Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Blog is Back (and I Need Help from Whovians).

Hello again, everyone!  The new year hasn't arrived yet, but the holiday madness has abated here, so the blog will be fully up and running again soon with a full-length post (likely next weekend; all I need to do is edit/put in pictures).   In the meantime, I have a question for all of the Whovians out there.

I became a Dr. Who fan only recently, but I quickly fell in love with the show.  My Christmas presents from Mr. Nerd were:

  
and
t-shirt from skreened.com

                                                           
... But I would love to watch classic Dr. Who, and I have no idea where to start.  We have Amazon Prime*, and it seems like it has only random episodes within the already random episodes that exist among the various missing ones. I've tried looking up suggestions online, but most conversations I find devolve into arguing about whether or not "new" fans are truly fans, and I just don't have time for that kind of nerd cliquishness. I only need to know if there is a best "viewing order," if you will, for classic episodes, and I would like to know the best way to find these episodes.** If I need to purchase a DVD/Blu-ray, I will.  Of course, if I need to buy episodes, I'll save up to get them at a later date and content myself with more Grimm, Bones, and new seasons of Downton Abbey and Sherlock.  ... That makes it sound like I watch too much TV.   All right, I probably do, but I'm not that bad, guys.  If you'll excuse me, I have another episode of Robin Hood to watch.


What's on your watch list in 2014?


*We don't have Netflix.  We don't intend to get Netflix.  Please do not suggest Netflix (or other competitors to Amazon) unless you are certain that it is the only way to view particular episodes or a similar scenario.
** See (*) again.




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not Stopping, Just Pausing.

Hello, everybody.  After some serious thought, I have decided to take a short break from the blog.  I know there was a theme post that was meant to occur last weekend; it will be posted when I return.  And I do intend to return!

Image from: www.redbubble.com


In the meantime, please let me know if you have anything you'd like to see in future posts, or just share your great holiday plans.  I'll probably check on comments occasionally, and I love hearing about holiday traditions! I know I'll be gearing up for Christmas soon :-).


<3 The Absurd Curvy Nerd

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Hyperbole."

Hi all!  Today's word is one of my favorite words in the English language: hyperbole (n.), the use of exaggeration for emphasis or effect.

Instead of giving a sentence, I'm going to give a couple examples of hyperbole.

A dog "as big as a house"
(Clifford doesn't count.)
Image from: www.photo-dictionary.com

Hey!  Play fair.


"Sky-high high heels"
(Such shoes would be highly impractical.)

"Eternally" optimistic 
(If you know someone who is truly always optimistic, I want to meet that person!)

"Total silence" met the announcement 
(People are always making some amount of noise.  Breathing, for example.)


The next post will be up this weekend.  It was supposed to be a post on an October theme, but remember me saying that fall and winter get crazy?  Yeah... that has already started!  I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Effrontery."

Hi again!  Today's word is "effrontery," a noun meaning bold impertinence or insolence.

She had the effrontery to challenge her grade by saying, "I didn't study for the test, so it was not a fair assessment of my intelligence."


Sheer effrontery.



Friday, October 18, 2013

Thesaurus... uh... Thursday, right?: "Jentacular."

Today's (well, yesterday's :-) ) word is "jentacular," an adjective meaning of or related to breakfast in the early morning.  It is an obsolete word and so rarely used, but it does sound good, doesn't it?

While eggs and bacon can be eaten at any time during the day, they are traditionally jentacular foods.  

Image from foodnetwork.com.
Just think: chocolate chip pancakes are spectacular. 
Jentacular.  
Although they would also be good for lunch... or dinner... or a snack... 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Gobbledygook."/Blog Notes

Hi everyone!  Today's word is "gobbledygook," a noun meaning meaningless or nonsensical language.

I would have posted more over the last two weeks, but there was so much going on that I was afraid my posts would either be banal or full of gobbledygook.


(I decided to make "gobbledygook" today's word
because I'm tempted to buy this book.)



Blog Notes: I had planned this week to restart doing weekly "big" posts with Thesaurus posts in between.  When I stopped to consider it, however, I realized that from October through December every year, my life is put on "all systems go." So major updates might not happen exactly how I would like, although I will try to keep up with Thesaurus Thursdays.

Also, this month a group of bloggers has decided to have a "redefining sexy" theme that I wanted to be a part of, so a post will definitely be up in mid- to late- October.  I will try to link to all of the other bloggers' posts in that one as well!

<3

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Settling for Less: Why Busty Women Might Not Take the Options Provided to Them.

The sweater I'm wearing is gorgeous.  It's a bright, cheerful, royal blue.  It's extremely soft.  It is thick enough to be warm but thin enough not to add bulk when belted.  It's long enough.  It is perf... actually, no.  It isn't perfect.  My arms look like they begin on the sides of my breasts, because the sides are pulled so far forward.  When I twitch them back into position under my arms, the sweater doesn't even come close to closing.  Yet I wear it anyway.  I would say that my wardrobe is mainly composed of clothes with at least one glaring fit issue that I try to ignore.  If I didn't have other options, this would be fine.  But why do I and many women with larger busts still settle for items that are just OK when we have options like these?

The light blue lines indicate the (approximately) correct positions of the arm and side seam.
The red lines show where they are.

First, there's the act of shopping itself.  Going to a store and trying on clothes can be fun. Feeling the fabrics, actually seeing the colors, being able to take five different sizes into a dressing room... there are definite lures to brick-and-mortar stores.   And because most women don't live near a store that stocks an extensive size range of full-bust bras or clothing brands, they end up at local malls, boutiques, and department stores.  That isn't to say that you can't find great pieces at those places, but for many women the experience (and for some, the immediate gratification!) is the draw.  It's tempting to settle.

