Monday, June 29, 2009

Adapt Or Die

Global Humanitarian Forum has released a "The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis," which examines the human impact of climate change. These are the bits that stuck out most to me:

Climate change is already seriously affecting hundreds of millions of people today and in the next twenty years those affected will likely more than double – making it the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time. Those seriously affected are in need of immediate assistance either following a weather-related disaster, or because livelihoods have been severely compromised by climate change. The number of those severely affected by climate change is more than ten times greater than for instance those injured in traffic accidents each year, and more than the global annual number of new malaria cases. Within the next 20 years, one in ten of the world’s present population could be directly and seriously affected.
It is a grave global justice concern that those who suffer most from climate change have done the least to cause it. Developing countries bear over nine-tenths of the climate change burden: 98% of the seriously affected and 99% of all deaths from weather-related disasters, along with over 90% of the total economic losses. The 50 Least Developed Countries contribute less than 1% of global carbon emissions.
To avert the worst outcomes of climate change, adaptation efforts need to be scaled up by a factor of more than 100 in developing countries. The only way to reduce the present human impact is through adaptation. But funding for adaptation in developing countries is not even one percent of what is needed. The multilateral funds that have been pledged for climate change adaptation funding currently amount to under half a billion US dollars.
The most powerful consequences of climate change arise when a chain reaction magnifies the effects of rising temperatures. Think of a region suffering from water scarcity. That scarcity reduces the amount of arable land and thereby aggravates food security. The reduced crop production results in loss of income for farmers and may bring malnutrition. Health issues arise that could further diminish economic activity as family members become too weak to work. With time, worsening environmental conditions combined with financial instability may force populations to migrate. Migration can then become a catalyst for social unrest if increased population density in the place of refuge causes resource scarcity.
Climate change aggravates existing problems. Many people today are not resilient to current weather patterns and climate variability, which is to say that they are unable to protect their families, livelihoods and food supply from the negative impacts of seasonal rainfall leading to floods or water scarcity during extended droughts. Climate change will multiply these risks.
Tulsi Khara, India has lived all her 70 years in the world’s largest delta, where the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers meet and flow into the Bay of Bengal. “We are not educated people, but I can sense something grave is happening around us. I couldn’t believe my eyes – the land that I had tilled for years, that fed me and my family for generations, has vanished. We have lost our livelihood. All our belongings and cattle were swept away by cyclones. We have moved to Sagar Island and are trying to rebuild our lives from scratch. It wasn’t like this when I was young. Storms have become more intense than ever. Displacement and death are everywhere here. The land is shrinking and salty water gets into our fields, making them useless. We feel very insecure now.”
The main gradual changes are rising earth surface temperatures, rising sea levels, desertification, changes in local rainfall and river run-off patterns with increased precipitation in high latitudes and decreased precipitation in sub-tropical latitudes, salinisation of river deltas, accelerated species extinction rates, loss of biodiversity and a weakening of ecosystems. The impact of this gradual change is considerable. It reduces access to fresh and safe drinking water, negatively affects health and poses a real threat to food security in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In some areas where employment and crop choices are limited, decreasing crop yields have led to famines. Desertification and other forms of land degradation have led to migration. Furthermore, the rise in sea levels has already spurred the first permanent displacement of small island inhabitants in the Pacific.
The number of deaths from weather-related disasters and gradual environmental degradation due to climate change is expected to jump to about 500,000 people per year. (Source)
Humans are smart enough to figure all this out, but will we be smart enough to save ourselves?

I certainly hope so. It's the future outcome I'm working my ass off for.

I'd like to leave you with this video, which is a first-hand account of Alaskan teens on how climate change is threatening their village (via Twilight Earth):

Related posts:
Cultures Threatened as Climate Changes
Climate Change Art Destroys All Humans
The Problem With the Green Movement

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Life on the road as a Traveling Exhibitions Registrar [Guest Post]

Today's guest post is also about traveling and is by my fabulous friend from grad school, Gena, who got me my favorite internship ever when she was working at Bellevue Arts Museum. I've written about her artwork before and now she's here to tell us about her totally kick ass job.

Growing up, I was always a painfully shy child. I would hide behind my mother's leg when company came to visit, and I spent hours and hours wrapped up in my own imagination. I would sit and play with my dolls and create vivid story lines for them, and when I wasn't doing that, I was drawing. I spent a lot of time playing with my younger brother, too, but, looking back, so much of my life was spent living inside myself. I was very introverted and while I did have several very close and meaningful friendships, my life was always generally by the book, colored inside the lines.

I knew that I loved objects that had stories behind them, and I loved studying and reading all about art and past cultures. That's what led me to pursue a degree in art history as an undergrad. Museums were bastions of exploration and culture and intrigue for me, and I spent a lot of time wandering around the big ones in NYC as a kid. I never imagined I'd actually end up working in one as an adult, but it's amazing where life takes you, and working in a museum was somehow a really natural fit for me.

