Sarah Waters is in the country

April 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Remember how I was losing sleep over her new book last month?


Now she’s on tour with it. Go see her in NYC tonight, or Cambridge tomorrow. Or check this schedule. Then read the book. Then let’s talk.

112 Responses to “Sarah Waters is in the country”

  1. I was a little reluctant to make a new post…didn’t want to disrupt the remarkable free association going on with the last one.

    Ginjoint, in particular. Thank you for the virtuosic trip from that loop of vibrating, live nerve endings to mass pet cremation. And then on to list-making on PDAs!

    Though to-do lists aren’t as mundane as they might seem. As my friend the Queer Theory Professor says, we keep trying to cross off all these tasks, but getting to the end of the list of things to do means we’ll be dead.

    Or something like that. I’m not explaining it right.

  2. hairball_of_hope says:

    That’s the Astor Place Bunns & Noodles in NYC for tonight’s reading. How is anyone supposed to know where B&N #2675 is, unless they happen to know the zipcode for the store?

    Alas, I’ll be at work. πŸ™

  3. On the topic of task management, I’ve been using this elegant new system for Macs, Things. It’s taking me a while to get the hang of it, but it’s pretty good. And it syncs with my iPhone.

  4. Mame says:

    Oh Thanks Alison! I love her stuff. Can’t wait to read her new book. I will try to get to her reading in NYC.

  5. hairball_of_hope says:


    The reading tonight is at the B&N located at 33 E. 17th Street, right off 5th Ave., *NOT* the Astor Place B&N. Astor Place is #2619.


  6. Mija says:

    Using a Mac for your to-do lists? Good Golly! I am living in the stone age with my index cards and pen. But it does help me stay on-goal for big projects and planning things like a house full of people for Beltane/ Fairie Festival weekend. In fact, this weekend requires 3 separate cards. One is the over-all time line/schedule; the 2nd is the list of things which I need to procure; and the 3rd is tasks I need to accomplish.

  7. ksbel6 says:

    After the last discussion of Sarah Waters on this blog, I ordered the other 3 books she has out that I didn’t already have (I had Tipping the Velvet). I’m finished with Fingersmith (which was soooooo much better than the movie) and am starting Affinity. She is an amazing writer!

  8. ksbel6 says:

    Oh, and I’m also reading Sexual Fluidity. It is quite an interesting read for those of you who like non-fiction.

  9. Khatgrrl says:

    I find that sticky notes and a desk calendar do the trick for me. I rather enjoy the stone age. There is something comforting to me to be able to physically touch a list and then be able to cross off completed tasks.

  10. jaydee says:

    I’m one of the list sisters. I tried the palm pilot for a while but got tired of it. There’s just such a sense of accomplishment in crossing it off of a piece of paper. And seeing the list change slowly from tasks to completed task. Plus once it’s on paper, I don’t have to expend any mental energy always trying to remember what’s on my unwritten list.

  11. Alex K says:

    What a punishing schedule Ms Waters has accepted!

    I suppose that authors can’t say — “Every other day, please, and I’ll pay for the extra night’s lodging and food”. I understand that a publisher’s budget won’t stretch that far either.

    She won’t see much of the places where she’s to speak. I regret that for her.

  12. ksbel6 says:

    For those of you who prefer paper lists…I’m one of the few teachers left that actually uses a chalkboard and chalk. Most schools now have the dry-erase boards and markers. Chalk is thought to be too much of a dust creator for the technology in schools. It turns out though, that dry-wipe stuff leaves dust behind too, except it is dark. So those teachers all have this nasty black coating on their hands. Anyway, I also still use an overhead projector. They are quickly being replaced in most classrooms with Smartboards or some spinoff of those. My principal asks me at the end of every school year if I want new boards. Nope, and tell anyone that is replacing their chalkboards, that I will happily take all their old chalk. I haven’t bought chalk in the 8 years I have worked here!

  13. ksbel6 says:

    Also…from CNN…New Hampshire Senate just approved a same-sex marriage bill.

  14. Dr. Empirical says:

    In grad school I evolved a system of writing tasks on masking tape and stidking it to the back of my door. It was easy to keep sorted by due date or priority, it was the last thing I saw before leaving my room in the morning, and I had the satisfaction of peeling off each piece and throwing it away as I completed tasks.

    Nowadays, I pretty much just improvise.

  15. iara says:

    Hey, sorry to return to the bra issue, but I need to respond to some comments in the previous post.
    @Kat, Aunt Soozie and others who commiserated or offered advice – thanks very much! I think a large part of the problem is with me. You see, I have what my mother-in-law would term “large, pendulous breasts” (she used this to describe her sister’s, so it was not a direct attack…), so it is uncomfortable to even go around in the house without a bra. I like to imagine the freedom of not having to wear a bra – ever! When I think of women in the 60’s burning their bras, I am like “…but, but, what about people like me?” So, I guess I am just jealous of my daughter who is blessed with small, firm breasts (like grandma!) and have difficulty seeing why she needs to bother with all these foamy thingies.
    But I see now that there are many other aspects to this. I think I get it now!

  16. hairball_of_hope says:

    The bezels of my computer monitors are festooned with Post-Its. Some are to-do items, some are affirmations, but most are simply interesting or humorous quotes I’ve found somewhere.

    Sample: “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” – William James

    That one sits next to my priority task Post-It.

    I really prefer some old technology. Newer isn’t necessarily better. Often the old tech is entirely appropriate to the task at hand.

