Friday, August 29, 2008

True Tales of Alcoholism

A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention report shows that 12% of Native American deaths are alcohol-related (usually a car crash or liver disease), a rate 3 times higher than the general population. I find that overwhelmingly sad and I've often wondered what's the real core reason for all of that drinking. The closest thing I've gotten to finding an answer was reading Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Reminding me a bit of Holes, The Absolutely True Diary is the diary/sketchbook of Junior, a young Indian man on the Spokane Indian Reservation who more than a little resembles Alexie (they were both born with "water on the brain" and Alexie is from Spokane also). Junior loses acquaintances, friends, his grandmother and his sister to alcohol-related incidents and determines that he will never drink and that he will make something valuable from his life. In order to jump-start his life, he stops attending the local reservation high school and instead walks, hitch hikes or bums rides miles away to the nearest white town and school.

The novel focuses on the varying levels of rejection and acceptance he experiences from whites and Indians alike. But in the end, he decides that it's okay to leave the reservation, even if he'll be seen as a deserter. His best friend tells him that he's like the Indians are supposed to be - migratory - while the others have become trapped in the reservation and have lost that part of themselves.

Which, like I said, is the closest thing I've seen to really explain all the alcoholism and death. The Center for Disease Control's report drew a similar conclusion because the majority of alcohol-related deaths were in areas where reservations are remote and desolate.

The Center's suggestions for combatting this are to hold "culturally appropriate clinical interventions" and make the trbal courts and health centers work together better. Personally, I've never thought interventions were helpful - I don't believe any real change occurs without the person's will for it to do so. Making the courts and the health centers work more closely together is always good, but what is that really going to do to address the problem? Probably not much.

You can hear Sherman Alexie read the first two chapters of
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian at

Images by Ellen Forney are from
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Protect Yourself from McCain This Election

While I'm about as blase about this whole election thing as Midtown Miscreant (conspiracy theorist= me? remember? I don't really think elections change that much... shhh!), I am excited about W 2.0 being sent back to Texas and getting a black President. Because, I don't see how Obama can lose (it's okay, disagree with me - I'm not that invested) especially when he's got such great backers like Planned Parenthood. My friend Sara works there and was able to get me some pictures of what the PP in Ohio somewhere is handing out on little matchbook covers full of condoms... Too frickin' awesome:

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

For Once, Happy Birthday

On September 14th I will be 27 years old. Birthdays have normally been very depressing for me; it's hard to really celebrate when you know your mom didn't want to have you, you're living in an abusive atmosphere, and you feel like no one knows you. This is the part where I admit that I've been depressed and suicidal for most of my life. I first wanted to kill myself when I was 8 (my plan was to shove a kitchen knife under my ribs but I never was able to go through with it) and I've been a cutter since my late teens. I attempted suicide twice in my early twenties, both of which were foiled by the man I was dating at the time. Basically, I've been a very sad person most of my life and birthdays were focal points for my misery for a variety of reasons.

I still struggle with depression, but it doesn't overpower everything else in my life as it once did. It's more of an occasional visitor who shows up when no one else is around. Being with Matt, getting out of school (FINALLY!) and into a real job, getting into shape, working on being nicer to myself and not expecting perfection, getting control of my debt, being strong enough to cut ties to people who drag me down... all these things have made a huge difference in my state of mind and emotional well being. So I'm completely jazzed to look forward to a birthday where I am going to be happy for a change. No more spending the day crying on the floor of the bathroom, causing harm to myself, or silently dying on the inside.

It only took me 27 years to get here, but better late than never.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Blog Pet Peeves

I subscribe to quite a few blogs. Not sure how that compares to most people, but I feel I have a good range of exposure and there are just some things bloggers do that drive me nuts. Today, I will whine about them.

  • No pictures, bullets or other emphasis ever - These bloggers tend to be confessional/personal experience bloggers who don't think that including pictures, breaking up and/or highlighting text might make their posts more interesting to their readers. Come on... you're killing me here. How many plain black and white posts do you think I can read in a row before I just stop trying? The answer - about 2, IF they don't turn me off in the first couple sentances (I know, harsh right?).

  • Posts composed of a single link - Lots of different bloggers do this and I can't understand why. A sentance with a link isn't enough to get me to click through, it's just enough to make me annoyed that you can't properly tell me why I should bother reading something you won't bother making interesting. Bah!

  • No links - Why mention that project your working on in detail if you won't let me look at it? Same goes for talking about groups/orgs or other blogs without linking. Just WHY?! This goes triple for people who tell you to read something, spend lots of time talking about it and then DON'T LINK so you can't find it.