Nowadays, I am living life quite outside the lines, and I have to say, I'm loving it. At 32, I've definitely broken out of my old shell, and the life I live is one which many people have told me they would love to experience. The funny thing is that on the surface, it doesn't seem all that glamorous. You see, I am a museum professional. I have a Master's degree in Museum Studies, and have worked in various types of museums for the past ten years on and off. Those jobs helped me get to where I am today, working for one of the world's foremost institutions, the American Museum of Natural History in New York as a Traveling Exhibitions Registrar.

What is it that I do? That is the first question people ask me when I tell them my job title. Most people don't know what a museum registrar does to begin with, but throw in the "traveling" part, and they seem even more intrigued. When I meet new people at a party or other social occasion, and they ask me what I do, my life becomes an instant, awesome ice-breaker. Any lingering shyness I have instantly seems to fade into the background.

It's like I suddenly become this fascinating person, an object of envy and interest. The best part is that I'm not making any of it up: I get paid to travel around the world and install and de-install museum exhibits. I guess there aren't too many people on the planet who have the type of job that I do, so that makes me unique - and a hot commodity at parties. Don't get me wrong - it's not as though I am using my job as a way to gain new social status or make friends. I truly love what I do, and I work very hard at it. It took a lot for me to get to this point in my career and I am proud to answer the many questions people have for me, and I enjoy explaining what I do.

Gena in Sydney

A typical work trip for me would involve flying somewhere domestic or international. After my first two weeks on the job, for example, I was sent to Canberra, Australia, for two weeks to install an exhibition about Darwin at the national museum there. I was nervous because I had never travelled internationally, and I'd never been so far from home. It was about a 21 hour journey to get from my home in New York City to Canberra.

I usually work with another co-worker from my museum in NY, someone who sets up the object cases and the floor plan. This person and I work in tandem to make sure an exhibit goes up smoothly, safely and on time. My role is to protect and care for the actual objects - whether they be stuffed pigeons, model ships, monkey skeletons, beetles, etc. I examine the objects and write condition reports noting any damage or changes, and then I actually place the objects in their cases. So this is what I did for the two weeks I was in Australia.
Gena with an object from the Darwin exhibit

We generally work the typical daily schedule of the venue we go to. In most cases, we end up doing an 8:30-5 Monday-Friday schedule. In Australia (and also in London), the crew we worked with took a 30-minute tea break every morning at 10:30. I became fond of these morning breaks, as we fiesty, neurotic New Yorkers rarely take any breaks at all. Working with a new group of people in a foreign country, or even domestically, is wonderful. You adapt to their routines, and if you are at a location for three weeks, as I was recently in Anchorage, Alaska, you get to really know your new co-workers. And three weeks is enough time to get used to a new city, spending the off hours exploring and going on adventures.
Toasting to a job well done in London after the de-install of Darwin
with part of the crew she worked with there

I suppose I am glad to be able to say that I am truly proud of what I do. I don't live the glamorous jet-setting lifestyle of a corporate executive, and I don't get paid very much. But when I am on the road, all of my basic expenses are paid for - we get a daily stipend that covers food and travel expenses, and the musuem pays for our flights and hotel rooms.

There are times when life on the road isn't quite as exciting or easy, and sometimes there are moments when living out of a suitcase gets really depressing.
A typical travel schedule for someone in my position is about 30% of our annual workload. So I'm on the road a lot. But these trips tend to take place at certain predictable times of the year. Spring and Autumn seem to be our busiest times.

Typically our installation schedules are no longer than two-three weeks at a time. I also have shows that only take me 2-3 days to install. But sometimes shows overlap, and you end up having to do two back to back. This happened to me recently when I traveled to London for two weeks to de-install Darwin, and then was flown directly to Anchorage, Alaska for another three weeks to install Gold.

Five weeks on the road is a long time. I had never been away from home for so long. I can truly say that the experience challenged me and changed me in profound ways, however, and broadened my world view quite significantly. As a single person, being able to pick up and go is what makes this job possible for me. If I had a partner or children, or even pets, I would probably not be doing this job. It just happens that I am at a point in my life where I am able to take on the challenge of a job that involves travel, and that's what makes life so exciting.

Not many people can say that they're working their dream job. I never thought it would happen to me, either, but somehow it did. I guess I am living the life right now and enjoying it all.

It's sometimes hard to balance the travel on the road with work back at the office. Coming back to my desk and my spreadsheets and my day to day activities can be a real downer after traipsing around a new city and seeing an exhibit go up from start to finish. The best part of my job is the feeling of satisfaction and instant gratification I get watching a show come together. When you're on the floor in the gallery placing the objects, work is being done and you can see instant results. Interestingly, I experience a feeling of sadness when I de-install a show - taking everything out of the cases and packing them back into their crates to move on to another venue can be somewhat depressing in a way. But it is a sense of completion too.

