Friday, December 26, 2008

Chicago reawakening


Chicago Compass
Originally uploaded by union_clown

I remembered a part of myself today, a part that went missing years ago that I didn't notice among all the clutter of trauma and flurry of running. It is a part of me that once reawakened caused me to mourn it's absence even though I never noticed that it had gone. It came back to me during my trip to The Field Museum with my dad (though I was left to myself most of the day as I "take too long" to go through an exhibit) where I spent the day wandering amid the relics of civilisations past and dinosaur bones, including the dinosaur that for the first half of my life was my beloved brontosaurus (now apatosaurus (I don't know if the Field Museum was calling it an apatosaurus growing up, all I know is that I called it a brontosaurus and had a brontosaurus lunchbox) Sidenote: brontosaurus shows no red squiggly line of bad spelling whereas apatosaurus does. Hmmmm).


Amid the carvings and the idols of the ancient Aztecs I remembered that child like quality that I had lost for so many years: my need to experience things tactilely. When it was gone I do not remember. I do remember walking through Chicago and having to run my hands over every different kind of stone surface that I would meet. To not just see the buildings and hear the city, but to touch it, to know it, to feel it. I remember, back in art school, asking to run my hands over paintings that were not flat, always liking those with texture more then the others (and making them that way myself). To feel the complexity of emotion, the hidden layers where mistakes and old feelings were hidden away beneath a new coat of paint. To interact with something that was not just flat, and to me that makes it flat in more ways then one-funny for a printmaker, but rich and complex and layered. Knowing that whatever was buried there was just a few scrapes away from exposing itself to the world.

It came to me staring at the first piece in the Aztec exhibit which was a statue of some unknown stone pockmocked with tiny craters. I knew that if I could just touch it my experience would be fuller. That I would somehow understand it more; that I would become more involved in the exhibit. So I did all that I could do: I imagined what it would feel like. I flipped through every single piece of rock that I had ever touched until I came across something that resembled the one standing in front of me. I recreated it's features, even the pieces that had succumbed to age and had fallen off and especially those that were crumbling. I continued to do this throughout the rest of the exhibit. Through the rest of the museum. Imagining what the ancient papyrus in the Egyptian exhibit must feel like, at one point actually getting to feel hieroglyphs. Touching the models, knowing that the texture was wrong but the topography right in my journey from the beginning of the earth.

I missed this. I'm realising as I type this that I have been doing this to a small extent as I have visited my ancient old growth stands, but that is more like caressing an old friend. But these streets, these buildings, all these things that I encountered...they can be friends too. Possibly just acquaintances for a brief time, telling me their story and moving out of my life forever, but at least there will be that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Calling all Scientists

Right now I'm doing some research on the Force Concept Inventory and gender differences in performance on the FCI. I have also been in contact with Laura McCullough and will hopefully be receiving a copy of what they used for research, the "Gender Force Concept Inventory." (In which there seemed to be a marked improvement by both sexes except on one problem.) We're (hopefully) going to give the GFCI & FCI (randomly) to both the algebra and calculus based classes next quarter.

Anyone have any resources, articles, etc on this subject? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The cool thing is that J & A approached me with this idea for a research project.

I'll actually post more on what I'm doing later. There's more to what I'm doing, because what J & A are trying to do is figure out how to fine tune inquiry based physics education. J's original proposition was that he wanted to find of if inquiry based classes worked better for men or women, so that's the bigger picture and of course working on IB learning betterment regardless of gender. We're thinking that the FCI is a good place to start, but of course if the questions are crappy then we're never going to be able to accurately gauge how well the class is doing.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Indecision Oh Eh?

Canucks watch here



Saturday, December 06, 2008

A moment of silence please

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the École Polytechnique Massacre.

The shooter, who claimed that feminism had ruined his life came into a classroom and separated the nine women from the approximately fifty men and ordered the men to leave. Speaking in French, he asked the remaining women whether they knew why they were there, and when one student replied "no", he answered: "I am fighting feminism". One of the students, Nathalie Provost, said, "Look, we are just women studying engineering, not necessarily feminists ready to march on the streets to shout we are against men, just students intent on leading a normal life." Lépine responded that "You're women, you're going to be engineers. You're all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists." He then opened fire on the students from left to right, killing six, and wounding three others, including Provost. Before leaving the room, he wrote the word shit twice on a student project He killed 14 women. Here are their names:

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student.
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student.
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student.
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student.
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student.
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student.
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

OH NO! Canada's going to split into tiny pieces!

BRING IT HARPER. BRING IT!

To those of you who don't pay attention to Canadian politics, you really should right now. This is one of the most interesting times in Canadian political history. Right now 2 of the national parties, the NDP and the Liberal Party have forged a coalition deal that would, when the confidence vote fails (it's only a matter of time Harper, just deal with it) create a coalition government led by the Liberals. (You can read the accord here.) The Bloc Québécois is not formally part of this coalition, but has pledged their support for the next 18 months. (If only we could have Gilles as PM. *sigh*). Not only that, but Green Party leader Elizabeth May has also lent her support to the coalition. That means that 4 of the 5 major parties are UNITED behind this effort. And they have all made concessions. (As one does when one makes alliances like this. And also as one does to actually get shit done in government.)

Let me take a step back. Besides being evil, or as Gilles Duceppe likes to do let's just say that Harper is the Canadian Bush, Harper did a few things to bring this on. He did what every politician does and said that he would make an effort to work with the other parties, then he calls an election (which he said he would not call, btw) and the first thing he does is spit on the other parties. (Well, more accurately poke at them with a sharp stick.)

This is in no particular order, but has a common theme.

1) Proposes to take away public subsidies of political parties. As it stands now, each vote earns the party $1.95.

But because the Conservatives have such a strong fundraising base, their subsidy represents only 37 per cent of the party's total revenues.

By comparison, the subsidy amounts to 63 per cent of the Liberals' funding, 86 per cent of the Bloc's, 57 per cent of the NDP's and 65 per cent of the Greens'.


So who gets hurt? Every single party in opposition to the Conservatives.

Well there are several points in this one link so here's the link and here are the points:

2) Cutting public service pay

3) Suspending the right to strike for federal employees

4) (My favourite) PAY EQUITY! Who needs it!
And he would put a crimp in pay equity – a program that requires Ottawa to pay women equal wages for work of equal value – although there is no evidence that the current system is either iniquitous or expensive.


And then there's the Tories taping a private caucus call of the NDP. (Hello, ever hear of Watergate?)
The Prime Minister's Office handed out copies of the recording to reporters on Sunday, claiming it showed the NDP and the Bloc Québécois had long conspired to topple the Conservative government.


And there's also that whole thing where Harper and the Tories like to insult the Bloc at every opportunity. (Because they're evil and THEY HATE CANADA AND ARE TRYING TO DESTROY THE COUNTRY! HIDE YOUR CHILDREN! THE QUÉBÉCOIS ARE COMING!)

One poke too far? Did he seriously think that a *larger* minority in Commons would somehow make the opposition go against the Charter of Rights? That they would let you bulldoze through them doing whatever the hell you wanted? Yet he continues to show that he thinks that getting several more seats for the Tories makes him able to do whatever he wants without the confidence of the Commons. There was supposed to be a confidence vote that Harper put off until the 8th trying to stave off the inevitable. What happens now is up to the Governor-General. She has several (historic) options: If Mr Harper asks her to prorogue (all bills, motions, etc are expunged and the parliament is in recess), her likely response is to ask him to prove that he has the confidence of the House. He can’t do that, so he’ll either have to ask for an election or resign. If he asks for an election, she can’t really grant it to him given that she has a letter from the coalition - according to convention she pretty much has to allow the coalition an opportunity to demonstrate that they can govern. An election will be the last resort. This is what I'm hoping for and this is what historically happens. But we shall see, not won't we.

