Archive for the 'Image' Category

A foolish expectation of privacy?

May 1, 2009

imagesMsmeta here, poking her head above ground to see if it’s spring yet — oh, wait. That already happened. Way back in February. Which is about how long since I’ve posted regularly. Okay (she said, rubbing the grit out of her eyes), here goes:

I have a plethora of lame excuses for not spilling my guts not posting regularly, most having to do with work, Facebook, work, record snowfalls, work, family issues, blah blah blah. But if you tied me down and put bamboo shoots under my fingernails (or even offered me a Coke with crushed ice, I’m SO easy) I would have to confess that I’ve developed a strange little niggling feeling between my shoulder blades, an uneasiness, a reluctance that I can best express by saying that I’ve been feeling, well, overexposed, vulnerable, too “out there.”

I’ve talked about my penchant for anonoblogging in a previous post, and recently had an interesting, almost uncomfortable response. The reader said it took him only 10 minutes to discover my real identity by following the various breadcrumbs I’ve left throughout cyberspace. So much for hiding in plain sight. (Don’t bother trying to find me. I’m not that interesting. Really.) I think I somehow knew I was discoverable, but it tweaked me a bit nonetheless.

Which is probably why Nell Boeschenstein’s encounter with the limits (or lack thereof) of Internet privacy was so interesting to me. In today’s issue of The Rumpus, an unusual little literary way station on the Web, she tracks how her very personal contribution to a Web site found its way into a very public art exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, which crossed some definite boundaries for her. Like her, the people who posted to that site:

…were looking for something, and their words and their faces and their desires and their loneliness were being put on display on the wall of a major museum without their permission or knowledge. On the one hand, this was found art; on the other hand, was it? On the one hand, these people had put this information onto the Internet themselves and had no legal expectation to privacy; on the other hand, the piece seemed to take advantage of naïve people who didn’t understand what little ownership they have over the information about themselves available on the Internet. On the one hand, information is taken from the Internet all the time and reprinted in different contexts; on the other hand, faces and emotions and private lives on a museum wall take appropriation to a whole new level. The [original] project seemed kind to the idea of loneliness, yet it seemed to disregard the actual people to whom that loneliness belonged.

Ouch. And she only found out about it because she happened to walk into MOMA and trip over the exhibit. (Her account is a bit long but worth reading.)

Do we have any expectation of privacy out here? Did I sign my rights away when I logged onto WordPress that first time? My posts are never particularly salacious or scatalogical, but could I provoke some unwanted interest just by being here?

I know I’m going to think twice before I contribute to anyone else’s site from now on.

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I’ve regained my will to live

April 1, 2009

The Brothers Weinstein — those uber-schlumpy fatshionistas — have finally settled their lawsuit with NBC/Bravo, clearing the way for Project Runway to sashay on over to Lifetime, a move that some fans think will be the death of the series. (Bravo = cool, Lifetime = not so much…)

Actually, I’m more concerned about the status of Tim “Make It Work!” Gunn. His genuine concern for the designers is one of the most heartfelt aspects of the show, and his insights are terrific. Heidi is just frakkin’ annoying.

Anyway, I can now exhale. This bit of good news comes just as I’m trying to come to terms with life without Battlestar Galactica. (My tastes, it appears, are catholic.)

My random 25 list, or “Keep moving. Nothing to see here.”

February 10, 2009

To accommodate the requests from my many annoying dear friends, I am posting my 25 random things list with a little help from the NYTimes.

1. Say that you hate things like this, and are doing it only to get the (oh, so many) friends clamoring for your list off your back.
Oh, I DO!

2. Describe “embarrassing” high school incident that makes you look cool.
I remember high school as a three-year social nightmare. I actually asked Doug Smoot to Preference because Vickie Cate (his girlfriend and later wife) wanted to go with someone else but didn’t want him to stay home and so she bullied me into asking him. Is that pathetic? He was such a nice guy.

3. Confess to crush on a) third-grade teacher b) obscure indie actor or actress c) your significant other, especially if he or she is on Facebook.
While I think Chris Cooper is HOT, I think The Spouse is HOTTER.

4. Identify real, but minor, flaw.
I snore. (Ask anyone who has roomed with me lately.) The Spouse wears ear plugs.

5. Identify major flaw by suggesting how it may also be major virtue.
The older I get, the less I can dissemble. I can’t fake liking or even tolerating someone or something I don’t. I skip a lot of events where I might have to “be nice.”

6. Cite mean nickname you were given as a child.
Can’t remember any. Being me was bad enough.

7. Follow with offhand mention of receipt of high professional honor or athletic or artistic achievement.
Excuse me for a moment while I fix my hair, which I can see in the reflection of my framed CASE INTERNATIONAL CIRCLE OF EXCELLENCE GOLD AWARD.

