Friday, January 29, 2010

Feminist Fairy Tale: Rapunzel Revisited


I just did the above drawing one day and thought to myself, "What would have happened of Rapunzel hadn't waited around for a guy to save her?" This story is how I answered my question. Enjoy!

Rapunzel Revisited

When she became of age, Rapunzel's parents locked her in a room at the top of a distant tower surrounded by a moat to keep their princess safe. But Rapunzel had other plans. She was itching to escape and to see the wide world.

She crafted bright baubles out of her crown jewels and hair ribbons to attract the birds flying overhead. They came down like arrows, screaming for the shiny riches, but she hid them in her bodice. Except for one which she gave to a mighty eagle, charging him by her royal blood to deliver it, with her offer of marriage, to the King of Birds.

The eagle flew far and wide to reach the Bird King, who laughed heartily when he heard of the sassy human. His interest piqued, he visited the lonely tower where he found Rapunzel brushing her long, long hair. She rose, politely bowed, and strode around the mighty bird, winding long, soft tresses around his clawed feet until she had formed a soft nest into which the Bird King sank - as if unconsciously.

Your majesty honors me with his presence, she cooed smoothly, stroking the long, white feathers forming his right wing.

An offer so ridiculous should be seriously considered and then rejected, he replied, catching himself and rising with a swoop.

But is it so ridiculous? As she spoke, Rapunzel pulled her hair slowly through his feet back to her where it lay like a silent waterfall. I want to fly away and you, my dear lord, have wings. You have no royal consort and I am Princess of the realm below. I'd say that makes us fairly well suited.

The Bird King closed his piercing eyes; her hair felt like water golden water carressing his sensitive feet. When she had drawn her hair back altogether and was braiding it delicately, he opened his beak to reply but she held up a hand to stop him.

Do not answer me today, my lord. But let me accompany you to your nest and let us see if I can please you.

He agreed and she flew on his back across half the world to his gigantic tree standing 30 men high. There she stayed, cleaning his feathers, twining her copper hair around him as he slept, and journeying with him on many hunting trips where he taught her how to provide for herself in the wild. Back at the nest she would rub his feathers with oils to make them blindingly bright in the sun's rays, plucking the parasites that pestered him from soft down.

After many months, she and the king decided not to wed and he agreed not to return Rapunzel to imprisonment in the tower. Out of respect and gratitude, Rapunzel gifted him her greatest jewel and he to her, a hunting knife etched with feathers. She tucked it with the rest of her jewels into her bodice for safe keeping. They said their goodbyes and she climbed down the tree and out to find her path through the world.

The art and story are copyrighted by me, by the way.

Related posts:
Eve, Revisited

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

May's Monikers

I think a lot lately about the internets now versus when they first started getting popular when I was in high school. In a lot of ways, I liked it better back in the day, when everyone online was a geek and it was like being at a private party. I had such great connections with people when I started journaling online, so now that I've got a blog with over a hundred readers [which still doesn't seem real to me], the comparative level of feedback is disappointing. Because back when only 20 people were reading me, a lot more commented and it was easier to make friends [at least for me]. Anyway, it just feels like the internet belongs to normal ppl now instead of freaks like me, but I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Join me on a trip internet memory lane, in the form of my usernames:

claybourne - this was a totally random pick. At the time, I was doing a lot of random research about names and so when I was trying to start an account at MyDearDiary.com and none of the neat names I picked were available (I'm anti using numbers in usernames, p.s.), I was like, "well no one will pick THIS name, dammit!" And they hadn't, so it was mine. Interestingly, this username caused several people to confuse me for a gay male for quite a while. That cracked me up.

Seductress - this was a secret username for a secret account I used to write very dirty, but well plotted erotica online somewhere. And no I'm not telling you where. This just seemed like the obvious choice for a name and I was surprised it hadn't been taken already. My erotica writing period didn't last very long though, probably because I'm lazy and would rather just think of something and masturbate than write it down.

dreamypoetess - When IM became the new big thing to do when I was in college, I started an AIM account with this name. Cuz it was an apt description of me. Eventually, I stopped liking this name and it still kinda bugs me. Probably because I feel like it makes me seem like a spaced out weirdo, which is not too far from the truth...

bluepantsdemon - When I got sick of dreampoetess, I started using this instead. This is from the Simpsons episode where Homer takes over the church. At the end, when Rev. Lovejoy is praying, he says, "Forgive them, Lord, they were led astray by a demon in blue pants." And since I had a pair of bright blue cheerleading pants that I LOVED at the time, it seemed fitting since I was all about my bad girl identity back then.