To see *exactly* what's been happening may I suggest CPAC (It's the Canadian CSPAN). December 1st's Question Period (I hope this works as a direct link to the video if not just search) is rather good and December 2nd's is even better. It was all over the news as this is a rather historic time in politics and times like these have never been seen in Canadian Parliament. (At least not broadcast.)

BRING IT HARPER!

Of course they want the prorogue, because it would give them more time to spread their lies. They're calling the opposition alliance and possible unseating of the Tory government an undemocratic, illegal coup. As one expert said Harper either doesn't know parliamentary politics or he's lying. I know which one my money's on. They're also saying that the separatists are going to be running the nation. Um, well, no, the Bloc is not part of the coalition and Duceppe already said that he pledged to support and do what's best for CANADA during the next 18 months under the coalition government. Again I say OH NOES! THE SEPARATISTS ARE RUNNING THE COUNTRY! OMG CANADA IS DOOMED! During the 12/1 Question Period session Harper kept saying that they refused to sign the Coalition Accord in front of a Canadian flag when there's a lot of footage of them IN FRONT of a Canadian flag. The guy just can't stop lying. Here's to a new government and soon.

But for some brevity (and common sense) in this situation may I suggest Canadian Cynic and Bloodless Coup!.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Vote for real change!

Vote Cynthia McKinney! 5% is a win: 3 words: public campaign financing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I got tagged with the song meme

and since I have a stupid programming class that takes me about 30 hours a week per assignment, a really hard mathematical modeling class, and the Putnam Competition training class, which means an extra hour and a half uncredited class each week with ridiculously hard homework (questions from past tests, and this is a a test that over 50% of the people who take it get a 0/120 on), this is about all I have time to write about right now. So here we go:

Step 1: Put your music player on shuffle.
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 37 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing.
Step 3: Check off the songs when someone guesses both artist and track correctly.
Step 4: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!
Step 5: If you like the game, post your own.

1. "One-two one-two in the place to be, yes indeed/As we proceed to give you what you need/Always smokin that 'dro weed, we have......(band name)"

2. "How many tears do you cry if love should break your heart in two?"

3. "Some guy tried to rub up against me on a crowded subway car"

4. "I'm gonna make a change, for once in my life."

5. "Take a trip with me in 1913 to Calumet, Michigan in copper country."

6. "I fell in love again, all things go, all things go."

7. "It was a thrilling ride. Ya you turn me on..." (the begging was too

8. "You asked me so where have you been"

9. (this is not the first line since that is the name of the song..this is the next line) "Two days not hungover in a bar up on high kiss the smugness goodbye with two bourbon decays and wine."

10. ".....Cruelty makes its holes, but on the shoreline time will hold its promise." (...-song title)

11. "...feel the pressure. Yo, you better plan ahead, gather your thoughts."

12. "...love might bring us back together, I feel so good.."

13. "Butterfly searching for a relax, pulling from the jazz stacks cause it's Sunday." (alright, you better know what band this is or don't talk to me ever.)

14. second line: "And the grief it's caused no one will ever know."

OK, I'm skipping one, because it's like ALL the title to the song. You can check it out if you don't believe me: "Drinkin Lum Y Alla" by Leadbelly.

15. "Well sit by my side if you love me."

16. "All the time we spent in bed, counting miles before we said fall in love and fall apart things will end before they start."

17. "I am a tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tough tough guy"

18. "Je me balladais tranquille, sur une ile sans le moindre style." (I'll love you forever if you know this.)

19. "Dressin my voice up on the phone, underneath the envy rotting in my bones."

20. "When an early autumn walks the land and chills the breeze and touches with her hand the summer trees, perhaps you'll understand what memories I own."

21. "...Oh I want to be in that number..." (now you have to figure out WHICH singer since this is the easiest one EVER)

String of Coltrane and Thelonius Monk (i.e. NO lyrics), Glenn Miller singing in German(?) and I couldn't find the lyrics online so I'm skipping it instead of guessing.

22. "Planets be the champ of this amplified sound, swimming in this art of up the boogie down."

23. "Now I'm just a boy, I watch too much TV (no body knows, no body knows)."

24. "Back in the days, my pops said right on."

25. "There's a port on a western bay and it serves a hundred ships a day."

26. "They tell you to do it, grow up and toe the line"

Coltrane

27. 3rd line: "Act like ya know, not now but right now"

28. "Who is it? Who’ll get the sting, who’ll get the stripes?"

29. "Just one more drink and then I should be on my way home."

30. "I'm saying something very curious, I swear to god nobody listens to me."

31. "It isn't by chance I happen to be a boulevardier, dear, the toast of Paree."

32. "Here am I with my desire, I feel it burning just for you."

Miles

33. "It was late last night I made my rounds."

34. "See it coming at my head."

35. "I'm so lonely because I live on a ..... in the heart of a city." ....: song title

36. "There are holes in what we knew."

37. "Look in the mirror time to face up"

It took me 47 "songs." (Some of them were my Pimsleur Arabic lessons). It kept playing no lyric jazz as well. I tried to note the music stuff, but I guess I could have just kept it too myself. My player also apparently favoured similar songs today. If I had done this on Tuesday it would have been 90% oldies

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Canadian PM Debate drinking game

This list was compiled from rules from the last PM election cycle and from the "Canadian Indecision" group on my knitting site Ravelry.

Take a drink whenever Duceppe:
Starts talking about things not releated to the question
Takes over Layton’s turn to speak
Speaks french for no apparent reason

drink whenever layton mentions boardroom tables and/or kitchen tables.
drink whenever harper infantilizes/effeminizes dion.
drink whenever one of the party leaders accuse harper of being pro-alberta and/or pro-oil companies.

drink when Stephen Harper sounds smug
drink when May or Layton make a grandiose promise they'll never be able to fulfill.
drink when anyone completely ignores the question and goes off on an unrelated rant

Take 2 drinks if:
Harper calls the Green Shift "a tax on everything"
Harper or Layton accuse May of being a Liberal
Dion says "stimulation"
anyone blames a previous government for something

3 drinks if Harper makes vague (or overt, basically any) reference to a group (or province, *coughNFLDcough*) that he doesn't need to get elected

start drinking whenever anyone mentions the sponsorship scandal and don’t stop until (presumably) harper shuts up.

If anyone agrees with Harper chug the rest of your drink (or a new one and yes you still have to do it if you're crying)
start doing shots when elizabeth may brings out the bong.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

While we're on the subject of debt

Marcy Kaptur rocks!

Hey Washington!

Are you going to buy my debt next? What's a couple of thousand dollars in student loans compared to $700 billion?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Score one for Disability Rights

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and finally Congress did something right. (Well the Senate anyway.)

On September 11th the Senate passed S. 3406, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. This is a big fucking deal for people with disabilities. Now I'm gonna ask you to send a short email to you reps and ask them to vote for it (it had 77 cosponsors in the Senate (including my own, Patty Murray, who I love, and Hillary Clinton) so hopefully that's some indication that it will easily be passed in the House as well). What is so great about this? It changes the language, it removes some of the worse paragraphs, it gives people with disabilites (more) legal recourse if discriminated against, and it changes the definition of disability as well as putting in writing (thank god-this is something that means a lot to me personally as someone *on* disability who is mostly functional on medication) that the determination of whether or not one has a disability is made without taking into account things that aid in helping the person to lead a "normal" life. Observe:
'(E)(i) The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as--

'(I) medication, medical supplies, equipment, or appliances, low-vision devices (which do not include ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing aids and cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices, mobility devices, or oxygen therapy equipment and supplies;

This is important because the courts ruled in the past that there have been rulings that have said that if such assistive devices improve your life then, viola! you are no longer disabled as in the 1999 case Sutton v. United Airlines. My life is 10x better on medication and I'm continually scared of being kicked off of disability as a result which means no Medicaid and no medication. Whee. What a catch-22. I become almost fully functional with medication and then I am kicked off because I am only fully functional to fall back into my less then desirable state of functioning just to go back on SSI-D and medication. Whee again. And I'm not the only one who lives with this fear.

