Too Fat to Fly? Really??

Short synopsis of SModcast 106
Kevin flies from Burbank to Oakland and back with no issue. Days later, he flies again to Oakland without issue. The ride home, however, is much more eventful. He is pulled from his standby flight deemed a “safety risk”. They refuse to admit that he was profiled because of his size. He admittedly gets heated and proceeds to tweet his frustration. Shortly after, he is apologized to and is finally seated on another flight. He sits next to a woman who is large and she is pulled aside and spoken to about buying a second seat in the future.
For the full story from the dirty mouth (and I’m saying this as a fan of the dirtiness of ALL of the SModcasts… Anyone who reads my blog knows I’m a fan of foul language.) of he who experienced it, visit www.smodcast.com and have a listen to Episode 106.

Enter blogging from Ali’s POV:

I guarantee you this. If you exist in the world today, you either are or know someone who is considered overweight. If not, you now know me.

In September 2009, I underwent a gastric bypass. I started the process as a 5’8” size 26/28 at 295lbs. Before my surgery, I was always nervous when flying. It had nothing to do with the plane going down or anything like that. It was always the embarrassment that I felt for asking for a seatbelt extender. I have always felt bad for the people that would have to share a row with me. Even though I could fit in between the armrests, it was still pretty snug. Chalk it up to my Polish hips. I’m a pear-shaped girl that can knock something down just by turning.

Every flight I took brought out the inner asshole in myself that berated me for my size and blamed me for the discomfort of the people sharing the row. I didn’t need someone to tell me I was overweight. Trust me, every time I squeezed in between the armrests I knew. In addition to having hips that could take down a wall, I have long legs.

Every flight for me is uncomfortable, regardless of what ass cheek the majority of my weight sits on. To be honest, I was afraid to fly alone, because I didn’t want to experience the embarrassment of being told I was too fat to fly. I thought that having someone with me would soften the blow.  

Listening to the SModcast broke my heart.

Yes, Kevin’s experience was a bag of suck, but the thing that made me shed tears was the short snippet of experience from the girl that shared his final voyage on SouthWest. She was pulled aside and told that she should consider buying a second seat. The seat in between the two of them had already been purchased by Kevin, but the thin flight attendant felt the need to “educate” this poor girl about company policy.

That makes me fucking laugh. Company policy? Yeah. Someone can stand there and quote company policy, but in the end… that person talking to you is the judge of what is “too fat” and obviously they felt you were it. Alternately, the fact that they can stand under the umbrella of SouthWest to call someone out on their obesity makes me think that the airline has given their employees too much fucking power.

Apparently the “two seat” rule is determined by whether or not you fit between the arm rest. Kevin did. The woman did. The fact that someone was having a shitty self image day and needed to bring that woman down a peg should have never come into play. If a flight isn’t full, there should be no reason to pull someone aside to tell them that they should consider buying another seat. Fuck you lady. 

I’m not blowing any fucking whistles here but… Most fat people have low self-esteem anyways. To approach someone like a schoolteacher chastising someone for getting an F on a pop quiz doesn’t make you special. In fact, it makes you a cunt. (Yes ma, I said it. Sorry.)

Okay, and uh… “safety risk”? What the fuck? Did you think he was hiding dynamite under his clothing? I’m just gonna lay it out for you. Fat people can’t be terrorists. Not only are we known for being stereotypically jolly, but we stand out like… well… fat people. If you’re looking for a safety risk, don’t look for someone large. Look for someone nondescript.

The worst part about this is that you can’t confront someone in the industry because of all of the “safety risk” bullshit and “heightened security measures” in place for the safety of the general public. Guess what? The majority of the general public is overweight.

The point SouthWest, is simply this: This person was wearing your company uniform and providing poor customer service. They were YOUR ambassador to YOUR clients and they took YOUR “policy” as a right to fuck with those who shouldn’t have been fucked with.

