. I know that there is the creeping Adonis problem with men, but I'll start paying attention when men die from eating disorders and severely destroy their reproductive & nervous systems by binging and starving themselves and high schools bring in speakers to discuss the ills of eating disorders. I view the male side as a work to get laid more often. Back on point, my wife and I discussed this weekend the problems of eatings disorders and how difficult it is to cure. Even if 'cured' it is a diffuclt road to stay in the healthy eating realm, and can be a day by day battle like alcoholism or drug addiction.

A recap of our discussions with the random comments that I remember the most are as follows....

"it comes down to a petty contest between women"... "i hate those women who are thin but complain about needing to lose weight in front of their friends, there should be a rule that you cannot complain about your weight unless you are the bigger friend"... "don't women see those Orcas with 5 inches of roots that somehow find a rail thin white or black guy??? why does anyone need to lose weight when they can still get laid"... "I wish that 70s look came back in style, you know real boobs and sporty legs?"... "bulimia is gross, just go without food, that's way easier"... "when a man sees a woman naked, he thinks 'thank you god, I this might be the last one i see naked'"...

It was a pretty sad conversation. We couldn't name a female friend who had NOT had an eating disorder. My wife's circle of friends is probably skewed as they are all dancers. What is even sadder is to see some of our friends eating healthy now, and what was the eating disorder worth: 10 fewer lbs for a few months? Some of my friends look roughly the same now years later. Some have an incredibly torurous attitude towards food still where they are calorie hawks and work out a lot. Is it healthy eating? Uhhhh, mostly. Are they getting proper nutrition now? Yeah, that is what counts.

In my circle of friends, I was lucky enough to know half a dozen great young women. They were a microcosm of my high school's horrible eating disorder problem. Fuck drinking or drugs or teenage pregnancy (that was bad too). What was sad was seeing them take turns. I didn't have any bulimic friends, but anorexia spread like the flu. I had friends who ate only Hot Tamales candy and drank Diet Coke. I had a friend who broke a stairmaster from overuse. What was amazing to witness was how girls could see it in others, but not when their time came. There was a tragic fate vibe in that circle. Each had their own reason: being the chubby one in the group, being the less attractive sister, having the psycho parents, having the mom in great shape, having no self esteem, being overly paranoid and insecure, having no control over their life so they controlled their food. What was sadder was seeing the efforts of friends who cared deeply about a friend try their best to help each other. It would fail because the fix, the change, the cure would only come from the person themself. As time passed and years were put between that era and our current lives, I saw the same patterns of behavior with different things and different problems arise. The eating disorders were a symptom of something else.

Sunlight Through Splayed Hair

The facade like glass
Basic structure shatters fast
One thought, all it takes

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Steve Winwood 80s Videos

Check out my Google search for Steve Winwood videos. "While you see Your Chance" really tries for an artistic statement. Weird dance stuff, odd graphics, a weird theme, fog machine in full effect and Steve playing some synth. Wow. They go for it, and it fails, but it is entertaining. I miss videos. "Valerie" has soem funny 80s effects as well, and is a performance video that mercifully blends in images of some chick in a white dress dancing. The wind machine was set on high for that video. Winwood finally made a good video with "Roll With It". This was a blend of performance and story video. It looks like an awesome edition of the Soul Train Line. Add in lots of sweaty women dancing, and I was a happy young boy. It is an incredibly sexy video. It's the way people expect a video to be: spotlight the song and artist and entertain us with bringing it to life.

Monday, June 16, 2008

General Observations on Bad Marriages

Let me preface this by stating that I know I am not perfect nor am I in a perfect marriage that is perfect every moment of the day. There is no perfect marriage, but there can be those couples that make other people angry or sick because they are good together (That's my wife & I). Marriage has been on my mind for a while because so many couples that I know are going through trouble at this time, are ending it all, are drifting towards a future of apathy, or are not facing their problems to determine if it is right to stay together or separate. I sometimes let these things bother me because I try to have compassion for my friends and even random people I talk to, and I always want to see people happy. If it means happy together , then it means happy together. If it means happy alone, then it means happy alone.

As a good listener and the carrier of my mother's curse of being a person that many people confide in for no reason, I recently received an email from an acquaintance that went like this... "My home life is bothering me. We're in a rut. We're terrible at communicating with each other because we just get mad and don't talk. Then, we think we're over it and get mad at a later date about something else and, next thing you know, there is a build up of 3+ years of stuff that we haven't really talked about." Yeah, this got dropped on me when i simply asked "you were quiet at the meeting today, what's up". Can I do anything about it? Nope. Is it kind of cryptic and hypocritical? Yeah, as it describes a problem and hints at more issues, yet the person shares with me a pretty personal story that is about failure to share with the most important person in their life. HELLLOOOOOOO?!!?!? Have I learned plenty of things about this couple to think that they got married for the wrong reasons, are in a bad situation that seems to get worse, and should probably be divorced soon? Maybe. This email example is a bit one sided. The paragraph, plus a missing sentence that say the woman let's it get her down some days and how she's going to dedicate next month to working on the marriage hints that it isn't all dark. Because some days I can hide the pain! Yah! Couldn't counseling in a safe, neutral setting where a true communication occurs help, yeah that's the ticket, and maybe if you talked through problems instead of just get mad at one another, couldn't that help, yeah yeah, then try a solution to address the problem rather than let it build up inside for years. Hmmm, years of crap, hmmmm, sounds like a great marriage. Plus, why tell me over email????

