Hegemony in Vacationland

Sister Frisker

It’s that time of the year again: travel season.  Winter breaks, vacations, and family visits all provide a bevy of images for everyone to relate to, but for carefree air travelers it most certainly assures long lines at the airport just so you can get barefoot and fondled by those frisky TSA agents.

After 9-11, the government crack down in the guise of National Security required that citizens get in the habit of wearing the equivalent of bedroom slippers to the airport or risk the grumbling of fellow passengers while shoes were unsnapped, unbuckled, unlaced, etc. before being put into special containers to be irradiated, after which time the offending footwear would have to be re-snapped, re-buckled, or re-laced into place.  If you held up the line at any part of this herding operation, you risked public humiliation in the form of wand-jobs by sweaty TSA agents along with growls and scowls from harried travelers.  Adding insult to injury, no one ever tells you that they love you after they wand you.

Airline food is getting ridiculous.

Around the time we grew accustomed to either being, or seeing fellow passengers, pulled from line for “random” wand-jobs, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) upped the ante by controlling carry-on items so that we were once again assured of even higher standards of safety.  We grumbled, but complied because no one wants to get red-flagged by TSA.  Word is that once you are on *the list* you stay on *the list* for keeps.  Over the years we have willfully, and often gratefully, participated in a variety of ludicrous alerts and advisories in the name of safe travel.  Only commie pinkos, hippies, and unpatriotic citizens had the audacity to complain, right?

Now we are nearly a decade post-trauma, and just like a rocky marriage, the DHS wants to bring some magic back into the bedroom by incorporating a sexy new chapter into the equation. I call it Hegemony In Vacationland (HIV) which roughly translates to “We are controlling you in subtle ways so that you think you are acting on your initiative (especially) when you think that you are going on a vacation.”  Sucka.

The implications of HIV now include potential radiation exposure, TSA agents fondling your pink junque if you refuse the radiation, and for the coup de grâce, x-ray pictures for their viewing pleasure.

Miss October

The terrorist have won.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for getting patted down in all the right places for all the wrong reasons (or is that all the wrong places for all the right reasons?  I always get those two confused.)  Either way – things are getting mighty intense and I, for one, am grateful to partake in holiday travel adventures on the Alaska ferry.  Even if the bar is closed, a girl can always go to the sun deck and rustle up an amateur TSA wanna-be that wants to play airport.  I call it the “Miles Out Club.”

WSW Bonus: Here’s a little holiday gift idea for the person that missed the boat on flying: The Miss TSA Pin-Up Calendar!

*Thanks to commondreams.com for the Sister Frisking

*Shout out to these peeps for Miss TSA pic

*Kudos for Gaga shoe pic

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Victoria’s Other Secret

Whenever I think back on my twenties, I clearly recall that one of the hallmarks of becoming a young woman was making the happy transition from sensible cotton bras and panties to dangerously delicious underthings made of shimmering satins replete with hooks and latches, hoochiepuckers and whatzits.

New-found access to silky delectables ranging from push-up bras, lacy panties, garter belts, bustiers, corsets, and the mysteriously-named camiknicker redefined what it meant to “wear some decent underwear in case you got hit by a truck.”  In fact, attainable lingerie was such a fresh notion that prior to the hard marketing of lingerie in the late 1970′s to the young American woman demographic, most underwear selections were relegated to the Sears & Roebuck catalog, department store alcoves, or for the very adventurous – a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog.  In 1977, things started to change when a guy that was too embarrassed to purchase frilly skivvies for his bride in a department store venue took his nest egg and used it to open a small store in San Francisco.  He thereafter expanded to catalog sales with sexy-sounding phone operators and the rest is history.

Good Bibs

Meanwhile, for a young gal that spent most of her waking hours in woolies and raingear on deck, the Victoria’s Secret collections were an added motivation to keep me working through the storms.  Nothing says “Secret” like wearing a bustier beneath your bibs.  Besides, I am a firm believer in keeping the naughty in nautical.   And as men would come and go, so did my catalogs and lingerie.  I am okay with that, because I like to update all my collections every so often.

