Monthly Archives: January 2016

Banana Split

First, she came for our bees. Now she’s back for our bananas. But what we repeatedly fail to see is we’re the ones she’s really after. Mother Nature’s making it personal, by killing off our most precious resources first, so she can watch us writhe and suffer and eventually die in a world devoid of flavor, nourishment and everything we ever loved. Not unlike God, after creating humans, the cherry on top of the beautiful garden he cultivated. Before he realized how badly he’d fucked up and decided to start over by mopping up the mess he’d made, AKA the holy flood.

Except unlike God and the flood, what we perceive as attacks by Mother Nature are indirectly our own doing. Just like when Mama used to take your toys away. You had to give her a reason to. You were probably misusing them. Maybe you were being too possessive of them. Perhaps you weren’t taking proper care of them. In any case, you were being naughty, and Mama had to teach you a lesson. Maybe we can have our bananas back if we learn our’s.

So what might that lesson be? I’m glad you asked.

The banana you know and love today is inferior in every way to the ones our parents and / or grandparents knew and loved a half a century ago. The Gros Michel, or Big Mike, as it was called—better-tasting and longer-lasting than today’s banana—was the world’s banana of choice until the mid-1900s. It was the standing champion of all bananas for decades of export and distribution, until it was struck by Mother Nature’s first blow to the groin of the industry. The Panama Disease.

The deadly fungus wiped out our beloved better-banana and left us only with a shittier runner-up. The Cavendish, another cultivar of the same fruit, which is inadequate in every way except for its immunity to Panama disease. Granted, it’s still delicious and one of the most-consumed crops across the globe. So we proceeded to breed a global monoculture of Cavendish bananas, when we should have been breeding  more genetic variation, on the off chance that the Panama Disease adapts a new, more deadly strain that threatens the one and only banana we grow.

Which is exactly what predictably has happened. The “second coming” of the fungus, known today as TP4, has already swept across South-east Asia and is spreading fast. Containing the fungus is unrealistic, considering it spreads naturally in storms. Facing the imminent death of the Cavendish banana, we must determine an alternative.

Knowing, as I do, nothing about the breeding of bananas or parthenocarpy or any of that genetic crap, I’m in no place to determine or even speculate such an alternative. But someone better. And surely, someone will, but depending on who, and how, I have my doubts about the soundness of whatever solution might eventually be proposed. Nature already gave us a second chance with the Cavendish after we fucked up the Gros Michel, by relying globally on a single genetic variation of our favorite fruit. And what did we do? The same exact thing. Round two. And what happened to our second-chance banana? The same exact thing.

So surely the answer is to breed more variations of bananas, so if one strain falls victim to the plague, we will have others to replace it. Easier said than done, I’m sure. I always sucked at biology, but the psychic in me foresees a looming opportunity for Monsanto. Genetic modification of food is another dangerous game we like to play, that’s already costing us some of our favorite toys. Take corn, for instance. Go try to buy some genetically unaltered corn. Good luck. Genetically modified corn threatens to dominate and wipe out natural varieties, because it’s bred to be superior. Survival of the fittest. (Or at least that’s as far as my limited and somewhat abstract understanding of GMOs can conceive.) How long before No-GMO is no no longer an option? How long before Mother Nature takes all our original toys away? How many times does the banana have to split before it’s gone forever?

Imagine it. A life with no bananas. No more banana bread. No more banana splits. No more banana milkshakes. No more banana pancakes. Jack Johnson’s famous hit. Every cartoon character that’s ever slipped on a banana peel. Every dick joke that’s been born from this gorgeous, phallic fruit. All meaning will be lost on future generations, born into a sad, cold, potassium-deficient world.

Now imagine the opposite. Imagine a world full of bananas as diverse as man and their dicks. Bananas of all varieties of size and shape and color. Subtle differences of texture and taste. Where before there was only one, there would be a menu of options. A breeding ground of creativity for culinary geniuses. And me, devouring their new creations.

