Thursday, March 31, 2011

Let's Get it On.

Dear Globlets,

Recently, I was admitted to Model Mayhem, a website where models and photographers and every other artist in between (for hair, makeup, retouching, etc.) gather and collaborate. I have been looking through many photographers' and models' portfolios for inspiration, and while I have found some excellent images, I have found significantly more that I seem to have a problem with.

I have seen the interior of several guys' houses (because I'm a slut and sleep in a different bed every night. Obviously). Before I even look at the walls I can tell a man's bedroom from a woman's. All the furniture tends to be against the walls. No sense of warmth or welcoming or homeyness is present - the room is just a square and its vacancy dull. What belongings they have are the only indication of their personality. Perhaps it's judgmental to walk into someone's home and to think one thing or another based on what you see, but it's good material to guess the kind of person they might be. For instance, if there are brown-red spots on the steps, long scratches on the floor or on doors too high for a kitteh to reach, a large deep-freezer, and no couch at all in the living room, run away. Consider screaming, too. If, however, you walk into a room filled with artwork, bookcases, plants, and big comfortable chairs, a murder would be harder to conduct since there's more on which to leave evidence. Unless there's a revolving bookcase, in which case you're screwed.

I seem to have strayed from my initial topic.

If you go to a man's home, you'll be lucky to find a plant - even a fake one - or artwork at all. I don't mean I hope to see Raft of the Medusa or Napoleon Visiting the Plague House at Jaffa, as interesting as that would be.


But I suppose it depends on your definition of art, and after seeing some of the artwork on Model Mayhem, I'm getting a better understanding of what I consider artistic. The most common artwork that I've seen in a guy's home, not necessarily in their bedroom, are posters of scantily clad or naked models. The same appears on their computers and iPods. Sure, these women are a kind of beauty - the kind of beauty society leans toward. The women are thin, full-breasted, often shiny from oils and special lighting, they're hairless in all the "right" places, and, of course, they're flawless. They are also digitally enhanced, which brings in another unfair advantage to any real woman who walks into the room. Many of the images I see on Model Mayhem are the same.

I didn't know how I felt about guys displaying naked women wherever and whenever they please. I suppose because I saw so many of this kind of image in one place at one time, it hit me harder.

I felt uncomfortable. I felt like I was looking at soft porn. Sometimes I was. I began to wonder where the creative was in this image, where the artist's expression was in that one. Maybe it was there and I just couldn't see it. I thought about what would happen if I asked an artist why he/she chose to portray a woman this way, and I predict they would say something along the lines of, "It's a celebration of the female form. Women are beautiful, and I want to document their beautiful naked features." But only if the naked features belong to the epitome of female "perfection," right?

I'm getting really tired of soft porn being shoved in my imperfect, flaw-ridden face. (Ever seen an ad for Guess?) I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I've realized that because I'm single, I like my body more. Now that nobody sees my body, it's easier for me to like it. I don't have to worry about someone comparing my body to another, to a model's, to a porn star's. I don't have to worry. I like my body. I love it. I think I'm fucking beautiful. (That was hard to say, but it's true.) I think my flaws are actually all right, and even cool. But I know that if someone was to see my body and my flaws, I would have to read out my list of warnings, along with apologies and explanations as to why I don't look like Megan Fox. "I think you're beautiful because of what's on the inside" is what would come next. I don't want to hear that. I don't want to be seen as beautiful because I'm awesome. I already know I am (Yes, we are feeling cocky today).

I want to be seen as beautiful because I am. ON THE OUTSIDE. Don't tell me I'm beautiful because of what's on the inside, damn it, because my insides are quite disgusting: all red and pink and squishy and slimy.

If the pictures of naked women had not seemed like pictures that were just of naked women, for the sake of naked women, for the sake of round bums and titties, I would not have felt so uncomfortable.

This image is gorgeous:
I would buy this and hang it up on my wall. (Her portfolio is NSFW.) I was going to ask you to compare some, but then I came across some real soft porn and decided you could figure out what I mean for yourselves. I don't want porn on my Glob.

As disturbed as I am by some of the images, they have inspired me to start a project. I want to take pictures of women and portray them not as weak, vulnerable, sex objects, as they often appear, but rather strong, powerful, individuals. You could say I'm going to get my feminist on, and you would be right. I'm tired of women in the 21st century being shown not as they are, but as men want to see them. The 21st century! And yes, men. The intended audience will not be men specifically, and the content will not focus on sex. I want to take pictures of sexy women without making the audience think immediately of sex. I didn't say it was going to be easy, and I don't know if it makes sense, but it makes sense to me, and I know what I want to do.

I'm calling women of all ages, races, and body types to go on a photo shoot with me, and to show that you're a real woman of the world, that you're beautiful, and that you're as tired of society's unrealistic portrayal of women as I am.

Maybe we'll wear gorilla masks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fix me, Doc, even though there's nothing wrong.

Dear Globlets,

I'm writing my ART180 paper (with a page count that scares the shit out of me) and I've come upon this website that investigates photo manipulation throughout history. How handy. That's exactly what I'm writing about.

