Monday, August 04, 2008

Driver Safety Tip #1001

this story begins on Sat, Aug 2nd for purely anecdotal intents and purposes.
Harpo and I, for reasons mundane enough to omit, had to bus up to queen anne to bike up my bike. We were on the Route 3/4. If you look at the map, you'll see that from 3rd avenue the northbound 3/4 turn right onto Cedar Avenue. Typically, this is a fairly uneventful portion of the trip. Obviously, if this was the case on Saturday, I wouldn't bother to mention. However, luckily for everybody something out of the blue occurred. I did not see all of the events as they came to fruition, but Harpo saw some and I saw others. As we were en route down cedar a woman in her car decided not to notice her red light in time to miss the bus passing in front of her. She appeared to try and stop, because she slowed down substantially before hitting us. However, the regular sounds of brakes and tires locking and swerving were not to be heard. She hit the articulated bus dead in the center. The bus driver stopped, quite freaked out and shouted: "What just happened? My light was green right?" I turned around in time to see the light we had just driven through turn yellow and then red. It was interesting, because I didn't really have any idea that a car hit the bus for a minute or so, because the entire incident was rather quite and from inside the bus it just seemed like we maybe bumped a shopping cart.
I couldn't tell if the woman in her car got immediately onto her cell phone or if she had been on it the whole time, but the moral of the story is hang up and drive!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

some explanations

Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote earlier in the year:

"...most importantly, I fell in love. this was quite a shock, because I was convinced that love was a cliche novelty that didn't go with any of my shoes. Fortunately, love brought shoes with him! my insecurity about relationships seems to be dissolved. and my disdain for man almost completely gone as well. this is a good feeling and Harpo is a good man."

Harpo is still a good man, he's just not my man anymore. There was good reason for calling the relationship quits, though I can't remember it right now. Right now I am trying to figure out what makes me hard to show affection to? At what point my company becomes something to be taken for granted? And whether there was someone who was more desirable? Basically, I'm driving myself crazy and crying most minutes of most days.

So, that is why the things mentioned in the previous post make me sad. They are all things that I know Harpo needs and things I shouldn't be thinking about anymore.

boo hoo

Thursday, July 03, 2008


i just got my LSAT score and it sucks!
150! That is an 8-point drop from my practice tests!
I'll need to retake it while I'm in Denamrk.
What a pain in the ass.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

pad sanda

the only things that make me sad these days are basting brushes, butter dishes, and facial moisturizers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

spic n' span

After the whirlwind that was the end of the quarter/ beginning of the month for me, there were many things left to be tidied. I have occupied a sufficient amount of time with couch sitting and channel surfing. My cousin will be in town this weekend for a wedding, so I decided that today was probably a pretty good day to pick up around the house. (I have a bag of charcoal sitting next to my bed. that seems a little ridiculous to me.)

Anyway, my first order of business was to tackle the shoe closet. No, it is not a closet comprised solely of shoes. No pun intended. Yes, it is a closet comprised mostly of shoes. I got a new shoe rack to accommodate my shoe overflow issues. Note that I did not scale back on shoes nor did I stop purchasing them. The shoe rack has been sitting in the hallway waiting to be put in its new home. I put it in the closet, put the mess of shoes onto it, and now the closet is way less of a scary shoe monster.
However, while I was cleaning I picked up a bead and began to think to myself, "gee wiz, that sure is a funny place to find a bead." Then after closer inspection my thoughts quickly switched to, "What the F#@%? Why the hell is there a tooth in my closet?!?" Who's tooth is it and how did it get there?

Truth be told, it could be one of mine. I have a collection of most of the teeth I've had ripped out of my face in my lifetime. I keep saying that one day I'll make jewelry out of them. Incidentally, it's been awhile since I've seen that little tin o' teeth. Hopefully, the cats haven't opened it and swallowed any. That would make me sad a little.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I'm feeling reflective.
It's weird to sit down and realize that in the last week everything about my life is different.
I suppose everything changes and all good things must come to an end, what goes up must come down, etc...
Anyway, it still seems odd when face-to-face with such big changes.
Good thing humans acclimate to change quickly.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's oh so quiet

Well it has been on this blog for the last two months anyway. Not so much in my life.
I can say that adventure has been absent in my life, but stress has been plentiful. I won't bore you with the details. I will simply mention that I ended the quarter with a perfect 4.0 GPA, ended my University of Washington career with a cum GPA of 3.91. (not perfect, but not bad). As well, I took the LSAT test.

WEEE! I find out my score in a couple of weeks. I am predicting a score of 155. Not low enough to suck, but not high enough to ensure law school victory. Just enough to be perfectly mediocre.
My plans for the summer include:
taking beginning Danish. I know how to say "thanks for the meal," but I feel i should know more before i spend 3.5 months in Denmark.

finishing up wedding gift knitting

taking banjo lessons

and depending on lessons, buying a banjo.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. Also, let me know if you know someone who would like to be my tour guide while in Copenhagen.