    Until about ten years ago, I routinely wrote letters with a fountain pen. On real stationery. Crane.

    Writing on real (and expensive) stationery with a pen that slows down my output changes the way I write. I spend more time composing in my head before committing to paper. and I don’t think it takes much more time than writing on the computer, after accounting for editing/rewriting/etc. I definitely don’t have typos or misspellings when U write by hand. Also, the fountain pen forces me to write much more neatly, instead of my horrid ballpoint scrawls.

    If teachers don’t use real chalk and chalkboards, how do they punish troublemakers? I had a chronic case of dishpan hands as a kid from having to stay late and wash the blackboard for my various transgressions in class.

    I don’t think wiping the whiteboard with that spritz cleaner is much of a Zen process as compared with getting the last bits of chalk residue washed off the chalkboard. For me, washing the board was sort of like making the rows in the Zen rock garden sand.

  17. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oh Freud strikes again… typo in my line about typos! That’s supposed to be “I definitely don’t have typos or misspellings when I write by hand.”

  18. Mija says:

    @h_o_h- I lurve me some Crane stationery! The weight, the texture, the smell, oh my! One pattern was my favorite for so long that I got it tattooed on my wrists so I would never be without the pretties. πŸ™‚ And fountain pens- don’t get me started… in college, I had one for every ink color and all my class notes were color-coorinated. I don’t have that kind of energy any more.

  19. geogeek says:

    I have taught with both chalk boards and white boards, and I’m okay with either, though most of my life is now white boards. I do miss the chalk trick I used to do: save those tiny ends of chalk, keep writing with them, and have a mint of similar size in your pocket. At some point during lecture, palm the mint and switch. Look contemplatively at the board after finishing some idea, then pop the mint in your mouth, crunch loudly, and pick up a new piece of chalk for the next step or concept. Freaks them out every time! But you have to practice a couple of times so you can keep a totally normal facial expression.

  20. an australian in london says:

    @ksbel6. Have you got to the ending of affinity yet? I felt ill for days. Still worth the read though.

  21. judybusy says:

    Waaaaah! I am in flyover country, so no Sarah Waters for me.

    I want to thank Alison and everyone for getting Waters on my radar again. We watched the movies of Affinity and Fingersmith, but now, according to ksbel 6, I have to read the book! Yum, things to look forward to….

    geogeek, very funny trick with the chalk. It lets you know who is paying attention!

  22. little gator says:

    paper. Hee. We have a small computer based home business. I keep the books on paper because it’s easier, and still handwrite checks with a pen. Cause it’s easier.

  23. Aunt Soozie says:

    Dr E… do you realize that you invented the post-it note?
    love it geogeek and also, you can’t have students outside slapping two erasers together and generating clouds of dust and potential caulk lung. Those smartboards are pretty assume though… doncha think? really fab. I love ’em.
    But, I do still adore correspondence written on real paper…and keep a paper calendar/appt. book. Need the heft, the physicality of it… just works better for me.

  24. Aunt Soozie says:

    uhm, smartboards are awesome, not assume.. whew, I’m tired!

  25. rinky says:

    You could have a separate topic thread for the book and people who haven’t read it yet could be warned not to go there and as people read it they can join the discussion. Kind of like an online book club. Don’t know if someone’s already suggested this. Haven’t read anything above and gotta go. See y’all later.

  26. Renee S. says:

    Sorry, what is the title of the book?

  27. Alex says:

    Sadly, it seems that Sarah Waters won’t be coming to Austin. I guess that’s okay, as I’m only a recent fan of hers. I swear, I could never get through Tipping the Velvet for years. I kept trying to read it over and over. It just wasn’t my thing. Then, all of a sudden, last week, I read it AND LOVED IT! And, then I read The Night Watch and loved it too! I’m currently reading Fingersmith. If I finish it by tomorrow, that will mean that I’ve read three of her books in a week! I do hope she changes her mind and comes to Texas…

  28. Renee S. says:

    Is it The Night Watch?

  29. Khatgrrl says:

    The Little Stranger… See blog in March, where Alison is reading it.

    I too tried a palm pilot when them first came out. Just ended up under a pile of papers. Never did warm to it.

  30. Renee S. says:

    oops, ordered the wrong book…well, some other good stuff to read…

  31. Renee S. says:

    But will get the Little Stranger as well

  32. Ready2Agitate says:

    I’m 10 minutes early but:
    HAPPY MAY DAY, ya’ll!
    Workers of the world unite!
    May you dance happily round the Maypole!
    Weave weave work work agitate agitate

  33. Laurel says:

    I adore Sarah Waters – I still need to get Night Watch, and of course the new one. I’m sorry to hear the movie of Fingersmith wasn’t as good as the book, ksbel6 – I was looking forward to it after seeing this vid, which I quite enjoyed:

  34. Alex K says:


    So, erm, y’all, how ’bout that Kelly McGillis?

    Rachel Lapp in “Witness”… mmmm.

  35. Juliet says:

    @geogeek – love the trick, I might try it although I HATE teaching with blackboards: chalk. everywhere.

    We had a French teacher at school who, when we were about 13, made one of my classmates eat a (whole) piece of chalk as punishment for sucking her thumb absentmindedly in class.

    Whenever I remember this story it sounds like something from the 1950s but it was about 1994.

  36. Maggie Jochild says:

    Kelly McGillis?!!!

    Makes you wonder about the set of The Accused, with her and Jodie…

  37. Pam I says:

    On writing, so this is topical – Carol Ann Duffy is the new UK Poet Laureate. The first woman in 341 years. Apparently she didnt get it last time around as T. Blair couldnt cope with the idea of a lesbian in the job.

