Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How Our Fantasies Help Us

I've been reading Gerard Jones' Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence partly because it seems like comic book and fantasy heroes seem to have taken center stage these days and partly because I wanted to hear someone else's take on what I already felt strongly about.

In fact, I remember way back when I was a tween reading The Baby-sitter's Club books, thinking that Dawn was an idiot for not allowing the kids she sat to play with guns. That kind of over-pacification of playing seemed ridiculous to me, and it still does. So when people freak out about violence on TV and in games affecting kids, I just roll my eyes and wonder why adults are so stupid about kids. Killing Monsters has the same kind of slant, encouraging adults to stop impressing reality on the fantasy world that children use to practice how to live:

The art of life is building a self that serves us well: a weaving together of caution and optimism, toughness and openness, love and boundaries, self-interest and empathy. Aggression has to be part of that self. It can be destructive, but it can also be directed into assertiveness, decisiveness, healthy competition, and altruism. It helps us protect ourselves and what we believe in, inspires us to show off and make the best of ourselves. And as any kid in the middle of a wild X-Men game or an athlete in the moment of triumph or a writer coming out on top of a challenging chapter can attest, there is no joy sweeter and no satisfaction more unassailable than healthy aggression channeled toward a creative end.

We learn to channel it mostly from reality: parents, peers, self-understanding, life experience. But play helps, too. Most of our fundamental learning is in childhood, and play is an important part of any childhood work. A child learning to enjoy and play with his aggression is working toward his or her eventual wholeness. ...

One of the virtues of media entertainment is that it enables young people to play long after the normally sanctioned age of fantasy is past. "Our culture is hard on play," said Lenore Terr. "There always has to be a point, developmentally, where the play principle has to make way for the reality principle. But our culture insists on it earlier and more completely than a lot of cultures and it seems to do it earlier all the time." ...

Entertainment violence embraces far more than the superhero fantasies of early childhood, takes more problematic forms and plays more complex roles. But at heart, it's about the joy of feeling big and strong, the freedom of being able to survive anything and to overcome any obstacle. It's about action, power, and mastering life.
When I was growing up in my crazy Baptist, abusive household, I didn't feel in control of anything in my life. My words, thoughts, actions and body were constantly challenged, denied and denigrated. And it sucked a lot. But when I was pretending to be Scarlett from G.I. Joe, X-Men's Storm, or someone else entirely, I could put aside everything else in my life and loose myself in exploring combat methods or pretend I could control the storms rolling in around me. That time gave me such power and strength and I consider it the reason I turned out way more normal than I should've.

Even now, reading fantasy tales like Harry Potter, His Dark Materials and Brave Story help me to accept with graciousness things in my life I can't control. Reading about kids risking life and limb and loosing their egos in exchange for friendship and strength makes me feel better about everything I've had to lose to make it to where I am now. It takes a lot of humbling to go through life but our fantasies and dreams can sustain us when we have nothing else to hold on to.

Related posts:
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Harry Potter Is Changing the World

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jesus Made Me Puke

I'm not writing anything today, because (as you know if you've been following me on Twitter) today is so not my day but mostly because I want you to go read this article right now. Matt Taibbi, a reporter for Rolling Stone, infiltrated a Texas megachurch's weekend spirituality getaway to see what all the Fundamental craziness is really all about. Most of the article is laugh out loud funny, but my favorite part isn't:

Here I have a confession to make. It's not something that's easy to explain, but here goes. After two days of nearly constant religious instruction, songs, worship and praise — two days that for me meant an unending regimen of forced and fake responses — a funny thing started to happen to my head. There is a transformational quality in these external demonstrations of faith and belief. The more you shout out praising the Lord, singing along to those awful acoustic tunes, telling people how blessed you feel and so on, the more a sort of mechanical Christian skin starts to grow all over your real self. Even if you're a degenerate Rolling Stone reporter inwardly chuckling and busting on the whole scene — even if you're intellectually enraged by the ignorance and arrogant prejudice flowing from the mouth of a terminal-ambition case like Phil Fortenberry — outwardly you're swaying to the gospel and singing and praising and acting the part, and those outward ministrations assume a kind of sincerity in themselves. And at the same time, that "inner you" begins to get tired of the whole spectacle and sometimes forgets to protest — in my case checking out into baseball reveries and other daydreams while the outer me did the "work" of singing and praising. At any given moment, which one is the real you?

