there's nothing i like better than a chance to laugh at pictures of willies

yet another reason i am clearly unsuited to this whole web-developer profession thing. apparently, it is common lore that graphic designers do all that is humanly possible to "slip one" to the man, by cleverly integrating phallic imagery into their designs. who knew?

if you are like me, and infantile enough to snort to yourself quietly at the computer as you look at a parade of wangers, check this out.


get thee gone, school fundraiser pizza...

or, why i have joined the Sweetney.com Flab-Be-Gone 2006 Challenge Redux....

anyone who has kids in school in the united states is all too familiar with the ever-present "school fundraiser." even if you have not got kids, you have more than likely been trapped in uncomfortably close quarters by parents like myself who demand "my kid's school is raising money, would you like to buy some cookie dough, fruit pies, scholastic books, magazine subscriptions, giftwrap, or art made by the children. it's for the children..."

my son's preschool runs the gamet in terms of these little ventures, and for the most part this entails me and my husband buying an inordinate amount of some foodstuff, and keeping it for ourselves, because we are too lazy and embarrassed to pimp this stuff in the workplace.

this meant that last weekend we had about five metric tons of little ceasar's pizza/garlic cheese bread kits delivered to our house.

let me tell you how evil that garlic cheese bread is. my friend jen and i assembled the item (i hesitate to use the term "cook") the other weekend, and both of us were in worldless shock over what went into it.

1. open bread dough square (provided) and place on greased cookie sheet.
2. sprinkle 10lbs of cheese (provided) over dough
3. bake at 450 for 7-9 minutes, until cheese bubbles (mm'ok)
4. [and here is the devil part]. open sachet of garlic butter mix (provided) and slather contents over top of melted cheese.
(i.e. you do not only melt cheese on bread, you smear it with about a pint of startlingly yellow garlic butter mix.)
5. eat large quantities of that shit like there is no tomorrow.

flash-forward to last friday when i polished off a large proportion of the devil-bread, completely alone and without assistance. oh, and did i tell you i am calorie counting? and trying to lose weight? you know how they say "nine months in, nine months out" over baby weight? how about "nine months in, three and a half years (and counting) out."

so anyway, internets, in line with sweetney's charge, please take this as my public declaration that while i plan to eat and be merry for the rest of my life, i also want to not have to buy another set of clothes in "the next size up." i want to look slim and fabulous while i'm eating fried cheese, dammit;)! by july 1 i will have lost 10-15 lbs, and will do so by exercising and eatin' right.

hot redhead action

my husband has trained my son to point to this chick and say

"look mommy, it's yoooouuuuuu!!!!"

revenge will be mine, dear heart, revenge will be mine....


98 degrees boy, why did you have to go all homophobic on your ass? (....or, reflections on my alarmingly increasing consumption of reality t.v. shows)

last night was the finale of Dancing with the Stars. So we settled down to watch, once again slightly flabbergasted by the fact that we effing love this show.

i won't bore you with a whole rundown of the night, but suffice it to say there are three competitors left:

some former wrestling chick, who was built like an amazon in first few episodes, but who now has normal sized shoulders and is pretty amazing actually. jerry rice, who apparently is some former nfl player, and who sucks big ones, but has a fricking massive fan-base who vote for him out of pure love. and mr 98 degrees, mr ex-jessica simpson's brother, drew lachey.

bite-sized drew lachey is clearly the most talented. he was burning up that stage. a pasa doble (sp?) to thriller (with cheeky zombie-move tributes thrown in). how daring! how entertaining! i am eating that shit UP! THEN, after a very lacklustre and tame performance by wrestler lady in the much anticipated free-form dance, drew and his laaady get to really show us what they are made of.

i can't do justice to what they pulled off last night, but let's say, as someone with complete aversion to anything nashville, i was, for a short period, "a little bit country." little drew--in chaps, ten gallon hat, and a cutsey little fringed waistcoat, ridin' and grindin' that partner of his. her ridin' and grindin' him like there was no tomorrow.

so, of course, we just know that the judges are going to love them up too. and they do.

and then drew does something that makes me go right the fuck off him.

bruno tonioli, "dancer, choreographer, who cannot suppress his natural italian exuberance" is just wild with excitement: "drew! eef they evah do a muzical of brokeback mountaaain, then you must suuurely play de lead"

crowd roars, and drew pulls a "eewwww" face, and the turns around and covers his tiny butt with his ten-gallon hat and goofs off for the crowd.