Back to the legal recourse. Many different types of disabilities were not included and were being discriminated against and not recognised by the courts under the current laws. Non-physical disabilities, i.e. the ones that most people think of when they hear the term 'disability' were generally discriminated against, because, well, if you can't see it it doesn't exist, right? Wrong. And this Bill is changing the laws to make sure that people like me are covered. If the government pays me disability why then am I not included in the ADA? Hmmmm.
In a statement, Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, praised the bill's introduction: "The ADA Amendments Act is the most significant civil rights bill of the 110th Congress. This act will correct narrow court interpretations that have restricted ADA coverage in the workplace, and taken away coverage for people with diabetes, epilepsy, serious heart conditions, mental disabilities, and even cancer."

I am writing first as a HURRAH that this was passed for the 43 million people in the US living with a disability, but also to ask that you do contact your reps (whether you actually vote or not-I don't care and they don't know) because this bill needs to pass the House. This amendment needs to happen. For me. For the 43 million others and all those undiagnosed. For the people who are usually left behind when talk of civil rights is brought up.

(Oh and while you're at it you should add something about HR 676 single payer healthcare-then no one would have to worry about going without medical care or medication.)

Also, currently there are Disability Rights Activists blocking all the doors at McCain's Campaign Headquarters (follow the happenings through Twitter) What are they asking for? Housing! Call McCain headquarters at 703-297-8900 to tell them to get the housing platform to McCain!

Friday, September 05, 2008

IVAW pictures are now up.


no words
Originally uploaded by union_clown
I stopped trying to think of titles for the pictures, they speak for themselves. Even titling this one "no words" seems to be taking away from it a little. Find the rest of the photos here.

There's also another set with all the miscellaneous stuff I saw around the DNC that I didn't have any other home for. You can find it here.

2 photo sets up from DNC


Storm stirring shit up
Originally uploaded by union_clown
But not the IVAW since that's huge. I'm going to be doing that tomorrow so it will should be up by tomorrow evening.

Green and Black march

and

18 Million Voices 88th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment/Hillary's Speech Celebration

Thursday, September 04, 2008

RNC Updates

**SUPER IMPORTANT**: Undercovers/provacatuers consistently wearing ipod earphones and shiny black shoes. DO NOT ENGAGE, but don't get paranoid.

Dump trucks and snow plows between marchers and Xcel Center.

John Doe who has been water striking has been bonded out. It is believed that no more John Does remain in jail.

Cops are still dropping protesters off in random locations after release. Keep number for rides on you: 651.356.8635

100+ people on Marion Bridge detained and handcuffed face down @ 19:38.

27 arrested at 12th & Cedar, march leadership targeted; one reporter arrested: Susan from Uptake.

Cops again using pepper spray, tear gas, percussion grenades/flash bombs on protesters.

Curfew rumours false; city employees advised to evacuate downtown.

Ramsey County Jail phone #651.292.3698

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I wonder (RNC post)

If they're doing what the cops did in Denver where they had their badge numbers embroidered in black on their uniforms so that they technically were identifiable, but god damn if anyone could actually make out what the hell their badge numbers were.



Also, police are trading pepper spray for the offer of flowers. Because flowers are apparently weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

For more news check out Twin Cities Indymedia and as I posted below, for up to the minute action text "Follow TCIMC" to 40404 (their twitter feed, which is a fucking brilliant idea and makes me want to run to all these places that people are needed even though I can't.)

Day 1 of uploading

Starts tomorrow.

RNC real time update

1595 Selby, the I-witness office is being surrounded by police who are claiming that there are hostages inside.

I'll post more when I get updated. Anyone you know in the area please tell them to go, observers are needed.

If you are in Minne, the way to get updates is to text "Follow TCIMC" to 40404.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Still working on missing posts

Chew on this:
The End is Not For a While



When you scroll over it it says "I THINK EVERYONE INVOLVED HERE IS CUTE."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Where have all the posts gone?

Well, that's a good question. I will try to get them back up in the next few days, I have quite some time to spend sitting in front of the negative scanner to get my pics online (from the DNC). But in the meantime, check out what's happening at the RNC (I will be putting up links and stuff....it's more likely to happen since I'm not actually there) on Minneapolis/St. Paul Indymedia and watch this clip of Amy Goodman and the producers of Democracy Now getting arrested while covering the RNC protests.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Denver or bust!

I'm leaving for my plane in 5 hours. Yee-ha.

See ya in the streets.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And Free Speech will be protected in Denver

Mmmm. So the city is preparing for mass arrests during the DNC. Granted there will be your standard stock of anarchists and the like protesting there (did clown bloc exist past the 2000 RNC? They were my favourites, for obvious reasons.), but I think this is more then likely made for us dried up old lady PUMAs who will be there protesting as well. And woo won't it be fancy. A warehouse, complete with metal cages made of chain link fence topped with barbed wire will be awaiting the people who get arrested.
A sign on the wall reads "Warning, electric stun devices used in this facility."

Sallinger showed video of the warehouse to Adam Jung of Tent State University and Zoe Williams of Code Pink, leaders of groups that plan to demonstrate during the convention. "This is very bare-bones and very reminiscent of a political prisoner camp or a concentration camp," Williams said.

"That's how you treat cattle," Jung siad. "You showed the sign where it said stun gun in use. And you just change the word gun for bolt, and it's a meat-processing plant."

Oh yeah, this'll be great. I can't wait. But think of the press if some old lady actually does get arrested. That'll be awesome. Not to mention the fact that no one really cares if a bunch of ragged old anarchists get arrested, but what about when your everyday Jane or John Q. Public gets arrested? People that your average American citizen doesn't look down on? I'm hoping that people will be outraged if what I think is going to happen happens. But I don't want it to happen, doesn't mean it won't.

Luckily I have press credentials and will be there with my In These Times press passes (including my assorted press gear) which has always prevented me from getting arrested. Let's hope the streak continues, but I fear for all those PUMAs and Hillary supporters who have real, legitimate concerns and problems with the Democratic Party who will be silenced because we can't exercise our only avenue to free speech without fearing arrest and imprisonment. Awesome. Way to go democracy.

DISSENT is the highest form of patriotism -- Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Getting back to writing

and hopefully blogging (about substantial things). I am writing a story, have about 4 1/2 chapters written and know the big plot point I'm working towards and it features a protagonist with PTSD, Parker, and is fantasy set in present day earth. Since I am writing it in my journal-smaller pages, I have set a goal of writing 10 pages every day. Hopefully this will get me writing again.

I have some ideas for feminist theory kicking around my head (which I can only hope will be as good as my polyamory and activism and my compulsive masculinity pieces) so hopefully once I have trained myself to write everyday I can make the leap to sit down and work on that. I'm hoping that after this last go boom it's all uphill so that I will be able to pull quotes and research stuff out without any PTSD related crap happening, but first the fiction.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Also

WTF?

I so don't even care about SYTYCD anymore this season. I never connected to Joshua or Katee and while Twitch is nice and entertaining, I don't get excited thinking about him dancing. How he's there over Mark I have no idea. Especially given both their solos tonight (and performances last night). Ridiculous.

Hey Obama, remember women?

Because your VP vettings say you don't, or you're still planning on the whole "they have no where else to go" bullshit to happen. Well you know what? We've been saying no, and we're still saying no, so fuck you mate.

NOW's put out this Obama, Are You Listening? This One's for Your Girls

Some highlights:
Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, appeared on Meet the Press on July 27 and was pressed by Tom Brokaw to discuss the criteria, timing and prospects for his selection for vice president. Obama refused to name any names, but he did offer this insight: "I want somebody who I'm compatible with, who I can work with, who has a shared vision..."

Well, I hope that shared vision includes full equality for women, because some of the names that have been floated recently aren't particularly reassuring.

.....

