Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Let's make a love deposit, because I'm secretly sabotaging our relationship with my negativity

I recently read this article on treating your relationship like a bank account. Not in the sense of monetizing it (although, awesome?), but in "depositing" positive interactions, to make sure you don't run out.

The idea comes from Dr. John Gottman, basically the biggest expert in everything to do with relationships, and his theory that relationships that last have 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction.

So far, so good. This makes sense. Those little negative bits can add up, so why not be intentional about throwing some good stuff in there?

I was chatting with my own partner about this idea, when suddenly I realized something: me being secretly annoyed him COUNTS AS A NEGATIVE INTERACTION. He just doesn't know it's happening.

Well, bugger.

(Now this is reminding me of how Jesus said that murdering someone in your head is just as bad as murdering them in real life. That's one HUGE negative interaction that person doesn't know you've had. That relationship is doomed.)

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Cute! Roundup: Kitty toddlers, sleepy porcupines, dik-diks, manatee belly scratches, and more!

You know how parents of toddlers talk about not being able to turn around for even a second without their offspring getting into something they shouldn't be? Well, I clearly completely understand what it's like to raise a child, because I turn around and Gertie is up on the counter, drinking out of my water glass.

Cute! Roundup of adorable pictures to start your week

Other Cuteness:

Mondays are sleepy, amiright?

Papa-pup cuddle hour!

Why are interspecies BFFs just SO AWESOME? Because they are!

I didn't even know what a dik-dik was until I saw this cutie.

Gimme some belly scratches.

Also, this cat reflects a lot of our current statuses, no?:

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Singalong! Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Nina Simone

Isn't this the cry of all of our hearts? To not be misunderstood? Sing it, Nina, and we'll sing along!

by Nina Simone

Baby you understand me now
If sometimes you see that I'm mad
Doncha know no one alive can always be an angel?
When everything goes wrong, you see some bad

But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Ya know sometimes baby I'm so carefree
With a joy that's hard to hide
And then sometimes again it seems that all I have is worry
And then you're bound to see my other side

But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

If I seem edgy
I want you to know
I never mean to take it out on you
Life has its problems
And I get more than my share
But that's one thing I never mean to do

Cause I love you
Oh baby
I'm just human
Don't you know I have faults like anyone?

Sometimes I find myself alone regretting
Some little foolish thing
Some simple thing that I've done

Cause I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Don't let me be misunderstood
I try so hard
So please don't let me be misunderstood

Sing along with Nina Simone in Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (lyrics provided)
Photo Source: Roland Godefroy

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Learning! Roundup: Get politics out of your feed, black cowboys, cerebral palsy, and more!

Image by Zabou

How to Remove Politics from Your Facebook Feed

If you're oscillating in the battle between staying informed and keeping your sanity, while still wanting to actually connect with your friends on Facebook (weird, I thought that's what Facebook was supposed to be about - or is it only for political diatribes?), then here is a solution! Real Simple has gathered together a collection of ways to eliminate politics from your Facebook feed. The suggestions range from installing the Social Fixxer plugin and eliminating posts with keywords like "Trump" to unfollowing the particularly virulent posters in your feed to banishing your feed all together, or just up and quitting Facebook.

Black Cowboys

Quick! Let's all picture a cowboy! Now read this Hyperallergic article about black cowboys and how they existed before they were whitewashed out of our memories.

About Cerebral Palsey

Don't know much about CP, or what it's like for people who live with it. This video from Zach Anner lists his top ten things he wishes people knew about cerebral palsey. It's hilarious and informative.

What It's Like to Be a Neo-Nazi

Have you grown up sheltered enough that you sometimes look at news about terrorists and neo-Nazis and wonder how on earth someone learned to hate so much? Me too.

Here is a really fascinating interview with a Quebec man who used to be a neo-Nazi. He speaks openly and candidly about what drew him to the movement and what changed his mind.

How Black Children Learn About the Police

The relationship between black people and the police has been, obviously, in the news for a while. This video is a really eye-opening and emotional look at how black parents have to teach their kids about dealing with the police.

Post-Election Slump

Feel like you've been less productive since the election? You're not alone. A new survey shows that about a third of people have lost productivity since the election.

How Job Listings Screen Out Disabled People

A handy reminder for anyone in a position to do some hiring: watch out for things in your job listing like "must be able to life 25lbs" or requirements of "normal" communications methods. Does the job ACTUALLY require that? Are there no ways you can work around someone with a disability? Here are some ways that your job listing might inadvertently be screening out people with disabilities.

Ten Black Female Academics to Watch

Hidden Figures was a FANTASTIC movie and a reminder of the erasure of black women from history. Want to avoid having to make another Hidden Figures in 30 years? Learn about these ten black women who are rocking their academic fields.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hidden Figures: Thoughts and feelings and questions

Earlier this week, I watched Hidden Figures. It was a really wonderful, inspirational movie for so many reasons.

Image by Dunne Designs (Tumblr)

It also highlighted one of my biggest pet peeves about movies, plays, and books that tell stories of historical racism: I think they tend to lull us (white people/the establishment) into a pleasant sense of complacency. We see how bad things used to be and think, "oh thank goodness we are so much better now! History is unfortunate, but good thing we don't have segregated water fountains anymore." Then we mentally hug the brave protagonist who stood up to their oppressors and pat ourselves on the back for being better people.

At home we scroll through our Facebook feed and see stories of Black Lives Matter protests, Margaret Cho vs. Tilda Swinton, or Indigenous reserves that don't have clean drinking water, and through the power of our brain's incredible ability to protect itself from difficult thoughts, we don't put together ANY similarities between our current world and the movie we just watched.

If you ask me, our job when we watch movies about terrible historical realities is to ask ourselves what moments in the story still ring true today, and (if we dare) what we can do about them.

Of the MANY powerful moments in Hidden Figures, a simple exchange between Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and her supervisor Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) that happens in the bathroom that struck me as emblematic of most conversations about race that happen between white people and people of colour today:
Mitchell: "Despite what you may think, I've got nothing against y'all."

Vaughan: "I know. I know you probably believe that."

Dorothy Vaughan just DROPPED THE MIC on her complacent supervisor SO HARD! And on me! And other people who think that we have nothing against [insert group identifier here], and yet are unwilling to go out of our way, even a little bit, to help them!

Screenwriters don't repeat lines very often in movies, and the line "that's just the way it is" is said SO MANY TIMES in this movie, someone should do a count. Most often, it comes out of the mouth of a white person who has the opportunity to help make a change, or even just extend a small kindness, but instead falls back on "the way it is." This movie is CHALK-FULL of white people who aren't racist, they just don't feel the need to ever go out of their way to help a black person.

This leads me to a question I would like to ask myself. Feel free to join me if you, too, would like to experiment with not being a part of an oppressive regime:

     Who do I "really believe" that I have nothing against?

     When do I say "that's just the way it is" about something that hurts them or holds them back?

     What are the actual arguments that make me think that answer is good enough?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Inspiration! Roundup: Story objects, still dancing, punching the devil in the face, and Patrick Rothfuss

This Week's "I want to go to there":
A hammock and a book.

Story Objects with Vera van Wolferen

Love love love this series called Story Objects by Vera van Wolferen. (Also, what an incredible last name! I would actually considering changing my last name if I was marrying a van Wolferen. Although I may also need to become more brooding and dark as a person.)

A post shared by Vera van Wolferen (@veravanwolferen) on

Classical Paintings Get Modern

What would happen if the women in classical paintings suddenly were thrust into the modern era? This image series by Alexey Kondakov imagines just such a juxtaposition, and dang if it isn't stunning. I would buy these for my wall.

A post shared by Alexey Kondakov (@alksko) on

Still Dancing

This stunning piece of artwork by Jonathan Labillois commemorates the many missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The title "Still Dancing" came from his sister, who said to him “Dancers dance for those who cannot, the sick, the elders, and those who are gone. It's like all those women are still dancing thru her.“

Still Dancing by Jonathan Labillois
Labillois donated this piece to the Montreal Native Women's Shelter.

Forget Punching Nazis

Punch The Devil HIMSELF in the face!

You and The Virgin Mary, anyways.

Every Woman

Just in case you still think that pregnant women should be confined to their beds and avoid physical activity, watch Ciara (among other things) jump a couch while dancing her belly off to Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman".

Of course, I'd love to see the moments after they finished shooting this video. Personally, I would have just laid down on the floor and not moved for the rest of my pregnancy. (Says the woman who has never been pregnant.)

What Can You Do?

"The simple truth is this: When things are bad, all you can do is what you can do."
-Patrick Rothfuss

Check out this awesome blog post from Patrick Rothfuss on what he is doing and how he is coping with a big, bad world.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Valentine's Day Poem

Hey! Hey!
Today is Valentine's Day!
Just in case you forgot.

Maybe you wanted to forget.

In which case, sorry to remind you.
Although I don't know how successful you were going to be at ignoring this holiday.
It pours out of every dollar store, drug store, and restaurant.

Hearts are everywhere.

Not literal, physical hearts though. So that's good.
Otherwise, things would be messy.
Although a good science lesson for kids.
And adults who didn't pay very close attention in science class.

Last year I made some Valentines.
Some of them were cheeky and some were sincere.
It's open to interpretation.
Because that's how art works.

A few years before that I made other Valentines.

Listen, this holiday isn't going anywhere.
Who cares why it was invented.

All that matters is that St. Valentine was martyred and this day commemorates him.

So maybe we should start throwing our physical hearts around?

It would help with global overpopulation.
And we would feel so much, we would really know we were alive.
In that moment, anyways.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Cute! Roundup: Going full cat lady

It's happened, guys. I've gone full Cat Lady.

Other cuteness:

This owl shows us how to go with the flow.

New home, new bed.

Now this deer is feeling pretty good about life.

Someone should start a Tumblr of animals in their bizarre sleeping positions. Well, they probably have, but here's an entry.

Let's get him!

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Singalong: Napoleon by Sarah Slean

Just throwing this song out for this week, as another not-so-subtle warning to all of us about, oh, I don't know, tyrants. Not that it's topical or anything.

by Sarah Slean

Under great golden statues
There is an ancient grave
The emperor's fort is restless
There's something he wants to say

To the princes of lazy science
To the merchants of holy war
He had but one instruction
Be careful with metaphor

So every nation be warned
Soon as the last one is mourned
Another tyrant is born

To the pirates that came to follow
Itching to wrench on the reins of force
Napoleon sent a message
Don't get high on your only horse

So every nation be warned
Soon as the last one is mourned
Another tyrant is born

Mother, I fear of madness
'Cause I heard him call my name
I followed his ghostly finger
And I saw a world in flames

Lyrics to Sarah Slean's Napoleon
Photo source: Flare

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Learning! Roundup: Why whales jump, the easy way out, contagious personalities, generational stress, and more

Photo by Zorankovacevic
Why Whales Jump

Personally, I've never really wondered why whales do those sweet jumps - I mean, it just looks like fun - but apparently scientists have asked this question. Sadly, the answer isn't fun. It's practical. The breaching of the water helps them communicate with distant pods when there is too much background noise for vocal signals.

Blood Test for Pancreatic Cancer

A new blood test uses gold nanoparticles to latch onto pancreatic cancer vesicles in blood samples, and it worked! So far it's only been done in small-scale studies. Up next, they will test on larger populations before moving to public screening models. This is very exciting because pancreatic cancer is otherwise almost impossible to detect before it's too late.

Easy Choices

You probably think that your brain will default, when allowed, to a choice that is most pleasurable for you, right? Nope. It actually just defaults to the easiest option, whether or not you will enjoy it. Maybe that's why it's so hard sometimes to get yourself up for a hike or dance class or walk or to do anything besides sitting in front of your computer, even though you know that you'll be way happier doing the activity.

Contagious Personalities

The running wisdom in psychology (and life) is that personality is innate and doesn't change. A new study shows that preschoolers "catch" the personality traits of their peers. Luckily, the more positive traits (like extraversion and working hard) tended to transfer more than negative traits (like anxiety), so parents need not banish their kids from playing with their shy neighbour. (Please don't do that!)

Generational Stress

Your grandparents' stress may be more influential in your life than your own life stressors. This notion, that generational stress can be more impactful on a person's life than their own experience of stress, is hugely important when thinking about things like Aboriginal reconciliation, among other populations that have been systematically oppressed.

The Pain Relief of Looking at Your Own Body

This is surprising to me: looking at your own body has an analgesic effect. So if you're getting a needle, for example, it's worse to look away than to watch it happen. I am a classic "look away and take a deep breath" person when it comes to receiving shots, and I don't know if I can change that habit, but we'll see. Science is science. Even better, though, looking at a VIRTUAL copy of your hand can help relieve pain.

