Monday, January 31, 2011

Before My Brain Explodes.


I think I may be turning into a hypochondriac—would it be considered post-modern to think you're getting the disease that’s about thinking you’re getting diseases? Sort of funny. But not really.

Ryan makes fun of me because I am a weak creature. I can only take one Excedrin because there is too much caffeine in them they make me jittery. I can’t really do any illegal drugs (besides them being illegal) because if I can’t take the recommended dose of pain reliever I don’t even want to know what would happen if I did a line. I’d probably die. Or my nose would fall off. Or I’d think my nose was falling off.

I went to Urgent Care about two weeks ago because I couldn’t breathe. I called the people at the Women’s clinic because they said if my blood pressure was still high they’d recommend a doctor. Anyway they freaked out on me, causing me to freak out and have an even more difficult time breathing. I was rushed in. Cutting in line from people who had been waiting hours, which also freaked me out because I felt guilty, which made it even more difficult to breathe, which made me start to cry which really didn't help in any way.

I was eventually told that I had an inflamed chest wall or something along those lines and just needed to take ibuprofen.

During the same time the doctor also discovered I had a heart murmur. And awhile ago the eye doctor said that I had a slight hole in my eyeball and if I notice any flashers to come back in and they’ll suture it up (because if it doesn’t heal itself my eyeball will start leaking into my brain—or something equally gross).

So anyway. Every day I think that there is something really wrong with me. I think my heart is going to explode or my brain is going to burst. I think that I might be developing schizophrenia because I had a really weird dream the other night that indicated there we multiple personalities inside my head that I would some day have to murder. And my throat always hurts.

Anyway because of all of these personal issues I have decided for real this time to start meditating. I’ve thought about it often. Usually something like: I could meditate or I could watch Netflix. I could meditate or I could eat a sandwich. The last time I tried I fell asleep. Which is pretty much what I’m afraid is going to happen again since I woke up before the sun even did.

But as I said last time, it's not going to hurt anything. It's not like I'm short on time (unless of course it isn't hypochondria at all and I really will implode from the inside).

I'll keep you all updated.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Path of the (Un) Natural.


(Me, Frontier Park, Hays, KS 2006)

In 2006 I dyed my hair fuchsia for the first time. And though it is considered an “unnatural” hair color I actually feel quite natural with fuchsia hair.

I don't know why. Perhaps it's because it highlights my inner eccentricities. Perhaps because I automatically become an "outsider" without having to put really any effort into it. I mean I can wear jeans and a t-shirt and still be able to express my "wild" personality.

Though I don't know if wild is the right word. The hair though, seems to give me permission to be my weird self. And that's one of the main reasons I like it.

(me, Halloween, Hays, KS 2006)

It's hard to keep up though. And the strange looks and pointing can get a little redundant. So, that's why it's taken me so long to do it again. I found the color months ago, when I still lived in Chicago, it was on sale at Walgreens or CVS or something for like $3. I couldn’t pass it up, yet I couldn’t get myself to dye it. So we moved with it.

It finally felt like the right time. I don't have a job. I don't know if I'll get the job I really want and if I do it's at an art gallery and if an art gallery has a probably with pink hair, well, then, we're all in trouble.

I know it's really not that big of deal, people dye their hair strange colors all the time, people pierce and tattoo their bodies, people sculpt their bodies through exercise or surgery all in an attempt to alter who they originally were.

video

(video shot earlier today)

And that's really what I find so interesting--this drive to change, to transform one's self. What do we do it for? Or a better question, who do we do it for? It's obviously not just for myself. I sit at my desk in my bedroom practically all day long, maybe the hair is just trying to shout out that "I'm still here." Perhaps that's why people do body modifications--to feel that they're still here and get a visual, lasting, reminder.

I know that many people change their hair style after life altering moments occur, a break-up, a death, a really bad wedding, but for me, I think it had more to do with stagnation. I don't ever want to bore myself. I want to still surprise myself and other people. I want to look in the mirror and go, "yep, I'm still alive and kicking it." Mundanity will not find me.

With time, I sure not boring myself will take a less physical route, perhaps I'll find my "inner peace," but for now I'm just going to enjoy (un)naturally standing out. (Whenever I actually do go out.)
(me, last night)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Utopia: Is it Possible?


