still going through stuff…

August 15th, 2013 | Uncategorized

…from my mom’s house. She has a mint condition Dykes to Watch Out For mouse pad that I’m gonna sell on eBay. It was one of the last items of merchandise I made in the mid-1990s, before I shut down my mail-order swag business.

mouse pad

It’s got a hard plastic surface. The black rubber backing is a little discolored but otherwise fine. The design is a take-off on Norman Rockwell’s “Chain of Gossip.”

Which I stole again over a decade later for the cover of The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For.

I also just came across this picture of me in what strikes me as a bizarrely butch outfit for a baby girl circa 1962. What were my parents thinking?

butch baby 1962

24 Responses to “still going through stuff…”

  1. joe c says:

    I still have a bunch of that stuff! Including the Macintosh screen saver on the 3.5″ floppy. That screen saver was great: it was actually progressive story panels just like a comic strip.

  2. ina says:

    Your parents ‘got’ you, Alison.

  3. MJ says:

    I love everything about this post.

  4. lh says:

    The outfit may not have been that unusual.

  5. NLC says:

    Perhaps [THIS] would make a good companion piece for the photo above.

  6. lh, the pinkisforboys post is most fascinating! times have changed, indeed!

  7. Eve says:

    It’s funny to see telecommunications technology marching forward in those three images.

  8. Lea says:

    I also have one of these in near mint condition. I haven’t used it for years because modern mice don’t need them anymore. It’s still on the window board beside my desk and I still have to smile when I take a look. Years ago (ca. 1999/2000) I sold them in my onlineshop until they weren’t produced anymore. There was a nice second one in black and white with Mo, cats and another dtwof woman saying something like “the maximum fur level in your mouse is achieved” – haha that was also great.
    I’m a fan since about 25 years now, thanks for everything Alison 🙂
    Greetings from Germany
    PS: Will there be ever ever something like a sequel of dtwof?

  9. Lea says:

    61 bucks and still 2 days to go – I’m speechless…

  10. Ginjoint says:

    Wow, that outfit! Pretty unconventional for the time – at least for a formal portrait. For something like that, girls were almost always put in a dress.

    Also, I wish to >pinch< those cheeks.

    lh, thanks for that link – I'm going to buy that book. I LOVE classic kid's clothing, and the history of such. I'm old school, in that I like kids to look like kids, not miniature adults. I have a question for readers in the UK: do boys wear Mary Jane-style shoes still in your neck of the woods?

  11. Kate L says:

    When I was in grade school in the early 60’s, I used a product called butch wax to get the hair on the top of my head to stand up. Oh, A.B., I’ve been living in my parent’s house since 1994 and I still haven’t gone thru everything! I’m convinced there’s a crock pot hiding in back of one of the deep kitchen cabinets. I even found a tin of butch wax in the back of the upstairs bathroom cabinet. Might come in useful.

  12. Andrew B says:

    GJ, “formal portrait” — that was my first thought, too, but it may not be right. It’s certainly not a commercial portrait. See the shadow of Alison’s left arm, visible between her arm and body, and the shadow of her chin on her right shoulder? The picture was lit with a single flash directly above the camera. No commercial portrait photographer would do that. It may just be an unusually good snapshot.

    lh, that is a great site. I’ll have to see if I can find her book.

    Alison, I don’t know what your folks were thinking, but ~18-month-old you sure looks happy to be in that outfit.

  13. Ginjoint says:

    Kate, that is hilarious. With triple lanolin! Your pillowcases must’ve been a joy to clean.

  14. NLC says:

    From her description of her family I don’t doubt that Alison’s mother or father –or one of their family friends– could have taken the nice portrait above…

    …but as to the claim that no “professional” portrait studio would ever have a misplaced shadow, or use a single attached flash, then speaking as a survivor 1960’s middle-American shopping-mall culture, Andrew B, I only have two words for you: Olan Mills.

  15. Ginjoint says:

    Andrew, I’ve worked as a portrait photographer, and you have a point. The other thing that I was taught was a no-no was having the back line of the table cutting into your subject’s midsection, like it cuts into Alison’s elbow here – it means your camera is too low. BUT. Having worked as a portrait photographer, and having worked in several commercial photo labs where this stuff was printed, there are a lot of “pros” out there making these mistakes.

    Um, Alison, now that we’ve ruined this lovely and adorable picture for you, anything else you wish to share for critique with your nitpicky Greek chorus?

  16. Calico says:

    I have a photo/portrait or two somewhere in my stuff from my childhood, by Olan Mills. : )
    I was in a little dress as I recall, but I haven’t worn a skirt or dress since 1997 (although I recently bought a sundress that I have yet to wear-next summer, perhaps).

  17. Andrew B says:

    GJ, it sounds like you know more about portrait photography than I do. No question, the pose looks like a formal portrait. But looking at the lighting, the cropping, the bare set (if it is a set), the picture looked more like a snapshot that happened to catch that pose, or perhaps something a friend or family member set up. That also would fit with the catalog page at lh’s link, where the girls’ more formal outfits are all dresses, but the play clothes include pants.

    Anyhow. I hope I’m at least providing Alison with a little comic relief by earnestly analyzing the aesthetics and technique of her baby pictures.

  18. ina says:

    Hey Alison, it seems what with your life/story going musical, there’ll be a new market for dtwof swag. Any plans?

  19. Kate L says:

    … on an unrelated, but still 60ish, note… I tell my classes the story about how Neil Armstrong originally planned to plant the United Nations flag on the Moon during the Apollo 11 lunar landing, until (literally) an act of congress mandated that the first act of every American on first setting foot on another planet is to plant an American flag*. What I did not know until now is this story about Armstrong dating from the Korean War. He told his biographer the story before his death, but asked that it not be included in his biography. Space . com has run the story as an op-ed by the biographer, James Hanson of Auborn University. I find it as remarkable as any other thing about Armstrong. And, what Hanson also says about the fact that Armstrong did not want Clint Eastwood making a movie about his life because he did not like the violence in Eastwood’s movies is just icing on the cake.

    * That law about American citizens planting an American flag as their first act on setting foot on another planet is still on the books, btw. So watch it.

  20. makky says:

    I’m thinking Bruce B. was responsible for this(recalling that
    he also put Alison into a velvet dress) but then again Helen could sew & wanted to costume divas!

  21. Kate L says:

    It’s back-to-school day, here at stately Moo U on the High Plains. I certainly wish the two women who moved in down the block were my immediate neighbors, and not the Ag students who blare country and western music at 3 am. The Daily Kos this morning ran a feature about how the Beloit College Mindset List this year has items related to the year of birth for most college freshman. Set the way-back machine for 1995! My favorite item is, of course, #4.

  22. Kate L says:

    Sorry, I miscounted. It’s not #4 on the Beloit College Mindset List that is my favorite. It’s one of the others…

  23. L says:

    I have the Tshirt with that design 🙂