I bet SouthWest PR is shitting themselves now that a policy they’ve had for quite some time has caught the attention of someone that actually has a platform of loyal followers that will listen. If we’re going by Twitter, Kevin’s follower count at the time of this being published is 1,652,222 not to mention SModcast followers, forum go-ers on viewaskew.com, fans of the movies he’s written/directed…

SouthWest sent an “apology” that was little more than a “fuck you” by stating their policy. But, wait a second… Kevin adhered to the rules set forth in said policy… Ugh… Just… fucking… Ugh.

Some people on twitter have said to Kevin “You’re rich, just suck it up and buy a second seat.” Kevin addresses one such comment here http://silentbobspeaks.com/?p=392

You know what? Not everyone can afford two seats. Typically, if you’re flying on SouthWest… You don’t have that much money. They’re cheap ass flights, but they cram as many people as possible into one fucking plane, so they make their money there. You’d never know that they do as they apparently don’t spend it on training their employees on the proper way to talk to paying customers.

With all of the money problems and companies going belly up, you’d think that there would be more of an emphasis on improved customer service.

So fuck you SouthWest. Fuck you.

A Rant on Nudity

I’m pissed. I have a friend who is being harassed for having lewd photographs posted on the internet. I’ve seen them. They are professional photographs that are artistically done and one would think that you would file it in your brain under “art” not “pornography”. Come to think of it… I don’t think any of the photos display the bits that would blur that line.

Alternately, there have been some less than stellar comments about a picture that another friend of mine drew. The picture is drawn in the style of the pin up girls of the 50’s. There is a lot of skin showing, but it is more of a burlesque nature.

The worst thing of all is that the comments are coming from WOMEN.

If someone is comfortable enough with their own body to pose in that fashion, that doesn’t make them less of a person or less of a woman. The best part about the internet is that there is ALWAYS another place to go if you are offended.

But why are you offended?

There is something remarkably beautiful about the human form, whichever gender it is you prefer. Something sparks a reaction in your brain. The subject is not the reason for this reaction. You are. The environment in which you were raised, your sexual orientation, your religion/morality… The list could go on and on and on. We all grow differently. It’s that what makes us different that should bring us closer together. Not push us apart

Think to some of the most celebrated sculptures and paintings in history. Many of the depictions of goddesses have one breast hanging out of the toga. This was not perversion, this just showcased one of the many differences between the male and female forms. Sure, some may have gotten their jollies off to it. I repeat… That is neither the artist nor the subject’s fault. Figure studies are done in all different shapes, sizes and mediums.

Yes, there is some nudity that is made for the utter intention of arousal. I don’t see anything wrong with that either, given that you are a legal adult. If you think it’s inappropriate for your children… You have parental controls for a reason.

That being said, if you shield your child from all nudity… You may find that you’ve raised someone that is ashamed of their body.

I need to walk away from this soapbox entry. Typically I find writing to be cathartic, but this entry is continuing to fuel the rage that I am trying to conquer.

***OH! One more thing. Telling a woman that she’s objectifying herself by posting an artistic shot of herself but being okay with a man posting the same picture makes you a fucking hypocrite.

/endrant

I Wonder… Has the Definition for Verbosity Changed?

During the day, I have found myself apologizing for the length of my previous two posts. Why? One had a 986 word count and the other 1166. I’ve been apologizing for 2,152 words…

I guess what bothers me the most is that I feel I NEED to apologize for being verbose, even though they weren’t wordy. However, in the age of the 140 character limit, it would have taken several dozen texts to post those reviews.

With the continuing progress of internet speeds and the capability of taking it with you on your phone I fear this will only get worse. Our attentions are slowly diminishing into a state of self imposed ADD We can be halfway through reading something and our brain says “this is taking forever! Let’s go look at porn!” We can be sitting down for family dinner and the cellphone has its place in the table settings. Apparently, we’d rather read what a celebrity is eating then actually enjoy the meal placed before us.  

It’s taken me MORE time to write this short snippet than the two reviews I had done to christen this site. Why? I hear the ding of a text message on my phone. When I check out the picture sent to me, I note the blinking red light informing me that email is waiting to be read. I see the asterisk above my twitter program, telling me that someone else has posted something and my curiousity gets the best of me.

