Sunday, March 6, 2011

ink my whole body

One of the reasons I love my job (besides poop) is my unique opportunity to see people in a state of undress that others do not. I don't love this because I get to check people out - I do enjoy the occasional fox, but most Y-goers actually aren't that sexy. I love it because I get to see everyone's tattoos that they usually try to hide.

Sometimes they're really embarrassing. A lot of older people have tiny cartoon characters in very faded ink, and there's the occasional former jock/frat boy who has an OU symbol or the words "boomer" and "sooner" on opposite biceps. Yeah, seriously.
Look at this douchebag.

But sometimes the tats are really cool. There's one woman who has a sweet tree that takes up her entire back. Another time, a guy came in with one of the most beautiful tattoos I've ever seen. I had to ask him how old it was; the colors were so vivid that I knew it had to have been recent. He said it was TEN YEARS OLD and he'd gotten it in Japan, where they traditionally use the "hand poke" method of inserting the ink below the skin without using electrical devices, like the modern tattoo gun-type machine most of us are probably more familiar with.
Look at all that color and detail!

Anyway, I love tattoos. I love looking at other people's tattoos, talking about and planning tattoos, and having tattoos.

At the moment, I have but two tats.

One is a small outline of Wisconsin on my ankle. I got it a couple weeks before I moved to Oklahoma. I guess it represents my roots, and it's like a little reminder of home and where I came from, part of how I became who I am today.

The other one I got last summer. It's actually a matching tattoo with my boyfriend, Damien. We both got the Roman numerals "IV VI IV" on our backs. They stand for 4/6/04, which is the first day we started dating way back in 8th grade. It's just kind of a love tattoo, without the awkward burden of potentially having someone else's name on our bodies if we ever break up. For the record, I don't think we will anytime soon. I also like the symmetry of the Roman numerals, how the I and V sort of alternate. It just looks cool.
So bloody, hahahaha.

Anyway, I plan to get several more tattoos. I want to decorate my body with tributes to different things that have made an impact on me. Wisconsin and Damien are two of those things. Gradually, I want to get tats for my parents, my best friends, the Beatles, feminism, and probably other musical artists like Bright Eyes. I also want to get one at some point that's purely art, like a bird or flower. Just something beautiful for its own sake.

One of the coolest and most unique tattoo styles I've ever seen comes from this guy Peter Aurisch, who works in Berlin at a shop called Signs and Wonders. Unfortunately I'll probably never be able to get any work done by him, but I can google his name and look at other people's awesome ink!
That overlap effect is SO COOL.

I love the exaggerated and distorted sizes of the animals' heads, and all the layering of different elements. How does he get that brushstroke effect?!

Okay, I was going to post some more pictures of tattoos that I've loved and saved, but it'll have to wait for another day. Peter Aurisch is just too damn talented, I had to focus on him!

Do you guys have/love/want tattoos? What should my next one be?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

rules for rallying

Yesterday I took a short trip to Oklahoma City for the "Rally to Save the American Dream" which was being held in solidarity with the protests going on in Wisconsin right now. I got there a little late, so the crowd had already begun to thin out a bit, which might explain the lukewarm tone of the thing. It got me thinking about rallies and what they should and should not be.
(Disclaimer: this is just my silly lil opinion, so it's not like I speak for a group or anything here. I don't mean to offend, and I support activism of all kinds, even if I don't think it's as effective as it could be. I will continue to attend rallies and other activist events no matter how flaccid they may be.)

1. Publicize.
Make a Facebook event, tweet about it, blog about it, text your friends, call the media. A good protest needs attendees, and if there are enough attendees, there should be media coverage. That way, people who did not attend can learn about the cause, know there are people out there who care about it one way or another, and can take action if they want. At the rally, organizations that are relevant can pass around literature and sign-ups for email lists.

2. Unify.
A critical mass is even more powerful when they are unified in a certain way. This can mean wearing a certain color; red seems to be the official color of the current protests. When the Women's and Gender Studies Student Association had our protest of Justice For All last fall, we had a station with spraypaint and a stencil so people could make shirts with the "Trust OK Women" logo. This looks better than just a bunch of people standing around. Another way is to have a few chants that are simple, like "Kill the bill!" or "My body, my choice!"

3. Energize.
A rally works best when it has a lot of momentum. Chants work really well for this, because everyone can participate, and lots of noise makes it more exciting. Singing is also good; yesterday we were led in a few verses of "This Land Is Your Land." Move around, dance, clap, chant, sing, yell. If you are able, stand the entire time. Something that bothered me about yesterday's rally was the endless parade of slow-talkers who got up to the megaphone and rambled on about something that happened 20 years ago. I'm sure that story is interesting, but it can be difficult to hear when the person is speaking through a megaphone. If there is a speaker, they should keep it short and sweet, with lots of passion. Less story time, more firing up the crowd. That way, when people leave, they will feel inspired to do more, instead of bored and burnt out.