    If you dont know what a Poet Laureate is you’ll have to google it or wait for a blog poster to fill in the gap – it’s something to do with the queen and is Top Honour. I have to zoom off to work to my bunch of 17-y-olds who wouldnt know a poem if they had to eat it to stop them chewing on their collars.

  38. Pam I says:

    PS I make to-do lists of things I’ve just done, so I can cross them off. Doesn’t everyone?

  39. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Pam I

    In the US, April is National Poetry Month. Yesterday was Poem In Your Pocket Day, and there were various events where the poems were read. Our local public radio station interviewed kids who had poems in their pockets. The Mayor joined the fun with a poem on volunteerism.

  40. Antoinette says:

    For work stuff, I use electronics. Personal correspondence and creative writing projects also — my fingers can keep up with my thoughts better.

    For homely stuff like shopping lists, I prefer paper.

  41. Ginjoint says:

    Thanks for your nice comments, Alison! I checked out Things, and it seems perfect (I especially like the Repeating To-Dos and Tags features). Definitely cool that you can use it with your iPhone. But…I only have a PC. Ergh. Perhaps it’s time for a sea change with my personal computing.

    I was interested in a PDA because I’d like something I can carry around with me, so that I can jot down/enter items as they occur to me. That last is important because I have a lousy memory, and I’ve learned I have to seize the moment when I think of something. That makes me sound really absentminded, but…I like to think of it more as easily distracted. (Oooo, shiny!) I’m also trying to use less paper in my life in general. Plus, walking around with a roll of masking tape would become cumbersome, I imagine.

    Ksbel, I’m still checking out the Motorola. Those of you who have Palms, and ended up not liking them, what didn’t work for you? And Alex, Kelly McGillis?! Did you only just see Witness?

  42. David in Cambridge says:

    The schedule at doesn’t include tonight’s Cambridge MA appearance. Try this:

  43. Khatgrrl says:

    Masking take as an accessory. It cound make a lovely bracelet. Actually, I saw a man In Saratoga Springs, NY two days ago with a roll of duct tape around his wrist, just walking down the sidewalk. I never thought that it was his to-do list. I had been thinking serial killer. (I tend to alway think positive thoughts.)

    I tend to be easily distracted…ooh, look a chicken.

  44. ksbel6 says:

    My favorite trick to do in class is to break a pencil with a dollar bill. I give this big lecture about F=ma (force equals mass times acceleration) so it doesn’t really matter about the mass as long as the acceleration is sufficient. Then I talk about all the shoulder injuries I have suffered over the years do to my insane ability to accelerate my arm, and about how important the pencil holder is, because if they give, even a little, it won’t work. I only actually perform the trick about once every 3 years. Then they are so excited by their chance to actually see it, they don’t think to notice that I’m actually using my finger πŸ™‚

    For those that care, I haven’t finished Affinity yet. I will do that over the weekend.

    @Ginjoint: you should really read Sexual Fluidity by Lisa Diamond. It will give you great hope for your crush πŸ™‚

  45. iara says:

    I find that once something is recorded on my to-do list (paper or whatever), it is almost guaranteed not to be done. It is like the kiss of death.
    but… I never stop trying to find that magical gizmo that will make me actually do the stuff that I think I want to do. “Things” looks great! Maybe that will do the trick.

  46. Kate L says:

    File this one under self-indulgent Kate L trivia. For the first time in my life, my picture is on the front page of a newspaper! πŸ™‚ I took part in the Take Back the Night anti-violence against women rally on campus last night, and a student newspaper photographer took a crowd picture with me in the background. You can see my face… part of it! Part of me appears in photo 1 of 12 in the following story link:

  47. Alex K says:

    @Kate L: That’s just teasing. If the candidate Kate (candiKate?) is the one I think she is, all I see is two square inches of forehead. Phooey.

  48. Kate L says:

    Yeah. If the photographer had been standing futher away, I probably would have been in focus, too! Anyway, technically my photograph was on the front page of a newspaper!

  49. Kate L says:

    Oh, and another thing. ‘s summary of the possible Obama nominees to replace retiring United States Supreme Court Justice David Souter says the following for my personal favorite:
    “Kathleen Sullivan Professor at Stanford (Age)53 Lesbian”

    …and all this time the only one of these facts that I knew that she was at Stanford! πŸ™‚

  50. Kate L says:

    Uh, that last sentence should have read, “…and all this time, the only one of these facts that I knew was that she was Dean of Law at Stanford!”. What a coincidence that my favorite prospective U.S. supreme court nominee should be about my age! And some other things.

  51. Ted says:

    I just found out about a new graphic novel. Studs Terkel’s Working: A Graphic Adaptation by Harvey Pekar and other artists. There was an example of one of the pages in the L.A. Times today, drawn in that old 1930’s WPA style. Sorry to go off topic but I really love Terkel’s work, not to mention graphic novels.

  52. judybusy says:

    Here is a little something on Kelly McGillis, courtesy of Dorothy Surrenders:


  53. NLC says:

    Actually, I saw a man In Saratoga Springs, NY two days ago with a roll of duct tape around his wrist […]

    Cool. Did he have a huge, bushy mustache?

