Monday, August 30, 2010

Dancing Is My Remedy To Mugging

This Post Requires An Introduction
I've been subscribed to The Freebox where Mary posts a new dance every day. A couple of my recent favorites are her Hafiz "Dividing God" and Light and fabric dances. She describes her project like this:

If more people danced everyday, the world would be a much happier place!

This is my friendly challenge to you to literally join the movement.

It's as simple as 1,2,3.

1. Watch one of my videos (or play a song)
2. Dance with me
3. Tomorrow, do it again.

Remember - it doesn't matter how you look or how you dance. Just move.

One song, once a day. Dance, then leave a brief comment here or on our Facebook page so we can support you and cheer you on. If you feel inspired, make a video and share it too!

So I wanted to make a video of me dancing since I've enjoyed hers.... but then Matt and I were mugged Saturday night and I know lots of people want me to talk about that. So I decided to do both in today's blog, since nothing makes me feel better like a good dance.

The Mugging
Saturday night Matt and I were going to a birthday party late in the evening, so we made a trip to Gomer's at 39th and Broadway to pick up a six-pack. On the way home, we crossed through the Wallgreen's parking lot right across the street, going through the fence over towards Central and 38th. When we got on Central, Matt told me to hurry up because someone was trying to get our attention. We quickened our pace and I turned around to see two tall, slim black males coming through the fence around the Walgreen's parking lot towards us. I instantly got a bad feeling about it and started to go for my concealed defense weapon when I remembered that I didn't have my purse with me - and the weapon was in it!

That made me frustrated and somewhat anxious and the next thing I know the tallest guy has run around in front of me and is pointing a shiny semi-automatic pistol at my chest. Many things crossed my mind like "Guns look bigger on TV shows" and "I bet I could live through being shot by that" and "What the fuck?! Is this guy seriously trying to rob ME?! One of the poorest ppl I know?!?"

So he did the usual "Give me your money" routine and, in my experience, the louder you are with people who harass you on the street the sooner they're likely to leave you alone. So I'm very loudly declaring I don't have anything of value. I was eating peanut M&Ms and for some reason I kept saying "I've got some M&Ms. You want THOSE?!" to make the muggers feel absurd. I was being noisy and distracting and basically trying to make the whole experience not worth their while...

The second guy (without the gun) took the bag Matt had with our beer in it. I was pissed because it's my FAVORITE bag; it has images from Marc Chagall's stained glass windows on it. And the first guy took his keys then gave them back to him. I pulled out the receipt and flyer I had in my pocket, then when he reached to get into my pocket I pulled out my debit card and gave it to him, but he just handed it back since he knew I'd just go and cancel it or whatever...

So eventually they believed us when we said we had no cash and they jogged away towards Broadway, the one guy dropping the bag in the street as he left. Full of righteous indignation, I yelled after them that "Not all white people have money, you know" and instantly thought I should probably shut my mouth in case he decided to shoot me just for spite, but they just ran away and we went home and reported it to the cops.

It was scary, but Matt and I were both impressed that it didn't scare us that much. In fact, it kinda just made us feel more lucky and invulnerable than ever - I mean, who gets mugged and has nothing stolen from them?

Anyway, it wasn't without making me feel this neighborhood is not the place for me to be, but for now it's home so I got to deal with it and try to be as safe as possible... and not let myself get freaked out.

So how do I do that? Well....

Dancing Is My Remedy

(Click here to see embedded video)

Related posts:
Dancing Away My Troubles

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Friday, August 27, 2010

New Breeds: Petunia (Game)

Matt (AKA @MC_HFCS) found a spiffy science-based game at where you digitally cross-breed rare petunias to create new, different flowers.

You start with a single flower and then are given several choices:

Each choice determines the color(s) and petal arrangements of the next batch of flowers:

It's amazing the flowers that will appear! I went from this... these in just a few generations.
There's something mesmerizing about creating an instant, unique garden!

Just to show you the variety you can have, I started a new garden and a few generations in, ended up with these:

And one of Matt's playtimes ended up with these sweet puppies:

You know you want to click through and play.