I often try to imagine what a utopia would look like, and within my limited imagination I don’t think I get too far. Butler talks about the imagination and how everything we can imagine already exists within our knowledge base—thus our imagination can exist in reality. Obviously that wasn’t the extent of the argument, she wasn't referring to unicorns, but if one looks at a particular issue such as sexism—we can imagine a world without it and within that we know that a sexist-free environment can exist.

When I try to create a utopia does the very act of trying help to get us closer? One of the themes I’ve been wanting to have for the Feminist Creative Alliance is one on a positive future and what they would look like.

Most of the books I’ve read about our future have caused me to be ridden with dread, Parable of the Sower, 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, Brave New World, In Persuasion Nation, etc.

I suppose that’s part of the point, to scare people into not letting it go down like that—but how many of those authors were a little too close for comfort. And in what ways have those prophecies manifested or even became worse?

Are there any books or visual representations of our future that are closer to a utopia then a dystopia? Perhaps I have always just gravitated toward the negative.

I don’t believe it’s possible to have a collective utopia; I’m sure there are certain people on the planet right now who think that what they’re living in is a utopia (people who are too privileged to even know what’s going on outside of their mansions for an example), so is it all about creating a perfect place with what we already have? Can we transform everything we see as problems into imaginative solutions? What would it look like? How would we do it?

Does it come from avoidance? Letting go of issues that are too big to solve? Or does it come from not letting the things that bother us into our lives? How can we do that? Perhaps it’s not about creating a utopia at all but just attempting to make better what we already have...a planetary makeover so to speak. Or maybe it’s just about accepting what we have and be happy with it (as often as we can).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Food v. Sex: What's a Woman to Choose?



Sometimes I get really sad when I'm eating because I realize that the food will soon be gone and the deliciousness that is happening in my mouth will all be over.

And when I say sad, I mean I honestly think about not eating it. To save it. To savor it. When I was a child I used to store food in my cheeks like a chipmunk. I don't think my mom thought it was cute.

I believe this sadness is why I often have candy left over from halloween in December. Or an Easter bunny chilling in the freezer in August. Or why I'm so picky about when to eat the cupcakes I just made. Or the amount of my mom's homemade pickles I can eat every day (1).
my vegan homemade marble swirl cupcakes with "buttercream" frosting.

I hear people say that they plow through bags of cookies...or eat a whole bag of chips at once. I can't do this. I eat a small amount and then put them away because I want to have them again and again.

Perhaps this is why I am appalled by the way Ryan eats. (He knows this by now so I assure you he shouldn't be offended.) He takes mega-big bites and I swear he swallows the food before he even tastes it---though he claims that he just likes the flavors to fill his whole mouth. Whatever. I know everyone does their own food thing, but seriously, how can people eat that fast?

And how come I'm not fatter? I mean, you would think I'd be popping food in my mouth every second if my tongue enjoys tastes so much. It must be that fear of the tastes being there for one moment and then never being there again...so I don't even bother.

I saw a post once that said women think about food more than sex.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.
There are just so many different types of foods out there and different ways you can cook them. Why wouldn't we? Food is not as risky as sex. Most food doesn't have the potential to give us transmitted diseases (minus ecoli etc). And food will never get us pregnant.

Of course if we eat too much food fewer people will think about having sex with us...so there's that downfall. And another potential reason why women think more about food than sex--they're not thinking about eating it, they're thinking about not eating it so people will find them more attractive. And that is fucked up.

But that's not how I think about food. I like to have a healthy relationship with it, where it likes me and I like it and we're in a beautiful egalitarian relationship with each other.

And food and I work together on me getting over my random bouts of sadness when I take the last bite. (Knowing that I will eventually get another last bite the next time I eat).

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Art of: A New Generation.

I’ve been reading Patti Smith’s book Just Kids and it's been making me think about our generation of artist versus hers. I think we often yearn for the type of nostalgic like reflection of that era we so often read about or watch in films.

I think many of us believe we’re going to be in those tight knit circles of amazing creators and have these epic beautiful experiences, but here’s why our generation is different and why we need to let go of that era and create our own sense of place.

1) No Money v. Fake Money

They knew what it was like to starve. They knew how far a dime went or what they could actually buy with their twice monthly paychecks. We, on the other hand, have the luxury of fake money—credit cards and student loans that let us rack of tremendous debt.

We never go hungry but we never get out of the hole.

Their freedom came from being broke, having nothing, but wanting it all. They were hungry, both literally and creatively. Our inspiration must come from a different place--perhaps our sense of alienation or lack of community, or want for traditions but not feeling connected to the traditions/holidays that already exist.

