Dream diary, 6/12/06: Death ballooons

Balloons2I dreamed that I woke up in bed with Ingrid, and there were all these balloons on the pillow next to Ingrid’s head. (The long balloon-animal kind, not the round kind.) The balloons were in a strange configuration: they were very menacing, and seemed to be spelling out some sort of magical runes. I was quite upset, and struggled for a while to figure out what the runes were saying. Then I suddenly realized they were in the form of a magical spell that was threatening Ingrid and might kill her.

This was a genuine night terror (although not as bad as ones I’ve had in the past). I woke in a wordless panic, and frantically shook Ingrid awake to get her away from the death balloons — but I wasn’t able to speak and tell her what was wrong. I didn’t realize it was a dream until Ingrid said, “Greta, are you dreaming?” and even then I stayed upset for some time. It wasn’t until I woke up again several hours later that morning that I was able to see the humor in having a full-blown, “waking in the night unable to scream” night terror about evil balloon animals trying to kill my girlfriend.

A Sex Writer’s Defense of Visual Porn

MyeroticxfilesWords or pictures? When it comes to erotica, what turns you on? And why? For me, it’s almost always about the pictures — something I feel a little odd about, what with being a porn writer and all.

The Good Vibrations magazine has just started running a photo gallery — and they’ve published my piece, A Sex Writer’s Defense of Visual Porn, as part of their opening festivities. If you’re interested in the “dirty pictures versus dirty books” question — or if you’re curious about why a dedicated sex writer turns to photos and videos when it’s time to get off — come check it out. Here’s a taste:

“It’s about feeling like I’m really there. The pictures don’t just make it easier for me to imagine the scene — they make it easier for me to project myself into it. Having a picture thrust into my brain makes me feel like I’m there; like I’m one of the people in the scene, or a new person wedging myself into the goings-on, or even an invisible voyeur watching it all up close. And that’s true whether the pictures are photos of real dirty people doing real dirty things, or drawings of dirty people doing made-up dirty things that an artist thought up.”

SpankTo read the rest, come visit the Good Vibrations Magazine. There’s tons of great writing in addition to mine — and now they have dirty pictures, for drooling perverts like me!

Screaming Annies and Found Porn: Recent Smut and Sex Toy Reviews

Jasmine_1Silkensleeves_1Whitelightning_1Dirtyfound2_1Vulvamassage_1
It’s been a couple of months since I updated you on my Adult Friend Finder reviews. Since then, I’ve written about teasing vibrators, women’s art-bondage videos, women’s regular smut videos, found porn, and vulva education.

A quick note of explanation: I’ve been writing an every-other-week column for the Adult Friend Finder magazine for a little over a year, reviewing porn and sex toys and stuff. I’m having a lot of fun with the gig, and doing some interesting, entertaining writing for them.

Anyway, here’s an index of reviews I’ve written for them in the last couple of months. (You can see a complete index on my Website if you like.) FYI, you don’t have to be an AFF member to click these links (although you do have to join if you want to surf around and visit the rest of the magazine). Enjoy!

The Scent of Jasmine:
Jasmine Vibrator (June 2, 2006)
“I masturbate almost every day, and if I turned it into a sensual adoration of my inner sex goddess every time I whacked off, I’d never get to work on time.”

Silken Sleeves (May 28, 2006)
“The video is wordless as well, thank God. Most porn videos would be vastly improved by shutting the actors up. With duct tape, if necessary.”

White Lightning Strikes:
White Lightning (May 14, 2006)
“This isn’t one of those pornos where the women moan and thrash a little and then get on with the important business of getting the men off. The women in this video come.

But Now I’m Found:
Dirty Found Magazine, issue #2 (Apr. 21, 2006)
“Plenty of the pics in this magazine weren’t chosen just to illustrate the sexual Zeitgeist. They were chosen to make you stick your hand in your pants.”

Pat the Bunny:
The Best of Vulva Massage (Apr. 7, 2006)
“Annie Sprinkle’s ‘megagasm’ may sound too New Age-y for words… but when you watch her scream for five minutes straight with a Hitachi Magic Wand shoved against her clit and two hot young dykes fingering her pussy like jackhammers, you stop worrying about these finer points.”

Enjoy the reviews, and drop me a line here to let me know what you think!