4. Bring signs.
This is pretty self-explanatory. If you don't have time or supplies, it's okay. But sign materials are both inexpensive and easy to come by. If you have a cardboard box and a Sharpie, you can make a protest sign. If you happen to be a crafty person with many pieces of poster-board and colorful markers, make extra signs to pass out. This gives people something to do with their hands if they feel awkward, and it also looks good if there are photographers or videographers (professional or amateur) there. A good sign is colorful, clever, and enlightening. DO NOT make a sign that is offensive to marginalized groups, even if you think it's funny. And don't compare people to Hitler. That is problematic, SO tired, and it is usually never actually applicable.

These are some cool signs from the WI protests. I got them here.

Humor + pop culture references = a good sign.
Creepy, funny, and true.
Simple, profound statements like this make for great signs.
Another little nugget of truth!

So pithy! Okay, I'll stop with all the signs now.

5. Stay focused.
This really bugged me yesterday. I know this is Oklahoma, and there's a lot of shit we need to change. But several people got up to plug their own pet causes, which I think takes away from the overall theme of the event. At a rally for unions and workers' rights, a guy got up to talk about marijuana legalization, and a woman spoke about reproductive justice. I support both of those, but it really tears away from the main focus when it just turns into a free-for-all for activists. If you really need to plug your cause or organization, get up and try to speak about the topic of the rally, and say a quick piece about your thing at the end. I beg you.

6. Don't give up!
I am so inspired by the people in Madison, WI. They have been protesting for nearly two weeks now, and the crowds just keep growing larger every day. People are sleeping on the floor of the capitol. They are outside in freezing temperatures and snowstorms. That shit is NOT fun, I can tell you that right now as a WI native. Protestors in the Middle East are dying in the streets for what they believe in. I'm not saying that every rally should go quite that far, but it's important to keep the fight going. This is possible through going to the extreme like Wisconsinites, Libyans, Egyptians, and all the other people fighting for their rights. This is also possible through organizing online, signing petitions, creating more events, calling your legislators, and keeping in contact with the people who attend the events. One rally is not enough to solve a problem! Keep up the good fight.

7. Don't name your event "Rally to Save the American Dream."
That is some lame-ass, PR booooshit. Sorry.

That's all I can think of right now. I've had a very long day of driving - had to bring Damien to the Dallas airport, and I ended up lost in Garland, TX for about an hour. Good times!

Friday, February 25, 2011

oral fixation

Since I can remember, I've had an oral fixation. Freud said that “if a nursing child's appetite were thwarted during any libidinal development stage, the anxiety would persist into adulthood as a neurosis.” (That's a quote from Wikipedia, a source which, despite its poor academic reputation, I always consult if I have no idea what something is or how to explain it.)

I'm not sure if my mother actually did thwart my appetite while I was nursing, but something must have happened that made me want to put EVERYTHING in my mouth. I know that sounds dirty and sexual, and in the literal sense of the word, it IS dirty (how many coins have found their way into my mouth, and how many people have handled those coins? I shudder to even consider it).

Although I am not conscious of my earliest days, I've seen pictures of myself as a baby, chewing on wooden chairs, eating the cats' food, and shoving the whole family's toothbrushes in my mouth. As I progressed into elementary school age, I was an avid reader as well as an avid chewer. I would check out dozens of library books, and then tear out the corners of every page and eat them. My parents had to pay the library for all the books I destroyed.

I was able to cool it on the public property, but over the years I've eaten straw wrappers at restaurants, bits of napkins, the fringe from a torn out piece of notebook paper, the stick that a sucker comes on, and pen caps. I've sucked on coins, chewed gum, and smoked cigarette after cigarette. For a while I had a Camelbak water bottle, and I can't even describe to you how dependent I was on that thing. Something about that nipple top … well, I won't go into it.

The single habit that has been the mainstay of my lifelong oral fixation is biting my nails. One of my best friends once told me, “You are the most intense nail-biter I've ever seen. You twist and contort your hands in all kinds of ways just to get that nail.” And it's true! I catch myself, even in public, even at WORK, holding one of my hands with the other in some unnatural position so I can bite successfully. But it's not enough sometimes just to bite the nail. I rip out hangnails, cuticles, and I really get into that nail bed. Drawing blood is not uncommon.

I bite when I'm nervous or bored, usually. If I'm just hanging out, relaxing by myself, my nails are safe. But if you insert a little anxiety into the situation, I start a-chewin'. Put me in a room of people I don't know, and I'll kill my fingernails before I say a word to any of them. Set me on my lifeguard chair with no one to talk to for thirty minutes, and bam! Any and all white tips (oh how I covet those white tips, the ones you probably have on your nails and don't even think about, the ones I have scarcely seen on my own nails in years) are eaten away.