And while I totally disagree with things like this:


I don't have a problem with things like this:


One is an outright lie and the other is altered to... perhaps be more aesthetically pleasing, but also to remove the distracting and potentially comedic pole. It doesn't take anything out of the image that should be there, but that's not Oprah's body.

And the image on the left is not one of Faith Hill's body:


There's a line that should not be crossed.

Quirks and Charms.

Dear Globlets,

For my creative nonfiction class, we had to bring three different items for a kind of "show-and-tell." I brought a black and white photograph of some people dancing(?) that I found under my fridge when we moved into this apartment, a little container Nivea cream from my grandma and a piece of paper with "Dear Oriana I loVe you from Adrian" written in big green letters. We had to take one item from each of the three piles: "Inconsequential," "Meaningful," and "Meaningful on paper." I won't tell you what I picked up until the end of this post because I want it to be a surprise. Don't skip ahead. Read through it! I combined all three of the objects I picked into one piece.

After presenting my essay on abortion (it was revised since it was posted) and finding out that it was more nonfiction than creative nonfiction, I went home and wrote this blog post that's much more creative than it is nonfiction. Did well according to the prof, though!

Quirks and Charms

It’s been with me through thick and thin, through the greatest battles and most glorious victories. A long black string connects it to a machine. It’s not a cable, but more like a rope. The machine does not hold it prisoner, for I can remove it, but the things it can do when it is connected are extraordinary. When the three of us connect, we become one unstoppable entity. Its old black body is slightly wounded and chipped, revealing more black. How strong and powerful it must be if its skin is as black as its guts! If I need it lighter, it lets me operate without hesitation and without fear. I remove a layer of the sturdy flesh of its wide belly and expose its insides. It’s a clean cut. I replace the weights within it as I see fit. It never complains. I seal the opening, and it’s ready for combat once again. It is the best gaming mouse I have ever used.

One of the greatest things about the internet is that people on the other side of the screen cannot see you. They don’t know if you’re in your pyjamas, if you haven’t showered in a week, if you have a third nipple, or if you’re gaming naked. Some people have their quirks. Some people have their lucky charms. Cool people probably have a rabbit’s foot, but there are no cool people on the internet. I suppose I’m no exception.

I just used up the last bottle. It started to get all crusty and un-spreadable. It needs to be spreadable. It needs to be even – no lumps, a clean sheen. And I’m not gay. I’d just like to say that right now. I like women. But this… this stuff. I need it. It just… works. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. This new bottle is warped in shape; it’s not a cylinder like they usually are. I shake it to blend the contents and something inside rattles; I’ve never been able to figure out what it is. The tiny particles within reflect the light from my desk lamp. When I twist and lift the black cap off the small glass bottle, the room is filled with an intoxicating aroma that reminds me of alcohol. It’s thick, and the scent tingles my nostrils. My hands are manly, my fingers thick and long and hairy, but something changes when I use this stuff. It happened once when I babysat my niece and she painted my fingernails. I went up at least 10 levels in 24 hours that same weekend. What changed? Nail polish. I know it sounds ridiculous, but ever since, I slap on some - what is it this time? “Nicole by O.P.I” - and I play better than I ever have.

My buddy and I were invited to a gaming expedition in Seattle recently. Right next to my hand is a plane ticket and my passport. “CANADA” is imprinted in gold on the dark navy blue cover. Below it is the Royal Coat of Arms of Canada, also in gold; I don’t know why but it makes me feel proud when I see it. A picture of a potential terrorist is inside, but then again, who doesn’t look like a terrorist in their passport picture? They tell me Canadians have it easy at the airport. They don’t get searched as often or held up at borders; they usually breeze right through. I don’t think I’d breeze right through – not like this, not with my fingernails all goddamn sparkly and red or… pink-orange-red… whatever the fuck kind of colour this is. I kind of like it, though, it’s - I’ll remove it before the flight.

But what happens when it’s time to compete? We’ll probably be competing. Against dudes. Dudes who are not always the manliest of men but who know a girly guy when they see one. Could you imagine? ME… ridiculed by nerds! I could try showing them my big honking tank of a mouse – “Look at the cable! It’s like a rope! And it’s super long!” - but something tells me the precision with which I paint my nails would throw them off again.

I can’t stop worrying about it. The only way I could possibly win anything is with this… feminine product. I told the cashier I was buying it for my girlfriend. She gave me a look. Maybe if I had shaved she would have believed me. Black doesn’t work as well. It’s like I need a red to catch my eye, or maybe it’s the sparkles. I sound like a girl. The word “sparkles” should not even be in a man’s vocabulary. My friend knows how good I am; he’s seen me in action. That’s why we’re going. Well, he’s seen me as a warrior online, but he knows that with enough Red Bull, I can kick serious ass for hours. I’d have to win at least once or twice. But how? With sparkly red nails? What do I do? What do I do?!

Somehow I prefer gaming online, behind a computer screen, where no one can see me.
We all have our quirks, right? We all have our lucky charms.

-----
I tried to keep what I could of the things the owners said to me about their three belongings: a mouse, nail polish and Canadian passport. This is the first thing that came to mind when I thought about the unifying idea of these objects.

