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Hey yo 2012

5 Jan

I’ve considered deleting this blog altogether, but it is such a nice, healthy outlet. It’s funny how that parallels my feelings about therapy. Lately, I’ve been considering stopping my weekly runs to see a therapist; but have yet to pull the plug because it’s a positive, mindful place to be. Also, I feel like if I stop going, I’m going to regret it and be screwed into dealing with my anxiety and over-thinking by myself.

Anyway, I digress. Lately, I’ve been thinking about  Starting a Podcast. Podcasting is to radio as blogging is to the opinions page in the newspaper. It’s totally grassroot, mostly free and you can do/say whatever you want. Since I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast, this is what I would talk about in my podcast this week:

The story is these five baby girls were born in 1934, and were the first recorded occurrence of quintuplets surviving infancy. The Canadian government took guardianship of the quints shortly after their birth, claiming their parents unfit to care for the five babies. The government built “Quintland” across the street from the girls’ family home and made the everyday lives of the infants/babies/young adults into a tourist attraction. There were souvenirs and viewing areas at Quintland. The girls were surrounded by scientists, doctors, nurses and the curious public FOR YEARS! At one point, Quintland was more trafficked than Niagara Falls. So basically – the Canadian government profited from their lives. After many years, and a custody battle, the girls were released back to their parents, where they claimed their father sexually abused them (though, later in life, they disputed these allegations). They all moved out of the home at 18 and 2/5 died in early adulthood – one from a stroke and one from a seizure. Another passed away in her 60s from cancer. There are only 2 remaining sisters alive and NO ONE HAS MADE A MOVIE ABOUT THIS! There were a couple television movies from what I can gather, and maybe an old movie, but HELLO! We need to hear/see this story!

  • Nootropics – what are they? do they work?
  • Why am I obsessed with song? FLO RIDA
  • I went antique shopping over the holidays – searching for Christmas presents. It got me thinking about the massive amount of things in the world. So many THINGS. And I love things, but where do they go and what happens to these things. I’m also reading a book, The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal, which discusses this a bit so far. What is my role in things? Do things have to be tied to consumerism?
  • Upcoming vacation in Hawaii with my sister, who is in Afghanistan right now
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Catching up with Russia

5 Feb

I’m reading this book about a socialist, extremely “left” family in New York. A lot of the references in the characters’ dialogue and thought are about Marxist politics. It occurred to me, while reading about these characters, that I know next to nothing about Marx, and other socialist and communist philosophers and leaders. Lenin, Stalin, Castro … I know them as evil-doers only, I have no idea about what theories brought them into being and helped them overthrow entire governmental systems.  In school, when we thought about communist “regimes,” we were almost always referring to China. I know a small bit about China, just from taking Government classes, but some how, I missed Russian history and German philosophy.

So, without having late-night access to the library, I decided to start watching public documentaries on these leaders… I started with Lenin, and watched this. And then I moved to Stalin, and watched this:

Tomorrow, I am picking up a two-part documentary on Russia that I ordered from the local video store. And I need a book — something like “Russian History for Dummies” or something. I really want to understand all of this; I don’t want to be bombarded with thoughts and ideas (and words) that I have no chance of grasping. I need to read a book on Marx too, along the same lines. I’m worried anything about Marx will be too dense and hard.

Suggestions?

this is still relevant

5 May

This poster became really (re)popular a few years ago. Originally, it was a WWII poster plastered in England to inspire comfort during a time of world unrest. Today, you can buy it in a post card, mouse pad or tee-shirt form. I love it.

keep-calm

I also like this incarnation:

3365682994_b257c0c52d

And I can see the humor in this one:

panic

2 days ago was

6 Nov

Election day. It was such an amazing opportunity to be able to vote for Barack Obama… it kind of frazzled me. I was excited and nervous, and by voting in Oakland, I couldn’t help but to feel like I was a part of something really big.

