The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award is an award distributed by bloggers for blogs with under 200 followers.  Supposedly, it started in Germany, as a way for readers and bloggers to discover new blogs to follow.  It connects the blogging community and helps web surfers expand their horizons!

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The Rules:
1. Choose 11 other up-and-coming bloggers and link to them in your Liebster post.
2. Answer the 11 questions the previous blogger set for you, then create 11 different ones for the bloggers you will choose.
3. Let those bloggers know you nominated them.
4. No tag backs. No mulligans. No puppy guarding. Okay, just don’t tag the person who nominated you.
5. Display the Liebster logo.

Linus sent me these questions, I’m a little rusty in my writing/blogging.

1) What is a hobby that you wish you had, but currently do not?

There are many things that people would say, “But you do do them!”. Except that I don’t. Because I’m lazy. Because I don’t have time. Because I’m tired. Because I’m stressed. Because I have the SADz.

The number one thing I wish I could consider a hobby, one that I at least did every weekend –  when I don’t have to get up and rot my brain with forces and figures –  would be painting. Again, “But you do do it!”. I don’t. I have supplies to last me a year. Canvas after canvas, pearly white and collecting dust. I see them from time to time, when I have to crouch down to recover my phone charger cord. But I blink, see past them and forget. I’ve painted one thing this year, and one thing last year. I might do another one this holiday season, I have the canvas, that hasn’t stopped me before. So it goes.

2) Where is a place that you would like to travel?

The Taj Mahal. But also, Canada.

3) What other language would you like to speak?

Something completely different. I’ve actually wanted to learn Persian for a while. They say that the most beautiful prose and poetry is written in Persian. I wish to read these, but their original language, with their original sounds and meanings.

4) What decade do you wish you were born in?

This one. It would be such an amazing thing to live during a different time. And yet, I wouldn’t be able to be myself a Hispanic-gay-woman. I would be persecuted, enslaved, limited in so many more ways. I don’t want that.

5) If you could be any animal, what would it be?

A dolphin. Maybe a Killer Whale (which is in the dolphin family). I want to move freely through water for miles.

6) What are you most afraid of?

In a petty way: spiders and poisonous insects. In a “deep” way: disappointing others. I hate it. I’m afraid of it and get irrationally angry with myself and others when it happens.

7) Imagine yourself as part of a film (production, acting, etc.). Which role or job would you have?

Director of photography or set designer. Essentially the movie business equivalent of the theater stage or lighting designer.

8) What type of food would you never eat?

Never say never?

9) Who do you look up to most, either dead or alive?

I could say someone famous and fabulous and historical. But actually I look up, over, around to three people. Two are my best friends and also my sister. Looking up to someone like Buddha or Gandhi is great, but I need someone I can talk to, touch, interact with. These three people help me through example, through advice, through their success and their failure. Shit happens in life, and these three are the rock that supports me, the river that carries me and the waterfall that challenges me and wakes me up.

Then again, maybe I pick J-Law. (Jennifer Lawrence)

10) What is your favorite season?

Autumn. There is so much warmth in this season. The world outside might be getting colder, but I put on my sweater and scarf and drink warm drinks and enjoy staying in for brunch. So much warmth.

11) What is your favorite seasoning?

Right now I add paprika to pretty much everything. I don’t know why. I can’t actually taste it, but it gives this wonderful deep bass to the flavors above it that I can taste.

I have no one to send this to. So I’ll end it here.

So it goes.

Here we go again…

Every week day I wake up at 5:30 am and snooze until the very last moment possible and then rush through my morning routine. I drive my partner to work and continue to school. I spend 7 hours in this building. Four of those I spend in the same room. Most of those I am reading, or blogging, or surfing the internet aimlessly. Though most of my fellow students are good guys, I always end up in uncomfortable situations.

