October Links

Happy October, everyone!

For the uninitiated, this is my monthly roundup of links from my Gunter and Bean Facebook Page, which I use to share the news, links and articles that captivate me. The benefit of checking here is that I’ll have them sorted by topic. The downside is that you miss my commentary. Or maybe that’s a benefit too, I’m not sure.

I hope you enjoy! I look forward to hearing your comments, questions, and suggestions for other things to read!



Continue reading “October Links”

“Live” Blog: America’s Most Smartist Model (S1e1) Part 1

So, I’m kind of a fan of America’s Next Top Model. It all started last season (yes, Cycle 21). See, I listen to this podcast called My Brother My Brother and Me, and the brothers are fans. And on one episode they mention that one of the guys in the house was given a beard-weave as part of his Ty-over. I had to check it out.

And I was hooked. The whole thing is totally absurd, and there is SO. MUCH. FIGHTING. but somehow, it’s pleasant. And the opportunities and stunts and shoots they get to experience are truly interesting. Truth be told, I have really grown to love Kelly Cutrone (especially watching her drool over Nyle on this season).

ANYWAY, it was because of this love for ANTM that Hulu recommended America’s Most Smartest Model to me. Curiosity got the best of me, and one click revealed that it was only 12 episodes and hosted by Ben Stein. A quick IMDB search said it was from 2007. How did I not know about this, ALL THIS TIME.

Well, good news. I’m ready for it now. And you get to watch it with me:

[Note: The time counts down instead of up, because I’m too lazy to do the math, and -spoiler- after a while, it seemed like a countdown until I got my life back]

First commercial: Kicks off with a plus-size model. Good things are afoot.

01:04:00 Oh Ben Stein, it’s been so long since I’ve heard your humorless, monotonous voice…

01:04:41 Well, Mary Alice Stephenson’s credentials seem legit.

01:03:37 This might be harder than I thought…

01:03:06 Or this might be a parody?

01:02:53 If IMDB didn’t tell me this was from 2007, this intro would have.

01:02:03 Ben might be the “most smartest” person Mary Alice knows, but I would love to hear how they know each other.

01:01:12 That dude can’t fit his traps in his t-shirt.

01: 00:39 “When Mary Alice like told us they were going to send two of us home, I was like, OMG, already?” said a guy who didn’t seem to know that he was on a game show.

00:59:31 Ick. This guy is the worst.

00:58:47 I’m glad there’s a girl playing up her intelligence instead of her looks, at least?

00:58:34 Ok, my bad, there’s a lot of people playing up their intelligence. Way to trick me by putting the two creeps on first, TV psychology. Well done.

00:57:19 “Blonde Rachel” (yes, that’s actually what it says on the screen when she’s talking) always looks like she’s smelling something bad.

00:55:58 So far I’m rooting for a dude named Pickle.

00:55:37 Ben Stein just giggled in a way that made me throw up in my mouth a little.

00:54:05 Oh my glob, this is only the first commercial break? -toddler flail- what have I done to myself?

00:52:46 Ben’s wants to keep the girl that made him giggle. Mary Alice rolled her eyes so far into her head I think she saw her own brain.

00:52:06 Cut to the eliminated models trying to open the front door and failing. I have a feeling the editing in this is a little biased.

00:51:19 First challenge announced: Spelling Bee! Using fashion-related words, of course. Lisa thinks this is going to be a “wild ride.” Oh Lisa So sweet. So naive.

00:51:00 Score one for the girls. When the guys got upset by having a bed room populated with only men, the ladies retorted with, “If we want to sleep with you, we’ll let you know.” #micdrop

00:50:23 Oh shit, they put combination locks on the doors to the bathrooms, with clues like “The year Christopher Columbus discovered America.” Someone’s gonna shit their pants.

00:49:10 Blonde Rachel is like a MadTV character.

00:47:06 The guy I called “the worst” earlier? His name is Andre, and he’s still the worst.

00:45:48 I’ve never been so excited for a cell phone commercial.

00:44:40 It’s kind of weird that Angela just shows up next to the pool and is all like “Just wanted to check the weather. Thought after I was done working out, I’d come join you. Put on a bikini top and…” and then gets miffed when Gaston says something sexist. I AM NOT SAYING THAT SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT. What I am saying is that no one talks like that and it feels very manufactured. Like some producer was like “go out there and talk to them – I dunno, make it up!” That said, Gaston totally takes it too far. And if you have to say “I’m not being rude or anything!” then you’re probably being rude.