Health Risks of Low Social Rank

Remember back when everyone was obsessed with the obesity epidemic and the health risks of being obese and that gave everyone a "good reason" to start fat shaming everyone? Well, now it turns out that having a low social rank might be worse for your health than being obese. Guess who is to blame for someone's low social rank? US. The people who put them in a lower rank. So shall we turn that public shame around?

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Me & Ryan Gosling are taking a break

Sad news, guys. Ry Ry and I have done some soul-searching lately, and decided that we need to take a bit of a break.


Everything is okay! We're still in a Lifelong Relationship That is the Most Significant Relationship in Anyone's Life Ever, we're just both really busy right now, and he feels like all the extra attention he's getting from these posts is too distracting.

Plus, I was running out of pictures to share from our life together. Give us some time to re-collect ourselves and make some new memories. I promise, Ryan will be back.

This does mean that the last Me & Ryan Gosling post will be the last one for a while.

I hope that your hearts will go on.

Here, here, let me help. Here is Ry Ry being hilarious and adorable with Tyler Labine on Breaker High.

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This Week in Church: Being a peacemaker

Welcome to the series wherein I share my take-aways from church. The things that, I think, are beneficial to all of us to know or think about, whether or not we believe in any church-related things.

This week in church, we talked about being peacemakers.

It was not a coincidence. The sermon series was supposed to be something different, and then they changed it because of obvious things happening in the world.

There are so many facets to peacemaking. Here are some of the things that came up this week:

This week in church we talked about identity.

Philosopher Michel Foucault says we create a self by identifying our strengths and then deciding that those are important traits and looking down on those who don't have them. This immediately creates an us/them dynamic. Handy for feeling good about ourselves, not so handy for unity.

"But for the grace of God." - This reminds me that I am not actually better than anyone. I only have the intelligence, freedom, and physical abilities that I have through the chance of my birth and upbringing and not getting hit by cars or stray bullets.

This week in church we talked about creating a third option.

"When this culture gives you two options, choose the third."

This is a cheeky Protestant quote that is easy to write off, but also a nice reminder that we don't have to just take what's being offered to us. I fall for this kind of thing all the time - someone will present me with two options that are both terrible and I will forget to think about the possibility of a third.

This week in church we talked about loving our enemies.

It's easy to get obsessed with how we are right or how we have been wronged. This has recently been dubbed "outrage porn", and it feels kind of good, but it doesn't help with the us/them dynamic.

I get that focusing only on my rightness or how someone else has wronged me isn't helpful. So then how do I balance necessary outrage at terrible injustices with a peacemaker's heart? Loving my enemies doesn't mean agreeing with them or rolling out the red carpet, so I guess it has something to do with how we disagree with those we love?

This week in church we talked about the beatitudes.

Blessed are those who are persecuted, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are those who are poor in spirit, blessed are those who hunger and thirst, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness.

I suppose one could use this to argue that Muslim Americans are currently being blessed through the persecution they are facing. I don't feel super comfortable delving into those waters right now.

What this made me think of, for today, is the cost to standing up for what's right. I especially think of those politicians and businesses and judges that are currently saying "no, we will not go along with this." They are and will continue to experience backlash. They will receive anger and persecution for their righteousness.

If I was going to pray anything, I would pray that they stand true to those righteous values. That they don't give in. That those with an opportunity to show mercy will do so and that they understand that their persecution means they are doing something right. (PS: it might help them stay the course if those of us who think they are doing the right thing let them know.)

This week in church we spoke the Litany of Resistance.

It's long. It's so powerful.

If you don't like the God parts, rewrite those elements and then let's all recite this every morning. (Or once a week, because it's long.)

Lamb of God, you take away the sin o the world
Have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
Free us from the bondage of sin and death
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
Hear our prayer, Grant us peace.