As it is, I have to go. There are thousands of pointless web sites that I have yet to visit today.

Why I Can’t Sleep… followed by a rant on the Twilight Series.

Why can’t I sleep? I have a horrible nightmare that keeps happening. Basically I’m drowning and when I wake up I can still see the dream superimposed over me (fish swimming around, electric eels, etc).

I guess I could take the Stephanie Meyer approach and write about it, but who the fuck cares about a sparkling fish? (I heard somewhere that she had written Twilight because she had a nightmare about vampires and wanted to make them less scary… Not sure if it’s true. I’d say it was acid induced, but I’ve seen acid journals. Those things are fantastic reads.)
Okay, let me lay it out for you. If you haven’t guessed already, I’m not a big fan of the Twilight series (if you are, that’s fine for you). I consider the writing to be shoddy at best. The story she chose to tell has been written time and time again, but I’ve never read one quite as bad as them. And it took four books!
Okay. Edward’s all “I love you… we can’t be together… yes we can… oops I broke your arm, no we can’t… but I still want to… I love you so much I want to kill myself when you die”…
… It’s like I stepped into a Linkin Park song.
[Slight Tangent: I’m secure enough in my music eclecticism to admit to enjoying Linkin Park on occasion. But even so, that shit is over in five minutes or less. Stephanie Meyer’s emo “love” (and I use that term loosely) story spans over 4 books.]
It’s a little like Beauty and the Beast with the “who could learn to love me” undertones in every book. One major difference of the stories is that I would rather fuck the Beast than Edward. Say what you want, but that dude had swagger and, though hirsute, was a real man [I’m thinking that rant will be my Valentine’s Day present to everyone]. Edward’s vagina is as cold as his skin.
Bella is your typical teen, if the typical teen managed to be angsty with no evidence of a personality. Here’s how a conversation between myself and this fictional “character” would go. There are quotation marks because I think in order to be considered a character, you should probably have some.
Bella: “I’m unique and everybody loves me.”
Me: “No Bella, you’re not. The boys in your new high school are just tired of all of the same trim they’ve been getting since they discovered where a boner went. OHIALMOSTFORGOT! When Edward first said that he couldn’t read your thoughts, I didn’t think you were unique. I figured he couldn’t read you because your IQ was too low for him to register a brain wave.”
Bella: “I don’t get it.”
Me: “Color me surprised.”
I had never intended on reading the books, but a friend handed them over and she usually has good literary tastes. I read the books in four days and felt they were the crappiest crap that crapped out of craptown. I read each one because I was hoping for even a sliver of good writing. There was one point in the fourth book that I was like “Yes! She’s finally learned to be a storyteller!” and then I turned the page and cursed myself for elevating my hopes.
Whenever I hear Twilight “purists” talk about how the books were better than the movies… It drives me insane. That may very well be my Harry Odum trigger. Stephanie Meyers writes young adult fiction. It’s appropriate, because she writes like a tween in a diary.
Better than the movie… Pfft… That’s like saying “I freshened the bathroom for you.” Uh… It still reeks of shit, but now it’s tropically scented shit.
The cast of that movie though… Smoking fucking hot. Still, pretty doesn’t help a bad story. They take a beautifully odd looking man, cast him as Jasper, and for the entire movie he looks like he’s trying to hold in a fart. I can’t blame Stephanie for that… yet… I’m thinking on it.
Whatever lady. You made vampires sparkle and the books were still published. So obviously, you’re further ahead than I am.
I’m going to end this rant from a tweet that cracked me the fuck up and made it to my favorites.
@wilw: “I’m so old, I remember when vampires were scary and awesome, and they only sparkled in daylight before bursting into flames.”

Someone Tried to Hack My Accounts aka Nice Try!

I wasn’t going to talk about it. Really, I had thought of a thousand reasons why I shouldn’t comment about it. But today, after 40oz of coffee, I am jittery and say fuck it.

