Friday, February 22, 2008

Argent Heart & the Battle of the Bands

My ex's band Argent Heart recently released a 3 song demo. He's a brilliant (and very inventive) musician so you should check it out and be impressed (hell, I was). And if you just so happen to be in the Pennsylvania way come Feb. 27, you can see them at the Erie Battle of the Bands.

In other Battle of the Bands & musicians-I-know-personally news, I'd like to saw congratulations to my friend Kara and Six II Chaos for their recent win at the Beaumont Club's Battle of the Bands. I know it's belated, but hooray for you!

Note: I will be on my first ever paid vacation starting next week. In honor of the occasion, I'm going to be vacationing from this blog as well. See you all in March!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Narcissism In Space!

i09 has become one of my favorite feeds to read each day. More often than not, they have the stories that I'm going to read most & they crack my shit up. Plus, it's all the sci-fi geekery one girl could ever need. MmMMMmmm... sci fi!

All right, so a couple of days ago i09 posted about Timecrimes, a movie coming out "later this year" about - what else? - a time traveler. A quote from the director, Nacho Vigalondo, said that porn and time travel go hand in hand: "People fucking themselves!"

This isn't an new idea for sci fi writers. Audrey Niffenegger addressed it in The Time Traveler's Wife back in 2003 and I think we all know that we would have sex with ourselves given the chance. Which makes me wonder: does sci fi as a genre attract the narcissistic or does narcissism result from thinking too much about possible loopholes in reality?

Image from thaumata.vox.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Keri Oke Does Kansas City

Keri Oke is a blogger who recently moved to KC... like last week recently. To date, her enthusiasm for this city and its possibilities is the only persons' whose matches mine. She gets the same weird reaction about being excited about this city from people that I did when I was living in Washington and Pennsylvania and raving up my hometown.

I freaking love this place. And I love that she does too, because she's saying all of the amazing things about Kansas City that I wish more people would notice. Plus, as a double bonus, she's freaking hilarious.

Thanks Keri. It's awesome having you here.

(Found via TonyKC, of course)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Game of Conspiracy

So I'm a conspiracy theorist, isn't that neat? And so's my little brother ("little" being 21) who purchased a game called Illuminati: The Game of Conspiracy! When we actually sat down to figure out the rules, it turned out to be a kind of ideological Risk. Let's see why:

Risk V. Illuminanti...... FIGHT!

Play Pieces:
Risk - Board game with army pieces and cards
Illuminati - Card game with ...cards

How to Win:
Risk - control landmasses and/or fulfill secret mission
Illuminati - control ideological groups and/or fulfill secret mission

How to Play:
Risk - collect armed forces by dice rolling + point accumulation
Illuminati - collect ideological groups by point accumulation + power "networking"


Like most conspiracy-related things, this is cheesy and hilarious. Good for passing the hours of a freezing-ass winter night.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Goods 4 Girls

Crunchy Chicken is one of my favorite green blogs to read. She's always up to something interesting or surprising, and today is no exception. Bothered by the Proctor & Gamble program to send tampons to girls and women in Africa, she decided to set up a sustainable version of their system. Enter Goods 4 Girls:

Goods for Girls

By donating via ze website, you will help provide handmade, reusable menstrual pads to girls so they won't have to sit out of school during the week of their period.

Take that, P&G! One woman just one-upped your whole company.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hagakure on Homosexuality

Being a big fan of samurai movies, it was only a matter of time before I got around to reading Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai. After seeing Ghost Dog (which quotes from Hagakure throughout), I expected certain things of the book, like instructions on dying honorably and honoring one's master. What I didn't expect to find, was a short segment on how to be a gay samurai. Check it:

When one is young, he can often bring on shame for a lifetime by homosexual acts. To have no understanding of this is dangerous. As there is no one to inform young men of this matter, I can give its general outline.

