Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Women Working Hard(er) for the Money: Walmart and Discrimination.

Women vs. Walmart is a big news story on yahoo today. Of course I had to click on it; I guess because I like to irritate myself early in the morning.

The best part was that two white dudes were the ones discussing the issue. I mean, come on, are women not capable of being seen as authority figures on matters of work place discrimination? We've only been trying to equalize the workforce for decades.

Duh, Women make 77 cents to a male dollar.

Duh, Walmart discriminates.

Duh, we're still not all equal.

And no one can be equal to the power of a corporation.

The question is, how will Walmart weasel it's way out of this one? Because it will and women will continue to get fucked by the system...(because that's what we women are good at right?)

The video ended with the two dudes saying something like, "if this thing does get to go onto the supreme court we'll probably see a lot of copy cats." As if it were a bad thing.

Hello. We need copy cats because this is still happening everywhere. Everywhere.

So, basically, if Walmart gets away with it, every other company will too, nice.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Music Mondays: Peaches, you want to be her.

Here's another addition of Music Mondays. I love Peaches, she's raunchy yet delectable. Plus she's just a major badass, her latest entertainment venture, a remake of Jesus Christ Superstar, aptly called Peaches Christ Superstar.

Can never get enough glam.

Girls want to be her too.

I have to include the Slippery Dick (it's just a fish in the atlantic) video as it stars Divine.

Nothing better than a little Divine on your Monday.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Can I Get What I Want, Please? Yes. Thank You.

I remember years ago Oprah had this big thing about creating a "goals poster" (though I'm sure there is a better word for it) where one would cut out goals/dreams etc. from magazines in an attempt to visualize ones future and essentially make it come true. At the time I found it almost too sentimental, a little cheesy, but still it probably wouldn't hurt anyone to do it (though I personally never did).

The idea is pretty simple, think about something you want and you will get it. Sometimes, you may have to think longer about certain wants, but eventually if you want it bad enough and think about it often enough, you will get it. And it seems to work for many many people who do it.

Of course, it isn't enough to just think you want to be famous or rich or loved; when you imagine it, it is then that you will be able to work towards getting there. Sort of streamline thoughts into manifesting your destiny or journey or goal or whatever.

It works for small things too, (it might even work best (or easiest) for small things). For example, I really wanted to win this particular cookbook in a drawing the other day. I thought and thought about winning that book; I put my raffle number out into the world, saying it over and over again in my head connecting it with that particular book; only thinking about winning that book. And then I won it! It was freaking crazy. I was pretty excited about the actual winning, but more excited about how I seemed to will myself into winning it. If I could do that with a lottery ticket, well, that would be amazing!

I have tried to dream-focus finding a $20 dollar bill into reality it hasn't happened yet, but maybe sometime soon--though dream-focusing a job into reality would probably be better than a twenty. Ha!

At least I now have a new super cool cookbook!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Breeder Bar Biases.

Of course I am always observing gender biases. Yesterday we spent the whole day in Denver and I found it interesting how gendered such a simple thing as going to a bar seemed to be.

One of the first bars was very hospitable; it gives all guests a free shot, something with tang in it, idk. And it also gives all women a rose.

On one end it's really nice getting a gift, on the other I wonder if men are just slightly perturbed that they don't get anything? In a way it's one last fading glimmer of chivalry, but we wouldn't need chivalry if everyone was free. What what.
Then we went to this other bar and Ryan had his camera bag searched, but did they search my bag? No. I mean why couldn't a woman carry a gun in with her to a bar? I'm not saying women or men should be carrying weapons into bars, but that if a bar thinks that men are going to do it, couldn't a man--if he really needed a gun in a bar--have a woman friend put it in her bag? Maybe people just shouldn't shoot each other. That would solve that issue.

And one final note, more people, as a general whole, should dance. Just saying, we would all have a much better time if we all got our "freak on" a bit more.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fun Fri(Food)Day: Fajitas and GMOs.

Last night I tried cooking portobello and vegetable fajitas for the first time.

And they turned out amazingly.

So simple.
When I served them to Ryan he of course, had to ask me what the difference between a fajita and a burrito was. According to wikipedia, the root word is "faja" meaning belt or girdle. Orignially the fajita was made from skirt steak, which is an area of meat on the cow, that aptly named, is like a belt. Anyhoo, being vegan and such, no cows had to die so I could eat their belts. Ha.

Here's the recipe. Though it can really be your own thing.

In one pan with some olive oil cook your favorite veggies in order of thickness adding a bit of salt with each round.

I used onions, jalapenos, broccoli, bell pepper, portobellos, zucchini and at the last minute I threw in my secret ingredient, bits of pineapple.

In the other pan, I heated up just a bit of the onion and jalapeno. When they were cooked I added tomato (I used canned diced but a fresh one would be better), black beans, pinto beans and a little bit of quinoa I had left over (optional, can also use rice or no grains at all). For the seasoning: A half a handful of ancho chili powder and oregano, a full handful of chili powder and cumin. A pinch of cayenne and a pinch of salt.