Related posts:
FreeRice: Play to End World Hunger
Sam & Max: Season 1 (Wii Game Review)
A Game of Conspiracy

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Two-Part Vlog

(Click here to see embedded video)

(Click here to see embedded video)

Related links:
My DeviantArt Gallery
Drum Tribe Meet-up
My 365 Self-Portrait Project

Related posts:
Stray Cat Love
More Summer Reading: Feminist Pin-Ups, Gay YMCA, Lewis & Clark and George Eliot

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Fantastic Short Story with Myrth Dragons

I just finished reading "Jeenome and the Dark White Day" by fellow writer and person-with-Asperger's Ryan Carter (@izmyaspieshowin). I'll tell you what I told him: "What a great story! I enjoyed it so much. Nice plot twists, magical rabbits, adventure, love and some great philosophy too. :)" (BTW by "nice" plot twists, I mean they weren't annoying like M. Night Shamalan's are...) Oh and did I forget to mention the dragons? I must've... dear me. I like Ryan's dragons cause they're more akin to Falcor in their personalities than the average dragon in a typical fantasy story.

Here's a snippet to wet your appetite:
On the far side of the room I saw her. Jeenome, my love, looking barely alive. I tip-toed over to her, scanning the room carefully to be sure no one was watching from beyond the shadows. Just as I reached her bedside, I noticed that she was laughing quietly, somewhat cheerful and happy as she usually did, but as the laugh ended, it turned dark, a loud, maniacal cackle that chilled my bones to the core.

Now I understood what was happening. By draining the myrth from joyful gnomes, the lich could sweep through the land and turn vast scores of people into undead scourge, making the Lich King’s domination swift. I had no idea that laughter was such a bastion of power in the world, holding back the blinding rage of evil. I had spent all my life not knowing that laughing mattered so much. It is no wonder that Rhea, the queen of joy herself could not accompany me. The realm of Myrth would surely be doomed if that were to happen.

Upon closer inspection, I saw many needles carelessly inserted all over Jee’s body. They were siphoning her myrth and replacing it with some necrotic green slime, the kind you see in so many seedy lairs these days. In shock of this discovery I nearly tripped and fell into a vat of the green goo. I couldn’t help but vomit a little.
You gotta click through and read it all. It's such a fun story.

Related posts:
Gunning for the Buddha
Summer Reading: Percy Jackson & The Olympians
Rapunzel Revisited

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unemployment Blues

(Click here to see embedded video)

Today is Wednesday, August 18th and I've been unemployed for eight months and ten days.

Which is fairly mind-blowing since I haven't been out of work since I was a 10 year-old helping my brothers and sisters on their newspaper routes until I was old enough to get one of my own. I worked all through school and also college and grad school, which I paid for myself via scholarships, grants and loans. And now here I am with these degrees and no job!

It would actually be ok with me if I didn't have to, you know, pay rent and utilities and, next month, I'm supposed to start paying my student loans again... Not sure how that will happen since Matt's still out of work too and we're living off my meager unemployment and my even more meager salary for doing some freelance editing work.

I've done more art stuff during this period than ever before and was hoping I could turn that into some sort of income stream, but I seem to lack the knack to make people want to buy my stuff. Even though everyone *says* I should be able to make money on it.. so doesn't happen. I haven't been able to find any more commissions either, which was how I was making money on it for about a minute.

I also haven't been able to find any methods of money-making that I could employ besides that, though I've been looking and researching... even going so far as to look at going back to school, though that would just put me farther into debt so it doesn't seem very helpful at all (especially considering how worthless my degrees turned out to be in the job market).

So, I don't know what's going to happen to me and my little family of Matt and the cats who depend on me. Worst case scenario is not paying my student loans and messing up my credit.. at least until the unemployment insurance runs out, and then I won't be able to afford my apartment anymore... and end up homeless or something.

No - wait! WORST CASE scenario would be my having to take some sort of sales person job where I can feel my heart and soul and mind atrophy and I lose all energy for my creative work. Really hoping that doesn't happen. =\

All I can do is wait and see... (For some reason, imaging the worst possible likelihood makes me feel confident that I could handle it. For instance, right now I'm plotting how to tend to the flame of my creativity if I have to get another freaking sales job...)

Related posts:
Sleep Troubles
Leap of Faith

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Monday, August 16, 2010

An Exquisite Paradox (NSFW)

I am so completely in love with An Exquisite Paradox, the Tumblr of an unknown woman who lists her "Fascinations" as:

• Photography
• Graffiti/street art
• Graphic novels/comic books
• Philosophy of Alice in Wonderland
• Queer/Femme Lesbian women
• Reading
• Art
• Music
• Philosophy
• Daydreaming
• Thinking
• Animals
• Caffeine
• Chocolate
• Venetian Masks
• Traveling
• Nature
• Blood
• Rain
• Sex
• Mystery
• Vampires
• Skulls/Skeletons
• Life & Death
• Love
• Passion
• Devotion...