You may think you know the answer, but by my third day I began to notice how effortlessly my soft-spoken Matt-mannequin was going through his robotic motions of praise, and I was shocked. For a brief, fleeting moment I could see how under different circumstances it would be easy enough to bury your "sinful" self far under the skin of your outer Christian and to just travel through life this way. So long as you go through all the motions, no one will care who you really are underneath. And besides, so long as you are going through all the motions, never breaking the facade, who are you really? It was an incomplete thought, but it was a scary one; it was the very first time I worried that the experience of entering this world might prove to be anything more than an unusually tiring assignment.
See what I'm saying? Go read that shit. And then tell me: who do you think we are when we're pretending not to be ourselves?

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Friday, July 25, 2008

37 Days to Live: What Would You Do?

Well, I can die happy now that I've seen some beautiful breastage swinging around some glittery red, white and blue tassels. Which segues great into this challenge from 37days, asking what we'd all do if we had just 37 days to live. (Michelle Martin over at The Bamboo Project Blog posted this as one of her Web 2.0 Wednesdays, which is where I found it.)

If I had 37 days left to live, I know exactly how I'd spend it. The first day I would tell off the people I've held back on telling off, including a couple of exes, my parents, my little sister and a couple of bitches that I used to consider friends. Then, I'd proposition this gorgeous chick who recently broke my heart, because who's going to turn down that kind of pity sex? And then I'd probably spend the rest of the day getting drunk and blubbering a bit about all of the things I was going to miss.

Second day I'd wake up, fuck my boyfriend, make a big breakfast, buy a paper just for the comics & crossword (which I never do normally) and then spend the day writing letters to the people I was going to miss. Then, of course, I'd party.

Day three I would go in to work and try to tie up loose ends with projects and try to find a temporary replacement (I already know a woman who could probably do it) and then I'd quit. I'd, of course, spend the rest of the day hanging out with the people I love and then, you know, partying.

The rest of the days would all involve some version of me enjoying the moments while I can. I'd go to the park more, listen to old people's stories, volunteer someplace new, go out dancing and masturbate constantly.

So, that's me. What about you?

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Becoming a Mysterious Lady

Back when I was "an Evans" (with my little sister)

As I sat in McCoy's Tuesday night over ginger shandys, listening to a New Zealander call me "so mysterious" in her cute little accent, I thought back to when I was just a dumb kid dreaming of some magical transformation that would one day change me so completely, I would become a mystery to everyone who'd known me.

Back then, my world was very small, consisting as it did of the few families who went to Eagle Heights or its school and my family. My five siblings and I were known in that circle collectively as "the Evanses," separately we were "an Evans," because no one could keep our names straight. Everytime someone called me that I'd get so pissed off, feeling like they were completely erasing my personality and identity - it was bad enough that Mom could never remember who was who between us.

So my fantasy was simple: someday I would come back home and no one would know who I was. I'd be so transformed, so fabulous that no one would take me for a kid no one could remember. Meanwhile, life went along and shit happened and I changed and suddenly I'm this woman that other women are calling "mysterious" and I'm thinking maybe I got my wish.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Hairdo Is Gay

I know no one else is as entertained by my hair as I am, but Lebiatopia just labeled my 'do as "butch chic" and I couldn't resist giggling about it.

Here's my hair compared with their celeb examples:
For more chick-who-like-clits hair action, check out the rest of the post.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Action Movies: You're Doing It Wrong

After seeing Dark Night this weekend, I was once-again reminded of why I freakin' HATE the way action films are being made these days. I blame The Bourne Identity for starting this trend since that's when I noticed it (I got so nauseated by it, I had to leave the theater! I was pissed!). Have you noticed that instead of giving us full-body shots of two people fighting ALL YOU SEE now is chest-and-up punching and grunting and so many jump shots that you can't tell what the hell is happening?

What is up with that? Are we suddenly in a world where it's awesome to not know who's winning, throwing a punch or WHATEVER in a fight?

I remember back in the good ole days when you saw a punch being thrown from the hero's feet to his fist. I remember actually SEEING two men grappling with all their bodies, not just their torso and flailing arms.