For as often and as obsessively as I do it, my nail-biting is one of the things I'm most self-conscious and embarrassed about. I remember one day in high school when I looked over at a girl who was biting her nails, looking at them, biting again, looking again. I thought she looked so gross and awkward, and I'm sure I look even more gross and awkward when I'm gnawing away at the sensitive skin underneath my fingernails.

I'm telling you all this because I am attempting to kick the habit. So far it's been about a week and I've only bitten a couple times. It's so tempting! I even had to put a band-aid on my finger the other night at work to make sure I wouldn't destroy it. And I find myself just kind of playing with my hands now, looking for something to occupy them. I guess a few setbacks and growing pains are inevitable.

But I am determined. It might seem trivial to non-biters, but I am really looking forward to my life without the compulsion to bite, chew, and tear at my fingernails. I honestly believe that when I can stop forever, I will feel more free than ever before.

As for right now, I have a phone call to make. I need to talk to my mom and find out what the hell she did to thwart my appetite in my libidinal development stage.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

on wisconsin!

I would give so much to have been in Wisconsin for the last month or so. First, the Packers won the Super Bowl. Now Gov. Scott Walker, who got elected just a few months ago, has the entire state enraged due to his new plan that will take away public sector employees' collective bargaining rights. This affects a lot of people and their families, and I think the main focus has been on teachers this week.

Here are some cool pictures!

(A State Assembly Democrat pumps his fist as supporters voice their opinion against the proposed bill by Republican Governor Scott Walker in Madison, Wisconsin, February 18, 2011. [REUTERS/ Darren Hauck])

Can't go wrong with a banana suit.

Here's a doctor on a street corner in Madison. He's writing doctor's notes for people who called in sick to work.

He's so right.

That very angry screaming boy with the words on his shirt is none other than my badass little brother! He and his friends have been really active all week with a walk-in and sit-in at their high school. I'm really proud of him!

I've heard estimates of 80,000 people just out in Madison protesting. The state assembly Democrats have reportedly fled the state in order to delay the vote on Walker's proposal. I am absolutely obsessed right now with watching this unfold. I really wish I could be back in Wisconsin right now. Until I am, SOLIDARITY!

Monday, February 14, 2011

obligatory valentine's day post

In the spirit of this most special Hallmark-manufactured holiday, here is a picture of me and my darling boyfriend, Damien. His hair is much shorter now, and his beard much longer, so he looks like a sexy studly man. I would have chosen a better picture, but when I tried to drag photos from Facebook into the pictures folder on my desktop, it wouldn't let me. So is that the purpose of that hideous new photo viewer on FB? Either way, I HATE it!

Anyway, I guess today is the day we're all supposed to celebrate love and romance. I don't think I've ever really gone out of my way to do anything special for Valentine's Day ... I have vague memories from high school of an Applebee's dinner, and I think Damien got me roses once.

I guess I just don't see the point of making a big fuss over Valentine's Day. I'm of that popular opinion that if you can only be sweet and romantic one day of the year, then you're kind of a loser and no one should be dating you anyway. I love my boyfriend like crazy, and I try to tell and show him that every day. Sometimes I fail, but hey, it's better than only on February 14th. (Or Feb. 14th and Sweetest Day, which is an even more bullshit holiday, and I think it falls sometime in October? Whatever.)

So what have I done to celebrate Valentine's Day this year? Well, so far, I've gone to all of my classes. Gold star for me!

In Women and the Law, we discussed family law and all the various ways women get fucked over by divorce, the courts, welfare, etc. Quelle romance! In Writing the Short Story, we did what we do every day in that class: chat about various topics that are completely irrelevant to actually Writing A Short Story. We did learn about self-publishing Kindle properties, though, which was surprisingly pertinent! (No offense to my professor! I love the class! Don't fail me!)

In History of Journalism, we had a really interesting group of investigative journalists tell us all about their work on The Pearl Project. They've just released their findings about the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl. I really enjoyed their presentation. Investigative journalism seems really exciting to me for some reason. I imagine 1940's style detective outfits, lots of typewriters and endless cigarettes smoking in endless ashtrays. Que romantico!

Tonight, Damien and I plan to cook and maybe drink some wine. Then I have to go to a meeting.

Yeah, Valentine's Day 2k11 is not exactly the most romantic day. But I don't need it to be. I'm getting ready for the real holiday: Half-Price Chocolate Day, February 15th!

Here's one of my favorite love songs, if you insist on feeling some amorous vibes right now: