15 March 2008

relentlessly melting

the springing of hope, originally uploaded by McBeth.

To take a photograph is to participate in another person's mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time's relentless melt.

-- Susan Sontag

14 March 2008

chaff and grain

bison breath, originally uploaded by McBeth.

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.

--George Eliot

12 March 2008

Left versus Right, revisited

Several months ago I wrote about my frustration with right-handed products created with little consideration for left-handed application. I drank a can of V-8 tomato juice two days ago and, while I did, I had a sense that there was some sort of pernicious righty-lefty issue with my refreshing beverage but it wasn’t until a full day later until I figured out what it was.

Take a peek.

This first image is of the can as you might see it were you holding the can in your right hand. The opening on the can’s top in the image is similar to where it would be positioned if you had the can in your right hand all ready to take a slug.

The V-8 logo and visual imagery are positioned on the side of the can such that the consumer will more likely have visual connection with image and logo each time the can is raised to the mouth. "Oh, lookit how great I am, all drinking this delicious and nutritious V-8!" There is also a greater likelihood that anyone standing in front of or to the general left of the consumer will also get an eyeball full of logo and product placement. YOU AREN’T AWARE OF IT YET, BUT JUST LIKE YOUR FRIEND IS DOING RIGHT NOW, YOU’LL SOON WANT TO DRINK THIS BEVERAGE.

In contrast, let’s look at the left-handed V-8 drinker’s perspective:

What a left-handed person would see while raising the can to his lips is this inside section of the same can. The ingredients list. The parent company information.

Hang on, hang on, I need a moment to collect myself. Terribly exciting stuff here. What? You don’t say! I notice in the information panel and the bar code section here that the Campbell Soup Company is located in Camden, NJ! No kidding- Camden? Whyyy just the other day I was thinking about Newark, which is located in New Jersey, which is the same state that CAMDEN is in! What are the odds?!

Okay, so to be fair I will give a ^5 to Campbell Soup Company’s advertising design department for having such consideration for their left-handed consumers that they’d consider us valuable enough to let us in on the important special product details. Unless you’re standing to the right side of a right-handed V-8 drinker it’d probably take you a while to figure out that this delicious thick tomato beverage has been Pasteurized for Premium Quality, and if you ARE the right-handed V-8 consumer you’re in dangerous lack of information territory, pal. “The picture I get to see each time I tip the can to my lips is pretty and all”, you think to yourself, “but is this beverage safe to drink? How can I tell if it is a premium quality beverage?”

I know what you’re thinking, and it’s okay. You’re right, I could be overreacting, yes. But if there’s really nothing to it, then why didn’t the can ad design team line up the sipping hole with the logo, or opposite it?

Mmhmm. Thass' what I thought.

11 March 2008

early thaw

melted gold, originally uploaded by McBeth.

The ripple of lake sounds, like intimacies breathed
twinkle by sparkling twinkle
in my ear this morning
ebb twisting itself over flow…

You above me
In front of me
behind me rocking
looking at all of me, your early morning repast
hungry shore birds, in fluttering anticipation

You, formidable glacier,
dripping dripping
melting, streaming off
warm flesh melts
awakens and eddies
condenses to rejoin with me,
warm flesh, waiting all those frost-suspended months

sweating, revealing
robustly starting,
claiming, continuing,
given to wanting
giving in to being wanted.

Lazily paddling your finger oar
in circles
through reedy lowlands
to the clearing
deep and wide
on the other side
of oh yes

Lap longingly
bid me dive
unclothed and carefree
into the first fervid waters
of the new season

10 March 2008


I talked myself out of going to the gym Friday.
I did the same thing Saturday.

Yesterday afternoon I dressed in my fat-squishing, supposedly slimming black lycra and spandex blend gym leggings, along with the rest of the accoutrement. I had a feeling that my disappointment in myself for not having exercised the previous two days would have more of an effect if I was dressed in the official gym attire.

Before I convinced myself to get out of the house and take myself in my fat containment pants to the appropriate place, I simply HAD to wash two loads of laundry, clean the litter boxes, wash a sinkful of dishes and it was imperative that I tidy up my bedroom, but eventually it worked.
I went.