But Maybe They Didn’t Mean “Ha-Ha” Funny: Bravo’s 100 Funniest Movies of All Time

Marxbrothers_1Bravo TV has just aired another of those “Top Whatever List” shows that are so ubiquitous these days. In this case, it’s the “100 Funniest Movies of All Time.” And it’s had me foaming at the mouth for a week. (The list is at the end of this post, if you want to foam for yourself.)

Holygrail_1It’s not the prevalence of yahoo frat-boy sex/fart/pratfall movies on the list that’s irritating me. It’s not the obvious preference for relentless gag-a-minute flicks over smart, snappy dialogue. It’s not the fact that they included “The Birdcage” while somehow managing to overlook “La Cage aux Folles.” It’s not even the fact that they put both “Ace Ventura, Pet Detective” and “Arthur” in their Top Ten — yes, the Top Ten — while “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” clocked in at #40, and “Spinal Tap” earned a pathetic #64. Tastes differ, I get that. And I’ve certainly found the humor in more than one gag-a-minute yahoo comedy.

What’s irritating me about this list is the fact that not one single film on it was made before the 1960s.

Not one.

And damn few before the 1970s.

In other words, Bravo TV compiled a list of the hundred funniest comedies of all time, and didn’t include:

General_1The Marx Brothers
Buster Keaton
Harold Lloyd
Charlie Chaplin
Billy Wilder
etc.
etc.
etc.

Ingrid has been very amused by how irritated this has made me, and by how much time and energy I’ve spent nursing my irritation. (By blogging about it, just for example.) I’m not completely certain why it’s bugging me so much myself. After all, Top Whatever lists always provoke arguments. (Maybe that’s the difference between the good Top Whatever lists and the dumb ones — the good ones provoke smart, interesting arguments, while the dumb ones provoke nothing but the spewing of bile.)

But it’s not just that the list is irritating, or even that it’s dumb and irritating. It’s that it’s such a Perfect Symbol Of Everything That’s Wrong With Our Society. Well, maybe not a perfect symbol — global warming and secret prisons and the imperial Presidency and the increasing popularity of eating contests are probably better symbols — but a good one, anyway.

SomelikteithotIt’s the willful ignorance of it that really bugs me. I find it hard to imagine that the people at Bravo have really never heard of “Some Like It Hot” or “A Night at the Opera.” It’s much more likely that they considered them, and decided instead to pander to the 18-34 demographic. They didn’t want their audience to skew old, so they stuck their fingers in their ears and went “La la la la la” and pretended that no funny movies were made before the 18-34 year olds were born (thus insulting both the over-34 crowd for being irrelevant and the 18-34 crowd for being ignorant).

And as a result, they went on record with the assertion that “Dumb and Dumber” deserves a place in the pantheon of cinematic comedy, but “City Lights” doesn’t.

Blech.

Okay. Rant over. I’ll try to turn my outrage back to global warming and stuff now. Oh, yeah, here’s the list. Tell me what about it irks you the most!

100. Anchorman
99. The Birdcage
98. School of Rock
97. Happy Gilmore
96. Four Weddings and a Funeral
95. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
94. Waiting for Guffman
93. The Aristocrats
92. Father of the Bride
91. Revenge of the Nerds
90. Clueless
89. Slapshot
88. Team America
87. The Kentucky Fried Movie
86. Zoolander
85. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
84. Silver Streak
83. Sister Act
82. Tootsie
81. Half Baked
80. Lost in America
79. Three Amigos
78. Bananas
77. Flirting with Disaster
76. Ghostbusters
75. Dumb and Dumber
74. Trading Places
73. City Slickers
72. Moonstruck
71. Roxanne
70. The Nutty Professor (Eddie Murphy)
69. The Blues Brothers
68. Broadcast News
67. Kingpin
66. Dazed and Confused
65. Office Space
64. This is Spinal Tap
63. Manhattan
62. The Pink Panther
61. Election
60. When Harry Met Sally
59. Police Academy Series
58. Private Benjamin
57. Swingers
56. Young Frankenstein
55. Bull Durham
54. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
53. Dr. Strangelove
52. Meet the Parents
51. National Lampoon’s Vacation
50. The Princess Bride
49. American Pie
48. American Graffiti
47. 9 to 5
46. The Incredibles
45. Raising Arizona
44. Sixteen Candles
43. What About Bob?
42. Harold and Maude
41. Austin Powers
40. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
39. Mrs. Doubtfire
38. Best In Show
37. Dodgeball
36. Good Morning Vietnam
35. Beetlejuice
34. Rushmore
33. Clerks
32. Groundhog Day
31. The Big Lebowski
30. The 40 Year Old Virgin
29. Legally Blonde
28. Annie Hall
27. A Fish Called Wanda
26. Wayne’s World
25. Meet the Fockers
24. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
23. Big
22. Beverly Hills Cop
21. Shampoo
20. The Jerk
19. Wedding Crashers
18. Stripes
17. M*A*S*H
16. Old School
15. Fast Times At Ridgemont High
14. Napoleon Dynamite
13. Naked Gun Series
12. The Producers
11. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
10. Arthur
9. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
8. Blazing Saddles
7. The Wedding Singer
6. Airplane
5. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
4. There’s Something About Mary
3. Shrek
2. Caddyshack
1. Animal House

