Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fast Food Nation*

*You should totally read the book, Fast Food Nation.

Anyhoo, please watch this. With your speakers on when you can. Give up fast food (or try to phase it out if you are not in a position to cook all the time). There are cheap, healthy, easy recipes out there. Try them. If you need help, ask me. This is amazing. What the hell are we putting in our bodies, in our children's bodies? Happy Meals my ass.

Friday, January 30, 2009

One-Word Weekend Meme

Thanks for this, Vesper. There are some numbers missing; not sure what that's all about but I'll roll with it!

USE ONLY ONE WORD. It’s not as easy as you might think. Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on.

1. Where is your cell phone? Around
2. Your significant other? Joy
3. Your hair? Curly
4. Your mother? Supportive
5. Your father? Wasted
6. Your favorite thing? Bliss
7. Your dream last night? Static
8. Your favorite drink? Nectar
9. Your dream/goal? Moon
10. What room you are in? Office
11. Your hobby? Daydreaming
12. Your fear? Absence
13. Where do you want to be in 7 years? Set
14. Where were you last night? Class
16. Rockets? Houston!
17. Wish list item? Shoes
18. Where you grew up? Imagination
19. Last thing you did? Blog
20. What are you wearing? Navy
21. Your TV? Netflix
22. Your medium? Bubbles
23. Friends? Lacking
24. Your life? Transitioning
25. Your mood? Cautious
26. Missing some one? Category
27. Car? Unnecessary
28. Something you’re not wearing? Contacts
29. Your favorite store [designer]? Research
30. Your favorite color? All
33. When is the last time you laughed? Earlier
34. Last time you cried? Recently
35. Who will resend this? Subscribers
36. One place that I go to over and over? Apprehension
37. One person who emails me regularly? Cousin
38. Favorite place to eat? Couch
39. Why you participated in this survey? Twiddling
40. What are you doing tonight? Absorbing

I Love the 90s Friday: En Vogue

En Vogue set the bar really high for girl groups. Each member sang beautifully and they were all glamoured up in their videos. I still love all the songs (and videos!) featured here today.

Hold On

Here we have a video that is 90s to its core. Raw emotion, random shirtless dudes dancing and tattered rags wearing men voguing, singers dancing funky, red lipstick, teased hair, camera zoom-ins for no reason, etc. This song didn't feature Dawn as much as the later ones did; and I liked hearing the other singers. Love (and lol at) the 90s dance choreography for: Don't waste your time, fighting lies...fight that thought, of despair.

Don't Let Go

Here is a song that you should see me sing in my car (actually, you probably shouldn't.) A mess. A total mess. I can only imagine the raw emotion on my face as I switch lanes on the freeway with this song on. I thought they all looked pretty in this video. I actually don't remember the movie version of the video (from Set It Off) but anything is better than the Mekhi Phifer version.

My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)

Another song you should never, ever see me sing. ESPECIALLY the talking parts. "I give to the needy...and not the greedy! Mm-hmm that's right! Cause you see baby...when you LOCKIN, ya LOSIN!....AND I'M OUT THE DOOR!" Also: "And now it's time for a breakdown. Never gonna get, never gonna get it (times 4) WOO-WOO-WOO-WOOOOO!"...Okay, I'm done. The video is chock full of sparkles, curly-fry wigs, full bodysuits, and zesty men dancing and doing cheerleader jumps. The video kind of freaked me out for some reason. When the woman slaps down the man at the 2:34 (I think) mark, I remember feeling like I witnessed a murder or something...I don't know, that part always messed with me.

Giving Him Something He Can Feel
Giving Him Something He Can Feel By En Vogue

This song was a cover, but Dawn and'nem did it so beautifully. Of course the video was glamour times 100. The slinky red dresses, the swoop hair, the male audience. Great visuals (the red dresses against the blue curtains).

I heard word on the street is that they're doing a reunion, but who isn't? Call me when their record is available to preview on Itunes. Until then, I will refer to the 90s, thanks. Leave your favorite En Vogue songs/memories in the comments!

The Sky Is Crazy

Here are some pictures I have taken with my cell-phone camera. I'm going to put them on the sidebar as well. As I may have mentioned before, nature fascinates me (especially the sky and the moon).
1. A rainbow after a thunderstorm from August 2007 driving through College Station, TX.
2. Sunrise in Houston from October 2007 while driving to work.
3. Dusk while driving on a freeway in Houston.

Today's Colors: Lavender, Mauve, Gray

These are actually yesterday's colors, but if you won't tell I won't tell. Mmkay?
Silver gypsyish earrings with pink and lavender beads
Lavender sweater, mauve camisole
Gray pants

Lavender, Mauve, Gray
Lavender, Mauve, Gray - by Bohemian Bookworm on

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama Inspires Black Iraqis

I read a most interesting article on CNN a couple of weeks ago. The article highlighted the experience of black Iraqis (mostly male). This is something that I (and I imagine most Americans) never hear or read anything about. We hear about religious conflict all the time, but never consider the race problems other countries can experience. The article also reflects how much people in other countries are affected by stories in America. The fact that black Iraqis see Obama's rise to success in a foreign country and it gives them hope that their circumstances will change in their home country is amazing to me. Here are some of the highlights from the article:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Their faces and darker skins make them look different. They are routinely called "slave" by the majority, whatever their profession. But Iraq's black population hopes that Barack Obama's rise to the White House will mark a turning point for minorities not just in the United States, but also in their country.

Jalal Thiyab Thijeel, general secretary of the "Movement of Free Iraqis," followed every detail of Obama's election campaign. "Inspiring," he calls it. Inspiring politically, and personally. Like Obama, Thijeel has family roots in Africa.

Thijeel's organization estimates there are approximately 2 million black Iraqis. The country's total population is more than 28 million, most of them ethnic Arabs. It's impossible to verify Thijeel's estimate, since the government does not keep statistics on race, but there is no denying there are many black Iraqis in the southern city of Basra.

Their history goes back 1,000 years to the time when Africans were brought as slaves to the south of Iraq to drain marshes and build Basra. Many Iraqis still call blacks "abed," an Arabic word that means "slave." Thijeel grimaces when he pronounces it. It's demeaning, he says, and he wants the government to forbid its use. Many white Iraqis claim the word isn't meant to offend, but Thijeel says they have no idea how hurtful it is. "I never want my son to go through this," he says.

The Movement of Free Iraqis was founded two years ago and on January 31 it will run the first slate of black candidates in Iraq's modern history. Thijeel hands me the party's documents that spell out its demands. Foremost is that the government recognize blacks as an official minority in Iraq. This is key, because power in Iraq is apportioned along ethnic, religious and even tribal lines. The party also wants an apology for slavery, although it is not asking for financial reparations. The movement also wants laws to combat racial discrimination.

Full article here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Crazy-Eyes Cupcake Dog

I hate everything.

Natural Hair Inspirations

If you are natural (or are considering going natural) and have any questions for me, visit my Fotki here. I have been natural for over 3 years now (October 2005) and I love helping other women discover their own roots. I have collected images of my favorite natural-haired women in the spotlight; I have also made a slideshow out of these images that you can view on my sidebar. I will update as I come across more images. So far I have (in no particular rank/order):

1. YaYa Dacosta
2. Wakeema Hollis
3. Sabina Karlsson
4. Nik Pace
5. Lorna Simpson and daughter Zora
6. Kelis
7. Amel Larrieux

Also, for those who want to be natural but also want the option of staight hair, look no further than our current First Lady and daughters! If they can be natural, so can you! Be inspired.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekend Observations

1. On my way to meet a friend for lunch, I saw (while driving) what appeared to be a small dog on a sidewalk. Since I love dogs, I tried to catch a closer look at it while I passed by. Upon closer inspection, it was a bird. A freakin bird. Like, a bird of prey. Like, a falcon, hawk, condor, phoenix, pterodactyl type bird. It was standing on the sidewalk (I think it was trying to eat something) looking at traffic. This was on a busy street surrounded by expensive condos. Freaked me right the hell out.

2. In the checkout line at Target, the woman behind me had a giraffe tattoo on her chest. Imagine someone drawing a giraffe on a sheet of paper. Think of how long the neck is. She had on a v-neck shirt, and the giraffe's head was high on her chest, and the long neck extended down under her shirt. That thing was drawn to scale like a muhfugga. It was actually kind of awesome. Definitely the most random tattoo I have ever seen.

3. I went to see The Reader last night. My husband and I are often the token black people in the movies we go see, this movie was no exception. The Reader was in a small theater. The audience was mostly 40 years and older white people. Everyone lined up in an orderly fashion (there was no need to) and waited until the cleaning people left and filed orderly through the doors. It was very interesting. Most movies with a younger audience (that was not a huge blockbuster film) would not see this same decorum.

I ended up sitting next to this elderly couple who said pretty much every thought that came to mind while watching the movie. Examples:

*Pile of shoes appear on the screen. Elderly lady: "Oh, shoes..."
*Picture is placed on a wall. Elderly lady: "Is that (main character) in the picture?"
*Building appears on screen. Elderly man: "What is that?" Elderly woman: "Oh, that's the church. I wonder if it's the same one from earlier."
*Random scene. Elderly woman: "Burps...mmm." (She did this at least twice. I was beyond horrified).
*Other scene. Elderly woman: "Is she going to climb that? Oh, no..."