First, I’d like to reiterate that most of the guys I study with are good guys. Maybe I could go as far as saying they don’t know any better. They are a product of a society that teaches them what is is to be “male” and everything from that entails. Yet in the past few weeks I have witnessed comments and conversations that pass through this school with no second thought, no guilt or analysis. This week while discussing what made a good sandwich whilst also critiquing a guy’s lunch he commented that he had not made the sandwich, his girlfriend made it. At the end of his defense he added, “She’s in training.” Laughter rumbled through the group. I shook my head and slumped. A different member of the group scoffed and half-heartedly mentioned that comment wasn’t, but he waved it off.

These sort of comments surface once in a while. When they do I usually keep quiet and file it for late, when I can complain to my partner and then to my friends. I struggle to decide what I should be doing in these situations.

On the one hand, I can speak up. I can tell them that those comments are not O.K. That they are insulting and that that way of thinking should not go unnoticed.  That they need to think about what they are saying and change their attitude. The culture that accepts those comments is one where women still struggle. And yet, I know that my voice will fall on deaf ears. I know that I will be categorized as a man-hater. I know that I will pushed aside as a hysteric woman that doesn’t know anything and just likes to complain about how things are. On the other hand, what am I doing by keeping quiet? I am becoming just as guilty of their prejudiced and misogynistic comments. I am allowing them to continue to believe that how culture defines “man” (strong, in charge, mechanical) and “woman” (soft, delicate, domesticated) is good, natural and unchanging. So what is a girl to do?

I know wonderful men that fall into this trap and I know wonderful men who don’t. I believe that one voice, joined together with others will eventual bring change, but I also just want to do my work, turn in assignments and get the hell out of here as soon as possible.

So it goes.

Shout out to: Everyoneisgay.com

Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid are the creator-geniuses of Everyoneisgay.com. I could go on and on about these two wonderful women, but in the end I think you should check out their blog and fall in love with them as I have. From my experience these two have created an atmosphere in which any one can ask ANY questions about pretty much anything and they will respond with understanding, jokes, kindness and love. Though their blog does concentrate of sexuality and LGBTQ youth, yet their questions come from across age, gender, sexual preference, etc. and their advice applies to life in general. They tour around the country talking to high school and college students trying to guide them through the confusing world of sexuality, sex, hormones, and people.

So be it straight, gay, lesbian, queer, 14yrs old teen, a parent, single, ex, or couple; click on the link and support these amazing human beings. Read. Laugh. Donate. Or go back to work and miss out.

So it goes.

On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

 

Que viva Venezuela, mi patria querida. These are the first words of a song dedicated to Venezuela, my homeland. Don’t be fooled by my American citizenship, or my Spanish roots; Venezuela is the land I was born in, the land I want to be buried in, and the land that I will always dream of. It is a country with many, many riches, a place where the food is always good and the people are always kind. Yet, right now, it is a place of violence, deceit, political instability and hate. It is an ugly Beast with no Belle.

Last Sunday, April 14th elections took place for a new president. Our last president, Hugo Chavez, died of cancer this winter. However, he didn’t leave without appointing the heir to his communist throne, Nicholas Maduro. Henrique Capriles Radonski, has taken the opposition (to Chavez and his socialist party) by storm,  unifying a movement that has been trying to push back against Chavez since the very beginning, without much luck. The opposition had many subdivisions  and thus was not very effective. That all changed in October of 2012. Carpiles ran against Chavez and lost. Last Sunday, Capriles lost. What’s most infuriating is that the corruption is so very transparent to those who stop and look. Not only were the results only 600,000 votes, but many boxes of uncounted Capriles votes were found in ditches around the country. Capriles has demanded a recount (as he should given the closeness of the race and the boexes of his votes found). The public has gone up in arms, protests arising all over the country, students are refusing to go to school. What is the government’s response? Capriles must be put in jail on account of riling up the public. If that’s not a dictatorship I don’t know what is. Let’s let the public vote, but make sure the guy we want wins, the other candidate must be silenced, the world will go on as we see fit. This resembles very closely how Cuba is run. Cuba by the way is Venezuela’s best friend at the moment. North Korea has also congratulated Venezuela in Maduro’s election. It has to be very bad when North Korea is happy for you.