I want my action sequences back! I'm sick of a gillion jump cuts counting as a fight scene. Who's with me?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Death, Sex and the Future (In Manga)

A long time ago in a Seattle far, far away, I started writing this blog. None of you probably remembers it, but I posted about a Japanese manga author, Osamu Tezuka, because I had just finished reading his Buddha series. Much more recently and closer to home, I found out that one of the guys who lives in my building is also a graphic novel fan, so we exchanged a few books and what should he place in my hands but an Osamu Tezuka manga!
Called Apollo's Song, it told the story of a young man, Shogo, raised by his single mother/prostitute. She made him call her clients "daddy" and if he walked in on them canoodling or otherwise, she'd beat him up. By the time he's a teen, Shogo is pissed off and cruel, associating love with anger so much that he starts beating up all the people and animals he sees coupling in anyway.

Thrown into an insane asylum after being charged with murder, young Shogo is "treated" for his illness by electroshock therapy and hypnotism. The first time, a goddess appears to him and curses him for his cruelty, swearing that he will live forever in bound to a love he will never be able to obtain. Susequent therapies throw Shogo's mind into other times and places where he indeed relives a tragic love story over and over.

It's about love's failure as much as love's triumph. I was completely blown away by how well Tezuka balanced the despair with the hope. Tragic ending though, of course, so avoid it if you dislike those.

Since I liked that so much, I decided to look up what Tezuka the KC Libraries had and checked out Pheonix: A Tale of the Future. This turned out to be even more depressing and I had to have a good cry when I finished it last night (though I partly blame the full moon). It's 3404 and the Earth is pretty much destroyed so people live beneath the surface in five enormous cities run by supercomputers treated like dieties. Moopies, an alien race that once lived with Earthlings and were able to shape-shift and provide pleasant hallucinations, are outlawed to keep people from living their lives in a dream-state. But Masato of the Space Corp. has one shaped like a woman who's been undetected until now.

Forced to escape to the surface, Masasto finds a 166 year old scientist who has spent his life trying to re-create the plants, animals and people that used to live on Earth. His experiments can only live in test tubes, however, because they dissolve upon contact with the air. Masato and his moopie love find shelter there, inadvertently causing the destruction of the 5 human cities that declared nuclear war against each other after their supercomputers refused to agree about what should be done with Masato.

The nuclear radiation kills everyone except Masato who is made immortal by a Pheonix who charges him with the task of creating a new race of humans. Masato grows ancient then decides to make himself companions - but they never work any better than the scientist's experiments. Eventually after thousands of years, he concludes that his job is to jumpstart the evolution of a new species - not to create them - and he dumps a mixture of elements into a warm pool. Billions of years pass as he watches species evolve and die, eventually leaving his body altogether and becoming god/part of the cosmos. And eventually humans do evolve, but to Masato's sadness they don't do any better than they did before.

Depressing right? Who would read that? Besides me, of course. I find Tezuka's ideas incredibly interesting and the way he plays them out throughout his manga is even more impressive. Apollo's Song is as much about the struggle of reproduction as it is an examination of love's ups and downs. Pheonix is as much a meditation on god's nature as it is on humankind's. The complexity mixed in the the absolutely random bits of humor he throws in always catch me off guard and that's what I love about him.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flobots "Fight With Tools" (Album Review)

I heard that song for the first time when I was driving my brother's car out to Shawnee Mission for EarthFest. I was blown away that something so amazing was on the radio. Then, thanks to the powers of their MySpace I listened to it over and over again... but not to any of the other songs the Flobots had posted.

I was worried I'd break the perfect song's spell by listening to crappier songs from the same band and just end up disliking "Handlebars" instead of liking the other songs. I didn't get the album for the same reason, but then my boy got it and solved my dilemma because I liked the whole damn thing. Flobots' album, Fight With Tools, as a whole reminds me of Cake, Green Day, A Perfect Circle and System of a Down all mashed together so that it resembles all and none of them. It's fricken sweet.

The album starts off with "There's a War Going on For Your Mind" a spoken-word/rap song overlayed with violins and drums that introduces the album's theme which is something like being powerful and conscious in an unconscious world. It also leads right into "Mayday!!" which is starts out as the first song, but eventually guitar, bass and trumpets are introduced. From what I can infer, it's about the destruction at New Orleans.

"Same Thing" is about the aspects of America that suck: corrupt politicians, aggressive warfare, the indoctrination of the masses, corporate greed, etc. "Stand Up" is the natural follower; it is a challenge/call to stand up for what's important, such as needy/starving people, healing from 9/11 and New Orleans and all that kind of change-the-world touchy-feely/angry shit I like so much.