This is just an example of the small and big problems I see and hear. I ended up calling my Mom about these confessions, and she laughed at the idea of fixing a problem in one month. I agree, as we humans are creatures of habit, and one month doesn't change shit. It's like my spendthrift friends who talk of curbing their spending and end up relapsing at the first video game release or concert ticket sale that arrives. We discussed the problems of people oversharing at work. My Mom had the wisdom of having heard so many stories over the years from people over years if not decades in the same situation with failed attempts or no change. I see these bad or lame marriages constantly but do not have the depth of her knowledge. Why stay? I think there's a few reasons:

1. It's better for the kid if we stick together. Not necessarily. It could further warp the kid to stick together.
2. I have low self esteem, low self worth and a myriad of self image problems that tell me that I don't deserve better. I think this applies to both genders. I know guys who will stick together because they don't strive for better and excuse the partners behavior out of some dereliction of duty they have mysteriously done that no one knows about.
3. I did fall in love with this person, they just aren't that person anymore but I can hope that they will change back into that person I love(d). These are the people I feel the worst for as they have hope, and hope is a dangerous thing.
4. Fear of the unknown, being alone, and of change. This is the secret one when somoene won't leave a situation despite all of their people supporting them, counselors giving them guidance and strength, and an obvious abuse/neglect situation. It's like every single person out there knows someone who divorced and never remarried, living alone for the rest of their life, and instead of recognizing that they had a good life on their own, they pity them or view that person as living an incomplete life. BS.
5. I am defined by my relationships. These are the people who cannot be alone and find self worth in being in a relationship or needed. Sad part is that you can spot these people in High School.

It is hard for me to understand these people, but I try. I try to help people out. After a while, I dislike hearing for the 30th time how a husband is a douchebag or for the 3rd time that someone's wife asked if they could "get coffee with other people". I ultimately believe the folks I have contact with now whoe are under 35 and in bad marriages will probably stay married and just have those bad marriages. Probably end up with some decade long affair somewhere in their 40s. It's up to you the individual to do something about your situation. You decided to have the wedding and get married. That was a big decision. It's equally as big to make the decision to leave. It is possible. First step is to try to address the current situation. Don't be lazy. It's your life.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

There Will Be Blood

Some movies have weight to them and some are well timed in their release. There Will Be Blood is one of those movies. This was released last year, and amidst our oil crisis, what better time to watch a fantasy of early oil days with wild characters. The driving force behind the film is Daniel Day Lewis' character, Daniel Plainview. His depiction of the slightly crazed, angry, manipulative and forceful "oil man" is captivating. I love Lewis' work, and feel that his role in Gangs of New York is one of the unrecognized great performances of modern cinema. The Academy gave the award to Adrien Brody for a Holocaust movie. A Hollywood tradition: Holocaust Movie = Oscar. Lewis carries this movie, and the relationship between his character and his son, H.W., is the emotional core of the film centered around one asshole of an oil man.

The way that Mr. Plainview interacts with the other main characters is a tremendous study of the type of person who would have to tackle the dangerous and risky job of an independent driller. His interactions with his son, the lame evangelical preacher, his "brother", other oil men, etc. all add up to a portrait of a twisted and driven man. While he is a bit crazy, he is the type of person our world does need to get some things done. Are all of his methods nice? No. He is an asshole in many regards, but he does get results. He just never heard of the expression that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

During the movie, my two favorite scenes showcasing the work of Lewis as Plainview are the first sales pitch scene and then the scene of Plainview's baptism. The first pitch to a community shows Plainview with a P.T. Barnum quality to him if you crossed it with a very suave real estate agent (pre-Bubble vintage). He works the crowd, and when he sense the crowd is not agreeable and docile enough, he exits without wasting anymore of his time. This pitch is the first we actually hear from his character after 20 minutes of film showing him work a silver mine and then a new and rickety oil well. We are introduced to him in a showman's manner, which is a bit of a wink to the idea of Plainview introducing himself and the story to the film's viewers. The baptism is Plainview's price for building his pipeline, which will earn him his fortune. The reluctance to do it was established with his increased monetary offers to the rancher in the previous scene. At the baptism, the young preacher attempts to humiliate him as he confesses and repents, and Plainview has the glimmer of hate in his eye and the sound of fury in his voice as he explains his sins. There is a moment where he smiles and looks playful with how overdramatic the preacher is with his "show". These are the small details that make a movie great. This is what missing in most films today. This movie is full of small touches, and I highly recommend that you see it.