22 October 2007

Get Yourself to the Square Dance, Daisy!

Went to a costumed square dance this weekend (more pictures by E), and it was unnatural kinds of fun. I'm now fascinated by all forms of square dancing -- from Scottish to Irish ceili dancing to the Appalachian sort we all learned in grade school to the hippie contra dancing kind. So much fun and silliness! It's the peasant version of the snooty rich folk dances of the English and French. Plus, in traditional square dancing costumes, there are things called pettipants. Seriously. With cowboy boots and fiddles. Good times!

Here are some of the things I silkscreened last week in the class I'm taking -- it's making me a crazy person who keeps a list in my notebook of possible T-shirt screening ideas. I see potentially transferable images everywhere. And then I grabbed a handful of $2 T-shirts at Ye Olde Navy this weekend, giving my addiction even more fodder. Oh, the dangers of a new craft hobby.

15 October 2007

Blog Action Day

I was going to post on the awesomeness of the roller derby Event I attended this weekend (check out the Emerald City Roller Girls -- we got to see their inaugural bout!). Then I logged on and saw that it is Blog Action Day, so I feel the impulse to say something environmental, as that is the theme. Except what is there left to say? My Cynicism with a capital C has overwhelmed the once-wide-eyed 7th grader who read Fifty Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth and wept over the horrors of plastic six-pack rings and promptly became a vegetarian. My Marxism (such as it ever was) has overwhelmed the naive impulse to believe that because someone is an environmentalist/activist/baby seal lover/whatever, it means they give a damn about workers, poor people, or, in fact, that they aren't more than willing to participate in the oppression of others if it helps prop up their inflated sense of personal piety and purity. If this sounds like I'm all anti-environment, far from it. But the stuff that pained me most in An Inconvenient Truth wasn't so much about losing pretty postcard scenery -- though I am spoiled living here in that regard -- it was the impact of rising sea levels on millions of potential future refugees. So here are a few of my favorite things:

The scene in the episode of the Simpsons where Homer changes his name to Max Power and meets Ed Begley, Jr. EBJ drives away slowly in a wee car that he describes as "powered entirely by my own sense of self-satisfaction." I think many people's potentially positive environmental impulses have been coopted by corporations (shocking!) looking to provide momentary bursts of good feeling for the guilty consumer, often at the expense of those less fortunate. For example, carbon offset schemes.

Which brings me to my second favorite environmental thing: Vandana Shiva. She is just a rockstar. We heard her speak on campus last year, and one thing she discussed was the hidden detrimental impact of carbon offset schemes in industrialized countries on farmers in India losing their land, for example.

I'm not sure where that leaves me on the environment, except to say this: I am not going to attempt to justify my Western capitalist consumption lifestyle by saying I compost, or recycle, or whatever. Ultimately, I think it's just better to acknowledge that there is no way to justify it. There is no magic practice or product (100-mile diet! hybrid car!) that will absolve you or me or any of us of our impact. And that's when maybe we can tie the environmental impact of our society in with the human impact and the intellectual impact. And then, you know, the revolution will be right around the corner. Sigh. I'm exhausted today.

Final note: I just read an article from the Atlantic Monthly that says multitasking is making us stupider. Like, scientifically. I was annoyed with the author (anyone who drops that they now or at any time owned a Land Rover pretty much guarantees my loathing), but the message feels intuitively true, and depressing. And, unfortunately, since the expectation in most jobs now is that we will be rabid little multitaskers (and thus have an accordingly impossible weight of tasks), there's not much to be done about it.

Um, OK, I call today Blog Pessimist Day. Celebrate, all!

08 October 2007

Did You Know?

The First Amendment was in effect once the Puritans landed?

Grasshoppers are poisonous?

Childrens do learn?

Misinformation brought to you by my five-year-old nephew, a college student's paper, and our president. I think you can probably guess who goes with what.

03 October 2007

Lazy Blog Post = List

1) Beach + rain + fondue = good times. Oh, plus outlet mall shopping = hours of entertainment. Annual Ladies of September Birthdays beach weekend was another smashing success.

2) How can it possibly be Wednesday? I think there's a time thief doing some mischief somewhere.

3) I'm starting to wonder if I have entirely too much fun for a graduate student. Is this the secret life of ABDs (as Esperanza Rossi has hinted)? Or am I just a total slacker? I feel that I should not be having enjoyable weekend excursions or entertaining fabulous out-of-town guests or attending evening silkscreening and dance classes or plotting cooking and crafting experiments. It all just seems decadent. Not that I'm stopping anytime soon. And I'm totally meditating on the prospectus. Totally. Right now, in fact.

4) I now cannot look at an image of any kind without wanting to silkscreen it onto notecards, posters, t-shirts, whatever. Complete sensory overload. Images! Everywhere!

5) Halloween decorations are out of the garage but not out in the world yet. I am plotting a trip to the farm this weekend. Pumpkins, gourds, dried corn stalks, hay bales, here I come! Hot cider and caramel corn might need to be concocted for the occasion. Possibly some maple leaf shaped handheld pot pies. Have I mentioned that I love Halloween?

6) I adore my freshmen. More on that later. I'm a sucker for teaching, and I think they might actually be my preferred group to teach.