For the victims of war:
Women, men, and children
Have mercy
The maimed and the crippled
The abandoned and the destitute
Have mercy
The imprisoned and the tortured
The widowed and the orphaned
Have mercy
The bleeding and the dying
The weary and the desperate
Have mercy
The lost and the forsaken
The homeless and the refugee
Have mercy

O God -- Have mercy on us sinners
Forgive us for we know not what we do
For our scorched and blackened earth
Forgive us
For the scandal of billions wasted on war
Forgive us
For the violence that is rooted in our hearts
Forgive us
For the times we turn others into enemies
Forgive us

Deliver us, O God
Guide our feet into the way of peace
From the arrogance of power
Deliver us
From the myth of redemptive violence
Deliver us
From the tyranny of greed
Deliver us
From the ugliness of racism
Deliver us
From the cancer of hatred
Deliver us
From the seduction of wealth
Deliver us
From the addiction of control
Deliver us
From the idolatry o nationalism
Deliver us
From the paralysis of cynicism
Deliver us
Fromt he violence of apathy
Deliver us
From the ghettos of poverty
Deliver us
From the ghettos of wealth
Deliver us
From a lack of imagination
Deliver us
Deliver us, O God
Guide our feet into the way of peace

We will not conform to the patterns of this world
Let us be transformed by the renewing of our minds
With the help of God's grace
let us resist evil wherever we find it
With the waging of war
and the legalization of murder
We will not comply
With the slaughter of innocents
and with laws that betray human life
We will not comply
With the destruction of community
and the pointing finger and malicious talk
We will not comply
With principalities and powers that press
We will not comply
With the raping of women
We will not comply
With governments that kill
and the business of militarism
We will not comply
With the hoarding of riches
We will not comply
With the dissemination of fear
We will not comply

Today we pledge our ultimate allegiance,
 to the Kingdom of God. To a peace that is not like Rome's
We pledge allegiance
To the Gospel of enemy love
We pledge allegiance
To the Kingdom of the poor and broken
We pledge allegiance
To a King that loves his enemies so much he died for them
We pledge allegiance
To the least of these, with whom Christ dwells
We pledge allegiance
To the transnational Church that transcends the artificial borders of nations
We pledge allegiance
To the refugee of Nazareth
We pledge allegiance
To the homeless rabbi who had no place to lay his head
We pledge allegiance
To the cross rather than the sword
We pledge allegiance
To the banner of love above any flag
We pledge allegiance
To the one who rules with a towel rather than an iron fist
We pledge allegiance
To the one who rides a donkey rather than a war-horse
We pledge allegiance
To the revolution that sets both oppressed
and oppressors free
We pledge allegiance
To the Way that leads to life
We pledge allegiance
To the Slaughtered Lamb
We pledge allegiance

And together we proclaim his praises,
from the margins of the empire to the centres of wealth and power
Christ has died, Christ is risen,
Chris will come again
May His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Inspiration! Roundup: The Indivisible Guide, crying with Lady Gaga, women wielding swords, and more!

This Week's "I want to go to there":
Winter came back to Vancouver and I DON'T LIKE IT.
Bring me beach nights!

The Indivisible Guide

Looking for a way to resist? The Indivisible Guide is quite possibly the most well thought-out and effective technique I've come across. Short version: create an action group with some like-minded friends (or neighbours or strangers); talk (repeatedly) to your representatives; go to public events where your representatives will be; keep doing it.

Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl

I'm not going to lie, I legit cried watching this performance. I mean, CRIED. I snuffled and snotted and currently have tears dried to my face as I type this. (Apparently Lady G cried after she finished, too, so we're basically the same.) Why? Because I am a big sappy weirdo who cries at everything, for one, and one of the things that has ALWAYS gotten me are these kinds of performances that look like someone chucked their entire heart at it. But it was also the deeply embedded political message of the show.

Framing the whole thing with America the Beautiful and This Land is My Land, and then singing her songs of complicated love and self-acceptance, as well as LGBTQ anthem Born This Way was powerful. Beginning her song Million Reasons, a song about being on the verge of leaving her lover, by saying "How are you doing America, Texas, the world?", and then following it up with Bad Romance? STATEMENT.

Read about it and watch the performance in Teen Vogue (the new political resistance mag).

As an aside, I was off the Lady Gaga train for a while, but this performance and her AMAZING album Joanne has turned me right back into a Gagahead or Lady Lover or whatever you want to call me.

Cry Me a River

To be honest, I don't know if I love the fact that this dancer choreographed this piece with a "river of women" to show his indifference towards an ex-lover, but whatever. Inspiration comes from anywhere, and the synchronicity and movement here is incredible.

Cry Me a River from Andrew Winghart on Vimeo.

