Tag Archives: movies

I make the rockin world go round.

It’s a self-deprecating Queen reference… get me? Although, how self-deprecating can a fat bottom be if Queen rocked out about it once upon a time. Not very, am I right?

A couple weeks ago, I got a chance to catch up with a good friend from the old hood — we chatted for a good long while and lots and lots of memories came flooding back. I probably hadn’t talked to Dante in more than 5 years… maybe even 7 or 8… since whenever the last time we ran into each other at our parents’ houses on Raintree Drive…

After our conversation, I was reminded of his long ago (possibly still, but at least he didn’t use it) description of me… as an endangered moose.

Have you ever seen a moose in person? It’s a total insult. They’re enormous and goofy looking all weird legs and big body and crazy antlers. Insults were kind of what we did though, so the grain of truth in it, meh… part of growing up nextdoor to a boy the same age, I suppose.

It made me laugh to think about it again last week and it’s been on my mind.

I actually nearly ran into a moose in Michigamee one time– the town motto is “Michigamee, where the moose run loose” so it’s not terribly surprising that that’s where it would have happened. I came around a bend on US41 in my bitty little Geo Tracker and bam, there it was. Standing in the road, looking at me. We sat there like that for a while — me, a moose, looking straight ahead at the real deal.

I’m a big person — big in pretty much every way a woman “shouldn’t” be big. My body, height and width, my hair, my head, my hands and feet. Heck, even my jaw is big. I’m a big person.

These days I’m feeling a lot more ok with that. I mean, I am what I am. I can exercise and eat well and use hair products to minimize some of it, but when it comes to bone structure and genetic propensity for size, there’s not a ton I can do.

Actually, let me rephrase that, not a ton that I’m willing to do… I did spend several months thin as could be, but a little scene from Drop Dead Gorgeous comes to mind when I think about it:


“With one week to go before the pageant, I was finishing my outfit, rehearsing my talent, brushing up on current events, and running 18 miles a day on about 400 calories. I was ready.”

Yeah, I got sucked up in the wedding crazies… very little food, lots and lots of gym time, just not a life I’m willing to live.

So bigness it is.

What really surprised me recently though was how much it matters to me, even at the age of 31, that I see people that look like me, big me, being awesome.

On Tuesday night, Seth and I went with some friends to see Spy, the new Melissa McCarthy movie. It… was… hillarious. I laughed hard for two hours straight. I just loved it.

No, it’s not Oscar-worthy cinema, but it’s flipping funny and Melissa McCarthy and her amazing bestie-from-the-basement Miranda Hart were amazing.

So were Rose Byrne and Jason Statham and Jude Law and Allison Janney and the rest of the cast. But man, Melissa and Miranda. They rocked my world?


Because they were hilarious, mostly. But also, and the thing I’m trying to talk about now, is because they were completely and totally imperfect. Large and in charge, they looked like me and they were awesome.

The IMDB page for Spy -- case in point.
The IMDB page for Spy — case in point.

We all have personally defining characteristics. I can’t know how other people see me, but I know that when I think about how others see me and the way I see myself, I think big — body, hair, feet, hands, brain, jaw. All of it. Big.

So for me, to see someone else who is big being awesome? It thrills me.

And it was mostly just fun until I checked Facebook mid-post-writing last night and saw Daily Kos’s breaking coverage of the absolutely horrifying AME church shooting in Charleston, SC, and I realized that it doesn’t just matter to me that I see big people being awesome — you need to see it too. And we both need to see a lot more diverse people being awesome all the dang time. Because then maybe fat people, black people, transgender people, disfigured people, people of all different shapes and sizes and colors and orientations won’t be scary, they’ll just be people. People with the capacity to be awesome. Or funny or sexy or interesting or whatever. People that deserve to be.

I realize that it’s not really fair to compare weight bias and the expectations that society has about women’s bodies to the disgusting, pervasive, systemic racism that still exists in our country… but you get my point, don’t you?

And it was really hammered home to me when another neighbor from long ago, who lived behind both Dante and me, Heather, posted this BuzzFeed link on Facebook:

These Are The Victims of the Charleston Church Shooting

People, beautiful, awesome, amazing, real people… just like you and me. People we need to see. Not just now that they’re gone, but all the time. It’s not the answer, but it’s part of it, don’t you think. I mean, think back to the whole ridiculous notion of separate-but-equal when little black girls wants to play with little white dollies because that’s what they saw as the norm, as they good, as the worthy. I hate that. It makes my stomach turn. But it still happens on our tvs and our movie screens and our magazine pages. We can talk about and celebrate Viola Davis and Mindy Kaling and Melissa McCarthy and Laverne Cox and Peter Dinklage, yes… but those are singular names, the exceptions rather than the rule.

