Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Critiques Are Amusing

At least for me they can be. Especially when my peers or professors say some absolutely ridiculous things. And since I feel as though I have been doing nothing but critiquing lately, I've heard some doozies. For example:

In my printmaking class, a girl was asked to explain her print, at which she said: "I just sorta felt like making an ode to Jersey Shore."

An ode to Jersey Shore. Lyrical verse. To Jersey fucking Shore. Ponder that.

Also, in my figure drawing class, an individual said that the energy of a piece "gives me the sensation that it is breathing". At which point I gave him the "what were you smoking before class?" look. This same kid that is way into woo and astrology and energy stuff, so in a way his comment makes sense, given that he is the one who said it.

My typically rather stern-mannered Faculty Advisor, who rarely curses (even lightly) was telling us to not be afraid of our materials, and to not be afraid of experimenting with textures and paper, going so far as to say "Sometimes, you just really need to fuck up the paper." She then followed this by apologizing her language, which sorta put off the passion of her miniature tirade.

And a word to the wise: be aware of the word "Like". I understand that for many, it is a linguistic filler, much akin to "uh" or "um" or "eh". I know I am guilty of this often. But when your usage of the word "like" begins to interfere with your audience's ability to follow whatever the fuck it is you are trying to say, there's a problem. If I have to hear one more defense with "like" inserted every other between every other word, I might scream. Or throw my pencil shavings on them.

On a related note, overly long and drawn out defenses. I have two reasons for disliking when the defense of a piece takes more than a minute or two at most: 1) Anything that takes longer than two minutes to explain is most likely trying to address too many issues at once; and failing. 2) If you require at least two minutes to defend your piece you are either trying too hard to justify a horrific series of bad visual decisions (make excuses for why it looks like a 3rd grader drew it); or you are so full of yourself that you feel that since your piece is trying to 'Capture all of human existence into a visual plane that is both an affront and a comfort the the audience,' it is so completely beyond the rest of us peons to truly get your masterful work of genius- when the reality is that, no, we get, it just looks like shit.

Finals are next week. I'm hauling ass to finish projects and keep from killing underclassmen that have suddenly discovered that in order to make progress on projects, you need to be in the studios.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Zombie Jesus Day

I was inundated with facebook statuses today wishing me a Happy Easter. Or, Zombie Jesus Day, as I like to call it. My friend JT Eberhard posted a lovely quiz based on David Fitzgerald's new book, Nailed. The quiz is as follows:

The Ultimate Easter Quiz
By David Fitzgerald

1. When did Jesus get crucified?

a. At the 3rd Hour (9am), on Friday, the morning of Passover.
b. Shortly after the 6th Hour (noon), on Friday, the day before Passover.
c. He didn’t really get crucified, his identical twin Thomas Didymus did.
d. He didn’t really get crucified, he only appeared to be crucified.
e. We don’t know for sure, since the gospels disagree irreconcilably.

2. What supernatural events occurred at his death?

a. An earthquake hits Jerusalem (actually, two); strong enough to break stones.
b. Supernatural darkness covers all the land.
c. The sacred temple curtain spontaneously rips in half.
d. A mass resurrection of all the Jewish holy men, who crawl out of their graves and appear to many in Jerusalem.
e. All of the above, depending on which Gospel you read.

3. What historical evidence do we have for those supernatural events?

a. Every major ancient writer of the time worldwide mentioned them.
b. Many important writers in Judea discuss them.
c. Several writers in Jerusalem mention them.
d. No one mentions them, but we do have archeological evidence for them.
e. There is not a single lick of evidence for any of them, written or otherwise.

4. How many women went to the tomb?

a. Three: Mary Magdalene, James’ mother and Salome.
b. Two: Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary.”
c. Lots:  Mary Magdalene, Joanna, James’ mother Mary and other women.
d. Just one: Mary Magdalene.
e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.

5. What did they find there?

a. A young man, sitting inside the tomb on the right.
b. Two men, standing inside.
c. Two angels sitting on each end of the bed.
d. An armed guard of Roman soldiers standing watch, when suddenly a great earthquake occurs, and an angel descends from heaven, his face blazing like lightning and his clothing white as snow; the Roman guards are utterly terrified and all faint dead away; the angel rolls away the stone and sits on it.
e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.

6. What happened after the visit to the tomb?

a. The women ran away in terror and never told anyone what they saw.
b. Jesus appears, is initially mistaken for the gardener, and then is tenderly reunited with Mary.
c. The women tell the disciples, who don’t believe them.
d. Peter runs and beats everyone to the tomb; or possibly gets beaten by one of the other disciples.
e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.