[the old man: "i think he might have just lost some votes there"
me: "sadly, i think he might just have earned some"]

so now, and I never thought i would utter these words,

GO JERRY!!!!!!


dust, anybody? no? dust, anybody? no? dust, anybody? no?

it's actually very low in fat.
you can have as much dust as you like.

courtesy, of Little Britain's terrifying Fat-Fighter's lecturer, Marjorie Dawes.

this is a shout out to my fellow "Fat-Fighters." let the dust-binging commence.

[Edit: you need the latest version of free Real plugin to play this baby]


martha-stewart-on-crack-flu (or, just WHEN did I become my mother?)

last tuesday (valentines no less) i took a sicky off work. stomach stuff. say no more. anyway, i decided that in this rare opportunity to be at home all alone i would for the very first time(drumroll please) try sewing something with an honest-to-god sewing machine. so i did. it was so fucking easy, i was stupified. in the space of an afternoon, i had completely assembled six new pillows for the living room. you might also remember, that on that particular day i also blogged about spidey valentines. these accomplishment (and the gurgling stomach) had me looking around feverishly thinking "what the hell can i knit/sew/blog next??"

i know--a hat for Boyo! out come the circular needles, and i knit what will become a the first of five prototypes. blue and red stripes. version 1.0 is fucking enormous. i make him wear it anyway, before knitting another smaller (but not small enough) version and coopting the big one for myself.

what is funkier that a 30-something mom in a knitted striped hat and bootcut jeans, after all? this was my thinking on saturday when i made it my personal goal to wear the stripey/hipster mom hat as much as humanly possible. to the Y, to the store, to a friend's house. look at me with my funny hipster hat--i made it myself. i am so radically cool.

then sunday comes. the day of unfulfilled weekend-promise. homework, get-the-fricking-laundry-done-because-we-start-up-all-over-again, day. i take the dog for the walk. naturally, i wear the hat. and then i see myself reflected in a car window...

...30 something lady in a fricking huge, brightly colored homemade hat. schlepping along with a nice baggy of dog poo. stringy hair, and a bit of a hunch. and suddenly, i thought of all those girls at my school whose mums insisted on knitting their navy blue, school issue sweaters, instead of buying a nice acrylic blend one from the school uniform shop. how we derided those girls. on my part, the derision especially vehement--countered as an act of pure self defense. while (mercifully) my mother did not make me wear navy blue knits under my blazer, i was the proud (horrified) owner of the only homemade summer uniform dress. *none* of the other girls had one of those.

as i send Boyo off to preschool in his red-and-white hat--version 5.0, nearly perfected ("hey honey, let's call this the Cat in the Hat hat, huh, huh??") i realize i am perilously near to becoming one of those mothers. i *am* that mother.

so, anyway, here's what i need to know. has anyone got a knitting/sewing pattern for a spongebob sweater, because i am just dying to make one for him.


happy presidents (juggling lack of day-care/school) day

I took Friday off work, because of an in-service day at my boy's preschool. On President's day, another day the school is closed, I am very lucky to have a husband who can/will take the time off to stay at home. This on top of a sick-day earlier in the week. I am very much in the minority in having this kind of flexibility, and some of today's discussion in the feminist blogging world has me considering quite how much "freedom" I actually have.

I have considered myself fortunate to be in a work environment where I am not overtly penalized for having a family, but that does not stop the guilt-complex that can kick in over asking for something that my male or kid-free cohorts do not appear to require. I know that if I have another child, there will be a chunk of time when I will require a work colleague to take over my responsibilities, because, as my (male) boss teased me "even if you're back after a few weeks, let's face it, you're shit for brains for the first five months." At the time, this was offered as a form of support--an acknowledgement of the burden of those first few months, especially for nursing mothers. i.e. "don't worry joy, we're ok.--don't try and do everything." It was well-intentioned, and even gratefully received. And yet....

According to a landmark study by Cornell University, something is going on that many of us had a not-so-sneeking suspicion about--"Women with children are less likely to get hired and are paid less in starting salaries than similarly qualified fathers or women without children. This disparity often follows them throughout their careers." (http://www.azcentral.com/families/articles/0216momswork0216.html)

Barely Attentive Mom has brought some of the individual voices to light on this issue. Voices that vocalize that sneeking suspicion, and the incessant questions over quite what to do. (thanks to bitch phd/sweetney via Blogher for these references).