It’s important to see ourselves, to understand that we have the potential to be awesome. It’s also important to see others, those who are different than us, to understand that they have the potential to be awesome. We all do. We need to see it. We can all make the rockin world go round

And, finally, Z is for Zoolander.

In the year 2001, the great and handsome prophet Derek Zoolander asked a profound question… one with the power to affect us all:

“Did you ever think that maybe there’s more to life than being really, really… really ridiculously good looking?!”

And many hearts were glad.

Especially the heart of this girl:

Baby R 0.1

And this girl:

Baby R 0.2

And especially this girl:

Baby R 0.3

Because it was quite clear that she was not destined for a life of being even really (just one really) ridiculously good looking.


Thanks be to Derek Zoolander, this girl finally heard it:

Baby R 0.4

Well, not that girl exactly… but that girl a few months later (the photo above was taken in the fall of 2000)… and many years more for internalization.

(Side note: yes, I do have an entire file folder dedicated to ugly pictures of myself. Is that weird?)

Zoolander, like Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), Love Actually (2003), and Amelie (2001), came out at a very impressionable time in my life. And no matter how funny/unrealistic/weird those movies were/are– they made a big impact on me. BIG. Zoolander is no exception.

I guess I have a lot to ponder. (Zoolander quote.)

In addition to the quotable quotes and the most important lesson of all (more to life than being really, really good looking) there are a bunch of actual for realsies lessons to be learned, if you’ve watched the movie enough times…

1. Assuming that everyone is just waiting to tell you what a bad eu-google-izer you are is no way to live.

People aren’t always out to hurt you! I swear it! Some, yeah, but that’s their problem (or their editor’s), not yours. So give a person the benefit of the doubt. It could work out in your favor. Zoolander and Matilda were totally MFEO (made for each other– Sleepless in Seattle, another favorite) and it was a good thing he gave her a chance even after she hurt his feelings!

2. Have a go to for happy– like an orange mocha frappaccino!!

Derek is so super down after not winning male model of the year for the fourth year in a row, but his roomies know just the thing to cheer him up! (Maybe they could have done without the gas fight.) And in my life, I’ve had lots of roomies like that– Abby (my Fisky Sister) who told me stories from the top bunk to help me fall asleep; Erin, Adriane, and Aimee who put on a little bit of Abba Dancing Queen or Outkast Hey Ya for an impromptu dance party; Stephanie who popped Zoolander or Napoleon Dynamite into our $5 Korean Bazaar VCR; Seth who makes a great Harry Potter reference. (No joke, he told me last Friday that his patronus was me… cooking. Naturally, I swooned.)


3. Own what you are, even it’s a merman. MERMAN.

There’s not shame in being who you are! So own it! … see the photo gallery above. That was me, y’all. No point in pretending anything different. Might as well laugh about it together. After all, plenty of those images are in people’s brains, and there’s not a darn thing I can do about that.


4. Technology changes fast. REAL fast.

So… a huge punch line in the 2001 movie Zoolander is Derek’s itty bitty, teeny tiny phone. Do you remember that? When itty bitty phones were the shiz? And now we’ve got the the iPhone 6 and 6+… insanity. It wasn’t that long ago, really. Was it?

5. It’s good to know, and respect, what makes you farty and bloated.

For Jacobim Mugato, anything foamy will do it. For me? Anything with even a bit of lactose! Maybe I wouldn’t scald someone’s face if they tried to serve it to me. But I will take pains to avoid it so as to avoid the pains later. Just not worth the deliciousness.


6. If someone has to miraculously pull their underwear out of their butt to beat you– you’re kind of awesome.

For most of us, there’s always going to be someone better. Someone out there is faster, funnier, prettier, gentler, kinder, better at cooking, got a cleaner house, etc… but that doesn’t mean you’re not any of those things. Quit comparing and you’ll be happier. Guaranteed. You’ll at least have far fewer wedgies. (Side note: one time in middle school when I wore what I thought was the cutest outfit ever to school– train engineer overalls with a pretty white shirt with lace trimmed sleeves underneath– I got wedgied in the hallway. It was the wooooorst. No one likes a wedgie. And an elephant never forgets.)

7. Remember that most people are not professional film and television actors.

Except if Mindy Kaling actually became my friend, in which case, I would have a professional television actor for a friend. But alas, that day has not yet come. In the meantime, we don’t get to script the reactions of others. And even if we try, people are generally very prone to improv. Jerk people…

8. Age before beauty, goat cheese!

Honestly, I will happily take the wisdom of age over the beauty of youth. Granted, for me, youth wasn’t particularly beautiful (again, I reference you to the photos above)… so… maybe this one is more specific for me. But some of you can dig it, yes?