I'm not sure how long I will be able to live this kind of lifestyle, because I do hope to find a partner and have a family in the not too distant future. Traveling as much as I do probably wouldn't jive with that. But until that happens, I will continue to take life one show at a time. I feel blessed by the Universe to have been handed this opportunity; I am getting the most that I possibly can out of it, and I enjoy sharing my story with anyone who is interested.

Luckily for me, most people seem genuinely intrigued and curious about what I do, so there is never any shortage of people who want to know more. This aids my old deep-seated shyness, because if someone is brimming with excitement at hearing what you do for a living, it's kind of hard to clam up. My own enthusiasm for my occupation is hard to contain so I often get just as excited talking about it as the people who are listening to my story.

Related posts:
My Multi-Talented Friend and Her Automatic Drawing
Adventures in Collections Management
Traveling America in Absence of American Values [Guest Post]

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Traveling America in Absence of American Values [Guest Post]

I'm happy to bring you one of two guest posts this week, both about traveling! The first comes from my new friend Kris. Enjoy!

Hello, readers of May’s Machete! I am Kris the Educated Vagabond of The Yellow Brick Road Trip and a very big fan of May.

Kris the Educated Vagabond

Like May, I often find a multitude of adjectives to describe some portion of myself, but have yet to find that one meaningful word to encapsulate who I am or my world view. When people ask my religion or outlook on life, I offer a variety of answers such as Bokononist, Integrational Polytheist, or more commonly Cultural Relativist. As a woman traveling in the 21st century, I think cultural relativism is the closest description I have found to encapsulate my world view.

Franz Boas, the Father of American Anthropology, originally explained the idea: “...civilization is not something absolute, but ... is relative, and…our ideas and conceptions are true only so far as our civilization goes.” It means our philosophies or dogmas can only understood in the context of our culture. To take this a step further, what we do and what we believe can not be understood outside of the place, time, and society where these beliefs are held.

Franz Boas, the Father of American Anthropology

Though this idea was first introduced by Boas in 1887, I find it is especially relevant in the shrinking 21st century. As I have traveled this country, I constantly hear the assertion of “American Values.” I assume people mean liberty, democracy, baseball, and Mom’s apple pie. But truthfully, I have never seen “American Values” as a unified concept.

We could divide it by red states and blue state. We could dissect it further and then separate the red states by Republican and Democrat. Then we could divide the Republicans by Liberal, Moderate and Conservative. Still further, we could divide the Moderates by their religious affiliation and from there by their income tax bracket. Maybe we keep dividing and separating until we get down to a group of five people. Are these people representative of the entire state? Of the entire country? Are their “American Values” the true “American Values”?

Quite simply, no, because there are no true “American Values.” And even if we were to define them we still could not set them in absolutes because how they are understood would change in their conception according to their context. Five moderate Republicans in Kansas do not speak for five liberal Democrats in California. So if neither can be right, it follows that neither can be wrong.

That is how I travel. I don’t attempt to impose my beliefs on anyplace I am nor allow them to impose their beliefs on me. I look. I observe. I see. And most importantly, I seek to understand. I can’t tell you how essential cultural relativism – or at least a sense of tolerance and open-mindedness – is to the lifestyle of an educated vagabond.

Read more from Kris at The Yellow Brick Road Trip.

Related posts:
Weight, Honesty and Obesity in the USA
My Trip Out of Republican Wonderland [Guest Post]
USA Should Open Borders, Open Minds

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Monday, June 22, 2009

MC Frontalot's Nerdcore

So Keith, aka coderigger, took me and my baby with him to see Nerdcore Rising about MC Frontalot a while ago. I knew about nerdcore rap, but had limited exposure. I knew MC Chris because of Sealab 2021, and Optimus Ryme and MC Hawking because of ze boyfriend, and that was about it.

Turns out MC Frontalot is the one who coined the "nerdcore" term, which describes "a genre of hip hop music characterized by themes and subject matter considered to be of general interest to nerds, though it can appeal to others as well," according to Wikipedia.

After seeing the documentary about MC Frontalot's first tour (the afore mentioned Nerdcore Rising), I eventually remembered to visit Frontalot's website and download his music. Now he's one of Matt's favorite rappers so he keeps playing him over and over and now I've got MC Frontalot stuck in my head so hard that any old thing can make me start mentally rapping his songs.

So it's a good thing I really like him too or otherwise this would suck ass. My favorite songs include such numbers as:

It Is Pitch Dark

Which includes the lyrics:
You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
If this predicament seems particularly cruel,
consider whose fault it could be:
not a torch or a match in your inventory. (Source)

Charity Case

The sound on that is kind of crappy, but his dancing cracks me up. Click here for a good recording.

Selected lyrics:
It’s true:
Frontalot’s destitute.
I need you
to buy my CD so I could buy food.