An email prompted a chime on my phone while I was at work and (if you’ve read my previous entries) by now, you know I’m a curious cat. I flipped through my messages and saw that I had been sent a no-reply email from Twitter that pretty much said “Oh no! You forgot your password! Teehee! let’s fix that!”(Yes, Twitter is a twelve year old girl). As my phone is set up to receive my tweets, I couldn’t help but giggle. I was already dialed in to my account. How flattering. Someone was trying to hack me!
My tweet stream (that sounds vile…) starts getting flooded by a bunch of people mentioning the same thing. Someone’s phishing around for an easy account to get into. Sadly, the many of the people affected were those that commented on my previous blog “The DOs and DON’Ts of Being a Fan”. All but for the one poster that had been BANNED from Twitter for being fixated, disturbed and thoughtless. This same person was also known for hacking into accounts on facebook and myspace.
The thing that bothers me the most about the email from Twitter is that there is no link to click on when you know that message has been sent in error. They have made it ridiculously difficult to report someone for being a fuckface (but I managed to do it anyway!). Any email where a website is telling you that you have requested a password reset should be required to have something on their main page to report the violation. That way, the IP address of the person compromising their site can be recorded for posterity’s sake.
But, no! It didn’t stop there! MANY other people that follow the same people as I do were almost victimized. Violated. When someone breaks into your accounts, they have access to your whole life. The pictures you’ve sent. The people you email on a daily basis. Luckily, most email providers offer you the opportunity to create your own security questions (which I thoroughly suggest you do for safety’s sake) or questions that not even you would know (like your library card number).
To the nut responsible, how do you not see how morally WRONG that is?!?!?!?
I’m hardly a paragon of morality, but at least I have them at all. I got them from my parents. OH YEAH! SHE’S A PARENT! HOW COULD I FOR-FUCKING-GET THAT?!?!?! One could only hope that this psychopath is only acting the way she is online and not teaching her child that this behavior is okay.

Rule of Thumb: If you’re not comfortable saying the shit you write on the internet out loud, you probably shouldn’t be saying it.

“How Not to be an Ass”: Tips for Driving in a Snowstorm

I woke this morning to a thickly frosted driveway and a newfound appreciation for garages. I didn’t have to clean off my car this morning, which was great because I was running late (previous blog posts comments are to blame).
The driveway hadn’t been plowed yet, so my tires made that lovely crunching noise as I backed out of it. The snow still fell slowly from above, as if every flake wanted you to see before it was engulfed in the battlefield of its fallen comrades (ah imagery, how I love thee).
I drove out of the small community roads and added myself to the line of endless cars on the main drag. A trip that typically takes me 20-25 minutes took me an hour and a half this morning. I’m not complaining. The pristine white of freshly falling snow hadn’t been marred by the dirt underneath it.
That being said, some New Englanders forget lessons learned during previous storms.
Here are a few helpful tips on how to not die/kill someone during a snowfall.
– Do not stop at the bottom of a hill and then expect to have enough behind you to get up it. Especially if you’re in a smart car. Those cars in New England in winter are as ridiculous as snow chains in Florida. (Saw one facing up but sliding down this morning and almost wet myself.)
– If you have a car that’s built for snow, please be courteous to those who don’t. Don’t get me wrong. My Honda can soldier through a lot, but it is nerve wracking when an impatient SUV behind me is riding my ass like a tween on one of those Twilight dudes.
– Driving fast in snow is like driving while intoxicated… It’s only okay when I do it*.
– CLEAN THE SNOW OFF YOUR FUCKING CAR! I cannot tell you how many times this morning my windshield was winged by snow that was hurled off of the roof of a lazy person’s car. If it isn’t a ticketable offense, it should be.
– Put your cell phone down. Trust me. Technology will wait for you. You can always scroll down the list of tweets that have happened in the hour you’ve been detached. I understand the desire. When a chime sounds to alert me of new info it draws me like a moth to flame. But wise up. You cannot devote your full attention to the road and the lives of others on that road when you’re giggling about a picture/video someone posted. You know what? I’m gonna go ahead and say that should be a year round rule. Until your cell phone is implanted in your brain and doesn’t require you to divert your gaze, put the cell phone down.
– Make sure you have something to sing along to. It will help to keep you from agitation. Sing loudly. Your windows are up; if you’re off key no one will notice… Especially if you’re driving the carpool that morning.
– Don’t lead foot it when you turn unto a street. If there isn’t enough room, someone will slam on their brakes and end up fucking themselves up instead of fucking you up, which is hardly fair for the courteous person behind you. If it’s an 18-wheeler, feel free to congratulate yourself as their cargo jackknifes and destroys the cars in every lane.