The images she posts are striking, chilling, surprising, intriguing, dark and often sexy. It's currently my favorite thing to look through on my Google Reader. Some of the images I've enjoyed lately are:

It was really hard to choose among the many images because there are just TONS of good ones there! You really need to go look for yourself.

Related posts:
Neat Stuff I Saw This Week
Lots of Little Things

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Friday, August 13, 2010

More Summer Reading: Feminist Pin-ups, Gay YMCA, Lewis & Clark and George Eliot

One of my recent self-portraits inspired by Pin-Up Grrls
(which I'm pretending to read here)

While I sometimes want to read books that are quick, enthralling adventures, sometimes I want to eat a book that's meatier (metaphorically, of course, since I'm a vegetarian). And that's the type of book I'm reading right now.

Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture by Maria Elena Buszek
This is clearly a feminist take on the pin-up, which discusses the way in which women's sexuality has been epitomized by the pin-up and the ways in which women have appropriated the pin-up as a symbol of self-aware sexuality. The pin-up is something that I have a fairly tortured relationship with, since I love the imagery itself, but have issues with anything that is created just to please the male eye... I'm reading this in part because I want to be more at peace with this issue and partly cause it's just a damn interesting topic.

Take the Young Stranger By the Hand: Same-Sex Relations and the YMCA by John Donald Gustav-Wrathall
This very interesting book covers the YMCA's beginnings as a male-to-male-based religious association to one that is best known for providing gyms and swimming pools for American families. It discusses how close male friendships became less and less encouraged by the YMCA as homosexuality became an ever-greater fear. Turns out lots of the early YMCA literature was full of praise for same-sex love and lots of the "spiritual" closeness seems to have been, in part, due to a subdued sexual tension in many cases. Quite an intriguing read...

The Journals of Lewis & Clark edited by Frank Bergon
I'm enjoying the odd writing style and nearly non-existent spelling and grammar rules in the journals, as well as hearing descriptions of this land we live on before it was so heavily "civilized" and all the indigenous populations & wild life driven out. It's also interesting to find out that these guys had no problem eating beaver (which seems like a really odd game to me), knew a ridiculous amount of stuff about plants, and apparently dressed mostly in flannel shirts.

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
I finally got around to reading a George Eliot novel! I don't know how I managed to avoid it all these years, but I'm finally making amends. I just started this so I'm not very far in it, but from what I hear, it's about a brother and a sister and the different educations and possibilities available to them in life because of their gender. (That's my simplified take on the summary I just read so don't take my word on it.)

What are you reading/passing the time with these hot, humid summer days?

Related posts:
Summer Reading: Percy Jackson & The Olympians
Tattooed Ladies (Part 2)
Tattooed Ladies (Part 3)

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Am Not a Robot

I spent most of the day with my second oldest brother, Curtis, who just got back to town after getting out of the Army. And I've got no ideas about what to blog about today, so... here's the song that's been playing over and over in my head recently:

(Click here to see embedded video)

Related posts:
Sociological Discussion: Music Video and America
Let's Have a Sociological Discussion

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Monday, August 9, 2010

365 Self-Portrait Project

You might remember I posted an old self-portrait the other day on a post about self-defining women. My friend Kris the Vagabond liked it and said:

I've been thinking about doing that self-portrait project where you take a picture of yourself everyday for a year. A friend of mine did it because she wanted to really deal with her self-image and she says taking a picture every day gave her a way to be creative, express herself, and forced her to deal with what she "really" looked like and not what she thought she looked like.

What do you think? Would you want to join in on something like that?
Well! I couldn't resist an invitation like that! So of course I said YES!

We set August 1st as our start date, and I've been having fun making my daily self-portrait. Some are inspired by things I like, such as fairies or images of women from Art Deco art. Some are just born of the moment I find myself in when thinking I should get my picture for the day out of the way.

Here's a look at what I've done so far (through Sunday since I haven't done today's yet):

Nothing fancy the first day.
Just grabbed him and clicked. Inky wasn't thrilled.

Summertime is a good time for lying on the grass.

OMG! I'm a fairy!

I so wanna be an Art Deco lady.

My costume for my friends' Pretty Pony Party.
The pic data got screwed up somehow,
but my friend Mike mostly restored it. YAY!

Another summer-inspired pic. I was just HOT.

Taken at the Alcott Art Center when I was there for the
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Art Festival.
I love old upright pianos!

Playing with my masculinity.
This would have worked better if my boobs were easier to bind.

If you'd like to follow along as I do this, you can keep an eye on my Flickr photostream.

Related posts:
On the Death of Polaroids (and My Love Life)

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