I been a charity case to my fan base for years:
in tears at my show, “somebody buy me ride home.”
Now I’ve got something I can barter for services.
Don’t let the major labels get word of this.
I’m girderless, free falling towards riches;
going to sell so many CDs that I can afford britches,
and a shirt, and a hat to go with it.

Bizarro Genius Baby

Selected lyrics:
Bizarro genius baby: at first I was elated, but eventually I grew concerned.
Bizarro genius baby: you prove my genes are Grade A, but what of when tables turn?

She had to settle for the Fields Medal but didn’t settle well,
all the while cursing the indiscretions of Madame Nobel,
and so well tuckered out was she at this point that she napped,
arose with a whole symphony composed in Bb.
“See dad?” Yes dear, it’ll go with the other ones on the fridge,
in between the two Puccinis you translated & abridged,
just above ‘I love you dad’ in macaroni/glitter
and the 37 villanelles to mom (but I ain’t bitter).


Selected lyrics:

Step One:
Wiggle, wobble, wriggle,
coddle your young,
intensify your ennui,
then before you get done,
put your left foot over to the left if you dare,
then pretend you got scared,
then point at your hair.

Step Two:
Elevate everything up,
increase any numbers that you’re in control of,
then Skip to The Lou,
then stand stock still,
then illustrate for everyone your ultimate skill.

I Heart Fags

Selected lyrics:
I love fags because I am a San Franciscan.
If you’re dissing on my homos
then this censure’s what you’re risking
(I’m insisting on containing my temper but listen up):
you shouldn’t ought to be intolerant about who queers like to fuck! Fags are great. They’ve got hundreds of uses.
You can see them on TV explaining what puce is.

..and last but not least, Goth Girls

Selected lyrics:
‘cause I can’t talk to goth girls. I just stare and stammer: my name is MC Frimmer Frammer. And damn her if she giggles. Damn her double if she laughs. Goth girls like it when you double-damn it twice fast.

Goth girls, goth girls: they’re the girls that go
to see the nerdcore rapper with the geeked out flow.
At the show you can see the black lace on parade.
I met a hundred dozen of ‘em but I ain’t got laid.

This last song teleports me straight back to college in Pennsylvania where all of the nerds I was friends with up there were overwhelmingly goth or goth-inclined. Including the one chick I lost my lezzie virginity to and a lesbian that she later had a sub/domme relationship with... and who even later ended up being the first lesbian I had sexual relations with. Good times...

And then I get all distracted thinking about how much fun it is to lick girls...

MMmm... vagina!

The picture from Madonna's book Sex

Which brings me back to MC Frontalot cuz he's all like: "Some day I’ll be both revered & passé, like Madonna."

Go check him out.

Related posts:
Flobots "Fight With Tools" Album Review
Even Vegetarians Like Bacon Shoe
Put Your Headphones On (Your Heart)

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Black Inventors and their Inventions

When I saw a book titled Black Inventors, I knew I had to check it out. Think about the inventors you can name and consider how many of them are white. The only inventor of color I could think of was George Washington Carver, so I knew my worldview of inventors had to be skewed. So, in order to help us all unskew our view of inventors as white guys, I present you with some of the book's most interesting black inventors, as well as all the inventors listed from Kansas and Missouri:

1769 - Jamaican Dugald Clark patented a method to use steam power for sugar milling.

1821 - Thomas Jennings of Richmond, Virginia patented the dry cleaning technique of dry scouring clothes.

1834 - Jo Anderson co-invented the McCormick reaping machine.

1841 - Norbert Rillieux patented the sugar refining process.

1864 - Kansan William Douglass patented a self-binding harvester band twister, carrier chain, and several machine gun improvements.

1882 - Lewis Latimer discovered the filament that extends the life of a light bulb.

1884 - Jan Matzeliger patented shoe making devices that made the US world leader in shoe production.

1884 - Grant T. and brother Lyates Woods patented electrical dynamos, including the "third rail" for trains.

1889 - Missourian Daniel Johnson (a Kansas City resident, by the way) patented a lawn mower attachment, grass receivers for lawn mowers and a rotary dining table.

1909 - David Unaipon, an Australian Aborigine, patented an improvement for sheep shears.

1913 - Missourian Walter Majors patented nine items including a hair dryer, coin-controlled taxicab controller, monitor-controlling devices for taxis, an oil stove, an anti-skid device, a mimeograph attachment, a machine for treating hair and scalp, and more!

1919 - South African Santie Sabalala (while living in Ohio) patented a car brake.

1921 - Trinidadian Hubert Julian patented an airplane safety appliance.

1922 - Kansan John Arthur Johnson patented two theft-preventing devices for vehicles and a monkey wrench.

1939 - Bertha Berman patented the tooth brush holder, fitted bed sheet construction and a table cover.

1941 - Dr. Percy Lavon Julian created medicine, paints, lecithin and fire extinguishing foams out of soybeans.