What can we do with our fake money that highlights our generation instead of trying to mirror another? How can we play with being "in the hole?"

2) Space

People flock to New York as if it’s the mecca of art—and maybe to many it is, but it’s not a run-down Chelsea Hotel where all the poor art kids live anymore. You can’t just walk into the Quixote and hang out with Lady Gaga or sit at the round table at Max’s Kansas City with Jay-Z and Beyonce'—all those places have been commodified anyway and they've lost their essence. The new scene must develop elsewhere. And in more places.

3) Population

Speaking of a new scene. In 1970 there were 3 billion people on the planet. Now there are 7. Seven billion people, that’s 7,000,000,000.000 ---actually I don’t even know it’s such a mega big number.

With such an increase in population we also increase the amount of people who want to do what we want to do, whatever it is that we’re wanting to do...and many people want the romantic life of an artist (though when one really examines it, it may not be as romantic as it appears).

But with this population growth we must create new spaces to develop and become a stronger more connected community both on and offline.

5) Technological Influence

Patti and company went to a mainstream film like maybe once a month, sure they watched and stared in each other’s art films, but they weren’t bombarded by an overflux of other art, just the art in their circle and what they were personally creating.

One of the biggest differences is of course, the internet, everything is at our fingertips, our disposal and it’s all disposable—we don’t chant off lines of Yeat's poetry or long passages of Oscar Wilde...we can look up any artist at any time but does it stick with us? Does it move us? We’re constantly being entertained, not trying to entertain ourselves.

6) Dedication

And because we’re bombarded by other people’s work, we don’t give ourselves as much time to work on our own. At least I often expect good stuff to come out at the very beginning, and I feel as if many of us rarely give ourselves room to make mistakes or just “go with the flow.”

And what about time to dream?

How do we fill the time in a day? How many people are online for most of it? And if that is where we are, how can we turn that around and make it actually beneficial to our work?

7) Commodity Culture

Even if we think we don’t, we think about it selling. We think about our audience and what our audience wants. It takes a lot of practice to strip away these ideas and do art for ones’ self. And it’s really a double-edged sword because if we want to be “successful” and not live off credit cards our whole lives we must be able to sell our work, but we don’t want the work to be confined to whatever is hot in the market. Because that isn’t art that’s just conforming to consumerism.

Conclusion

So naturally and obviously we're different than the people we have come to idolize. Of course, they can tell us how they maneuvered through that time period and in a way it can help, but it's time for us to create our own path, to develop what this can all mean, why we're all here and how we can strive for better communication and come together so our generation can have its own meaning, it's own poetic force.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today, Remember Citizen Ruth.



In honor of the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, here's a scene from one of my all-time favorite movies.


In the movie, it shows how both pro-choice and pro-life sides act utterly ridiculous to the point of completely forgetting that Ruth is a person--not an idea or a symbol.

The movie has a pretty amazing ending that helps sum up that idea; I highly recommend it to any one who hasn't seen it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Art of: Not Getting It.

Art is not a mirror to reflect the world, but a hammer with which to shape it. -- Vladimir Mayakovsky
I believe art may have the greatest impact for social transformation because of its ability to impact people on multiple levels--emotional, spiritual, rational, political, physical, or any such combination. And through that ability it creates dialogue and inspiration to become better people. It can be thought-provoking and yet also be the voice for people who are unable to communicate their own ideas. It connects.

Perhaps that's why artists are the sexiest people on the planet. They are sensitive. They are dedicated. They are vulnerable. They are expressive and creative above and beyond the average citizen. And for most of them they are trying to make a difference.

And that's hot.

But I think it's time for me to come out.

I want to be perfectly honest here.

Most of the time, when I go to a gallery I just don't get it.
Presumably many people are like this. Maybe that's what makes art so important. Because a piece that speaks to me may mean absolutely nothing to the next person and vice versa.

But often I am afraid that by admitting I don't get something I will come off looking like an ignorant asshole. Someone who just doesn't "understand" high art. And I guess, one of my all-time personal fears is being seen as an idiot. Which is why, sometimes at galleries I just look at the art, raise my eyebrows, sigh and then go get a glass of wine.

I don't want to continue skimming through galleries acting like it's all okay.

If I must, I will admit that I'm an idiot when it comes to art and ask people to explain.

But in general I would like my gallery experience to change.