And so, the thousands of violent deaths every week, has risen, the police and the military have once again turned against the people to “control” them and the government denies everything. It’s starting to sound like we’re headed towards 1984. Capriles’ campaign of CHANGE and HOPE, similar to that of President Obama, is still fighting. There have been submissions for foul play taken to the supreme court. Capriles has asked the public to remain calm. The public has taken to the streets with their pans, taca taca taca can be heard across Venezuela. So count your lucky stars citizens of America. You may complain about our government, especially today with the news of the senate failing to pass the bipartisan Gun Control Bill, but count your lucky stars and the knowledge that at least when you go to vote you wont be turned away because of who you support.

I dream of Venezuela. Venezuela with it’s beaches, mountains and oil rich plains. Venezuela with it’s people hungry for justice. I dream of a land that will never be at peace as long as the these issues continue. A land where my grandmother cant even look out the window without weeing someone get shot and left for dead. I wouldn’t be surprised if a civil war broke out.

So it goes.

 

Never an Artist, Forever a Student

One of my claims to fame are my grades. I’ve always had good grades. There are very few exceptions to this. So for the past 19 years of my 23 years, I have been in school. For almost two decades my job has been to study, complete assignments and listen to lectures. So, with another school year coming to an end, I’m starting to think about May 2014. Once again I will be graduating, this time from Dunwoody College.

Another degree, not very compatible with my Theater Arts BA. I don’t plan on going back to school any time soon after Dunwoody. It’s time I earned money to pay off my loans and to live. Yet, what am I supposed to do? I have had jobs since high school, I know what it is to work. But my primary job has always been to be a student, and I’m really good at it. Teachers and professors love me. I am responsible, friendly and always up for learning something new. I don’t think that will ever change, yet I can’t help but cringe at the thought of not going to school to learn something. I love to learn. I’m not afraid to admit that. I am also not afraid to admit that I feel lost. I’m afraid that I will fail at being a real person, with a real-person job. Of course these fears I have are had by many, all the time. People cope, adjust and then move on. It’s the moving on that scares me the most. I hear about people who are so bitter, so angry at themselves and the world for not ending up where they wanted to be. People who gave up and instead of continuing with their passion for art, or music, etc. they settled for some office job to pay the bills. I already feel myself falling into that trap. I am here at Dunwoody to get a job so I can pay the bills. Hopefully, I tell myself, then I can pursue my passion for art and theater. I will work and then work in theater. I will continue to be a student, take art classes, language classes, and even try to learn through living instead of a classroom. That is what I can hope for. I will use my fear of the ordinary, the fear of what Dunwoody is trying to hone in my “wild” artist’s soul, to fight for the creativity that I feel faltering. And I will most likely fail.

So it goes.

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You are Stars

Lets take a moment and talk about Stars. They are a Canadian ban, hailing from Montreal since 2000. They fit under the indie/pop, more indie/rock in my mind, especially their earlier stuff. I absolutely love them.

Recently they came to Minneapolis and played at First Ave, and dance club down town. I would say that it was one of my favorite concerts I’ve been to. They had excellent opener: Said the Whale and Milo Greene. Openers that truly matched the main act in style and level of musicality and lyrical wittiness. Both opening acts did what they are supposed to, rile up the audience to prepare them for what is to come. I already knew Milo Greene before this concert, but my respect and anticipation for what is come from this LA band grew exponentially.

Once the openers were done, I couldn’t contain the amount of energy I had to finally see my favorite band of 4 years for the first time. They played a classic song as they climbed on stage, and started with their #1 single at the moment. Unusual for tour concerts  Yet, so Stars. They have so much good material that starting with their #1 single isn’t a problem, because, though the moment’s most popular song, it isn’t all they have to offer. I guess it helped that I was standing three rows back, front and center. Perfect for watching the whole band essentially jam, and their just happens to be an audience. Torquill Cambell, on of the founders of the band, came on stage and did not stop rocking until the concert was done. He seemed to be having so much fun and it was contagious. He was covered in sweat and jumping around, grinning at the audience. Amy Milan, the bad-ass female voice of the band was amazing. I have an image of her imprinted in my brain: standing on stage, facing away from the audience, legs apart, strumming her white electric guitar. Sexy and oh-so powerful.