Originally posted here

The DOs and DON’Ts of Being a Fan

Let me paint a picture for you. It was a crisp December Sunday, the first of 2009. I spent a glorious day in Manhattan . The wind tunneled down W18th with a roaring vengeance. My face was windblown and I loved every frosty minute of it. I had a fantastic time shopping and then lunching at a brewery in which Paddy got a full clothing beer bath. (His pants smelled of Oatmeal Stout and one of his cowboy boots turned into a to-go glass.) While Mogie was driving home, I looked at my phone and saw that I had a bunch of emails. I sifted through the junk and felt my spirits rise as I saw that someone random was following me on a social interaction site. I thought “well that’s just awesome!” (yes, I think in lower case) and I pumped my fist in the air like I was in a John Hughes movie. I then decided to check out their page and see if they were followable.

I was shocked, appalled, and uber creeped out by the thread of their comments. Turns out, they follow someone from a movie that I enjoyed (still do). There are countless comments with the actor’s account tagged in every one. As I read down the list, the copious comments making mention of these movies and the person’s dedication to it… It was disturbing … as in “I made you a present. Here’s a skinned cat.” disturbing.

If someone recognized/celebrated in any artistic medium happens upon this post, please understand that we’re not all that way. Sure I have my moments when I find a piece of acting I thoroughly enjoyed. In turn, I add some other movies of that actor to my Netflix Queue. I’ll hear a song that inspires me to search out the rest of an album. A book/painting/photo/sculpture prompts an emotional reaction and I want to experience more from that artist. Hell, even clothing can have that effect. (As it is, I cannot get enough of www.bias-design.com right now. Hello holiday list!)

I digress. My original intention of this post was to mention how disturbing fans can be. There is no excuse for some of the behavior from people on the internet. I’ve decided to start a list of the DOs and DON’Ts of being a fan. Feel free to comment with additional rules.

THE DO LIST

– Follow people you respect/appreciate/admire on whatever social interaction site they are a part of. Be wary, you don’t always know if the person you’ve added is actually the person. There are ways to get around that though. @wendyshepherd has a site www.officiallypluggedin.com where there are verifications made as to what accounts to actually follow/friend/add/etc. You can also check out the website of your favorites and they will typically have links to their official facebook/myspace/twitter/blog accounts. Twitter can be good about verifying people and putting an official “VERIFIED” check on their account.
– Send a little appreciation their way. (restrictions listed under DON’Ts)
– Invite some people that you know would appreciate the artist to also follow/friend/add/etc.
– Link something you think they might enjoy. Also link things you’re proud of, like fan art or the like. Chances are, they’ll appreciate the hard work you did and may even share it with other people. (restrictions listed under DON’Ts)

THE DON’T LIST– Some of this has been exaggerated or fabricated and some is true.