The New York Times puts forth a frustrating Catch-22 in the veepstakes, claiming that there's little chance Obama will choose Clinton, but that hopefuls like Sebelius shouldn't hold their breath either because "if a woman were to be placed on the ticket, could it be anyone other than Mrs. Clinton?" Um, because Clinton was such a strong contender, that should eliminate all other prospective Democratic female VPs from the field? John Edwards lost, so does that mean Obama shouldn't consider any white males for the VP slot? Of course not. Only in a patriarchy are we allowed just one woman trailblazer at a time!

So, let's look at some of the men whose names are being bandied about. Gov. Kaine is reportedly very close with Obama and is supposedly the frontrunner at this time. This concerns me a great deal, as it should all feminists. Kaine, a former Catholic missionary, is on the record as having "a faith-based opposition to abortion," and having promised to enforce the (numerous) restrictions in Virginia law. We think Barack Obama should look for someone who trusts women to make these important decisions with their doctors and their families.

....

What a great way to lose women's votes -- and hurt girls' and women's future. In a year when an unprecedented number of feminist and progressive voters are energized and engaged in the electoral process, what a mistake it would be for Obama to turn away from his base in perhaps the most important decision he will make between now and the convention. A misguided attempt to reach out to evangelicals and socially conservative Democrats can only backfire. I fear that if women have to choose between a ticket with Chuck Hagel and a ticket with John McCain, they're likely to stay home.

.....

The simple political fact is that Sen. Obama needs to reach out to women, and demonstrate that he is a true proponent of equality for all. He needs to ask for women's support the same way Clinton did. It was the first time in a long time that we've been talked to by a candidate who wasn't talking down to us.

Some of the men on Obama's short list might not even bother to talk down to us -- many of them, with the exception of Joe Biden, haven't talked to us much in the past, so we suspect that they just might ignore us entirely in the future, while trading away our rights.


Of course only one woman at a time! And I'm sorry, but I heard Gov. Sebelius floated before the primaries were even over as a way to "quell" our anger that Clinton did not get the nod so I'm already pissed of about that. But now it's (almost) decided and seriously the names that have been floating are repugnant. Napolitano, who I would think of as a good choice, has not even been asked for vetting papers, but Sebelius has, and it seems like that's just a little nod to all us dried up bitter women who were screwed out of having an actual progressive candidate who cares about women. Which, I'm sorry that you don't like it Obama, but that includes the right to abortions without having to consult the entire community AND accepting the fact that mental health issues are just as damn important as physical health issues to the life of the woman. I'm glad that no one close to you has had to go through mental health issues and that you've never had your life touched by domestic violence, which does create undue mental stress even if it's not a diagnosed condition, but FUCK YOU for telling the many women who have been and will be in those situations that their pain is just not good enough to get a late term abortion. I'm lucky, I'm diagnosed so I'll be able to get one. Many people, including me, go undiagnosed for years if they ever do get diagnosed. It is NOT UP TO YOU.

Anyway, looking at Obama's list and especially the list of people who have given vetting papers we have a token woman and then a slew of men who are at best tepidly OK for women. It's not like I haven't been screaming it from the rooftops this entire damn primary season, but OBAMA DOESN'T CARE ABOUT WOMEN. He wants us to vote for him, but he doesn't want to do a damn thing to earn those votes, just like the Democratic Party has for, well, forever. We are the LARGEST voting bloc AND we had a candidate who has done a shitload of work for women: Plan B over the counter, VAWA, Vital Voices, etc, etc, and yet here we are being ignored. Again. Why? Of all years why are we being ignored? Isn't it obvious that these things are a BIG DEAL to a good portion of the 18 million people who voted for Hillary, and dare I say a good deal of people who didn't? This is a big deal. STOP FUCKING IGNORING US. Right now, you are not that much better then the other guy so stop thinking that that's gonna work for you. Democrats have always counted on us voting for them since they're better then the other guy. Well both guys suck, both guys want to restrict my access to abortion, and both are going to completely fuck up this country.

And can I tell you I am so happy that there are other PUMAs. Ever 4 years I scream from the rafters about how the R's and the D's are too incredibly similar and now other people are realising it. Well, they realised that the Dems weren't being what the Dems were supposed to be. I can tell you that by the amount of trolls (can you call them trolls if you know who they are?) that visit my tiny little Hillary group on Ravelry (the main Obama group has about 30x the number of members as our group and we're the little Hillary group b/c we're unaffiliated-people in our group will be voting McCain, McKinney, no one, or Obama and some people do not like this) they really are worked up about PUMAS. If we were so sad to them why would they bother to troll us continually? Why do they care what we're talking about all the time? PUMAs are real, there are a lot of us, and if we were inconsequential no one would care.

But yet they're just saying "oh they're angry," "they'll get over it," "they're throwing a tantrum b/c they didn't get what they want." Well in part, yeah. I'm angry and I didn't get what I want. But you know what? It *still* isn't up to me to blindly follow someone who says and does things I abhor. It's up to him to win my vote. You know what would be a step in that direction? How about choosing candidates for VP who don't openly and actively hate me? Or is that too much to ask? You and Michelle always talk about your daughters, but guess what, they're girls who'll one day be women too. (I hate having to use that whole "look at this girl/woman you know" crap.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SYTYCD Top 6

This space reserved for thoughts on the show. Must dial for Mark, Chelsie, and Courtney. But mostly Mark.

And OHMYGOD Sonya is now officially my favourite choreographer on the show. She choreographed 2 of my favourites: tonight's jazz routine (WOW) and Matt & Kourtni's comic book contemporary. I love Sonya. (will have last name later)

A little bit of comedy

from the way back machine.

Are my credentials in the mail?

They most certainly are not.

Nothing like a manufactured flame war to bring out the laughter!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sorry no SYTYCD this week

Last night was another pub quiz, and I usually don't go, but my partner's leaving for 3 weeks to do WASL alternative grading and then moving for a teaching job at a high school district 2 hours away maybe a week after he gets back (he'll be here the week I'll be in Denver too, though, but then again I won't be here). So I did that instead.

Next week will be back to regular as I'm on crutches and can't dance at the moment (X-Ray was clear even though the doc seems to be convinced I have a stress fracture and it just isn't showing yet. NOT ALL DANCERS GET STRESS FRACTURES, ARGH!) I'll definitely be craving dance. I'm craving dance as we speak. I spent the entire day at the ER thinking of ways I could dance without using my left foot or putting pressure on it in any way.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A new leaf

These have been some interesting times for me. Stupid, ridiculous, hard times for me. And you know what? Lines were crossed. Things that should never have been said were said. And I saw this at reweaving and I was rejuvenated. It said exactly what I have always thought. The weights that have been holding me down at the bottom of the ocean were lifted. The gag over my mouth disappeared. I could see; I could breathe again. Here's what it says:
I don’t do blind loyalty to anyone, or anything, I critique and interrogate everyone and everything.

Don't expect me to censor my thoughts or my friendships into some thing you find acceptable

That's it, that's all it took. Not rocket science, I admit, but just those two simple sentences, those two little statements, they were enough. I have never been the darling of anyone. I say the wrong things to everyone, it drives my partner crazy sometimes. Even though I am a dedicated radical feminist anti-pornstitution blogger I have dear friends, who are friends for the reasons one generally has friends, who are pro-porn. They don't like what I have to say, but they listen to it at least and are respectful of my words as I am of theirs. We debate, but in the end, and this is all I think one can ever do, I present my argument to the best of my abilities and hope that it creates a spark-something that will cause them to see the truth in my argument and will get them to change their minds.

In the end that's all we can ever do: present our arguments and have enough faith in those arguments that they alone will cause someone to see our side of the story. Changing someone's mind does not come by telling them how wrong they are, by what they should change, or by demeaning them, yelling at them, or lecturing them. I have seen all of these and I am sickened by it.

Radical feminism is about getting rid of this entire system of dominance and hierarchy. No more oppression. No more capitalism. None of it. That also means that there's no "leaders." It is a movement of education, of information. The message is so powerful, the truth so right that we don't need to force people to do anything. I believe this. I believe with all my heart that a world without dominance and hierarchy is possible. Soon? No. But someday? Yes. It warmed my heart when I met some of The Redstockings in NYC and one of the women said to me "I'm doing this for my daughter's daughter's daughter." Which is what I've always said. (Though I'm not having any children.) What we aim to do is to make the world better for each generation of women, and one day.....

