Thursday, January 17, 2013

Do I Smell Caraway on Your Breath, Kid??

I have turned into my mother. Just now, I used my kid's bathroom and, looking into the garbage can, I see MARIJUANA SEEDS. I was instantly ready to go berserk and started thinking about what I have to say to her when she gets home. Then it dawned on me.

Last night, my kiddo and I were eating crackers in bed. They were really fancy crackers from Whole Check that we inherited from church coffee hour leftovers. They're really great, because they have a layer of five or six spices on top. We planned to use the loose spices to make a homemade salad dressing. Anyway, she accidentally knocked them over, spilling spice mix all over the floor. It was too late to vacuum so I had her gather what she could and throw it away. Apparently, she didn't bother going downstairs.

Since I'm all riled up, would it be okay if I used that energy to complain about the fact that it's technically throwing away food trash in a place other than the kitchen? Or would that just be obvious sulkiness because I almost made a fool out of myself?

fancy flatbread
These are fancy schmancy crackers. They are heavily sprinkled with sesame seeds, caraway seeds, and poppy seeds.
If the label is to be believed, they do not contain any marijuana seeds.
marijuana seeds
These are marijuana seeds. At the current time, there are no fancy schmancy crackers that can be (legally) obtained in the USA featuring marijuana seeds.

There's Always Beauty in the Breakdown

This is Sand magnified 250x

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Don't Count Preschool Out Just Yet

So, the author of this article, "The Early Education Racket" makes some pretty sweeping claims that I find a bit dubious. Moyer makes the claim that those kids who belong to families that can afford preschool probably don't need it. I'm also skeptical because it doesn't seem very well thought out. For example, there are several ways to define need that Moyer never seems to consider.

My kid's preschool was as expensive as the university that I was attending. However, if I had it to do all over again, I'd do the exact same thing. She still remembers it as a really wonderful and nurturing experience. It wasn't until I talked to her preschool instructors that I learned that she had a real talent for art. Since she was my only child, I had nothing to compare it to, so I was simply unaware of her knack for it.

Preschool can help parents to identify their child's strengths, weaknesses, and gifts at a really young age and that can give them a clue as to what sort of activities, supplies, and experiences that child would most enjoy. At preschool, she was able to work with instructors who had art experience. I had none. Even if I was really, really diligent, I still wouldn't have been able to teach her the skills that she learned there. If your child is really into something that you know how to do, then I can imagine that preschool might not make much of a difference. However, if your kid is into something that leaves you scratching your head to understand, really talented preschool instructors can be a lifesaver.

Here's a few examples of her work. If you're wondering about that weirdness in the bottom right corner of her last picture, I can explain. She's still a minor. That means we don't allow her to use her real name online. We had to blot it out of the last picture so that I could share it here.
"Deep Sea Mermaid" done in Micron Pen
"Veggies" done in PrismaColor

"Star Fucker" done in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 6
"The Black Vault Encyclopedia Project proposes a Close Encounter of the Seventh Kind as mating between a human being and extraterrestrial that produces a human-alien hybridisation, usually called a Star Child. This concept is similar to ideas promoted by ancient astronauts theorists like Erich von Däniken, Zecharia Sitchin and Robert K. G. Temple, in that extraterrestrials interacted with, perhaps interbred with and influenced ancient human beings in the past."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sooner or Later

I never knew that life could be this lonely. I remember that it wasn't all that long ago that I thought about how those dark years that made up the majority of my life were behind me for good. I remember thinking about how good it felt knowing that I wouldn't have to go back to that, ever again, because I was loved and safe and believed. The best explanation that I could come up with was that maybe I'd done my turn and now I was being retired to find whatever consolation this world would allow.

Now, I realize that I was right before. Some people really are put on earth just to be used, like toilets or paper towels. I don't know why that is, but it just is. I've never been able to come to any other conclusion, when I think about myself. I've been a used thing from as far back as I have memories. When people notice that something looks like trash, the tendency is to treat it like trash. Nobody gets scolded for wiping their feet on a mattress sitting on the curb.