    The one person I knew who did this (he always wore his roll of duct tape) was a guy named Leon Varjian who was the T.A. when I took first semester calculus (back in my misspent youth…)

    He was known around town (Indiana University) as a proponent of “dada activism”. Two notable stunts were:

    — Downtown Bloomington has a prominent courthouse at the center of town, surrounded by “The Square”. One Saturday he and a number of his cohorts descended on The Square at dawn and, chalk in hand, drew a complete Monopoly board on the surrounding sidewalks, and happily spent the day playing a seemingly never-ending game.

    — The sports teams at IU (particularly basketball) at IU nickname “Big Red”. Leon ordered –and then sold around town — a huge number of t-shirts with the label “GO BIG RED!” emblazoned over a hammer and sickle.

    This went over somewhat better in Bloomington –at least on campus– than it did in the rest of Indiana…

    “Look, turtles!”

  54. Khatgrrl says:


    I don’t recall…I was totally focused on the duct tape, not the man. Leon sounds like a real hoot.

  55. holy shit batman says:

    Dear Friends,

    US House and Senate are about (in a week and a half) to vote on a bill
    that OUTLAWS ORGANIC FARMING (Bill HR 875). The name on this outrageous
    food plan is Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 … And, there is an
    enormous rush to get this into law within the next 2 weeks before people
    realize what is happening.

    This bill must have been handled in a really stealthy manner, since it
    came out of nowhere in the last week. No doubt, the way it’s backers, “the
    Agri-Giants” wanted it. Perhaps a coincidence with “Spring Break” and many
    people out of town in the weeks before. With enough congressmen signing
    bills without reading them, there’s no time to sleep on this one. How do
    you organize all these small farmers to fight the big guys? Spread it far
    and wide my friends.

    Make a noise.

    The main backer and lobbyist is Monsanto – chemical and genetic
    engineering giant corporation (and Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other
    related agri-giants). This bill will require organic farms to use specific
    fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by a newly formed agency
    to “make sure there is no danger to the public food supply”. This will
    include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for

    If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds will be allowed, but only
    Monsanto genetically altered seeds that are now showing up with unexpected
    diseases in humans.

    Here’s a link that gives you an idea how this can be happening and
    information about the bill:

    For getting the scoop by video, here are a couple more links:

  56. isavelez says:

    @Pam I

    I thought you would like to know that El Pais, the preeminent newspaper in Spain, has already made echo of the news of C.A. Duffy’s appointment as Poet Laureate. The link:

    The article is in Spanish.

    This is great news, and is receiving wide coverage in Europe.

    So is the news that the list of Souter’s replacement includes Kathleen Sullivan, as well as Sonia Sotomayor and many other great women (and men).

    As as aside, many of the lawyers and judges whose names are being floated have done considerable work in the area of intellectual property, trademark, and new technologies. Considering how we in this lovely corner of the web contribute to some of those issues, it would indeed be wonderful to have someone in the Supreme Court who understands and can protect freedom of creation and distribution in the web and the material world. Seeing as Sullivan was responsible for the hiring of Lawrence Lessig at Stanford (he of Creative Commons fame), she sounds like a good choice.

    Regards from Spain,


  57. Not so fast Batman says:

    I got a similar alarm a few weeks ago abt the ‘death of organic farming as we know it,’ went immediately to snopes-dot-com to see if it was true, and read all about it here. Upshot? Mostly false.

  58. Kathie says:

    @Kate L – thanks for the link to the Collegian from a K-State alum…Congrats on making the front page!

  59. Ready2Agitate says:

    wait – I see a white woman with a baby and her fist held high. To the right of the fold in her arm/elbow, I see an earlobe and some brown hair. Is that you, Kate L.?

    Great pix.

  60. hairball_of_hope says:

    I hadn’t heard of Carol Ann Duffy before, but I was quite enchanted with this bit of info in the LA Times:

    The job is more of an honor than it is remunerative — Duffy will receive an annual stipend of 5,750 pounds sterling a year (about $8,600) as well as the traditional “butt of sack,” which translates into 600 bottles of sherry.

    She plans to donate her salary to fund a prize to encourage young poets. But on hearing that Motion had yet to receive his butt of sack, she declared that she was demanding hers “upfront.”

    I like that she has her priorities in the right place. 600 bottles of sherry comes out to a bit more than a bottle a week for each year of her ten year term.,0,112880.story

  61. Ginjoint says:

    Cool, hairball! I’ve gained some weight recently, and now I, too, have a butt of sack.

  62. Ginjoint says:

    Kate L – I saw you in the picture! Sure, it’s not a portrait, but good on ya for marching. I also really liked the way that website displayed the series of pictures without changing pages.

    Ted, I love Studs Terkel’s work. And of course Studs, too. Since his absentee ballot for the last presidential election only arrived the morning of his death, I took my copy of Hope Dies Last with me when I went to vote. Weird maybe, but I wanted to bring Studs into the voting booth somehow. Thank you so much for the heads up about that book. Totally going to buy it at Women and Children First.

  63. Renee S. says:

    I have a sack o butt

  64. Aunt Soozie says:

    kate, I love the t-shirt design the students are wearing. is that blurry person you? the one on the right??

  65. Ready2Agitate says:

    then there’s the person above the baby’s head in jeans and maybe a black t-shirt. is that you?

  66. Catsanova says:

    NLC–oh my, you just brought back some memories. Leon Varjian got his start at UWisc-Madison as leader of the Pail and Shovel student party, where his accomplishments included placing a thousand pink flamingos on the far end of campus and building a chicken wire replica of the Statue of Liberty on Lake Mendota (I think they still sell postcards of this). My best friend from college was heavily influenced by him, and used to go around in the fall tying leaves back on the trees. The world could definitely use more Varjian.