As I said before, I’m no expert on genetic bio- banana stuff. And I’m no psychic either, as much as I may delude myself to be. Ultimately, I’m just a blogger, and a lover of bananas, and I just want you to know that they’re in trouble. And just to drill my message in a little deeper, here’s some internet-wisdom to remind you just how much you love bananas, and how sad you’d be to see them go.

When men are staring at you while you’re eating a banana..

Posted by WTF did i just watch?

Last Meal

NoDeadAnimals

Sometimes, I like to get away from people. Sometimes I like to hike in the woods, or dip in the ocean, and be alone in the natural world, untouched by the reckless, destructive hands of other humans. Naturally, animals like doing these things, too. So on the off chance that one day I become a meal for a hungry critter passing by, I just want it to be known, for the record, that my dying wish is for the animal who ate me to go free, and not be euthanized.

I’ve fallen victim of no such snacking, so far, but I say this now because if and when I do, I’ll be in no condition to espress this dying wish after the fact. Cause I’ll be dead. So if it happens, I just want you all to know I am at peace with the circumstances of my passing. The animal who ate me was right to do so. The animal was hungry, and I was delicious. Plus, I’m the dumbass who wandered alone into the wild. Not your land. Not my land. The shared, free land we all inhabit.

The animal who ate me only did what the universe put it here to do: Survive. Sometimes, surviving involves eating. You and I both know this. This shouldn’t come as news. This is Fat Saturday, for fuck’s sake. A day reserved exclusively for food-related news.

People eat to survive. Some people eat animals. Animals eat to survive. Sometimes, animals eat people. It’s called the circle of fucking life. It’s only fair. So whether I die in the jaws of a shark or the claws of a grizzly bear, let the record show that the animal who took my life is not at fault. Don’t let it  pay for my life with its own. Don’t make me the killer. Don’t make me responsible for the death of an innocent being. Having gone my whole life (so far) without murdering anyone, it would be a real bummer to discover my final act on this earth resulted in a murder, compromising the clean record I’ve worked my whole life to maintain. Should my body be an animal’s last meal, you can rest assured that justice was NOT served.

In fact, dying to feed a hungry wild beast comes second only to dying warm and cozy in my bed of old age. I want to die doing what I love, seeing the world, exploring the wild. When I die, I want my body returned to earth as soon as possible. Being digested and shit out by a family of bears would certainly speed up this process. And if I’m dying anyway, why not make a meal out of it? Feeding the hungry would be a noble way to go.

Lastly, I just want to remind you all the land you walk, the body you walk in, and the life you live are borrowed. Not owned. Not unlike the food you eat. Humans live by their own rules of possession, entitlement, justice, right and wrong, but at the end of the day, we die by nature’s rules. If you can hunt an animal, an animal can sure as fuck hunt you. Don’t think you call the shots just because you hold the gun.

Martin Luther King Jr Way

MLKJrWay

A couple years ago, I wrote about diversity and segregation in my high school. I wrote about what I think drives us apart. I don’t think the segregation at my school came from a place of racism or hate. I think it came from a place of insecurity and fear. Fear of not fitting in.

A bunch of students filtered into my high school from a bunch of different middle schools. My middle school class had been predominantly white. When we got to high school, most students clung to the students they already knew. The ones they already fit in with. Maybe when people find security within their in-group, they might feel less inclined to seek acceptance from an out-group, where there’s more risk they won’t fit in, because they’re different.

Fortunately for me, I was always the outcast, picked-last-for-gym-class, middle school reject. I never fit in with my prescribed “in-group,” so my fear of not fitting in had already been confirmed by “my own kind,” so I was less confined to my color. My social insecurity doesn’t discriminate, you could say. All people, of all colors, are equally likely to dislike me. But I guess I was a special case.

Ultimately, our campus was visibly divided into ethnic territories. Ironically, the walls of our hallways were inscribed with words, like ‘Empathy,’ ‘Compassion’ and ‘Acceptance,’ which were artfully juxtaposed against the students passing through them, as if to shame us, and to show us what we’re failing to do, mocking us for passing up this opportunity thousands of people risked their lives to give us. Us, the students. We, the people, walking together but separate, misunderstood and hidden underneath our hoods.