1942 - Frederick Jones patented refrigerated units for trains, ships, planes and buses, allowing for the transportation of fruits, vegetables, frozen goods and medical supplies worldwide.

1943 - Norbert Rillieux of New Orleans revolutionized the sugar industry by inventing devices that convert sugar cane, beat and corn into sugar crystals.

1965 - Betsy Ancker-Johnson won patents for signal generators using semiconductor material in magnetic and electric fields, a radiant energy optical detector amplifier signal generator, solid state storage, switching devices and more.

1977 - Lonnie Johnson of Alabama invented the Super Soaker toy, patenting over 150 related items over the next 30 years.

1977 - Missourian Neil Thomas patented 42 chemical compounds for use in chemical treatment, demulsifiers, corrosion inhibitors, drilling fluids and water treating chemicals.

1984 - Bettye Greene developed many chemical processes related to latex paint.

1986 - Dosho Shifferaw of Ethiopia invented the Blowflex.

1995 - Missiourian Dannette Connor-Ward patented methods for soybean transformation and regeneration, sugar beet regeneration and transformation and efficiency soybean transformation protocol.

1996 - Sylvia Adae-Amoakoh patented three photographic developing compositions.

2001 - Christine Nare patented a formula to make alcoholic beverages from cereals and fruits.

For more black inventors visit

Related posts:
Perception and Reaction to Racism Not Equal
Continuum of Acceptance
Tony's Take on Racism in the Kansas City Area

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In Which I Wax Philosophical about Life, the Universe and Everything

Marcus Aurelius' Meditations helped me get my head straight about interpersonal relationships and how to marry the spiritual with the daily grind. It's like I had all these brightly colored blocks of information in my head that after reading the Meditations, suddenly was put into a configuration that spelled out a word instead of being a jumbled mess. These are some quotes from Aurelius I wrote in my journal:

Say to yourself in the morning: I shall meet people who are interfering, ungracious, insolent, full of guile, deceitful and antisocial; they have no understanding of good and evil. But I who have contemplated the essential beauty of good and the essential ugliness of evil, who know that the nature of the wrongdoer is of one kin with mine - not indeed of the same blood or seed but sharing the same mind, the same portion of the divine - I cannot be harmed by any one of them, and no one can involve me in shame. I cannot feel anger against him who is of my kin, nor hate him. We were born to labor together, like the feet, the hands, the eyes and the rows of upper and lower teeth. To work against one another is therefore contrary to nature, and to be angry against a man or turn one's back on him is to work against him.
Always keep this thought in mind: What is the essential nature of the Universe and what is my own essential nature? How is the one related to the other, being so small a part of so great a Whole? And remember that no one can prevent your deeds and your words being in accord with nature.
What then can help us on our way? One thing only: philosophy. This consists of guarding our inner spirit inviolate and unharmed, stronger than pleasures and pains, never acting aimlessly, falsely or hypocritically, independent of the actions or inactions of others, accepting all that happens or is given as coming from whence one came oneself, and at all times awaiting death with contented mind as being only the release of the elements of which every creature is composed.
There's loads more that's awesome, but that'll give you the gist. The Meditations is a fairly longish work, so I was amazed to find all of that wisdom wrapped up in a single poem (such is the power of poetry) by the Sufi Master Hafiz:
Rewards For Clear Thinking

Think about this for a second:

God (being God), having Infinite Knowledge,
Not only knew your every thought and action
Your life would ever experience

(Even before you were born)

But He also, being the Divine Creator,
Has etched every moment of your existence
With his own hand

With the precision and care
No artist ever could.

Think about this for a moment:
I have never heard a bird or the sun
Ever say to God,
I am sorry.

There seems to be a great reward
For clear thinking
All existence is a pawn in the Friend's hands.

Look, one gets wings and gifts to the world
Music each morning;
One turns into such an extraordinary light
He actually becomes a sustainer of a whole planet,

One makes a thousand moons go mad with love
And blush all night
When one can surrender the illusion, the crutch, of
Free will,

Though still live - for the benefits of others -
The highest of moral

If you replace "God" in there for "Cosmos," "Universe," or "Collective Unconscious," that's more along the lines of how I read it. Because I think god is just the symbolic X answering the equation that is everything everywhere.

More and more in life I've come to realize that the path I'm taking was laid out for me with incredible care in order to create, balance and shape my mind, emotions and person to be just so, in order that I'd fit into the perfectly intricate interplay of life on Earth that went on long before me and will continue long after, building the great work of consciousness to express itself ever more perfectly.

I'm learning that the more I "let go and let god," and just concentrate on doing what only I can do, the more power and wisdom I find in even the most casual of events. It's living life on mythic terms and it's terrifying and exhilirating to find that even my bitterest, most selfish tears have water the beautiful blossoming of the divine.

I think all our human helpleassness is a joke at which our godselves are laughing. Like when grownups pretend to be all weak while playing with kids cuz we think it's hilarious to play their games without "unfair advantages."