reddvenus - When I was switching to Gmail right before I entered graduate school, it seemed time for a change. So I tried to think of what defines me and I came up with 1) the red hair and 2) how I'm a sucker for love. So smoosh those two ideas together, add an extra "d" cuz that's how the cool kids roll, and there you go.

readheadgirl - I came up with this when I got to grad school and it suddenly seemed like everyone was on LiveJournal. So I joined the club and came up with this, not wanting to use the reddvenus for whatever reason, though I used it on MySpace. This just seemed a good description of me: a girl with red hair who also likes to read. Wordplay is fun! Anyway, I liked this one so much I ended up using it on Twitter and DeviantArt. It's the username I'm most known by now.

MzDaddy - This is just for fetish sites, because I needed a domme name to go by online. By Baby calls me "Daddy" and it was a cinch to add the "Mz" to make it clear I has girl bits on top of my masculine, dominating attitude.

So what about you? Have your online identifiers changed with you?

Related posts:
Asperger's and the Internet
Personality Analysis for Bloggers
In Defense of Internet Memes and Personality Quizzes

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Dancing Away my Troubles

So I'm working on looking at the bright side of unemployment... like how I can dance around like a maniac at 10 AM if I wanna, like I did today:



In case you were wondering, I'm listening to Infected Mushroom.

Related posts:
Shake Your Booty, Use Your Phone
More Ways to Use Human Energy

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Would You Help?


Feministing posted the above photos from Just Detention International's new campaign against prison rape. I really like this because it humanizes a group (felons) that has been scapegoated and severely mistreated in our society.

I first became upset about the way prisoners are treated in the USA by reading a book in a college women's studies class that I unfortunately can't remember the title or author of. It's the true story of a woman who runs away from her family to America before she is to have her genitals mutilated in order to prepare her for a marriage she doesn't want. In the USA, she doesn't have proper paperwork so she is thrown in prison, where she would remain for many years. The conditions she and the other "detainees" are subjected too were horrific and terrifying. Only after a very long, hard struggle on her behalf by American citizens is she finally allowed to leave the country. This book infuriated me and stayed on my mind for quite a long time.

I am also distressed about the state of prisons and what happens to their inmates because my dearly loved uncle spent over 10 years incarcerated. I don't want to say anything specific, but he's told me some horror stories about his time there... about how the main walk had to be washed off every day to keep the blood from drying on it, about how you cannot avoid being raped because you may be able to fight, but you can't fight 5 or 6 men all at once every day for your entire jail sentence, so they'll get you sooner or later. This and many other stories break my heart and fill me with respect for him to have gone through all of that and still be such a strong, kind man.

Both as an activist and as a rape survivor, I am so angry that being given a prison sentence is about same thing as condemning a person to be raped over and over again. This is so fucked up, I don't understand how it can continue to go on for years and years and years and years and everyone's mostly totally okay with it.

Just another symptom of our sick, sick society. One more thing I wish I could change by closing my eyes and hoping really hard. Because I sign petitions all the time about this stuff... and it basically feels like doing the same thing.

Related posts:
It's Not Sex When It's Rape
Human Rights are Meaningless in America
Close Guantanamo!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

May Gots No Job

On Friday, January 8th, I was asked to go to the HR guy's office where I was, very regretfully, told I was being laid off because they couldn't afford to pay me anymore. I was glad I had pre-posted entries on here through the next week because I was totally in shock and stayed that way for a while. It's only today that I really feel ready to talk about it, which is in part, I think, because of last night, which was my going away party @ McCoy's with my now ex-coworkers.

So, I'm really sad to not be working there anymore. My supervisor taught me so much and we made such a fabulous team. My coworkers were all so incredibly passionate, intelligent and tuned in to what's going on in the world, I think I'll be hard pressed to find another group so impressive. Plus, I went through a LOT with them, on emotional, spiritual and physical levles that it is a huge deal to be disconnected from all that.

On the other hand, I'm hopeful that maybe I'll find a position even more suited for me than the one I had there. I figure there's got to be a job as weird as I am out there somewhere.

Meanwhile, I'm applying to lots of jobs I really couldn't care less about if I get, just to do it. I've already gotten some people dropping the "interview" word around, which is pretty surprising. They're all evil corporations, which isn't my first choice, but I figure I should at least allow for the possibility that not working in the non-profit world might still be enjoyable for me.