Cassandra told me her nail polish was inconsequential because she just thought it would be fun to paint her nails. She liked the colour.
Jarra told me her Canadian passport meant a lot to her because of what it means to be a Canadian in other countries and in airports. She mentioned how easy it is for Canadians to travel.
Dan told me his mouse was meaningful because it's the best mouse he's ever used. He uses it for gaming. You can change the weights in it and it comes apart.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Picnic and a Protest.

Dear Globlets,

I went to a rally against student debt on March 16th. It was held from 11:30-2:30. This was my reaction to it:


I got to the protest at 1:00. I didn't know what to think. I brought a couple of friends with me and they both said that they didn't think a politician would take the protest very seriously. I defended it by saying that the students were making noise, but it still wasn't what I expected.

I didn't expect or want people to be screaming, throwing things and getting arrested. I told my grandmother I was going to a protest and I'm sure that's what she thought would happen when she reminded me that I was sick and should probably not go anywhere. "You know, because you're sick! And it would tire you out. And you need rest. Don't go, Nani*, don't go..."

I go'd, but it was nothing. I packed a picnic. I made sure my friends had their individual sandwiches and apple juice boxes and cut-up fruit in a Ziploc container. Because I'm actually a thirty-nine year-old woman who just never had the time for children and now I mercilessly remind myself of this every day of my life. "Sit up straight, Simon!"
I'm kidding. Not about the picnic, though.

There weren't too many people there - not 500 like they said there would be. I hoped there had been more people earlier on and that it had died off. Protest signs were resting along the stone walls, so we nabbed some and shook them in the air in between slurps from our juiceboxes. We liked the one sign that had a kitteh on it and read, "CAN HAS LESS DEBT, PLEASE?" the most. It was very Canadian of them to add the "please."

We had to put the signs down when we went to listen to the band. Simon jumped right into the dancing and got really into it. Really into it. I turned to Mt and said, "I can't believe I used to date that." Mt and I danced a little, but I felt like I was too close to the front of the crowd to comfortably fully shake my booty. Minor shaking occurred.

At the end of the day, I still didn't know what to think. Maybe my friends were right. Was it really weak? Did we miss out on the serious protesting? Why didn't the information about this spread far enough or soon enough? Can a cheerful and fun protest be an effective protest? Should we sit on our hands because our protests are pathetic and our cause is not serious enough? What's the point in fighting for something that, eh, is not really all that bad if you think about it? Who do you have to kill or oppress to get a good protest going? Would I have gone to a super serious, potentially violent protest? What are our problems compared to the problems of those who do not even have what we consider basic human rights? Should we let those in power take advantage of our complacency?

There are times when I'm bad at being complacent, and all I want to do is scream my head off, stomp my foot, and shake my fists... or type, which is a safer thing to do. And I'll wonder... why aren't we taking to the streets? Why are we doing nothing about this? How can we just sit here and let the government walk all over us? Who does the government work for?

I think this is a fight worth fighting, but I do wish I'd known more about it.

I don't want to go into debt. That's why I was there. I don't want funding to be cut for anything education-related. That's why I was there. I don't want the government to think that what they're doing is right. That's why I was there.

Did they receive the message? I really don't know. All I can do is hope.


*Nani: A name, still used, that I called myself when I was a child.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nude Noobs.

Dear Globlets,

"The beautiful thing about the internet is that whoever you’re interacting with could be naked..."

Isn't taking things out of context fun? And I've decided NOT to start my blog entry for school with that. I'm sure you're all very pleased with this decision.

So help me god.

Dear Globlets,

On my Facebook Page (which you should Like if you haven't already), I get updates from The Onion. Today I took a look at some of the t-shirts they're selling and have decided that I would buy 1% of them or receive 90% of them as gifts - because I'm cheap and they're twenty bucks.

I seemed to particularly enjoy this one:


It reminds of the "Christians" who are only partly Christian. If they were "true Christians," they would believe in the entire bible, be willing to kill their children if the little rascals talk back, it would be an abomination to eat shellfish, and, of course, seeking medical treatment or purchasing any kind of insurance would be unnecessary; Jesus would protect them! I wanted to say that I don't understand how they can be "partly Christian" and believe in only the bits of the bible they like, but then I remembered that if people were to live word-for-word by the entire bible, they would probably go to prison and/or be rejected by society. It is a several thousand year-old book. Not everything applies anymore. Perhaps god should consider making humans write a sequel.

Which reminds me... I found this excellent letter to a Christian that I had saved from when either Tw or my mom sent it to me some time ago.


In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US resident, and posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations.

A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan, James M. Kauffman, Ed. D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Opinion Essay: The Value of a Woman

Dear Globlets,

This is an essay I wrote for Creative Nonfiction. There's a story that goes along with this godforsaken assignment, but for now I'd really appreciate it if you took the time to read this and tell me what you think.
Also, the title? "The Value of a Woman" or "The Value of a Woman's Life" or something else altogether? I'm a little concerned about the paragraph structure as well.


The Value of a Woman

What does it mean to be pro-life? For many, it means a foetus is a person; a person that is a person even before it is born. It means life begins at conception.