The title track, "Fight With Tools" is another diatribe against what sucks in the USA mixed in with a challenge to guys to "be a man" and not "put your fists up." This song kind of makes me roll my eyes a little, but not because I don't agree with it. The way they say "be a man" just sounds so silly to me, but since "Handlebars" is the next song, I pretty much just wait for it to start while listening to the title track.

After "Handlebars" the album has an obvious split in style from the songs I just talked about. The remaining six songs are much more "whooshy" as my ex-the-guitar-player would say. Many of them feature a female vocalist, explosive musical interludes and much rockier music in general. This half of the album, I don't like as much - but that's mostly because I am still so surprised that they chose to arrange it in a way that splits it in two. The songs are quite stellar and when I'm randomizing albums in my player, I love when these songs play because I LOVE them... just not when I hear them in album order.

So, anyway, if you've hesitated about listening to more of Flobots, you shouldn't be a pussy like me about it.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shake Your Booty, Use Your Phone

My once-classmate and friend Laura sent me a link to this article about powering cellphones by dancing. The prototype chargers powered by this kind of kinetic energy don't weigh any more than a regular cellphone, and they attach to your arm with magnets & weights.

So, here's what I'm wondering: would people actually use this? I mean, I would, but I freaking love dancing (I would have its babies if I could). I'm thinking it might have some mass appeal in kind of the way the Wii does.

Would you dance around like a loon for some free energy?

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Human Rights are Meaningless in America

I didn't expect to blog about something so serious today, but I just saw the first video ever released from Guantanamo Bay. It is absolutely gut-wrenching to watch this 21 year old Canadian - a suspected terrorist - sob about how his body is deteriorating without medical care.

Please take a minute to watch the video. It's hard to make out sometimes, so read the article with it.

After you watch it, remind yourself that this boy was arrested at the age of 15 for being in a place possibly associated with a terrorist camp. Thanks to that stupid mistake on his part (hear the bitter sarcasm?), he has been tortured and detained for six years. Even if he is eventually convicted, how does that make the lost years of his life more expendable? Being sent to prison for a crime you're convicted of is one thing (although that system is fucked too), but being sent to prison, tortured, denied proper care AND not being convicted, well that's just plain UnAMERICAN:

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

That's from your very own Constitution, ladies and gentlemen. This entire situation is absolutely fucked up; Guantanamo Bay needs to be closed. The least you can do is call someone about it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Don't Let the Nants Get You!

There's a reason why Rudy Rucker's name rhymes with mind fucker. His novel, Postsingular, was more horrifying and fascinating than any other sci-fi book I've read, hands down! This shit was seriously messed up; you'll love it.

But, just so you won't take my word for it, I'll tell you about the first two chapters. Ready?

Chapter one opens on a beach with two hopeful teen boys preparing to launch a home-made rocket with a nose cone full of home-made nano machines designed to send information about their whereabouts back to the boys. One of the kids, Jeff Luty, has a dream of starting a nanotech corporation when he grows up and changing the world. His friend is going to be his partner one day. Full of idealistic dreams, they shoot off the rocket... it explodes, instantly killing Jeff's best friend with a pipe through the eye.

Needless to say, I wasn't expecting that shit.

Chapter two starts out many years in the future, with Jeff's corporation a reality on the eve of his nano machines, called nants, that will "save the world." Only what the nants do is "devour" everything they come into contact with and use the resources to create a digital copy. Turns out, Jeff's a nutter who wants to destroy the world in order to bring his friend back. So the Earth is about to be completely destroyed, except as a machine reality. Luckily, one of Jeff's head programmers has an autistic son capable of memorizing a code that will infect the nants once they've eaten him. The plan works and the nants reassemble everything they destroyed. An atom bomb destroys them (off-world, luckily), the president is assasinated for allowing this to happen, and Jeff only survives by disappearing completely.

Where does it go from there? On to all sorts of wackiness that will change your view of user-generated content, GUIs, nanotech, multiple dimensions and spirituality forever. And you have no reason AT ALL to avoid reading it, because Rucker's giving it away for free! Go and download that shit.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Spay, Neuter and GIVE Kansas City

Spay&Neuter Kansas City is holding a capital campaign to raise money to remodel a new facility and purchase equipment. I, personally, love these guys especially since they helped me get my cat's balls snipped before he picked up the habit of pissing in my apartment! But, even if you don't use their service, it's still valuable to the KC community.