It was overwhelming when he won, so clearly, so easily. His acceptance speech made me ball like a big baby.  I’m so content to be living during this time. Though I have the dreaminess for the 60s (mostly the fashion and music), politically and socially, this time is unlike any other. So much justice is happening right now (though there is a LONG way to go), it is very exciting to see, and experience.

Bang! Bang! BANGS!

19 Aug

Bangs (known in most other parts of the English speaking world as “fringe”) – I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that at one point or another – we’ve ALL had them. They keep coming and going as a desirable and acceptable hairstyle. My roommate recently got bangs cut across her forehead, which prompted me to review the history of bangs. Seeing as wikipedia had no concise history of their presence, I’m making my own.

The Ancient Egyptians, along with like, miraculously building the pyramids, created the hairstyle where the front part of the hair frames the forehead. I will venture the guess that they also created the headband.

Check the hair on Julius Caeser … I present the man bang:

And the incredible bang of the Romans:

Renassance period – the bang was way out:

The Elizabethan bang tuck:

The 18th century wig bang (can also be found on several of the US’s founding fathers). NOTE: the fully-exposed-forehead-curled-bang:

The awful Victorian parted bang:

1920-30s bangs. Most prefer the long bang or the grown-out-bang-bob:

The Betty Page bang:

The Farrah-flip of the 70s:

The art-deco bang of the 80s:

And the amazing man-swoop of the 80s:

Rachel’s long-layered bang pretty much sums of the style of the 1990s:

And, finally, what is most-popular today (Betty Page? 1920s Bob? You decide.):

Make your own conclusions about the cycle of the bang thru the ages.

more on my homosocial self.

10 May

 

 

Homosociality can be described as relationships between people of the same sex that are not sexual in nature. Traditionally, this subject has been discussed on how it relates to relationships between men. Eve Sedgwick formalized the definition as it relates to male characters in nineteenth century British literature. There have been homosocial studies of men in the work place and in sports.  The study of “romantic friendships” between women, and specifically, homosociality as it applies to women, is less researched and written about.

 

Sedgwick claims that the study of relationships between males must be held separate from the study of relationships between females.  Due to the patriarchal power structure of society, homosocial men rely on social forces different from the forces on which homosocial women rely. These variations in social pushes and pulls are not only applicable to sex, but to race, class and age, Sedgwick says.

 

Navigating through a larger lens – exploring friendships in general among women and Lesbian relationships – allows for the availability of a wider discourse on homosocial relationships between women. This is done not only through literature reviews, but in conjunction with the analysis of the varying language used to describe female relationships through time.

 

Researchers have recently begun to delve into qualifying non-sexual relationships between women in history as far back as the Ancient World. Women were seen as a function of men; as having no autonomy, making it difficult to study woman relationships. Women’s sexuality outside of the context of men was repressed and there aren’t many textual sources documenting the Ancient World. Historians have had to rely on images (casts, carvings, reliefs) to analyze women’s relationships with women. The societal pictures of the Ancient world – highly male centered – show that women did spend much time together, a feature of homosociality.                                                                                                                                        

 

The terra cotta knee guard for working wool depicted above shows women preparing for a wedding ceremony in ancient Greece. The artist, Eretria Painter, hoped to depict a “woman’s world” of the period.  Women prepared for marriage and childbirth with other women in a space that was called a gynaikonitis. The scene above exposes this space. Most interestingly, these spaces were used in conjunction with events (marriage, childbirth) that have connotations with a woman’s sexuality, womb and genitals.

Writers have called these ancient situations “homoerotic” and “homosocial” in a broad sweeping assumption. In fact, homosociality and homoeroticism are often used interchangeably when, in actuality, they are two very different concepts. Homoeroticism is defined as atendency for erotic emotions to be centered on a person of the same sex. In homosocial relationships, there are no links to sexuality. In fact, homosociality implies a passionate longing for emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy, without the traditional association of sex and reproduction. The distinction between homoerotic and homosocial is hard to make in the Ancient world, where same-sex sexual relationships were not defined. Historians are in a constant battle to decide whether homosexual relationships happened at all or if they were simply censored. Thus, it is hard to ever know if the seemingly homosocial relationships of the past were actually homosexual.