"Sometimes I go pirtying myself,
and all the while I am being carried
on great winds across the sky."
-Ojibwe Indian poem

Related posts:
May's Rules for Living Well
Buddha, Bisexuality and Betrayal
FAILure and Humor

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Seen Around MIdtown: PBR Painted Ads

Note: Thanks to everyone who voted for my entry in the KC Library's Tweet a Memoir Contest! You totally made me the winner ^__^

I'm a sucker for an ad painted on a building. Something about the permanence of it transforms it into something mystical... Anyway, I'm pretty indifferent to PBR, but these ads, painted on buildings in the heart of Westport, still make me happy.

Related Posts:
Seen Around Midtown: Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Seen Around Midtown: Graffiti
Seen Around Midtown: Norman School

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Bloody Women's Issue Post

A long time ago in a Twitterverse far, far away, I mentioned I'd purchased something to "green" my period. That was the "Moon Cup Kit" that includes two reusable pantyliners.

I didn't talk about it for a long time after that because when I got the kit, the instructions were to use it once during a light day (after using one's regular protection during that period) so I triedmy moon cup on a day when my flow was so light I wouldn't even regularly use a single item to deal with it. Maybe it was because of that, or maybe because a week of tampons always leaves my cunny sore, but either way, it felt really, horribly uncomfortable.

Two months later I was feeling major eco-guilt (most women use 11000 tampons during their lifetime) and had noticed a tip about insertion of the moon cup I hadn't read before, so I geared up to try again. This time I used it on my first and heaviest days and the little twisting after insertion tip made the fit just right! I was amazed at how easily I got used to the feeling and how much easier it was on my poor cunny tissues than tampons.

It was a disconcerting at first, seeing all the blood when I dumped the cup, but since I've been using it regularly for many months now, I've noticed some changes:

  • I don't bleed as heavily as I used to. I've read that the chemicals in tampons can make you bleed more and it seems to be true, because my periods are getting lighter and shorter - my last one was only 3 days long and my only "heavy" flow day was no where near as bad as it used to be.
  • I am totally fascinated now with how my menstrual blood looks and feels and moves. You can swish it around in the cup and see different types of blood, one thicker and one thinner, and my blood no longer smells like iron now that I'm a veggetarian, but it smells like flowers. How cool is that?
  • I'm much more easy going and playful during my period AND the incredibly painful, life-interrupting cramps and back spasms I used to get are no longer plaguing me. Huzzah!

Oh, and another awesome thing about using the moon cup is that you can use your blood (diluted with some water) and make a "tea" that is GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGREAT! for houseplants.
Free plant food created from your very own body. Now that is awesome.

Find out more about the Moon Cup over here.

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Detox Your Life (How To)
Ben-Wa Balls Cuz Balls Aren't Just for Boys
Why I'm Never Shopping At Victoria's Secret Again

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Sociological Images Deconstructs Our Culture

When I was going to college, I was not interested in taking philosophy since it seemed to rely so heavily on the Greeks (who were all misogynistic assholes IMO) so I opted for the sociology option. I'm really glad I did because it helped me be even more aware of our cultural subtexts and how they respond to and/or reflect the dominant culture in the US, which is controlled by and submissive to rich, white, straight men.

And it's for those exact same reasons that I love Sociological Images, a blog that uses both common and uncommon images to talk about the messages our culture sends itself. Recently, its taken on:
An oddly passive ad for a new noise-canceling headset...

The default avatars of many social media sites...
Gender-bending clothing combinations....
The odd photo cover choices of the New York Times magazine....
...and so much more! See for yourself at Sociological Images: Seeing Is Believing.

Also... Thanks to Aimee for the fabulous print she sent me for blogging about how cool she is:

I love it!

Related posts:
Weight, Honesty and Obesity in the USA
Continuum of Acceptance
Cultures Threatened as Climate Changes

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Friday, June 5, 2009

"The Crew" Is "The Office" In Space

Recently someone calling themselves "TheCrewTV" started following me on Twitter. As I clicked through to their profile, I was sure it was going to be some lame ass bid to sell me something but I was pleasantly surprised to find this bio: "A sci-fi comedy webseries. The Office meets Star Trek."

With bait like that I couldn't resist, and I watched all the videos in one setting, laughing my ass off. The premise is that a show is being created of a large space craft's engine room crew. The head engineer happens to be a not smart guy who didn't even graduate from the community college across from Academy, while the man who was hired to be the assistant was top of the Academy class. And the hijinks go on from there as characters are gradually added. Check out the pilot and just try to resist watching more!

Hilarious! Check out their website for all the ridiculous videos.

Related posts:
Captain Blasto, Mercury Men: Serial Radio Style on the Internets
Red Dwarf: Camp In Space
Narcissism in Space!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why My Cats Are Like Children

When I tell people that my cats are my furry babies, it's not just cuz they're part of my little family... it's because they, like many small children, want attention no matter what mommy and daddy are doing.