– Flood them with messages! That’s not sending a ‘little’ appreciation their way. They have tons of people that list them on a regular basis. Spamming an account with massive messages with creepy undertones make you little more than a stalker. At least wait 4-6 hours between messages (possibly less if they message you back). I can’t believe I even need to draw the line on that.
Examples:
Post: *FAMOUSPERSON: OMG I named my cat after you!
Post: *FAMOUSPERSON: Seriously his name is FAMOUSPERSON. We reenact famous scenes together! He’s crazy awesome. Follow me! Kthx!
Post: *FAMOUSPERSON: Saw this and thought of you. Isn’t she/he crazyawesomesauce?!?!?! [Including a linked picture of their aforementioned cat]
Post: *FAMOUSPERSON: ZOMG! You’re totally following me! I’m going to spam you privately now!
Post: *FAMOUSPERSON: I tried to message you and found that you stopped following me. I’m totally not crazy! I promise I’ll be better. Follow me ASAP plz? kthx
Post: I’m totally bummed that *FAMOUSPERSON doesn’t care. At least my cat loves me.
(Seriously folks? That’s toxic. ANYONE would be freaked out by that. Why would that ever be considered a good idea? Equate that to the years that there was no caller ID and someone called you multiple times, breathed heavily, and then hungup. For those of you not born long enough to have experienced that… Equate it to hundreds of text messages from the same person in less than a half hour even when you haven’t replied to them.)
– Link something that you have no idea if they’d like, ESPECIALLY if it’s racy. I’m going to draw a part of the moral line and say that lemony fan fiction depicting a character they portrayed (or created) is completely off-base to send. Think about it. Would you like to read something where someone has obviously spent time thinking about the wibbly bits of a particular character you’ve portrayed? There may be some that would, but you don’t know that person well enough to determine that. [See also “nude fan art”]
– Ask for an address for you to send creepy gifts to. No famous person wants your severed finger. They don’t know where it’s been. Plus, no one really wants a visit from a psychopath.
[WAY Overactive Imagination Alert! – Could you imagine that on an episode of MTV’s Cribs? “This is my oddities room. I keep body parts from fans that get sent to my publicist. I had originally thought this was going to be an art room, but I guess the earlobe mobile/wind chime is close enough.”].

Well, now that all of that is out of my head I’m going to get back to work. It’s amazing how something can just block you mentally until it’s all out.

A Letter to the Enfield Press

In this day and age there are fewer and fewer free family activities available to the public. The Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration is a non-profit organization run by a team of 26 dedicated volunteers who spend the year putting together activities for the weekend.
I was disheartened to hear of the article accusing the Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration of taking valued funds from the Town of Enfield . While it may seem that way to some people, there is no direct monetary support from the Town of Enfield . The Town Green is made available that weekend so that a Celebration of this magnitude can be enjoyed by all. The Department of Public Works, the Police Department, and the Thompsonville Fire Department are provided in-kind to keep the Celebration safe and secure. Their presence is essential and greatly appreciated.
For the Committee, the weekend takes the entire year to plan. During the year, there is the challenge (and excitement) of recruiting sponsors and retaining sponsors for the event. The monetary donations from every sponsor go towards the entertainment and activities of the weekend.
During the weekend, the Taste of Enfield gives new businesses the opportunity to showcase their menus. The Parade showcases the pride of the Community and if you were to look at the viewers, you would see the smiles on the faces of the little children as they waved their American flags. If you stop by the picnic tables on the green you can participate in a free spaghetti or pie eating contest. Who would I be to not mention the tricycle race? It’s one of the most adorable things I have ever witnessed.
The Committee works diligently to ensure that there is no charge for the activities that are available during the weekend. This has been and will always be a community event. In trying financial times like these how many towns can say that they have a free outdoor concert, let alone three full days of live music with multiple performers?
I have yet to find another free outdoor concert with the same caliber of performers. In Enfield , thanks to the contributions of generous sponsors, you can sing along with a Billy Joel cover band. You can take in a lazy Sunday evening with the phenomenal sounds of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and stay for a fantastic fireworks show. Your children and grandchildren can play in bouncy castles and play mini golf and ride a pony – all for free.
While the Town of Enfield does provide in-kind services for this event, the estimated total of their services would fail to cover the salary of one certified teacher. As a former Committee member, reading the negative comment about the celebration was heartbreaking. I have volunteered at the Celebration for more than half of my life. It is something that my father and I do together. It brings us closer every year because we can look at the flawless execution of an enormous project and reminisce about how tough it is to make all of it seem effortless.
So for those of you who visit the Celebration this year… When you see a Committee member that isn’t busy, thank them. If you shop at a business that sponsors the Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration, thank them. Without them, this event would not happen.
Alison Baziak
Emeritus
Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration