Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Seen Around Midtown: Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Since I have a shiny new camera, I'm adding a new feature here: "Seen Around Midtown." It's exactly what it sounds like: images of stuff I've seen around Midtown and for some reason find interesting.

Today's picture: the Big Brothers, Big Sisters office at the corner of 39th and Washington St. I often walk past this on the way to work and it always cracks me up how the tree, when in bloom, perfectly matches their paint job.

Related posts:
How Kansas City is Like Gotham City
Kansas City's REAL First Ladies
Racism In the Kansas City Area: 1900s - Present

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Frequently Asked Question

I like to think of myself as a patient person. But sometimes I feel 100% frustrated no matter what - like when people I meet are told I live basically TV-free ask me:

If you don't have TV, what do you do?

My mental reaction tends along the lines of: Are you fucking kidding me?! I have a fucking LIFE is what I do!

But my verbal reaction tends to be: Well, I read and draw and write and take walks and I watch the stuff I wanna see on DVD.

Really, I don't understand how not wanting to spend my life in front of the idiot box is weird, so this question just freaking aggravates me. The other reason this question aggravates me is that I am so frustrated that being nothing more than a consumer is the apparent life goal of so many Americans who unquestioningly accept the messages they are indoctrinated into like: watching TV is the best way to unwind after a long day! Its the same reason people naturally having left-leaning political views in Seattle and people assuming you somehow "believe in God" if you live in the Midwest drives me crazy: I can't stand people unquestioningly accepting any common belief and living their lives by it. Just makes no sense to me.

On the other hand, I also get frustrated by this question because I think people assume I'm avoiding TV not because I don't want to be bombarded by stuff I have no interest in or the rampant celebrations of consumerism in commercials (by watching TV shows I like on DVD and occasionally online) but because I'm like the person my awesome friend Joe mocks in his recently re-posted blog, TV Free!:

Have you ever talked to someone who doesn't own a TV? It's not simply about their personal preference. It's about their superiority. "I'm quite a bit more intelligent and disciplined than you because I find television distasteful while you find it enjoyable."

We're meant to be in awe of how cultured they are.

There may (or may not) have been a time when TV was nothing but a Vast Wasteland. But these days -- and this is hardly the first time I've pointed this out -- TV is at an all-time quality high. There are some amazing and impressive shows on right now. Audiences are savvy, and they demand more. The writing and the directing and the acting matches anything you've seen in movies or on the stage.

"Just look," they will say, pointing at some awful sitcom. "How can you defend this?"
I just don't want to waste my time on shit I don't care about when I could be doing something more interesting. Or, as Joe puts it: "TV [isn't] an unavoidable presence, [just] an accepted choice." Which is maybe what I've been trying to get at - I don't want people to assume I want to destroy all televisions just because of a personal choice I've made.

Anyway, you should go to Your Daily Joe and read the rest of his post in defense of TV's awesomeness. It's good stuff. Joe works in the TV industry, so he has a more vested interest in it overall and gave the whole thing some great thought.

Related posts:
Television Revolution
Margaret Cho is a Goddess
Mad TV William Shatner Skit

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Cats Gone (Mildly) Wild on Camera!

This post is dedicated to Stacey, who has asked me twice now about seeing some videos of my cats - and also to my Uncle George for gifting me an awesome new camera with video functionality ^__^

For those of you who (like me) won't click on a video unless you know it's going to be good, I'll sum up each video so you can decide if it's worth your time.

Inky and Pinky investigate the camera and are not impressed. I try and fail to get them to play with my hand. May be hard to see because of the low lighting.

Inky and Frederick do a bit of playing. Also on the darkish side.

Frederick investigates the camera and Inky plays with me while Pinky eats off to the side. Better lighting on this and the next few.

Inky and I play. He is freaking adorable.

I got all the cats to play in this video! It starts out with Frederick, then the other two jump in.

Just because I find Frederick's foppish manner of washing himself to be freaking adorable!

And, finally, the video that I'm sure Stacey has been waiting for: cats on leashes! Almost 4 minutes of silliness (this is the longest video). Notice that Frederick is so calm, he needs no leashing. Just one of the reasons why he's awesome. Also, how about my awesome monkey foot leash untangling moment, huh? When I was a kid I used to try and do everything I could with my feet/toes.... god, I was so bored.

This video shows Inky "taking a walk" in his new front yard (we just moved there) for the first time. My little brother is "walking" him. Inky actually moves around quite a bit and it's really funny when the car scares him and he runs up the stairs back towards the apartment. This ones around 3 minutes.

Related posts:
My Little Turn on the Catwalk
Guinea Pig Nostalgia
Detox Your Pet Care (How To)

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Open Letter to a Ghost

Dear Jenny,
I know it's been a long time. I haven't seen you since sometime in 2000 and I know I didn't say much. With you being the Pastor's daughter I was always a little afraid of how close you were to the power that drove the sad little cult we grew up in, even though I could plainly see you were lonely, gentle, loving and kindhearted. I remember thinking I should invite you to do something with me, but I didn't say anything because I was too scared.

I wish I had been brave enough to open my mouth. I think we could have been friends instead of acquaintances if I had let us, even though you were a few years older than I. If only I had known that you - like me - were struggling to fake happiness in a system that wouldn't support your true desires. If only I had trusted enough to be open with you, maybe we could have helped one another, instead of playing along because we didn't seem to have any other options at the time.

I know it's been a while, but when I heard that your mother murdered you for having premarital sex, I was only 19 and had just pulled myself away from the church where I was horrified to be associated with something so pointless and cruel and so I just didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to admit that I had failed you. But lately I have.

I don't know what upsets me most when I turn your life and death over in my mind. That I wasn't supportive of another woman who needed help and didn't know where to find it; that we were in the situation to begin with; or that people don't even understand how hard it is for kids to grow up like we did with our parents deliberately keeping us ignorant of basically everything in existence except the bible and their twisted interpretations of it so we wouldn't leave the "safety" of the church.

You've haunted my memory for years and I finally realized why: My staunch stand that SEX is NOT a wicked act but a normal facet of human behavior and society is in remembrance of you. My belief that women should be safe from harm in their own homes is in remembrance of you. My ovaries-out approach to feminism, education and equality is in remembrance of you.

Even though I wouldn't let you into my life when you were alive, you fill my life with purpose now. I will never let another Sister suffer in silence if I can help it.

I always loved and admired you. I wish I had told you sooner.


Related posts:
What Women Can and Can't Do
3 Books Every Woman Should Read
My Fictional Female Role Models

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Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm Back

Hi everybody! This is the post where I tell you I'm back! Weeehoo!

While I wasn't blogging, you may have missed:

Otherwise, I just wanted to re-kick off my blog with this quote:

May I and all beings be filled with lovingkindness.
May I and all beings be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May I and all beings be well in body and mind.
May I and all beings be happy and free.

That's my hope for life and I blame it all on my siblings.

I remember watching them (especially my sisters) fight and argue about the stupidest stuff and I wondered, why can't we all just get along? We all know we're all miserable, so why aren't we trying to make each other happy? And this wasn't all fueled by love so much as self interest. Do you have any idea how many hours 6 siblings can fight in any given week? It happened A LOT and it was SO BORING that it drove me nuts. I just wanted to freaking play or do something fun, not listen to them bitch and moan at each other. Life's so much more interesting that way.

I still feel like that only now it's grown to include everybody everywhere instead of just my brothers and sisters. And it's partially why I started to blog in the first place: trying to share the things that make my life easier and make me happy. I figure if people are happier with themselves, the world will be a happier place.

Not that I'm exactly a Pollyanna or anything (thought I think it takes more guts to be a hopeful person than not), but I do believe in mutualism (basically: what helps you helps me) and that we evolved to help each other.

I think humans can do a lot better, especially if we stop being too scared to grow past our own egos.

Anyway, I'll be back with, more regularly scheduled programing every Wednesday and Friday.

See you soon!

Related posts:
Why I Blog
May's Rules for Living Well
Buddha, Bisexuality and Betrayal

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