Flickr Game

My creation

I kifed this from my friend, OwlandAcorn.

the concept:
a. type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. using only the first page, pick an image.
c. copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Check out my Flickr page to see the links!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

sometimes i remember

I don't remember anything very often. However, sometimes I remember why I moved to Seattle.
For the most part, it is because I feel safe. But safe is no cause for celebration, rather it is dull and I'm not interested in it.
It's not really the most bike-friendly place and most of the people think they are better than me. It makes me laugh, too.
However, as I battled drunk traffic on my bike on my way home from gay bingo tonight, a man ran into the street and flashed me his tata's.

it was great. I could not help but smile and laugh. it made my night and i could tell my response made his.
would this interaction happen in Manhattan? or Worchester? i think not.
everyone can suck it, cuz seattle is my home

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

a gift for we!

earlier this today, i signed up for owl and acorn's pay it forward exchange. the idea is that she sends me, and two others, something in the next year, and in return, i pay it forward by doing the same. so here's the game:

“The idea of the exchange is I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on this blog post requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet, and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

so...anyone up for it? due to recent stress on my pocketbook, i'm going to limit this to u.s. people only. first three who speak up will get something fun from me!

Monday, April 07, 2008

UW Women Studies Computer Lab

The Women Studies department at the University of Washington is planning to close its undergraduate computer lab. This is one of the few places afforded to undergraduate feminist scholarship. If you agree that this is a bad thing, sign the petition!

Thank you

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another one bites the dust

On Friday, I will be another year closer to meeting my maker, or becoming a desperate person. I'm not quite sure which. I believe the fog of sobriety to be clouding my judgement. In hindsight, I should have given up fried food for Lent.

This past year has taught me many things:
1. heterosexual relationships do not have to be locations of oppression. This was a long lesson for this feminazi.
2. Racism is alive and ill. It is also very important to me, not to maintain, but to created discussions about it. Ignoring it won't make it go away. Also, discussions about racism and white privilege need to be careful not to essentialize or otherize. this defeats the purpose.
3. Diabetes and high blood pressure are serious risk factors for me and I need to make extreme life changes to address these risks. My dad has pre-diabetes and high blood pressure. Health risks are scary and dismissible when they are outside of the immediate family, but when they cross that line they get really freaky. I will be expending a lot of energy to reduce my risks.
4. School is hard. There are so many commitments tied to school. If you are planning to advance beyond your bachelor's degree you need to volunteer, head committees, and engage in extracurricular activities. Then you need to attend to work and your social life where no one may understand all the pressure you face. It kinda sucks, but is well worth it anyway.
5. IUDs are super terrific happy fun time. I have had mine for two academic quarters and have not had any adverse side effects. Penny and I are very happy and plan to be for a long, long time. Yay no babies!!!
6. I need to make time and funds available for therapy. There are things in my life that I have a hard time dealing with that I need to get over, because they are essentially part of life. Germs, living with people, stress, etc... Having a therapist might facilitate attaining the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I think that is all I have got for this year's life lessons. If you want to help celebrate the accomplishments of my wisdom, come to the Summit Public House on March 21, AKA Transnational Shannon Day! Be there at drinking time and come equipped with the means to buy me a drink.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Seattle vigil

On February 12th, 2008, 15-year-old Lawrence King was shot and killed at E.O. Green School in Oxnard, California.

A fellow student (aged 14 years old) came into their school's computer lab and shot Lawrence "Larry" twice in the back of his head.

A few weeks prior to the shooting, Lawrence had publicly come out at his school for being gay and endured much harassment every where that he went. He had asked the boy who shot him to be his valentine not realizing that it would be the death of him. The main group of students that harassed him were the shooter and his friends.

Would you kill someone just because you didn't want to be their valentine?

He'll never graduate. He'll never learn how to drive. He'll never get his own job. His family and friends won't ever get to see him again..

..Just because someone couldn't handle his differences.

This is an action alert to advise you that on Sunday, March 9 at 5:15pm,
after the Safe Schools Coalition's viewing and discussion of "It's Still
Elementary" at the Broadway Performance Hall from 2pm-5pm (visit
Safe Schools Coalition for more information!!), GLSEN Washington
, in a partnership with ACTION Northwest, there will be a
candlelight vigil in honor of Lawrence, and other youth that have been killed due their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The vigil will be held in front of the Broadway Performance Hall, 1625
Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122.

Scheduled speakers currently include Commissioner Jerry Hebert from the
Washington State Human Rights Commission. Stay tuned to GLSEN Washington State for the latest information on who is scheduled to speak.

If you would like to volunteer to set up for the event, they could use the
help! Contact either David Hildebrand at or Joe Bento at

Let your light for safe zones shine.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Coffee Talk

Let's take a break from political pandering. I can't assume all eyes are on the United states Democratic race, but it is neck and neck and talk of sharing the ticket has begun. So, really the decision seems to be about who will be the headliner of the show. With that said a break is in order.
As some of you many know, I like to spotlight parts of the world that take an interest in my blog in a series I am calling, "This is your life."
Well, Brno, this is yours...