8. Describe meeting a celebrity and how it a) disillusioned or b) thrilled you or c) if it’s a really good celebrity just the name will do.
I had my picture taken with Harry Smith of ABC-NEWS. He’s tall. Oh, and I did a recording gig with Sting. He wore black leather pants. It was okay.

9. Mention small adversity, like long commute or annoying neighbor, and the unexpected, preferably funny, way you overcome it.
I’m not pretty, so I became pretty smart. And pretty funny.

10. Cite an actual random thing that comes to mind while writing this list.
I love raw oysters.

11. “Admit” that you always identified with weird ancillary character on popular TV show in 7th grade, as if you didn’t know that everyone in retrospect agrees that was the best character.
I don’t remember much TV from 7th grade, except for afternoons with “The Mickey Mouse Club” and “American Bandstand.” I did grow up wanting to be Laura Ingalls Wilder from the “Little House” books.

12. Expose something genuine and poignant about yourself, such as untimely death of close relative or rare genetic condition.
I have a mesenteric venous thrombosis with accompanying portal hypertension and esophageal varices. Cool, eh? (You’ll NEVER get it, so don’t worry.) It nearly killed me, and may yet.

13. Express heartfelt thanks to friends or family for helping you through #12, or just for being there, or whatever.
The Spouse sat by my bed at the hospital every day, with only his computer for entertainment. The Goons were both water-skiing at Lake Powell. Figures.

14. Conclude sentimental portion of list by citing the scene in movie X that always makes you cry. Could also be a lyric, or a memory, so long as it involves crying.
That moment at the end of “Carousel” when Billy says, “I love you, Julie. I’ve always loved you” to the strains of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Break out the Kleenex.*

15. Something about drugs.
Don’t do them, unless they’re prescribed (said the pharmacist’s daughter).

16. Tell a story of how you stood up to authority. Dwelling on descriptive details can help it not seem like you are making yourself out to be a hero even though you are.
I don’t generally stand up to authority, but then, I don’t always recognize authority. I just burble along, usually under the radar.

17. Recount a dramatic moment, like having your heart broken or getting arrested, but withhold details, forcing readers to ask for them in your “comments’’ section. In case you didn’t know, comments equate to status on Facebook even more than number of friends.
I was singing a solo on TV and forgot the words, so I repeated the previous verse. In Spanish, no less.

18. Make one up.
I was caught smuggling hashish and spent 12 years in a Turkish prison where I was recruited by Al Qaida.

19. Say “one of these is completely made up.”
Guess which one.

20. If you have kids, a) cite weird names you wanted for them and how your more rational, if less creative, spouse rescued them from a lifetime of torture.
Mother didn’t like “Lincoln,” so for awhile she kept calling him “Tony.” We ignored her. She gave up. Oh, and Jefferson was supposed to be Jeffrey, but we got carried away.

21. and/or b) relate story that appears to expose your inept parenting while in fact highlighting their precocious brilliance. If you don’t have kids, relate a cute anecdote from your early life to show everyone that you’re still a kid at heart.
My sons were shamefully easy to discipline. I merely had to suggest to Jeff that I would separate him from his beloved friends and he would turn into JELLO, and you just had to look at Lincoln cross-eyed and he’d burst into tears. No sweat. The only thing I had to put up with from them was the occasional LIP. Thanks, guys.

22. If you have a pet, you have one item only through which to convey its superlative nature. If you don’t have a pet, talk about how much you yearn for an obscure breed of cat/dog/reptile or, alternatively, how much you hate animals and the people who love them.
We had Mo, a Sheltie, for nearly 15 years. He wasn’t very bright, but he was sweet. And loyal. And hairy. He died seven years ago. The Spouse is still in mourning, so negotiating for another one is on hold.

23. Something about parents.
I wish they’d been straight with me. We had too many secrets.

24. Name skill that you are proud of by recounting unexpected way you acquired it.
At age 40+, I finally learned how to downhill ski, thanks to Liz. We started out doing cross-country, and it escalated from there. I can even parallel turn!

25. Close with the unusual: a) recount a genuinely traumatic event you witnessed or b) name an exotic location that is your favorite place on earth or c) cite a dubious world record that you performed.
My favorite city in the world is Florence, Italy.

26. This is important: Do not add “bonus” items.
I’m not!

Can I go out and play now? (I always say that, but this time it’s TRUE.)

*True funny story: My friend Walt was asked to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at a funeral. When the time came, the bishop stood up and solemnly intoned, “And now, Walt Boyton will sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Again.'”

(And Walt had to stand up and sing! With a straight face!)

Please! So shut up already!