  • What I did this weekend posts - Unless your weekend was truly spectacular, odds are no one cares. Make it interesting, or don't make it a blog.
So that's what bothers me. What about you? ...I mean, besides reading blog posts about blog posts like this P.O.S.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Does This Mean I’m Crazy? [Guest Post]

My first ever guest blog post comes from one of my friends from Penn State Erie got back in touch with me recently. I'm so happy, because Nick is smart and cool and he actually wrote me a blog post to use (unlike all those people who just say they will)! Enjoy!

I have been making so many huge choices in my life over the last 3 months, and I think entirely too much. I left a relationship, moved, got a new car, got a new computer, purchased a new phone, and hopefully found a new job. This has given me a chance to use my decision making process. I, like most people, hate regret, so I have been continually trying to make a process for making the best choices in my life. This is my innovative (to me at least) approach to thinking. I created it in middle school and have been using it and improving it ever since.

Sure, there are psychology books out there that tell explain everything in detail about motivators and needs, but I’m way too lazy to ever read any of those! Originally, I identified 3 main ways of thinking. I'll explain the fourth, new one later.

  • Brain/Logic - Think about it. Your brain tells you want you want all the time. This one is the easiest to identify with. It includes most of the social needs and all of the inter-relationships logical structure. It deals with money and possibilities.

  • Body/Sex - While most people think that this is the easiest to identify with, I would have to disagree. Ones body can be very finicky. Comfort, health/sickness, food, alcohol, and of course sex rule our lives in much larger ways then most admit. Not considering this as a major part of life has cost me a large amount time. Don’t make the same mistakes.

  • Heart/Emotions - By far the hardest to explain. It means something different for everyone. For me, it’s the intrinsic motivation that I have to do something nice for someone else. Its energy from no where for someone I love or care about. If you stop having that internal motivation to do nice things for someone, then you don’t love them anymore. Like I said – this means different things for different people.
Usually 2 out of 3 have to agree for little things – and all 3 for large choices

Put Into Practice
Buying a computer, car, or cell phone doesn’t take much more then logic on the surface. It’s mostly money and usefulness. Consider making the best choice though, wouldn’t you want all of you to enjoy these things. I can honestly tell you, I love my phone, I love my computer, and I don’t love my car (decisions that I have recently made). I would do anything for my computer or phone (as dorky as that sounds) without thought to the effort. My body and my logic like my car, it’s comfortable, and chicks like it – but I don’t love it. I love my apartment, but logically I’m not sure it was the best choice for me. It’s really a comfortable, healthy, clean environment, but it’s causing me to be stuck in a town with little chance for good employment. That decision was rushed by leaving the relationship.

It took me 4ish months to decide to leave my relationship. Logically she was a very good girl for me. For a very long time, my heart would do anything for her. My body was happy enough, I guess….ish. She spent an evening with an ex. Just one evening, in his bed. I wrote out all my options. I could stay and forgive, stay and not forgive (not really an option), leave and forgive, leave and not forgive or be a complete asshole. She was sorry. And I’m very forgiving. I never expected for my heart to not be able to forgive.

In the beginning of decision making, leaving and not forgiving was, in my mind the worst choice I could make. I kept trying to work things out, and trying to think things thru. After 4-5 months, my heart just stopped wanting to do things for her. My body didn’t even want her anymore. My logic was still in love. Logically, forgiving is easy, its just words and thoughts. But my heart couldn’t forgive her; so much that it was effecting my sexual desires (of course that was somewhat due to the sexual nature of the offense). I left her, and I have no intentions on forgiving the offense. Its not anger as much as disappointment.

After making all of these choices, all in 3 months time or so, I've decided that I've left out an important part of my life and motivation. Spirituality is a hugely neglected part of my life. I feel things that most don’t, and that I don’t understand. I’ve been having a very hard time really pinpointing and defining such a thing. Defining spirituality would turn it into logic or heart, so I just have to take it for what it is. It’s hard to separate heart from spirit, but in my model it would be hard not to. It plays an equally important part in decisions and relationships. If you don’t feel someone or something with that 6th sense, then you aren’t going to really enjoy them or it. That extra connection is key. I wish that I understood it more.

Does this mean I’m crazy? To define complex ideas into simple ones to ease the process? I’ve never really been sane, so it’s hard to tell.

I’m always open for suggestions on improvements, but remember I’m lazy – so don’t make it more complex!

- Nick
You can email Nick directly at Gettyiv at yahoo.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

How to Get a Hot Ass in Just 8 Minutes a Day

Lisa Newton posted 8 Minutes a Day for a Tight Ass on Iowa Avenue recently and I know I'm gonna start including this in my workout.