Brno (IPA: [ˈbr̩.no] (help·info); German: Brünn) is the second-largest city in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 1243 although the area had been settled since the 5th century. Today Brno has over 380,000 inhabitants and is the seat of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, Supreme Court, and Supreme Prosecutor's Office.

Brno is located in the southeast part of the country, at the confluence of the Svitava and Svratka rivers. The city is a political and cultural hub of the South Moravian Region (estimated population of 1,130,000 for the whole region). At the same time, it represents the centre of the province of Moravia, one of the historic lands of the Czech Crown. It is situated at the crossroads of ancient trade routes which have joined northern and southern European civilizations for centuries. Due to its location between the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands and the Southern Moravian lowlands, Brno has a moderate climate.

Brno as such was acknowledged to be a town in 1243 by Václav I, King of Bohemia, but the area itself had been settled since the 5th century. From the 11th century, a castle of the governing Přemyslid dynasty stood here, and was the seat of the non-ruling prince.

During the mid-14th century Brno became one of the centers for the Moravian regional assemblies, whose meetings alternated between Brno and Olomouc. These regional authority organs made decisions on political, legal, and financial questions. They were also responsible for the upkeep of regional records.

During the Hussite Wars, the city remained faithful to King Zikmund. The Hussites twice laid siege to the city, once in 1428 and again in 1430, both times in vain.

During the Thirty Years' War, in 1643 and 1645, Brno was the only city to successfully defend itself from Swedish sieges, thereby allowing the Austrian Empire to reform their armies and to repel the Swedish pressure. In recognition of its services, the city was rewarded with a renewal of its city privileges. In the years following the Thirty Years' War, the city became an impregnable baroque fortress. In 1742, the Prussians vainly attempted to conquer the city, and the position of Brno was confirmed with the establishment of a bishopric in 1777.

In the 18th century, development of industry and trade began to take place, which continued into the next century. Soon after the industrial revolution, the town became one of the industrial centres of Moravia — sometimes it even being called the Czech Manchester. In 1839, the first train arrived in Brno. Together with the development of industry came the growth of the suburbs, and the city lost its fortifications, as did the Spielberg fortress, which became a notorious prison to where not only criminals were sent, but also political opponents of the Austrian Empire. Gas lighting was introduced to the city in 1847 and a tram system in 1869. Mahen Theatre in Brno was the first building in the world to use Edison's electric lamps.

During the "First Republic" (1918 - 1938) Brno continued to gain importance — it was during this period that Masaryk University was established (1919), the state armory (Československá Statni Zbrojovka Brno) was established (1919), and the Brno Fairgrounds were opened in 1928 with an exhibition of contemporary culture. The city was not only a centre of industry and commerce, but also of education and culture. Famous people who lived and worked in the city include Gregor Mendel, Leoš Janáček, Viktor Kaplan, Jiří Mahen, and Bohuslav Fuchs.

In 1939 Brno was annexed by Nazi Germany along with the rest of Moravia and Bohemia. After the war, the ethnic German population of approximately 270,000 was expelled.