One should understand that a woman is faithful to only one husband. Our feelings go to one person for one lifetime. If this is not so, it is the same as sodomy of prostitution. This is shame for a warrior. Ihara Saikaku has written a famous line that goes, "An adolescent without an older lover is the same as a woman with no husband." But this sort of person is ridiculous.

A young man should test an older man for at least five years, and if he is assured of that person's intentions, then he too should request the relationship. A fickle person will not enter deeply into a relationship and later will abandon his lover.

If they can assist and devote their lives to each other, then their nature can be ascertained. But if one partner is crooked, the other should say that there are hindrances to the relationship and sever it with firmness. If the first should ask what those hindrances are, then one should respond that he will never in his life say. If he should continue to push the matter, one should get angry; if he continues to push even further, cut him down.

Furthermore, the older man should ascertain the younger's real motives in the aforementioned way. If the younger man can devote himself and get into the situation for five or six years, then it will not be unsuitable.

Above all, one should not divide one's way into two. One should strive in the Way of the Samurai.
Now, I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that's good relationship advice in general (except for the whole, cutting them down part). If you know someone for 5 years and are willing to wait that long to commit to them, you probably have a good thing going. I LOVE that his only real 'warning' against homosexual behavior is that it shouldn't be used as an excuse to be a slut!

If only our crazy anti-gay marriage people could be as enlightened as people thousands of years ago. We'd have no problem with letting couples commit to each other, no matter what genitalia they might happen to posses.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nudity for a Good Cause

Hey, TonyKC, this post is for you.

TreeHugger reported that Portland, the greenest city in the USA and, incidentally also a place known for its strip clubs, is now home to the first vegan strip club EVER. Most of the strippers don't eat meat, so their sweat will smell different (SRSLY have you ever been with a veggie girl? They smell goood). Otherwise, isn't a strip club just a strip club? or, as a wittier commenter said at the TH post: "Still looks like a meat market." Heh.

You've got to watch this video of the news story. LOVE watching the news anchor try not to laugh before they cut out. BONUS: Pirates ahoy! and a stripper sounding stupid as the interviewer watches her boobs:


This is a much better idea than that whole witholding craze last year. More flies with honey and whatnot...

Update: For more hawt veggie action, check out the Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door 2008 contest and add your vote.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ted's Montana Grill: Vegetarians Vaguely Welcome

A branch of Ted's Montana Grill just opened in the 'Power & Light District' and I was lucky enough to enjoy it. TMG had a soft launch this weekend that I was invited to since I work for one of the nonprofits they were fund raising for through alcohol sales. For purposes of full disclosure I would like to mention that the food AND drinks were both free, so I have no idea how they actually raised any money. oh well. On to the review!

I was a little nervous about TMG's meatless selection, which turned out to be very small. The menu (PDF version) offers only one meat-free appetizer and only one meat-free entree, which incidentally is just a selection of 4 veggie sides. My table and I opened up the meal with a shared Ceasar salad and and the onion ring appetizer. Both were excellent, but they're so basic I consider those foods basically fool-proof (though, incidentally, I once made onion rings very badly at home).

Given the limited choices, I ordered the vegetarian entree with Parmesan spinach, vine-ripened tomatoes (my 2nd choice since they were out of the squash casserole), asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes. My friends also ordered a bison steak, salmon and chicken. Everything was incredible (except the tomatoes, which were just slices of tomatoes), a result of TMG's policy of cooking everything from fresh ingredients (they start prep at 7 AM!).

There wasn't a single complaint at my table, and every one else from work I talked to also had an incredible taste experience. I highly recommend trying it out, but I for sure won't be going there too often. I like to have more choices! And since Ted's aligning itself with eco-consciousness so much, I'm surprised that more meat-free choices aren't offered.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Life Finds a Way

TreeHugger reported an amazing discovery in the South Pacific has revealed the existence of a new type of chlorophyll: Chlorophyll D. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color and it is responsible for absorbing sunlight necessary for photosynthesis.