  67. hairball_of_hope says:

    @NLC, Catsanova

    Varjian sounds like someone I’d love to hang out with; his brain seems differently wired, and that’s always an attraction for me. Bright and strange brain wirings. That also usually means impossible to live with, but I digress.

    I did some Googling on him, and found out that in addition to the stunts you’ve mentioned, he also organized boombox parades, the Banana Olympics, a contest to name the courthouse weathervane (“Name That Tuna”), et alia.

    After his escapades at IU and UWM, he did a stint as a Federal bureaucrat at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These days, he’s a HS math teacher in Midland Park NJ. He’s been fighting the local Board of Ed for taking away his assigned AP (Advanced Placement) classes after he took medical leave for treatment of lymphoma. He lost the initial case and the appeal.

    There are some articles about him in the IU and UWM alumni mags, but the last laugh seems to have been Varjian’s. Both mags reported that Varjian was awarded the 1996 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching, but the official website for the award has no record of him for any year. It’s possible he was a finalist for the award, the website doesn’t list those. But he definitely didn’t win the award, so Varjian managed to fake out fact-checkers at two alumni mags. How appropriate.

  68. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oooh look, a chicken?

    That takes on a new meaning in an interview with the director of the Miss California pageant Keith Lewis. He revealed that anti-gay marriage Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean had breast implants paid for by the California pageant organization.

    He also revealed some “tricks of the trade” to enhance the appearance of one’s breasts. I knew about the duct tape, but chicken cutlets?

    LEWIS: But there’s plenty of ways of getting to more proportion without doing breast implants.

    RODRIGUEZ: Well, but if “…

    LEWIS: Many of the girls use chicken cutlets.

    RODRIGUEZ: “… if you have a flat chest, what are you supposed to do?

    LEWIS: You use chicken cutlets. You use tape. You use anything that you can to enhance the line. There’s lots of tricks of the trade.

  69. Khatgrrl says:

    They don’t call them chicken breasts for no reason…

    My earlier post must be in some sort of limbo, I did include a link to a site about Leon Varjian’s exploits, oh well.

  70. Alex K says:

    @Ginjoint: Two items. One, redefinition of “butt of sack”: Lordy, that had me giggling. Je t’adore (avec ta butte de sacque). You knew that, though. Two, Kelly McG and WITNESS: No, I saw that film when it first came out. Naughty thoughts have smouldered within me since then. (Rachel Lapp — rrowr!)

  71. Kate L says:


    Yeah, that blur in the black t-shirt is me. My hair isn’t spiky, although it seems to be in the photo.

    Tonight I’ll be off to another cause, the third annual Pride Prom (an alternate prom for the local LGBT youth). I’ve been on the organizing committee each of the three years that its been held. I’ll be wearing a 1980’s man’s sports jacket with a 1970’s floral necktie. I’m wondering how A.B. pulled off that sideburn look when she went to a party in drag (drab?) a few blogs ago.

  72. Therry and ST. Jerome says:

    @iara, you of the pendulous breasts. Have you ever considered breast reduction surgery? I know two women who have had it done, and the sheer delight and happiness that radiates from them is a delight to behold. The woman I know best looks six inches taller, ten years younger, and can draw the attention of people to her face rather than her formerly pendulous breasts. You might consider it, particularly if your breasts cause you back pain or balance problems. Mind you, another friend of mine had both of hers removed after one of them got breast cancer. I don’t mean to be promoting cosmetic surgery, but it can be life-changing.

  73. Ian says:

    @hoh: you can not only use Preparation H to tighten the wrinkles round your eyes but to tighten the skin of your breasts apparently. I’ve not tried it myself, being of the male variety.

    This is probably ungallant of me but my sister has the biggest natural boobs in the North of England (what a claim to fame, huh?). Her bras are a marvel of construction along the lines of the Golden Gate or Brooklyn bridges. She has to sleep on her back, etc, etc. Breast reduction surgery is an option. A friend of mine who’s a size or two smaller but still very large, wears bras from a company called Bravissimo which she recommends but you’d have to pay postage.

  74. sparks says:

    First of all, another (late coming) endorsement of Decent Exposures, a tiny woman-owned business out of Seattle, though I guess she’s not so much fun to work for. But the bras are the only comfy ones I’ve ever found.

    Second, and very off-topic, I just want to RAVE about the recommendations for other graphic memoirs that was here some time back, and in particular AB’s recommendation of Ariel Schrag, who I am LOVING, so thank you. I’m a few pages from finishing “Potential,” (so what am I doing here, then?) and my library will have in “Likewise” any day, and I’m top o’ the list.

  75. Renee S. says:

    @HOH re: Miss(creant) California

    funny! since I gave away the TV, I haven’t watched much news garbage. But alas, my mom likes to fill me in.

    Mom: did you hear about the miss america pageant?

    Me: No, mom and I don’t want to…

    Mom: Well,, some gay guy was one of the judges, and…

    Me: No, don’t want to hear it…do not

    Mom: Well, he asks her about gay marriage and…

    Me: disgusted sigh

    Mom: and she said she just is not for it. So she lost the pageant because of it.

    Me: Was he the only judge?

    Mom: No, there were other judges. But I guess she lost it because of that.

    Me: So all of the judges voted against her because of that?

    Mom: Well, no. I guess she lost by one point.

    Me: So, they showed how all of the judges voted by a point system?

    Mom: Well it was because of the gay guy she lost!!!!

