May Cobbler Be With You

In which I launch the blook!

And I reminisce on the Zumbathon...

And a movie starring TINA FEYwants to use Renaissance Woman as set decoration!  
renwom 2
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Total Eclipse of the Son

As the light weakened yesterday evening, I got this sorry feeling in the pit of my stomach, being one of those who gets S.A.D. when the light goes. But my husband whipped up an eclipse box, neighbors came out, and soon we were all playing with the little crescent-shaped shadows the sun made everywhere as the world didn't end.

I remembered a solar eclipse twenty-some years ago that occurred just as I was pondering making a move with a guy I liked. I heard on the radio that from a psychic point of view when the sun and moon cross, it's a good augur for male/female relations. Here we were, playing with the sun and our son.  Throughout the evening I realized how often our smaller problems often eclipse our bigger ones.


Caveman Fever

I've just had the most interesting conversation with my old roommate, Daniel Suelo, who is now very famous for giving up money. (No, that's not why we stopped living together.) I kidnapped him after his booksigning last night, so I could give him some free stuff and feel good about myself. (Actually, I wanted him to meet my family.) And now the time comes for him to get back to San Francisco so he can meet up with the author of his biography and get on to the next stop on their freakishly popular (thank you, the 99%) book tour.

Rockin' the new caveman fan fashion trend....
Daniel and I reminisced about living in a six-person household in Boulder, Colorado in the mid 1980s. We were a ragtag bunch of ungrounded youth, unsure of what to do with our lives, collected by my big brother Damian, who had met Daniel in a Religion course at CU. All we wanted to do was talk philosophy, listen to the new Sting solo album, and eat leftover rice from The Harvest, Boulder's most happening natural restaurant, where my little brother Felix was a busboy. We managed to get along okay with little to no money, not (of course) by choice, being resourceful and helping each other through our problems. We built important life skills together, like home dentistry. (Today's Obamacare kids have it so easy, enjoying dad's health insurance 'til age 26!)

Boulder has, or at least had, at the time, anti-commune laws leftover from the 1960s, so when the landlord found out there were six unrelated people living together in his suburban home, he evicted us. Before we moved, we contemplated easier solutions. For example, since three of us were related already, I could just marry Daniel, and then the household would be over 50% related. It was almost worth it to get married just so we could hyphenate our names: "Daniel and Kristen Shellabarger-Baumgardner." Even better: Shellabaum-Gardnerbarger.

Back to today. Since my almost-hubby doesn't use money, I'm planning to give him the gift of a BART ticket. But hmmm.... He has to make a Muni connection. How to deal with that? Daniel's choice to break up with money brings up so many curious and interesting questions. (FAQs are here.) Is it aesceticism or aestheticism? How do you live in a mindset of acceptance? What if you break your leg? How do you eat a thistle? We discussed the many options of him getting from BART to Muni. Would he hop the train? Could he stand around with the book in his hand and hope someone came up to offer him a ticket? Hold up a sign that says, "I don't use money. Help me get on this train."

I've been peppering him with questions all morning, (help him train for the Santa Cruz audience, of course,) but now I really want to know: "Do you EVER use money, if someone gives it to you?"

He replies, "sometimes people will give me money to buy something they need, but I don't use it to buy something for myself."

"So, If I gave you $2, could you buy a Muni ticket for my friend Daniel?" Ha HA! I trapped him with my clever logic! He grins and blushes, deeply.

But I don't want to be the one to come between a man and his art—and I do believe he is living his art. I'll just give him a ride and enjoy the adventure.


Barefoot Avengers (a.k.a. "The Perilous Pumps of Pepper Potts)

I was a little grumpy getting dressed to go see The Avengers today. Inspired by the viral pics of Avenger eyes that populated Pinterest this week, I wanted to dress up a bit to see the movie my family's been waiting for since the tag on the first Ironman movie in 2007. But I don't have a Marvel favorite like the boys do. Donald wore his cool Tony Stark shirt with the glow-in-the-dark Arc Reactor and Dave, of course, Spiderman.

"Black Widow?" Dave suggested.

"Boring," I said, wondering if I could fashion sort of a Thor-ette fur cape; I always had a thing for Valkyries. "I wear black three times a week." With a sigh, I pulled out my red leather boots and Wonder Woman t-shirt, even though she's so DC.

I love Ironman. I want to be Tony Stark just as much as my son does... the cars, the gadgets, the architecture, the careless brilliance, the charm, and of course: the fun fun flying! But I confess I spent much of the first movie worrying about the perilous pumps of Pepper Potts. I could really relate to Stark's uber-competent administrative assistant, without whom he's nothing; I've been there many-a-time. But those fuck-me pumps really put her in grave danger. There she was in the third act, racing through the Arc Reactor lab, thinking on her feet, so physically and emotionally vulnerable on those spindly legs, running from danger. And then it blows up, and action moves back to Tony in his super-suit fighting with Obadaiah Stain in his super-duper suit, and all I can think about is: did Pepper's heels get caught in those metal grates? I am so relieved to see her again, when she appears to put band-aids on Tony's face.

I really loved when Natalia "Natasha" Alianovna Romanova, a.k.a. the Black Widow, showed up in the second movie. For one thing, she and Pepper never really competed, which is what Hollywood tends to make pretty and competent women do whenever they're in a room together, as if there is only room for One Per Movie or Man. (In real life, smart/gorgeous/amazing women adore and inspire and bond with each other.) The movie passed the Bechtel Test in the first scene Natsasha shows up, when Pepper is interviewing her about her mad skills with professional respect. And when she fought... she fought in flats! I know there's some sort of weird respect for superheroines who fight in high heels... but anyone who's ever broken a board (or a face) knows that your power comes from your balance, and the soles of the feet are as important as an open, sensing palm.

So when I saw Pepper in the opening scene of The Avengers, I nearly made a fool of myself by standing up and applauding when I saw her walking around the penthouse lab in cutoffs and...yes, bare feet! I don't know if there was any sort of "pregnant and..." implication here, but to me, a girl who spent shoeless summers running around fields and gravel creek beds and jumping on horses...this was a symbol of feminine power realized.

That is the ONLY spoiler you'll get in this review, and you'll be glad to be surprised by the rest. I came out of the movie not caring what I wore; the writing was so satisfying and layered I won't need to see another movie for a week. Or two. But I still wonder how to beg my Marvel-ous movie contemporaries (I was born in the same year as Joss Whedon so, it's almost like I know him) to introduce a new strong female character to the Avengers. Someone with total earth powers and the ability to heal and nurture life. Someone with a good costume.