7. Where/when did the risen Jesus first appear to the disciples?

a. On a mountain in the Galilee (60-100 miles from Jerusalem), just as the angel told them he would.
b. We don’t know; we aren’t told anything after the women run from the tomb.
c. He appears to two followers (not disciples) on the road to Emmaus (seven miles from Jerusalem)
d. He materializes in a locked room in Jerusalem as the disciples are at dinner.
e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.

8. When/Where did Jesus ascend back to heaven?

a.  Jesus returns to heaven on the same day he arose, right after dinner, from a room in Jerusalem.
b. We don’t know exactly, but it’s at least 8 days after the resurrection, when the despondent apostles have gone back to being fishermen on the sea of Tiberias.
c. After his resurrection, Jesus spends at least 40 days of teaching his disciples in Jerusalem before ascending to heaven from the Mt. of Olives.
d.  Jesus didn’t ascend into heaven; he met his disciples in the mountains of Galilee and told them he would be with them always.
e. We don’t really know; Luke is the only gospel writer who actually mentions the ascension.

9. Who wrote these gospels, anyway?

a. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – I mean, come on, it says so right there.
b. Actually, none of the gospels even claim to be written by eyewitnesses – all were originally anonymous and written at least a generation later.
c. Well, it’s more like the end of first century for Mark and sometime in the early to mid 2nd century for the others, if you must know.
d. Hold on – Not only that, but Matthew and Luke just reworked Mark gospel, adding their own material and tweaking Mark’s text to better fit what they thought it should say.
e. Get this – if all that weren’t enough, all the Gospels have been edited and added to by later editors, and for the first 200 – 300 years, we have no way to determine how faithfully the originals were preserved.

10. Where does the word “Easter” come from?

a. From the Aramaic word for Passover.
b. It originally was “Eastern Holiday” – referring to the Passover celebrated by Jews in the eastern part of the Roman empire.
c. From est ova, Latin for “Where are the eggs?”
d. From an ancient Celtic pun that means both “Bunnies” and “Chocolate.”
e. from Eastre/Eostre, the pagan Goddess of Spring.

Answers after the break.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A New Me, Part 1: Ready, Set, Go!

For the majority of my life I've been in chronic pain. My joints and muscles complain for no reason at all, some days to the point that the thought of running errands or carrying my portfolio is daunting. I've been told it was due to lack of exercise, which I know to be false as even at my height of physical fitness when I was in Marching Band, running every other day and horseback riding, my joint issues were present.

Over the years, a combination of injury (I have a damaged rotator cuff in my right arm) and my pain has led me to become less and less active. My right arm is practically useless save for fine motor skills. I can't run any distance. I can't easily lift more than 20 pounds. I feel useless.

So, I'm going to change it. Despite my chronic pain, my frustration with being physically weak has gotten to the point where I need to do something about it. So, I am starting a new workout regiment to prep for starting running this summer. I'm starting with this no equipment needed workout that I can do in my room. The article recommends doing the routine 2 nonconsecutive days a week, but I desperately need to push. So I'm aiming to do the workout at least 4 days a week (on track to doing it, at least in part, every day). I'm starting not even doing the entire routine, limiting myself strictly to the 20 minute time block and only doing what I can in that period of time. I am also only doing 2 sets of each workout so that I can maximize the muscle groups worked during those 20 minutes. The goal is to get some toning and prep my large muscle groups for running, as well as raise my heart rate for those 20 minutes.

Once the semester ends, I have a week before I am going to my parent's place for a few days then returning to do a studio intensive for two weeks. Total (including this week) this gives me about 3 weeks to prep and ramp up my cardio before starting running once I go down to my parents. After that, My goal is to run at least 3 days a week to start, using this starter guide to get me up to my goal.

I've set what feel to me like reasonable goals for the end of the summer: run a mile in 10 minutes or less, and be able to do at least 10 reps with a 10 pound weight with both arms (particularly my right arm). I don't want to be a noodle any more. It's not the weight I'm worried about, it's ability. I used to be so fit! I was a badass! My ability to own my male friends in physical contest (other than brute strength) was renowned. I'm not that person any more. I don't have that body any more. I realize that I will never have my body from high school back, but I realize that it is not unrealistic to aim for the same level of fitness I used to have. I have not gained all that much weight since then, I've just lost muscle.

I will keep this series going with periodic updates on my status through the summer. Here I go!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

On Domestication: Part 2

I previously wrote a post titled On Domestication, in which I discussed the issue of choice in feminism in regards to traditional gender/familial roles. In this post, I will discuss the other side of that coin: the Professional Woman.