Anyhow. I have seen the yelling and the lecturing and it just makes my blood boil. I believe in this message with every fibre of my being. Words cannot describe just how much that message means to me. It is who I am; it is how I live my life; it informs every decision of every day. But who will hear the message when they're getting yelled at? Who? I used to do it too, and I cringe when I see it, you can find examples of it on the internet even. I was like that too, I admit it, but you know what changed that? I remembered that the world isn't black and white. I saw that I got one person to stop watching porn simply because when I found out he did I told him that I don't hang out with people who do and it started a series of conversations that ended with him buying Andrea Dworkin books of his own accord. It's the message, people. You need to make sure that it gets heard. That's my mission, making friends and allies is nice, but not if I'm supposed to toe some party line or pass some purity test. I've never been able to do that and I probably never will. Nothing's black and white. Not even math when you study it enough. (I know how to invent numbers!) It's all shades of grey.

But what's worse is what happens if you say something that the online community, which is very different from real life radical feminists that I've met for the most part, **not all** mind you, I am not making a blanket statement one way or the other here, doesn't like. If you critique the name of a blog like Dead Men Don't Rape as Laura once did you can be attacked and called pro-porn. If you thank people who supported you and suggest that you should talk more often even if you are across the great porn divide as Debs did then you can have your intelligence and loyalty to radical feminism questioned.

And these things were ugly. People were vicious and mean and condescending and all sorts of other things. Tears have been shed, things have been broken (inanimate things, but that might have just been me), and relationships irreparably damaged.

Why the self-cannibalism? Isn't a number of disparate voices good? I think it makes the movement stronger. Do we really have to agree 100% of the time on everything? Because if that's really what needs to happen then I fail. I fail miserably. It's never going to happen. I can think of one big bright shining issue that I know there's going to be a problem with: trans. We don't agree and unless y'all start thinking about being more trans-inclusive we won't. Hell, I don't even agree with myself all the time so I sure as hell aren't going to agree with whatever the hell I'm expected to agree with all the time.

Does it mean we all have to like each other? Because really if someone who doesn't like me doesn't like me and says so that's FINE. It's much better then someone who doesn't like me pretending to like me. There are enough fish in the sea and I don't have to be friends with every single one. (I've always fancied sharks though and I thought of that as I was writing that so does that mean I want to eat a few people?) I learned long ago that sharing an ideological connection with someone was not enough. Most of the people that I worked with in activist communities were the people that have abused and assaulted me. So obviously I know that just because we share the same ideology it does not necessarily mean that we're going to be best of friends or friends at all. I'm OK with that. (not the assault and abuse part but those are also not the people I'm talking about here for the most part).

Some of my friends have been abused by some of my other friends. This pains me and I try to stop it as much as I can. Sometimes I'm successful. I wish I was more often, but then again I'm one person and I'm not always around. But here's the thing. I am expected to stick up for people who are abusive towards me simply because we are both anti-porn. Well FUCK THAT. I am no more going to defend ideas I do not agree with or people who are abusive to me then I am going to start cheerleading porn. I am and always will be my own person. I will not defend something I do not agree with because I am told to. I will defend it because I believe it.

But anyway, I'm sick of it-sick of sitting by and not saying anything to all sides. Y'all are on notice. I'm gonna say what I think and I'm not too good at being anything but blunt, it's just the way I am I never learned the "social niceties." Anyway, it feels like my Independence Day. I feel like me again. (Knowing I'll probably disappear back down the rabbit hole again after this, but whatever, when I emerge you know what to expect.)

Melanie C sums it up nicely. Here's Independence Day for you:


I know I make mistakes
I will have to live and learn
Sometimes you play with fire
And sometimes you get burned

I have my dream to live
Following that star
It doesn't matter how long it takes
It doesn't matter how far

No time for make believing
And it's too late to turn back now, you-you-you

I've been dreaming about it
I can't live without it
I've got to find my own way
I'm not changing my mind now
Or looking behind now
This is my independence day
My independence day

I know it'll take some time
But I won't give up the fight
Sometimes you win, sometime you lose
But that's alright, oh yeah

I've got to spread my wings
And learn how to fly
Cos this feeling drives me on
It's something I cannot deny

No time to make excuses
Cos it's too late to turn back now, you-you-you

I've been dreaming about it
I can't live without it
I've got to find my own way
I'm not changing my mind now
Or looking behind now
This is my independence day
My independence day
Hey, my independence day, oh-oh

No matter what comes my way
I'm gonna live for today, yeah-yeah
This is my, this is my independence day
(Gonna live for today)

I've been dreaming about ir
I can't live without it
I've got to find my own way
I'm not changing my mind now
Or looking behind now
This is my independenceÂ

I've been dreaming about ir
I can't live without it
I've got to find my own way
I'm not changing my mind now
Or looking behind now
This is my independence day
My independence day (independence day)
Day, my independence day (independence day)

Wishing on that same bright star
I shouldn't wish my life away, wish my life away (independence day)
They say it's a small small world
They say it's a small small small small world (independence day).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

People who shouldn't be allowed to work with women

I don't normally look at PostSecret, but someone pointed this out to me:

There are really no words I have to describe how horrifying and repugnant this is. No matter how much you dislike someone there is NO reason to not only condone, but agree with the daily terror that is Domestic Violence. I've worked at a DV shelter and I have seen firsthand the effects of DV on women and families. There is nothing, NOTHING that excuses this. It is not only blaming the victim for the abuse whose responsibility is solely that of the abuser, but it is also continuing the oppression by blaming that person. This is the same mentality that keeps women from reporting the abuse and that keeps abusers from jail and from police taking the matter seriously.
The most common reasons for not reporting domestic violence to police are that victims view the incident as a personal or private matter, they fear retaliation from their abuser, and they do not believe that police will do anything about the incident.


Women who are in DV situations have more then enough problems without the people who are supposed to help them blaming them for abuse and disregarding the fundamental reason for that abuse: misogyny. Most women already believe that it's somehow *their fault.* The person who wrote this should quit since they feel this way.

I wish I could express myself better, I am beyond angry.

Onto more people who shouldn't be allowed around women.


Recently blogger Kyle Payne plead guilty to filming himself sexually assaulting a woman. According to his site, this is Kyle Payne:
Meet the Blogger

Kyle is a social justice educator, writer, and activist. Much of his work is concerned with putting a stop to violence against women. For years Kyle has served as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence and other forms of abuse, in addition to promoting what he calls “a more just and life-affirming culture of sexuality” through activism and education. As a researcher, Kyle has studied the feminist anti-pornography movement and is particularly interested in men’s roles in confronting pornography and the rape culture. In addition to his pro-feminist work, he is involved with anti-racist, free speech, peace, and anti-globalization movements.

Education

2008 - M.S. Degree in Adult Education
Capella University, Minneapolis, MN

2007 - B.A. Degree in Philosophy & Religion,
Social Consciousness, and Women’s Studies
Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, IA

College Activities

Rape Crisis Advocate (4 years)
Editorialist (4 years)
Webmaster (4 years, several organizations)
Resident Advisor (3 years)
Student Radio (3 years, several positions)
Academic Assistant (2 years)
VP of Service Learning (1 year)
Wellness Education Specialist (1 year)
Career Peer (1 year)
Student Senator (1 year)

College Honors and Awards

Male Leader of the Year Award, BVU (2007)
William H. Cumberland Research Award, BVU (2006)
Willard Stief Award for Community Living, BVU (2006)
Nominee, Senior of the Year, BVU (2007)
Nominee, Volunteer of the Year, BVU (2006, 2007)
Alpha Chi Honor Society (2006-present)
Dean’s Fellowship, BVU (2003-2007)
Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities (2006)
Campus Compact Civic Engagement Fellowship (2006)


Here's the thing: Much of his work is concerned with putting a stop to violence against women. For years Kyle has served as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence and other forms of abuse, in addition to promoting what he calls “a more just and life-affirming culture of sexuality” through activism and education. As a researcher, Kyle has studied the feminist anti-pornography movement and is particularly interested in men’s roles in confronting pornography and the rape culture.