Brno today

The Augustinian Abbey of St Thomas, Brno.
St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
Courtyard of the Špilberk Castle
Gate of the Old City Hall
Dominikánská Street in the city centre
Villa Tugendhat
Brno Exhibition CenterBrno Exhibition Center, established in 1928, is the city's premier attraction for international business visitors. Annually, over 1 million visitors attend over 40 professional trade fairs and business conferences held here. In 2007, the center hosted the 14th Meeting of Central European Presidents, and a Rolling Stones concert. Exhibition and convention industry contributes heavily to the region’s economy, while 90% of Czech population associate Brno with trade shows. Thanks to its excellent infrastructure with modern facilities, Brno Exhibition Center has a prominent position in the region. Therefore, Brno can be nicknamed the capital of trade fairs of Central Europe.
Masaryk University, located in Brno, is the second biggest public university-type school in the Czech Republic and the first in Moravia. Today, it consists of nine faculties, more than 190 departments, institutes and clinics. It is recognised as one of the most significant institutions of education and research in the Czech Republic and a respected Central Europe university with democratic traditions advocated since its establishment in 1919.
Špilberk Castle is one of the principal monuments, as is the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, also known as Petrov. The cathedral was built during the 14th and 15th centuries. Its bells ring noon at 11 a.m., a tradition since the siege by the Swedes in 1645.
The town has a long history of motor racing. The first races were run as a checkpoint for the Vienna – Breslau race in 1904; in the 1920s, the town hosted the Brno – Soběšice hillclimb race; and in the 1930s, all races were held on the street course called Masaryk Circuit which led through the streets of the western part of the town and neighbouring villages, such as Bosonohy and Žebětín. A series of Czechoslovakian Grand Prix was held from 1930 to 1935, in 1937 and also once after the war, in 1949. Since 1968, Brno has been a permament fixture on the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) series, and has held motorcycle races since 1965. The road course ceased to be used at the end of 1986 when all motorsport activities resumed at the new permanent Masaryk Circuit, which was completed in 1985 in the northwest section of the town. Among other events, it hosts the Moto GP series. The Czech Moto Grand Prix in 2006 was won by Loris Capirossi.
Ignis Brunensis, an international fireworks competition, is held each June. The show attracts more than 200,000 spectators regularly.
Villa Tugendhat, a unique example of modern functionalistic architecture, designed by Mies van der Rohe and built in the late 1920s close to the centre of the city, was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002. Another renowned architect who changed significantly the modern shape of Brno was Arnošt Wiesner. Many of his functionalistic buildings can be found all around the city.
In the 1990s, after more than 70 years of discussion, the city council decided to build a new main train station farther from the centre of the town and to develop a more modern area of the town, which is currently occupied by train track. This plan has been criticised for its possible economical and ecological consequences. The whole Brno railway junction is to be reconstructed, which is very complicated due to its 170 years of development since the first train came to Brno from Vienna in 1839. The construction is projected to finish in 2017. After municipal elections in autumn 2006 this project has been put on hold by new city leadership and it appears that an upgraded main station in the city center will be reconsidered.
The Brno University of Technology, established in 1899, has been developing the Czech Technology Park since 1995.
Every September, Brno is home to a large wine festival (Slavnosti vína) to celebrate the harvest in the surrounding wine-producing region. [1]
Hantec is a unique dialect that originated in Brno, however most peoples' knowledge of it is restricted to a few words.
Brno is the home to the highest courts in the Czech judiciary. The Supreme Court is on Burešova Street, the Supreme Administrative Court is on Moravské náměstí (English: Moravian Square), and the Constitutional Court is on Joštova Street. This makes Brno a second capital of the Czech Republic — or would, if the constitution didn't define the capital as being solely Prague. Thus, Brno might be thought of as the "capital of the judicial branch of government" in the Czech Republic.

So, relax, kick your shoes of and take a visit.
Brno: for a day or a lifetime

(thank you to wikipedia. Without it this post would not have been possible.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

University of Washington study abroad opportunity!!

Roskilde, Denmark, Autumn 2008

Race, Gender, and Nation: Immigration in Denmark and the United States
(Program dates: August 30, 2008 - December 15, 2008 -- 24 Credits
Sponsored by The Comparative History of Ideas Department)
A recent study named Denmark the happiest place on earth. That people in Denmark report a high degree of happiness isn’t surprising, given widespread economic prosperity and extensive government-funded healthcare, education and social service programs. Denmark is also a beautiful country—bounded by white sand beaches and fishing ports on all sides and filled with sprawling castles and parks and distinctively Danish modern art, architecture and design. But happiness isn’t the only thing that has recently put Denmark on the map. A set of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad first published in a Danish newspaper in 2006 sparked protests across Europe and the Middle East over the unequal treatment of Muslim immigrants in Denmark as symbolic of their treatment around the world. And a country that has historically been defined by progressive politics and inclusivity is increasingly shutting its doors to immigrants; largely through the rise in power of a nationalist radical right party that is working to restrict Denmark’s public resources to ’ethnic Danes’ alone.

As in Denmark, immigration is currently a topic of widespread public discussion and concern in the United States. The U.S. Congress has been debating major immigration reforms, the U.S./Mexico border is increasingly fortified and militarized in the name of Homeland Security, and immigrant communities and families across the country are being split apart through detention and deportations. At the same time, unprecedented numbers of immigrants have been resisting their treatment by the U.S. government, employers, and everyday people as they march for immigrant rights and a path to citizenship.

Program Description
The interplay of race, gender and nation is paid little attention in popular and scholarly analyses of Danish and U.S. immigration. As the University of Washington’s first explicitly feminist study abroad program, this program will center the roles that race, gender and nation play in images and stories of immigration in Denmark and the United States in the context of contemporary inequalities of globalization.

Students enrolled in the program will live and take classes at Roskilde University (, which is 25 minutes by train from Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. Regular program excursions to museums, neighborhoods and public and private organizations in Copenhagen and Roskilde will supplement students’ work in the classroom. All students will also work together to produce group projects that explore some aspect of race, gender, nation and immigration in the U.S. and/or Denmark. Students will have the opportunity to complete these projects in collaboration with public or non-governmental organizations. These projects could culminate in a long research paper, but students will also be encouraged to take a creative approach to the projects that incorporates, for example, visual art, literature, and/or documentary films.