The CDC “pre-pregnancy” report — argle-bargle or fooferaw?

PrelesOkay. Dan Savage has ranted about it. Susie Bright has ranted about it. The blogosphere is supposedly going apeshit over it. And I have a giant question: Is it really that bad?

I’m talking about the recent CDC report about pre-conception health care — the one that the Washington Post reported on, the one that supposedly advises treating all women of child-bearing age as “pre-pregnant.” (BTW, that’s the Post’s phrase — the CDC doesn’t use it at all).

I read the actual report — not the Washington Post story about the report, not the opinion pieces about the Post story about the report, but the actual CDC report itself. And to me, it seems pretty reasonable. Am I missing something?

Here’s my layperson’s summary of what the report actually says:

1) Most women by far (85%) in the U.S. give birth by the time they’re 44.
2) Many problems in pregancy and childbirth (birth defects, complications, premature delivery, etc.) are preventable.
3) Therefore, the health care system should be trying to, you know, help prevent them.
4) Ways to help prevent these problems include planning your pregnancies if you’re going to have them, and taking care of your health in an assortment of ways before you get pregnant.
5) This is harder for poor women, and this disparity should be recognized and addressed.

Here, I think, is the key sentence:

“Preconception care offers health services that allow women to maintain optimal health for themselves, choose the number and spacing of their pregnancies and, when desired, prepare for a healthy baby.”

Please note the “When desired.”

As far as I can tell, they’re not saying “All women are baby factories and we have to treat them as such.” They’re saying “Most women of childbearing age will eventually bear children — so we should help make this a conscious, planned choice with a good outcome.”

The one part of the report that I think is even remotely problematic is the recommendation that all women — and men, for that matter — of child-producing age be given “pre-conception health care,” regardless of whether they currently plan to have children. But given that their idea of “pre-conception health care” centers on planning ahead of time when — AND WHETHER — you’re going to have kids… well, I don’t see the bad.

The CDC is saying — it seems to me — that since (a) most women of childbearing age do wind up bearing children, and (b) many pregnancies are currently unplanned, therefore primary care providers and gynecologists (who are the medical professionals most people see most of the time) should initiate discussions about the patient’s plans — if any — for having kids, and if they want kids, help them do it in a conscious, healthy way.

Again I ask: Why is this bad?

A final key sentence: “Each woman, man, and couple should be encouraged to have a reproductive life plan.”

You know — planned parenthood.

And once again I ask: Why is this bad?

So am I missing something? I’ll admit that I didn’t painstakingly read every sentence of this report — there’s a lot of medical and public-health jargon that I didn’t understand and therefore skimmed. If anyone out there works in public health/reproductive health/related fields, or is familiar with them, or even just knows how to read a CDC report, please speak up:

Is the hysteria over this report justified — or do we all need to just chill the fuck out?

P.S. Apropos of nothing: When I was doing an image search on Google for images of pregnant women (before settling on The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians), fully one out of four images on the first search page were of Britney Spears pregnant. I don’t know what that says about us as a society, but it can’t be good.

Dream diary, 5/21/06: Cream pie and Star Trek

Cream_pieDream #1: I dreamed that Ingrid was teaching me how to make a cream pie filling out of frozen waffles, Cool Whip, and frozen fish. It was important that you use the right kind of frozen fish, and you had to use two different kinds. The filling was suprisingly tasty, but somewhat bland, and Ingrid was explaining how to add flavor — there was a complicated formula, things like “To make it taste like blueberries, you have use coffee.”

StartrekDream #2: I was trying to convince the buyers at my job (Last Gasp, the small press/alternative book and comic distributor) that we had to carry every Star Trek magazine that was published, and to take all of them to all the book conventions we attended.

I seem to be dreaming a lot lately about food and pop culture. I don’t know what this means.