Over the years, Victoria’s Secret has become so entirely mainstream that they are now the largest lingerie retailer in the U.S.  Additionally, they have increased their markets by incorporating supermodels and annual nationally televised fashion extravaganzas into the formula beginning in the 1990′s.  In fact, as this post goes to press, the Angels will be purring down the catwalk on prime time television to the beats of Katy Perry and Akon.  I will be writing final papers and not thinking much about my bloomers.

Boys and girls, if you are longing for a quick peek at supermodels with vejazzled vejayjays and enormous wings, check this out:

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You Can Never Be Thankful Enough

Bitch, please.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve… Yeah, you read it right.  Today is the official pre-winter version of Groundhog’s Day.  The way I understand it, if you can’t see your toes after dinner tomorrow, there should be at least six more weeks of excuses not to go to the gym.  Sounds legit to me.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking a lot about the way that my Thanksgiving Experience has evolved over the years.  For instance, prior to my dive into the deep end of academia, I frequently used to prepare multi-course dinners for friends and family.  My menus have been variously themed to fit the context of life that particular year.  The main course generally depended on which turkey man I was romantically involved with.  Some years we enjoyed the bird theme, other times it was venison or elk.  There were a few years of king crab and halibut to dovetail with the yams and green bean casserole, and even one or two holidays spent at neon truck stops or on the anchor toughing out bad weather.  In leaner times, I might hop from house to house with baked goodies and wicked libations, ever-grateful to be able to exchange pleasantries with friends and family.  To the best of my recollection, some of those moments may have been the very best of all.

Nonetheless, I am a full-time student now, and the semester is winding down, which means that time is at a premium.  I cannot, therefore, justify spending this Thanksgiving holiday by indulging in excessive eating, drinking, and football-watching when I have books to color with bright yellow highlighter, small-print scholarly articles to feign interest in, and exorbitantly long papers to compose on existential subjects that will most likely never be expressed in non-academic conversational exchanges again.

That said, I have been considering alternative Thanksgiving agendas, and here is one presentation that makes me regret I ain’t entertaining this year:

Because it is Wrong. On 6 levels.

It’s the quintessential American Dream: an effing Thanksgiving Turkey Cake with All the Trimmings.  Six layers of aesthetically questionable goodness that you can make NOW to simultaneously impress and horrify dang near everyone!  Spuds, yams, cranberry sauce, turkey, dressing… on a cake plate, bitches.  Don’t say WSW never gave ya nothing.  Here’s yer link: Thanksgiving Turkey Cake.

As for this gal, since I am “between husbands” this holiday, I aim to enjoy my turkey on the rocks – just like someone’s mom used to make.

As for you, somewhere between the eating and the sleeping and the inevitable farting and dog-blaming, I recommend that you paint some wonderful Thanksgiving memories – even if you have to deny them in the morning.  That is, after all, where the best stories come from.  I will be home all night if you need an alibi.

P.S. Regarding dessert – I am compelled to incorporate some MATH into this post because it seems like the academically correct thing to do.   Here it is, the simplest pie chart ever:

The KNEW Math, as in "I KNEW THIS"

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM THE WSW!

*Thanks to CHOW for the Turkey Cake pic

* Thanks to IowaMonsterBucks for Turkey Shot

*Thanks to Yarsly for the Pie Chart pic

 

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Men in Kilts vs. Women in School

It’s already mid-October and here in Alaska that means shorter days with cooler temps across the state.  This is the time of the year when tourists and seasonals are finally gone, happily leaving us locals to our own devices.  Sweet.  More time to engage in the land without all of the stress of outsiders… You know what I’m saying: its about finally being able to walk around your house buck nekkid once the guests have departed.  Yeah, it’s just like that, minus the burning retinas.

Does this glacier make my ass look big?

By golly, we thought they'd never leave!

For the people of Sitka, however, it’s the annual Alaska Day celebration – a time to reflect on the formal transfer of Alaska from Russia which officially occurred on October 18, 1867.  This “reflecting” includes a mock transfer ceremony, a costume ball, week-long contests, fund-raising “slave auctions,” parties and liver-wrenching depravity going on at all the finer watering holes.  I personally have been auctioned off *for Jerry’s Kids* a couple times over the decades.  One time I was purchased in a high bidding war, and the winner was an ex-husband.  Made for an awkward slave-master relationship, but that’s another story.  Nonetheless, the festival culminates with a glorious parade featuring MEN IN KILTS who absolutely thrill the ladies with their bags. Oh yeah, they also play music with some very awkward pipe-sort of instruments.