Then there's the fact that online shopping can be tedious for busty women.  A number of stores catering to that demographic are either in the UK or in Poland.  This is convenient for much of Europe but not so convenient for other locations (the words "Free Worldwide Shipping!" now have the power to make me teary-eyed).  So they have to order multiple sizes or take a gamble and hope for the best, go through the hassle of returning items or trying to sell whatever doesn't fit, and that process often costs them more money than anticipated.

I wish the excitement when one of these arrives at the door wasn't tempered 
by the fear of returns.

There's a second cost-related issue. I'm almost sure that many people, like me, prefer having a certain amount of money in their accounts at all times for emergencies/bills/etc. So I've always wondered if online retailers could have an option as follows: if you are ordering one bra in multiple sizes, you can pay for only one, but if the other sizes aren't returned in X amount of time, your PayPal/credit card/other account will then be charged.  I am not a store owner/CEO/have never made decisions regarding corporate logistics, so I don't know if that or a similar setup is feasible, but I would be less hesitant to make purchases online if something like it were implemented. There are many extremely helpful online retailers who might help you figure out ways to reduce costs, but wouldn't it be great if this were a standard option?

Money aside, I also have to wonder if there are deeper, more emotional reasons that women might be reluctant to purchase D+ lingerie and clothing.  I know there are for me.  When I don't like how a shirt, dress or sweater fits my bust and say so, I often get responses like:

"Most people don't have clothes that fit perfectly."
"You're just too picky."
"But it looks good everywhere else.  Can't you just ignore that?" or
"That's such a first world problem. Just be glad you have clothes."

Let me address the last of these first: I am glad that I have clothes. I am very lucky to have them. Just because I get frustrated by the fit of clothes and bras doesn't mean that these frustrations aren't, in the scheme of things, quite trivial.  But clothes and bras that fit make me happy.  I think it's OK to be happy about trivial matters sometimes and not to feel guilty about that happiness, as long as you ultimately keep your problems in perspective.

This video doesn't pertain to any major societal issue, 
but can you not smile?  Can you?

As for the other responses, it's as if people are saying, She obviously thinks she's some super special snowflake because of her body type; can't she just buy clothes from normal stores like the rest of us? All right, so I don't actually know that they're thinking this.  But to the people who dole out these comments on a regular basis, please remember that this is what it can sound like to the recipient. Yes, almost all women have body parts that are difficult to fit, and settling isn't necessarily always bad, but at least acknowledge the exasperation that occurs when the same fit issues are encountered over and over again.

Especially when someone has an area that she is particularly self-conscious about, shrugging off her concerns or making her feel self-absorbed for bringing it up can feel like a slap in the face.  Oh, you mean you've struggled with that part of yourself your whole life?  Well, too bad; no one else cares!  Because of this, I sometimes think other people unconsciously encourage busty women to settle for clothes that they would otherwise not buy.  So when shopping with someone who doesn't like how something fits around the bust... or on the hips or waist or thighs or wherever... don't lightly dismiss those feelings or try to talk her into buying something she might not enjoy wearing; instead, be sympathetic and help her find something that she feels great in.

Have you ever settled when it comes to clothing?  Did other people have any influence on your decision? I would love to hear if anyone thinks there are other reasons that women with larger chests might settle for less than what is available to them!


*Edit* I've decided to start adding reasons as readers suggest them, because I know there are others that I have forgotten or never thought of.  Please let me know if you do not want your comment name displayed (if I get what appear to be real names, I will abbreviate them anyway :-) ), and I will change it!

- AE brings up the great point that some types of clothing are just not available from large bust brands, particularly heavier winter sweaters and coats (companies: hint hint).  


- Chiharu writes that it is difficult to find items if you want something fashion-forward/less vintage inspired.

- A Sophisticated Pair weighed in on the "ordering a few sizes" issue: You'd essentially have to double or triple your inventory in order to support the potential for customers to be ordering way more than they plan on keeping. So you'd have to worry about stock on hand as well as what stock would need to be replenished. It's not an easy prospect, but I can see the appeal for the consumer.  (Thanks for the input!)

- Anonymous says that shipping is still a hassle in other parts of Europe, and bra band sizes are still rarely seen below a 32 (and especially 30) there.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Obloquy."

Hi everyone!  Today's word is "obloquy," a noun meaning strong, public verbal criticism or abuse, or public disgrace.

Local news reporters attacked her character, and she endured months of obloquy during the trial before solid evidence proved her innocence.

I would put a picture here to visually demonstrate "obloquy," but there are too many tabloids to choose from.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Taciturn."

Hey everyone!  Today's word is "taciturn," an adjective meaning reserved or saying little.

Because her novels were so lengthy and her writing style so flowery, people were often surprised to find that she was taciturn and concise in person.


pirates.wikia.com

Now contemplate all possible meanings of the phrase "taciturn as the grave."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Just, Loyal & True; Embracing a Hufflepuff Sorting.

We all* take them: the "What [Popular Movie/Book] Character are You?" quizzes.  And secretly, we all have a desired outcome.  When the quizzes give us a result that we don't like or expect, we shrug it off and say, "It's just a silly online quiz. I know I'm actually more like so-and-so."  Sometimes we're right.  Other times, we miss an opportunity.  Having someone else (or someone else's quiz) tell us that we resemble a certain character-- or in this case belong to a certain Hogwarts house-- can prompt interesting discussion and introspection.