He works putting a stop to violence against women and against rape culture yet he, himself had no problem with sexually assaulting and making pornography out of an intoxicated and unconscious female student. He was in a position of power over this woman, a Resident Advisor in the dorms and police found the film on his hard drive. After he posted bail he wrote this on his blog:
"For a variety of reasons, there is very little I can say about the recent news. So, unfortunately, I cannot give you the answers that you might seek. Worse yet, I can do little in the way of defending myself against a whole host of claims about my character that are both irrational and damaging.

IRRATIONAL! IRRATIONAL! Yes it's irrational to get angry about the fact that you, someone who labeled himself a "radical feminist" who worked against rape culture then turned around and not only sexually assaulted someone, but made pornography out of it. According to his blog he works doing rape crisis advocacy which scares the hell out of me-a rapist talking to victims of sexual assault! There's more about this at Buried Alive.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Top 12

Liveblogging this time to avoid last week's confusing note mix up. I mean, that's what commercials are for, right? And by the way I am not happy because I have ballet foot. My toes are killing me, but only on my left foot. It's not fun.

Round 1
Chelsie & Mark
Salsa:
What the judges kept saying was lacking with Mark I think was hip action. His Salsa left me wanting more hips. If he would have loosened up his torso as Mary said his hip movement may have been more obvious but as it was I wanted more Salsaness in his hips. There was really great footwork and connection. I love them and I loved it.

Comfort & Thayne
Hip Hop:
Blah. Can they go home already? I mean Comfort's solo last week was abysmal and Thayne's was nothing special. Seriously. They executed the steps well, it's true, but there was no connection, no chemistry, nothing. Blech blech blech. How are they still on the show? Seriously.

Jessica & Will
Contemporary:
Wow, Jessica was good for once. I mean she has been really bad thus far and I really think Will has been carrying her and was surprised that she didn't go home when she was in the bottom 3. But this time she did a really good job. There was definitely a lot of emotion and connection between them. It was a fabulous piece and they did an amazing job. The lines and the fluidity was gorgeous. But I really would have loved to see Kourtni and Matt perform this piece.

Courtney & Gev
Cha Cha:
EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! ANYA AND PASHA!!!!! OK. Gev's footwork was so sloppy, his hips were all over the place and not in the way that they were supposed to be. Like Mary said they should be moving in opposition, but they were just.... He wasn't working into the ground with his feet, just bad. His partnering wasn't bad, but that footwork, ick.

Twitchington
Krump:
Um, yeah. I hate Krumping. "Grrr, I'm mad. Grrrrr." All I can say is that Kherington's tough face was making me laugh. I thought it looked hysterical. And that at the end they were completely out of sync and it seemed as though Kherington forgot the steps, which like I said last week wouldn't happen if, besides learning the moves and routine, you listened to the music.

Katee & Joshua
Viennese Waltz:
The lifts were very light and executed flawlessly. But they didn't really dance into the floor or glide enough. There was too much bounce and they were definitely heavy on their feet. I do agree that Joshua had really good carriage, but overall other then the lifts I thought that he was really weak in this routine. I was surprised that the judges weren't more critical of the footwork as that is a huge part of the dance. Yeah lifts are great and showy, but the meat of the dance is in the connection and the footwork. One was there, one was not.

Round 2
Chelsie & Mark
Broadway:
I love them, seriously. Chelsie had really great lines and extension throughout the entire routine. Of course, as always, they had the characters down pat. They always get really into the routine and tell the story. Mia was right that Mark's movement was occasionally sloppy

Comfort & Thayne
Contemporary:
I agree wholeheartedly with the judges. Some of Comfort's lines were crappy-she needed to lengthen her legs and feet especially. There was an awkwardness to the way the steps were executed and once again a lack of commitment from Comfort that made it disjointed. They were also lacking chemistry again, but I don't think they're ever gonna get that. I seriously think they should go home. 2 weak performances stacked up with weeks of weak performances-at least the judges agreed that some of Kourtni & Matt's performances were good and *they* went home over these two. Blech.

Jessica & Will
Quickstep:
When they were dancing the Quickstep they had very heavy footwork which is very very bad for the Quickstep (I mean, can't you tell by the name?) Jessica had spaghetti arms at times especially when they were traveling which was about 90% of the time they were doing the QS (which is par for the course). At least there steps were in unison.

Courtney & Gev
Jazz:
Gev: where was that hip action during the Cha Cha? They had great chemistry and I thought that they brought a great deal of character to the piece. I thought that it was executed really well and you could really see how great Courtney's lines and extensions were in the lifts. It was great.

Twitchington
Smooth Tango:
They didn't dance to the intensity of the music at all. They totally could have brought the characterization to it and they didn't. Smooth Tango, key word *smooth.* Them: not so smooth, more bouncy, but I think that this could have been overcome (to the general public) with some performance since people (and the judges) seem to love them so much. Like I said with them not dancing to the intensity of the music they didn't bring the necessary passion to it that they so obviously knew it needed since they were talking about it in the preview. Bad tango.

Katee & Joshua
BOLLYWOOD!!!!
I watch Bollywood all the time so I hope this is good. OK I was waiting for backup dancers, but I wish they would have done it more back and forth style as in Bollywood movies instead of in sync as they did it. I really hope that more people pull this out of the hat because I love Bollywood. WOO WOO.

I think that Jessica & Will, and Thayne & Comfort will be in the bottom 3 and possibly Twitchington, but they seem to have a huge following so who knows, but I would think that the people going home would be the people continually in the bottom 3.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I don't know whether to cry (Don't read if you haven't watched the series finale of Doctor Who 4)

or be really happy.

Man that series finale was a roller coaster and I LOVED IT. I love that Rose and (a version of the) Doctor got to be together because they love each other so much and that everyone was OK at the end even though Donna will never remember any of the amazing things that she's done or that she saved the universe. I loved all the companions around the console working together and the Daleks speaking German.

Exterminieren! Exterminieren!

And go Dalek Caan for wanting to destroy the Daleks forever, even if I doubt this means they will be destroyed forever. Damn that ending made me cry. I love Donna's grandfather, it feels like it's worse for him, because she'll never remember and he will. Damn. I don't see them ever doing a better finale. Ever.

Friday, July 04, 2008

It's Independence Day, did you do your part?

Today we are asking all Hillary supporters to help her gain her independence by helping to pay down her debt by donating $20.08.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

So Matt's a better dancer yet he's not getting better then himself so he has to leave? How does this make sense in any way shape or form. "Uh...you're brilliant, but you're not getting more brilliant so you'll have to go." His solo was so much better then Thayne's.

WTF?

Nigel made the right vote for Kourtni to stay, but then again he was the only one who noticed that Comfort's solo was weak and that at this point in the competition Comfort shouldn't be getting props simply because she' a hip hop dancer and should be held to the same standard as everyone else.

So You Think You Can Dance Week 4

Sorry it's late, I'm so glad they brought that awesome popper back, I love him.

The camera work seemed to improve this week, thank god.

Jessica and Will:
Jive:
The footwork, especially Jessica's was heavy and clumsy though I agree that their retractions were good. Unfortunately my notes just say connection, hip movement, weight, bounce so I don't know what i was really thinking last night. Ooops.

Lyrical Jazz:
Will had some very lovely lines and I agree that Jessica definitely needs more confidence because there were some moments where she just fell completely flat and had no spark.

Thayne and Comfort:
Broadway:
They did A LOT BETTER with new partners, but there definitely should have been more pop and energy in the piece; it is Broadway and that's what Broadway is. They need to get into the spirit of the piece especially at this point in the competition. Even if they are doing better with their new partner that doesn't excuse the fact that they still need to step up to the level that is asked of them.