Sure, make yourselves at home...

As for the Alaska Native community, Alaska Day is roughly the equivalent of Columbus Day in the lower 48, seeing as no one asked the aboriginal people what they thought about the whole transfer of THEIR land.  While many Alaska Native people refuse to participate in events, there are some that do partake in the more entertaining aspects of the celebratory atmosphere, and I commend their tolerance.  I am a white girl, and as such, historically have only been interested in the men in kilts.  Okay, that plus the sheer entertainment factor of mixing professional bar-flies with the amateur (paid holiday off) drinkers that populate the bars for certain events.

Alas, I am away at school this year and cannot give you the news from the front lines.  Instead, in the spirit of those pesky exes that don’t quite understand the meaning of “Eat my dust, Bozo,” I am yanking from the best of the WSW archives, and reprinting Sitka’s Annual Tartan Wingding edition.

Enjoy it.  Again.
Just like he did.

Sitka’s Annual Tartan Wingding – WSW – October 2008

It’s mid-October.  Around here, that can only mean one thing.  Oh yes, the weather is more blustery and the termination dust is creeping down the mountains and the streets are noticeably more navigable than they were just a few weeks ago in the throes of tourist season.  However, recurring natural phenomena pale in comparison to the Alaska Day festivities that are unfolding in Sitka this week.  Men in kilts.  That should be enough.  But it gets better.  They will be playing bagpipes and drums and marching from bar to bar to bar astonishing us with their muscular legs, drinking skills, and oh yeah, musical abilities.

Alaska Day is on October 18, commemorating the anniversary of the transfer of the Alaskan Territory from Russia to the U.S. in 1867.  Although it is a legal State holiday, Sitka is the only community where it is truly celebrated.   The festivities, lasting approximately 10 days, is reminiscent of the Big Easy during Mardi Gras, sans the bare-breasted babes and plastic beads.  (Well, that’s not entirely true: things can get pretty naked and sparkly around here in the Land of the Midnight Sun…)  Nonetheless, iniquitous late night happenings dovetail seamlessly with a bevy of family-friendly events that include a croquet tournament, variety shows, performances by Highland Dancers and the Pipe Band (featuring men in kilts), 9th Army Band musical entertainment, food booths, a parade (featuring men in kilts), a reenactment of the 1867 transfer ceremony, races, USCG air-sea demonstrations, and historical tours.

Bright red lipstick kisses adorn the faces of local citizens, strategically placed by sexy clown babes dressed in garish Keystone Cop regalia.  For $2, you can be spared the facial tattoo and purchase a commemorative button that helps pay for some of the festival events (like bringing the men in kilts to town).   Anyone caught without a button on the 18th risks a humiliating incarceration in the makeshift clink.  Good times… good times.  Despite the continuous rain, there is a general air of levity about town, enhanced by all the silly merriment and seasonal goodwill.  Did I mention the men in kilts?

Even though demographics of recent years indicate that the ratio of men to women in Sitka has greatly leveled to an even playing field, there is still the sheer pleasure of seeing new faces (read kilts) when the Seattle Firefighters Pipe Band members arrive.  On behalf of Sitka’s female population, the WSW is very grateful for the good and charitable work that these brave pipers provide when they grace our community every October with good cheer and snappy music.  And kilts.


* Peeled the Spencer Tunick pic from this excellent blog!

* Big thank you to Cyndi C/That’s Haute© for the photos!

* Old black & white photo from the Alaska State Library archives

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Passport Please

The notion of traveling abroad has always intrigued me, long before academe whistled me in… kind of like how the sirens lulled lonesome sailors to the rocks.  In my case, I had considered various branches of the military and even mulled over the consequences of setting the world on fire (think “global warming”) by posing as an — ew — missionary (I don’t even like that word) to spread some gospel-du-jour, just so I could get to other countries.  Obviously, since earth is still here, I did not assume the position (out of loyalty to the planet) and especially because no evangelicals would have me.  Go figure.  Also, I got a wicked case of p-p-p-poker face and can’t sell that which I don’t buy.