In a different way, I consider myself to be pro-life. I consider all life to be valuable and meaningful. When I hear others say that they are pro-life, it is hard for me to understand their thinking because they hold a life that does not exist yet above one that does. I am pro-life in that I believe in the protection of a woman’s life. I believe in protecting the life of the woman who gets pregnant from a rape. I believe in protecting the life of the young girl who gets sexually assaulted by her father. But I also believe in protecting the life of the child who would be born even if that means protection via the prevention of its birth. A foetus has the potential to become a human; that does not automatically make it one.

For thousands of years, women have gone to extreme measures to end their pregnancies. They have received blows to the abdominal area, used suction through a rubber tube, experienced physical exertion, or inserted a coat hanger or knitting needle to remove or puncture the foetus via the cervix to the uterus. These methods are dangerous and often illegal even in places where abortion is legal. Many of those who attempt a self-induced abortion injure themselves or die in the process.

When a woman chooses to terminate her pregnancy she does not do so out of cruelty or carelessness. She does so because she knows she would not be able to properly take care of the child, she is too young, she does not want a family, the child would have defects, it would be a product of incest and/or a horrible crime, bearing it could kill her, she is not ready, or because of any other reason she chooses – a reason that is nobody’s business but hers. Nine months is a long time to carry something inside you, something that feeds off you, something you do not want, yet these nine months and the years following the birth are rarely considered.

When a child is born, great deals of care and money go into taking care of him/her. Many of those who seek abortions do not have the resources to raise a child. In the United States, 42% of women who get abortions have incomes below the poverty level. The cost of food, diapers, clothing, and childcare alone make it nearly impossible for a lower-class single woman to take care of both her child and herself. One of the main reasons abortion rates are higher for women with low incomes is the lack of education they receive, specifically education on sexual health and contraception.

Anti-abortionists go to great lengths to let the public know that they think a foetus is a person, and that they should be considered and protected as a person upon conception. They guilt women into thinking they are “murdering babies,” and as long as a baby is born and no foetus is harmed, they are happy. But once a foetus emerges from its mother’s womb, the protests stop. The foetus, now a baby, is alive. Yet, at this point, angry protesters cease to gather. They cease to march, to voice their opinions, to demand that a child be treated like and protected as a person. Thinking mostly in terms of the United States, to begin a life in poor conditions - where food is scarce, shelter is unsafe, medical treatment is unaffordable, and education is a privilege - is a near death sentence on its own. The odds of being born into this kind of life and graduating from college or from high school are slim. The odds of a child having the kind of childhood they deserve, that many of us take for granted, are poor. The quality of life a mother and her child would face is irrelevant; as long as she keeps it, there will be no outcry. There is great outcry for the potential creation of life, but not for its quality.

If some people believe that a foetus is a person for religious reasons, if according to their personal beliefs a foetus has a soul the moment it is conceived, those people, perhaps, should not get abortions. The rest of the women in the world who do not believe this and would like access to safe and legal abortions should be allowed to have them. One religion, or one variation of a religion, should not infringe upon all women’s right to choose abortion. If being anti-choice is a part of a woman’s philosophy, then I have no objection to her choosing to proceed with a pregnancy even if she does not want it, even if I do not agree with her decision-making process. However, this same person cannot say that her philosophy is more right than anyone else’s, thereby prohibiting any woman who disagrees with her to do what she wants with her body.

A woman’s body is her body. It is not her mother’s, her father’s, the government’s, her pastor’s, her husband’s, or society’s. It is hers.

Anti-abortionists value a foetus’ potential for life more than a woman’s already existing life. How can people claim to be pro-life with this kind of mentality? What makes the developmental stages of a foetus more valuable than a woman’s life?

Some people are concerned that the legalization of abortion would encourage women to use it as a method of contraception. They often look at the numbers of abortions once it is legal, and if they see that rates have increased, they claim more women have abortions thanks to this regulation. This is only partly true. Without access to safe and legal abortions, these women would likely give birth against their wishes or take matters into their own hands – a dangerous, and often lethal, but not uncommon decision. Although it may appear as though more women end their unwanted pregnancies if it is legal, it is important to remember that some percentage of these women would end it regardless of the law and regardless of the dangers.

Instead of demanding the criminalization of abortion, even in cases of rape or when a woman’s health or life is at risk, redirecting anti-abortionists’ attention to the minimization of the need to end a pregnancy would be beneficial to people on both sides of the abortion debate. Providing affordable or preferably free access to sexual health education would significantly reduce the rates of abortion. If more people understood the consequences of having unprotected sex, and if more people had access to protection, fewer unwanted pregnancies would occur, and fewer abortions would be necessary.

To get an abortion is rarely an easy decision to make and sometimes has an emotional impact on the pregnant or formerly pregnant woman. Furthermore, one person’s philosophy regarding life and its inception might not be the same as another’s, so not everyone should have to follow the ways of one particular philosophy. While the anti-choice supporters focus on the potential life of a foetus, the life of the pregnant woman is forgotten. Women will continue to have abortions whether it is legal or illegal, safe or dangerous. The best way to help prevent abortions is to help prevent unwanted pregnancies, and the best way to do that is to make sexual health education and contraception as accessible as possible. Nobody wants to want an abortion, but by criminalizing it, the one question that I have for anti-abortionists is whose life is more valuable – a foetus’ or a woman’s?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Obsessions.