Once cooked top whole wheat tortillas with the two mixtures, plus lettuce and cilantro. (If you have a lime, I'd squeeze it over the top).

Then eat away!
Also, since it's Food Friday, I must make a comment on my recent grocery store adventure. Strawberries were on sale. Which made me so excited. But then, when I came to them every package seemed to be riddled with steroid-stuffed berries. I mean, they were monstrous. I turned to Ryan and said, "like these aren't genetically modified."

We bought them anyway.

And of course I feel a little bit guilty.

But it's been freaking months and I love them. Plus they were so cheap and so am I.

For maybe two year my parents had a strawberry patch and I never recall them being bigger than an inch all around. Now I can find strawberries almost as big as apples. WTF? It's crazy. And I know some of the other foods have been treated equally in regards to gmo's but the strawberry seems the easiest to spot. Will try to go organic only from now on.

(Being jobless doesn't really help in the all-organic world, btw.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are You Man Enough? Or Just a Guy Living in Your Parent's Basement?

I saw this radio segment come up on twitter the other day, the person speaking was Kay Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women has Turned Men into Boys. I thought the actual segment was vague and to be quite honest, full of gender stereotypes. But it reminded me of when I went to hear Michael Kimmel speak at DePaul, he's the author of Manhood in America and Guyland. Both argue that there is a new stage of development into adulthood which occurs between 18-30 ish, mostly with men. Women are out overachieving while men are playing Wii and living in their parent's basement.

Obviously it's a generalization and it only really discusses privileged middle to upper class men, as I cannot imagine men in the working class having the time to, well, not work.

But anyway. Besides these socialists theories, what I find most interesting is this idea of balancing the masculine and feminine.

Women are given permission to be both, where men are looked down upon if they are in any way feminine. No wonder we, as a society, are struggling.

Feminism has given women the opportunity to learn about these things, to read Butler, to discuss ideas of identity, of gender theory, but many men, whether they want to learn about it or not, feel excluded. Or that they can't be involved in something called "feminism."

But, at least my feminism, includes everyone and is about working to end all oppressions, not just things that keep "women" down. (If one is oppressed, we all are oppressed etc).

So, what's the deal? I mean I understand that there is an underlying issue in regards to femininity, that it is weak, powerless, irrational. But those are just the negative traits...how many negative traits are associated with masculinity? Overly aggressive, cold, possessive. And why do these certain traits express gender? And why would it be so bad if all humans were allowed to display the full range of traits that exist? Why can't a person be emotional and rational, or assertive and passive. Depending on the situation or just how they're feeling that day?

If all of these men are being immature juvenile slackers, what will it take for them to snap out of it and realize they're worth more than that?

Just because women want to be (and are) successful doesn't mean men shouldn't be.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Dreams, The Next X-Files Movie?

I should probably quit watching the X-Files right before I go to bed. The problem though is that the X-Files should only be watched in the dark, and well, when it gets dark it’s much closer to my bedtime.

Dreams are so fascinating—in the sense that they reflect what your mind has absorbed. Why do some things stick and others don’t?

Since facebook I’ve found it interesting who pops up in my dreams, usually I’m unaware that I had any interaction with these people at all, but then I remember seeing them in my newsfeed or randomly coming across them while facebook “surfing” (though many people call it stalking, whatever).

Anyhoo, lately I’ve been having a lot of strange things happen to me in my dreams and I must blame the X-Files. I’ve come down with bubbling infectious swelling pus-filled sores all over my arms. I’ve run-away with a man only to never get anywhere and I’ve gotten in multiple hand-to-hand (foot-to-foot) fights, luckily I almost always win those.

There probably isn’t a worse show to watch before going to bed. Maybe Criminal Minds. Maybe CSI. I don’t know.

But even if I changed it up and quit watching television all together I would read more and then I’d have dreams where I’m reading. I’m not kidding, this happened to me all the time in grad school.

"Reading" dreams are the worst because while it’s happening I feel like I’m really learning something but then I wake up and realize I just spent hours with a book I can no longer remember. And that sucks. That might be worse than being chased. Or having to kick someone’s ass. All that work just to have to start from where I left off before falling asleep. All that work, for nothing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Happened to the Mean Girls?

Watching this movie last night I wondered....so here's what I found.

Rachel McAdams

Her last movie, Morning Glory looked terrible. Perhaps I am wrong, but I don't really want to waste two hours finding out. McAdams has done well since her break-out role in Mean Girls, you may remember her best from The Notebook, though personally, out of all the work she's done I still prefer Slings and Arrows. The latest news, which shows just how un-news worthy she has kept herself, documented her slow walk-through airport security. Seriously.

Lacey Chabert

Unfortunately, Chabert didn't "break out" like McAdams. Since the movie she's been in multiple Bratz films, that's right, Bratz, those weird big headed dolls your 12 year-old niece used to play with.
Before Mean Girls, you may remember her as Claudia in Party of Five or the voice of Meg Griffin in Family Guy (the 1999-2000 season). No paparazzi are following her around.