Women with Swords

You may be under the impression that there weren't any female samurai warriors in Japan. I was, until I came across this series of portraits of female samurai warriors.

Space Jelly

This stunning photo of a jellyfish in the ocean looks like it's floating through space. Just imagine: giant space jellyfish, floating around, bumping into things. Pretty sweet.

The Barefoot Nuclear Budgeter

A reminder that people are a little more multi-faceted than we tend to give them credit for: Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, before having her own cooking show, got an MBA and worked for the government. She wrote the budget for the US Nuclear Program as well as policy papers.


A Hair Salon Story

My brave and smart friend Lisa had a run-in in a hair salon and posted about it on Facebook. She gave me permission to share her post.

Standing next in line at the local hair salon, waiting to pay for my goods, an older white presenting male customer is ranting to his (younger white presenting male) hairdresser, jabbing his finger into the counter for emPHAsis:

"... They don't work; they're lazy, you know. Those immigrants expect the government to take care of them, put them up in hotels, give them everything they need... We can't afford to do that. And that's why Trump is doing what he's doing—to stop that from happening."

All three hairdressers behind the counter are obviously uncomfortable. The racist's hairdresser uses me as an out:

Hairdresser: Hi, how are you?!
Me: (pause.) Welllll, I'll be much better when I don't have to listen to racist bullshit.
Silence. A brief stillness that feels an eternity.

Old Racist pays for his service, everyone is polite. Old Racist glares at me as he gets his coat on. I start shaking, I am so upset. I kind of lose my cool just as he's walking out.

me: How dare he say that *about his own people* when he is living on land stolen from MY people?!

The hairdresser and I debrief as I make my purchase. I call him on his silence; I don't mince words. I educate him and his colleagues. Then I give him language for next time... and there *will* be a next time.

Because that old racist is not going to be persuaded or changed by someone like me. And I don't expect him to be. What I do expect, however, is to be able to stand inches from another human being in a shared, public space and not be subjected to racism or language that incites white supremacy and/ or hatred.

Talking to the hairdresser, I hear it all, all the excuses we've all had, that we all hear. They are the justifications for our collective inaction and silence. There is no room for fence sitters, anymore; there is too much at stake... our very humanity.

"I'm not political."
Then be moral.

"I think everyone is equal."
Then your voice/ opinion is just as important.

"I didn't want to offend/ upset anyone."
Then don't; respond with respect, equal authority, and clarity.

"I didn't know what to say."
Then say you're uncomfortable with what is being said.

"They have a right to say what they want."
Then so do you.

"He/ She/They was/ are a customer/ friend/ family member."
Then decide if that's who you want occupying your space. And what will you lose by their absence?

I get it: it can be terrifying to engage with hatred. Hatred wants violence; it's itching for a fight. It's also terrifying because if you engage with it, you have to engage with your own potential for and history with hatred and you have to admit on a *conscious* level that Hate is present and speaking in your presence.

Those shakes? The temperature flush? The sick feeling in your stomach? Your body's right: it IS dangerous. There is the potential that the other person's hatred will turn on you and hurt you. But what is even more dangerous is the permission—the power—that Hatred gains from your silence. Because with your silence... with your permission, Hate is emboldened by the lack of obstacles in its way and it WILL go out and hurt as many as it can until it's war.

Her call to action is so clear and concise and valuable. I love and appreciate how she addresses the discomfort and reluctance people have to get involved. I love the suggestion that, if someone is being racist or otherwise inappropriate, and we don't know what to say but are uncomfortable, we can simply state that discomfort. That is enough of a statement, and is valuable and important to say.

Treehouse Views

Japanese artist group Chim↑Pom installed a treehouse in a neighbourhood of Tijuana that borders on California, looking over the wall that separates the two countries into the States.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ways in which I am a part of the problem

I like to think of myself as a person who is generally working to make things better. I care about equality and intersectionality and want to do what I can to burn down the patriarchy and protect the weak. I recycle and compost and unplug my electronics when they aren't in use. I am currently running an Indiegogo campaign to fight for electoral reform.

So sometimes it's easy to think that I'm pretty great and maybe (mayyyyybe) even better than some other people. That kind of thinking should make anyone's brain scream DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

In light of this, now seems like as good a time as any to be open and honest about the ways in which I am the worst. The ways my brain is still racist or sexist and the ways in which I always do the right thing - unless it's inconvenient.