There are way too many stray animals in Kansas City and that kind of overpopulation costs us thousands of dollars annually to support animal shelters - where animals are killed by the thousands anyway (20,000 each year!). It's a stupid situation with an easy solution: spay & neuter!

According to the Spay&Neuter Kansas City newsletter, these are the benefits of your donation:

  • decrease in pet overpopulation: many animals spayed and neutered are found through the outreach program, which makes lower income pet owners aware of their financial assistance options (which are supported through donations).
  • help needy pets: pets living in less than desirable conditions are helped through Spay&Neuter which provides shelter if needed and educations owners on responsible pet care, increasing pet retention and the quality of life for these animals.

  • provide medical care for neglected or abused pets: these pets are provided with vet care and are placed in new homes

  • improve animal welfare in the community: adoption shelters don't solve the problem of pet overpopulation, but S&NKC greatly reduces the numbers, performing about 6,000 spay & neuters each year. Fewer strays means more adoptions and less euthanizations.
So, if you can, throw some money their way. They're already halfway to their goal of $500,000 and I for one am excited that they are going to have separate cat and dog surgery areas - being with the constantly barking dogs is the main thing that freaked out Frederick about his experience there. Knowing cats in the future won't have to go through that kind of crazy trauma is a relief... too bad they won't have it in time for the new kitten's neuter (poor Pinky).

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

How Kansas City is Like Gotham City

With a new Batman flick set to come out soon, I am once again reminded of one of the many reasons I love this damn city so much: it reminds me of Gotham City. "What?" you ask, incredulous, "how is Kansas City at all like Gotham City?"

Well, I'm glad you asked.

1. The officials are corrupt, but we're used to it so no one cares.
In Gotham City, Batman "wakes" to his destiny partly because of the corrupt officials that Commissioner Gordon tries to help him take down. Luckily for the city residents, they tend to not notice, believing the line of BS that generally comes from the downtown offices. Here in Kansas City, we have a similar situation. All you have to do is take one look at Tony's Kansas City to see post after post about our Mayor's shifty double-dealings. Or, you could just live here for a while and eventually you'll pick up on the corruption - or at least you should because it's everywhere! Most people seem not to care, but who am I to judge?

2. Lots of dark, stormy nights!
The above image is about what I imagine when I think of Gotham City: gigantic cloud formations bubbling in the sky while lightning and thunder crash around the evil doers about to get their asses whupped. I'm sure that there is other weather there too, but who gives a crap? Stormy awesomeness is the best and Kansas City is one of my favorite places because of it.

3. Street violence out the wazoo.
Gotham City is full of punks waiting to rape an innocent Betty or rob and murder some poor couple just out of the movies. Here in Kansas City, we like to keep the violence as far away from the Down Low as possible. Check out this mapping of recent crimes, there's not a lot of places without markers.

So you wonder why with all this corruption and mayhem I still love this city? It's because I have a sick condition of being amused by places, people and things that are completely ridiculous. And I think it's completely ridiculous that Kansas City is just like a city out of a comic book.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Yoga Is Miraculous

more cat pictures

I've absolutely fallen in love with yoga since I took it up a few months ago to de-stress and limber up. There's something amazing about an exercise that can do so much sculpting and strengthening in such a short time and with so little effort. Today, I found out something more than amazing about yoga -- it's downright miraculous and I am completely overwhelmed with the good shock of it.

I'm sure you want to know what it is, but bear with me for some background first: When I was in 4th grade I started having really bad headaches. I'd never had headaches at all before that (I've got a thick skull) so it was a very dramatic change and I was kind of wigged out. More so once I realized that I wasn't seeing things the way they "really were." So as my mom tried to figure out what was wrong the first response was to get my eyes tested. Both my parents have horrible vision and my siblings too. It was only a matter of time that I'd get my first pair of specs.

My mom and I both thought this would make the headaches stop, but it didn't and she eventually decided to take me to her chiropractor to be checked out. My mom's got weird shaped feet or something that affect her overall health and I assume she suspected something along the same lines was happening to me, though I didn't know it at the time. One x-ray session later and we had our answer: my right leg was shorter than my right, skewing my spine alignment which was probably causing the headaches.

For the next 10+ years, I went regularly to the chiropractor to have my spine adjusted. When I got all moved out of my 'rents in the college years, I stopped going because I just didn't have the money or the insurance to pay it. My back and legs would feel better or worse, then, based mostly on how much I exercised and weighed. When I gained a bunch of weight (about 100 lbs. over my norm), my body pain was excruciating and exercising didn't really help (cuz it just hurt a different way with all that weight stressing my body).