A starchy crisp power broker business looking woman approached a machine I sat my gloves and towel down on. She looked ticked off, flipping her head back and forth in a 'okay, whose stuff is this, gedditouddahere NOW' gesture. I was standing on the other side of the machine not sure how she couldn't see me right there.

Her: Are these your things?
Me: Yes.
Her: Well were you using this machine?
Me: I am, yes. Currently, in fact. Right now. Using the machine. I mean, I picked up that tipped-over bottle of disinfectant over there, but yes I am going to use the machine now.
Her: (harrumph)

Her persnickety crab appleness kinda cracked me up; her harrumphing and stomping must work for her elsewhere, but not so much with me who was thinking 'suit yourself. harrumph until the cows come home, sister'. But then she didn't leave. She stayed planted, watched me, waited. Near the end of my first set (12 reps) I guessed she thought I wasn't doing things fast enough because she harrumphed and power broker walked away. Set 2, somewhere around the 9th rep she returned to stare while she waited. Because *I* know I do three sets *I* knew I was about to take a 2 minute break before my last set. She, however, did not know this and seemed displeased when I didn't hand the machine over to her immediately. She stood and stared at me the entire last set. I wiped down the machine with disinfectant spray and as I did that I felt a horribly itchy temptation to say something biting and snotty to power broker lady. When my mouth opened I was surprised to hear 'THANK YOU. for being patient. I APPRECIATE it' come out. (hunh? how'd that slip out?)

Not 15 minutes later I approached a big weird contraption that has pulleys attached on one end to hand grips and on the other end, to the weights. I looked around, nobody there, no personal items there -- not being used, I decided. Hopped on, finished the first set and stopped to take the 2 minute break, at which time a big shouldery guy, wearing on long chains, two outlandishly large Star of David pendants that clanked together when he moved, approached.

Him: you done here?
Me: mm, nope.
Him: oh. well I was using this machine.
Me: when?
Him: just now. I was using this machine. It's okay, it's okay, no problem.
Me: I'm not sure I understand. When I first got here I saw no personal items and no people at it. I took that to mean the machine was available. Did I misinterpret?
Him: oh (heh heh), I vary my routine by doing multiple sets at different machines. I was just here, then (gesturing) I went over there, now I'm back here for my next set.
Me: Oh.
Him: So whaddaya say we trade off? You can do your next set, then I'll do mine.
Me: What?
Him: (repeats)
Me: (silent pause for puzzlement) Um, okay, I guess? I don't understand what could be so incredibly urgent that you cannot wait 5 minutes for me to finish, but I guess it's not a big deal.

We took turns, him first. He looked smug, plugging the pin into the very highest peg available between the weights. I'm sure he was lifting like 6 jillion pounds, which honestly would have been impressive but for the fact that his form was crappy and he didn't do the reps slowly enough. (because I'm such a gym rat that I can justify standing in judgment of others?) Oh, and that he was a pushy ass. That didn't help. Lots of show, little substance, I figured.

When he finished he did a big 'wow, wasn't I just fabulous hefting all that weight' whhheewwwwww exhale and didn't bother disinfecting the equipment after he'd finished. I can only assume he thought he was being helpful by resetting the pin to where I'd had it set, but he was wrong, plugged it into the '20 pounds' peg when I'd been pulling 50 pounds. I smiled and thanked him, then put the pin in the appropriate 'hey, I'm a girl but I am way stronger than THAT' peg. Jerk.

A while later I changed into my swimsuit in the locker room, puzzling over both encounters, wondering if there was some philosophical lesson I should have taken from them.
I mostly hoped that both had left the building.

I laughed out loud upon entering the pool area: both of the pushy shovey crabbertons were suited up and walking slow laps against the current in the oval shaped resistance pool - the one thing I'd set my sights on starting with. Okay, haha Universe, boy howdy, that was a good one. I get the picture. I can start somewhere else. I GET it.

The rest went alright.

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