Chlorophyll D is unique in that it allows Acaryochloris marina to absorb energy from the sun closer to the infrared spectrum than other plants and bacteria.

Such a finding could potentially revolutionize the production of solar energy: According to Blankenship, it might become possible to harvest solar power through plants or other photosynthetic organisms by genetically modifying them with the chlorophyll d gene. This could lead to the creation of solar power "factories" that are able to make and store large amounts of solar energy.
Read more at TreeHugger.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

How To Poo


We assume that once we've been potty-trained, we're past the point of learning how to poo. In reality though, most Americans have bowel problems. Taking a closer look at our crapping habits will help us ensure our colon health, a major factor needed for a healthy body.



Like the song says, everything comes down to poo. As Tuberose puts it:

When there is not proper elimination, deposits of fecal matter build up along the wall of the colon or in the pockets of the colon. That's why even a mild case of constipation is a serious problem. Normally, the body pushes wastes out of your colon in eighteen to twenty-four hours. However, when you're not eliminating properly, these wastes may not leave for days. Usually the material deposits along your colon walls, it may not leave for months or years. These deposits of fecal matter in the colon get irritated. This may lead to a spastic or inflamed colon, conditions that interfere even more with nutrient absorption and also with proper bowel function. The feces that remain in one's system begin to decay, releasing toxins and poisonous gases that seep out into the blood and poison all the organs and tissues. The blood stream itself gets polluted, preventing it from removing the cells' wastes. So the whole system is poisoned by wastes.
I don't know about you, but knowing that is about all it takes for me to get interested in keeping my colon healthy and my poo flowing like the Missouri River. (For the skeptical, here is a more professional document relaying some of the same information.)

But SRSLY, all it took for me to get interested was my baby making me use some colon cleansing products - mostly psyllium husk-based types (though he says flax seed-based ones are supposed to be better). The almost-immediate and surprising boost to my physical well-being made me want to look deeper (this is me not making a goatse joke) into the subject. So, without further ado, this is what I found.

5 Steps To Better Pooing

1. Put more fiber in your diet
Be sure to add fiber a little at a time, so your body gets used to it slowly. Raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables have the most fiber. Vegetable soups are especially high in fiber and also add more fluid to your diet.

These foods are all high in fiber:
  • Acorn squash
  • Apples
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Broccoli, raw
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Kidney beans
  • Lima beans
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Tangerines
  • Whole-grain cereal
  • Whole-wheat or 7-grain bread
  • Zucchini
Find more fiber-rich foods at FamilyDoctor.

2. Drink plenty of water
Liquid helps keep the stool soft and easy to pass, so it's important to drink enough fluids. Try not to drink liquids that contain caffeine or alcohol because they dry out the digestive system. Also, the longer stools stay in your colon, the more water you will need because the body will absorb the moisture in them, making them even harder to pass. No fun!

3. Get enough exercise
Walking briskly for 10 minutes can help you poo if you need help getting started. Above and beyond that, exercise is an important component in bowel health.

The most specific exercise for colons I found was this from EMedicineHealth: "Try a daily exercise such as the knee-to-chest position. Such positions may activate bowel movements. Spend about 10-15 minutes in this position. Breathe in and out deeply."

4. Poo when you have to
Listening to your body's poo urges - just like had to when we were getting potty trained - is important. Not going when you need to harms your guts and will make it harder for you to poo the next time you go. I personally find that when I start feeling the urge that it helps me to imagine my colon squishing the crap through itself to my butt (like a gigantic tube of brown toothpaste). It may sound stupid, gross or ridiculous, but it works!

5. DIY colon cleansing
The easiest methods of colon cleansing at home are enemas, massage, and fiber supplements.

I personally don't find enemas appealing, but I know I will get around to trying it eventually. Many people find it helpful. You can find out more at Enema Tips.

The section of the bowel from the middle of the abdomen to the lower right side usually contains most encrusted fecal matter. Thoroughly massaging this area should soften the congestion.