Smooth Waltz:
Did I say the cameras were better? I take that back. I wanna see the footwork goddamn it. In the lift Comfort had really lovely lines and their carriage was really great. Could have done better with the frame, however.

Kourtni and Matt: OK, this is gonna be sad for me as I love them (Kourtni is my favourite woman.) *sigh*
Hip Hop:
Obviously anyone who was watching could see there were parts that they were out of sync. It appeared that Kourtni kept looking at Matt to make sure they were in the same place and yes for choreographed pieces you learn a routine, but you should be listening to the music which they obviously were not doing which is a giant failure in my book. Learning where your moves should be connecting with the music is just as important as the moves and if you get that down you don't have to worry about being in sync. Also, something that would have been taken care of by this would have been the fact that there were moves that they obviously were supposed to hit on the beats and they didn't.

AT some points however I think Matt nailed the staccato and liquid movements, but he was not consistent at all.

Mambo:
Dude, Matt, what the hell! Kourtni was giving you enough sexy and smoldering and you just ruined it. That is not the spirit of mambo, that was so off character. Blah. Matt was too up and his weight wasn't over his feet (which happens when you're too far upright) and his was a little too bouncy. The steps were executed well, I felt Kourtni's footwork looked a little heavy at times.

Chelsie and Mark:
Jazz:
This has been the best Jazz routine this season though I haven't liked any this season. Of course they nailed it and they made it seem completely easy. They are awesome. (Mark's my favourite guy.)

Foxtrot:
This is my favourite dance this season. I love both the ones we've seen. Just lovely choreography. There was a great break hit by Mark about halfway through-he really nailed it. There was great footwork, frame, and carriage, and my only complaint is that Chelsie took control a little bit, but this is her thing and I doubt anyone else really noticed that.

Kherington and Twitch:
Paso Doble:
Okay. The commitment and passion was there. And it was highly entertaining. But was the dancing itself done right? Hell, no. Paso Doble is very stylistic and flamenco-ish. Twitch showed glimmers of the style here and there, but Kherington missed it. She was all up and forward like a properly-trained contemporary dancer should be, which is totally the wrong posture. Her shoulders were way too forward, she didn’t have the right frame - the claps and slaps at the end looked terrible as a result of this. And the kind of passion she was displaying was wrong - it was more aggressive, competitive and mean, as opposed to confident, prideful, and just damn’ ol rawly womanly. I found this rather distracting and jarring. On the other hand, I did enjoy watching it because it was so damn entertaining.

Contemporary:
I thought that they had great lines and executed it well, but I didn't really feel the story about Twitch's loss and Kherington's darting in and out was just confusing.

Katee and Joshua:
Contemporary:
When they were doing the same moves in the beginning of the piece Joshua was too reserved and didn't match Katee's intensity which captured the intensity and spirit of the piece. But I must say other then that they had great command of the stage, look at the execution of those beginning walks, and great form.

West Coast Swing:
Not impressed. But then I'm comparing them to all the WCS dancers I know, and I know some champion WCS dancers. Was it entertaining and energetic, yes. But think back to Benji, Lacey, or Heidi (this was Benji's choreography) and compare them. They seem to be favourites of a lot of people (including the judges) and I think because of this they were allowed to get away with a less then stellar performance.

Courtney and Gev:
Hip Hop:
Was that Courtney? OHMYGOD! What happened to Gev? I didn't watch him at all which equates to a really weak performance and this is his style. I agree with the judges that there were some parts that looked bubblegum-esque, but really Courtney really impressed me.

Broadway
Blech, just blech. I hated the choreography and I agree with Nigel that it was not as good as it should be (even though the choreography sucked) and it definitely wasn't good as *they* could do. I also agree that Courtney's kicks were not high or dynamic enough and just kind of fell flat. The only parts of the routine that could have been redeeming for me were poorly executed. Also as Tabitha (or Napoleon?) pointed out was that they kept the same intensity the whole time where the music obviously demanded that they bring it down and back up again to really explode at the end. Again this is a problem with not listening to the music and just executing the moves which is a fatal mistake for dancers IMNSHO.

I thought that Thayne, Courtney, and Comfort's solos were kind of weak. Oh well, I'll find out in 5 minutes.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Protest hate and homophobia Monday June 30th

STOP THE HATE! -Anti-Skinhead Rally

Monday, June 30, 2008
9:00am - 8:00pm
Vancouver City Jail
Main & Cordova
Contact Info Phone: 7788360442
Email: peterlotion@hotmail.com

On Saturday June 28th during Vancouver’s annual Eastside Pride celebration
in Grandview Park a few participants noticed a group of large skinheads
destroying pride signs and stomping on them. Queers and allies confronted
them and were brutally assaulted; they were punched, kicked and thrown
into a vehicle. The skinheads were arrested and are expected to be
released on Monday June 30th. Activists and allies are protesting they’re
presence in our communities.

Come show your pride and resist fascism! The day will include music,
food, drag shows and will end with a Showering of the skinheads with
resistance and community.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

OH. MY. GOD.

Is it Saturday yet?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

NOW's media Hall of Shame

What sexism? Visit the Hall of Shame here.

Some of my favourites that I missed this campaign season:

Andrew Sullivan from The Atlantic:

“The second bout of public tears just before a crucial primary vote - after no evidence that Senator Hillary Clinton has a history of tearing up in front of the cameras - provokes the unavoidable question: should feminists actively vote against Clinton to defend the cause of female equality?”


WHAT. THE. FUCK. How does one imply the other? What does that have to do with female equality? I'm actually speechless on this one.

Charlotte Allen in the Washington Post

“Women ‘are only children of a larger growth,’ wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right? … By all measures, Hillary Clinton has run one of the worst – and, yes, stupidest – presidential races in recent history, marred by every stereotypical flaw of the female sex… . What is it about us women? Why do we always fall for the hysterical, the superficial and the gooily sentimental? … I don’t understand why more women don’t relax, enjoy the innate abilities most of us possess (as well as the ones fewer of us possess) and revel in the things most important to life at which nearly all of us excel: tenderness toward children and men and the weak and the ability to make a house a home… . Then we could shriek and swoon and gossip and read chick lit to our hearts’ content and not mind the fact that way down deep, we are … kind of dim.


Internalized sexism anyone? Yes let's reinforce the entirely false stereotypes of femininity and womanhood. These are complete lies about what women are capable of that were created by this patriarchal society and do nothing but continue to reinforce women's oppression. Yes some women may choose to do these things, but to say that it is innate behaviour is on par with saying that blacks are naturally inferior to whites. It just. ain't. true. and is a lie propagated by the white male patriarchy to justify oppression of all non-white and non-male people. (Not to mention the laundry list of other oppressions of people who deviate from what the powers that be define as "normal," i.e. people with disAbilities, homosexuals, etc.) Yes please set us back to Victorian notions of women as weak, stupid creatures that can do nothing more then tend to the home. (Though of course this only applied to women of some means, and ones who were white at that.)

By the way, according to her I am not a woman, which by her definition is just fine by me. And my partner makes a much better househusband then I make a housewife. He's the one who cleans the house (I don't scrub the kitchen floor on my hands and knees/clean good enough), he irons his shirts (what? people still do that?), he cooks all the time (by choice fyi), and doesn't like my style of throw everything into the washing machine without separating (I do it when he's not around though). So is he less of a man?

As for that last sentence, do I really have to name all of the accomplishments of women or the fact that there are an amazing amount of smart women out there, the fact that we are graduating college at higher rates then men. Women have always been overlooked for their intelligence. For instance from the letters between them it has been revealed that Mileva Marić, Einstein's first wife, contributed equally to the theory of Special Relativity so much so that he gave all his Nobel Prize money to her. This line of thinking almost kept Elizabeth Blackwell, who was let into medical school b/c they thought her application was a practical joke, from becoming the first modern female doctor who then set up a practice in the slums of New York City (because she was denied by all other practices in the city because of her sex), trained nurses to help during the Civil War and went on to inspire and teach women to become doctors themselves.

