Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Inspiration! Roundup: Who will you help, incredible Native women, pay attention, and let's buy a dog!

Inspiration! Roundup for this week includes the artwork of Nima Chaichi, Ontario's anti-sexual assault ad campaign, and 8 Native women you should pay attention to
This Week's "I want to go to there":
Curling up in some cozy blankets with a furry friend.

Who Will You Help?

This ad from the government of Ontario is ON THE MONEY. It's hard, sometimes, to step outside of the social norm of "minding our own business" or "not getting involved", and this is such a powerful reminder that inaction is just as much a help as action - just to someone else.

8 Native Women You Should Know

Check out this list of 8 incredible Native women whose stories never made it into headlines or history books. From artist Zitkala-sa to the smart-and-snarky Elizabeth (Wanamaker) Peratrovich (Tlingit), who was instrumental in the first anti-discrimination law in Alaska. Direct quote: “I would not have expected that I, who am barely out of savagery, would have to remind gentlemen with five thousand years of recorded civilization behind them, of our Bill of Rights.”

Pay Attention

"Pay attention to what you pay attention to."
-Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Nima Chaichi

Loving the photography of Nima Chaichi!

A post shared by nima chaichi (@nimariel) on

ACTION ITEM: Help James Watkins Get an Aid Dog

I don't know about you all, but I get really caught up sometimes on the big, systemic problems in our society. The things that make me wonder if we just need to burn it all to the ground and start over. Aside from a total disdain for society, this viewpoint can also make it feel like there's no point in doing little things to help people, because all these little acts are just bandaids, and we've got an artery that's spurting blood in multiple places.

Well, guess what? When I am thinking that way, I am WRONG. Dead wrong. As dead wrong as the hypothetical person connected to that artery spurting blood in multiple places is going to be. Because helping individuals my not solve systemic problems, but dang if it doesn't save that person, and that matters, too.

So let's all donate to the YouCaring fund for James, a little boy with Downs Syndrome, to get a service dog. And then, I don't know, we could write to our representatives and let them know that maybe service dogs should be covered under provincial healthcare?

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Racism Roundup: The Canadian Edition

I noticed recently that I've saved up a small collection of articles about racism in Canada. I had no idea what to do with them, but kept feeling drawn to hold onto them for... something?

So here is one thing I can do with them: share a round up of articles about racism in Canada (my home and "native" land). I suspect this won't be nearly as popular as my weekly Cute! and Inspiration! Roundups, which is too bad because there is some learning to do.

Anti-Aboriginal Racism

In case you thought that Canada was "cleaner" than the USA because we never shipped slaves from overseas and didn't elect a racist "business man", think again! Our treatment of Aboriginal people is far far worse than America's treatment of black people.

Oh, and how about this? Some First Nations women were involuntarily sterilized in Saskatchewan. Not 50 or 100 years ago, which would still be terrible but allow us all to feel better about ourselves. This happened in 2008, and maybe since then.

Anti-Black Racism

Again, thanks to our history of being the destination at the end of the Underground Railway, we tend to think of ourselves as non-racist against black people. Also not so.

This article also does a great job of explaining the reason behind naming the specific type of racism being discussed (Anti-Black, Anti-Aboriginal, etc.) - racism is expressed and experienced differently by different groups.

The #BlackinTO campaign highlights issues faced by black people in Toronto.

Racism at the VPD

If you're a Vancouverite, you've probably heard about the ongoing battle between Black Lives Matter, the Vancouver Police Department, and Pride. Here's some of the racist history of the VPD to give you some context to the BLM argument.

Anti-Muslim Racism

If anything made us feel morally superior up here, it was the election of Trump while we were still in the honeymoon phase with our feminist, refugee-welcoming Prime Minister Trudeau (who turned out to be everything that classically handsome men are known for: lots of smooth talk with no follow through). Here's a warning about the rise in anti-Muslim racism and the potential for Trump-style politics in Canada.


Oh, and we weren't so good "back in the day" either. Let's not forget our historical racism: Residential SchoolsJapanese Internment, The Komagata Maru, The St. Louis, The Chinese Head Tax.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Cute! Roundup: You never knew wedding invitations could be this cute!

My girl Gertie is a ... rotund child. When I got her from the SPCA she was fairly small, but quickly bulked up at home and has remained the same curvy shape ever since. It's fine, I love me a chubby bubby. HOWEVER! I posted this photo, that particularly displays her size, online and got PARENT-SHAMED for it! WHAT??? Get lost, haters!


The most adorable wedding invitation of all time.

Listen up! 

This cat and shark are birds of a feather.

A porcupine eating a pretzel.

Baby's first time in the water.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Singalong! 32 Flavors by Ani DiFranco

I learned about Ani DiFranco from my cool friend who's name just happened to be Anne. I think we probably started with this song: the perfect tune for a pair of misfittish, wannabe-alt teen girl who just wants the world to see their unique spirits. Okay, okay. Anne was not a wannabe-alt - she was a true and actual punk. So dang cool.

(As an aside, it's taking HUGE self-restraint for me to not add a 'u' to 'Flavors' in the title of the song, but I respect Ani's vision and Americanness, and so I am holding myself back.)

by Ani DiFranco

squint your eyes and look closer
i'm not between you and your ambition
i am a poster girl with no poster
i am thirty-two flavors and then some
and i'm beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cause someday you're going to get hungry
and eat most of the words you just said

both my parents taught me about good will
and i have done well by their names
just the kindness i've lavished on strangers
is more than i can explain
still there's many who've turned out their porch lights
just so i would think they were not home
and hid in the dark of their windows
till i'd passed and left them alone

and god help you if you are an ugly girl
course too pretty is also your doom
cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
for the prettiest girl in the room
and god help you if you are a phoenix
and you dare to rise up from the ash
a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
while you are just flying past

i'm not trying to give my life meaning
by demeaning you
and i would like to state for the record
i did everything that i could do
i'm not saying that i'm a saint
i just don't want to live that way
no, i will never be a saint
but i will always say

squint your eyes and look closer
i'm not between you and your ambition
i am a poster girl with no poster
i am thirty-two flavors and then some
and i'm beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cause someday you might find you're starving
and eating all of the words you said

Image by Erinc Salor

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Learning! Roundup: Don't plant Cheerio's wildflowers, trans men and sexism, chameleons, Australian Aboriginal history, and the meaning of life!

Cheerios Won't Save the Bees!

The Cheerios campaign to plant wildflowers to save the bee population is ILL-ADVISED! I repeat! It is ill-advised! The campaign is not specified to local ecosystems, and thus the flowers that are helpful in one region are noxious weeds or invasive species in another.

Instead, check out organizations like Xerces that work to save bees in a sustainable way that interacts with local environments.

Trans Men and Sexism

In case you still want evidence that sexism is real, transgendered people provide a wonderful before-and-after experiment of how different gender expressions are treated (against the control group of cis people). Here is a Time Magazine article about how transgendered men's lives changed once society started perceiving them as male. Short version: they gained authority and respect, and lost permission to be vulnerable.

Are you a chama-chama-chama-chama-chama-chameleon?

I noticed when I was in high school that I was really different when I was in different settings: with my church friends, my family, dance classes, school friends - they all brought out different sides of me. When I became aware of this, I worried that I was maybe just a big ol' faker, but it happened so naturally. Since then I came to terms with the fact that I just have a lot of different sides to my personality, and different ones come out at different times.

Well, according to researcher Mark Snyder, I'm a "High Self-Monitor" person, and all I care about is my image. Dang. You can read about high and low self-monitor people in this Science of Us article, and even take a quiz to see where you land.

Aboriginal History

DNA testing has revealed that Australian Aboriginal people lived on that land for about 50,000 years. That's a long time to be connected to their land.

Chicken or Egg?

Here is a definitive explanation on what came first, found on the Wonders of Engineering Facebook page.

Walking Fish

There are fish in the South Pacific Ocean that are currently adapting to become land-dwellers! Say wha?!??!!! Evolution in action! Right now!

DIY Gifs

Here's a quick-and-easy video on how to make your own animated gifs in Photoshop, for anyone looking to gain a skill today.

The Meaning of Life

Here's a fun piece of trivia: in The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to "life, the universe, everything" is 42. Turns out that, in computer programming, the number 42 denotes an asterisk symbol, and that (still in computer programming), the asterisk is used as shorthand for "whatever you want." It also turns out that Douglas Adams was a big computer nerd, so probably knew this.

So the answer to life, the universe, and everything is whatever you want it to be. If this random Facebook post is correct, anyways.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

'Hi Stranger' is the creepiest thing I've watched in a long time

This video was shared on Digg with the headline 'Hi Stranger' Is A Weird, Relaxing And Life-Affirming Video You Need To Watch Right This Second.

IS THIS SOME KIND OF PRANK???? This is the creepiest thing I've EVER watched. The naked humanoid figure, the rubbing of the ground next to him/her, the whispered "I feel like I can really be vulnerable around you", "I just want to sit here and relax with you", "I love looking at you. I want to remember all your shapes."


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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Inspiration! Roundup: Yayoi Kusama, reconciliation, ignorance, and more!

This Week's "I want to go to there":
I want to make things with my hands. Maybe clay things!

Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama, 87 year-old Japanese artist is incredible! Her artwork is stunning and her brain is awesome. Read this interview with her in The Guardian (best quote, when they ask her to tell a joke, "I don't know any. But pumpkins have always made me smile: they are the most humorous of vegetables."

Photo by Stig Nygaard

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Biggest Problem

In his Letter from the Birmingham Jail (excerpt here), Martin Luther King Jr. identifies the biggest obstacle facing black people's rights in the United States. It wasn't the overt, violent racists. It was what he called the "white moderate".
"First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season."

-Martin Luther King Jr. (emphasis added)
Let this be the slap in the face that many of us (white people) need as we try to be allies in battling racial inequality.

Admit Your Prejudices and Grow

For anyone who is terrified to be honest (with themselves or others) about their prejudices, here's some inspiration. A man called into a television program and admitted that he has biases against black people, leading into a really beautiful conversation.

Fitting the Mold

I'm pretty into this photography series, but Julia Busato, documenting women holding a mannequin mold.

Reconciling Canada's 150th Anniversary

Here in Canada, we're getting ready to celebrate our 150th anniversary as a nation, or, more specifically, the 150th anniversary of when this stolen land officially became a country recognized by Britain. Understandably, the much-anticipated 150th anniversary celebrations don't feel particularly celebratory for everyone who lives here.

In a brilliant example of working together, the City of Vancouver has partnered directly with its Indigenous population to make sure the celebration was inclusive. What has resulted is, among other things, dubbing it Canada 150+, as a reminder that this land wasn't empty 151 years ago, and celebrations that feature ceremony and art performances by local First Nations.

Ignorance is rarely the problem.

The challenge is that people don't always care about what you care about. And the reason they don't care isn't that they don't know what you know.

The reason is that they don't believe what you believe.

-Seth Godin
This Good World

If you live in some major cities in the US and want to give your money to socially responsible businesses, check out This Good World, it's like Google Maps, but for businesses that make a difference.

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