The truth is, I can’t claim to know what force divides us. Maybe it’s fear of not fitting in. Maybe it is racism, after all. Maybe it’s institutionalized, implicit discrimination. But if MLK were here today, walking the halls of my high school, as proud as he might be to see us all united on one campus, under one roof, how ashamed would he be to see us all divided, self-segregated, on one campus, under one roof? After everything he fought for. After everything he gave his life to give us, don’t let insecurity be the thing standing between you and King’s dream coming true. Bigger, bloodier battles have been fought than you not fitting in.

Wes Side Story

Living in suburban Redwood City, as I do, I’m under constant fire from my neighbors for parking in front of their houses, or picking their oranges, unforgivable offenses my neighbors refuse to tolerate. They typically attack with angry notes left on my windshield or gate, and the occasional nail gun to my tires, anything to avoid a direct confrontation. All but one of my neighbors have proven to be total dicks. All but Camel-puffing, hoodie-wearing Wes, the one and only neighborly neighbor I’ve yet to encounter on my block.

The pile of oranges anonymously left for me by my neighbor Wes, minus the three I've already eaten
The pile of oranges anonymously left for me by my neighbor Wes, minus the three I’ve already eaten

One of the most frustrating conundrums of my neighborhood has always been the oranges. I don’t even like oranges. I’ve always disliked them, since my childhood when I once unknowingly swallowed and choked on a couple seeds. I’ve avoided oranges ever since. Plus, I just don’t like oranges. But my neighborhood is full of orange trees. And one summer day, I was getting dehydrated on the long trek home from downtown and resorted to an orange out of sheer desperation. It was delicious, and more importantly, it was seedless.

I stalked my neighborhood, in hot pursuit of oranges, scoping out which trees were within reach of the sidewalk and taste-testing samples from each one for quality. Some were a bust, but other were just as yummy and seedless as the first, and none more so than the ones at Wes’s house, two doors down from mine. The conundrum of the oranges is that all of them reside, uneaten and untouched, teasing me from the private property of the neighbors who protect those wasted oranges with their lives.

Except for Wes. Among the many oranges I’ve stolen, I’ve also come up on a shopping basket from my local Safeway, which has come in very handy hauling other stolen goods. One morning, just over a year ago, I knocked on the neighbor’s door, basket in hand, oranges on branch, and Wes answered. I asked if I could pick some oranges. He said, “Sure, help yourself.”

This was probably the first time these three words were uttered on my street. And help myself, I did. I filled that basket.

Anyway, the other day, I received an anonymous bag of the best oranges on the Wes Coast, and I know who they’re from, and this is just to espress my thanks to Wes for being a good person in a sea of fucking assholes. He even apologized that one time his step-dad left a mean note on my car.

It’s that easy. If you’re a fucking asshole with an orange tree, ask yourself, would you really rather see that good fruit fall and rot on your front lawn than see the smile you could put on someone’s face if you would share? Wes may not be rich or famous, but he’s a good neighbor, and that’s more than a lot of Americans can say for themselves. Thank you, Wes. Hope you don’t mind I shared your story.

Lion Queen

I recently read about a lioness with the roar and mane of a male lion. The belief is that she, and a few other known female lions, have adopted these male attributes because they give them an evolutionary advantage. These ladies look and sound like males, making them more of a threat, and therefore better able to protect their young. It’s nice to know other species adhere to the same patriarchy we do. In any case, it made me wonder what male attributes I have adopted that might give me some societal advantage. (When I say “male attributes,” I don’t necessarily mean innately male traits. I sometimes refer to attributes society prescribes to and associated with men. Let the stereotypes ensue.)

 

TALK LIKE A MAN

Speak up. Be loud. Say no. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t wait to speak until spoken to. Don’t apologize. And don’t return that bitch’s calls.

 

PLAY LIKE A MAN

Player. Not slut. Not whore. Note the distinction. I’m also known to be a real “gentleman.” I hold doors open for anyone, regardless of their gender. It’s called common courtesy.