Students will prepare for the study abroad program during Spring 2008 with a required 2 credit non-graded pre-departure seminar (CHID 496). This seminar will focus on feminist perspectives on race, gender and globalization and group learning in the context of study abroad. Study abroad in Denmark will begin August 30 and end December 15 2008.
This program is open to students from all backgrounds. All students are encouraged to apply.

Students will receive between 20 and 25 total UW credits in Women Studies or CHID for the following:
1. Roskilde University Cultural Encounters program core course (September 8 to October 3)
2. “Images and Stories of Immigration” thematic course (October 6 to November 7)
3. Students’ choice of one of three other Cultural Encounters thematic courses on ethnicity, nationalism, identity, religion and culture (October 6 to November 7)
4. Participation in program outings and assignments outside the classroom
5. Completion of group projects

Language Study
Students are strongly encouraged to take some Danish classes before or during the program. Options for doing this include:
1. Coming to Denmark two weeks before the program begins to take part in Roskilde’s introductory course for international students, which includes an introduction to Denmark and Roskilde’s unique approach to teaching and learning as well as introductory Danish lessons. The course runs from August 13 to August 27, 9:30 am to 2 pm every weekday. (Students would have to pay an additional cost--approximately $500 US--for this introductory course.)
2. Taking Danish classes at Roskilde Fall semester during the program
Note: students will receive additional credit for language study.

go to the CHID International page
Questions? Contact Laura Hart Newton:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

lights, camera, action!

1. Pick 10 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
5. Looking them up is cheating, please don't.

Can you guess mine?
1. "I'm ready to quit this dump, I really am. Ray won't let me wear my glasses on stage, then Ian gets pissed because I can't do any of the tricks, I mean I'm only legally blind. I could understand if I wanted to wear my glasses on my tits, but nobody in this dump is looking at my face anyway." Desperately Seeking Susan. Go Kat Go!
3. "Sometimes there's things more important than pit beef."
4. "Have you ever had two people look at you, with complete lust and devotion, through the same pair of eyes?" Being John Malkovich Martine
5. "Look out the window. And doesn't this remind you of when you were in the boat, and then later than night, you were lying, looking up at the ceiling, and the water in your head was not dissimilar from the landscape, and you think to yourself, 'Why is it that the landscape is moving, but the boat is still?'"
6. "Only grown-up men are scared of women."
7. "You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really great man."
8. "Look. They drummed you right outta Hollywood! So ya come crawlin' back to Broadway. Well, Broadway doesn't go for booze and dope."
9. "What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss."
10. "I knew this girl who like had this crazy freak out because she took too many behavioral meds at once and she like ripped off her clothes, and dove into the fountain at Ridgedale Mall and was like, 'Blah I am a Kracken from the sea!'"Juno Kat again

The Unanswered Movies
3. Pecker
5. Dead Man
6. The Sound of Music
7. Citizen Kane
8. Valley of the Dolls
9. No Country for Old Men

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ta Da

Happy V-Day, Singles Awareness Day, Happy "anything but Valentine's" day
Today is a bright, sunny day. Not so damn cold as we've seen in these parts as of late. Tomorrow is the beginning of a long weekend of doing nothing with my lover Harpo. I am hoping it also marks the end of peak flow season for the month. Because when we're not busy doing nothing, I want us to be busy doing it. ha ha.
Anyway, we're going on a secret trip. so, I will not disclose any details for fear that this is the one time Harpo reads my blog.
I'm going to import a list from last year, because I feel the topic is timeless. "Better ways to dedicate your time than with the empty tokens of Valentine's Day"
My suggestions include:
1. name a pinata after an ex-partner. the difference between the pinata and your ex is that there is actually sweetness inside a pinata.
2. for every nice thing you say to a single person, say 5 not-so-nice things to that obnoxious couple ahead of you in line for [insert errand here]. you know who they are: "no i love you more, schmoopy." (or just go out of your way to do something really nice. like when you're buying your local homeless-run newspaper, like i know you were already planning on doing anyway, give them an extra dollar.)
3. fly a kite and/or catch raindrops on your tongue (these are climate-based suggestions).
4. get a foot and/or hand massage. whether you're a man or a woman, your hands and feet work hard and deserve to be treated.
5. replace one green vegetable in your meals with dessert all day, and if you were already planning on eating dessert--double dessert!!
6. just get rid of that box of letters already! (oh, you certainly do know what I'm talking about! ::snap, snap::)
7. part your hair on the opposite side, so you can see how you look to other people.
8. learn the alphabet in a foreign language (or learn the alphabet of your native tongue)
9. try a new food you always thought you would hate, but this time do it pretending you've always thought you'd love it. (this is especially good for people IN relationships to do w/o their significant other. this is good because there isn't anyone there to say "i knew you'd like it!" it can be your little secret).
10. get ridiculously dressed up and go to the grocery store. you'll feel like a celebrity--everyone will stop and look at you.