She recommends:
1 minute of squats

2 minutes of quadruped hip extensions

3 minutes of lunges

4 minutes of pelvic tilts

Read the rest of her post right here.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kelly Loves Shoes, Hates Decks

If you don't know about Kelly, I'm very sad for you. The multi-talented cross-dressing comedian is currently on tour with Margaret Cho, but I knew her first from her hilarious music videos and sketches. Don't be a shetbag, check it out:

Visit for more!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My New Theory of the Universe

Recently I read part of The View from the Center of the Universe: Discovering our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos (which I don't recommend) and learned about dark matter and dark energy. What you need to know about dark matter and dark energy for my purposes is that it is what is causing all of the universe to expand but it doesn't interact with us or anything we can see - it just passes through us as if we weren't there. Once again, dark matter and dark energy 1) make the universe expand exponentially and 2) don't interact with us at all.

So this is my new theory of the universe as inspired by these revelations: I think that the dark matter and dark energy are all the parallel universes that exist alongside us. The reason it keeps expanding and making the universe more immense is because more parallel universes spring up all the time, right?

Anyway, that's me taking science and having its illegitimate baby (yes, I'm obsessed with having a baby), but it's cute, innit?

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Girls Who Graffiti

Ariel Schrag: Cartoonist & Graffiti-dabbler
My friend Joe of Your Daily Joe recommended Awkward and Definition by Ariel Schrag since I like autobiographical chick cartoonists and all. A quote on the back of the book from the Village Voice says Schrag is "an imiaginative anthropologist of the post-punk set" and I definitely appreciate that in her. Since I grew up in a crazy Baptist cult, reading about normal teenage lives helps me understand my generation better. There's a big difference between girls who spent their time at 15 and 16 reading through the collected works of Alexander Pope and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (i.e. me) and girls (i.e. Ariel Schrag) who spent that time dabbling in drugs, sex and - the subject of this post - graffiti.

Ariel's first graffiti experience went as such (click to enlarge):
Free Image Hosting at

Girls & Graffiti Around the Globe
Since I ordered Ariel's book from the library I just happened to finally get it when I'd also checked out Graffiti Women: Street Art from Five Continents by Nicholas Ganz. Turns out that the USA was the home of graffiti and so the first female street artists started in the 70's in New York city. The trend hit South America, Australia and Europe in the mid 80's, Canada in the early 90s, New Zealand, China, Japan and South Africa in the late 90s. Of the many women featured in Ganz's book, these were my favorites:

Chez, Australia

Chour, France

Jana Joana, Brazil

Waleska, London

MyMonsters, Germany

For more on girls and graffiti, listen to the Brooklyn Museum's podcast/panel discussion about Graffiti Women:

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Rock of Love with Argent Heart

Everything I know about Rock of Love I learned from what the Evil Slut Clique had to say about it, which is damned amusing. So I was even more amused when I saw that my ex's band, Argent Heart, is having their own Rock of Love competition:

That is right. Our drummer Andy is looking for a date to the 2008 RockErie Music Awards on Sunday August 24th. We are looking for that special someone who has what it takes to walk the red carpet with our kick-ass drummer. All you have to do is send us a message on myspace or at telling us why you want to be Andy's date. Top ten semi-finalists will be picked Sunday August 17th when they will be asked to fill out a grueling questionaire. Its the answers to these questions that will determine our winner and Andy's date to the awards ceremony. Winner will be announced Thursday August 21st. Contestants must be 21 or older to attend the pre- and after parties with the band. Good luck ladies!

Andy is the guy that I think of as the drummer who wanted to play metal when everyone else was alterna-rock... because he was also the drummer for my ex's previous band, Surrender Dorothy and he and my ex used to clash over that stuff all the time (yay drama!). And yet he looks so sweet and innocent in his picture now... aww!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Planet, Not Politics

XO left an awesome comment on yesterday's post. I over all agree with him, with the understanding that as a conspiracy theorist I wouldn't be in favor of any such uniting led by the evil secret societies. *shakes fist* Okay, now that's out of my system, let's give our full attention to what is possibly the best comment I've ever gotten on this blog:

I totally agree.

However, I think it is just a first step.

I would like to see it eventually expanded to Central America and even South America.

And Africa. And Europe. And Asia.

I know it sounds all SciFi-ish and Utopian, but we really need a Terran Union.

The old saying is that "no man is an island". That's true. But it is even truer that ALL of mankind IS an island on this planet. At least for now.

The sooner we realize that we are all in this together and we need each other to survive, the sooner we can get past the territorial, philosophical Neanderthal crap and move to the next stage of human and social evolution.

Shouldn't all of the planet's (and the solar system's) resources be pooled and shared to the greatest benefit of everyone?

Shouldn't the goal be that no human on the planet is left without the basic necessities of life or the means to achieve whatever they wish?

Shouldn't we all have an equal share in the success or failure of our species?

Beyond that, shouldn't all life, everywhere, have an equal stake in the success or failure of all other life?

How is this a point of contention for anybody? Seems like a forgone conclusion to me.


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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

USA Should Open Borders, Open Minds

Tony's post about increasing racism in the KC area yesterday reminded me that I keep meaning to talk about how all of our illegal immigrant (and attaching racist issues) as well as several other issues with our nation seem to have one easy, obvious solution to me. We totally need a North American Union (you know, like the European Union) to mix together the best of Canada, America and Mexico and hopefully get some of the excess baggage our culture seems to insist on carrying.

From Canada we would gain their health care system, less stoopid attitude about drug use, and freakishly small homicide rate. From Mexico we would gain cheaper gasoline, more family-focused attitudes, and of course, some much needed diversity. Plus, this would open free trade across our borders, make it easier for us all to travel to our neighboring countries and could divert $ used for safeguarding our borders into, I don't know, something that would actually help people like a fucking education.

Anyway, it's a dream, but I like it.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When Elephants Rule the Earth!

I'm a fan of Orson Scott Card so when I saw a big ole book of his short stories, Keeper of Dreams, at the library I snatched that shit up. The first story, "Elephants in Posnan," takes place in a post-apocalyptic climate-change-affected Poland where the last few survivors in Europe band together after a reproductive-function-killing plague wiped out most of humanity. The last possibly fertile female is paired for 3 months at a time with different men, including the story's narrator who manages to get her up the duff.

After a year long gestation, the baby is cut out of her. He has a huge head and two strange ducts between his eyes and ears that leak fluid - just like the elephants that start invading Posnan.

Turns out, the elephants caused the virus to wipe out humans. The narrator calls them our gods that we simply didn't recognize. The elephants take his son around the world to find the only other human child born like him - a female, of course. They come back to Posnan to have a human wedding ceremony and then run off with the elephants to re-populate the planet with elephantine humans.

I don't know about you, but I found the story a little disturbing needless to say - like if instead of saying "so long and thanks for all the fish" the dolphins rose up against us instead. But maybe what I found most disturbing was having to accept the idea that animals may well be around long after us humans have died out. It's a future I refuse to accept (obviously why I'm working at an environmental place) but I know it might happen anyway.

So with this frame of mind about elephants, it surprised and kind of wigged me out even more to run across an article about elephants and climate change and how they are a species strangely cut out for dealing with it (as long as there are old lady elephants around anyway). From

A recent study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) suggests that old female elephants—and perhaps their memories of distant, life-sustaining sources of food and water—may be the key to survival during the worst of times.

In particular, experienced elephant matriarchs seem to give their family groups an edge in the struggle for survival in periods of famine and drought, according to a recently published paper in The Royal Society's Biology Letters.

Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, ZSL researcher and co-author, added, "Climate change is expected to lead to a higher occurrence of severe drought in Africa and our study suggests that such extreme climatic events may act as a selection force on animal populations. As animals battle to cope, certain individuals—such as these grand dames of the elephant kingdom—might become increasingly important."

Specifically, the study examines patterns of calf mortality during the drought of 1993 in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park, the most severe drought in that region in the past 35 years. During a nine-month period of that year, sixteen out of 81 elephant calves in the three groups studied died, a mortality rate of 20 percent. The normal mortality rate of calves during non-drought years is a mere two percent. ...

[A]n examination of the ages of the individual elephants in the three herds was even more suggestive. The data indicated that the age of the mother elephants was an important predictor for calf survival. The two groups that left the park, presumably in search of food and water, had matriarchs that were ages 45 and 38 years of age respectively, whereas the group that remained had a matriarch that was only 33 years of age, the result of heavy poaching during the 1970's and 1980's that targeted older females with large tusks.

"Hopefully, this study underlines the importance of how crucial older matriarchs are to the health of elephant populations," added Foley. "Protecting the leaders of elephant herds will be even more important in what may be an increase in droughts due to climate change."
It's just all so weirdly coincidental that I find it rather creepy. I can't believe Orson Scott Card managed to make me scared of elephants... now that's talent!