    Me: How do you know?

    Mom: It’s all over the TV? Didn’t you see it?

    Me: No.

    Mom: Oh that’s right, you threw your TV away. Thank God you have me to keep you up to speed.

    Well folks, this is what I found on the internet. What a bimbo. I wonder how much they are paying her:

  76. Kate L says:

    I was searching through my dresser drawer for socks yesterday, and came across the two pink silicone enhancers that a well-meaning friend gave me to wear a few years ago. They really DO look like chicken cutlets! πŸ™‚ They also give me a nice if not huge figure, but I don’t wear them.

    The Pride Prom went great last night. About 113 attendees. Liberty Press, the LGBT newspaper for the state of Kansas, was there to cover the event. I’ll be on the look out for the link to their eventual story about it. Maybe they’ll even publish a photo of the back of my head!

  77. hairball_of_hope says:


    I always wondered how folks figured out Preparation H was good for all these other unintended uses. It makes me think about the not-so-successful Preparation H experiments we never get to hear about… let’s see now… Toothpaste? Nope, tastes nasty, dissolves teeth. Hair gel, a little dab’ll do ya!? Nah, shows up white on dark hair. Athlete’s foot remedy? Uh uh, too slippery. Personal lubricant? Yeow! Get that stuff outta there! Hoo hoo!


  78. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    How could there be an odd number of attendees for a prom? Does that mean someone got stood up by her/his date? Or that there was at least one mΓ©nage Γ  trois (Γ  cinq, Γ  sept, Γ  neuf)?

  79. Mentor says:

    A brief Public Service Announcement:

    1] In the last few days both Khatgrrl and hairball_of_hope have mentioned that they have attempted to post comments here which seem to have simply disappeared in the ozone.

    After a little digging, the problem appears to be that the comments included links to sites which (for some reason) the spam filter for the blog marks as “spam-generating”. Consequently the comments were dropped into the “spam-bucket”.

    The specific sites were:
    – www[dot]museumofhoaxes[dot]com
    – www[dot]tribecafilm[dot]com

    There doesn’t appear to be anything unusual about these site. (They seem to be quite respectable sites.) However, as I say, for some reason they have got themselves black-listed.

    2] Briefly, the standard behavior for a comment-with-links is:
    – If your comment contains too many links you will be shown a message that your message is “awaiting moderator approval”. (Currently the number links which trigger behavior this is “more than two”.) Eventually the comment should appear on the blog (i.e. when a “moderator” has the opportunity to “approve” it.)

    – However, if your message just seems to disappear into the aether, then it probably mean you have (accidentally) included a link that has been “blacklisted”.

    Your best bet in this case is to spell-out the link as done above (e.g. www[dot]museumofhoaxes[dot]com) so that it side-steps the filtering software.

    We now return you to regularly scheduled blog…

  80. hairball_of_hope says:


    Thanks for the explanation, for removing the Russian spam message that was appended to the comments about three threads ago, and for the view out your window. πŸ™‚

  81. Khatgrrl says:


    Thank you for the explanation. I had wondered what had happened to my comment. I was fairly certain that the comment and the link were both inoffensive. I will be more careful from now on about the links. Thanks again.

  82. Inquiring minds want to know... says:

    @sparks – just checked the Decent Exposures website per your recommendation. Do those bras actually work for F, G cup sizes?

  83. Kate L says:

    (Odd Number of Attendees at the LGBT Pride Prom) Oh, hairball… I was DATELESS! ! ! If only you could have beamed in over the internet! πŸ™

  84. Aunt Soozie says:

    IMWTK, I’ve heard tell that women of all sizes are happy with decent exposures unbra. I have found them to be very comfortable and supportive. but, the folks who work there will gladly give you a consultation over the phone. They’ll also mail you a bra and if it isn’t right you can send it back for alteration/exchange. They do custom fitting for you. It’s quite nice.

  85. Aunt Soozie says:

    I wore them when I was nursing and now wear them for exercise. When I was nursing I was… well, let’s just say I was NOT a member of the itty bitty titty committee, ‘kay?

  86. iara says:

    @Therry and ST. Jerome: Thanks for the suggestion… actually, I have considered breast reduction, but I am not in the league of Largest in North of England (love that one, Ian!), so it is just a nuisance, not a big problem. When I was in my twenties I also knew someone who had the surgery and was very happy. So, I went to see a doctor who made me watch a video with all the dangers of surgery etc (including non-negligible possibility of loss of blood supply to the nipple which leads to missing nipple etc). That made me realize that I could adapt and be happy with the way I am. Much later, I really enjoyed nursing my daughter for an embarrassingly long time (5 years!) which I suspect might not have been possible post-surgery.
    @Aunt Soozie, I heard about Decent Exposures and I will definitely check them out. So far I have found that Wacoal makes some true engineering miracles.

  87. Minnie says:

    I heard Sarah Waters interviewed in Pasadena today in Vroman’s bookstore, so that was a lovely treat! I picked up autographed copies of “The Little Stranger” for friend and family. To hell with the budget, I say!

    My Mac doesn’t have the guts to stand up to that organizing program so I’ll have to stick with my homemade one on the spreadsheet program in the MiniMac. For now. (That’s what buying books’ll do for you!)

    Thanks for the heads-up, Ms. Bechdel! And happy week, all.

  88. Inquiring minds want to know... says:

    @Iara “nursing my daughter for… (5 years!)” – well 3 cheers for you, Iara, you go, girl! truly, wonderfully radical!