It is this kind of reasoning that was used to justify denying us the vote. It was this kind of reasoning to deny women from entering universities and male professions. It is this reasoning that keeps us from earning the same amount as men do, that keeps women from being offered tenure track positions at the same rate men are, etc, etc. But somehow we weren't so dim and weak (swoony) during WWII when they needed us in the factories, or again when you are working class or working poor you are apparently not a woman since you are working and a lot of times in crappy labor intensive jobs (a few of my old factory jobs come to mind *shudder*)

Yeah, well, FUCK YOU.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Who needs clean water anyway?

At least 16 lakes across Canada are to be reclassified as toxic dump sites.

But Catherine Coumans, spokeswoman for the environmental group Mining Watch, said the federal government is making it too easy. She said federal officials are increasingly using the obscure Schedule Two regulations to quietly reclassify lakes and other waters as tailings dumps.

“Something that used to be a lake — or a river, in fact, they can use rivers — by being put on this section two of this regulation is no longer a river or a lake," she said. "It's a tailings impoundment area. It's a waste disposal site. It's an industrial waste dump."

Coumans said the procedure amounts to a subsidy to the industry and enables mines to get around the Fisheries Act.

.....

A local environmentalist who attended the Long Harbour meeting, Chad Griffiths, said of Sandy Pond: “It's easy enough to consider just one lake as just one lake, as a needed sacrifice, right? But it's not one lake … It's a trend. It's an open season on Canadian water.”

....

Last fall, a Federal Court judge ruled that federal bureaucrats acted illegally in trying to fast-track the Red Chris copper and gold mine without a full and public environmental review.

The decision put the project on hold, but late last week, the Federal Appeals Court reversed the decision, paving the way for federal officials to declare lakes to be dumps without public consultation.

.....

“We want it stopped,” said Dennis, who lives in the native village of Iskut, 18 kilometres northwest of the mine site. “We want to stop the mine … The animals will be drinking that water and they'll all be polluted too.

"Once they do the mine, they’re going to leave, and we're the people who are going to live with that. Not me, but my grandchildren, the small little kids like this. That's who's going to live with the pollution.”
(emphasis mine)

Of course the Fisheries Minister doesn't care, in fact he thinks it's more responsible.

From the Opposition:
"The reality is these Conservatives are giving those mining companies a huge subsidy by allowing them to use freshwater aquatic systems that are fish-bearing lakes as chief waste disposal sites," Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer said in the house on Tuesday.

"What they should be doing is having independent linings and holes filled with water, and put the tailings in those things, free and clear of any natural water system."


I wrote an angry letter, so there's something you can do too.

Also, there's another Work Less Party PARTY on the 28th. They're always a blast and why not financially support the best political party in BC while having a bit of fun? It is an election year and Sam Sullivan's not running again! Though I need to find out more about the new guy. Whoever he is I don't like the party so I doubt I'll like him either.

Don't Mess with Hill

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Week 2

Hello! I'm back to talking about SYTYCD. It's nice as I have Jazz and Tap on Tuesdays and Hip Hop and Lyrical on Thursday and SYTYCD in the middle.

Thayne & Chelsea: Jazz
Gotta say I agree with the judges that this routine wasn't as strong as it should have been and it was seriously lacking in character and chemistry. I did really love the staccato part in the middle of the routine. I thought that that part was the highlight of the piece. I wasn't really blown away with the routine's choreography, but if they had the characters down better it may have been different. And what the hell was up with Nigel and the costumes? I got what the costume people were going for and I thought it went fine. I got problems with him and his "masculine" this and "manly" that.

Mark & Chelsie: Argentine Tango

I LOVED that Mark did so well with this as I suspected people thought that he was just the "oddball dancer." Which made him a personal favourite of mine, but now everyone else gets to see that goofballs can be amazing dancers. I thought the partnering was great and his carriage, lines, and attitude were perfect. The footwork was great from them both. Chelsie, as a ballroom dancer, did well but that's not exactly surprising. In this case it *is* important to be very macho/masculine and he did it very well. *shrug* It's a tango thing.

Jessica & Will: Hip Hop
I definitely thought that Nigel was way too nice about this routine. Jessica was not crisp, sharp, or hard enough in her movements. Will did well, but I thought that she was severely lacking and I definitely thought that this was one of the weaker routines of the show.

Kourtni & Matt: Foxtrot
I loved it because they were doing a style of Foxtrot that I love. It was like Mia (?) said: a beautiful routine reminiscent of the Golden Age of Dance in Cinema which I adore. I fully enjoyed it and while their Foxtrot footsteps were a little loose and not fully realised I thought that overall they did wonderfully. I thoroughly *loved* this routine.

Courtney & Gev: Contemporary
I really liked the choreography, but I felt that the performance was lacking. Here's where I kvetch about the camera work. Seriously just show the whole damn dance. Stop zooming in and out on one person or in on their faces. I want to see their whole bodies and their feet, etc. Damn you. I thought Courtney was great and fluid, but it was also lacking connection and emotion for me. I think the choreography really carried them, which great choreography will do, but it's unfair to the other dancers.

Katee & Joshua: Broadway

First of all, can the judges EVER say anything bad about Broadway routines? I didn't like last week's, but this week's routine was good, but I don't think it was executed as well as the judges said it was. I thought that there were moves that weren't fully realised, there were parts and lines that could have been sharper and moves that should have been hit harder. There were moves they just glossed over giving a hint as to the move, but not realising or actualising it. So sad. Yes it's high energy and fun, but it should continue to be judged the same way every other dance is judged. I don't think this should have gotten as high of praise as it got. It was a fun routine, definitely one of the best Broadway routines, the only one I've seen that's better is Sara & Jesús's from last year: (give it a few seconds, it does work at around :08, but that's before the dancing starts)

But still, I thought that they could have done a much MUCH better job with it.

Susie & Marquis: Salsa

So sad. I am mad at Alex DaSilva. I definitely think they will be in the bottom 3. Susie did very well with execution, i.e. footwork, carriage, etc, but was lacking the oomph needed for salsa. I think that she lacked the heart and the spark behind the moves because of the comment Alex made that obviously really upset her and shook her up when he said he was disappointed that she was just a "street dancer" and not a "dancer." Her execution was flawless, but I really think that she was so worried and nervous about her execution that she concentrated on that and that's why there was no heart and no sass in her performance. It's no excuse, to be in the dance world you need to deal with that, but it's still shitty. Marquis was stiff in his movements. He barely moved his hips at all (they should be moving in a figure 8) and his legs were stiff. He could do the steps pretty well, but he needed to relax into the steps and at the heart of Latin dancing is the hips and the sway. He looked like a dancing broom.

Twitchington: Viennese Waltz

I loved this routine. I'm not a fan of waltzes really and I loved that this took the waltz in a whole new direction. It was really beautiful and like I pointed out before I was not really a fan of the Broadway routine last week as it didn't really showcase their dancing talents so I was really impressed by Twitch this week. He looked perfectly at home. He had great lines and there was a lot of great partnering going on during this routine. Their connection was superb I have to admit that I was just taken away by what Jean-Mark Genearaux did with the waltz. I love it.

Comfort & Chris: Crumping
I HATE crumping. OK. So I agree with the judges, from what I understand of crumping it should hit a whole lot harder then that. But it didn't. Yes Comfort should have stepped up, but also I think that it was great partnering on her part (if she did it consciously) because if she did it as well as I, and the judges, think she could have it would have been even more apparent that Chris was horrible at it. Blah, crumping.

Mathematical knitting

I am attempting to knit Boy's Surface for my math geek/unicorn for his birthday next Friday.

Here's what it should look like (as shown in mathematica)


I found a pattern here. It's kind of confusing, but I have a week and a half, so fingers crossed.

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