Whether I'm sleeping...

(This picture and the one below were taken the same night.
I'd passed out on the couch and the cats took turns using me
as a heating pad.)

Enjoying a DVD and glass of wine...

Or trying to take a bath...

(Look how he treats my boobs with total indifference and total ownership,
like kids who are always grabbing on their moms' boobies.)

No matter what, they think they have full rights to being in on the action. I'm fairly certain they think they're tiny, furry people.

Related posts:
Cats Gone (Mildly) Wild on Camera
My Little Turn on the Cat Walk
Detox Your Petcare (How To)

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Special Post! Contest Winners

Today I'm bringing you a special post for the winners of my Inanimate Object "Writing" Contest, because the decision was so easy to make since I only had two entries (grumble).

The First Place winner is Joe P. of Your Daily Joe who submitted a short story called "The Flask." Take a moment to enjoy the awesomeness:

The Flask
My Master wastes no time. As soon as we’re home, he pulls me out and puts me in his mouth. Not for long, though. Only for a moment; a brief encounter. A tease. A mere notion of what is to come. Then he puts me aside and makes me wait. This is good. I want to wait. I love to wait. It makes it better. Anything my Master wants. I know I will be his again. I can wait. I am patient.

He leaves me cold and alone on the kitchen table. Little to see and little to hear. Clocks tick loudly at night. I think of him in his bed, comfortable and warm, wrapped in cotton. I grow angry with him for leaving me out here to suffer. Then I smile to myself. I love it when he makes me feel this way.

I hear his alarm the next morning. He presses snooze, lazy like a cat. The alarm goes off again, and I know this time he’s out of bed. The shower starts and soon the entire apartment smells of steam and soap and him. Glorious him. My anticipation builds. I crave that first glimpse of him, clean and fresh and glistening, wearing only a towel around his waist – or perhaps nothing at all. I could only be so lucky. No, it will be too cold for him after the shower. He’ll definitely wear a towel. Some steam builds into a bead and rolls down me.

Finally my Master permits me to see him. He comes into the kitchen for a small breakfast. Yes, he wears a towel. Blue. Navy blue. Manly blue. He pays me no attention, like it doesn’t matter to him that I’m even here. I know it’s just pretend. I know his thoughts are on me. This is part of the game. It’s what I want, what we both want. Makes it better for both of us.

He pours some cereal into a bowl, something with chocolate and marshmallows. He might as well spoon straight sugar into his mouth. Didn’t his mother teach him better than that? How does he maintain such an amazing body? Some men starve themselves dreaming of that body. He takes a mouthful of his cereal as he walks past me, back to his bedroom. A glance! He gave me a glance! I love my Master. He is merciful.

I continue to wait. It seems like too much time has passed if all he’s doing is dressing for work, though it is not my place to judge. My Master may take as much time as he desires. I realize that time has slowed for me. My senses are keyed up. That’s what he does for me, with just a glance.

I look around. I love this place, our place. No, not ours; just his. He calls it his bachelor pad. It’s one of the ways he insults me. He knows it gets to me.

My Master returns to the kitchen dressed in his business attire for the day – crisp white button-down shirt, a smart tie, a black suit tailored perfectly to his body. Emphasizes all the right parts. And then he puts on those glasses. He doesn’t need to wear them all the time, but he knows how they make him look. He is irresistible.

Then my Master gives me the thrill of my day. As he heads toward the door to leave for work, he pauses. He looks back at me. This is more than just a glance! This is a long, meaningful stare. He is considering me, seriously considering me. Sometimes he allows me to go to work with him. He knows what a special treat that is for me. He wants today to be one of those days. He knows how bad I want it. And because I want it so badly, he denies me. He leaves me here, and goes off to work alone. I am forced to spend another long day in still boredom and solitude. My Master knows what’s best for me.

The time passes. Slowly, of course. I become calm, settled. The high of the morning’s activities subsides. But I know that when the time is right and my Master returns to me, it will all come flooding back, stronger than ever. That’s why he does it to me. That’s what I want him to do. So I wait. I listen to the ticking of the clock.

The day grows long. It’s late now. Work should have ended hours ago. He must have gone somewhere afterwards. Perhaps to the gym – oh, that body! But this would be a long time to spend at the gym.

Finally, I hear him approaching. Yes, I recognize the sound of his footsteps. He is in the hallway right now, coming back to me!

But then I hear something more. He is not alone. Another voice echoes down the hallway. A woman.

Sure enough, I was right. As my Master enters the apartment, she’s right behind him. Her hands are all over him. She’s young and pretty, of course. Dark skin, darker hair, black dress. They waste no time. As soon as the door is closed, she has my Master pinned against it. He doesn’t allow this for long. He pushes her forward, never breaking their kiss. He pins her against a wall. She pulls off those dashing glasses of his and tosses them away. She ought to be more careful. She hikes her dress up her thighs, hops up, and wraps her legs around him. She is eager. My Master grabs firm hold of her – he’s so strong – and carries her toward the bedroom, kissing her neck.