 The nature of the professional world being what it is, there are certain realities to keep in mind when it comes to being a woman. April 12th was Equal Pay Day, marking how far into the year women have to work in order to earn the gross pay of men from the previous year. Women on average earn 77 cents to the dollar of what men make. They also tend to work at least twice as hard to be acknowledged on the same level as men when it comes to promotions and other professional recognition. And that's not even including the glass ceiling. These pay gaps exist even in the art world. No industry is exempt from them.

I long ago resigned myself to the near-certain reality that will be my professional life: I want to be an art professor, which means teaching/grading/going to meetings full time. But I also realize that getting to that point will take a lot of time in which I won't be paid all that much. Full professorship can expect to make just under 95k. There also a bit of an expectation to be a working artist (not only to support your salary, but also show that you are still in touch with the art world). Which would essentially mean I would be working two full-time jobs; one teaching, one making and exhibiting art. This doesn't leave much leeway for a personal life on the sidelines.

This has led to my evaluating on what my family life would be like. What my marriage would be like. If I chose to have kids, what that would mean. My relationship to my family (with whom I am very close, despite our disagreements on numerous things). How would my chosen career path affect the people in my life, and my relationship to them?

Ask an Atheist Day

Yesterday was International Ask an Atheist Day. The secular student group of my school set up a table in the student union, but I was unable to attend due to homework responsibilities. I'm hoping that their day went well.

Elsewhere in the country, things were not quite so peaceful. A student at Virginia Tech stabbed himself in the hand repeatedly after approaching an Ask an Atheist Day table, after asking them to prove God to him. He then proceeded to assault police officers when they confronted him.

I'm glad nothing of that sort managed to happen at my university. Though I will have to garner from others how well.poorly the tabling went.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Toronto Slutwalk

Recently, there was the Toront Slut Walk. You can look there as to the logistics of it all.

An awesome response to a terrible response can be found over at Feministing. Win.

Also, 30 Best Signs of the slut walk.


I Love Men

No, really, I do. I was mostly raised by men. My dad, two uncles, and grandfather (along with many many many cousins) were major influences in my life, especially early on. Throughout most of my life, I have had a mostly male circle of friends. I live with two men. I adore the men in my life (no matter how much they may drive me insane at times), and I wouldn't be who I am without them.

Which is why I feel the need to promote two cool projects I've stumbled across.

A Men's Project and The Consensual Project.

Lately Significant Other and I have been discussing Voces de Cambio quite a bit (he's working with me on that project) and the gender issues that exist both here, in Latin America, and across the globe. We both strongly believe the best way to combat violence against women and other gender violence is to treat the source: work with boys and young men to change traditional views of women and gender roles. While treating the symptoms, by giving women safe places and protecting and advocating for women is wonderful, the source of many of the problems these women face come from ideas held by the men in power around them.

Through early education with boys and young men, we can begin to alter traditional ways of viewing women in (often violently so) patriarchal societies. In Latin America, the concept of "Machismo" has been institutionalized and allows for the widespread violence against women in the region, as well as victim blaming and slut-shaming within personal circles.

Similar attitudes exist here in the states, and not only women, but men are worse off for it. A personal example: when Significant Other and I first became involved, a friend joked that perhaps Significant Other was gay. Over and over and over. One night while drinking, it became particularly irritating, so I snapped about how just because someone does not conform to your definition of masculinity, does not mean that they are gay. The basis? Significant Other's fashion sensibilities. Of which I am envious, as most days I look like a frazzled hot mess that might possibly be homeless (and yet he still calls me beautiful when I look like hell- It's why I keep him around).

AMP and The Consensual Project present a new way for men to look at and interact with women. A way that is respectful to all parties involved. By having men respect themselves and each other, they can then reflect their self-respect onto the women in their lives. It's a "Pay It Forward" kind of deal.

Why Choice Matters

All this talk about Planned Parenthood and funding and whatnot has got me to thinking about the abortion debate and how it has colored politics here in the states.

The budget road block has come down to the medical care that Planned Parenthood provides, and how that care sends conservatives 'round the bend.

Yes, medical care. Because that is what Planned Parenthood does. It provides necessary medical care to millions of women and families. Only 3% of their provided services include abortion. No matter how much people may try to make abortion a political issue, it is still a medical procedure performed between a woman and her doctor. Period. We do not have public discourse on any other medical procedure. None. There is no reason to have it on this one. Ever since humans made the connection between sex and reproduction, we have been finding ways to avoid reproducing while still enjoying sex.

Friday, April 8, 2011

If Gay Marriage Were Legalized


Government Shutdown

Well, it's come down to the wire. If Congress can not reach a consensus on the budget, as of midnight tonight, the government will shut down due to lack of funds.