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Monday, August 11, 2008

All Hot and Bothered

My air conditioner is broken. Strike that. My air conditioner has apparently decided that on the inside, it's really a heater, because the damn thing now only pumps HOT air into the apartment. Not warm, hot. I had the windows opened yesterday until the early evening when I closed up and turned on the AC, the temperature rose by 2 degrees in five minutes.

Needless to say, I've got sweat on the mind. And with my recent moving adventure where I had to sweat for upwards of 4 hours in a row, I definitely decided on what kind of sweat is the absolute worst: neck sweat. It's just so disgusting to feel it sliding down your neck, especially since I'm pretty sure my neck never sweated in the front when I was a kid. Ew! Of course, neck sweat is second only to boob sweat is disgustingness. But, that's just me. What about you?

Note: there is a poll embedded in this post. If you cannot see it, please click through to the original post.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Even Vegetarians Love Bacon Shoe

Last night I volunteered as a condom disperser/petition signature gatherer volunteer for Planned Parenthood at the Pitch Music Showcase, which was spread across six Westport venues. We started at 7 but the music didn't start up until 8 so the first couple of hours were really boring until one of my blog readers came along! (Hi, John!) It was neat to have my first off-the-web encounter with a reader, especially since he used to live up Seattle-way as well; I enjoyed hearing someone else talk about how lame & white it is for a change.

I was with a group of other people and we kept wandering around from venue to venue. About 8:45 we were by the Dark Horse Tavern (again - I'd gone there earlier and gotten a signature from the bouncer) and all of a sudden behind a tree I saw Bacon Shoe - the only name on the entire list of 35 local bands I recognized and have seen perform before! I was so excited at what I thought would be the closest I ever came to them, that I took this awful picture:

They're the guys in the black t-shirts partially obscured by the trees. Neat, huh? But then we all wandered back up towards McCoys and the night continued to progress slowly... And then it was time to collect the signatures and we were done, with, as luck would have it, plenty of time for me to scootch back down to the Dark Horse and catch the last half hour of Bacon Shoe.

When I got there, the place was so packed that there was a large group of people forced to stand outside. I slipped in at the door, smiling at the bouncer I'd met before and thinking nothing being let in until the bouncer asked me if the guy behind me trying to follow me in was with me. When I said no (cuz he wasn't), he told the guy that he wasn't allowed to let anyone else in because they were over capacity. There's something to be said for knowing bouncers, I have to say. So I got to stay inside, though just right by the door (where Mr. Ruggles was frying up some bacon), and take some more super shitty pictures for you:

Then, of course, right then I'm thinking this is the closest I'll ever get to Bacon Shoe when Lethal D squeezed past me on his way out the door to wave a hand at the crowd outside. Later, Mr. Ruggles, going in and out delivering bacon, bumped heads with me even. Now that is a brush with fame. Ha.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that you should volunteer for Planned Parenthood because then you too could come within crotch-brushing distance of a local celebrity.

Also, for those of you who haven't experienced the wonder and delicious bacon-y smell of a Bacon Shoe show, here's a little something:

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tjie Tsang, Artist of the Apocalypse

Coupla weeks ago I got a tattoo (above) from Justin Sims at Freaks on Broadway. Ever since I've had a picture of it up as my default on Facebook. This morning a random girl messaged me about it, saying it reminded her of Tjie Tsang's artwork and telling me to look him up. So I did and wow! It really does kinda look like my new tattoo, but better yet, it's just downright fabulous. Take a look:

Check out his website for more.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Body Odor an Aphrodisiac?

The elephant often in the room during the hawt summer months is the dreaded, yet almost unavoidable issue of body odor. Most of us do everything we can to avoid any sort of strong smell that naturally comes from our bodies, but I'd like you single men and women out there to take this stink-ridden season as an opportunity for finding a compatible mate.

WTF? You say. I say, it's all very simple: people with dissimilar genes are more likely to be attracted to each others' body scent AND more likely to have a fulfilling sex life (thus, less likely to cheat). WebMD states:

You may remember the experiment in 1995 in which female (presumably heterosexual) college students were asked to rate the "pleasantness" of the smell of several unwashed T-shirts that had been worn for two nights by several different male students. It showed that the more different the woman and man were in their genes (in particuar, the ones that cause immune responses), the more "pleasant" she rated his T-shirt.

In other words, the less they both had genes that serve the protective function of causing immune responses, the more likely the woman would be sexually attracted to him. On average, heterosexual couples share only about 20% of their immune system genes. So, when it comes to immune system genes, opposites do attract.
So ladies and gentlemen, I challenge you to take this sweltering weather as an opportunity to sniff out your next relationship! You might even find... love at first whiff (god, I kill me).

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