When I first took an online sorting quiz, I wanted to be placed in Ravenclaw.  It's where nerds go, right?  It's the house of the bookish, brainy ones.  I suppose I would have been OK with Gryffindor as well.  Gryffindors are cool.  I actually like Slytherin a lot, but I knew that I had very few qualities to recommend me to that house.  What I got?  Hufflepuff.  My reaction wasn't frustration or sadness.  No, my reaction was complete and utter indifference.  Hufflepuff.  Eh.  Of course, curious as to whether another quiz would yield a different result, I took another one.  Hufflepuff again.  Every sorting quiz I've taken in the past ten years has given the same verdict.  And it wasn't until recently that I acknowledged that the quizzes weren't wrong; I was a) in denial, and b) unfairly deeming Hufflepuff House plebeian and irrelevant.

I would outline all the reasons that Hufflepuff doesn't deserve to be seen as "a lesser house," but I think this list of Hufflepuff's oft-overlooked awesome traits already does that.  I think it's true that in many ways, Hufflepuff just isn't as exciting as the other houses.  Captivating an audience is part and parcel of a novel, and writing about people who have lots of ambition, or a knack for getting into trouble, or are often singled out for their accomplishments creates a more enthralling story line. Nice People tend to get overlooked or shunted aside.  Think about A Song of Ice and Fire... in general, how well does anyone do who has the defining attributes "just" and "fair"?  It's strange, but I think many of us don't realize how much we admire Hufflepuff-like qualities until the people who possess them are gone.  Then we think, Wait... that's not right. I liked him/her!  Then we begin to wonder... is "exciting" really all it's cracked up to be?  And is it a necessary trait to strive for in real life?   This article in defense of Hufflepuff says "no."

"It's nice to be important, 
but it's more important to be nice."
- John Cassis

The first part of that article's title is a bit misleading, because one of the author's conclusions, with which I wholeheartedly agree, is that all houses have their own strengths and pitfalls... just like individuals (imagine that!).  I also love that she mentions that bravery, ambition, intelligence, and loyalty aren't the sole domains, respectively, of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.  Dumbledore complimented Harry on his loyalty to his friends.  Fred and George Weasley were highly ambitious in their career aspirations.  Cedric Diggory was brave enough to be a Hogwarts Triwizard Champion. Hermione was the "brightest witch of her age."

I can be a nerdy Hufflepuff.  It's not an oxymoron.  I love reading, science, logical discourse, and well-researched data.  I do.  But I also remember facial expressions and the overall gist and tone of a conversation or lecture much better than I remember intellectual details, have an inclination to do what I feel is right rather than analyze a situation, and actually value honesty and fairness more than intelligence.  I cannot stand even feeling disloyal; if someone has ever been kind to me or has ever shared good times with me, even if we haven't spoken in twenty years, I likely still consider him/her my friend.  I will work hard on assigned tasks and do my best in any competitive arena, but I don't thrive on competition.  I don't like or purposefully involve myself in heated arguments, but I will "go to bat" and stand my ground for anyone who I think is being maligned or mistreated.

I'm no longer ambivalent about my sorting.  I'm a Hufflepuff.  And there's no shame in it.

Image from: redbubble.com




*I realize this is hyperbolic.  



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Evanescent."

Today's word is "evanescent," an adjective meaning to fade away or vanish, or ephemeral and transitory.

Ironically, Evanescence has been the least evanescent band in my musical repository; "My Immortal" and "Hello" are still on my MP3 player, and I first heard them both at least eight years ago.

www.redbubble.com

I need to find cases like these that aren't made for Apple products.
While not exactly my style, this one would still be a lot more appealing to me
if it had a period or semicolon after "princess"...


Monday, September 2, 2013

Feminism and Personal Choice.

"I thought one of the reasons for feminism was so that women don't have wear those anymore?" Mr. Nerd asked as I giddily bounced around the house wearing my new corset.  I paused, thought for a moment, then replied, "No.  We have feminism so that women can choose whether or not they wear corsets.  And right now, I'm choosing to wear one."  Even though Mr. Nerd said this in a teasing manner, it resembles a common misconception: that being a feminist means dressing a certain way... or not in certain ways.  Doing jobs and activities long reserved only for males.  Voting.  Getting a higher education.  Working outside the house.

It doesn't mean any of that.  Imagine for a moment that a man doesn't vote in an election because he decides he doesn't approve of any of the candidates.  No one would claim that he is somehow "setting back" his sex.  Yet if a woman does the same, she will often have people telling her that she ought to proudly proclaim her equal status with men by voting.  As if she needs to tangibly validate her equality somehow.  But does that actually demonstrate equality?  While I think it important that we work toward goals like decreasing wage gaps and erasing culturally-permitted misogyny, a large part of feminism is, or at least ought to be, about allowing and respecting women's individual choices.*


Necklace from: http://www.zazzle.co.uk

As in the corset example, this extends to clothing choices as well.  When Mr. Nerd and I started dating eight years ago, I showed a lot of skin in my "going out" clothes.  I now find that I wear fewer mini skirts and a lot more modest pieces: maxi skirts, sweaters, higher necklines.  Looking back, I realize that this fashion transformation took place around the time I got married.  I noticed that Mr. Nerd liked more modest pieces, and I began wearing more of them. I now like wearing clothes that I know make him happy.  I like wearing his favorite colors.  I usually avoid orange because it's the color of his alma mater's football team's rival (although he's lucky I don't look absolutely amazing in orange ;-)).  But even though I let a man influence my clothing choices, I consider myself a feminist.  I make the decision to wear what pleases my husband.  It is one of the ways I show appreciation for him.  I wouldn't let some random man-- or woman, for that matter-- dictate any part of my wardrobe, but Mr. Nerd is not some random man.  And I feel comfortable doing it in part because he doesn't demand it.

Feminists avoid forcing women into a neat little box, and not all feminists are women.  It isn't a she-woman man hater's club.  I consider most men I know feminists.  They might initially balk at this label, because in popular culture the word has taken on some unfortunately negative connotations**, but if I asked them whether a woman ought to have the right to vote, or get an education, or ought to have the same career opportunities with the same pay as men, they would say yes.  If I asked them whether a woman "belonged" in the work force or at home, they would look at me strangely and say "whichever works for her."  In our house, I do most of the cleaning and cooking, and Mr. Nerd does most of the yard work and handles bills (though admittedly I do know how to do that).   It works for us, and we actively enjoy our respective roles.  But had Mr. Nerd ever said that women shouldn't do yard work or manage finances, I would have gone running in the other direction.  I could go out and mow the lawn today, and although he might be surprised because it is out of character (and because it's nighttime and raining... ), the fact that I'm a woman wouldn't even cross his mind.

I am not weak, unintelligent, or anti-feminist because I sometimes dress modestly, have a very "traditionally feminine" role in my marriage, and listen to the opinions and sometimes accede to the preferences of a man.  On the contrary, I am a feminist because I think women have just as much right to choose those things as they do to make any other lifestyle choices.





*Of course, I would love those choices to be informed ones, but I would say that about people's choices in general.

**I think this is so sad. Who came up with such stereotypes as "Feminists hate men" and started bashing feminism?  Some might.. just like some men who like having civil rights probably hate women.  I could dig deeper into the logical fallacies of this statement, but that would take another post. You might have seen the "I need feminism because..." pictures on various websites and school campuses.  I'd like to add to it:  I need feminism precisely because there are people who are offended by the "I need feminism because..." campaigns.



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Objurgate."

Hello everyone!  I have been very busy and subsequently exhausted, so apologies if "normal" blog posts aren't posted as often as I would prefer.  But today is Thursday, and you know what that means!  Today's word is "objurgate," a verb meaning to severely scold, rebuke, or berate.


I don't mind mild reproach from others over a mistake, but I suspect that I might be brought to tears if someone were to objurgate me.


I objurgate the centipede, 
A bug we do not really need. 
At sleepy-time he beats a path 
Straight to the bedroom or the bath. 
You always wallop where he’s not, 
Or, if he is, he makes a spot. 

"The Centipede"

Ogden Nash

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Bight."

Happy weekend everybody!  I usually have riding lessons on Thursday mornings, and that is what makes me remember that it is, indeed, Thursday.  The lesson got rescheduled to Friday this week, so I spent all day yesterday believing that it was Wednesday and all day today believing it was Thursday until someone reminded me that tomorrow is Saturday... so yesterday's word is "bight."  A bight (n.) can refer to a curve in a shoreline, a bay formed by such a curve, or the slack part of an extended rope.  More rarely, it can simply mean any angle or bend.

The bight along a short section of coastline formed a nice private beach.

Wikipedia may only be a tertiary source, but it does have something to say about everything.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

#DiversityInLingerie: We Need More Representative Samples.

This post is part of a larger movement of various bloggers using the hashtag #DiversityInLingerie.  See June's post on Braless in Brasil to get involved/see a list of everyone participating!



To say that I look like a typical lingerie model would be a stretch... I look like one minus a few inches in height, plus a few pounds, plus a handful of scars and stretchmarks and other features that the media would call "imperfections," but I just call "me."  But my skin color, age group, and body type are still much more ubiquitous in the lingerie industry than those of many other women.  I think this needs to change.

Of course there are women who are in the 18-30 range, white (but usually tan!), tall, and very slender, with ample chests, no blemishes, and no cellulite.  These women certainly have a place in magazines, trade shows, and on runways.  Their bodies are equally valid, equally beautiful, equally deserving of attention.  But they don't constitute a representative sample of all women, yet the lingerie industry uses these models for the vast majority of work and/or airbrushes women to look like they have all of the features listed above.  Why?  Do an image search for "lingerie model" (remember to set content filters for this if you need to!), and you'll find that if a woman doesn't meet all of the above criteria, she stands out.  Even in plus-size lingerie modeling, there is a "standard" look: smooth, unmarked skin and an hourglass shape.

There are companies that try to break out of the mould; Curvy Kate uses "regular" (re: who haven't modeled before) women to model their lingerie and doesn't airbrush away every lump and bump.  You! Lingerie used pregnant models at New York's Fashion Week.  There are far more non-white models out there than there were- though I'd love to see more.  But we still have quite a way to go before the industry is truly representative.  Do 50-year-olds not buy lingerie?  Do people in wheelchairs not buy lingerie?  Do people with c-section or surgery scars not buy lingerie (that actually shows their scars)?  Of course they do!  And guess what?  Using someone with any of these attributes to market lingerie will not make me- someone who fits the "mould" to some degree at least- hesitate to purchase it.

Dear lingerie industry:



I don't need to see lingerie on a certain type of figure to be convinced to buy it, even if it is nice to see figures like mine out there. I actually don't even need to see it on a model who "looks like me." I'm much more inclined to spend my money on lingerie when it is modeled by someone who looks comfortable and happy (and, with bras, preferably well-fitted!). Sex appeal can be used, but I associate it more with a mindset than a particular appearance, and I actually don't appreciate you guessing what I find "sexy" in order to sell me a pair of knickers*, because attraction is very individualized. I would love to see more lingerie models of different ages and body types, with any marks on their bodies, of different races/ethnic backgrounds, or with disabilities. I think you'll find that a lot of women agree with me.




Sincerely,

The Absurd Curvy Nerd



*"But it's what's sexy to men/significant others that drives sales!" doesn't hold with me either.  I haven't seen anyone really trying to use more variety and gauging its effectiveness.  Also, I know many, many people find their partners just as sexy with (if not because of) all their unique qualities and supposed "flaws."

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Beleaguer."/People are Nosy.

Today's word is "beleaguer," a verb meaning to harass or besiege.

If you have ever been questioned about or chastised for what you choose to wear, whom you choose to associate with, or what you do in your spare time, here's a word of warning: you will be beleaguered by "well-meaning" individuals to an even greater degree if job prospects are involved.

*********************

I was thinking about this the other day.  The laundry list of questions and advice regarding your personal life during job hunting would border on offensively intrusive at any other time.  I'll give you some examples from my past experience:

Make sure you don't put anything inappropriate on Facebook.
If I spewed hatred on my page, talked about illegal activities, or was obviously emotionally unstable, I could understand concern.  I don't/am not.  You might find out that I (gasp!) like bras.  Also, sometimes I talk about boobs on my blog page. I have them.  A lot of other people have them. Pretending that they aren't there is a bit silly.

Isn't talking about bras/boobs inappropriate?
Is it?  Please give me a non-sexist answer to this question: Why? 


Ahhh!  So NSFW!

Are all of your friends' blogs/pages free of questionable content?
If you have read 1984, you should understand why this question scares me.

Make sure your blog's content is OK.
One moment... Yes, it's fine. It hasn't had an emotional break down and run away.

Are all of your pictures safe for employers to look at?
All of my wedding photos contain subliminal messaging telling viewers to ruthlessly pursue world domination.

No, I mean the pictures on your blog's page.
Bras usually cover as much if not more than bikinis.  I always thought going to the beach was a G-rated activity.
I haven't been in a while; maybe I'm remembering it wrong?

But sometimes in bras you can see a glimpse of what's underneath.
You know, I saw a man topless on Facebook once.  He didn't even have a bra on.  I've been shocked about the lack of an outcry.  I mean, think of the children.

You need to make sure that no one can get your personal information.
I'll do everything within my power to keep away creeps, but if you believe that not having a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/other account means that people can't easily access your personal information if they really want it, I have a mansion on Mars to sell you.

Don't post anything offensive online.
This is related to the first but usually refers to objectively offensive content.  It's an instruction that basically assumes that I'm stupid and/or a bad person-- why else would I post something offensive?  I suppose a lot of Twitter users might be offended by the occasional update about how much I dislike horribly botched grammar.

LEFT TACKLE. 
I just posted something offensive.

You need new clothes.
Please note that the clothes I'm currently wearing don't meet the criteria for an office dress code because I am at dinner with my husband and not at an interview.  Does job hunting make everyone think that they have the right to comment on every. single. outfit. I wear in public? (The answer is, apparently, "Yes.")

Don't dye your hair/get anything pierced/get tattoos during this time.
While I would check out a dress code to make sure that I could easily comply with it, I would neither respect nor work for someone who wouldn't hire a competent, qualified individual on the basis of physical appearance.

Network/refine your resume/do X and not Y in an interview...
All suggestions regarding resumes, applications, interviews, and networking have been filed under "Advice given by 10+ people.  This morning."

Try to act like all you ever do is go to church.
...
...
...
...  Seriously?




Monday, August 12, 2013

New Post Thursday!

I realized that the post I'm currently working on would be better suited to a Bra Edition of Thesaurus Thursday, so it will be posted then.  Thanks everybody!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Hirsute."

Is everyone glad it's almost the the weekend?

Today's word is "hirsute," an adjective meaning hairy or coarse-haired.  I had always heard this word in relation to animals, but apparently it is also often used in botany to describe parts of plants that are covered with stiff bristles.

In the story of Jacob and Esau, Jacob donned goat skins to fool his father into believing that he was his hirsute older brother.

It probably wasn't this dramatic.



Another post should be up this weekend :-).

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Malazan Book of the Fallen: A Break-Up Letter.

Dear MBotF,

It's not you; it's me.

...OK, maybe it's a bit you.   I don't often not finish a series.  I usually feel as if my willpower has failed me and that I ought to get to the end just to be able to say, "I didn't like it, and yes, I read it all the way through," to the barrage of questions along the lines of, "Why didn't you like it?  Did you even read it?  Did anyone tell you it gets better?"  I know I've only read two books out of ten, but you haven't changed yet, and I don't want to waste my time believing that you will suddenly become The One.

We started out so well.  The beginning was all sinister scenes and captivating intrigue.  I suppose I should have known that this would foreshadow a fling rather than a long-term relationship, because you got complicated fast.  I'm no stranger to elaborate plot lines, extensive magic systems, or novels packed with detail-- I adored Brandon Sanderson's first book of The Stormlight Archives and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time novels.  But you assumed that I knew your history as soon as we met.  You give bits and pieces here and there, but it's often difficult to form into a coherent whole, and true explanations come later than needed.  I'm still not certain how or why a warren works, and I don't want to have to read with a Wiki open.   You introduced the Bridgeburners as if everyone knew exactly who they were and what they did in the time before the series picked up in their story.  Did you drop hints that finally formed into a narrative?  Sure, but I don't like feeling like an author is toying with me for kicks.

OK, sometimes I tolerate it.

You seem to leave your friends in the lurch occasionally.  Just when I think I'm getting to know your characters, you shift settings and introduce me to a barrage of new people at once.  Even though they are often good characters-- no one-dimensional heroes or villains here; Mappo and Icarium were fascinating, and their story line nearly had me in tears-- but switching so often is jarring and slows reading time to a crawl.  I don't mind reading slowly, but not that slowly; I would prefer to be able to read more than one series in this lifetime, thank you.

Sometimes I also think you try to make up for any weaknesses with shock value.  Detailed descriptions of gruesome violence and horrible illness abound.  I understand that an empire is in turmoil and that various factions (both imperial and otherwise) are trying to take control, and I acknowledge that it must include unspeakable horrors.  But I much prefer the subtle double-crossings and nuanced personal relationships that you are so, so excellent at conveying to the nauseating drawn-out descriptions of crucifixions and dysentery.  Others might applaud the "realism," but as someone who has read, watched, and enjoyed A Game of Thrones, you disturbed even me.

Like Norman Bates levels of disturbance.

I know there are people who will appreciate you.  My feelings and preferences don't necessarily extend to others.  We're just not compatible, and I think it best that we go our separate ways.

Sincerely,

The Absurd Curvy Nerd



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Carking."

Hello everybody!  I'm back.  And today's word is "carking," an adjective meaning burdensome or annoying.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the carking necessity of yard work.


I don't even know what this is.




This week's regular post will be up sometime this weekend :-).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Hiatus."

Hi guys!  Hiatus is a fairly common word, but just in case: it's a noun meaning pause, interruption, or discontinuity.

There will be a brief hiatus in posts, because I will be on vacation.    


I will not be here.
But I will still be having fun.

I avoid the internet when on vacation, and I only realized that vacation week had arrived after I had planned to do another post this weekend.  I will get that post written when I return.

Don't worry; I won't forget about the blog!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Cultural Definition of a Word Matters.

Definitions of racism from the dictionary:
1  a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.
2  a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine.
3  racial prejudice or discrimination.

Some people might think it presumptuous of me to even talk about racism. I am white, and I grew up in the South.  But there is power in open, honest, respectful reflection about sensitive issues, and I believe we all can benefit from it.

I love it here in the South for many reasons: the weather, the food, the geography, many parts of the current culture (nowhere on Earth is perfect).  But I am not proud of our history.  Some people do cling to it like an old, ragged security blanket*, but many of us acknowledge that our ancestors did terrible things, know that there are still places in which prejudice abounds, and try to be better people because of it.  


Personally, I like pickup trucks, country music, fried chicken
and equality and basic human rights.

I have noticed, though, that white Southerners often shout "racism" whenever someone dislikes them just because they are white people from the South.  Does that ever happen?  Of course it does.  But I don't think it's racism.  They are using semantics- yelling the above definition in purple at the top of their lungs- to compare a few people hating or hassling them to an entire system of hatred and disenfranchisement that black people have endured in this country and often still encounter every day.  

Yes, "racial prejudice" is one technical definition of racism.  And it isn't a good thing.  But do we not see the two other definitions?  Can we not see how much worse those are?  Let's call the abhorrence of a certain race hate, stupidity, prejudice, arrogance... but let's stop calling it racism.  I think this is one case in which language needs to evolve.  Racism's cultural definition is written in blue, and I think it's the one that matters.  Slavery happened.  Jim Crow laws happened.   While I don't think we need to spend our lives atoning for the faults of others, we at least need to remember that and admit that it's worse than being called a c******.  


Protesting integration in Little Rock.
This happened.

No one has ever thought me stupid just because I'm white.  No one has ever barred me from a restaurant or concert because I'm white.  No one has ever denied me the vote or good medical care or a decent education because I am white. That all might happen in a few individual cases, but it doesn't happen because of a screwed up legal system or a widespread belief that skin pigmentation or ethnic background means something about one's intellectual and emotional capabilities.  

There are, unfortunately, always going to be people who hate.  There are people who would hate me because I'm from the South, or female, or Christian, or because I have one leg longer than the other.  And sure, there are people out there who would hate me because I'm white.  But the moment I call it racism, Ygritte's words echo in my head:

You know nothing, Jon Snow.



*Not a sweet, threadbare one with bunnies on it.  One with lice.  There is a difference between being interested in/knowing your heritage and thinking that it was a better time before slavery was abolished.
    


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Molded Cups."/Bras!

Or rather: Bra-sized Swimwear!  In this Thesaurus Thursday: Bra Edition, I'll be doing a swimsuit review.*

Today's words are "molded cups."  Bras that have molded cups have been made from fabric that has been shaped by heating techniques to mimic the form of a woman's breasts.  They can be padded or unpadded.  They are often called "t-shirt bras," because they usually don't have embellishment that shows through clingier t-shirt materials.
Freya's Deco Honey.  The Deco is a very popular molded cup bra.

Molded cup bras can be difficult to get a good fit in, because the cups have been shaped to one particular mold that may or may not be similar to the shape of your breasts.

********************
I love my Freya Decos (I may or may not have five of them...), but I have had to admit that they have some minor fit issues, so when I first heard about molded cup bikinis, I wasn't that interested.  For years, I have worn bikinis that simply covered up the important bits.  I would get XL triangle tops and tie the backs and neck ties really tightly to get enough support.  This was neither comfortable nor particularly flattering, but I was intimidated by cup-sized swimwear; I had nowhere close by to try on the tops, so I would either have to cross my fingers and hope or order multiple sizes (and returns are my nemesis), and the prices always seemed so crazy when I could pay $15-20 for a complete set at Old Navy.  But when I saw this molded cup bikini...

Top: Sizes 28 - 30 D-J, 32 D-HH, 34 D-H, 36 D-GG, 38 D-G
Shorts: Sizes 8-20

... I knew I had to have it.  Blue is one of my favorite colors, I'm a sucker for polka dots, and I love lower-rise bikini bottoms that have thicker sides and aren't cut in a V-shape in back.  It also comes in a regular padded top and has a side-tie bottom as an option.    For sizing reference, I bought this bikini with measurements: underbust 27", full bust 36.5", hip 37".  

From various full-bust blogger reviews, it looked like Curvy Kate swimwear usually ran smaller in the back and bigger in the cup than their bras.  They recommend starting with your usual unpadded Curvy Kate size, if you know it.  Because I'm on the smaller side of a 28 band and don't have any unpadded Curvy Kates, I was advised to go with a 28 and my Deco cup size, so a UK 28GG.  Because my Decos do gape some at the top edges (I'm fuller on bottom), I was debating between a 28G and GG.  I chose the larger size because this bikini top is modeled on Curvy Kate's "Smoothie," a molded cup bra that some women with balanced or lower fullness have had better luck with than the Deco.  The first thing I did when it arrived was compare the Pebble and the Deco:

I forget how long the Deco band is until I see it next to my other 28's.
They are actually remarkably similar cup-wise.  The width of the underwires is about the same, but the Pebble curves in a bit more at the top of the cups and is a little shallower overall than the Deco.  The cups of the Pebble are less stiff as well; the center gore of the Pebble is wider and higher, and the straps are set farther apart, but all of these differences are not that pronounced.  The main difference is that Pebble's band is definitely shorter, more like a true-to-size or slightly small 28.  Another thing I noticed about the Pebble aesthetically: the polka dots on the top are larger than the ones on the bottom.  I think the print still looks good, but I would prefer the ones on top and bottom to match.  I do wonder if the size of the dots have anything to do with cup size. If you get a J cup, do the dots become even bigger?

When I finally tried it on, I made a decision: I am never going back to wearing string bikini tops.  Ever.   I might have to channel my inner 15-year-old and burn them while playing Taylor Swift in the background.  I didn't know bikinis could be so comfortable!  While I don't get the same epic cleavage that Curvy Kate's model gets in their photos, it's enough that I feel beach-y and not like I'm wearing a bra while still feeling supported and contained.   


I think we need better lighting in our house.
The bikini isn't 100% perfect, but 98% isn't too shabby!  Because I do have lower fullness, there is a tiny amount of empty space at the bottom of the cups-- what some women call the "orange-in-a-glass effect."  It is barely noticeable, so I would say this would still work well for lower or balanced fullness. One more significant complaint about the top would be the placement of the straps and the height under the arms.  I have fairly wide shoulders and low-set breasts, but if the cups came up any higher or the straps were set any farther apart, I would have gotten annoying rubbing and chafing.  So it's not actually a problem for me, but if you are petite or have high-set breasts or narrower shoulders, you might have better luck with other styles.  The gore is also wider, so it also might not work if you have very close-set breasts or a lot of breast tissue in the middle of your chest.

As for the shorts, I bought a 10/S and am very pleased with them.  They offer full coverage in the back, but you can adjust coverage and rise with the side ties.  An 8 would probably have fit too, but I really don't like elastic digging into my hips.  I would be curious to see how both shorts and top hold up in the water.  I don't swim that much and usually just read when I'm at the beach, so I'm not that concerned if this bikini doesn't work as activewear, but I still go in the water sometimes and don't like it when swimsuits get baggy or lose their shape.  I will be sure to update everyone when I get a chance to test it!


********************
Review Summary

Pros: Just enough coverage on top, molded cups that actually work for balanced or lower fullness, supportive/firm band, cute styling/doesn't look too lingerie-like, center gore not too high or too low, option of side-tie bikini bottoms or shorts but could easily be paired with other bottoms because of the colors and print

Cons: Wide-set straps, wires high under the arms, wider center gore, polka dots a little bigger on top than bottom (but maybe I'm just too picky), might not work well for women with a lot of upper fullness

Grade: A-



       This doesn't get as much in but has better lighting.
        ... I don't know why I stand like this in every picture.

      
*My phone camera isn't very good, and my real camera is currently not working.  So I know the photo quality is rather poor**, but hopefully you'll still get an idea of what the bikini looks like in real life!
**Also, I'm probably the only woman in my generation incapable of taking a good "selfie."  Duck face terrifies me.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Masticate."

Happy 4th of July everyone!

As of today, I haven't received my Curvy Kate swimwear in the mail yet (I got up this morning absolutely certain that it would come today before remembering that the mail doesn't come on Independence Day).    So hopefully I will have another Bra Edition (Or Swimwear Edition) of Thesaurus Thursday for you all next week.

Today's word is "masticate," a verb meaning "to chew."

After having one's wisdom teeth removed, masticating can be difficult, so it is always a good idea to stock up on softer foods for a couple days.  


The Colour of Magic (2008)
Although eating soup can get old.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I Want to Be Your Derivative*: Orchard Corset's CS-411.

After months of looking longingly at the selection of corsets on Orchard Corset's website, I sold a few clothing items and suddenly had a bit of extra spending money (isn't that an awesome feeling?).  I did a lot of research- apparently not quite enough, as you'll see later- and decided on a size 22 in a black pinstripe CS-411 style underbust corset.  

Ordering was easy, the free shipping (same day if you order by 6 PM EST) was a nice perk, and the package arrived only two days after I made the order. That was very impressive considering the estimated time of arrival was a week later.  In my haste to actually see the corset, I forgot to take a picture of how it came. It was neatly rolled up in tree-printed tissue paper with a sticker holding it together.  It also came with an order/return form, detailed instructions about how to put on, lace, wear, and care for your corset, two business cards with a discount code for a future purchase, and a nice touch- a signed customer appreciation card.  I never needed to contact them, but I have heard nothing but good things about their customer service, and the attention to detail alone was impressive.

The instructions were very thorough, but if you can't find some information,
you can often find it on their website or blog.

My first reaction upon unrolling the corset was panic.  It just looked so tiny.  I couldn't ever fit into that!  I breathed a bit easier when I realized that it came fully bi-directionally laced... and completely laced shut.  I already knew I would have to wear it with a gap in the back.  Phew!  The materials felt durable and the corset seemed sturdy and well-made.  If you're looking for a more in-depth review of the actual corset construction, there is an excellent one on Lucy's Corsetry.


I've had some trouble when lacing getting the modesty panel smooth and centered,
but I don't think I'd feel comfortable without it.

Despite wanting to put it on immediately, I made myself unlace it and follow the lacing directions so that I would know how to do it in the future.  Then I made myself carefully read the instructions sheet.  Then I put it on (albeit loosely, basically just resting on my waist- see picture below) and thought, "Huh.  I guess I overestimated how curvy my body is."  As you can see, the corset flared out and left gaps at the hips and at the underbust. The fact that this made me think there was something wrong with my body rather than shrugging it off as a garment simply not being right for me is a sad testament to the way women are conditioned to think about themselves.  So I want everyone to say it with me: clothes should fit you; you shouldn't fit the clothes.  

Keep in mind that in these pictures, the corset isn't paired with outfits,
just what I wear it with around the house. 

It turns out that the curve of this corset makes it more like a Level 3 in Orchard Corset's "silhouette level" system, even if it is labeled Level 2, and I probably should have read their blog post about that issue.  I had ordered assuming that it was made for moderate/enhanced Level 2 curves: while my hips at their fullest point measure about 10.5/11" more than my waist, my upper hip where a standard-length corset would sit is only 8" larger.  I wondered if I should send it back.  I knew that you should never over-tighten or pull in too much when breaking in a corset, so I decided to give it a chance and see what happened once it molded to my body and I could close it a bit further.  I wore it for about 1.5 hours a day for a week and then reassessed my original conclusions.  And boy, am I glad I did:


Yes, it's almost impossible to take a picture of your own back without a mirror.
Also, I guess I never notice how square and minimizing the Masquerade Rhea is from the side
because of the view from the top :-).  

I love it!  It certainly forces me to correct my posture, which is great, because my posture is dreadful.  There is indeed a slightly V-shaped gap in the back, but nothing very noticeable.   If you have larger hips than I do, it might be worth searching other sites that have corsets with gored hips or larger hip pockets.  Most of Orchard Corsets Level 3's- their curviest silhouette level- measure 10-11" (or 11-13" for longlines) more at the bottom edge than at the waist when completely shut.

There are a few other fit issues. I have an average-length torso, and my boobs are set low on my chest, so I suspect I don't have enough distance between bust and hips to accommodate a longline.  This one already pushes my bust up enough, in any case.  So this corset is -about- long enough but is still unfortunately just short enough to create a bit of upper back and lower tummy bulge.  I suspect this could be ameliorated with smoothing shapewear, and I've seen some suggestions to wear a bra with a thick band underneath as well. 

Although I haven't yet found one in my size, a longline like
Freya's Just Flew In would probably be ideal.  
Curvy Kate's Tease Me has worked best so far.

Again, I was tempted to blame my body for these (minor!) problems.  Why are my upper back and shoulders so broad?  Why is my stomach so weirdly shaped?  Why don't I have 0% body fat so that this can't happen?  Why don't I fit this corset perfectly?  This was crazy talk. Clothes should fit you; you shouldn't fit the clothes.  I don't buy a hat and then think that my head is somehow "wrong" if the hat squeezes my head but fits someone else just fine. I simply think we might have differently sized or shaped heads!  I shouldn't blame my body for not fitting into certain shirts, or pants, or dresses, or corsets either. 

If I ever have more opportunities to actually wear a corset, I can see investing in a custom-made overbust one.  Even though this is the only corset I've tried, I doubt that I could get a much better or perfect fit in an off-the-rack one.  And that's OK.  It doesn't mean that my body is bad or abnormal if it doesn't fit into OTR clothing, especially such a specialty item. While this one isn't perfect, it's still lovely, comfortable, well-made and wearable, and I would definitely recommend checking out Orchard Corset if you're in the market for an OTR corset.  


* ... What?  You mean women don't usually fall for pickup lines even if they're math-related?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thesaurus Thursday: "Ameliorate" + Blog Notes.

Today's word is "ameliorate," a verb meaning to improve, make better, or amend.

Many people suggest eating chicken noodle soup to ameliorate the symptoms of a cold.

File:AmeliaBedelia.jpg
Just remember: Amelia Bedelia could ameliorate everything with pie.


Blog Notes:

I have some general updates about future posts. I bought my first corset slightly over a week ago, and I'm writing a post more about the process and body image issues when purchasing such specialty clothing items than a true "review" of the corset; it should be posted this weekend.

I also bought a Curvy Kate bikini, and I'm considering doing an actual review of that in a Bra Edition of Thesaurus Thursday next week, assuming it has arrived by then and is anywhere close to the correct size.  There are many great reviews of Curvy Kate swimwear out there- though none of this particular bikini that I could find- but I know how much I appreciate it when a full bust blogger posts a review of anything I'm considering shelling out a good chunk of money for online.*  I don't intend this to become a full bust/curvy clothing blog, because there are already so many wonderful ones at out there (see sidebar for just a few!), but how would everyone feel about the occasional** review?





*Yes, I know return policies exist.  I usually resell items instead of returning, because I dread returns.  I can deal with spiders better than I can deal with returns, and I really don't like spiders.  I know; I have issues.

**Probably no more than once every 3 months or so, if that.  I love clothes/bras/swimwear, but I just don't buy them that often, and as I mentioned, that will never be a main focus of this blog.  Unless someone comes out with full-bust-friendly versions of any of these.