00:45:51 And now it’s time for the spelling bee…

00:42:37 Ben announces “Every challenge you participate in will be bifurcated and since you’re all supposedly smart, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what bifurcated means, right?” I can’t tell if his smarminess is a character or just him, but either way it’s incredibly unlikable. And for the record, I looked up bifurcated, because I wasn’t 110% sure what it meant, myself.

00:41:40 The anticipation as to which “beauty & fashion related words” they will  use is killing me.

00:41:25 First word: Blue, asked of Andre, douchnozzle extraordinaire… and… he asked if it was a trick question. Because seriously, how fucking patronizing.

00:41:10 Second word: Fendi. Mandy Lynn rocks it. In the voice over, Mary Alice explains they were thrown easy pitches to build their confidence. #killmenow

00:40:54 More words: Cleavage, weightlifting, jewelry, bikini, millionaire, lipstick, deodorant, Armani, beautiful, elegant, and Chanel.

00:40:44 And now for Round 2. And they start with ‘retardant.’ Andre is one letter off (he tries retardent). Mary Alice rolls her eyes like English is his first language. I roll my eyes at Mary Alice. I take back what I said about Andre earlier – these hosts are the worst.

00:39:50 Mandy Lynn might be my fave, despite the affect she has over Ben. I want to slap him. I hate that he was allowed to behave that way on screen, and that he’s okay with it, and the network is okay with it, and I’m watching it. Remember the beginning of this show, when I had fond memories of Ben Stein? PS. Mandy Lynn can totally spell COLLAGEN, and says she knows why they gave her that word, and her lips are silicone, thank you very much.

00:39:38 Gaston is given the word NINCOMPOOP. I’m not sure what that has to do with beauty or fashion. Was this show made so that Mary Alice could haze wannabe models. Because it really feels like that…. (checks IMDB) yep, she’s a producer. Also, I accidentally spied that Bill Nye is on a future episode. Oh, Bill…

00:38:55 No surprise that the Argentinian guy couldn’t spell a word he’d literally never heard before. So far this competition has been good at weeding out the people from foreign countries. Ooof.

00:38:01 After a series of people being asked to spell words that seem to describe them in unflattering ways, Victoria is asked to spell the word emaciated. Shock hits her face, and I feel so offended for her. Then they cut to her in the “confessional” trying and failing to pronounce the word, and I realize the shock was because the word was hard, and not because it was harsh.

00:37:26 Now Erika is given the word LACROIX. Yeah, good luck. But good news! No one can spell any of the designer names!

00:35:51 Daniel spells PHOSPHORESCENCE and I AM SO PROUD! And then a lot of other words, I can’t spell.

00:34:14 And we cut to commercial. Guys I can’t do this anymore. Okay I can, but not tonight. So, join me again next week, for another installment of America’s Most Smartest Models Slowly Kill Bean. Maybe.

Lane Bryant: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Yesterday, Lane Bryant hosted a #PlusIsEqual event in Time Square. I wasn’t there, but it didn’t take long for all of my favorite fat babes to start posting, tweeting and instagramming the whole she-bang.

image courtesy of Ravishly.com

Sadly, the news was not good but also not surprising: Lane Bryant missed the mark again. See the thing is, they held an event to say that “Plus Is Equal” but then hired entertainers who used their stage time to talk about their weight loss victories and how eating too much is bad for you any of their fucking business. They also made up a bunch of t-shirts for the event, but you were S.O.L. if you wanted to wear something above a size XL.

In any case, ultimate babe Virgie Tovar wrote an awesome piece about the event for Ravishly, and I highly recommend it. You can read it here:

#PlusIsEqual But I’m Not Sure I Understand The Equation

And after you read that piece, I suggest boycotting Lane Bryant until they can get their shit together.

On the set of The Martyrdom of Old St. Nick

Dudes. Josh and I got together last week to bang out the final set for The Martyrdom of Old St. Nick, and it doesn’t even feel like bragging to say that we knocked this one out of the park, because seriously, I could not be more proud of this. And I made the Krumpett!

Josh was smart enough to capture the whole process in time lapse, and put it on the internet. Highlights include an amazing set, some TMNT pants, and if you pause it in the right places, there’s even some good shots of my shoulder tattoos. You can check it all out at Josh’s tumblr, linked in the image below.

Hey look, it’s my back!