    I wear the Wacoal minimizer, and it’s great. I had a breast reduction consultation maybe 10+ years ago. The (male) dr. drew pen-marks of where my new nipples would be. When I asked why he chose the location, he said that it was in accordance to socially indicated standards of where nipples are most appealing. They were probably a good 6-10 inches of where they are now (granted, a lot of the rest of the boob would also be altered), but I though the pen-marks were ridiculously pubescently high. No thanks. But of course many years later I read here abt women being happy, looking taller, having less back pain, and I still wonder…. πŸ™

  89. Aunt Soozie says:

    Aunt Soozie has very fond feelings towards reduction mammoplasty. the surgical techniques used now make it possible to breast feed after surgery but that can’t be guaranteed. if you are contemplating it… have a consult with a surgeon who specializes in doing breast reconstruction and reductions, talk to multiple former patients who had the procedure done by that surgeon, ask questions, get more than one opinion, plan time for recuperation and rest afterwards and know that, though the nipples may start up there just after surgery… your breasts will continue to change with age and gravity… it’s just that you get to go back to the starting line again… Aunt Soozie likes to think of breast reduction surgery as downsizing and relocating. nuff said.

  90. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Hmmm… now which Internet protocols would I use to beam in?

    TCP? Tuxedo Commuting Protocol. FTP? Femme Terrible Protocol. HTTP? Hot To Trot Protocol. UDP? Ululating Dame Protocol. That’s it, I’d use UDP. But since UDP is a datagram protocol, with no guarantee of packet delivery or order of arrival of packets, I’d be one messed-up looking date. Definitely you’d hear me ululating!

  91. Ginjoint says:

    “Ululating” – what a word. Sounds far more erotic than it actually is. Can you imagine if someone ululated in bed with you? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Renee S., I loved your play-by-play of that conversation! I’ve had those same types of boundary-ignoring, fact-mangling conversations with my mother too.

  92. AndreaC says:

    Ah, Things! That’s a Getting Things Done (GTD) app — have you read the GTD book by David Allen? You may also wish to check out the Lifehacker GTD posts if you really wanna geek out.

    I started using an online app for GTD… and then stopped, because I fail πŸ™‚ Trying to find a way to get back into it.

  93. Kate L says:

    Oh, hairball! πŸ™‚

    Hey, folk in the eastern half of North America! There will be a rare satellite launch from a little-used NASA facility on the Virginia coast this Tuesday evening (“not earlier than 8 pm eastern time”). This means that it may launch when the rocket contrail will still be in sunlight at altitude while the Earth below is already dark. If past experience is any guide, people up and down the east coast may see quite a sight reaching up into space. Here is the link to space . com’s story about the launch.

    You may also want to click on a home video taken by a father and son of the sunset launch of the same kind Minotaur rocket that will be used Tuesday (except that this 2005 launch was from a NASA facility on the California coast):

  94. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrea C

    Some personal productivity folks really seem to be into RTM (Remember The Milk).

    I think many people are so caught up in the idea of doing a productivity SYSTEM, they forget the primary purpose of the system is to actually accomplish STUFF.

    (Rant alert…)

    I loathe all those so-called productivity apps, starting with the dreaded Franklin Planner.

    My brain works in direct contravention to the GTD methodology. The whole idea of GTD is to clear your brain of everything except the one thing you’re working on.

    That’s great if your brain works like an abacus and in a strictly linear fashion, but if you’ve got multitasking/multithreaded/branching capability in your skull (and most humans do), it’s a total waste, IMHO.

    Once I offload tasks Γ  la GTD, they disappear from my consciousness and I lose the ability to process and problem-solve pieces of the tasks in free timeslices. Then, when a task is due, I have this enormous mountain of brainwork to tackle, because I haven’t been working out pieces of it in my unused/under-used brain cycles.

    My creativity often works under the surface of whatever is in primary focus, and I find I come up with much better results if I throw everything in the vat and leave it all there to ferment. Eventually, whatever I need floats to the top.

    Great mixed metaphors… computers and beer. πŸ™‚

    Many years ago, I had a job where they tried to force everyone on the team to use the paper Franklin Planner. Everyone except me lugged around these overstuffed 5 lb binders with papers falling out, and they all wasted ridiculous hours looking for info, which I never had trouble finding.

    My secret organizing weapons (besides eidetic memory)… a freebie pocket appointment calendar, a small spiral-bound notebook or legal pad, and a terrific search app for the documentation on my laptop (ISYS) that I first used during my legal consulting gigs.

    That system, along with an e-mail tickler file, still works for me, but I really need to come up with a better way to track all those stupid accomplishments that are ignored at review time, but which I must document nonetheless. Right now, I just look over months of e-mails to figure out what miscellany I’ve been wasting my time on.

    I never look at that total piece of BS Outlook calendar that the numbskulls at work insist on populating with their crapola. You want me at a meeting or on conference call? Tell me when it’s scheduled, and I’ll figure out if I’ll be there. I get incredibly riled up when some jerk fills that Outlook schedule with what s/he considers important, and never bothers to consult with me… do I think it’s important or of value for me to attend?

    (End of rant alert…)

    Speaking of rants, maybe Mentor or AB could post a link at the top of the page to that great “Which Dyke Are You?” quiz from a few years back.

    When I took the quiz, I was *sure* I’d be mostly Mo, based on my rant ability, plus a dollop of Clarice. Imagine my surprise when I turned out to be mostly Sydney, followed by equal parts of Clarice and Stuart.

