Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reflection: Hitting Balls

When I was in 2nd grade I started playing fast pitch softball. I got to start a year early because our town was so small and there weren’t enough girls to make up a whole team. I was an only-child, shy, reserved. But softball gave me a push to own a certain amount of confidence. Stepping into the batters box on a game day with at least 20 or more people watching is scary. You’re all alone in that space and though you may be too frightened to take a swing, to frightened to do anything but watch the ball wiz by, you still had to have the initiative and strength to step in front of everyone and at least attempt to try.

And though now it’s easy for me to have issues with sports because of the parallelisms sports have to the military (patriarchical institutions) I do have to say that they are not completely evil. I made friends, I started talking. I gained confidence in myself, and I didn’t get fat. I still have that competitive edge, I love to win and, okay, it’s true, I hate to lose, I mean pouty-face tantrum hate, but at least sports gave me the will-power to exert effort into being successful in whatever I do, even if what I am doing is deconstructing the power dynamics within and outside those very games.

But, in the end all that fear, all that energy, anxiety, and hope that swims through ones brain upon entering the batters box makes the hit all the more joyous; the connection is what we’re all going for, the moment when everything falls into place and our confidence sails over the fence.

Friday, January 29, 2010

100 (or so) words on: Poop Commercials

Does anyone else think it’s strange the amount of anti-constipation commercials that have overwhelmed the television lately. If we’re not learning about all the fucked up bullshit politicians have been doing we’re learning how to clean out our colons, YAY!

I have a simple solution. Stop eating so much shit and you’ll be able to shit better. Seriously. I cannot believe all the new products that exist to clean people out. You know what’s clogging you up, processed food. Eat a flipping apple for crying out loud. Would it be so difficult to actually consume healthy produce instead of eating cardboard pizzas and fast food every day? Have a flipping orange. It has got to taste better than that “orange flavored” Metamucil powder people put in their water.

Another point, if you didn’t eat dairy to begin with you wouldn’t need that nasty yogurt to help smooth out your bowel movements. What it comes down to is simplicity. The more complicated your food gets, the more complicated your inner workings become. So, as someone once brilliantly said, “keep it simple stupid” the poop will come out freely and we can all stop watching those creepy commercials with the extra happy poop-free people in them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

School Lunches: My Frightful PB Experience

When I was in grade school I gave myself fake allergies. I did this so I wouldn’t have to take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch everyday; this worked out most of the time except when we ran out of lunch meat and I ended up having to eat a Velveeta yellow-mustard white-bread sandwich; this hunk of lunch could really have only been worse for me if I slathered it with mayo—luckily I was “allergic” to mayo too so I saved a few sacred calories. I don’t know why anyone believed me, especially since I was not allergic to peanut butter if it was covered in chocolate. I especially don’t know why any one believed me when the list began to elongate. It started with food products, peanut butter, mayo, gravy, tomatoes, but then it moved into other territories: dish soap, mowing the lawn, and once in the 6th grade I even faked being allergic to shaving cream so I didn’t have to play some stupid obstacle rely game where I was forcedly partnered up with some creepy fat boy who had a crush on me, probably the best use of a fake allergy ever.

But then, I had to actually go to a doctor and get an allergy test.

And the truth befell. I wasn’t allergic to peanuts or mayonnaise or tomatoes or dish soap.

I was allergic to cats. And I had a cat. Oh, the karmic world came down on me hard that day.

Poor ole’ Taz was given to a family friend. Poor ole Taz was mauled by the family friend’s dog within hours.

Thus, in the end, I learned not to push my luck; it was better to just state the truth, I didn’t like PB or Mayo or doing the dishes, but that didn’t mean I should lie to people about it just to get what I wanted (or didn’t want). It’s just too bad Taz had to die over the whole event. Oh, what the animal sacrifices.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Single Minded Schools

Today, in my Women and the Law class, there was a much heated debate about single-sex schools. Are they discriminatory, what are the benefits, the downfalls, the underlying social ramifications?

One of the major arguments was that women who receive a same-sex education gain better self-esteem, confidence, and leadership skills.

There are studies that support this argument, but I want to look at the bigger picture here.

What is it about co-ed schools that cause women to feel so shitty?

Can we truly base educational separation on the fact that men are assholes and women are emotionally weak? This seems like a stereotypical argument.

If women have terrible self-esteem in co-educational systems, why? And how can low self-esteem be fixed inside the system?

I remember when I was in a 5th grade math class; our desks were divided into groups of 4 around the room. In my island there were three boys and me. Two of the boys tried to copy off of my test. I raised my hand in protest. The (female) teacher came over, heard my plea and informed me that I had to be lying since no boy would ever cheat off of a girl since girls’ aren’t good at math. Talk about being beat down by stereotypes. Talk about perpetuation. Talk about confidence killing—and from a woman who got a fucking degree in mathematics. WTF.

I don’t think the issue should be about same-sex schools, I think it should be about making co-education anti-sexist, anti-narrow-minded, anti-stereotypical and anti-degrading for all people. A place where people aren’t told they are better or worse at something because of their natural born placement into the world, but earn their better or worse status by what they do (or don’t do).

But that might just be too obvious of a solution (or too idealistic on my behalf).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Corporatocracy: What Your $ Buys

Is there even a point in bothering with politics anymore? Since the recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to spend as much money on political campaigns as they want, I am wondering why they don’t just come out and blatantly admit that the government doesn’t run the country at all; big business does. We have no democracy but a corporatocracy. It really has nothing to do with who the better candidate is, but which one has more money stuffed in his or her pockets. The candidate isn’t even a person, but a puppet used to pull strings so corporations can do whatever they want—hence why corporations are considered individuals. I’m sure, when given enough money (under the table of course) Justices (or any human) would call a building a tree if they were bribed with enough cash to do so. But hasn’t it gotten tiring, hasn’t that theme, that plot-line, been over-played? Sure, money can buy control, but do you, personally, want to be controlled by people with the most money? Have you ever met an extremely rich person? They have no concept of living under capitalism because they are capitalism. What you’re buying is their freedom. What you’re buying is their control over you. It’s their vote, not yours.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vulvacentrism: Flower Power

This picture was suggested to me and taken by my friend Elizabeth. I thought it might give up a glimmer of hope for the spring :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

200 (or so) Words on: Strange Injuries

Is it just me or do other people wake up to find bruises in strange places, soreness in obscure muscles, or cuts and scrapes that have no memory attached to them. I have a giant bruise on my big toe, it hurts so much, yet I have no recollection of how or when I damaged it. It’s starting to worry me. I’m starting to imagine that I have a secret sleep-walking life, a life of pure clumsiness, but a sleep-walking alternative life none the less. How can I run into things or have things fall on me or have things kick me or have things attack me and not recall any of it? Am I blacking it out because it’s pure torture? I think I’m going to start taking notes when I bang my body on something, that way I can look back and go, oh yeah, that bruise is from when I smashed my head on the refrigerator’s freezer door or that’s when I was play-kicking Ryan and accidently karate-clubbed the wall instead. It’s the only way to keep my injurious life style from causing me pure mental instability. But for now, I’ll just have to down some ibuprofen and try to forget about the pain.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Associating with Guilt

Lately layers of guilt have been piling upon my conscious like I’m getting ready to make a guilt-laced phyllo tart. I can not believe some of the thoughts I’ve been having. For example, I went to get a glass of water; I saw a bowl of crackers and thought I’d have a few—then I had to start justifying why it was okay for me to eat a few crackers that I made with my own hands (and food processor) with my own groceries that I had bought. I knew if I ate them, they’d be gone and I wouldn’t be able to eat them anymore. Which sort of made me sad. And I also felt like I was sneaking them because I wasn’t bringing them out in the living room to share with Ryan. Then I felt more guilty that I was behaving like an only child, then I felt paranoid because I knew even people who have siblings or partners don’t share everything with each other. I almost had a heart attack.

And this was just on a simple matter of flour mixed with spice. I cannot even begin to tell you the guilt that packs on when it comes to bigger things like not working out, or not eating enough fruit or not getting everything I want done in a day or Ryan not having a job. I know it’s not my fault that Ryan doesn’t have a job, but sometimes I feel guilty because 1) I don’t want to keep paying all the rent 2) I don’t want to keep paying all the bills 3) I definitely don’t want to keep paying for all those crackers. I get mad watching him eat thinking about the interest collecting on my loans that are being used to pay for that black bean burger he just scarfed down in 3 seconds. Then I feel guilty that I am mad for him just wanting to eat food like the rest of humanity.

I feel the most guilt when he has a job interview and he gets back and we wait. We wait and we wait to hear something. Generally, in that time period, I go through a series of thoughts starting with positive rainbow happy thoughts of him finally leaving the apartment on a daily basis, coming home tired but with a 12 pack of beer for me to consume merrily. Then the next day comes with no word and the colors start to fade--I try not to notice or think about it at all. Then the next day everything turns gray and I know he’s not going to get a call back. And I start thinking really terrible thoughts. And then I feel really guilty for thinking negatively; followed by a sudden rush of paranoid thoughts that maybe it was my fault for not believing in him 100% and the only reason he’s not getting a new job is because I am sending so much negative energy into the world. Which just completely pisses me off. Forcing me to find it really hard to believe in this positive thinking bullshit, which then makes me think that is why I’m never happy and other ‘plus-sign’ people are.

It is quite the predicament.

So if there is anyone out there that wants to give Ryan a job, or just, you know, give me money for being the awesomely awesome person I am so I can pay off my college debt, pay the rent and buy some more crackers I would more than greatly appreciate the assistance.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another conspiracy (Conan) theory

Last night my conspiracy theory mind was running rampant. It happened when Conan, for like the millionth time this week, was bitching about NBC. He decided that since NBC has to basically pay for whatever he does until he gets released he’s going to ridiculously spend their money. Following that comment he brought out the most expensive car available for purchase dressed up like a mouse. Okay. So we get it. But this is where I started to get that weird tingly sensation in my brain when it goes into over analysis and I perhaps overthink a moment. Was this NBC, Conan, and Leno’s idea all along—perhaps not all along, but it was at least heavily discussed. Look at the representation of Conan. He is now an American hero. He represents all the people who have been fucked over in the last few years, but he gets to earn his revenge on national television. He gets to over-spend company money and he gets to slam his boss over and over again (to the point of redundancy). He gets to do everything most people who have gotten “let go” dream about doing. And what ideal timing. Right in the middle of a major recession when more people can invest more time in television because they have no money to do anything else. After the show ends and he gets his 33 million severance pay he can basically do whatever he wants for the rest of his life—another major vicarious dream come true for his audience. In the end, we know it will not end badly for Conan. Perhaps the other people on his staff are going to get fucked but no one can relate to their boring ass lives so who the fuck cares?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Carnal Knowledge: A Review

There is something really great yet something really really repulsive happening in this 1971-movie staring Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) and Art Garfunkel.

What I found compelling in this film was the relationship between Jonathan (Nicholson) and Sandy (Garfunkel); they had, what you would call today, a bromance that lasted decades; or what 13-year old girls would say, they were BFFs…best friends forever. They truly went through their entire adult lives together.

Jonathan and Sandy’s conversations felt so realistic and raw to me that even though they were laced with sexism what they were saying seemed too true to their characters to get overly offended. But then of course, I got offended.

True, the relationship between John and Sandy was compelling, and true, it had elements of intensity and passion that moved the story line forward especially in regards to John backing down on his love for Susan (Bergen) to keep his friendship and love of his friend.

But, I could not get over the invisibility that existed when Sandy married Susan and Susan completely left the frame of the movie. I know, this was the director’s choice, but it completely pissed me off. Susan was going to become a lawyer; Susan was a bold, independent, and intelligent woman who chooses to marry Sandy and who then chooses to become a homemaker instead? Ah, hell no. And Susan did not just become a homemaker, but a completely invisible character from that point on, as if she was only property, as if she no longer could speak for herself. And I guess, she obviously couldn’t since we never heard her again. Susan also became a metaphor, a symbol of the “cage” in which Sandy was trapped. Her absentness creates an invisible prison of Sandy’s mind and body, as if their marriage is a completely destructive force.

It was disgusting. Her lack of voice upon marriage is what made the movie unbelievable and undeserving of continuing forward. I really wish it would have ended right when John and Susan break it off, because at least then I could have imagined all the different possibilities, but instead I was brutally forced to witness the complete womanizing of these two bromancers from that point forward.

The film did an amazing job of showing the complexity of these two men, as bffs; making me hate one of them one minute, then hate the other one instead the next. But it truly missed the mark by shutting Susan up—how can someone who was such a main character at the beginning of the film basically be killed off by a wedding ring—she was someone I really wanted to see, I wanted to hear, I wanted to know what happened to her. Because to say she wasn’t vital to the story-line is completely incorrect. Would she have been better off with John, would it have saved everyone’s future if they would have just come out with their secret affair when it was happening—I believe that was the point to be shown, no matter what path, it’s always going to be rocky and it’s never going to be what you want.

The concept was great; the execution of the concept was what was repulsive. So, perhaps the next one can make a similar point without objectifying women. Because in truth, women have just as much knowledge of the carnal, even married women and we, as viewers, should get just as much of their perspectives and voices exposed to us as we get of their bare breasts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What do you taste like?

Good taste

Is it possible to determine who has it and who doesn’t? To me it seems even more subjective than who is beautiful, because at least with beauty there have been scientific studies to determine it’s mainly about being in proportion. But, how can one person claim they have “better” taste over someone else? Or that someone simply doesn’t have it at all? Isn’t that, in a way, creating god in your own image? Especially if you’re assuming that everyone has to have the same taste as you in order for it to be good.

This seems quite problematic in that if I started plucking off friends who didn’t like the same things as me I would have none left. Especially since I don’t like creamy martinis. I wouldn’t even be able to live with Ryan because I find his taste in bananas utterly repulsive. And what about all my friends who are married or getting married or have children or want children. Do I just shun them because their lifestyle tastes are alternative to mine?

So, what do we do? Isn’t at least a similarity in tastes how we connect with people and become friends? Yet, don’t they also say that opposites attract? In the end it seems, perhaps, we should just leave taste at the table and let it go if it isn’t on your plate.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Potential Possibilities of Being Really Really Cool

On the train the other day I spotted a glam-rock star outlined in silver on the silver door; this looked like the work of a 14-year-old girl. A girl who still saw the possibilities of transforming something dull into something individual, something unique from all the others.

At what point do we lose that zest?

It feels like the older people get and the more repetitious their life becomes the narrower the thought-process, the narrower the mind. Shouldn’t it work the other way? Perhaps it becomes too frightening that we feel we must hold on to what we know, because if we let go, we may lose an essential part of ourselves. But what part is that really? I’d rather keep my zeal for transformation intact. I’d rather have the mindset of a teenage girl if that means I can keep my passion, my confidence, my ability to speak for myself.

Many of us, most of us, are walking this earth with severely bruised souls. Whether we have failed at something obviously or we thought we did something really amazing and everyone we knew thought we had failed--these moments stay with us, these moments cause the black and blue. I feel they may stay longer and harder than the sparkles of hope do, longer then the confidence of possibilities surely does. And I don’t like it. I vehemently disagree with it and no longer find it acceptable.

I believe in keeping a child-like wonder when I look out at the world. This is not to say I want children or even care for them, but I do appreciate their perspectives. I love how everything has the potential to be really really cool if I just take a moment to gaze at it with fresh eyes. Yes, I saw that tree yesterday and the day before that, but today the sun is hitting it in this really obscure way and the wind is blowing the branches as if they’re each longer-than-long gymnasts on the uneven-parallel bars. And today that tree looks really really cool.

I want to step away from my failures and my stepped-on confidence. I want to remove the grudges and the smudges of my life that are preventing me from seeing the possibility of what a door could look like as opposed to accepting it for just being a door. If I can transform the mundane at least there will be more beauty amongst the pain. At least each my potential will not drown in the muck of the everyday, at least I will keep the zest and zeal of my self, so when I look back on my life I can say, wow, that was really really cool.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

All Feminists Hate Men


You call me that as if you know what it means. As if you know my deepest secret is pure and complete hatred for every person possessing a penis. And that when I took my first class in Women and Gender Studies the teacher was giving away free “dick glasses” which allowed all of us men-haters to use the laser beam attachment to deconstruct the cocks that wandered the streets of the city. And, wow, we feminists have cut off so many dicks I bet you’re wondering how you still have yours…. Oh and I can’t forget the other facts about me as a feminist, how my armpits are as hairy as an apes and I never wear makeup or dresses because I might be mistaken for a “normal” woman. But besides those obvious categorizations of me, as a feminist, I’m just happy you understand that above all I want to completely and totally destroy men because I hate them. I hate them so much I live with one. He doesn’t realize it, but I am in the process of completely obliterating him. Muhahahaha.

Oh yes. Here’s the secret of feminists you already knew all about. We abhor men so much we have devised this amazing plan to live among them, to date them, to fuck them, to even (pretend) love them, just so we can turn them into feminized versions of themselves so they can never break away and be masculine ever again. We’re working one by one but eventually, through time, we will have gotten to enough of them that we may never have to witness NASCAR again.

At least that’s the plan. That’s what we talk about in all of our bra-burning consciousness-raising meetings.

But, with all seriousness, talented women across the land have been shunning the feminist label for decades. Patti Smith won’t use it. Lady Gaga recently revolted at the idea claiming “I am not a feminist. I hail men, I love men.” Which leaves many of us feminists puzzled. Why do you have to hate men to want equality with them? The very sentence is a contradiction. For me feminism is not about bombing off all the penises of the world, it’s about finding balance; a balance within every person of their masculine and feminine qualities. It’s about ridding the world of the social constructions that cause so much confusion and pain. It’s about bombing the boxes that hold us in.

Feminism isn’t just for women, it isn’t just for a few women who can interpret the language of Judith Butler, it’s for any individual who has been silenced and wants to speak; who has felt outside of the system, even for a moment; who wanted to do one thing but couldn’t because of the social repercussions.

You don’t like the word…fine, but say it’s because you’re so post-modern you’re over “labels”, because to not be something you first need to know what it is you’re not being. Being a man-hater does not equate with being a feminist; they are in fact 2 separate identities and they in fact do not mix well with one another. We just want to create, collaborate, work within, communicate within and walk within a society without be ostracized or violated for not keeping within a gendered boundary. Feminism is not a secret society full of hairy angry women, yes, some are hairy; yes, some are angry; and yes, some are even women, but none of that has ever been a secret and none of that has ever really been the issue.

The real issue is that we haven’t begun to utilize those crafty laser-beam glasses yet….c’mon ladies, who wouldn’t want a pair of chic, genital-frying eye wear to ward off bar-roaming ass faces?

(Written with assistance from genitally modified lover, RW Ruehlen)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

100 (or so) words on: That stupidly tall building in Dubai & Viagra sheets

Really men, when will you get over your cocks? It’s no longer impressive to have the “tallest” building in the world, especially when there is a major recession and we can imagine that money going to actually helping the people instead of giving the country an illusion of grandeur.

Congratulations Dubai you now have the biggest dick in the world, how are you going to use it, who are you going to penetrate, what are you going to reproduce with that enormous thing?

Speaking of cocks. Not only do men need to prove their endowment by constructing ridiculously tall building but now they also can get a hard on just by lying down in bed. Yes. There is a new invention that laces sheets with Viagra—which not only seems harmful but is lavishly unnecessary. Why do men get the privilege of fucking into old wrinkly shriveled age yet women can’t even get full reproductive care? Yes, let’s worry about men’s boners but let’s not take a moment to consider who those men are sticking it into or whether or not the women (or other men) really want them old and hard. Men shouldn't get full access to fuck until women get full access to their own bodies.

Guess what men? We get it. You have dicks. We don't need giant buildings and hard-on laced sheets to figure it out. So put them back in your pants and calm it down.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another conspiracy (media) theory

We’re often influenced to think that being creative or artistic takes some sort of quirky mentality. For example, I often imagined that the only way to be a good writer was to be suicidal like Plath or alcoholic like, well, pretty much every other writer that doesn’t literally kill themselves.

Same with visual artists. Most of them seem to be completely crazy. Chopping off ears or actually being manic depressant.

All of these “quirks” are just traits that the media portrays in an attempt to separate YOU from creativity. To make you think you’re too normal to ever be able to write a novel or paint the next masterpiece or cook the most delicious ginger glazed tofu.

So many of us, (me included) grow up imagining this binary, where either you’re an artist with major issues but amazing projects, or you’re “normal” yet boring. (Or you’re “normal” but you really “appreciate” art.)

Fuck. That.

You don’t have to be crazy to be creative. You don’t have to be normal to be boring. You don’t have to die by 32 just to be considered talented.

I just need to keep doing what I like and I need to stop watching "based on a true story" movies or I may end up thinking I'd be better off leaving my creativity for a cubicle. Which would be the worst idea ever, since the cubicle is one of the most evil places on earth. How could anyone ever feel that they belonged there instead of behind their own work?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

100 (or so) words on: January Diets

Is it torturous to just me to start a diet in January? Who thought of this stupid-ass scheme to guilt people for eating all through the Winter holiday and then convince everyone to cut out everything fattening and only eat fruits and vegetables. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE NOT IN SEASON IN JANUARY! I mean really, what the fuck can you eat in January that’s fresh? Who is going to keep a diet when they can only eat frozen foods reheated to mushy half-foods? No wonder this is a repetitive yearly cycle of over-eating, fasting, over-eating. Our bodies are not in the mood for a low-cal diet in the middle of winter. It just doesn’t make sense. That’s why it never works. If people really want to lose weight they need to break this stupid cycle and just start taking care of their bodies on a daily basis not just when the treadclimber commercials return to the airwaves.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Health Care and the VA

Last night on 60 Minutes they discussed all the problems with Veterans Affairs medical and disability issues. Which made me shout at the TV “Universal Health Care!” I then started to think that maybe that’s another element holding us back. If we had universal health care then people going into the military would have one less incentive to join.

Of course people in the armed forces should receive medical care and they should be compensated for their disabilities caused by war, but why should every day civilians not have health care available for them? I find it complete bullshit that there is not a public option. I find it complete bullshit that the senate passed a new bill over the holiday break and we have not heard it mentioned again since. If I researched it I could find out, but why should I have to do that? Shouldn’t they tell the public what the fuck they’re doing? (Maybe it’s because they’re not doing anything?)

We watch 60 Minutes and get propagandaized into thinking that what the government is doing to our service people is fucked up (which it is) but they don’t even talk about the BIGger picture which is what the government is doing to EVERYONE. The medical and disability issues of veterans really wouldn’t be an issue-- wouldn’t even be necessary to talk about, if the government took care of all U.S. citizens’ medical and disability issues (but then they’d have to battle the capitalist insurance giants and that would just be too difficult wouldn’t it?).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Vulvacentrism is Back!

Here is a candle holder in my dining room, not only is it shaped like a vulva with an exclamational oh God! clitoris it has little unicorns carved into it magical!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

23 Things to do before I move...

Many of you know that Ryan and I will be moving out of Chicago in the summer, so I've complied a list of 23 things to do before I move. I would love more suggestions and requests to join me!

1) Ice skate downtown (winter)

2) Find someone with a boat and go out on the lake (summer)

3) Road trip to Milwaukee (beer)

4) Chinatown

5) See Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia @ Imax (May/Spring)

6) National Museum of Mexican Art

7) Swedish Museum in Andersonville

8) Actually finally get a beer from the Hop Leaf

9) Eat pizza out of a bowl at Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder

10) Have a (vege) Chicago hotdog

11) BEACH (summer)

12) Go to the Museum of Science and Industry

13) Free music in the park (summer)

14) Pitchfork (summer)

15) Pervertable Tongues at the Metro

16) Road trip to Wisconsin (cheese)

17) Have a martini at the Hancock

18) Go one last time to the Art Institute

19)Road trip to the Botanical Gardens AND stop at the

20) Bahai Temple in Evanston/Willmette (Late spring)

21) Top of FormOsaka Japanese Gardens (at Wooded Island in Jackson Park) (spring or summer)

22) Chicago Supernatural Cruise

23) Go to an S&M bar (near my apartment)