When I lost the weight again (by getting a job I biked to 8 miles one way), the pain relaxed some, but my back and hips were a source of extreme discomfort until just recently, when I've been doing regular yoga. That's incredible enough on it's own, I think, but the miraculous part is so much better. I've had some completely unusual pain in my right hip that I couldn't place. I figured it was something to do with not taking enough fiber or something else random. So you can imagine my surprise when...

I checked my legs today and discovered that they are now THE EXACT SAME LENGTH.

There is absolutely NOTHING I can attribute this to, except for the yoga. After 26 years of uneven legs and a feeling of secret gimpiness, I suddenly am "normal." Or maybe just normal-ish. So, seriously, find some poses that look like fun (I do these and the Sun Salutation daily) and start doing yoga! It's good for what ails you!

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thoughts on the 4th of July

"Peace-Fourth of July, 1965" from Harpers Weekly

I've been sitting here for the past several hours trying to decide what to blog about. The first thing I want to talk about is Independence Day as a holiday, but then it's also the last thing I want to talk about because tomorrow is also the anniversary of my "official" first year with the perfect boy I thought I could never have. These two desires are pulling me both ways, hence the indecision.

Independence Day has been something I've dreaded ever since we went to war after 9/11. I don't support the war. I don't support the waste of resource or of life, and I don't support the direction the current administration has led the country. So when patriotism is at it's height of frenzy, I just feel like pulling down the shades on the fireworks and ignoring all of it. It's not that I hate America, but I feel heartsick to the point of nausea when I think about celebrating this country as if I still believe we're the best nation in the world.

Lucky for me, now I have a reason to. Instead of having the 4th of July be a day where I refuse to celebrate (like I do so many other holidays *cough*Valentine's day*cough*), I can instead celebrate something I do support: a healthy relationship full of freakish amounts of cuddling and mutual silliness/geekiness. If you remember something of how we got together, maybe you can understand how absolutely blessed I feel to be with this guy and how miraculous this past year has been for me. It all seems too good to be true. How could I possibly be with a guy who still makes out with me every morning before he leaves for work? A guy who regularly spends hours of time cooking dinner for me? Mind-fricken-boggling it is.

So maybe what I'm getting at here is that even if I can't celebrate the US as a whole, I'm still glad I can celebrate the parts of it that I love. And that includes this whole damn city.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Your Mamma Shoulda Told Ya: Check Your Tire Pressure

I love summer rain showers! I know it's kind of awful, but I'm looking forward to a rainy summer; just like how 1993 was my favorite summer EVER. Of course, I'm hardly the only one making this comparison and thinking about floods here. My out-of-state friend Brittney called me up the other day to make sure I wasn't around any flooding.

Which, reminded me of another summer day when Britt and I were crusing around the icky city of Erie, PA when we noticed her tire going flat. After pulling into a gas station, I expected her to hop out and check her tires, but instead she said she didn't know how. I was deeply shocked because my mom made me start learning how to take care of a car long before I was able to drive them (grumble). Checking the air filter, oil and tire pressure were just skills you were forced to learn like cooking and sewing and shit.

But my point is YOUR MAMMA SHOULDA TOLD YA how to check your car's tire pressure.

Especially with the price of gas inching ever closer to the $5 mark. Keeping your tires filled to the recommended level for your car means:

  • lower gas milage (3% improvement or so)
  • longer lasting tires (about 15%)
  • increased driving safety (660 deaths from underinflated tires each year, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • cleaner air (reduces about 350 lbs. of carbon dioxide annually)
    Ideal Bite
Blowout caused by low tire pressure (Source:

Most vehicles list the reccomended tire pressure on the driver's side door and/or the owner's manual. Pressure changes with temperature and with use, so you should check your tires montly with a tire gauge. For more details, read eHow's guide.

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May and Her Anti-Automobile Agenda

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Look at Me! Look at Me!

Or at least, look at the article I wrote for the current issue of Greenability Magazine (aka the only local print media I could possibly endorse):

Click through to see a readable version. And, yes, some of it is crooked. I apparently lack the ability to place things at right angles on the copier/scanner.

Related posts:
Detox Your Summer (How To)
How To Go Green Without Really Trying
Nudity for a Good Cause