Just an aside, I parted my hair on the opposite side. I completely forgot it was on my list. Isn't that just a total gas?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I mentioned Vday in my previous post and realized that some people might not be familiar with it. If this is the case, you are on the wrong blog. For the sake of information dissemination here is the run down.

V-Day is an organized response against violence toward women.
V-Day is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.
V-Day is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.
V-Day is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.
V-Day is a catalyst: By raising money and consciousness, it will unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts. Triggering far-reaching awareness, it will lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.
V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.
V-Day is a day. We proclaim Valentine's Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.

V-Day was born in 1998 as an outgrowth of Eve Ensler's Obie-Award winning play, "The Vagina Monologues." As Eve performed the piece in small towns and large cities all around the world, she saw and heard first hand the destructive personal, social, political and economic consequences violence against women has for many nations.

Hundreds of women told her their stories of rape, incest, domestic battery and genital cutting. It was clear that something widespread and dramatic needed to be done to stop the violence. A group of women in New York joined Eve and founded V-Day . . . a catalyst, a movement, a performance.

V-Day’s mission is simple. It demands that the violence must end. It proclaims Valentine’s Day as V-Day until the violence stops. When all women live in safety, no longer fearing violence or the threat of violence, then V-Day will be known as Victory Over Violence Day.
This year V-Day celebrates it's 10th Anniversary on Feb 14th. It exciting that it is still going strong, but sad under the same token.

Facing Resistance
"The struggle is the change." - Eve Ensler

When Eve Ensler first performed The Vagina Monologues in 1996, the word 'vagina' was met with controversy and discomfort. Radio stations refused to say vagina on air, TV stations ran entire segments on the play without mention of the word and newspapers hid under the safety of abbreviation. Eight years later the word vagina is spoken openly on TV and radio and printed freely in papers and magazines all over the world. At times, however, there remains a degree of controversy surrounding V-Day benefit productions of The Vagina Monologues and they occasionally receive resistance from within the communities and colleges where they are held. This resistance however, in a unique way creates the awareness that V-Day strives for with every production. The mission of V-Day is to end violence against women and girls, to break the silence, to make people aware of the violence that affects one in three women in the US and throughout the world. V-Day benefits that are attacked, whether for religious, social or political reasons and regardless of the outcome succeed in this mission. By generating media coverage and starting a worldwide dialogue, controversy and resistance to the V-Day benefit productions of The Vagina Monologues has proven to be part of the very change V-Day seeks.

Violence against women and girls is widespread - one woman in three will experience violence during her lifetime, most often at the hands of someone she knows.
violence glossary
In order to fully understand the depth, scope and viciousness of violence against women around the world, V-Day has compiled a glossary of the most common faces of violence.
anti-violence resources
Resources for people who are experience violence in their lives, or know someone who is experiencing violence
violence against women statistics
Numerous studies and reports have resulted in equally numerous statistics. Violence against women is a serious problem plaguing the world’s women and girls.

What is your part? V-Action List. You can help end violence against women and girls in your community. Simple concrete steps can change the world.

This goes along with my mission to replace Valentine's as a holiday. Thank goodness for options!

Monday, February 11, 2008

What is...?

What is feminism to me?
Feminism is a commitment to the deconstruction of gendered norms which are produced and are oppressive in function. De Beauvoir echoed this sentiment when she said, “one is not born, but rather becomes a woman.” She challenged the accepted approach of Platonic essentialism, by suggesting that there is no inherent essence of woman; there is only the construction of norms and beliefs which determine her essence. We attach meaning to woman; being the owner of a vagina makes her nurturer, caregiver, other. It is the meaning attached to woman that makes her recognizable as such and treatment is prescribed according to this conscription. Since the ritual of gender is what reifies men and women, feminism needs to be dedicated to the troubling of these rituals.

What is liberal feminism?
Liberal feminism is derived from the philosophy of classical liberalism, which lays emphasis on the idea of individual freedom; we are individuals before we are gendered, classed, etc… Women’s freedom, or equality to men, is accessed through legal reform and is understood in negative terms, to be free from boundaries and obstacles. As a Liberal Feminist, J.S. Mill challenged the “might makes right” notion that designates women as inherently unequal to men. He argued that while women appear to consent to their condition, their lack of protest is just evidence that women have been adequately trained in the art and practice of submission. The arguments Mill made against the subordination of women include a moral argument, the subjection of women is inherently wrong; a modernist argument, subjection looks too similar to a caste system to keep up with the tenets of progress; and a utilitarian argument, holding back half of the population impedes the advancement of civilization. His solution was to remove the obstacles women faced on the road to freedom by granting them the right to vote and opening labor markets and education to female competition.

What is Marxist feminism?
Marxist feminists, such as Kollontai, believed that a person is first a member of a class and women’s equality to men will be achieved through a gender-informed revolution from capitalism to communism. Kollontai was especially concerned with the working woman and her access to motherhood. Propagation is necessary for the livelihood of a nation; it should not be commodified in the form of luxury. She argued that government should fund the move of reproductive labor from to home into the world; which would grant women the freedom of have leisure time. She also believed that child-rearing should be a community event. According to Kollontai, these actions would relieve woman of her triple burden and grant her access to the modern promise of freedom.