What are the ways in which I am still a part of the problem:

The other day, while talking about plays that tell stories from other cultures, I referred to stories about white people as "regular" stories. Because, you know, whiteness is regular and non-whiteness is "other". Yikes!

When I found out a friend of mine was dating a transperson, my first thought was, "Wow, I had no idea she would be okay with that!" And then I wondered about their genitals and how their sex worked. Because THAT is my business.

I only buy used clothes, partially because I'm cheap but equally in part for ethical reasons - unless it is inconvenient. Then I only buy clothes from stores with good, ethical practices - unless they are too expensive or Old Navy is having a sale.

I also only buy used clothes, unless someone else is buying the clothes for me. It's not like I can be blamed for the fact that they WANTED to take me to The Bay, right?

I think whitewashing in Hollywood is bad, but not so bad that I didn't pay money and go see Doctor Strange.

When speaking about a generic person, I still almost always default to using "he" - especially if it's a person in a traditionally male role. For example, the other day I stayed at home waiting for the "Telus Guy" who I had never spoken to, met, or heard the name of. Could have been a woman, but I assumed he would be a man because he was a technician.

I haven't asked where my TFSA investments are going. Oil? Munitions? Lalalalalala!

I sometimes walk circuitous routes to avoid running into one particular homeless person who I don't want to talk to.

When I read Ta-Nehisi Coates book Between the World and Me I felt defensive and annoyed every time he referred to "people who think they are white."

I am a vegetarian for ethical reasons, except that I eat poutine with real gravy. I have also purchased new leather items while being a vegetarian.

YIKES! You guys! Add it up and I am NOT so hot at this "good person" thing.

And those are just the things that I am aware of. Imagine all the things I don't even notice that I am doing.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Cute! Roundup: Runaway puppies, baby chinchillas, and love, true love

Everyone, meet Dexter. Dexter is a dog that belongs to a friend of mine, but he CLEARLY wants to run away with me. Don't you think?


Something about this cat in glasses just makes me way too happy.

Wonder what a baby chinchilla looks like? Wonder no longer!!!!

Little kitty Raisin is pretty adorable.

Lifelong love.

Can I join this husky cuddle puddle?

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Singalong! Elmo by Holly McNarland

I'm still needing to spend time hanging out with some angry women who aren't afraid to be aggressive. So hello, Holly McNarland! Let me roll out a red carpet for you and your fast-and-furious expression.

by Holly McNarland

I'm still thinking about Elmo
Elmo five o'clock special
I'm still thinking about you
A thosuand ways to kill you
I'm still dreaming in pink
Gives me reason to think
When I lay down my head I'm still okay
When I lay down my head to go to bed
Where do you fit in?

Didn't say to come in
Where the hell you been
I can see you're excited
You can tell you're invited
Justify your evil ways
Make up for the lost days
Didn't mean to close the door
When I threw you to the floor
Didn't mean to close the door
Oh my personal whore
Where do you fit in?

You run out of expression
You let me make a suggestion
You've left a scratch on my face
I can see to this day
You're no innocent man
Come and catch me if you can
Didn't have the time of day
But I fucked him anyway
Didn't have the time of day to play
Where do you fit in?

Singalong with Holly McNarland's Elmo and let your girl (or grrrrrl) rage soar!

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Learning! Roundup: Listen to your (actual) heart, chimp tyrants, blind cooking, and more!

Learning! Roundup: The importance of knowing your heart, your actual, physical heart
Image Source: Wellcome Images
Listen to Your Heart

Like, actually listen to your heart. New neuroscience research is revealing the mind-body connection that yogis and alternative medicine practitioners have been talking about for millennia: that your brain isn't something separate from your body, but something inside your body, and your relationship with your body affects your brain. The better you get at paying attention to your heart (and other parts of your body), the better your brain will operate.

Ireland Divests from Fossil Fuels

Ireland is now officially the first country in the world to divest itself of fossil fuels! What does this mean? It means that they have gotten rid of all their stocks, bonds, and other fancy-money-ties to oil, gas, and coal. They will shed their 8 billion Euro sovereign wealth fund, which is a LOT of money to put on the line for their value of a fossil fuel-free nation. Go Ireland!