Fiber supplements like the syllium husk products (not endorsing any because they're all about the same) I drink every morning, are IMO the easiest way to get your poo schedule back on track. (They're not pleasing to the palate, though.) After a couple of days or so, you should be experiencing more regular movements and passing more when you do. At the very least, it's a fairly simple start on the path to colon happiness.

Related posts:
How To Get an Hourglass Figure (In 3 Easy Steps)
How To Live Car-Free in the Midwest

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Babes in History and Fiction: Part 5

I love reading about the lives women led in the past. Partly because it makes me glad I live now and partly to be proud of what my lady ancestors have accomplished. And, let's face it, fiction is way cooler than non-fiction for learning about the past. This series is to clue you in one some of my recent(ish) favorites. This is the last in the series.

Part 5: The Ash Garden, Dennis Bock
Emiko Amai was playing with her brother in the mud at Bantai Bridge on August 6, 1945. Minutes later she was enveloped by a blinding light as the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and her future changed forever. Chosen as a candidate for plastic surgery after the war, Emiko is brought to America to be given a new face and a new life after the death of her family.

Fifty years later, Emiko introduces herself to Anton Boll, one of team players in the initial creation of The Bomb. Now a documentary filmmaker, Emiko's project is to capture the truth of "the making of the bomb." Initially resistant to the idea, Boll eventually capitulates and Emiko begins a series of interviews.

Uncovering Boll's work with The Bomb out in the desert and his time spent in Japan studying its effects, Emiko discovers more about herself than she ever imagined. Boll's life and hers, it seems, have been connected by fate, change and choice but she'd never understood just how deeply until now.

The Ash Garden shows the pain, beauty, hope and horror that inevitably follows cataclysmic events through the eyes of two ex-patriots who both now call America their home.

Related posts:
BiH&F: Part 1
BiH&F: Part 2
BiH&F: Part 3
BiH&F: Part 4

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Babes in History and Fiction: Part 4

I love reading about the lives women led in the past. Partly because it makes me glad I live now and partly to be proud of what my lady ancestors have accomplished. And, let's face it, fiction is way cooler than non-fiction for learning about the past. This series is to clue you in one some of my recent(ish) favorites.

Part 4: Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
Accused of being an accomplice to murder, Grace has been locked away in a crazy house for women. It's the mid 1800s and women aren't subject to the death sentence, only the living death of perpetual mistreatment in the asylum.

We never know if Grace is guilty or innocent. She could have helped the hired man kill their employers or she could have been forced to. But now she is forced to pleasure guards and act as an indentured servant to the jailer's family.

Skipping between Grace's past, the murky events surrounding the murder, and her present in which everyone is obsessed with Spiritualism, Alias Grace shows just how much crazier the world was when it was directed by spooky and morally pretentious feelings. A murder mystery mixed with some titillating revisionary history, it will leave you without answers, but you really won't care.

Read Part 1

Read Part 2
Read Part 3

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Babes in History and Fiction: Part 3

I love reading about the lives women led in the past. Partly because it makes me glad I live now and partly to be proud of what my lady ancestors have accomplished. And, let's face it, fiction is way cooler than non-fiction for learning about the past. This series is to clue you in one some of my recent(ish) favorites.

Part 3: The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, Jane Smiley
Set in our very own Lawrence, Kansas (or K.T. as Lidie calls it), this book is chock full of local politics as the Free Staters face off against Missouri slave owners. Like a grown-up Laura Ingalls Wilder novel, The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton mixes ordinary life-on-the-prairie hardship with the terror of living in a political powderkeg.

Lidie is an irreligious tomboy whom her sisters despair of marrying off. Luckily, an Easterner - Mr. Newton - comes along to sweep her down the river and over to K.T. Her descriptions of St. Louis and Kansas City are hilarious to me, especially since KC is described as little more than a dirt path with shacks and ruffians. Oh, those ruffians.