The idea of having found someone who loved me was a joy that I didn't really think I'd experience. I'd loved. I'd loved with all I had. However, no one loves their toilet or their old napkins. They don't even think that it's something that should be expected. I understand that, but imagine what it's like to be the toilet and suddenly feel adored. Even though you're still being shit on by the rest of the world, one person says that, even as a used thing, you are wanted.

What would you do to keep that person in your life? What would you be willing to do just to hear that person say that you are more than what you know you are? What would you be willing to do for that person? For me, the answer was, "everything". What would you do when you realize that they'll never be as happy as they could be as long as they have something dirty and used attached to them?

Sooner or later all trash has to be thrown away. I've always been a bit of a collector. I'm notorious for having trouble throwing things out. I always think about how things might still be useful. My partner has almost no emotional attachment to things. He'd rather throw something out and buy a new one, if he needs one at a later date. That should have been a sign. I should have known that eventually, I would be the trash that was getting in the way. When you started out as trash, how could you wind up ending up as anything other than trash? And sooner or later all trash has to be thrown out.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Frida Kahlo was Never in the Closet

So, I just read about the opening of Frida Kahlo's private closet that has been locked since her death in 1954. A museum has put many of the contents from the closet into an exhibit. There is an article about it on the Univision News tumblr.

I just dislike the fact that the article claims that Frida tried to hide her disabilities. To say so is to claim that she thought her disabilities SHOULD be hidden and that just defies her whole body of art.

Frida Kahlo's painting "Broken Column" is a self portrait of the artist with tears falling from her face. Her usually elaborately styled hair is loose and hangs down her back. She's garbed in  a torso brace, leaving her breasts and arms exposed. Her torso is open from the neck down, revealing an ionic column on the verge of collapse. From her waist, she is wrapped in a sheet that she holds with both hands. In the background, a desert full of dunes extends to the horizon where it meets an ominous sky that appears windy or about to rain.

Frida is a disability culture icon. I hope that UnivisionNews will reconsider what was written here. Frida is practically a saint in the eyes of many people with disabilities, especially those of us who are also women and people of color, just like her.

"Autorretrato con el Retrato Dr Farill" (Self-Portrait with the Portrait of Dr Farill) shows Frida sitting in a wheelchair. She wears a floor-length skirt and a simple, loose top. Her hair is braided and wound into her signature style. In her left hand there's a palette with a human heart in the place of paints. Her right hand clutches paint brushes. Next to her, there's an easel with a painting of her doctor's face. The doctor is dressed in a suit and his eyebrows have been joined together in the same way that Kahlo always painted her own. The entire painting is styled in the form of an ex-voto.
Using prosthetics makes it easier for people with disabilities to function in a world that is often unfriendly to bodies that differ from what is considered "normal". They aren't made to hide one's disability. People who use them often decorate them, because it becomes a part of who they are. If you had to wear one pair of shoes every day, wouldn't you want it to be a pretty pair of shoes? Frida celebrated disability. She made her disability into art so magnificent that it is known all around the world. Please, if someone sees this, encourage UnivisionNews to change this awful and untrue claim that is being made.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Meet Your Neighbors: The Weeds

Meet the weeds that Monsanto can't beat

In my pre-cancer life, I was one of those lab nerds who were churning out data about this subject. Even then it wasn't anything that should have surprised anyone. What I recall though, was how many folks truly believed that the folks who were creating the GMOs had already considered these possibilities and had solutions to deal with them if--if, not *when*--they did occur.

One of the things that I loved about science was that it was something that was supposedly progressive. You learn more and more over time and, because you document nearly everything, you made it possible for the next generation of researchers to see where things went wrong and avoid repeating the same kinds of errors. That's pretty handy when you realize that man is only becoming more efficient at magnifying its ways to change the environment. Perhaps it was the naivete of youth, but I really believed that the world listened to scientists. At this stage in my life, I believe that the world only listens to those with money and science is only ever a part of the discussion when the folks with money find some way to make it profitable for themselves.