I am so stoked with how this turned out, and can’t wait to see the progress as it comes to life with the characters. Robbie’s designs and Josh’s assembly (and eternal patience) turned out something really incredible. I feel so honored to be a part of it.


September Links

In 1921, early suffragettes often donned a bathing suit and ate pizza in large groups to annoy men.
In 1921, early suffragettes often donned a bathing suit and ate pizza in large groups to annoy men.

Wow, I can’t believe it’s September already! I’ve been doing this link roundup for a quarter of a year, now! Nuts!

For the uninitiated, this is a roundup of links from my Gunter and Bean Facebook Page, which I use to share the news, links and articles that captivate me. The benefit of checking here is that I’ll have them sorted by topic. The downside is that you might miss my commentary. Or maybe that’s a benefit too, I’m not sure.

I hope you enjoy! I look forward to hearing your comments, questions, and suggestions for other things to read!



Continue reading “September Links”

George Carlin and Birth Control

When I was in middle school, I was given access to all of my parents old records. One of my favorites was AM/FM by George Carlin. On it, he did a bit about birth control that went like this,

“Some day, birth control will go off-prescription. And when they do, they’ll need those cute little catchy names… Preg-Not! ‘Doctors prefer Embry-No!’ Here’s one for the ladies: Nary a Carry! Something lofty and poetic: Nay, Family Way! Something earthy and crude: Mom-Bomb. Something for the youngsters: Junior…Miss! Here’s a real man’s product: Inconceivable! Mommy Not, Fetus Fail, Kiddie Kill, Poppa Stopper, whatever you want. Womb Broom, Humpty Dumpty, y’know. They’re clever guys. I wouldn’t be surprised if they come up with a birth control pill that doesn’t work all the time and call it Baby-Maybe!”

As a 13 year old it made me giggle at all the silly names. As a 32 year old, it makes me realize that in 1972 George Carlin had the optimism to believe that one day we would reach a point where birth control would be accepted and accessible as an over-the-counter drug.

Over 40 years later, Facebook is swirling with controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood. And in my life, I have seen controversy swirl around Planned Parenthood so many times. Republicans want to see it defunded and banned, so much that they will build a whole platforms around it. They base their arguments around a procedure that is not publicly funded, and makes up approximately 3% of their services, never taking into account the variety of their patient’s experiences.

I hope, one day, that Mr. Carlin’s optimism will be justified. I double-hope that this change will come in my life time. In the meantime, it’s up to us to help make sure that Planned Parenthood can continue to help people in need… so that women and men can continue to have access to affordable reproductive health care, contraceptives and birth control.

I’d hate to imagine a world without it.

Anger, Howling and Death to Smoochy

Yesterday felt like a downward spiral. I looked out at the world through my computer monitor and saw black women dying in jail, Native Americans being killed by police in astounding numbers, a never-ending controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood, Donald Trump being an idiot*, Kelly Osbourne being just as much of an idiot, and people blaming minimum wage workers for getting the minimum wage raised to a livable wage like it’s a bad thing.

It makes me want to push my monitor off my desk, crawl into bed and never come out again.

Catherine Keener says it with a smile.
A week or two ago, I watched Death to Smoochy again (for like the zillionth time). In the decade-plus that it’s been out, it has taught me a surprising amount of anger management. This is where I first learned to H.A.L.T.** and evaluate my situation. H.A.L.T stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and it has helped me to determine what is really behind my strong emotions – could they be modified by giving my body some care?

H.A.L.T has been less effective as I’ve started dealing with chronic pain. I mean, I hurt. A lot of the time. And there is NO DOUBT that this affects my mood. I burn out at an excelled rate and find myself frustrated trying to do simple tasks like opening jars, washing my hair, or other things I didn’t think much of even a year ago. I miss my friends, but can’t keep up with them. I am not supposed to drink on my medication. I don’t have it in me to stand at concerts. Besides, its hard to perform*** when it’s difficult to bathe and dress myself. And I won’t even get into how self-conscious I feel in this body swollen from inflammation and puffy with prednisone.

I have been leaning towards distraction. I can read when my hands don’t get tired from holding the book. When that fails I have Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu to keep me company. But sometimes this becomes insufferable, too. And there I am stuck in my own head.
Jon Stewart looking at his own brain.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with my grandma before she passed away. She said to me, “I didn’t expect all this sitting and waiting.” She was referring to how she spent pretty much her whole life on her feet, raising kids and grandkids, caring for her house and her land, and still making time to contribute to the community. And in her Nineties she was forced to sit the fuck down, because her body didn’t want to hold her up anymore. Her brain was bored, frustrated and angry, and her body was giving up. I understand this more now than ever, and honestly it makes me panic a little when I think about the impacts of aging getting thrown into my own personal mix.