Lidie's new husband is an abolitionist which gets them into all kinds of trouble with the Missourians, along with the other transplanted Easterners funded by Newton's company. They have to chase off some Missourians encroaching on a friend's claim and defend Lawrence against a Missouri invasion after blood has been split. All this trouble and all Lidie wants is to figure out the cypher that is her husband of three months.

I've found this book to be more of a slow read for me than most fiction. I have only been able to read a chapter at a time because even though it's full of drama, Lidie is a very level-headed character and her narrative can be a little dry. Local history buffs will love it.

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

Historical image from American Memory.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Babes in History and Fiction: Part 2

I love reading about the lives women led in the past. Partly because it makes me glad I live now and partly to be proud of what my lady ancestors have accomplished. And, let's face it, fiction is way cooler than non-fiction for learning about the past. This series is to clue you in one some of my recent(ish) favorites.

Part 2: The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., Sandra Gulland
Set in France before, during and after the Revolution, Gulland sets out the life Napoleon's wife led before she became Napoleon's wife. Well, actually it covers her wedding to Napoleon as well as the first few years of their marriage. But most of the book is completely Napoleon-free.

Originally from Martinique, Josephine was shipped to France to marry a rich relative. Unfortunately for her, her husband - Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais - is a flanderer and she spends the bulk of her married life disgraced by his abandonment of herself and their children. But when Alexandre rises to power in the Committee of Public Safety, she supports him and they come to a kind of reconciliation.

Sadly, his popularity with the Committee is short-lived and Josephine is imprisoned almost as soon as she becomes a widow. Her life is saved by a fever which leaves her too weak to be taken to the guillotine, and a short while later, the Reign of Terror comes to an end.

Mostly fascinating because of the deeply personal view of a life affected by the French Revolution, The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows sets the reader up for the second two books of the trilogy examining the rest of Josephine's life which all happened after she'd assumed her life was just about over.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Babes in History and Fiction: Part 1

I love reading about the lives women led in the past. Partly because it makes me glad I live now and partly to be proud of what my lady ancestors have accomplished. And, let's face it, fiction is way cooler than non-fiction for learning about the past. This series is to clue you in one some of my recent(ish) favorites.

Part 1: Poison by Katheryn Harrison
Spain is troubled by the threat of their unhealthy prince's death and Francisca's mother is hired as his wet nurse. The Itinquision abducts the irreligious and blasphemous in the middle of the night (leaving their shoes behind so everyone will have no doubt as to what happened), and Francisca's lover's shoes are left outside of her father's house, condemning her and the child for his disappearance.

Living in one world while dreaming of another, Francisca is always oblivious to her own doom until it comes to pass. But Princess Marie Louise is perfectly aware of her fate. Sent from France to wed Prince Carlos, Marie cannot adjust to the strangely religious gloom of the Spanish court and dreams of the Sun King's thousand orange trees when she lies dying, poisoned by an unknown enemy.

Poison examines the interweaving fates of these women as they suffer in a society they cannot adjust to. Francisca spends her last days being tortured for her mother's and lover's crimes as well as her own while Marie is destroyed by her one friend in the Spanish court. Full of drama, sex and crazy judgmental people, Poison will leave you gasping from the first page to the last.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Purdy Pictures

My art folder is always the first I look through in my RSS reader, and not just because it comes first alphabetically. I love starting off the morning with beautiful images. It makes me optimistic about my day, which means I'm generally friendlier and such like. So when I opened the latest Kansas City Daily Photo post and found links to a whole ass-load of other photo blogs, I just about creamed my pants.

Anyway, the links are there because KC Daily Photo is taking part in a "When People think of my city they think of..." theme like other photo bloggers in other cities in the U.S. (as close as Jefferson City and as far as Portland) and around the world from the Philippines to the Russian Federation.

Oh yeah, and KC is known for barbecue. No surprise there.