What is existential feminism?
Existential feminism is concerned with the dichotomies of self/other, transcendence/immanence, and subject/object. Woman is mythologized in ambiguity as the mantis and the dutiful wife, the virgin and the whore, everything and nothing. According to De Beauvoir, the construction of the woman myth defines and constricts her to the margins; she is the other, the immanent, and the object. De Beauvoir’s undertaking was to dispute the Platonic idea that there is something that is essentially “woman” which determines her destiny, by arguing that instead the treatment woman endures creates the essence that is she. She is not born a woman; it is her existence and the rituals of gender that create her as such. According to De Beauvoir, the world will know when woman is liberated because she will have attained grand stages for transcendence, like man and his Super Bowl.

What to all three have in common?
Liberal, Marxist, and existential feminism are all concerned with securing woman’s right to enjoy the modern promise of freedom. The difference lies in how they define this concept of freedom. As a liberal feminist, J.S. Mill adopted a negative construction of freedom; power is located in the law and state and both need to facilitate the removal of obstacles women face in order to attain freedom. On the other hand, Marxist and existential feminists view freedom in more positive terms; freedom is not found in the absence of obstacles, but instead in the availability of options. For example, Kollontai would argue for “material availability,” or the access to resources. De Beauvoir would prescribe a revolution of cultural mandates, which reify men and women, in order to grant women equal access to the act of transcending immanence, or exceeding essence.

p.s. VDay is hot, but Valentine's day can suck it!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

V-Day Q&A

Q: What are the most common Valentine's Day gifts?

Let's look at Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. West Africa is the number one cocoa producing location in the world. The production of cocoa is a very arduous process. Currently, cocoa-producing nations get paid roughly a dollar per pound. However, cocoa distributors charge around $17/lb. Quite a pricing disparity. This is made more complicated by the IMF's involvement through structural adjustment policies. Both of the top cocoa-producing countries have loans through the IMF. What happens when a country is indebted, is that the IMF examines their economic structure. This usually means subsistence crops meant to feed communities are cut or eliminated. Then funding is cut for social services. This then attracts foreign investment dollars. Great, right? Or wait, maybe not. The money people are making from cocoa production, which is not much, is earmarked to repay loans. There are fewer resources for subsistence and money-making that way. There are few or no social service supports remaining in tact. As well, the money flowing from foreign investments only benefits those dollars' countries of origin. So, while Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana are top-producing nations, they are likely to get stuck in a cycle of extreme poverty with few options. Higglers are beginning to change the bleak economic outlook, but it may not be enough.
So, give the gift of global economic exploitation with chocolates!

Stuffed animals:
Maybe I'm a humbug, but I cannot see a reason to give the gift of a stuffed animal. Anyone care to help me out? They are great for children and babies. They bring great joy to little ones who hopefully bring joy to others. But giving the gift of a stuffed bear to a grown person seems to be consistent with a trend of infantilization. As well as poor use of resources and the global assembly line. If I am going to be guilty of exploiting the labor of underpaid women, I do not want it to be for an animal that gets shoved in the closet to be forgotten forever.
This year give the gift of exploited wage labor. Look at my snuggly stuffed Maquilladora worker!

I happen to be of the school of thought that does not believe every kiss begins with "Kay." Why are we ripping rocks out of the ground for vanity's sake? Mining is one of the planet's leading polluters, and is threatening some of the world's most ecologically fragile regions. The environmental impact from diamond mining is much like any other open pit mine, the problems stem from waste disposal,leeching and ground water pollution. Once vegetation and soil is stripped away, salts, irons and other nutrients are not naturally filtered as water seeps into the ground. This allows organisms, nutrients, plus oil and other machine related waste, to enter ground water. Species and habitat loss would change dramatically from site to site and continent to continent, but would always be present.
This year, give the gift of contaminated drinking water! I only drink coke, anyway.

Above all else, enjoy your consumer holiday! Not doing so would be short-sided.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

it's that time again

...time for me to kick cupid’s ass and rant...

Valentine's how I loathe thee. Let me count the ways:

First, you place emphasis on coupling. We live in a time when, more than ever before, women and men are able to coexist in perfect harmony--without one another! It is less necessary for women to couple as means of becoming economically whole. Fewer women are living as the parasites of men (thank you Simone De Beauvoir). Celebrating a holiday of couples ignores this amazing triumph. So I say boo!

Second, for people who do happily couple, I hate the idea of reserving one day a year to say "I care." Not good enough. If I am ever in a relationship where I look forward to that one special day of the year, I am so outta there!