For one, I want to quit going to galleries that are set up like high-end clothing stores. I'm not going to buy the art, but I'll buy the "idea" that the art is trying to sell.

Secondly I'd like more touching, more feeling, pieces off and on the wall. It's about community now. Anyone can look at art any time, but not everyone can be in the same space and feel something together.

Finally, going back to my first idea about art being transformative...I'd like it to reach beyond the gallery somehow. This is why I find street art compelling. Now I am aware that not all of it is good. But I like the "idea" of it.

You're going along with your regular day, you're on the train, or the bus, or walking down the street and you notice something that normally is doldrum suddenly transformed, a wall, lamp post, a window, it alters one's sense of place, it shifts one's mode of thinking, it disturbs the everyday--usually in a good way. It's very D.I.Y. It's very punk in a way, in that it doesn't conform to a particular space or need to be in a gallery or need to become a commodity (unless you're one of the "street artists" who are now doing it as a commodity, but that's a different story, I believe it's now a documentary).

But that rebellion, that juxtaposition between art and everyday. That's what I'd like to see more of. That's what I'd like to see explored. And it doesn't have to fit the confines of street art either, it can be something else entirely as long as it's making waves, creating dialogue, conjuring inspiration in others.

That's why I love and hate art at the same time. Because I want to understand where the artists are coming from and I want to take away something from their work.

I guess I just need to come to the conclusion that it's not all out there for me to get. And that's okay.

Maybe someday I will "get it" all but maybe I won't.

In the meantime, I'll just have to go, look, ask, and enjoy.

I will soak in the feeling of not understanding. I will linger in that space for awhile and take pleasure in the unknowing. I will accept both and all that is in between in an attempt to make my art experience more fulfilling, more rewarding.

Pretending doesn't give me room to grow. And that's what art, in my opinion, is supposed to help do.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What a Shame We're Not More Dirty.

I recently watched the John Waters' movie, A Dirty Shame.

Waters is brilliant. Sure many of his movies are absolutely disgusting, but that's the point. To go where no one else will (publicly) go.

I enjoyed watching A Dirty Shame because it addresses our sexual fears of abnormality head on. Waters doesn't apologize or try to hide weird human sexual practices in any way. By making them over the top and absurd he creates a space for people to actually explore their own sexualities knowing that whatever they do can't possibly be as weird as what was seen in that movie.

Just like in the abortion-themed movie Citizen Ruth, (dir. Alexander Payne) this movie does a powerful job of revealing how both sides, the prudes and the sex addicts are just down right ridiculous.

Though many of his films are hard to watch because of their grotesqueness I still find them important in the overall scheme of sexual acceptability. He does a great job of riding the line. Of just throwing it all out there. Of being completely filthy, rotten, nasty, perverted. And we need that. As a prudish uptight society, we need to let it out a little bit. Perhaps a lot.

All I know is that it was nice to watch a film that didn't fit into the generic prince and princess sunset escapism romantic comedy crap. And I'd really like more films (including other directors/writers) to push these boundaries.

As well as people in their every day lives.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Purging Out the Bad Stuff.

I woke up today thinking about how unhappy I am with my writing from yesterday. I don't like the negativity, I am in fact, trying to move beyond that and steer myself away from that type of mentality...yet at the same time I am aware that I will have bouts of it, that it will not fade away as quickly as I'd like.

Today, I don't feel the need for nihilism at all. Perhaps, I'm a manic-depressed person, perhaps writing about it purged it from my system.

Earlier this morning I woke up to deer hanging out in my backyard. If I lived in the country this wouldn't be so odd, but I live right in town, right by one of the busiest streets. And they just hung out there for hours. People entered and left parking lots. Cars rushed by. Sirens went off. And they just sat there munching grass (or whatever they were eating).

(Checking out the neighborhood)

It reminded me of a war movie I just watched, The Thin Red Line, the director counters all the brutality and killing by mixing in shots of the native animals and plants. Even within all this human conflict other species are around us, chilling, living their lives. Not really giving a flying monkey's tail what anyone else is doing, as long as the "doing" isn't interfering with them.

I'd like to be more like that.

I read this article today on elephant journal, by the amazing Ben Ralston, and in the article there is a video, and in the video the spiritual master Tony Samara says,

"Don't be an addict to your misery, or your seriousness, or to society's expectations."

Of course, in the video, he said it slower and dreamier, but it really hit me. I was like, duh. This is what I've been trying to do for years now. (And though it's easy to say, it's difficult to actually manage.)

I recently have been given the most amazing opportunity to work on a book. And of course, I've been feeling the pressure and the stress of doing something everyone wants to do, but very few people ever actually accomplish (and even fewer people actually succeed at it).

This quote helped me in three ways.

1) I know I won't be able to write a successful book if I think about what other people are going to think of it.

2) I know that if I sit around complaining about how I can't write, well then I won't be able to write.

3) I know if I worry about the book having meaning, or transforming people, and being super serious about making that happen, then no one will be interested...it will come out cheesy and cliche'.

So I just have to do like the animals do and munch on the grass while the world goes on around me.

I just need to sit here and do my thing.

And when my thing is done, then I can worry about whether or not anyone is going to like it.

But for now, it's just for me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Caring Will Kill You.

Or at least give you a life time of panic attacks.

Yesterday I woke up in a good mood. I can't tell you exactly what caused this good mood, but I can tell you it's a rarity and that it didn't last very long.

In fact, I did a complete 180 by the evening.

I went to this organic eco-friendly food allergy baking contest in the afternoon and heard the Erin Brochovich of the food industry talk about how each and every one of us has the power to make positive change.

And that was all well and good. Whatever. Great. But then I went home and thought about all the things that I want to change.

All of things that I need and want to do.
And that's when I decided to become a nihilist.


I, of course, ran into two arguments almost immediately upon my declaration as a nihilist.
1) I do this every January.
2) It seems boring.

To counter.
1) I believe I do it more than just in January, it waxes and wanes like the moon.
2) Really? Boring? Content, maybe. Or calm. Perhaps a little boring, but nihilism would save me a lot of energy.

Obviously if I was a pure nihilist I wouldn't be writing right now, because I wouldn't care. But, I want to dig deeper into why I feel this way. What makes me want to give up? Not care? Believe in nothing?

Maybe I don't believe what the Erin Brochovich of the food industry says about each one of us being able to make a lasting impact. Perhaps I'm beginning to see that idea as part of the "boot strap mentality"--where anyone who works hard enough and tries hard enough will be successful....

We can all see that that isn't true--if that were true they wouldn't have movies out there with that one poor or black or homeless individual who beat all the odds and becomes famous or rich or happy--because if everyone could beat all the odds, then there wouldn't be odds. There would just be people working hard and actually getting what they deserve; now that's just crazy talk.

I don't think that nihilism is too far of a stretch away from feminism. At least radical feminism, because the radicals want to start over from scratch, they don't want to try to fix what's already broken--they want to annihilate the system. Anarchy. Punk mentality. A tropical Herland.

Maybe feminists just need better marketers. Why are we still always on the defense? Why do I feel like I constantly have to stand-up for my beliefs? Pardon me for not wanting people to be oppressed. My bad. I guess I'm in the wrong here.

All I know is that it gets old. Really fucking old. And this shit has been going on for centuries. So why not just give up, forget about it, move on with my life, become a stripper, eat KFC, read romance novels, marry a man for his money, go shopping every day, drink martinis every night.

Who the fuck cares?

Is there anything I can really truly do anyway?

Sometimes I dream about moving out to the country, growing my own garden, living off the land, internet/tv free, just reading classic novels, painting, listening to good music, dancing. But then I hear or see something that really pisses me off and I just can't stand it, I can't handle not doing or saying something about it.

But does it do any good in the long run?

That's all I can hope for. And as long as I have a slight glimmer of hope I suppose I can't be a nihilist entirely.

But I would like the occasional week off.

Or you know, people to quit being asshole misogynist oppressors. I'd much prefer that then a vacation.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Search is Over: The Art of Just Being.


People love to complain about the place they are in.

No matter where I go there are people where I am who want to be some where else.

I don’t get it.

I especially don’t get it when we’re in some place like Boulder, with its spectacular mountains, clean crisp air and beautiful people. I mean, really, how often are you going to be able to go to a city where everyone is fit, and more often then not intelligent?

So, why do we do this?

I understand that this community is not perfect, but the three main complaints I hear are:

1) There are only white people here.

2) There aren't enough restaurants open late enough.

3) The art scene sucks.

Those really aren't that bad of things. All of those things could easily be improved upon. It's not like some cities with their massive poverty, hunger, disease, pollution. . .

All places can be improved upon, no place is truly paradise.

But, perhaps it could be if we all changed our perceptions of what paradise is supposed to be like.

I think not liking where we are has more to do with our conceptions of time. We’re brought up to think that we must constantly be achieving, that we must progress on a daily basis, that we must always have a project, always have a goal. This creates the idea that where we are physically isn’t good enough, because nothing can ever be good enough. There will always be something better out there. Somewhere better to be.

Personally, I don’t want to go through life always looking and yearning to be elsewhere. Sure I want to travel; but when I travel I don’t want to be thinking about the next place I get to travel to. I want to enjoy the scenery for what it is and the people for who they are.

I can admit that I didn’t enjoy my time and place in Chicago as much as I could have. I really should have just accepted all the negative aspects for what they were, made the best of them, and truly loved what I was surrounded with.

.

But all I can do is improve upon that now. "Be" where I am. And not constantly think about where I'm going and how it's going to be better once I get there.

To be. Not to be some place else.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'd Rather Be a Social Animal Than a Boring Human.


In a recent New Yorker there was a really great article called “Social Animal,” which talked about the exact opposite of the struggle I’ve been having recently (see Trivial Concerns blog).

The article discusses the idea of the “composure class” and how we all are so focused on “getting there” that we become really terrible about developing skills we actually need to be “happy.”

Brooks writes,

“The traits that do make a difference are poorly understood, and can’t be taught in a classroom, no matter what the tuition: the ability to understand and inspire people; to read situations and discern the underlying patterns; to build trusting relationships; to recognize and correct one’s shortcomings; to imagine alternate futures.”

I found this really interesting considering lately I’ve been upset at the idea of not being able to retain facts. Or ever win Jeopardy.

But, I understand people so I guess my life isn't a total waste.

According to the article, after much scientific research, what happiness comes down to is the ability to connect with others, which I believe to be absolutely true (unless the people you're hanging around are complete assholes).

And I’ve always felt this way. The things I look forward to are being with friends (or close family), having interesting conversation, laughing, enjoying other’s company.

Sharing my life.

I'm pretty sure I'm not writing a revelation here.

But, also I'm concerned-- I feel that this is also where a major disconnect is being created due to social networks.

Being online is not the same as being with real live breathing conversing people.

Having a face to face conversation with a friend is completely different than seeing what my friend recently wrote as a status update. Yes, in a round about way, I know what's happening in my friend's life, but there is no real connection being made.

Just like doing everything possible to get into the perfect college and get the perfect job etc. doesn't mean anything unless there are people around you that support, challenge, and love you. But we all sort of knew this all already right?

So why do many of us often freak out when we're in a social situation having fun...we feel guilty because we're not doing anything productive...but are, we're actually being very productive...we're creating space for happiness and growth.

We're learning without feeling like we're being taught.

We're enjoying life.

And why feel guilt about that?


9 out of 10 People are Totally and Completely Disgusting.

Tuesday night we went to the Catacombs for trivia. The guy who reads the questions is also the guy who has to tally all the answers at the end of the rounds. That being said, it takes awhile. So, while we waited he told the teams to write a joke on the back of the sheet for the next round, whoever had the funniest joke would win drink tickets.

Yes, I know we're at a bar and I am aware people at bars tell lewd jokes. But the winning joke: 9 out of 10 people think gang rape is funny, was seriously voted for by like 9 out of 10 people at the bar.

Everyone who was not sitting at my table thinks gang rape is funny.

What. the. fuck.

Then a woman yelled, "gang rape, wins every time." Followed by a walloping laugh.

Am I missing something?

According to RAINN statistics every 2 minutes someone is sexually assaulted. That means, in the time we were playing trivia 90 people were assaulted in some way.

90 people.

Pardon me for having the sense not to find this humorous.

I don't think this is a topic that should be taken lightly.

But I also have no idea how to handle a situation like this when it happens. I am in such shock at the absurdity I can never believe it's actually occurring. What would have been the best way to handle it when everyone in the bar would have been against me?

1) Go up, steal the mic and tell them all what pieces of shit they are.
2) Leave (though no one would have understood or cared why).
3) Take them all down at trivia and show them how smart people do it (attempted but failed).
4) Punch the nearest rapist in the face.
5) Yell.
I have no clue. We should have gotten training for how to survive the real world as feminists. Theory is great and all, but it really doesn't help in these situations.

All I know is 9 out of 10 people have no clue and it really really bothers me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where Have All the Typewriters Gone...ohwa?

Writers with typewriters had it so much easier.

Sure they had to change the paper. But that paper was valued. It couldn’t just go on continuously. So everything they wrote had to mean something. They couldn’t just go efngknvk rdkgnogklvnsnk esgkngldk vsd, on their keyboard like I seem to like to do when I’m writing on mine.

Yes. Writers with typewriters had it so much better.

All they had was a typewriter. All that it did was type letters. That was it’s only function. The typewriter had no connection to anything else. Whereas I can simple minimize my Word document and viola’ access to all of my friends and family via facebook and gmail.

Annie Dillard’s writing life was easy compared to this torture. A click a way I have access to complete and total distraction.

If I had a typewriter the only distraction I’d have is what’s happening outside my window. Or the dirty dishes in the sink. Or an empty stomach that needed fed. But I have all of those distractions, PLUS the distractions of the world wide web. Of photobooth, of garage band, of solitaire. Oh solitaire how you remind me of my lonely existence as a writer.

Oh but wait. I’ll just click on this other window where I can talk to any number of friends who are available to chat at any time. And thus, solitaire, you no longer represent me.

Writers with typewriters had much more fulfilling lives, because when they needed a bit of information they’d have to go to the library, or call someone. But thanks to Wikipedia I can have all the facts in the world without ever really having to learn anything.

The writing life is so much different these days. So many people are doing it. Blogs galore. Which in a way is great, but in a way it makes it harder to find what’s good or what’s valuable or even valid. I guess all of that depends on the reader anyway. And at least there are still people reading.

But alas I wouldn't really want a typewriter because they're loud and messy and big and I'd have to use a lot (literally, probably an entire lot) of white-out because I can't spell very well. And now I have spell check. So there's that.

I just wish I could use my computer as if it were a typewriter. I just want to quit opening other windows. Because there is nothing worse then sitting down to write and window shopping instead. Who knows if I'll ever get anything of any longish length written.

As they say in AA, one day at a time.

Or in my case, a better motto would be, one window at a time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trivial Concerns.

Today, I, for some reason, got this really big urge to watch all the movies I have already seen and to read all the books that are already sitting on my shelf. I guess I’m riding nostalgia. I know that I like them and I want something I like. It could be the cold cold weather and me just wanting things that are comfortable. Like my warm gray pants and thick thick sweaters and blankets galore.

Speaking of blankets. It’s probably a good thing I don’t own a snuggie because I think I’d wear it around instead of real clothes. I mean, what better way to be comfortable than to just have on a blanket. Keep warm but stay loose.

Now this is not a hint that I want a snuggie because I do not. Well, I might, but Ryan would immediately destroy it so there is really no point.

I think another reason I had this strange urge to re-watch/re-read everything is because I feel like I can’t keep it all in. Like I keep forgetting…or maybe it wasn’t really ever there to begin with. Once I started reading a book that I had already read before and I didn’t realize it until like the third chapter. I think sometimes I rush, especially when I’m reading because I not only want to know what happens but I have this strange obsession with numbers and finishing things. Example: when I’m on the treadmill I have to have even numbers before I can quit…like I can’t quit on 1.7 miles…I have to do 2 miles. Or I can’t end on 227 calories burned, it has to be like 250. And this continues on the treadmill until I get so tired that I am forced to pick between the miles or the calories being even and being done with it.

Needless to say, I don’t often run on treadmills because of this.

But back to this brain issue.

It never really was an issue until recently. Until trivia at the bar—and I realized my mind doesn’t work in basic facts. I can’t name drop people or places or things. I am not a nouner.

Nouners: people who drop nouns like they’re hot (the nouns and also themselves).

Then I realized, I suck at crossword puzzles and when Jeopardy is on, I only get like 1/3 of the questions. I have really begun to question my intellectual capacity. Where are all the facts? Is it just that the facts I know are different from the facts being asked on a regular basis? Yes. I can get the feminist questions because they’re generic…but put me in a feminist-only quiz bowl game and I would get my ass handed to me.

Quiz bowl. That was another thing. I thought it would be fun in high school to try out the quiz bowl team. I sucked. Luckily there were those Big Bang Theory-like dudes on my team who answered like every single question—sometimes before the questions were even done being asked. I generally just sat there and distracted the other Big Bang Theory-like dudes by staring at them (as I don’t think many girls had ever looked at them before).

So, I’ve decided I’m going to work on filling up my brain with more facts. When a movie comes out I’ll remember the director’s name. When I read a book I’ll memorize every f’in line. When a war begins or a war ends I’ll remember those dates. When a pop song comes on the air I’ll know who it’s by. I will eventually become the most badass trivia player of all time. I’ll go on Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire and I’ll rake it in.

Make room brain. There is a lot of information coming your way. Super Human Computer.

Now that's a cyborg, Miss. Donna Haraway.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Solutions for my 2011.

Though I do not particularly care to make “new year resolutions” I do find it important to reflect on the past year and see what areas need improvement. And because I know immediately that one of my biggest issues is negativity for everything that needs improvement I’ll write another thing I’ve done pretty well.


The Bad

Focus (or lack there of)

I think this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue for people. With the ability to click click click on the internet without ever really settling in to read a longish article, or the ability to see what a friend is doing without calling them, or even asking them; plus the fact that I personally want to accomplish so many things that I end up getting overwhelmed and just watching Netflix because I can’t decide, or the projects are too big, or the ideas aren’t solid enough.

The Solution

Meditation.

I am mixed on this practice but I’m going to give in a try and see if it helps. I don’t think it’s going to hurt anything.

The Good

Go-Getting

I’m pretty happy with the fact that once I moved to Boulder I didn’t just sit and sulk in my apartment. I went out right away and volunteered for different organizations, and I started an internship almost immediately after getting here, which has, for the most part, been a very positive experience—plus I’ve met some really amazing people and I can’t complain about that.

The Bad

Miss Judgmental

I think I could be a really great comedian…but I’m not. That being said I should really cut back on the judging. Mainly I judge strangers, so no one is really harmed, as they have no idea what I’m even saying about them, but I am putting negativity into the world by being mean. And I’m sure most people around me laugh only because they don’t want to become the person I make fun of. In other words, I can be a mega-bitch. It must be my low-self esteem masked by an appearance of extreme egotism.

The Solution

Polite Commentary

I know, it’s boring to be nice and the golden rule is about as fun as golden showers but just like I’m doing this post, with every mean thing I say about someone I have to counter that with something nice, or positive, preferably saying the positive thing first, and the negative thing not at all, but this is going to take some work.

The Good

elephant journal writing

I feel that by writing feminist/LGTBQ articles etc. on elephant journal specifically, I am able to get those ideas out to people who don’t already completely think that way already, unlike sites like Jezebel, Bitch, Bust…. who already have a mainly feminist following, I think writing about these sort of topics on a more general site is quite powerful and makes me feel that my voice is being heard—and maybe even sometimes listened to. Yay!

The Bad

Confidence

Many people think I’m a badass. Well, here’s a shocker for you all. I am not.

Well, I am, actually, but I could be EVEN more of a badass if I believed in myself and my ideas more. I often keep silent because we, Women and Gender studies graduates have learned to “pick our battles,” and honestly I don’t think I pick to get into enough.

The Solution

More Heated Debates

I honestly feel frightened that I’m going to be labeled the “token feminist,” the annoying one who “won’t let anything go,” the person people are going to be afraid to talk around, but you know, if people are afraid they’ll say something wrong around a feminist, then perhaps they shouldn’t be talking. I mean fuck them. They obviously know that what they’re saying is misogynistic, or sexist, or gender stereotyping—they’re the ones who should feel bad, not me.

So—instead of “picking my battles,” I’m just going to fucking battle. Which means I’m going to need a lot of coffee and a lot of back-up. I must prepare to fight—if I want anything to change I can’t keep quiet and let people continue to be assholes. Just because I’m afraid I’ll “hurt their feelings,” or perhaps more afraid that I won’t win my argument. I'm not here to "shove my beliefs down everyone's throats," but I am here to defend them and I'm not going to back off just because people love to bring other people down (particularly people love to degrade and humiliate feminists because it's common protocol in the U.S.) excuse us for wanting to end oppression. (I'll go into more of this tomorrow).

The Good

Brutal Honesty

So it doesn't work out so well in the judgmental category, but it works well when I turn that honesty inward (and I hope, when I turn on my battle fights).

The fact that I am capable of understanding my flaws, exposing them, and also having the willingness to work on them is pretty good.

Alright. Well. I think that's plenty to work on. We shall see how well I improve myself this year.

Cheers to 2011.

I'm happy to be back.