And I'm also trying to enjoy not having a rigid schedule anymore. The first four days of last week I was applying to a buttload of jobs, but then stuff I was anywhere near suited for dropped off significantly and I realized I have to wait for jobs to be posted before I can apply for them... So I did nothing much at all since then. I spent most of the day yesterday painting, which felt really good.

Oh, and speaking of my art, I've had an inkling that something like being laid off was a possibility for many months now, which is one of the reasons I've started taking commissions and why I published my book when I did. Given the response to both, I'm not overwhelmingly optimistic that I could make it as a full time artist like friends and acquaintances alike seem to think.

Right now I'm just in a wait and see what happens mode.

Wish me luck.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Have a Dream

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

...

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

...

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

- Martin Luther King Jr., "I Have a Dream" delivered 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., and it's just as true and as urgent as ever.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Anthropomorphized Animal Comic Books [Review]

Image from Grandville

Read a couple of neato comic books this week that are both about animals living like humans did in the past, which was kind of a random coincidence.

Grandville by Bryan Talbot
My summary of this on Goodreads was:
A fun book that is a bit Holmes & Watson, a bit Wind in the Willows, a bit V for Vendetta, a bit steampunk, a bit furry. Oh, and it's in an alternative history where Napoleon won. Neat, right?
Grandville was a blast to read. I was incredibly impressed with both the art, story and the world Talbot created for his badger and rat heroes to adventure in. The story starts in England and moves to France, where a string of suspect suicides leads our stalwart heroes into an international plot to start a war. It was more violent than it really needed to be, but otherwise, I have no complaints!

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Peterson
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 was also a story about a plot to start a war, oddly enough. The only anthropomorphized animals in this story were the mice. As you can see above, the snake and other predators (the only other speies we see) are shown as your typical animalistic creatures. In that way it was a bit like Watership Down.


This setting was like feudal, medieval Europe with the same level of technology and civilization. The story centers on the Mouse Guard that protects the towns and villages from predators and other threats and the evil plot to overturn the peaceful mouse society with a militaristic one.

The imagery was vivid, all the characters were believeable and largely endearing (not the bad guys, obviously). The story's simplicity was strengthened by stunning and rich images. I'm looking forward to reading the sequal.

Both books were very enjoyable, quick reads. I definitely recommend them.

...

On an un-related note, please enjoy this review of my poetry book at Devious Bloggery.

Related posts:
Ender's Game the Comic is a Total Suckfest
Why I Love Comic Books
Frank: The Trippy Cartoon Whatsit

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Monday, January 11, 2010

La Roux Is Bowie with a Hair Horn

Update: Don't miss Gone Mild's review of my poem "Birds on the Family Tree". Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

UK singer La Roux is fabulous, and not just because she has a hair horn that rivals Fry's:

Her voice is freaking awesome. So high, ethereal and fragile. I love that she counters that with crazy Bowie-like showmanship. Oh and her androgyny is fucking hot.




(Click here to see embedded video)


(Click to see embedded video)

She's got a couple other fun videos on her YouTube channel and you can also listen more at her MySpace page.

Related posts:
Robyn: Ridiculous Pop Princess
MC Frontalot's Nerdcore
Kaiser Chief's "Off With their Heads" (Album Review)

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Friday, January 8, 2010

A Picture Is Worth...


A while back I showed you my first commissioned painting (seen above). I wanted to say more about the experience, but felt it wasn't really my story to tell. So I was stoked that Sara (whom I made the painting for) finally posted about it on her blog!

You should really go there and read the whole post, but the end is my favorite part:

I laughed and I cried and sighed with happiness because it was perfect. It was Us, and it was everything that Us means, and when I showed Mike for the first time he was appropriately speechless, and then just before the panic attack that told me he hated it hit, he hugged me and kissed me and told me it was perfect.

He told me how much he loved me and how happy he was that we finally had something that represented us in all of our colorful-ness and uniqueness and it couldn’t have been any more perfect.

*Sniffle* Painting for a someone who, when the project started, was a complete stranger and having them turn into a friend and then being able to add so much to her life was an incredible experience.

I'm really glad she is happy with the painting, and you should go read the whole story. It was pretty incredible if I do say so myself.

Also, on a related-but-separate note, Patient Anonymous reviewed my book of poetry. You should check it out.

Oh, and if you're a blogger who'd be willing to review my book, I'll send you a free ebook of it. Just email me: reddvenus AT gmail DOT com. KThanxBai!

Related posts:

Check Out My First Commissioned Painting

Commission Me! [NSFW]

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Image from ZooBorns

Dance it in!