Dear Globlets,

For my Creative Nonfiction class...
The blog assignment for this week:
Write 3 separate pieces of 100 words exactly, on these topics: horses, the ocean, coffee. Edit, trim, polish them so that there is not a word out of place, so that every word counts. Find a motif (a colour, an image, an idea) that ties all three together and include it in every piece.
I'm not sure I did too well, but I did enjoy this assignment. I like the idea of using random things and combining them into one. If I had a higher word count, and maybe if I wrote it as fiction, I could come up with some cool things. I'll definitely be taking a note of this assignment and consider using it as future writing criteria for myself.

Obsessions
Her feet lead her out of bed straight to the kitchen. Without coffee, her brain will try to escape out her ears in search of a body that will nourish it correctly: a caffeine withdrawal headache. Her right hand lifts from her side to hold the kettle under the tap as her left hand flicks the water on. Generous scoops of hot chocolate powder and hazelnut-flavoured instant coffee mix with boiled water in a Starbucks mug. A splash of lactose-free milk makes it creamy. She sips her sweet coffee, her sweet morning obsession. “I’ve got to fix the espresso machine.”
Her bedroom was a deep blue-green. The Little Mermaid was the best movie; Aqua was the best band. She had a golden seahorse-shaped locket. She knew a shimmer in the ocean followed by a splash meant there’d been a mermaid. She collected sea shells and pebbles, and crab shells too until she found out empty old ones reeked. She flipped over rocks, unafraid of capturing live crabs. Flat stones were to be skipped regardless of smoothness. She let the waves weave around her ankles and the sand swallow her feet. “Just five more minutes, mom! Just five more minutes, please!”
She eyed her friends’ My Little Pony figurines. She wept when she got a bicycle and not a pony for her birthday, but she rode it to visit Snowflake. Her friend had pony rides at her birthday party, but her eyes itched and watered and her nose leaked after one lap. Beautiful plastic stallions kicked squeaky Barbie to the corner, leaving her to a rotten little brother. She brushed their manes, applied their bridles, and fastened their saddles in preparation. They trotted around the bedroom in search of teddy bears in distress. “Not so fast, Barbie! We’ve got you now.”

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Priorities.

Dear Globlets,

I've been doing some research for an essay and I came across this. I found the following to be the most ridiculous...

Global priorities in spending in 1998


Global Priority

$U.S. Billions

Cosmetics in the United States

8

Ice cream in Europe

11

Perfumes in Europe and the United States

12

Pet foods in Europe and the United States

17

Business entertainment in Japan

35

Cigarettes in Europe

50

Alcoholic drinks in Europe

105

Narcotics drugs in the world

400

Military spending in the world

780

And compare that to what was estimated as additional costs to achieve universal access to basic social services in all developing countries:

Global Priority$U.S. Billions
Basic education for all6
Water and sanitation for all9
Reproductive health for all women12
Basic health and nutrition13

Obviously, global priorities cannot be fixed at the snap of a politician's fingers, but they're important to consider...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Literary Prejudice.

Dear Globlets,

Last week, I went to see Twelfth Night with Mt. It was set in the 1970s, which goes to prove that another of Shakespeare's plays is timeless. You can put the same story in another era and it still works. Ever see She's the Man? It's a 21st century rendition of the play.

There were several shows one could go and see, so my Intro. to Lit. course peers scattered for different dates. A couple of days before I saw the play, I overheard some girls talking about it while we waited for class to begin.
"How was the play?"
"Meh. Long. Didn't get out 'til like 11:30"
"Really?"
"And it was set in the 60s."
Another classmate corrected her.
"70s, yeah. It was pretty bad."
"Ugh! That sucks. Oh man..."
Groans of displeasure ensued.

I heard a few more bits of conversations like this. Many of my peers made it sound like it was such a drag, that it was so lame. Maybe I'm weird or much easier to please, but I thought they did a great job with the play. The dialogue was the same as the original text with a few tweaks and the occasional, "Bummer, dude," but not so much as to make it cheesy. Perhaps it's because I go to plays with an open mind. I understand what the director tries to get at, I understand that it takes a lot for a person to go on stage and perform. When I hear people putting it down like it was beneath them, like they're too cool for it, I find it's disrespectful to those who are a part of a production like this. It's like they don't consider the fact that the people who collaborate to make plays are people and that they work hard to achieve whatever it is they wish to achieve, and that they deserve our respect.

It was funny. It wasn't a dull play at all. I thought the 70s theme brought something new and fresh and interesting to a play most people have read. Who doesn't love the Beatles? (Shut up Beatle-haters!) I'm not saying I think everyone should love it; people have different tastes from my own, but I am asking to show a little more respect towards those who present this kind of entertainment. They don't do it for the lulz. They don't wake up in the morning one day knowing exactly what to do, how to do it, what to say, or how to say it. But my classmates are too cool to care.

This got me thinking... is there a stigma against things assigned in the classroom? So far, there hasn't been a single book, apart from Bridge to Terabithia (Grade 5), that I have not enjoyed that was assigned for a class. Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, Macbeth, and Of Mice and Men, to name a few. But when I suggested to my brother that he read To Kill a Mockingbird because of how excellent a book it is, he knew he would have to read it for school and refused to read it.
"I just don't want to. I know I'm not going to like it."

It's literature. It's being assigned for a reason. We went to see Twelfth Night for a reason. I'm curious as to why some people said they hated it.

Perhaps I'm guilty of literary prejudice as well. We had the option of reading Oedipus, an ancient Greek play, or Joan MacLeod's The Shape of a Girl. Initially, I thought the latter was going to be about weight and self-esteem issues in girls, and being a girl who has already experienced plenty of these issues, the last thing I wanted to do was read about it. Oedipus likely presented a story that would have nothing to do with my childhood or personal life, but a class vote made The Shape of a Girl the play to read. Damn democracy.

I wondered if it was because a large percentage of the class is made up of women, and they wanted to read about something familiar. Familiar. I wanted to read about something unfamiliar. I was curious about the kind of stories ancient Greeks might have told. I don't know much about those stories, and I doubt very much that many others do.

The Shape of a Girl is a good play, nevertheless. It's excellent for those who have not experienced this type of young female cruelty - adults and boys, primarily; it was not about weight or self-esteem. It brought attention to something that few people, if anybody but the participants, knows about. I remember young female cruelty quite well from elementary school, though nothing quite as extreme as what was depicted in the play. However, Braidie, the main character, does mention that she "knows the way in" to an even more extreme version of her group's cruelty, to something resembling the Reena Virk Story. I could relate to the character, but I would not have been an inactive bystander. Even when I was a kid, I would have flipped my shit and gone to an adult for help if I didn't stop whatever violence was occurring in front of me. I guess my Atheistic moral compass pointed North stronger even then.

The story was hard to swallow, even though I am aware that this kind of behaviour is common among young people. Being hard to swallow was the point, though, of course. Still, it's annoying that we couldn't have learned about something most of the women in that class are not already familiar with. I'll read Oedipus for myself, but I thought my hypothesis as to why the decision to read the other play was worth thinking about. It poses another question...

Why do people so eagerly gravitate towards the familiar? "I'm a girl, not a Greek, therefore I should show no curiosity to a world that is far different from my own." Do people have no sense of curiosity?

I'll read Oedipus and make sure that I'm fighting for a play that's actually worth reading.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I believe...

Dear Globlets,

For my Creative Nonfiction class, we were given ten minutes to write a list of things we believe in. This is my list:


I believe a woman should have the right to end a pregnancy if she feels she needs to.

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky

I believe saying "Fuck" during the Oscars is awesome.

I believe parents should explain words like "nigger" and "fuck" to their kids instead of sheltering their children, hiding them from the truth.

I believe tights should not be worn as pants.

I believe my cat is my superior and all humans must worship and obey her.

I believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I believe I forgot my earrings on my desk this morning.

I believe bacon is the meaning of life.

I believe my Challah didn't rise/triple in size yesterday because the yeast came into contact with too much salt.


Obviously, I took it quite seriously.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Realistic Goals.

Dear Globlets,



Who says I don't make realistic goals for myself?

See #14 and below.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Sonnet for Modern Art History.

Dear Globlets,

For my ART180 Midterm, I chose to write a sonnet for the bonus question...

option (a) write a (tasteful) limerick, haiku, ballad, or other form of poetry about art work we’ve seen

option (b) draw a (tasteful) cartoon with a funny art historical caption

option (c) Ernest Hemmingway was challenged to write a six-word story; he wrote: "For sale: baby shoes, never used." Create a 6 word story for a piece of art or architecture we have seen in class; make sure you provide the title for the art piece in addition to your story.


I chose option A. It's not very good, but oh well.


Future is in the Air (A Fucking Square)

Through each movement of art
We see a new creation,
Ideas and visions expelled from one’s heart
From an artist’s mind and imagination
From Sardanapalus to Socrates
And Starry Nights to Gleaners
Visions are born, and not with ease
Academies always calling them wieners
Throw out the old and bring in the new
A sense of future is in the air
New art, still art, to me, to you
‘Til Malevich painted a square
A single square, a plain black square
It’s art, I swear; the future is in the air

Art pieces referenced:
Sardanapalus:


Socrates:


Starry Night:


Gleaners:


Malevich's Square (I draw the line here):



Thursday, March 3, 2011

No Monsters, Just Dresses and Underwear.

Dear Globlets,

The blog assignment for my nonfiction class was to:
Do a careful analysis of one of the following things: the contents of your fridge, your clothes closet, your cd collection or mp3 playlist, or your bookcase. What does any of those collections of things tell a casual onlooker about you, or about the way you might want to portray yourself?

I'm thinking of doing one about my MP3 playlist later on as well, but this is what I went with:


Popular. I don’t like popular. When I see everyone wearing the same kinds of things, you can bet that I’ll be wearing something different. Uggs will never see the skin on my ankles. My style will remain unchanged as popular trends come and go.

Some clothing you will not find in my closet:

Skinny jeans. They are not meant to be worn by people who are not thin, yet I’ve seen countless young women wearing them when they really, really shouldn’t be. Unless there is something sexy about ass cracks and excess hip flesh overflowing way past the top of a too-tight jean (and there isn’t), then please, for the love of Lucy,* get better pants and spare us! You will not find a skinny jean in my closet. I have hips - amazing, glorious hips - and no jean shall make this part of my body look abnormally large and disproportionate if I have anything to say about it. I am petite as it is; the last thing I want is to look like a tiny bizarrely-shaped pear.

Tights. They are not pants. Tights are not substitutes for pants. Tights go under dresses and skirts or under real pants to keep your legs warmer when it’s below zero. Ladies, I cannot stress this enough. Tights are not pants. They do not make your bum look good. That’s what yoga pants are for, although I, personally, feel terribly self-conscious when I wear them, and frankly, it’s hard not to stare at a girl’s bum when those tight black pants are screaming, “HELLO! This is a bum! Look at it! Round, firm, yet squishy and generally bum-like! Look at it! Bum, bum, bum!” (I’m not the only one who thinks this, right?) Tights worn as pants allow me to see sights that should be illegal in public. Do they even keep anything warm? Seeing the white of a girl’s ass is not appealing, and too many times have I feared for the stretch in tights. They can only stretch so far, and if I can see that much white when the fashion offender is standing, may Lucy help her when she sits down or picks up her car keys from the sidewalk.

Advertisements. I do not advertise for companies. I don’t have Lululemon yoga pants, Gap hoodies, or Guess jeans. I don’t have the need to let the world know what brand I buy or that I can afford $200 brand name jeans (and even if I could, I probably wouldn’t buy them). You can go through my closet and find not a single article of clothing with a brand name or logo on it. If a company wants me to wear something that says Roxy or Abercrombie or Puma to help spread the word about their clothing, they can pay me for that.

Then, what will you find in my closet?

Dozens of colourful tank tops, a wide assortment of feminine t-shirts, a few long-sleeved tops and sweaters, a plethora of cardigans or cardigan-like pieces, five or six pairs of jeans (mostly boot cut or straight-ish), a drawer full of socks and LaSenza panties, and a hook on which numerous bras hang. I have more bras than there are days in a month and more panties than there are days in a year. It’s not a LaSenza obsession, it’s - okay, it’s a LaSenza obsession. Or it’s an obsession for undergarments in general; if it wasn’t LaSenza, it’d be something else.

But most importantly, in my closet you will find dresses. Beautiful dresses that I am too afraid to wear in the winter even with tights. (See? Tights!) I wait at the bus stop shivering when my bum is covered with a nice layer of denim; how would it be if I wore tights? There is nothing I hate more about winter than the fact that it prevents me from wearing my dresses. Apart from a couple of summer dresses, most of them look like they were taken out of the 1950s.

One black, strapless, A-line dress with large white polka-dots; one grey closed-back halter dress with gold buttons and a collar, looks best with a red belt and a pearl necklace; a blue dress with a V-neck and white buttons that go from the top of the bust line straight to the bottom, also looks best with a red belt; a navy blue jumper that, with pearls, makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn. I could go on, and on. So many of my dresses are new and I have yet to wear them in public, and all I can think about is how much I want to go out wearing something that looks amazing, something that nobody else is wearing. The dresses are unique, they’re sexy but modestly so, and they’re classic styles that will always be fashionable.

Clothes should flatter your body, show off your best assets, keep you warm when they need to, keep you cool in the peak of summer, make you look sexy without making you look trashy, help you feel comfortable and confident when you walk out the door, and they should get you to say, “Damn, you are one fine son-of-a-bitch,” when you look in the mirror.

There is no room for monsters in my closet, only dresses and underwear.

*Lucy is my cat and all must worship and obey her. Amew.

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I got a LOT of feedback for this from my peers. I really wasn't expecting it at all, but it made me feel really good. Someone said I made him laugh out loud in the library. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Good Morning, Mom.

Dear Globlets,

I wrote 2,500-3,000 words attempting to write an essay about a person. That's two essays that failed. I couldn't make it work. My mom is just too complex and I tried too hard to explain her and 1,500 words just isn't enough for that. So, third time's the charm, and even though I forgot a couple of things, this is what I ended up writing for Creative Nonfiction - an essay about a person:

Good Morning, Mom

Kim wakes up at “some ungodly hour,” as she describes it, just before six o’clock. Her blue eyes open but her body remains in place. Lucy gets up to do her morning prowl to ensure that the house is up to her feline standards – rodent and insect-free, no strange humans, all family members accounted for. Lucy returns to her king-sized bed and paws at Kim’s hands, requesting entry beneath the covers and seating on top of her palms. Kim is well-trained and puts out her hands for Lucy to lie down on. Lucy curls up on her facing away so that Kim can use her as a pillow. As they cuddle, Kim listens to the national and international news on CBC, and then the local news at 6:30AM. She says, “The first news makes me think, ‘Okay, time to start getting up,’ and the second news, ‘Oh, fuck.’” By 6:37AM she is up.

As Kim walks to the kitchen, the old hardwood flooring creaks beneath the Lucy-toy-covered area rugs that struggle to help keep the house warm. Frost no longer coats the trees and grass outside in the mornings, but the old windows don’t keep the heat in the way they should. Lucy jumps onto a chair to get Kim’s attention and she looks up at her, pleading for her morning treats. While the water for coffee is boiling, Kim submits to her cat’s desires and watches the little Siamese gobble up every treat. Kim reaches into the fridge for the coffee cream, which is next to a large ceramic dish that is two-thirds full of the broccoli-chicken lasagne she made the night before. Among the boxes and boxes of all kinds of exotic teas, of which she only drinks the black ones, sits a glass jar of vanilla-flavoured NescafĂ© right in front. She plops one teaspoon of it into her bright red oversized mug, along with one, two, three teaspoons of sugar, followed by a generous splash of cream. She pours the water, which is still rumbling in the kettle, almost right up to the rim and immediately it begins to dissolve and mix the ingredients of Kim’s sweet, creamy concoction. Before taking a single sip, Kim showers and by the time she is out, her coffee is at a perfectly drinkable temperature.

She goes into her fifteen year-old son’s room to wake him up. Depending on her mood, she wakes Adrian using one of several different methods: by opening the blinds, smothering him with kisses, or putting Lucy on him. He groans and it often takes several reminders for him to get up before he actually does so. She also reminds him to brush his teeth, have a cup of milk, and take a lunch to school. He says she doesn’t need to tell him all these things but she insists that she does. “Because that’s my job.”

Kim goes back to her room to get dressed. She looks at her body and remembers how thin and toned it once was, how much tennis and volleyball she played when she attended Simon Fraser University (to which she was admitted at the age of sixteen), how much she loved to play in the Co-ed softball league in Stanley Park. After having kids and moving to the suburbs, being active became more difficult, and at that time she did not cook the kinds of healthy, hearty meals she makes today. But she walks to work every day, rain or shine, letting her sporty, red, manual transmission, Volvo S40 sometimes seem like a decoration in the driveway –a decoration that is occasionally taken out for trips to Costco, a decoration that she loves to take out for road trips, especially the yearly autumnal trip to Chemainus which is done only for fun and for the retrieval of pumpkins.

She covers her colourful La Senza underwear with grey work pants and digs out a light flowery blouse from her closet that she has only worn a couple of times since its purchase. She looks at herself in the mirror, unsure if she looks okay. She goes to her nineteen year-old daughter’s room. Lucy has taken over her lap. Kim asks Oriana what she thinks of the blouse and the young girl gives Kim her approval.

Before Kim leaves, Oriana says, “I hate you, by the way.”
“Why?” Kim asks, pretending to look innocent.
“You know why.” Oriana glares at her. “Your hair.”
“My hair? Why?”
“Because it’s so curly!”
“That’s not my fault. Have a traumatic experience, like get a divorce after twenty years of marriage, and then maybe your hair will go from straight to curly like mine did!”
“Ugh! Too much work. Take your ringlet-ridden hair out of my room.”
“But, but, but…” Kim whimpers.
“Be gone! It’s a very nice blouse.”
Kim pouts, a little smirk hiding behind her not-so-poker-face. “Thank you.”

Kim dries and styles her hair, boosting the curl to its full potential. She applies brown eye shadow and eyeliner to bring out the blue in her eyes. She covers up the few annoying little red spots that have been appearing regularly on her smooth rosy cheeks for some time now. She has fewer wrinkles than most women her age, which she believes may have something to do with the lack of pore-clogging foundation or other kinds of makeup that she applies to her skin, but whenever she notices a new wrinkle, it bothers her just the same. She shifts and lifts the skin near her eyes, neck, and then lips to see what certain adjustments to her face might look like.

“We’re late, mom.” Adrian appears in the doorway of the bathroom.
“How late?” Kim says.
“It’s 8:06.”
“Shit, okay. Do you have all your things?”
Adrian nods and Kim hurries to the closet to get her coat.
“Can you grab my lunch from the fridge, please?” she asks.
He rushes to the kitchen and swings the door open. He returns with a green-lidded Tupperware container and puts it in Kim’s lunch bag for her.
“Can you take some meat out of the freezer for dinner tonight? I don’t care what; I’ll figure out what to do with it when I get home,” Kim says to Oriana.
“Sure!” Oriana calls back.

Kim and Adrian yank their shoes on and zip their jackets up tightly, and soon they are out the door. They walk several blocks together, practicing their Spanish as they go, talking about Adrian’s classes, reminding each other of their upcoming and long-awaited school trip to Spain. Once they reach Camosun Street, they pause and Kim gives Adrian a kiss on the cheek, and somehow he is not embarrassed even though Victoria High School is just two blocks away.

Kim continues with her walk to work, zigzagging down the streets that have the most houses with lush, flowery gardens. Sometimes she stops and smells the ones in bloom, because, to her, there is nothing better than blossoming flowers in the springtime.

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Also, what do you think about the title? Halp?