 

MY FLAT CHEST

It’s no secret that I have small breasts. I spent years in denial, waiting for my boobs to bloom. Following years were spent despising women with big breasts. Which seemed to be most women. However, recent years have been spent loving my breasts just as they are. And whereas some women are barely seen or heard behind their breasts, my flat chest makes the rest of me more visible. If small breasts mean people take me more seriously, then yes, they give me an advantage. Sadly, we live in a world where big breasts tend to distract us from the women they’re attached to.

 

MY HULK HANDS

Don’t be fooled by my spaghetti arms, because they carry hands of steel. As a 9-month-old baby I was known by my parents to lift large, heavy objects. True story. I can shred chicken with my bare fingers, fresh out of the oven. As a barista, my fingertips are no longer affected by temperature. My nails are long, thick, and hard, not unlike the perfect cock. I am a hazard to touch-screen technology. My hands are tough, cracked, callused, muscular and meaty. Manly hands, one might say, but nonetheless, a woman’s touch. Whatever that means.

 

MY HOBBIT FEET

Similarly to my hulk hands, my hobbit feet are fortified beneath impenetrable calluses, extending clear across the bottom of each foot, rendering shoes unnecessary. Whereas women may be known to wear their hearts on their sleeves, I wear my soles on my bare feet. Whether my refusal to wear shoes resulted in the subsequent toughness of my feet, or the toughness of my feet predisposed me to prefer not to wear shoes remains unknown. I drive, climb boulders and walk my dog barefoot. Born in the year of the monkey, my hobbit feet have also been deemed monkey feet on behalf of their extraordinary grip. I wear size ten. You know what they say about a woman with big feet? …Nothing. Because the men get all the press.

 

MY DADDY’S MANEPink

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Beautiful New Year

The raccoon is you. The cotton candy is 2015, and the puddle of water is the Happy New Year, which came too soon, as usual. I don’t know about you, but I’m mourning the passing of 2015. 2016 has enormous shoes to fill. It was a good year for personal reasons, but also a pivotal point, and dare I say a year of triumph, for a heap of outgroups who in prior years have been deprived the visibility and recognition they deserve. Vogue declared 2015 “The Year of Trans Visibility.” The Daily Dot dubbed it “A Good Year for Body Positivity,” and Bustle identifies 2015 as “The Year the Movement Went Mainstream.” Similarly, 2015 was the first year a movement of women dared to publicly speak up about their abortions.

Reflecting back on last year, 2015 was a year of victory and courage. Those who were outcast to the margins in the past are finally shining in the spotlight. Last year, (some of) the disempowered were empowered. They were seen and heard louder, further and wider than ever. New and more diverse idols have pervaded entertainment. The spike in media appearances of these “other” categories starts the conversation. Social media spreads it.

Friends share stories. Spread ideas. Challenge norms. People who used to be primarily excluded from the conversation are now being exposed to bodies that resemble their own, people who suffer the same abuse, discrimination, exclusion, shame, and pain as they do. People are relating. We’re finally learning to see other people as people. Accepting them. Supporting them.

Not all of us, obviously, but a lot of us. Enough of us to change the context. The same large bodies that were formerly confined to before pictures are suddenly strutting down the runways, landing headlines and magazine covers. Succeeding. Transgender individuals, the former “freaks,” are now being cast as leading roles. Succeeding. The “others” now have an audience who love them.

And although the fight for equal acceptance continues and may never truly end, more and more battles for beauty are being won. More and more people are accepting, opening up and tuning in. These movements are gaining momentum with no sign of slowing down. Who knows how far 2016 might take us. We have the hashtag to thank for this.

#EffYourBeautyStandards

#BlackIsBeautiful

#TransIsBeautiful

#FatGirlsCan

#LoveYourBody

#LoveYourLines

#ShoutYourAbortion

    The list goes on. Millions of individuals, united under one hashtag. Social media, as much as it distances us, also connects us. It shows us what we have in common. Just look at the progress it’s empowered, and how rapidly it’s spreading. We the people demand more diversity in our media feed, and we got it. Slowly but surely, it’s being supplied. Conventional beauties are making room on the stage for real bodies. Body-positive movements have spiked awareness, inspired acceptance and driven an undeniable societal shift, the very societal shift body-positive-activist Jes Baker predicted.

To me, this progress is validating, because it means my words might actually have some impact on the handful of people that actually read them. People have the power to change, and to be changed, and we have the body positive cause to prove it. So phasing out of body-love’s best year so far, at full speed, and with no sign of slowing down, all I can say is: Bring it, 2016. And make it beautiful.

Open Letter to Men with Little Dicks

Dear Dudes with Little Dicks,

I know it may seem like you drew the short straw regarding your dick. Indeed, you did. You may feel resentful of your less-than-average sized penis. You may fear your small cock handicaps your sex life. You might worry your dick will be inadequate, a disappointment, unable to satisfy. To some, it will be, but not to me. Whether your dick is a disappointment remains to be seen, just the same as any man with any dick of any size. All I want from your cock is a quality performance.

That is, assuming I want your cock at all. I may not, for reasons that have nothing to do with the size of your dick. But if I’m interested in you, and I’ve invested time getting to know you, and if I decide I want your dick, the dimensions of your dick won’t change my mind. Your small dick is not deal-breaker. How you use it might be. How you talk to me might be. How you treat me might be. Any number of things might be the reason I decide never to see you again, but your dick-size won’t be one of them.

Sure, it may kill your boner and ruin your night when you reveal your dick to someone new for the first time and they make some insensitive comment, like “Yours is so much more…manageable than the other guys I hook up with,” or they suddenly come up with some excuse and bail, never to be seen again. But ultimately that just means you dodged a bullet. Little dicks only scare the shallow ones away, and you don’t want them anyway. The world is full of dudes with little dicks, and full of chicks and dudes who “don’t do” little dicks. It’s also full of people who don’t give a fuck. Find those people, and fuck them. And fuck them well. If your dick is little and you suck at using it, you’re shit out of luck.

Ultimately, you won’t perform well with someone who makes you feel insecure and inadequate. Find someone who loves your little dick. Give them a reason to love it. You might think your little dick has a disadvantage, because it has big shoes to fill, quite literally. Big dicks stuff holes better. True. But there is such a thing as too big, too. And little dicks have more mobility. Little dicks can do tricks bigger dicks can’t do. Anyone who thinks they’re too good for your dick, who discriminates based on the size of your prize, who denies you the chance to prove your worth, doesn’t know what they’re missing and never will. As it should be. They don’t deserve it.

All I’m trying to say is you’re not a vehicle for your cock, and the size of your dick doesn’t determine your worth or potential. You are just as valuable and capable as any man, and your cock is just as capable as any cock. So next time you want to bitch and moan and criticize your dick, consider your dick’s perspective. Love your dick, and be thankful you have one at all. May your cock go places no big cock has gone before.

Sincerely,

Smallest Tits in San Francisco

Get Psych’d to Write a Kick-Ass Personal Statement

If you’re currently struggling to compose a personal statement, college application essay, cover letter, resume, or any other piece of writing you might be submitting to sell yourself as the perfect candidate, you’re not alone. Writing assignments of this nature shake us to the core of our insecurities. When asked for our accomplishments and talents, we’re confronted with our averageness and inadequacies. Finding the right words means finding a balance between narcissism and modesty, exaggeration and outright lies. It’s a slow and painful form of mental torture, which I’m currently watching a close friend of mine endure at this very moment. Desperate to comfort her in any way I can, I composed this personal statement for her, inspired by Hugh Gallagher’s famous application essay to New York University from way back in the 90’s:

 