As he carries her to the bedroom, biting and sucking at her shoulders, he casts a gaze at me sideways. My heart skips a beat. In an instant, I know that I’m in his thoughts. He may be with her, but he’s wishing he were with me.

For a moment, I wonder who’s really the master.

I try not to listen. I know what they’re up to, and I don’t need to hear it. I shouldn’t be upset. I’m not allowed to be upset. I know the arrangement. My Master can do whatever he pleases. I have no say in the matter.

I’ve seen this before. I know how it ends. Soon, she’ll be gone. And I’ll still be here. I’m the one who gets to stay for good.

The next morning, my Master sleeps in. She’s still in there with him; but it’s been quiet, nothing is going on.

Suddenly, to my delighted surprise, I am grasped from behind. It’s him! He caught me off guard, snuck up on me. I didn’t even hear him coming. My heart races. In a moment, I’m in his mouth. He sucks fervently. He wants it all, and he wants it now.

I knew she wasn’t enough to satisfy him. I knew it all along. My Master wants me. He needs me. And he always will. She was just a distraction. An appealing distraction, perhaps, but a distraction just the same. I give my Master what he needs.

He sucks me dry, and it is beautiful. He wipes his mouth and smiles faintly to himself. He holds me in his hands and regards me with contentment. These are the moments I long for. I hold onto them the best I can.

And then she comes into the room. She sees him with me and her face turns sour. The hard daylight treats her naked body a lot less kindly than the moonlight, and I laugh at her for it. She begins yelling at my Master and becomes uglier still. I would be defensive on my Master’s behalf if I didn’t know he had the situation well in hand. He could care less about her yelling. He knows what’s next as well as I do. She gets herself all worked up, gathers her belongings, and is out the door never to be seen again.

I don’t know what she’s yelling about, and I don’t care. That’s between her and my Master. All I care about is that ticking clock, counting down the moments until she is gone and I’m alone again with my Master. All I have to do is wait. Her time is almost up. But I have all the time in the world. I am patient. My Master always returns to me.
Way to know your audience, Joe! How could I resist a sub/dom story? That's right, I couldn't! Fucking LOVE it, especially since the tone and some of the phrasing is so like actual things subs I know (through the internet) have written. Kick ass!

Coming in for Second Place is my fabulous friend Darcy of Create Your Own Reality, who submitted a photo essay "Stories of Neighborhood Sitting Areas" on the subject of porches. Here's the slideshow on Flickr, which you should really go and watch since I can't embed it, but here are some selections:
Darcy said of her submission: "I examined the front porch sitting areas in my neighborhood. The main characters change from porch to porch as I tell a story that is empty of people. Listen carefully and you can hear the conversations still in progress." It's amazing how watching photo after photo of porches and seats go past you can create its own story! Well, done, Darcy! I was imagining an entire neighborhoods interrelationships before the slideshow was done!

For prizes, I'm giving both Joe and Darcy the t-shirt of their choice from Jeph Jacques, author/artist of Questionable Content, one of my favorite web comics.

Let's give Joe and Darcy some feedback, mkay?

Related posts:
Create Your Own Reality
Enter to Win! Inanimate Object "Writing" Contest
My Top 5 Artists

Monday, June 1, 2009

Megan Rose Gedris: Lesbian Comic Artist Extraordinaire!

Note: If you entered my contest and your name isn't Darcy or Joe, please leave a comment in this post... because that means your submission went to my junk mail folder.

Somehow I was lucky enough to stumble across two incredible, on-going web comics created by the fabulous Megan Rose Gedris: I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space! and Yu+Me Dream.

I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space! is easily the more accesible of the two. It's farcicle quality makes it easy to fall into the story even if you don't begin from the beginning, when mild-mannered secretary Susan is kidnapped by, you guessed it, lesbian pirates... from outer space, who mistake her for their long-long princess.
Megan is eventually outed by the sassy space captian and joins her crew of lezzie lushes in their adventures which include, robbing a bank for shoe money!
Read all the silliness for yourself ova here.

When Megan calls Yu + Me Dream "surreal" she was so not kidding! This is a story line she's planned for SIX YEARS about teenager Fiona Thompson who is hated by most everyone in her life and lives most happily in her dreams. This beginning bit is really emo, but the story gets more complex, interesting and astonishing and less whiny as it goes along. And the ever-changing art styles are really interesting. When Fiona meets the new girl at school, Lia and together the girls realize their mutual attraction and their relationship grows until Fiona wakes up and discovers she was in a self-induced coma.
Crushed by her loss, Fiona's conscionce (a sassy black fairy-winged figure) helps Fiona to crash into dreamworld to find her long-lost love.
How could you not love this story!? Follow the continuing adventures here.