Third, what is with the notion that the person you are romantic with trumps all other relationships in your life? I do not get it. I think it revolves around the idea that your partner becomes your life. Barf. Could there be a more disempowering notion? I believe I share a portion of my life with others. Granted the portion I share with my lover is more intimate, I cannot say that it is more important. This makes me think of the band Crass. If you have not heard them, you should. They have a song for almost anything you could be pissed off about. Anyway, on the album Penis Envy, there is a song call Smother Love and it says:
"Love don't make the world go round, it holds it right in place, Keeps us thinking love's too pure to see another face...Love's another sterile gift...That keeps us seeing just the one and others not existing." How this behavior can be considered well-rounded and healthy is what I want to know.

Fourth, do we not even realize that we're being suckered into buying empty tokens of expression and bullshit greeting cards? What are diamonds? What do they say? "Sweet-ums, I love you so much that I've gone into debt to exploit the earth of a precious resource and contribute to the stripping of areas in South Africa, all so I could give you this tiny, clear rock!" Spare me and my earth, DAMMIT!!!

Lastly, it's not the end of the world if you don't have plans on this most holy of days. I was at the MAC make-up counter scheduling a session for the release of their newest line. I told the sales person I was free on Feb 14th and she treated me like a leper. So, just because I have nothing going on for lover's day I must be sad and alone? She told me that after I got my make-up done I'd definitely be able to snag a fella. If I'm alone do I have to be unhappy? If I am coupled do I have to make plans on this day? Am I only desirable when I am made up? If I engage in the practice of making up, am I ipso facto heterosexual? The funny thing about this incident is that I quickly made dinner reservations for my boyfriend and myself for that day. How quickly I can conform when made to feel as though I am not performing my gender or sexuality sufficiently.

While this is not a comprehensive list of woes, it is a good start. Feel free to chime in with your reasons for the abolition of this holiday. We're making gains on Indian Killer day, I mean columbus day. Let's let Valentine's know it's not safe either!

Monday, January 21, 2008

why feminism?

Recently, feminism has been regarded with the same affinity as labor unions and tax levies. The question often asked is, “what has it done for me lately?” Is the job done? Have Third Wave feminists been left with nothing to do but flounder? Let's look at some feminist theories and respective goals, shall we?
Liberal Feminists are concerned with legal recourse to secure equity with men. As a result, a huge sticking point for this group is voting rights. Everywhere men can vote women can as well, except Kuwait.
However, most countries granted men the vote prior to endowing women with full rights as citizens, except Denmark.
Men in these countries had time to solidify themselves in the notion that women are unfit for politics and women also had time to internalize the same sentiment. In the United States, the vote was granted to men as citizens in 1870 and women in 1920. This gives men a fifty-year leg up on women in the political arena. Gendered voting gaps have the result of affecting the number of women contributing to government action. In Denmark, over 25% of elected officials are women. In America, only 5-14% of women participate in elected government positions. Therefore, Feminist-driven voter education is necessary to level the political playing field in countries with historically large gender gaps in voting rights.

Marxist feminists are concerned with capitalism. According to their world view, capitalism creates and perpetuates economic inequality. In this system, women and men are stratified and valued disproportionately to their worth as people. Ipso facto capitalism is the root cause of women's economic disempowerment. Globally, 70% of those in poverty are women. This is not random, this is Neo-Liberalism. When countries are in debt, they may be eligible to take out loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As terms to the loan the IMF scrutinizes the country’s economic structure and assigns SAPs in order to appeal to foreign investment dollars. Typically, this means cuts in social and health services, which are disproportionately patronized by women. If families farm, then subsistence crops must be partially, if not completely, replaced with cash crops. Subsistence farming is the primary source of income for most women in these areas. With diminished income and no outlet for governmental support women, whose burden it is to tend to the needs of the household, are forced to find other means of income. Feminist mobilization is necessary to get women on the Board. This will give women the opportunity to shape IMF policy which affects their lives most.

According to Existential thought, the goal of humanity is to take control of the present and shape the future. Existential Feminists seek to explain and undo the reasons women are impeded from achieving selfhood and ultimate autonomy. Women’s reliance upon men is a crucial element in hindering their realization of autonomy, especially considering the age at which women and men come to this union. It is common practice, among many culture, for parents to make decisions and care for their offspring until said offspring reaches the age of maturity. Some cultures include the selecting of life mates for their young daughters under this paternal umbrella. In Niger 70% of girls and 4% of boys get married between the ages 15-19 years old. In much of the world 16-25% of girls are getting married before 19. This means that girls, who are used to having decisions made by their guardians, are handed over to men, who will take over that duty, at an elevated rate in much of the world. Only in industrialized countries is the instance of this is below 5%. When women lack self-determination, autonomy becomes impossible. Feminists, especially those apart from industrialized nations, need to expand cultural awareness to include a vision of women marrying on their own terms, if they marry at all.

The goal of Feminism is to work itself out of a job. It looks like we're still accepting applications.

data came from:
Seager, Joni. The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. New York: Penguin Group, 2003.