Amanda Seyfried
Out of all the mean girls, I feel Seyfried will be the one to come out on top (if I had to pick just one). Though she's done plenty of romance films like McAdams she seems to slowly be inching her way ahead of the rest. It's really hard to hate her with those big puppy dog eyes and cheery smile. She's been in several works I've enjoyed, Boogie Woogie, Veronica Mars, Big Love. And she had a pretty hot sex scene with Julianne Moore in Chloe (in case any of you all are into that).
She's currently dating the yummy Ryan Phillippe and according to US Weekly they still went out for a couple's jog (people really call it that?) even though he might be someone else's baby-daddy (yeah, who cares, right). Also she is no longer going to be in the new Superman movie because of her contract with HBO and Big Love. Though that probably sucks for her, maybe it's for the best, maybe an even better movie will come along. I can only hope (because I like her and I don't want to watch her in movies like Dear John).

And finally, the infamous Lindsay Lohan
She's in the news every other day and never for anything remotely positive. It's really sad. I'm sure being on public display while one self destructs doesn't help the situation in any way. Though she was pretty great in Machete, at least she knows how to make fun of herself. Or she knows she needs to make fun of herself, either way. Up next for her, a plea bargain followed with jail time.

Bonus: The (Un) Mean Girl!
Janis The Dyke: Lizzy Caplan has done pretty well and looks so much different than she did in the movie. Loved her in Party Down (a tv series based around catering) she was also in True Blood (though I haven't seen the newest season), Freaks and Geeks (love it) as well as 127 Hours (which I also still need to watch, though am skeptical about seeing a movie where a guy cuts his own arm off). I may have a bit of a crush on her!

(And can I just state the the poses some of these women make are absurd. It was pretty difficult to find decent pictures that weren't boring or overtly sexual).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Music Mondays: The Morning Benders

Starting a new series! Enjoy!

"Excuses" by The Morning Benders with special guests + Echo Chamber Orchestra.

Love the violins at the end.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Real Convenience Food, Right in Your Backyard.

I just watched the documentary Food Matters. I actually wasn't planning to watch it as I felt I had seen plenty of other food docs, but I went for it anyway and I'm glad I did.

Well, not overly glad, often when I finish watching documentaries like that I often feel overwhelmed. I think, OMG, I'm doing everything wrong! I'll never be able to fix myself let alone help out the world etc. etc.

But. I'm slowly getting over that idea. And though I'm not going to go "raw" I am for sure going to get better about eating more raw fruits and veges--which won't be as difficult now that I have a blender.

There were several interesting tidbits of knowledge in the film such as eating a couple of handfuls of cashews can help ease depression. Or taking 3000 milligrams of niacin can actually cure depression.

They also showed pictures of cancer patients before and after going on Gerson Therapy; their recovery was shocking, I never would have imagined that diet could cure diseases like lymphoma.
Anyhoo, what I'm been wondering about a lot recently as I've gone for walks around town is why people don't plant more fruit trees and bushes. Why doesn't our city parks have apple trees or lemon trees or whatever grows locally?

I mean obviously because of capitalism and lawsuits, but if we disregarded that for a moment; wouldn't it be amazing to go for a walk and grab an orange or some cherries along the way?

It just seems to make sense to me.

If I had my own house I'd plant all sorts of fruit and nut trees not just for myself but for anyone who wanted them. And if everyone did that we wouldn't have to rely so heavily on groceries stores, we wouldn't have to worry about where to food came from because it would literally come from our backyards.

Personally, I think it's one of my best ideas--though it's not really an idea as much as an observation. But still.

If city landscapers planted tomatoes instead of flowers wouldn't that make more sense? It would not only be visibly appealing but edible. Everyone would win. (Except when teenagers decide to throw them at people/buildings/things instead, but that's a different situation).

Nothing against flowers, but what about planting more edible plants instead of just planting stuff for visual appeal? I think it would be so amazing to have this happen.

Who wants to help me get it started?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Art of Avoiding.

Lately I've been an asshole, or at least I've felt like I have been behaving like an asshole.

Mainly because I have been working really hard on avoidance. Particularly avoiding things that have been happening in our world, like in Japan, in Tunisia, in Wisconsin. Anywhere really where something dramatic has happened, I have been at my desk trying really hard to not notice. It's actually pretty difficult, when on the internet (especially twitter) to go around these matters.
It took me until today to look at pictures from the Japanese situation.

And I wish I hadn't.

I don't know why I do it but it feels like a human trait to not want to know about bad things I can't fix.

Which is why I also haven't watched the documentary Bag it! Which is about how bad plastic bags are. I know they're bad, but when I find out how really really bad they are I'll probably have a panic attack in the grocery store if I forget to bring my tote. And I can't handle making a scene, thinking about having a panic attack sort of makes me feel like I could have a panic attack.

So, yes, I've been avoiding this stuff.

But I also feel like maybe I shouldn't be. I should probably be paying super close attention so I can decide whether I need to build myself an underground shelter or stock up on food.

I just don't know anymore.

Or maybe I never did.

Maybe I'll just stay in bed and read fiction until 2012...when the world ends.

(though the theory now is that it will just shift...whatever that means.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are Feminists Natural Born Killers?

The other night I watched Natural Born Killers for the first time. As a feminist vegan I have a feeling that I'm not suppose to enjoy a movie like this; but I'm going to go out on a limb and admit that I did.
I think there is a deep-seated human desire to see the destruction of other humans around us; to vicariously live out a fantasy of pure mania.

Though it's violent, what feminist woman hasn't dreamed of being Mallory? What feminist hasn't, underneath it all, really just wanted to kick the shit out of some sexist asshole?

I know I have.

Most of us don't because it's wrong, which is why I felt this sick pleasure when I watched the movie.

Yesterday I came upon this film clip that made the argument that True Grit's Mattie Ross is not a feminist character.
The argument basically says that the movie just reinforces masculinity--she's dominant, confident, and never ranges emotions--she's rational the entire time.

The argument pointed out that many other female-character driven movies have done the same sort of masculinizing of women, so that even if the character is biologically female she's behaving in a very male-way.

Perhaps. But I don't believe that to be entirely true. Uma's character in Kill Bill shows empathy and tenderness and yet she still is a badass. Juliette Lewis's character, Mallory, though probably clinically insane, seems to have an emotional range.
But more importantly when these movies end, I feel as if I personally got a confidence boost. These women were strong, assertive, confident, intelligent. And I don't think those necessarily need to be considered masculine traits; if we believe that all humans deserve to be able to display a range of emotions and character from passive to assertive, shy to confident, dumb to smart, then we should also consider not labeling them one gender or another.

I love watching women kick ass, but I don't literally think of doing the same thing, when I watch I take the actions metaphorically, kicking ass= achieving goals.

Sure, there are other ways to show and tell this, but I enjoy a little aggressive fantasy every once in a while. Even if I would never really behave that way. Even if I don't think people should do it in real life.

But this also could stem from our violent culture, which I fully admit I am a part of whether I want to be or not. Sure, we'd like to see movies that aren't so violent, but do we know how to make them, what they would look like? Would we get a thrill?

It's possible.

But for now, at least women are getting lead roles. A slow process, but a process of possibility nonetheless.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Want to Be a Feminist Super Heroine.

I somehow ended up at a hipster house party last night. The apartment felt like it could be an apartment anywhere, wood paneling, ceiling panels painted with designs out of boredom, some covered with birds and marker swirls, some covered with mold. When everyone was packed into the kitchen for the music it smelt and it felt and it looked like a thrift store threw up everywhere. Ugly 90's sweaters, ribbon barrettes, animal screen prints. Lots of tight pants and old dirty zip hoodies. It was like half of the kids wore moth-ball perfume that couldn't mask the eight day old sweat stench. Not that I'm complaining. I had a good time (for the most part).
But, earlier that day I had watched a movie called Women, Art, Revolution! which was a documentary on feminist art. Anyway it made me question what I've been doing in regards to the Feminist Creative Alliance and feminism in general.

At the party I moved away from theory into reality.

One minute I was a feminist super heroine separating a potential rapist from his prey; the next I was a lowly passive woman allowing "chicks" to be part of some dudes vocabulary.

And that's when I realized it really is all about picking the right battles. I could tolerate "chicks" because he was using it in an almost positive way. "I really dig it when chicks are in bands." I mean, at least he supports women rock.
But when some really drugged out dude keeps trying to mouth fuck a woman and the woman keeps trying to fight him off but he doesn't back away, well, I feel no guilt interfering.

Yet it really pisses me off that I had to witness it. That it even happens. But we can't pretend it doesn't. Put a bunch of 20-somethings in a room with drugs and alcohol and voila' animalistic assholes emerge.

But that brings me back to my internal debate of feminism in general. Sure, feminism has done work on improving our society, but it hasn't done enough. The woman fought him off and there were other people around to support her decision, but he still thought it was okay to behave that way. And that shouldn't be the case. It shouldn't be this woman v. man fight. Women shouldn't be the only ones learning that rape is bad. If the statistic reads, 1 in 3 women are raped, where is the other one? The one that says 1 in 3 men are rapists? (or whatever the actual number is). That would surely stir some thought wouldn't it?

I believe feminism belongs to everyone, men, women, and those in between or outside those labels. It's about ending oppression. The oppression that keeps ALL people from reaching their true potential. And I'll repeat that again and again until the end.

It's a constant struggle for me to see oppressive behavior day in and day out and not really feel like I can do much about it. I'm working on figuring out ways to make positive change, to actually see an impact, to get closer to the over-arching goal. So if you have any suggestions, please send them my way. In the meantime, I'll keep picking my battles. I'll keep dreaming of being the next female film heroine, like Uma in Kill Bill, or Juliette Lewis in Natural Born Killers except my character kills misogynist rapists. I could dig that. I mean, if I wasn't a vegan.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Revelation #3: Cheapskate Until the End.

Recently I realized that no matter how much money I make in my future (which I hope will be plenty) I will, deep in my heart, always be a cheapskate.

It probably has to do with my sincere hatred towards capitalism—especially current neoliberal capitalism with all it’s privatizations and products built to break.

But it also comes from being trained to find a good bargain and knowing that name brands or even “new” isn’t necessary.

The other night as I was walking to the bar I realized that almost all of my clothes were either from a thrift store/garage sale or from a clothing exchange. Everything but my boots. My coat, my bag, my shirt, my jeans, the total of this outfit was $1. You read that right, $1.

It’s so much more exciting to me to be able to look good as cheaply as possible, and this doesn’t mean looking cheap, I had on Abercrombie and Levis not a skirt from the Half-Price store.

Coming to the realization that I barely have to buy anything new is really life-altering. If companies stopped making clothes, we could probably exchange them and last in them the rest of our lives and possibly even the next generation. Mainly because there is so much out there, at one Target alone I noticed two-three shelves covered with gloves. What’s going to happen to those gloves? They’re either going to go back to the inventory, they’re going to be donated, or they’re going to be thrown away. Why make so many to begin with? What a waste.

I don’t even want to get started on dumpster diving; the things people throw away, they should be ashamed. I have a really nice desk: dumpster. Board games, wine glasses, end tables, lamps, clothes, canvases, Dvds, tons of notebooks etc. all dumpster. I even found a big bag of not-yet-expired teas. It’s a crazy world out there.

I guess I’m like the scavenger. Cleaning up the loose ends. I don’t mind. It feels good to be more a part of the solution than the problem (though of course I’m not perfect and we all create our own “footprint”)

All I know is being cheap is fun. (On that note, being cheap doesn't mean not tipping, if you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out.)

Want some tips on being Cheap?

1) Try thrift stores on Mondays/Tuesdays as they usually get bigger donations on the weekends. (And often times the stuff is half off)

2) If you live in a college town or a city, check when semesters end, especially end of the year, college kids are disgustingly wasteful.

3) Also if you’re super cheap and your town is having a garage sale day go towards the end, people will sell things to you at next to nothing. Or wait until it’s over and see what they throw away.

4) Ryan says if you think long and hard enough about something you want, it will show up. This happened with my desk, we came back from winter break, we were going to go to Resource (also an awesome place for cheap things) to either find one or get the stuff to build one. But, right when we were getting ready to leave someone had just thrown one out.

5) Have a clothing exchange instead of just donating or throwing out clothes you don’t want. This is a great way to freshen up a wardrobe, plus it’s fun!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Revelation #2: Baby Chicks and Beginnings.

The Dream:

Ryan and I were in a bedroom; we kept hearing chirping. We found the source in a closet in a box or wooden chest or something. Ryan opened it and out flew hundreds of baby chickens. Yellow fluffy wings were everywhere. Some were flying so high they were hitting the ceiling fan and bouncing off. I freaked out thinking they were going to get decapitated, plus the room was really filling up with them. I opened a window and they all zoomed out, thousands upon thousands landed in the tree outside the window, covering it in yellow.

The rest of the dream is irrelevant to the revelation.

I believe, even though chickens can’t really fly, that they’re still symbolic of spring and with that a new stage of my life. And maybe by them flying it means something fantastical, magical, innovative will happen.

This is what I'd like to believe anyway, so I'm going to go ahead and believe it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Revelation 1: Born a Part of the Left.

Recently I’ve had a series of revelations and because of that, they’re going to be my blog topics for a while.

The first:

My left-handed identity.

It’s been years since I’ve thought of my left-handedness as a source of identity; I actually know quite a few left-handed people, we must all flock together. But after joining twitter I noticed quite a few people stated their left-handed domination as part of their bio. And I remembered, duh, I’m different.

When I was younger I had a binder full of really crappy poems and okay stories, I titled the binder The BLOB, the blue-eyed, left-handed, only-child, blonde. (Today it would be BLOP, soon to be BLOR), at the time those markers must have been important to me for some reason. They described me physically but also placed me in the overall scheme of things.

I don’t know why I have disregarded being a lefty, it’s actually a pretty important marker, like being born LGTBQ or Asian or whatever, we can’t control it. It was not my choice unlike choosing veganism or even feminism.

Lefties know from the age we can throw a ball or write our names that we’re different. We know that the world wasn’t made for us. (If it were there would be no such thing as spiral notebooks).

And I think that’s why so many lefties lean to the left.

We become more sensitive to our surroundings. We pay attention to others outsiderness. We, or at least I, embrace the outsiderness and prefer to be there.

Of course it’s not as serious as other outsider/fringe identities. It’s easy to hide for one thing. And no one thinks we’re demons anymore like they did back in the day. So it’s nice that people have changed. Which shows that people can change their perceptions of others and that outside identities can shift into insider with just a shift of thought.

Not that lefties are insiders, but we’re not an “issue” anymore.

There are fewer of us on the planet and I think most of us who are left-hand dominant are pretty freakin cool.

We should start a club or something. Burn spiral notebooks and move door handles to the other side. What what! Who's in?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Impossibility of a Top 5 Influential List.

After almost-winning trivia the other night (by a scissor fist really) our "team" got into a heated discussion over who should be considered the Top 5 Most Influential People of our time.

This is an impossible task. Mainly because what one finds to be influential another may have never bothered with.

For example, if I tried to make a top 5 list of the most important feminists I could start with bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, Gloria Anzaldua, Donna Haraway....but those are women from a specific time period. What about Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, the Bronte Sisters, Virginia Woolf, Lucy Stone? What about Kathleen Hanna, Jessica Valenti, Hilary Clinton, Tina Fey, Oprah! I could barely pick just five from each decade. And this is just feminism.

What about inventors? What about scientists? Where would we be without our snuggies? More importantly where would we be without google? Netflix? Imitation chick'n patties?

But what our "team" was trying to get at was the root of paradigm shifts. Who was so influential that an entire society started acting and thinking in a different way? Is it possible to pinpoint that one "philosopher" or is it better to understand that we all build-up and interact with each other's ideas, that it takes a collective for a shift. Even if an individual has a good idea, if it doesn't stick it doesn't shift.

And of course there are people who are more influential than others, people who cause that stickness, but picking just five? No thanks. It's a debate that no one can ever win.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Americans: Crashing Each Other's Parties for Decades.

Isn't sort of fucked up how much people are willing to celebrate other people's holidays, but only when the holiday includes overconsumption?

I mean, why go out for Fat Tuesday if you're not going to go to church and get ash rubbed all over your forehead the following day. Or give up something for 40.

And what about St. Patrick's Day. No one on any other day would pretend to be Irish. But oh, watch out on St. Patty's Day everyone let's their freckles fly free.
How many people go out for Cinco de Mayo? And why? Because we say one day out of our entire year in Spanish? How does drinking tequila shots really celebrate Mexico's victory over French forces?
I love drinking just as much as the next almost-alcoholic, but what I don't like is drinking to celebrate other people's celebrations.

We are an over-consumption society.

We do all of the fun stuff but we don't pay attention to anything that's difficult. We'll gorge ourselves of food and booze but we won't fast. We won't pray. We won't give-up anything.

We shouldn't be able to just pick and choose the good things and neglect the things that are challenging, the challenge is what feeds spirituality...not the spirits we imbibe.

But it's not about spirituality is it?

Will our society ever get past our collegiate frat stage?

Or will we always be a lost crowd going from drunken fiesta to the next?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Giving Up is Cheesy... I mean Easy.

For awhile I didn't think I could last on a vegan diet. And along the way I've definitely ate un-vegan a few times, for example a few weekends ago I was drunk and starving so we ordered some food from a drive-thru (which will go un-named) and that food had cheese in it. This may have been the second or third time I've drunkenly ate cheese and each time it has made me feel gross.

Cheese feels like a brick in my stomach. Or hardening concrete.
For me (and many other people) it's the most difficult to resist, the melty oozing creamy goodness. But taste and feel are two different things.

How many college kids take gross shots because they know it will make them feel good on the inside?

Well it's the exact opposite with cheese. It tastes good initially but it doesn't make my body feel good, even for a little while.

It's the hardest to give up because it's in and on everything, but really it can be done.

Lately I've been going through my Vegan cookbooks and I've made several new concoctions.

Eggless "egg" salad
Lasagna Spirals (you roll instead of layer)
Mac and "Cheese"
Hot Tamale Pie
and Oatmeal raisin cookies to name just a few.

I wasn't really impressed with the "egg" salad but I think it's because I've never really liked mayo or egg salad to begin with, the texture is surprisingly similar if you are a fan and want to give it a whirl. (this isn't the exact recipe I used, but it's close, click here for it).

All the other recipes were really good though. And I don't feel nearly as guilty when I eat the cookies since they don't have any eggs, butter, or granulated sugar.

My favorite new recipe though is from the book Vegan with a Vengeance (or the website Post Punk Kitchen, same thing) Tempeh Sausage Crumbles. I make it then I mix it in with country style potatoes, sometimes I add peppers, onions, black bean, whatever my hungry heart desires.
I could eat it everyday it's so yummy.

Anyhoo I've been slowly adjusting both my body and my mind.

I still struggle when I go out and when I go out and get drunk; but with trial and error I will soon be completely transformed!


I look forward to hosting a vegan brunch or potluck soon (so I can prove how good that tempeh sausage really is!)

Now, Now, Don't Give Up. We're Not Here Just to Entertain.

In honor of International Women's Day, here are three much loved songs by some of my favorite women musicians:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Time to Bring Out the Tongue Whip.

When I was 20 my boyfriend at the time asked me what I wanted him to get me from the liquor store. I told him, "whatever."

He brought me back peppermint schnapps.

At the time I was pissed, so to spite him I drank the whole bottle and of course ended up puking (which wasn't a big deal because the peppermint masked any odor.)

Even though the guy was a major ass there was a lesson to be learned.

Know what you want and don't be afraid to ask for it.

Sometimes I forget. And I think many feminists do because we are so often silenced.
It's funny because one of the main themes of any feminist class is to "speak," and I'm sure it's because we're told over and over again, politely or otherwise that no one really wants to hear it. That they "know" already. That they're "tired" of it. That they "get it."

But let me put it quite frankly: if you know, if you are tired of hearing it, if you get it, then you wouldn't ask someone else to shut up about it. You'd be speaking up too.

Because that's what "getting it" is all about. Not just understanding it, but working to change the problems, being vocal when something sexist or racist or just plain ignorant happens.

Yes it's tiring. But I'd rather get tired today than have to deal with it tomorrow and the next day and the next.
If what I want is for it to stop, I'm not going to shrug my shoulders and say, "whatever," I'm going to ask for it to stop; because if I don't, if I'm indifferent, I could end up with something worse than peppermint schnapps.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm Rich. Like a Hot Noise.

I've always been poor. But only when it comes to finances. I've never been hungry-starving in need of food. I've never felt I was missing out on what the other kids had--cool clothes, fun activities, etc. My parents, hard-working working class have given me luxuries many children never receive--such as the ability to find the best bargains, the appreciation of materials, and respect for hard work and dedication (amongst other things).

Without their hard work I never would have worked so hard myself--though my work has been mainly in academia and I only have three pieces of paper and looming debt to prove it.
Yet I wonder, as a poor person, will my hard work will ever amount to anything?

I can work and work and work and yet I'll still have debt.

And everything I want to do career-wise doesn't really pay. Writer. Artist. Non-for-profit.

So what am I doing?

Am I just stuck?

Are we all stuck wherever we land? Because let's be honest, the boot-strap mentality is a dream; a myth created to make us think we can pull ourselves up. They make movies about it because it's a rarity. Because it's what we're supposed to believe to keep ourselves going. To keep us poor people from rioting, from actually doing more than just complaining about it.

It's the dream that one day we to can be be like the rich, "if only." What a great tactic! I mean, what better way to keep all of the poor, working-class, middle-class people running the country while the rich laugh at us and use us like dolls, puppets, worker bees.

People with the best ideas on how to change the world are the people who need it to change the most. But, these people have no avenue to actually see the change through. (Because why would the people in power want our world to be any different?)

Everything I want to do costs money. Lots and lots of money. And no matter how hard I work I will never get that much money--unless something miraculous happens like I invent the next silly bands or my grandma wins the lottery and hooks me up.

So I have to beg.

Rich people! Rich people! Will you invest in my ideas, will you allow me to do what I want, will you be my savior, my one and true god?

It's disgusting. Rich people disgust me. And of course I am envious of them because they can do whatever they want. Yet I hate them because what they choose to do sucks. They have no creativity. They rely on us poor artists to be their souls. And that is bullshit.

But we're so "lucky" to have their support because without them what would we be doing? Rolling around in the mud? Rubbing one out into customers' double soy macchiatos? Bending over backwards so they can stick it in while we act like we like it?



Isn't it great that we've been told year after year that we can "do whatever we want" be "whoever we want to be."

That idea is only true if somebody else buys it.

And poor people can't afford to buy other poor people's work. And that is why the rich stay in power and the poor's rich ideas on transformation are rarely, if ever felt.

It's D.I. Y. or Die.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thank You Coconut Milk.

Lately I've been hardcore craving a fudge bar. Being a vegan (or mostly vegan) I thought this was going to be a craving never satisfied. But I found these:

(I tried to flip the picture but it wouldn't work)

Coconut milk fudge bars! Yay! They're dairy-free and soy-free. And they taste pretty good even though there's that wood-stick taste like with any fudge bar. But doesn't that make it more authentic anyway? I was pretty excited, though slightly disappointed that they were MINI. Why do they have to be mini? What vegan couldn't really handle a whole one? We eat fruits and veges all day. Give be a big bar of coconut milk chocolatey goodness. Seriously.

The brand has a bunch of different frozen desserts, yogurts, milk and creamers.

The world is changing. And for the better!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Beer: Good or Evil in Disguise?

When I was in sixth grade I became a witch. Not like a real Wiccan witch but like a witch from my favorite movie at the time, The Craft. I was not the only one who loved this movie, so me and a few friends became "witches" together. (I was the north witch in case you were curious.)
One night at one of my witch friend's houses, three of us were in her bedroom playing with supernatural forces. We had over-used the ouiji board and didn't really have enough people for "light as a feather, stiff as a board" (i'm sure there's an actual name for that).

Anyhoo, we closed all the doors and windows and lit two candles that were sitting on the floor. The black candle represented evil, and of course, the white candle was good.

And the battle of Good v. Evil was decided on the flame of a wick.

If Evil won, the devil would/could take our souls.

If good won, then we'd believe in god. Or something.

So the three of us sat up on my friend's bed watching the flames. All the lights were off so the candles were trancing and illuminated shadows in the wall.

None of us moved for what felt like hours.

Then out of nowhere the white candle went out. We all were shocked. We looked at each other in horror. We squirmed and moved in closer to each other. Suddenly we heard a growl, it sounded like the devil cackling. Never in my life had I been so afraid. I screamed my one and only truly terrified scream--this was nowhere near the same sound they make in horror movies. This was from deep within, I could feel the tremble of the high-pitch shake my brain. I thought I was going to become a demon or be brought down to hell or become the devil's puppet human. I still haven't figured out how my friend's parents didn't hear it or care to check on us. But they didn't.

The three of us were speechless. One held a stuffed bear tight to her chest. After about ten minutes of nothing happening my friend was no longer as scared; she dropped the stuffed bear on the bed, throwing it upside down in the process. The bear made a sound. We all looked at each other. My friend picked it back up and tipped it upside down again. The bear growled. The sound was just like the devil laughing.

We all started nervously laughing too. It was the bear all along. Nothing mystical, supernatural, or evil was going to happen. It was just a candle and a bunch of silly wanna-be witches playing with ideas that were bigger than them.
But ever so often, I wonder. Mainly when I wake up with a hangover, like I did today. Is the devil torturing me? Had he stolen my soul back in 1996? Have I just been a vessel for pure evil ever since? My ex-boyfriends probably think so. But how would one know--if we consider the devil as not necessarily a red colored man with horns, but the aura of wickedness--how would one be able to determine whether the air of evil entered them, or marked them in some way?

It's sort of silly. But sometimes I question what we were messing with and why we were doing it.

On a non-hungover day I generally feel that all humans have both the "lightness" and "darkness" in them--that we're genuinely good people but when pushed in the wrong direction we turn rotten.

It's about balance. Which makes me wonder--if beer makes me feel so lovely one night but like complete crap the next--is it a creation of "goodness" or evil disguised as deliciousness? And if I had actually gone down the path of witchcraft could I cast a spell that prevents hangovers?

Because that would save me a lot of pain; if I could I would totally consider taking another gander at the Wiccan ways. (Though not drinking so much could be an easier solution.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Humane Slaughter? Sounds Like an Oxymoron.

The other night I watched the movie, Temple Grandin, which is about her life with autism, school, and cows, basically.

She actually lives and works up the road in Fort Collins, at CSU, which I thought was a fun fact considering I had never heard about her until I saw the movie.

She only eats yogurt and jello, yet she loves cows.

She says, "If we're going to eat them we should do it respectably." Because we can.

Which I believe is one of the biggest complaints coming from vegetarians and vegans, like myself.

Of course, most vegetarian/vegans do not believe in the killing of animals at all, but personally if it's going to happen it should happen as compassionately as possible.

I almost wrote humane--but the root of that is human--and I don't think humans really treat each other or other creatures all that well. Which is why it often takes someone who can look at the world in a unique way to find methods to actually improve it.

Yes, it's probably going to take a long time for people to stop slaughtering cows (and other animals) but through education, empathy, and energy to create change it's possible.

In the meantime people who do eat meat should consider (well, stopping ha!) but also making sure that the living creatures who died to be on their plates died in as respectable a manner as possible.

(Just like veges should make sure their fruits and such are grown and picked in a respectable manner.)

Because we're all connected on this little tiny planet called Earth and I believe we should treat each other accordingly.

To the best of our individual abilities.

Progress not perfection.

Also, if you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it!

Here's the actual Temple Grandin (Not Claire Danes).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Killing You Softly, With This Smile.

I've decided that I would like to smile more often. And on my own free will.
What has kept me from smiling in the past has not been mere unhappiness but from other people telling me that I should.

For example, every serving job I had my bosses would come up to me and say, "Smile!" "Customers want to see you Smile!" "If you don't start smiling you can leave early."etc.

Which would have been fine and dandy except never once did I see one of my bosses go up to one of the guys who was working with me and say the same thing. Why? Because guys don't have to smile when they're serving. Customers will already tip them well because they feel sorry that a man has to take such a lowly job and of course he wouldn't/shouldn't/couldn't be happy about it.

But as a woman I'm supposed to exude warmth. I'm supposed to make you think that I care about making your eating experience extravagant.

Please. Nobody deserves to have to have those kinds of jobs. Which is why everyone should have to do it at least a year out of their life--like the Israel Army except more passive aggressive than aggressive.

Anyhoo, the service industry has prevented me from smiling because I don't want to do what others say, particularly when it is condescending and misogynist. Duh.

But I don't serve anymore. I am no longer your service provider. My years of servitude are over.

And so, now, I feel like it may be a good time to start smiling again. Though I don't really have the face for it. Or the teeth.

The pissy-aggressive-scary-attitude face has worked wonders for me over the years. But I'm getting older and I'm losing that spark that makes people more fascinated than intimidated.

Now most people just think I'm a bitch. Which is probably true to some degree.

But, I'm really not that pissy.

Well, only when I go out in public.

So when I'm at home I am going to attempt to smile more often. And perhaps when I go out in public people won't piss me off as much.

I can just Smile! Because it makes me feel better. Because the sun is shining. Because the birds are chirping. Because I'm not serving anymore. Because life is pretty alright most of the time.
My particular life--the world though, the world could use a good make-over. But I shouldn't take the world's problems out on myself. I didn't cause all of this. What right do I have to be angry about it ALL of the time. It does me and everyone around me no good.

Kill them with kindness--the old cliche goes--I wonder if they'd literally die. . . hmmm I'll have to try it sometime. The last thing they'll see before they keel over--my smiling face shining down on them.
Yes. I'm totally going to start smiling more.