How Chimps Deal with Tyrants

When chimpanzees overthrow a tyrant, what do they do? Beat up, murder, and eat them, apparently. While this does sound like a BIT of an overreaction, I guess I'm just leaving this here to point out that we can at least try to stand up to a tyrant.

Save the Saiga

Saiga antelope populations are dwindling big time, and now a disease that previously has only affected goats has wiped out 10% of the population in Mongolia.

All Mouth and No Anus

A common ancestor to all vertebrates was a microscopic creature named Saccorhytus that was basically one giant mouth and... that's it. No bum.

How the Blind Cook

Ever wonder how blind people cook? Me neither, honestly. It never occurred to me until I saw this video and then went, "oh yeah, how DO they do that?" Well, here's how.

Postpartum Depression is Different from Other Mood Disorders

Apparently up until recently, nobody thought it would be a good idea to study pregnancy-related mood disorders as separate from other mood disorders. I'll just chalk that up to "typical" and then move on to say that new research has shown that postpartum depression is, indeed, neurologically different from other mood disorders. For example, people with anxiety and depression tend to have super-active amygdalae, but those with postpartum depression don't.

Shutting Down BS About Autism

Listen to some autistic people about what it's actually like to be autistic.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Are you superstitious?

I have always considered myself to not be very superstitious. Then I started thinking about all the little things my brain does and I realized that maybe I am very superstitious? Or maybe I just like patterns a lot and STILL have the overactive imagination of my childhood.

Here are the things I do that, at least from the outside, seem kind of superstitious:

When I'm walking on sidewalks I like to try to always step on the cracks or never step on the cracks or take the same number of steps per square, which is always impossible, so then I try to create a repeating pattern of steps.

I used to always try to pee faster than the microwave, when I would microwave things as a kid. Now I am very fast at peeing.

Holding my breath: over bridges, and through tunnels. Not the best idea while I'm the driver.

Remember as a kid, twisting the stem off an apple and counting the alphabet along with it to "find out" the first initial of the person you'd marry? I still do that. Not so much for its predictive powers, but because doing that trained me to not like eating apples with stems, and then I just automatically start doing the alphabet without even thinking about it. Perhaps I should start charting my results?

Making wishes when I blow out my candles.

When driving alone: have the keys ready and get in the car super fast before anyone (human or vampire) can grab my feet from under the car.

One day when I get married, I want to sit down at the exact same moment as my new husband at the reception, so that we die at the same time. (So romantic.)

I have, however, defeated the following superstitions! I no longer:

Sleep with my neck covered to protect myself from vampires or ghosts.

Walk into the bathroom cautiously first thing in the morning in case Bloody Mary is in the mirror.

Run up the basement steps in case a ghost is chasing me. (Usually.)

Check the back seat of a car for psychokillers before getting in to drive away. This is stupid though, I am being reckless and should really restart that practice.

Oh, and I walk under ladders like it's nobody's business. Because, screw you, safety!

What are your weird superstitions? What did you used to believe that you don't anymore?

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Inspiration! Roundup: Paper microorganisms, prints of Palestine, wear a heart

This Week's "I want to go to there":
Still thinking about The Resistance.

This ever one of the most beautiful things I've encountered this week. Hit play and listen while you scroll through the rest of this post.

Prints of Palestine

Palestinian clothing designer Natalie Tahhan is bringing traditional Palestinian embroidery to modern clothing design. Love it!

Rogan Brown's Paper Art

I have a big, warm place in my heart or paper art as it is, and this work by Rogan Brown blows me away. He mimics patterns and motifs from the natural world, creating mega-detailed paper art that resembles microorganisms.

Stand with Bandcamp

Have some music you want to buy? Buy it off Bandcamp on Friday and all their proceeds will go to the ACLU! Isn't it heartening to hear about all the corporations that are taking stands in their own way? From Starbucks' commitment to hire 10,000 refugees to smaller companies like Bandcamp donating proceeds. Hey, it feels weird for this anti-establishment, anti-consumerism gal to high five corporate America, but they are doing something good! It's good!

Wear a Heart

One of my favourite bloggers, Swiss Miss, was photographed with a giant heart outside Trump Towers. She posted this on her own blog suggesting that maybe she just walk around holding that heart for the entire trump administration. Not a bad idea.

A photo posted by Jordan (@jorbot3000) on

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