In the nineteenth century, as a function of the large middle class in the United States, both women and men were encouraged to socialize. Women, however, were seen as having a greater spirituality and higher morals. This element, combined with the time’s social norms surrounding house and child care, created separate spheres for men and women. These separated social circles created several same-sex environments. For example, men worked as cowboys and in mining towns and women, went to school at female academies or worked in factories. It is during this time that researchers are able to find textual recordings of homosocial (questionably homosexual) lives.

 

Research of romantic friendships during the nineteenth century generally focuses on white, middle-class women; their close friendships with women were seen as an acceptable and encouraged part of their social role. Sociologists have explored the components of these women’s relationships by analyzing the letters sent between sets of friends, autograph books, female academy yearbooks, newspapers and journals. The result of this primary document exploration is a classist arrangement of data; it excludes the analysis of romantic friendships among women who could not afford the fore-mentioned means of documenting relationships.

As women began fighting for equality (the suffragist movement of the early 1900s, the feminist movement of the 1960s/70s), it seems that their relationships with other women began to suffer. It is also interesting to note the period of the “sexual revolution,” and its impact on relationships between women. Sexual relationships between people of the same sex were defined (homosexual, gay, lesbian) and large groups of women who supported the advancement of women were labeled as “radical, bra-burning feminists.” Detrimental and stereotypical labels were attached to these definitions. This must have had an impact on women’s friendship… women who shared close bonds with other women didn’t want to be attached with these groups – who were constantly being harassed by a very hetero-normative society. In the case of Mills, student handbooks during this time describe an activist women’s campus but, illicitly state that Mills women are not radical feminists.

 

While is it positive that women have been able to make progress across the board in civil rights, one of the costs of this has been close female friendships. As social environments have become co-ed, climates and social infrastructures dedicated to women have deteriorated.      

During summer breaks from school, I pack up my things, and I head home. Home means I hang out with my guy friends and my guy more-than-friends… in fact, the majority of my activities during the summer are spent with men. It has been shocking when I bring these men back into my school (female) network; they are threatened and silenced by my group of outspoken women friends. To compensate for this, these men make me the other, the weird one, the one who has strange relationships. The closeness of my pure friendships are tainted and made to seem unnatural. The fact that I chose to attend a women’s college makes me either gay or weird or anti-male. Does the nature of my friendships emasculate and threaten men? Do large groups of women intimidate men because they can be a powerful and unstoppable entity? Do my male friends retreat when my feelings toward them seem subordinate to my feelings toward my girl friends?

sadness.

17 Apr

The events of today are truly very sad. What will go down in history as “the Virginia Tech Massacre” took the lives of 33 university students, teachers and staff and injured dozens more. I am floored and speechless, as I attempt to make sense of news reports, student interviews and police investigations.

I find it most interesting that the 8 year anniversary of Columbine is just a few days away and it has been only six months since the shooting at an Amish school in Pennsylvania.

It’s freaky — this could have happened anywhere… including my college or the uni my sister attends… which is only an hour or two away from Virginia Tech.

I’m trying to make sense of the whole event. Without having much information, it’s really hard to discern what this can be attributed to. Or if it needs to be attributed at all?? I know the school system in the US is totally messed up. If Columbine isn’t an example of that, I don’t know what is.

According to news reports, the shooter was an international student… if so, what does that add to the equation? Additionally, the rampage reportedly started because the shooter thought his girlfriend was seeing another dude, so he shot her and the resident adviser who was called in to settle the domestic dispute.

Oh man. What’s to blame? School? Society? Should I even be looking for someone/thing to blame?