"Am I the only mom who feels unprofessional for having to stay home with sick children?"
asks Kim

Hell no.

On one level, this is all so depressing. But the networking, the support, the discussion surrounding these isolated voices. All this gives pause of thought, and for hope.

Sometimes blogging can be a feminist issue...


ooooh, my first meme. i feel all bloggy.

mike started this little three-meme. (threeme). he didn't tag, he just asked nicely.

Three albums you're currently loving:
--radiohead, amnesiac
--surfjan stevens, illinoise
--zero seven, simple things

Three albums that remind you of High School:
--abc, lexicon of love
--scritti politti, cupid and psyche 85
--prince, lovesexy (pop-fact about the coverart: prince's head is "reduced" to counter it's massive proportion to his naked little body)

Three albums that remind you of College/University:
--soul to soul, keep on movin'
--happy mondays, pills thrills and bellyaches
--kylie minogue, gold (don't ask)

Three albums everyone should have in their collection:
--the beatles, rubber soul
--nick drake, pink moon
--jamiroqui, synkronized

Three great albums you'd recommend to a friend:
--garden state soundtrack
--high fidelity soundtrack
--six feet under soundtrack
it's all about the soundtrack.

Three great albums recommended to you (that i have not got, yet):
--white stripes, get behind me satan
--neil diamond, 12 songs
--sigur ros, takk (some serious scandinavian shit, that is)

Last three albums you added to your collection:
--aqualung, strange and the beautiful (jury's out on that one)
--johnny cash, greatest hits
--surfjan stevens, illinoise.

Three albums you "rediscovered" from your past:
--roxy music, country life
--kate bush, hounds of love
--madonna, ray of light

Three artists/bands from your country that you think are / were great:
--david bowie

Three artists/bands from another country that you think are great:
--the wiggles (australia)
--gorrillaz (where are they from, again?)

Three defunct or dead artists / bands you love:
--elliot smith
--nick drake
--rolf harris (australia)

Three podcasts/radio shows you listen to regularly (i only wish Ross and TAL were downloadable)

--ricky gervais
--jonathan ross (saturday morning show).
--this american life (downloadable via audible, but i am too cheap)

Type of mp3 device(s) you currently own and use:
--old school, circa 2001 ipod. 20gb. big, white, and a usability disaster.

Favourite Accessories:
--a nice purse--coordination with shoes optional
--my "i'm making a statement" (don't look at my stained shirt) big necklace
--plastic baggies of goldfish crackers--preferably crumbed all through lining of purse (see above)

because the world just needs one more Lost post

Sayid, why are you forsaking us? why do I find your torture persona disturbingly attractive? why could it not have been someone other than super-flimsy shannon who gave you the crazy-with-grief eyes. (oh, ok, so she was a ballet dancer--what deep soul we discovered before she was massacred)

Jack, oh, Jack. why has everyone forsaken you? why, oh why, does no one listen anymore?

Locke. give it up. are you the island's spiritual core? what gives with the rash of violent behavior countered with the "violence isn't the answer" approach?

Sawyer. are all your gestures of humanity to be swiftly undercut by extreme acts of cruelty now? what small woodland creature will you pray upon next?

Hugo. now we know why four months on the island have not made you the world's biggest loser. you bad boy. (scriptwriters, what clever thinking on that one--"uh, I know, like, we thought Hugo gave away all the food, but really, he, uh, kept a massive stash so he stays on the brawny side. yeah, that'll work. yeah. right. sorted.)

Brother Justin/AKA soldier man that made Sayid the torturing bastard he is today. i am psyched there is another role for your malevolent sole. there'd better be plans to get you on that island, s'all i'm saying.


more notes from ye olde smalle blog

when i see stuff like this, it really is like being right back in ye olde englande. now, prithee, where's my jousting stick, and tankard of ale?

notes from a small blog. have a WEB-TASTIC Valentines!!!!

so, this is my first real valentines day as a mother to a kid in the u.s. or, i should say, a mother to a kid who is now old enough to participate in valentine's day. he's 3.

as i signed sealed and stamped spider-man valentines for each of boyo's preschool class mates last night, i was struck by the vast difference between how brits and 'mericans celebrate this day. in england, v-day is reserved for "lovers" or at least people you have aching hormonal crushes on.