That said, I put the dream of traveling the world on the heavily clichéd back burner until such opportunities presented themselves.   Upon returning to college I discovered that there is a big push for students to experience world cultures by traveling abroad for a semester or more.  While I am thoroughly intrigued by this notion, and always enjoy participating in anything that involves crossing borders and altering identities, I was dismayed to discover that it costs a small fortune to color outside the lines of my own State.  Overseas travel entails so much more than just procuring a passport.  In fact, that step was as easy as hitting bait in a puddle.  Getting off the Rock and crossing ponds requires so much more.  It requires an effing sugar-daddy.  I didn’t know if I was up for the effort. (Also, I ran out of stuff to get taken away by future ex-husbands.)

Determined to still get around the globe, I have to come up with a more amenable strategy.  One that involves retention of my self-esteem while simultaneously bleeding some poor shmucks’ bankroll.  As part of my pre-travel strategy, I fancy myself finishing college and obtaining a high-paying “position” — not an MRS., nor the traditional Dominatrix, but something more respectable – that doesn’t require advanced creative storytelling to my family and friends.  Something more along the lines of a c-a-r-e-e-r.

Until that happy day when I procure the Holy Grail (read: diploma), I have been mulling over the realities of securing said employment with a pending Liberal Arts Degree (not to mention the hours of practicing saying “Would you like paper or plastic with that?” in pretentious foreign accents) and I daresay that I may have stumbled upon an amenable method to getting the passport stamped.  Savvy babes, take note.

(Consider yourself warned: The following is NOT for the faint-of-heart, the self-respecting-in-the-morning types, or stamp my passportanybody with mitral valve issues.)

I am currently *partial* to men from different countries.  I have recently enjoyed the fare of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Iceland.  I have set my sights on portions of Scandinavia, Asia, and African nations.  Western Europe, the Baltics, and Polynesia can’t be far behind.   The trick is to do it like they do it on the Discovery Channel:  You meet up at the watering hole and then seal the deal by flaunting your exotic flair.  Once  the deed is done, you get them to stamp the passport with their, uh, stamper.  Voila!  You are a world traveler – without any of the messy complications that actual overseas travel entails!  No missing your friends, no long lines, and no wanding by creepy TSAs indiscriminately touching yer pink junque.

Bonus: If you get any of those gooey love feelings that sometimes linger like the flu, you can quickly neutralize the angst by (a) trying to remember his name, (b) trying to find your skivvies-slash-cell phone, or (c) doing illicit drugs that conveniently provide even better alibis than the ones you thought up in the first place.

Being a well seasoned woman: it’s not just a job – it’s an aventure!

Thanks to Covertress for the passport pic (it obviously ain’t mine).

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When Good Cougar Dens Go Bad

How would you feel if you were just giddy as a school girl about living with a bunch of young’ns?  Yeah, me too.  I was both nervous and excited about returning to reside on campus this year.  I had survived  campus housing last year and although it wasn’t all that I had imagined, I had a decent housemate and managed to get a lot of work done over nine months.  I know you are wondering how it is that I was able to avoid getting into the sort of shenanigans that normally materialize in my presence, so here is where my story begins:

The intended housing scenario of my imagination included a dorm-type venue populated with lots of twenty-somethings and then maybe a handful of us more “seasoned” broads.  I envisioned a hot pink front door and exotic animal print curtains.   Stray toothbrushes in the common bathroom, beer and bacon lined up in the refrigerator.  Nag champa and patchouli incense wafting through the air intended to neutralize the smell of stale weed and dirty tube socks.  Perhaps the occasionally random overnight guest wandering about looking for his dignity in the morning …  I had fully intended for my studies to suffer because of my frequent inability to prioritize academics above hangovers and pregnancy tests.   I pictured my desk littered with books and papers, crumpled cocktail napkins stuck to the bulletin board holding meaningless bits of existential conversations jotted down while at the local watering holes.  I aimed so high, I was certain to be the poster child for Texts From Last Night.

Much to my chagrin, the *actual* course of events went something more like this:

Last year’s sole housemate was not fresh out of high school.  In fact, she was not any closer to the definition of “fresh” than I am.  She was, however, a damn good-looking woman a few years my senior.  She had raven-black hair, a slammin’ body, and appeared to be single.  I was soon to discover that even full-time college students should not judge a book by it’s cover.  My housemate didn’t care for beer or bacon.  There was no Eau de reefer or essence of testosterone on the horizon.  She was, however, partial to sage.  As for visions of young sugarplums – turns out she was not particularly interested in the same flavor of candy that I was partial to.  The pink door and exotic animal prints would have to be filed away for future reference because it was going to be a long, cold winter.

Returning to the crime scene, it is my senior year and I am once again moving to campus housing.  I am feeling good about this year’s housing arrangement because I am fairly confident that I am the oldest person living on campus and am hoping to get housed with a bunch of baby-chicks so that I don’t die alone of some rogue geriatric ailment.  I unpack all of my worldly goods – some of which include the pink door paint, leopard curtains, and zebra throw pillows.  I can feel it with my keen animal instinct: The Cougar Den is going to happen after all.

And. then. she. walks. in.  She looks old enough to have been a waitress at the Last Supper.  Okay, maybe I am exaggerating – but she is definitely NOT Cougar material.  Nonetheless, we old broads got to stick together and I am searching her hands for a wedding ring or a rainbow tattoo.  Everything looks pretty hopeful so I chat her up to see how she feels about wild animal prints  and late-night party games that might include bail or alibis.  She is cheerful, but strangely aloof so I crack out the whiskey and offer her a welcome cocktail, to which she politely refuses.  Damn, I can’t figure her out.  She mentioned her daughter and an “ex” so I think she is straight.  She definitely puts the vag in vague, so what gives?

It all comes together the next day when she knocks on my bedroom door and invites me into her room-slash-sanctuary to check out her gallery of Galilee which is plastered in various scenes referencing the life and times of a certain religious figure.  Her mouth curls into one of those peaceful smiles that announce a snow blizzard in her head, and I excuse myself from her room because there is a little bit of throw-up in my mouth.  

Apparently, there is a moratorium on the wild cougar.  It appears that I will graduate with honors this year.  Does anyone need any curtains or throw pillows?

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Academic Hoohaa

“For the completion of the life cycle, the famed firebird builds its funeral pyre.  After setting itself alight, it burns until nothing but ash remains. And from that ash and flame, the phoenix rises.”

An iridescent phoenix rising out of ashes provides a powerful metaphor of second chances and hope.  Sadly, the reality of hauling my geriatric ass out of the trenches and into the halls of academia did not conjure the same effect.  It seems that the line between being a self-proclaimed spawned out old ho and a full-time university student is more blurry than than my recollections of the Reagan years.

About a year ago I decided to quit my day job and go back to school.  I meant to finish after the tenth grade, but life men just kept getting in the way.  Now that I have finally figured out how to dodge those wily critters, I am aiming for a bachelor’s degree this year.  Going back to school is one of the hardest things I have ever done (that I will admit to in a blog).  For one thing, I am not depending on the lower 7/8 of my body to make the rent anymore.  It’s all very cerebral, and frankly, I was not prepared for the pressure of constant thinking, which is not to be confused with constant drinking.  In fact, now that I can’t afford my favorite old pastimes, I daresay that my ambitions of cirrhosis are rapidly fading.  Shit, by now my liver is probably clean enough to donate to a church.  Ya know, for some sort of sacrament.

Demographically speaking, the vast majority of my school peeps are twenty-somethings.  This in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, however, it certainly serves to reinforce that notion that women “of a certain age” become superfluous to younger generations.  Truth be told, I don’t mind the demotion to the ranks of the invisible.  It’s easier to stay on track with studies if I am not peer pressured into attending a kegger every weekend.  And when I am asked to come out and party, I can always play The Granny Card.  That bitch trumps virtually everything!

Overseasoned woman

Meanwhile, it is my ultimate intention to justify a 14-month hiatus from blogging with such profound imagery and literary prowess that you will either be awestruck by the wordilicious goodness that my education is providing me and forgive the long absence – or – you will kindly suggest that I return my student loans and recommend a skipper that will (A) take my old ass to sea, or (B) marry it into submission.   Stat.

Be on the lookout for more academic hoohaa as I will be aiming to pump out some chronic tales for your perusing.  Meanwhile, I got to get out of here before I get caught for burning up another bird.

* Thanks to these folks for the phoenix pic

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