February 10, 2009

E-gad. If I didn’t have enough to worry about, I’m being besieged by requests for my 25 random things list. Don’t you people have jobs/children/spouses/lives?!?

So, to shut everyone up, I’m actually going to try this on my Facebook site: 25 Random Tips for the Busy Facebook User. I’ll share the best ones here. (From the NYTimes, of course.)

Real fashion. Real people. Real lives.

January 28, 2009

Lately, at a certain point in the afternoon, when I’ve got the pigs slopped, the hay baled, the chickens plucked and the chores done, I take a few minutes and review the latest postings to wardrobe remix, a little Flickr site that I stumbled upon a few months ago.

WR is dedicated to all those of us who daily crawl out of bed, limp to our mirrors and scratch our heads in frustration. It is how real women of all ages and sizes use whatever is in their closets, cupboards and drawers to express themselves. (I think it was Isaac Mizrahi who said that fashion is, after all, a form of entertainment.) It has few rules — age 16+, total body shots, including shoes, the poster needs to say where the individual pieces come from, no collages or multiple shots — so the fashion combinations are at times crazy bizarre unique. And yet I’ve found this site to be more interesting and inspiring than any fashion magazine I’ve ever read.

It’s real people wearing real clothes, and many of their favorites are from thrift stores, discount outlets and relatives’ closets. Asian girls revel in their odd (to me, anyway) combinations of prints, Australian women incur deep seasonal jealousy by wearing sundresses and flip flops, European women demonstrate the best in Euro-style, collegiate fashionistas contort themselves in fashion-model stances — and they are surrounded by punk rockers, hippie chicks, thrift-store junkies and middle-aged fashion veterans.

There’s a teacher in Australia whose students must surely wait by the door everyday to see what wild and wonderful combination of colors, prints and jewelry she’ll be sporting. A punk chick seems to change her Day-Glo hair color weekly, with aplomb. A farm wife in Iowa wears thrift-store treasures that make her life look anything but ordinary. A woman in the Midwest with a terrific knack for layering has a link to her blog, where she meditates on fashion and its place in history, psychology and popular culture.

These are just women living their lives. Most are pretty, but not model-beautiful, and their wardrobes wouldn’t make it on the pages of InStyle or Vogue. Yet to me they are so compelling, so REAL.

Along with the fashion parade is a glimpse into the homes of these clothes horses. Hopefully I’m not being too voyeuristic, but I’m actually somehow comforted by the normalcy of most of their living arrangements, with their couches, floor coverings, knick-knacks, spouses/housemates and pets. The living quarters seen in the margins of their photos are sometimes cluttered with evidence of their lives, REAL lives. Their spaces don’t look like TV or magazine sets, but are areas where real people live real, interesting and sometimes messy existences.

Sometimes for the college-age women, it’s a single room or even a communal bathroom that forms the background, while other models stand on wooden floors in front of doors, interesting art or overflowing bookcases. (I’d love to be able to read some of the titles.) Some of them even have messy, overgrown yards — I can relate! One of my favorite backdrops belongs to an chick who poses in front of her flat, standing on a doormat that reads “Next Time Bring a Warrant.” (Needless to say, her sense of style has ATTITUDE.)

If you look at the site, you might initially think I’m nuts. (“She actually went out of the house looking like THAT?”) But scroll through a few photos and you’ll likely find someone whose personal flair and style sense make her look like someone you’d like to know. (“Her” is probably incorrect, as there are a few brave males who post as well.)

Maybe I watch too much TV and read too many magazines. Perhaps I’ve overdosed on air-brushed perfection. Apparently I have finally realized that, for example, Oprah’s guests (and the Queen of TV herself) have been primped and corseted and fussed over within an inch of their very lives before they set foot on her set, and that they bear little resemblance to whatever it is that crawls out of their individual beds in the morning. Whatever the cause, I find that I have a deep unrelenting hunger for whatever is really REAL, and wardrobe remix seems to help satisfy some of that craving.

msmeta reveals herself, at last

January 13, 2009




















Now you too can become your very own Obamicon, thanks to the folks at paste magazine. (Via Gawker. YES, I REALLY DO LOOK AT THAT AWFUL SITE!  SO SUE ME!)

Diet Wars: Oprah packs it back on — again

December 10, 2008

imagesAll I have to say about Oprah and her 40 refound pounds is that, if America’s sweetheart, with her millions and millions of dollars and her literal army of assistants — trainers, personal chefs, doctors, nutritionists, counselors, etc. — can’t keep the weight off, then the rest of us chubby plebeians out here should step back, take a deep breath, and just be a little kinder to ourselves. I don’t just think, I KNOW this kind of yo-yo weight loss has contributed to her — and my — weight issues over the years.

She maintains that her fall off the wagon is due to a out-of-balance thyroid, and, in deference to my thyroid-deficient friends — and I have many — I’ll refrain from speculating on that excuse. And don’t go ragging on me — I think Oprah’s okay, just maybe a little self-absorbed sometimes.

This doesn’t mean that I’ll be accepting seconds on pecan pie this season (even if its ByJane’s recipe) or that I’ll quit nagging myself to get off my lazy backside and go for a walk. I’m just not looking for any more reasons to despise myself. And neither should you.

A blessed, peaceful and gracious holiday to you all! (And apologies for my absence from the Blogosphere. Life happens…)

Lauren Hutton

October 23, 2008

This is my current source of inspiration, shamelessly stolen from The Sartorialist, a wonderful street fashion site:

Isn’t she fabulous? Completely unretouched, just as God — and a full life — made her. That I should age so honestly and so well.

Faces: Being Colleen Corby — or not

August 14, 2008

Throughout my pimply and klutzy adolescence, I was desperate to be ANYONE but me. (The only person who thought I was cute was my dad. Really. Boys would cross the street to avoid being seen with me.) And most of that time, I was desperate to be Colleen Corby, the ubiquitous teen model whose image seemed to be on every other page of Seventeen Magazine (15 covers) and all the other teen publications of the time. To get an idea of how unrealistic my dream was, I didn’t look remotely like her. Not even close. (Think more Doris Day-ish, only not so pretty — or perky.)

Corby walked into the Eileen Ford Agency uninvited, looking for a summer job, and found herself booked solid for the next 20 years or so. She, as they say, would have looked good in a potato sack, with a little belt, a beret and some black Mary-Janes. I remember sighing over pictures of her all dressed up in her preppy tartans and swingy little Sixties dresses, with her shiny hair, big eyes and perfect eyebrows.

Unlike today’s supermodels, Corby (the magazines told me) lived quietly in an apartment in Manhattan (!?!) with her businessman father, stay-at-home mother and little sister, Molly, who was also a model. “Wow,” I thought. “How would I go about getting to be part of that gene pool?”

Colleen (they said) loved listening to her Andy Williams LPs, but Molly had nearly ruined him for her by playing the albums so much. OMG! I loved Andy Williams, too! We were practically best friends! (That faint noise you hear is my grown sons laughing their guts up. “Andy Williams? Albums? Geez, Mom…”)

She didn’t stay on the scene long enough to get franchised like Heidi Klum and her ilk, and her proposed film career didn’t pan out, so she retired to a quiet life of marriage and motherhood, occasionally venturing out when fans — like Oprah — want to remember her.

That memory makes me sad, and it isn’t Corby’s fault. (I also wanted to look like Audrey Hepburn. HA!) My fan-crush on her only alienated me further from myself. Why did I set myself up like that? Was there really such a dearth of acceptable role models then that I had to pick someone whose looks and lifestyle were so utterly unattainable? It would take me years, decades even, to come to an uneasy truce with myself and my looks.

I’m sometimes glad I only had sons, because I’m not sure how I would have guided a daughter through that adolescent minefield.

My Life in Shoes: Boots

July 31, 2008

Too many serious posts lately. Must lighten up. So I’ll blog about one of my less-noteworthy obsessions: Boots, preferably ones that fit.

Aside from the little plastic fur-topped boots of my childhood, my first serious encounter with boots came in high school and college in the ’70s. Frye boots, to be specific. The ultimate in hippie-chic in my little corner of the West. Square-toed, blond leather and indestructible. When I finally found a pair that I could squeeze my size-tens into (no small, er, feat), I wore them obsessively, even though they were snug and gave me blisters. (Why didn’t I just opt for a pair of men’s boots? They were almost exactly the same style…)

I never did wear white go-go boots, not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t find a pair that would accommodate my massive calves. I later learned to pull on boots and gradually inch them up over said calves for a reasonable fit, but by then, go-go boots were out — saving me money and probably years of embarrassment.

I still like boots, and I saw them everywhere when I was in London. The students found some really colorful and kicky Wellingtons in all colors and patterns on Portobello and Camden Roads that served them well in the rainy spring weather. And I’ve already blogged about my favorite British import, my trusty Doc Martens.

Boots really merge fashion and practicality, and they can look good with jeans as well as a little black dress. And so I was particularly pleased with the pair I recently found on sale in the dead of summer at Century 21 in NYC. The shoe gods were kind that day.

If you google or do an eBay search for boots, you’ll get a ton of thigh-high, plastic, stiletto-heeled options that never seem to make it out on the street, at least during the hours when I’m awake and at the locations where I hang around. (I lead a dull life.) So boots must be an obsession for more than just the likes of little old me.