At the age of eleven, I was accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but opted for muggle school instead, to share my magic with my non-magical peers. I travel alone. I am the mother of three strays. I drink black coffee. When out of ground coffee, I have been known to use any available means, including my bare hands, to grind whole coffee beans. Everywhere I go, the soundtrack to Lord of the Rings can be heard in the background. I don’t wear a bra. I have passed lethal amounts of Tapatio and Hot Cheetos through my digestive tract, repeatedly, and survived to tell the tale. I have peacefully lived with at least two wild possums. I speak to animals, and animals speak to me. I secretly run comprehensive studies on the preschoolers I teach, and relay detailed reports of their behavior to my roommate. I make my own deodorant. I do yoga. With my dog. We call it doga. I pee anywhere, whether a restroom is available or not. Native Hawaiians think I’m from the island. I’ve managed to maintain an outwardly functional life despite the year-long secondhand high I have yet to come down from. I can pour distinct male genitalia into lattes with uncanny accuracy. I once slept in a misty parking lot. I cut my own hair. I wear mismatching socks. I once carried a fifty pound box five or six blocks, just to see if I could. I’m too cool for a lot of things, but Grad School isn’t one of them.

 

True story.

To Each Their Oprah

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Uncle Ben famously said to Peter Parker. Indeed, this fictional wisdom rings true in the real world, too. We may not have Spiderman, but we have Oprah, a superhero of her own variety, a strong, resilient, self-made success story and inspiration to many. As a result, Oprah possesses enormous power, and with it comes responsibility. Everything she does and says has a ripple effect and massive influence on her fans and followers, who are swift to adopt her ideas. Which is why women everywhere are kicking off 2016 digging for the thin woman hiding inside them.

Oprah’s Weight Watchers campaign left viewers with what might be heard as words of hope and encouragement, the push they need to shed that extra weight. But underneath the “You-can-do-it!” is the implication that you absolutely have to. Whether Oprah’s words come from a place of physical insecurity or profit-incentive, Oprah’s message reinforces beauty standards that serve only to hold women back. Women are disproportionately targeted regarding weight. Oprah singles women out. She addresses us directly, “Inside every overweight woman is the woman she knows she can be.” Men are simply not addressed, as if to suggest men are immune to body fat. They’re not. As many men are overweight as women. The only distinction is, where men have weight, women have weight problems. Men are not exempt from body fat; they’re exempt from the stigma attached to it, to which women remain disproportionately bound. Oprah’s message is the glue that binds us.

Not to say Oprah is single-handedly responsible for society’s long-standing double-standards. Not in the least. If anything, she is the victim of this pressure. But Oprah is a singular source of enormous influence, and after a year of enormous progress toward the cause of body positivity, in the space of sixty seconds, Oprah’s ad undoes the cause’s effort. After empowering so many women, especially women of color, to achieve, aspire and succeed; Oprah disempowers us by suggesting a woman’s success is conditional on her physical appearance.

In an open letter to Oprah regarding her Weight Watchers campaign, Melissa Harris-Perry calls Oprah out on her bullshit by kindly reminding her and the rest of the world, “There is not one thing that you have done that would have been more extraordinary if you had done it with a 25-inch waist.” Perry goes on to say, “I worry, as a mom, about the messages our daughters receive if they think a woman as phenomenal as you is still not enough unless she is thin.” So when Oprah describes women as “Lost [and] buried in the weight that [we] carry,” she’s blaming the weight of our bodies for holding us back, when in fact, the same women are lost, buried and held back by the weight of social pressure to be fit and beautiful.

This means women everywhere are focusing on slimming down instead of focusing on coming up. The time we could be spending studying, creating, discovering, pursuing, aspiring, achieving will instead be spent exercising, dieting, perspiring, mirror-gazing, criticizing, measuring, counting calories and inches.

I don’t think sending this negative message was Oprah’s intention. I don’t blame Oprah for succumbing to the pressure of our superficial world. It’s not Oprah’s fault her fans are so receptive to celebrity endorsements. And although I think Oprah should be mindful of her fan’s blind trust in her stamp of approval, we can’t hold Oprah accountable for the actions of thousands of fans. The success of her campaign reflects our reluctance to think for ourselves.

Just because Oprah decides to lose weight doesn’t mean that you should too. When Oprah says, “I feel that way, and I know billions of other people feel that way,” too, that has nothing to do with you. If Oprah felt like plummeting to her death off the edge of a cliff, would you do that, too? When Oprah says, “If not now, when?” maybe the question you should really be asking is “Why? If not for me, for who?” And don’t let Oprah be your answer. If you want to do something, do it for you.