9. Talk it out! It’s usually pretty simple.

Derek and Hansel had quite the beef going on. Things were tense and everything kind of came to a head during the walk-off. (The walk-off judged by the David Bowie. So awesome.) Afterward, though, it only took one simple phrase and a brief discussion before things were all sorted out– “why you been acting so messed up toward me?” Both Derek and Hansel apologize for being whack. And that’s that. Just talk it out, yo. So simple. I even tried it once. (It’s so scary though!)

10. You can’t help who you love.

At the end of the movie, Maury says of Zoolander, “I love that kid. Dumb as a stump, but I love him.” And it’s true. When you love someone, you just do. There’s not always rhyme or reason to it. Dumb as a box of rocks, a la Derek Zoolander, or too intelligent for their own good, a la Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler. Love just happens anyway.

And finally, bonus #11. There’s always room for a David Duchovny cameo.

Why don’t you love me?!?!?!?!


In conclusion, Hi. I’m former graduate super student Rachel Stankowski and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the Rachel Stankowski Center for Physicians Who Can’t Write Well… and Want to Learn to Do Other Stuff Well Too.

That’s what I’m talking about!!!!



And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our A to Z (plus an interlude for an XX) blog tour. Things were super tough when I started. Things are still kind of rough, but it always (always!) feels good to write… and all this letter by letter mumbo jumbo has allowed me to fill up my little notebook of thoughts. Get ready, cuz here I co-ome!

(I just heard that song on my Pandora, we played it in pep band in high school… recipe for being completely stuck in my head.)


PS: I totally watched Zoolander again, just one more time, to make sure I really got everything I could out of it. When I went to play it from Amazon Prime (I’m obsessed!) my options were to “resume” or “play from the beginning” because I watch it a lot… I am not ashamed!!!!

A Scientifically Sound Algorithm for Calculating Your Ideal Weight

I have always been a big fan of my little brother’s sense of humor. It’s like Will Ferrel, Carl Sagan, Andy Samberg, and Friedrich Nietzsche got together to have one, very tall, very skinny, very fascinating love child… and that is my brother. (Steve Martin and Bill Murray are his exceptionally influential God-parents, in case you were wondering.)

We don’t get to chat terribly often, but when we do, it’s always good. (Especially when it’s a long text conversation that involves cyber-bullying our sister… but that’s another story for another day.) When the Superbowl got Superboring this Sunday we struck up one such conversation and although it never really ended, I went to bed.

Such glorious things were waiting for me when I woke up!

First: a list of genius movies for a Vonck-style film fest. Ummm, yes please! Where do I sign up?

You so want to come, don't you?!
You so want to come, don’t you?!

Still not the point though– (and I am taking my sweet time getting there, aren’t I???)

The final text awaiting me on Monday morning was a novel and brilliant way to think about your ideal weight (my brother– he gets me, you see) and I couldn’t get it out of my head all day. I believe my brother and the person he quoted were on to something spectacular, and I would like to propose this genius algorithm as the ultimate way to calculate your ideal weight.

The holy grail of health and happiness!

And it starts with considering how much you love puppies. Because of course.

First, on a scale of 0 – 10, how much do you love puppies? That’s your input:

Ideal Weight Algorithm

The algorithm output is your ideal weight and it’s actually a very simple calculation.

Say, for example, on a scale of 0 – 10, the amount you love puppies is 8. Then your ideal weight is simply the weight of you holding 8 puppies.

Let’s try another example, if the amount you love puppies is 5, then your ideal weight is the weight of you holding 5 puppies.

It even works if you don’t like puppies (for the love of all that is holy– what is wrong with you?! but no judgement…). In that case, your ideal weight is the weight of you holding zero puppies, and you’re there!

So the actual algorithm inspiration was this quote that my brother sent: “My ideal weight is the weight of me holding eight puppies.” Tom’s addition: “I think that’s a level of physical and emotional and psychological comfort everybody should strive for in so many different ways… in all of the ways.”


My sister responded with these:

ooooooo... mmmmmm... ggggggg...
ooooooo… mmmmmm… ggggggg…

But seriously, puppies are amazing. And puppies do not care what you look like for even a second— not even one! To a puppy in your arms, you are at your ideal weight. No need to worry! And that’s probably the best attitude you could take about it. The puppy attitude.

If you’ll excuse me please, I need to gain same pound(puppie)s…


(Seriously, that was a genius play on words, was it not?!)