Planned Parenthood. That's right: Planned fucking Parenthood. It is the one issue that is preventing the passing of a budget. The House and Senate agree on numbers and everything else. Just not Planned Parenthood. The Republican controlled House placed a rider on the budget that would completely remove all federal funding from Planned Parenthood, and will not pass a budget that does not include that bill. The Democrat controlled Senate will not pass a budget that does have that bill.

previously wrote on how I feel about the defunding of PP. The fact that the issue has come to a head like this almost impresses me in a way. While I generally despise the vast majority of the party platforms of the GOP, I do admit that I admire them for their ability to get shit done. They can bully through legislation like nobody's business. Conversely, I generally like most of the party platform of the Democrats; they're just useless and have no spines when it comes to passing legislation (or blocking it). But on this one issue, they seem to have finally grown their long-missing spines. And rightly so, in my opinion. This is a big deal. Planned Parenthood is a vital institution that acts as part of a public health network and is readily accessible to those that would otherwise be unable to access much needed (and often expensive) medical care.

Abortion is not all that Planned Parenthood does. It is only 3% of their provided services. They do not, and can not use federal funds to provide those abortions. They are privately funded. There is no logical reason to defund Planned Parenthood. The GOP is seeking this action out of their typical slut-shaming tactics. It is yet another facet of their not-so-hidden disdain for the poor. Can't afford a kid? Have too many kids already? Too bad. Should have kept your legs close. Whore. It's not our problem you are too lazy to get a job to support your offspring.

It doesn't matter that you are already on vastly inflated birth control. It doesn't matter that despite what myths the GOP may perpetuate about "Welfare Queens", welfare is not something you can live off of by itself. It doesn't matter that despite what the anti-choicers spout, these women don't hate babies, as 66% of them plan on having children later. It doesn't matter that Planned Parenthood provides information about options other than abortion. It doesn't matter that by dispensing affordable birth control, Planned Parenthood prevents abortions (can't have an abortion if you aren't pregnant!). It doesn't matter the women who are on that birth control are generally required by law to have a gynecological exam every year in order to renew their prescription. It doesn't matter that by sticking to their slogan of having every pregnancy be a wanted pregnancy, they are helping women avoid the emotional roller-coaster that is seeking an abortion. It doesn't matter that married women use their services.

Facts don't matter. What matters, as the joke goes, is that someone, somewhere, is having fun. Women are able to have sex without life-altering consequences. That is why the GOP won't back off on the Planned Parenthood rider. And I am hoping against all hope that the Democrats will not fold. For once, please, do not fold. Do not back down. This is too important. If they truly care about the women in this country; if they truly care about their constituents, which are primarily made up of the poor and minorities (the people who need PP the most), they will not allow the budget to pass with this rider.

The GOP are hiding behind "fiscal responsibility" and using this excuse to attack women in this country. This has, and never had, anything to do with fiscal responsibility. It has everything to do with a hatred of women's sexual freedom.

Storm: The Movie

For the unfamiliar, Tim Minchin is an Australian Comedian/Singer/Musician/Actor/Writer living in Britain that has some truly fantastic work. He addresses all sorts of thing from his relationship with his wife (whom he's been with since he was 17) to celebrities, but likes to focus a great deal on science and skepticism.

He has a poem that he performs called Storm that was recently made into a movie! It had been unavailable to the general public due to some rounds it made in the film festival circuit... UNTIL NOW!

The Original Poem:

The Newly Animated Film:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Latest Pet Project

My latest pet project I am working to get going at my university is support of a wonderful organization called Voces de Cambio. It is truly a wonderful organization that supports young women in Guatemala and teaches them storytelling through both written and multimedia means. Their primary visual outlet they work with is photography, which hits a heart-string with me due to my love of photography and desire to study it for my masters.

Guatemala is a country that has been ravaged by war and is currently an incredibly unsafe place for women and girls. Violence against women is rampant and unchecked. Voces de Cambio provides a safe haven for these young women to tell their stories, raise their voices, and  reflect on what it means to be a young woman in Guatemala. It is also the only program of its kind in the country (and as far as I know, the region).

My interest in this project has led me to start meeting with a literary organization at my university in the hopes to spread awareness and possibly eventually help out either financially or with volunteers  for the group. I am very excited about this project, and hope it will take off. Significant Other is also interested, and is planning on helping out should this thing get off the ground. He is in fact from the region, and his studies relate to Latin America, so this project is of special interest to him personally.

I have my first "official" meeting with the Program Director next week, so I will keep you all updated.


I knew that issues of race and whiteness were a much larger issue in Europe and Australia, but this video from CBN 700 Club (yes, I know) just blows my mind. Europe's religious clashes are not due to multiculturalism and race, but a flood of religious extremists into concentrated neighborhoods, that are traditionally poor and overlooked by authorities. That lack of oversight has caused unrest to simmer to an overboil. Ugh.