Their lyrics can go from Taylor Swift sappy, to morbid and then sexually raw. Eg.: “Don’t go, say you’ll stay/Spend a lazy Sunday in my arms/I won’t take anything away”; “You sold me some cheap ecstasy/ So you could have some sex with me/I don’t want your body”; “violent for you, lover/never ever touch another/violent for you, lover.” Their most recent album The North incorporates a style that echoes the use of the synth of the 80s and 90s, with modern rock. It’s genius and I high recommend it. I highly recommend Set Yourself on Fire as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgTvEJGvAb4

They are by far one of my favorite bands, and I hope that they continue to produce music. It was a great concert, even if the guys standing behind me had no idea who they were.

So it goes.

On Fanfiction

Lately, I’ve been addicted to fan fiction  I say “addicted” because when I’m reading fan fiction  whether good or bad, I am happy and when I’m not reading fan fiction, I am thinking about fan fiction. This would be less severe if I also wrote fan fiction, if I was part of that world, but no, I just read it. What is it that draws me to this particular form of writing? Well, I think that I would have to say that instant gratification. Fan fiction is the medium by which you take the characters, world and situations in any combination of a book, series, etc. and write what you think should have happened, or could have happened, or just something completely different. Sometimes if a writer is in the middle of a series, stories are written to show the possible outcome of the story. Think Harry Potter: there are thousands of stories that tell how Voldemort is defeated before the last books came out. Now, don’t go hating on these people, fan fiction writers are very careful to disclaim any ownership to the original material that they are using.

What I love about fan fiction is the way people dedicate themselves to imagining a different world, yet using material that already exists. Maybe you think that they should just write fiction, why use material already though out? Yet, it’s fascinating to see how writers adapt to the world they are using or how they adapt the world they are using to work with their plot. Sometimes it’s very good, some times not so much. I’ve definitely read stories that are so out there that it makes no sense that they are considered fan fiction, the writer just uses the names and everything else is different. However, there are other stories that expand the world of the story. There was one story I read that, to me, made the world of Harry Potter even more magical. I definitely didn’t think that was possible. Some writers also give characters more depth, and it’s almost as if I know the original characters better because of the ways people have developed them in their stories from whatever they can milk from the books or series that they are drawing from.

My one critique of fan fiction writers is that, specifically with pairings (romantic relationships)  is that if you are already creating a different interpretation,  maybe the pairings should be different? Why write a story about how Ron and Hermione meet and end up together, when J. K Rowling already did that? Why not make Harry gay, or pair Hermione with Draco? Disagree with me all you will, but it seems to me that once you leap off the ledge you should soar, not skirt around the mountain.

The world of fan fiction is enormous. A world with dedicated writers that write stories the length of novels. It is a world for experienced writers distracting themselves from work, and a world of young writers that are just starting to dabble in writing. It is a world where you can just write. Imagine. Delve in it if you will, or turn your nose to it and go read a good book. Either way, get lost. Some will be amazing and some you’ll waste your time with.

So it goes.

If you are interested you can start here.

Resolution

As you may have noticed, if you’ve happened upon this blog before, I have changed the appearance and name of my blog. The title inspired of course by Kurt Vonnegut, which I hope inspired many other things. This “makeover” was a spur of the moment idea to see if I got back on the proverbial horse and started blogging again. I’ve thought many a time about starting again, but concluded: who cares about what I have to say about anything? However, I have also discovered that currently I have no outlet, be it artistic or otherwise. I do have friends and family to talk to, but the rush that I feel when I’m in the middle of a project, immersed in theory and practice, is gone. I feel like I’m going though the motions, yet not thinking nor analyzing the world around me. I would like to use this blog as a way to think through everyday musings that come up during my day to day, or the deeper conversations I engage with. And really, I don’re care who reads and who doesn’t. For now I am content that this will be an outlet I can use, whether I come to brilliant epiphanies about the world around me or word vomit. The latter is probably the most likely.