  95. Aunt Soozie says:

    ululate. that’s a new one on me. thanks

  96. hairball_of_hope says:

    Here’s the Wiki on ululation:

    (Why do I know this stuff?)

  97. hairball_of_hope says:

    Upon reflection, an answer to my semi-rhetorical question, “Why do I know this stuff?”

    A: Scrabble. Gotta be able to defend against a word challenge.

    Nothing beats the look on an opponent’s face when you’re laying down the tiles for ‘ululate’, and you’re pretty sure your opponent has the ‘Q’ tile and a bunch of ‘E’ tiles. Unless you’ve left yourself open with those ‘U’ tiles, your opponent is probably going to end up with U-less words such as QAT.

  98. iara says:

    Hey, Hairball, I like your explanation for why GTD doesn’t work on some people (“… working out pieces of it in my unused/under-used brain cycles” etc). Very satisfying rant. (God, I miss Mo!)

    @Renee S, our moms may be a world apart but they seem to be totally on the same wavelength. Here is mine:

    Mom:[message on answering machine] Oh hi, I was just calling because now they are saying there is a case of the pig flu in Philadelphia. So, ok, call me when you get this message. I don’t know what is happening… Have they closed the schools, is everything ok. Call me, ok?

    Me:[later] Hi Mom, you really need to turn off that tv!
    Mom: ok, wait a sec….
    Me: Hello?
    Mom: ok, I’m back
    Me: I said you really need to stop watching so much tv!
    Mom: Yes, I turned it off
    me: No, what I meant was you…
    Mom: Never mind, let’s talk about more important things
    Me: Oh, what happened?
    Mom: The flu. You heard about the flu from the pigs in Mexico?
    Me: Mom, please!
    Mom: So, you knew about the case in Philadelphia?
    Me: Well, yes.. no, actually, I wa-
    Mom: Oh, maybe they are hushing it up in America? So you did not know about the case in Philadelphia!
    Me: Well, I-
    Mom: Oh yes, you don’t have a TV, so you get all your news from the NYTimes, but did they write anything about this? Did they?
    Me: Of course mom, they are making a huge deal about it here too, don’t worry, that’s all that-
    Mom: So, it is true! it is a pandemic and you read it in the NYTimes, right?

  99. hairball_of_hope says:


    That is very funny. It sounds like something Gracie Allen would have said.

    I’m sure it would be funnier for you if this weren’t an actual conversation with your mother.

    Am I detecting a pattern here… an awful lot of us seem to have jettisoned our TVs (count me in on this group).

  100. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    I’m guessing things move more slowly in the newsrooms in Kansas. You’ll likely be waiting a long time for that photo of the back of your head to be posted, the latest issue of Liberty Press online is from December.

  101. Renee S. says:

    Is everyone having these Mom conversations? maybe there is a Fact Mangling pandemic….

  102. hairball_of_hope says:


    The number of links which triggers the diversion to the moderator’s holding pen is “greater than or equal to two,” not “greater than two” as stated above. Latest example of that is Kate L’s NASA post, with two links.

    Is this the intended configuration, or an oops? I seem to recall a time a few months ago when two links didn’t result in the dreaded moderator diversion.

    Danke schΓΆn!

  103. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Don’t know how much we’ll be able to see of the launch, or if the launch will proceed as scheduled; there’s rain up and down the East Coast through Wednesday.

    Hope the launch doesn’t scare the ponies on Assateague Island. I’ve been there for the running of the wild ponies in Chincoteague. Beautiful animals.

  104. Ian says:

    @iara: that reminds me of those strips AB drew for Harvey Pekar which are included in the Inedible Alison Bechdel collection. In the book she describes Pekar writing down the conversation he overhears two old guys having behind him. Then he throws his notes over to AB for her to draw.

    Your conversations with your Mom would be fantastic illustrated in the same way!

  105. Ready2Agitate says:

    >>the Inedible Alison Bechdel collection

    Hee! πŸ™‚

  106. Maggie Jochild says:

    Wild ponies who become poet laureates, do they receive an Assateague of sack?

  107. hairball_of_hope says:

    As I suspected would happen, the Wallops launch was scrubbed last night due to the weather. Just as well, I was working another rush job and not in a position to be skywatching. NASA says the next launch attempt has been scheduled for Thursday 5/7/09.

  108. grrljock says:

    Re: conversations with moms, check out postcardsfromyomomma[dot]com. Though all the New Yorker readers here may be aware of it already.

    My spouse (wow, this term still feels kinda weird) and I went to the last Sarah Waters reading in the US (Books Inc, San Francisco). It was lovely to finally see her in person, but we could’ve done without the radio interviewer guy (who was a bit boring). The event was billed as a reading + Q & A on a stage. Instead we got an ok interview, with some excerpts read by the Radio Guy (why?), followed by a short Q & A. It would’ve been SO much better if it’d been just Sarah Waters reading HER OWN book, and answering questions and telling stories about her stories.

    There. Got that off my chicken cutlet chest.

    Starting “The Little Stranger” (I can’t stop pronouncing it with a Cockney accent in my head), hope to see a discussion about this soon.

  109. sfgrl says:

    I missed her reading at Books Inc in San Francisco. Does anyone know where else she is reading? I can’t seem to get the tour schedule to work on her publisher’s website… Thanks!

  110. grrljock says:

    sfgrl, unfortunately the SF reading was her last in the US. She’s doing her UK tour now.

    So, can we start a discussion of the book now? I finished the book this weekend, and I’m pretty sure I know whodunit.