as a teenager, i received very few valentines, unless i was officially "going out" with someone--a.k.a. going down the bus station, holding hands, and having a bit of a snog before number 33 came along. another factor that might have limited my chances was going to an all-girls school. not that girls cannot have raging hormonal crushes on one another, but such feelings did not tend express themselves in traditional ways, for fear of being tarred a "lezzy."

v-day in the u.s.a. knows no such boundaries. (although hubs did tell me that during certain key moments in his life, uhm, likeearly adolescence, the receiving of cards that expressed "love" from both boys and girls in his class led to a little soul-searching).

now boyo is 3, and, according to local tradition, ready to get into the valentine swing of things. i have to admit, although i knew v-day was much less about erotic love, and more about being forced to buy cards for all your peers, i wasn't expecting to have to deal with it for a few years. but nope, hubs came home with the goods last night, after a "valentines list" was distributed to all parents by the school.

and let me say, there is no more tender way to express love than with a note from Spidey. each card has it's own unique message for the recipient, and, i must confess, i never knew spidey cared that much:

  • STICK around and have a Happy Valentine's Day ("stick" get it? "stick" oh, spidey..! you are too funny)
  • Hope you have the ULTIMATE Valentines Day
  • Hope your Valentines Day is a SWINGING Success
  • Hope your Valentine's Day is FULL of High-Flying Adventure

and my personal favorite:

  • Hope you have a WEB-TASTIC Valentines Day.

awesome! hey, thanks Spidey. same to you, man. same to you.


i'm going to go ahead and say it too

i'm a mommyblogger.
check out Marrit Ingman's article at Who's Your Mama.

"We should write about the experience of motherhood in whatever language comes from our hearts: exultation, crushing boredom, frustration, bemusement, righteous anger, fluff, or any combination thereof. Evidently it makes a lot of people furious. We must be doing something right."

hell yeah..


potentially more than you want to know

my name is joy, and this is my shiny new blog. for the last few years i have stalked multiple blogs, transitioning from lurker (sweetney made me delurk) to serial commenter (by now she might wish she hadn't). this year i decided it's time to get bloggy with it.

i am mom (or mummy) to jack (3.5) and wife to frank (38)

in my professional life i am work at a university (untenured, mind) and conduct research on digital literacy in the humanities and human-computer interaction. i also oversee a lot of website development. i place emphasis on the "oversee," because, as you will see, my css skills are just atrocious.

why the gingajoy psuedonym? i have a PhD in English (no fucking shit). this means at various stages i have been/will be a job whore. hollywood's got nothing on academia, peeps.
(read: i don't want to be googled and the phrase "job whore" to come up with my real name and bad grammar)

ginga (pronounced "sing-ah") is a brit slang term for a gingerhaired person. mick hutnall and ron weasley would both be categorized as "gingas." so would i.

i am a woman who came of age as a feminist in the so called "postfeminist" era. this meant that has 19 year old, i visciously defended madonna as an uberfeminist, who showed us that the ladies could wear lipstick, act like hussies, and be liberated. 16 years on i am slightly more cynical, which means i can now covet stilletoes while at the same time deconstruct their patriarchal legacy.

Other random facts (read on, or not..):

i hate to read certain books to my son because they bore the pants off me. these books include, but are not limited to:

  • thomas the tank engine (and percy, henry, and all those other goddamn engines. i do *quite* like "lady.")
  • curious george (the series. talk about thinly veiled postcolonial fantasy*)
  • babar (the series. *see above)
  • spider-man (the series) and especially hurry up, spider-man.
i am about to be 35, which is halfway to seventy. whoo hoo!

i am english (hence "mummy"). i live in the U.S. (hence the explanation).

because i am an ex-pat living abroad, i fetishize multiple things british and pay exhorbitant prices for products like marmite and salad cream. this is the equivalent of spending time in Tuscany, and actively seeking out and then paying through the nose for miracle whip.

as a teenager, i was obsessed with this person, and this synth pop group. so each time i go to bed, i pray like aretha franklin.

i grew up in canterbury, england and went to "geoffrey chaucer comprehensive school." my grandfather was a beefeater at the tower of london. no shit neither.

i got a BA in english here

i did not read a word of the canterbury tales until i came to grad school in east lansing, michigan, where they made me read it in fucking middle english.

i belong to a knitting circle (stitch n' bitch). right now i am on a mission to knit scarves for everyone i know...

i tend to drink, eat, and swear too much at times. but according to my friends, all this makes me a fascinating person.