So it goes.

Don’t Stop Believing

This Journey song, circa 1981, has made it to the top of the charts this past year. The most popular version by the cast of Glee. It seems that our generation needed an anthem that gave us hope and told us to keep going, Journey had the golden ticket. Yet this isn’t the only cultural example of inspirational poetics. Amid the hundreds of teen suicides pop culture has made it its mission to tell kids that things are going to be ok. There are millions of reasons why these young adults have chosen death rather than face another day at school, at home, etc. My own cousin took his life, to this day I don’t know the reason. What I do know is that maybe, just maybe, if he had had the reassurance that things in his life would improve, he would still be with us today.

Thousands of kids are dealing with bullying, depression, anxiety, confusion and frustration. Songs like “Firework” by Katy Perry, “Raise Your Glass” by Pink, “Sale el Sol” by Shakira, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, among many others I’m not aware of, have surfaced, like Journey’s epic, to inspire those who are marginalized because they are different and create in them a sense of community outside their seemingly bleak world. The message is: “You are not alone; there are more like you, just keep on fighting.” “Don’t give up.” And most famously ‘It Gets Better‘. Dan Savage and his partner began the It Gets Better Project also out of need, out of the countless stories of GLBT teens ending their lives because their families, communities and even themselves were not accepting or tolerant of who they really were. On their website there are countless videos recorded from everyday people to the President of the United States even Google Chrome, reminding kids that it does get better and that there is a whole community that does love them for who they are and will support them. ‘The Trevor Project‘ is another organization combating GLBT suicides. The list goes on. School Districts have started to create programs against bullying.Even with some schools in denial of the direct tie between bullying and suicide; cities like Chicago also started taking measures to prevent these suicides by creating a better environment for students and GLBT youth. This action doesn’t happen only in the GLBT community, Postsecret has toured the country countless times helping people let their monsters out and offering a safe space and the resources to get help when they need it.

Whether you are Lady Gaga’s Little Monster, or a bullied teen in the middle of nowhere, our culture has thankfully and finally become very aware of how it can affect the everyday lives of not just teens, but everyone, who struggles everyday with being different, depressed, bullied and ignored. It’s sad that it took many young lives, but I am amazed and in awe at the lengths some have gone to reassure their fans and beyond, that they have been heard, they can be heard and that there are those who want to help. These stars have the responsibility of being our role models and our biggest fan. Those who enjoy the limelight should use their popularity to promote tolerance like Daniel Radcliffe, not dismiss the suffering of others. For those who don’t believe that there is a problem with how society treats it’s youth, you only have to listen to the music all around you and search through the buzz on the internet. The amount of projects and people in media speaking against suicide and bullying is wonderful, but also makes me question why there is such a need for this kind activism. I’m in no way saying there shouldn’t be this kind of attention, it is clear that it’s needed; I am just saddened that so many teens feel the need to end their lives because some of their peers, their teachers and parents, and even their government have not taken a strong step towards equality; liberty and justice for all.

Hazard Lights

As I was driving home last week, the radio tuned into Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” loud enough to drown out my voice as I sang along; I encountered a somewhat indescribable sight. Turning the last curve on Olinda I saw a car parked on the side of the road with it’s hazard lights flashing. At first I couldn’t see anyone by the car so I assumed that it was stalled and the driver had gone for help. However, as I continued to turn the curve, I realized that there was a soldier sitting on the hood of the car looking out towards the empty field by the road.

I was struck by this image. I wonder if the soldier was coming home or saying good-bye. I can’t even begin to imagine what the soldier was thinking or feeling. We have very different lives. Though I don’t always agree with the politics surrounding the military, I highly respect that they are sacrificing their lives for something they believe in. To die for freedom, or whatever it is, is a very honorable and respectable thing. I don’t know what I would have done if I had stopped and approached the soldier, which is why I didn’t. But to me it was a beautifully somber tableau.