How Fred Flintstone Got Home, Got Wild, and Got a Stone Age Life — what does it mean?

FredflintstoneSo if you read the New Yorker, you probably read the Opal Whatsername parody in Shouts and Murmurs, How Fred Flintstone Got Home, Got Wild, and Got a Stone Age Life. I spent much of Mother’s day with Ingrid, her mom, and her mom’s partner trying to figure out all the literary references… but although I usually think of myself as somewhat well-read — and think of Ingrid and Judy and Lori in that category as well — we could only come up with maybe a third of the them.

I Googled the title, assuming someone somewhere would have out an answer key online… but I couldn’t find one.

So do you know any of the literary references in this parody? If you do, please post them here.

The ones we got:

“Afoot and lighthearted, he took to the open road…” Ingrid thinks this is On the Road, but none of us are sure.

“Stonecutter for the world, toolmaker, stacker of meat…” Chicago by Carl Sandburg.

“It was the best of times, it was the first of times…” Tale of Two Cities, Dickens.

“Keep on truckin’” – Robert Crumb.

“See Dino run. Run, Dino, run.” -Whatever the title of that stupid Dick and Jane book is.

“Let us go then, Hominidae…” Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot. (I almost wrote “Love Scone.” Oops.)

“What makes Fred run?” I assume this is What Makes Sammy Run, but haven’t read it so am not positive.

“Wilma, light of his life, fire of his loincloth…” Lolita, Nabakov.

“Once again at midnight nearly, while Fred pondered weak and weary…” The Raven, Poe. (I can never hear this without thinking about the Simpsons…)

“And so he beat on, fists against the granite, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” -The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald.

So what are the rest of the references? Help, please!

Dream diary, 5/12/06: Aaron Eckhart and the evil BART ticket machine

Aaroneckhart_2I dreamed I was having dinner with Aaron Eckhart (the actor: “Thank You for Smoking,” “In the Company of Men”). He was intelligent and charming, but also very snarky, and he kept asking trick questions and openly gloating when I answered wrong. He lived in this cramped, very messy apartment in San Francisco, and served me bacon and eggs and sliced bananas for dinner. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by telling him I didn’t eat pork, and decided it was ethically okay to eat it if someone gave it to me who didn’t know that, so I ate it anyway.

BartAfter dinner, I tried to take BART home, but the BART ticket machine was dispensing candy and sodas as well as tickets: I pushed the wrong button, and the machine spewed out a huge stream of little hard candies, as well as a Coke. I spent most of the rest of the dream trying to make the machine give me an actual BART ticket, and trying to fit the enormous pile of candies into my purse.

Truth is grosser than fiction: The Thorax Cake

So the other day I was googling “cake,” looking for the women who throw the feminist stripper parties… and about the tenth entry from the top on Google, I saw this phrase:

“This year I decided to go the whole hog and make an entire thoracic cavity cake.”

Naturally, I immediately abandoned my search for boring old feminist stripper parties, and instead followed this bright new trail in search of the pleasures it might bring. The road less travelled, and all that. (I’m sure Robert Frost was talking about thoracic cavity cake Websites when he wrote that…)

I’ll warn you — the picture below is gross. Amazing, but gross. (Do click to enlarge — the level of detail is stunning.)

Thoraciccake

There is, in fact, an entire multi-section Web page devoted to this thing — including details on how it was made (it took hours and hours of work), the event it was made for… and, of course, many more pictures, both of the finished product and the steps along the way. It’s here:

http://www.theyrecoming.com/extras/pumpkinfest03/

I don’t really know what else to say. I’m kind of speechless. All I can say is: I love people. People are so deeply weird, it kills me. I love that people will spend hours and hours making something this elaborately grotesque, only to offer it to their friends the next day to be eaten. (Well, okay, and to photograph it and put it on their Website… but still.) We can be such a beautiful, obsessive, profoundly odd species, and as fucked-up as we are, there are times when I feel blessed to be part of it. And discovering that I share the planet with the creator of the thoracic cavity cake was definitely one of those times. Mazeltov.

Dream diary, 5/4/06: Voldemort’s glasses

PotterI dreamed that Harry Potter had found Voldemort’s glasses, and was convinced that this was a major key to defeating him. He was trying to contact the other members of the Order of the Phoenix to let them know about the glasses, but was having trouble getting around, since BART had just added a new line and the maps were confusing.

I woke up thinking, “I need to get a life.”