Cheer up, Spinner! Your sister is Tommy Cotter!
There’s no denying that it gets me down. It makes me angry. And I feel powerless to fight, whether it’s my immune system or oppression. Its through this lens that I watched Smoochy again and it was like watching it for the first time. A new scene stood out more than ever before. A very powerful scene in which he is on stage in his rhino suit telling the children that sometimes he gets angry. Sometimes the pressures of the world build up. And when it gets to be too much he…

wait for it…


That night I had a dream in which I went into an empty room and screamed and screamed and screamed. Until my partner woke me up. And it was intense and tense and cathartic and the first time I’d felt like I could do fucking anything. Well, not like I could do anything because I have super powers, more like there was anything I could do.

Since then, I have been giving myself some credit and allowing myself to be angry. When I step out of myself, I realize that I think a lot of people would feel similarly in my slip-on shoes. And it’s okay to be angry – as they say, if you’re not then you’re not paying attention. But I am also looking into ways to PROCESS it. It turns out feeling and processing might be more effective than, say, ignoring and bottling! Whodathunkit?

I have spent more than one session reading the reviews for boxing gloves on Amazon, trying to determine which pair will protect my ceramic-sausage-fingers from pain while I pummel the crap out of the giant deoder cedar in my yard. The tree doesn’t deserve it, but it can take it, and I like to imagine it understands. And I’m going to go ahead and say I DO deserve it.

I am also looking into things a little less violent. Things like RA support groups, the Alexander Technique, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and so on. Anything I can get my hands on that can improve my well-being, emotionally or physically, are on the table. When I see these options, I remember all of the potential I have, and the future doesn’t feel so dim.

Like the tree in my yard, if I can’t move, at least I can grow.


*Too many links to pick one.
**This is also where I learned the song, “My Step-Dad’s Not Mean, He’s Just Adjusting” which might be one of the most apropos songs for my generation that I’ve ever heard in my life. Seriously. If you haven’t seen this movie, just go onto Amazon Prime and buy it. You can thank me later.
***perform = be a human

August Links

cyanideHere’s my second attempt at a link roundup from my Gunter and Bean Facebook Page, which I use to share the news, links and articles that captivate me. The benefit of checking here is that I’ll have them sorted by topic. The downside is that you might miss my commentary. Or maybe that’s a benefit too, I’m not sure.

I hope you enjoy! I look forward to hearing your comments, questions, and suggestions for other things to read!



Continue reading “August Links”

Thoughts on “Wondering Why We’re Fat”

I just read this article, and it really got the ol’ brain going…

Wondering Why We’re Fat? by Dances with Fat

As someone who’s grown up fat for, like, ever, I can tell you that there are people out there who think they know us better than we know ourselves. They think they have the magic cure that will make us fit into the molds they have made for us. Through their eyes we are lazy slobs who lack discipline, which is funny because from where I’m standing they look like bigoted strangers with no filter between their brains and their mouths.

But the thing that gets me going… the thing that has always bothered me is, why do they even give a fuck? Why is it so important for people to police how others live. What makes a stranger so sure that they can correctly assess that another person is too fat/thin/white/brown/tall/short/queer/straight/confident to make their own decisions? I mean, sure, Mom being concerned for your health is one thing, but having some stranger judgmentally eye your cart at the grocery is a whole other deal. Why? Why are you even paying attention to me in the first place?

If you want to be an ambassador of good health, that’s fine! Exercise, work out, develop healthy recipes, and put it up on your blog for others to seek out. But don’t then go onto other blogs and start telling people how they need to run their lives. It’s bad manners, and honestly I just don’t understand why one would spend so much time in their life cultivating negativity. You sound as smart as the person who, in 2015, still feels the need to inform smokers that smoking is unhealthy (you know who hears this fact more than anyone else? Smokers!) I guarantee that stranger you decide to judge isn’t living for you, anyway!

It just really gets my goat that people not only think it’s ok, but that it’s their goddamn duty to preach their opinion as fact. If we could spend half the time addressing bigotry as we do on policing fat bodies, I think the world would be a much better place.

I know this is just me preaching my opinion, but you came here to read it. So like, can we give it a try?