I have never wanted to murk an elderly person or persons like I wanted to murk this couple. I wanted to load them onto a catapult and launch them into a screening of Notorious.

4. I planned my monthly vegan menu and just cooked a very satisfying dinner tonight. Linguine with sauteed green and red peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli; and sauteed lemon-herb tofu. Yummers!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Love the 90s Friday: Crush On You

Another one of those "lets put every artist we know in the video and it will look like we chill all the time and have so much fun" videos. Oh Lil Kim, where for art thou? She was so cute back then. The plastic surgery...let's have a moment of silence for the way Lil Kim used to look.....................

Can you guess which one's the "after" pic?

I always read that she is a nice, sweet person who is intelligent and complex. I remember in 1997 or 1998 she was on Ricki Lake or...what was the blond woman's name? I'm drawing a blank. Not Sally, somebody younger and blonde...crap. Anyhoo, Lil Kim was a guest on one of those talk shows and some little pre-teen girl in the audience was telling Kim how much of a fan she was and how much she loved her music, etc. Lil Kim proceeded to tell the girl that her music is not aimed at little girls and it's adult music and her parents shouldn't be letting her listen to it, blah blah. I was kind of impressed that she said that. So in short, I gots no beef with Lil Kim, from the articles and interviews featuring her that I've read, I just wish her well. I feel she often gets a raw deal from the press/media.

Anyhoo, my color-lovin' ass was so enamored with this video and the different wigs and color sets, especially the blue and green. I loved her make-up here. This was a fun little song/video, all about having a good time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Today's Colors: Gold and Purple

This is one of my favorite color combos. Yellow and purple are classic complementary colors (the other pairs are blue-orange, and red-green). I feel all royal today, lol. I love the warmth of the yellow and gold paired with the quirkiness of purple. These colors together catch your eye and warms up everything. For my previous Today's Colors post, click on the label below.

Goldenrod-yellow top, purple scarf, purple and gold bangle bracelet, khaki slacks, purple and plum flats (you can see them in the 2nd pic; I'm sitting on my foot again).

Yellow-Purple - by Bohemian Bookworm on

25 Things About Me

Lex has tagged me for a meme (albeit on Facebook) so I am obliging. Here are the rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals. At the end, tag 25 other folks (I'm going to pretend I didn't read that).

1. I hate (and have always hated) brown sweet stuff for some reason. This includes chocolate, cinnamon, and caramel.

2. In 1st grade, I once told a classmate that he would die before me because he was older than me. His mother (a teacher) overheard me and got really angry and told me that I might die first. I still think it's funny that she let a 1st-grader get her so angry when I thought I was just stating the facts.

3. In 4th grade, I was helping my teacher put chairs on top of the desks (along with a few other teacher's pets). Everyone was joking around saying, we're gonna murder these chairs and stuff like that. I chimed in with, yeah we're gonna RAPE these chairs! (At the time, I thought rape was a synonym for murder). A shocked silence fell over the classroom as the teacher said, we don't say those kinds of things here.

4. I bring my own all-natural, peppermint/tea-tree oil liquid hand soap to the restroom at work. Public restroom soap is so stank.

5. I played the cello in 4th grade, and wish that I had kept it up.

6. I skipped 2nd grade.

7. My birthday is on Memorial Day this year.

8. Don't get in my way over french fries. There will be blood.

9. I think my "lost career paths" were veterinarian, geneticist, painter, counselor, and writer.

10. As a toddler, I was always seen with a strawberry milkshake or Cherry Coke and would get really salty if I wanted one and it wasn't there.

11. I have three tattoos.

12. I do not like being embarrassed and will do anything to avoid it. Thus, I am a master at playing it off (it being tripping, falling, whatever).

13. I hate pickles, onions, and mushrooms.

14. At a meal, I have a tendency to eat everything first, and then drink afterward instead of eating and drinking together.

15. I like cheeks. When I hug loved ones, I always try to get a little cheek action. (Not butt cheeks, people).

16. I hate movie theaters on crowded nights. I feel trapped and I just want to stretch out but can't.

17. Since I began eating vegan, I don't have much of a sweet tooth anymore. I am satisfied with some strawberry-banana applesauce or a strawberry fruit popsicle. I don't really like candy anymore.

18. I LOVE when people have game nights. I get really competitive and try and repress it around people I don't know too well. But trivia games, video games, bowling, pool, whatever; I love it and will be guaranteed a fun night.

19. I have always been TERRIFIED that a home I live in will catch fire. All those episodes of Rescue 911 (remember that show?) have ruined my life.

20. I can imitate people rather well.

21. I hate getting my hands dirty/greasy, so when eating something that doesn't require utensils, I will only use the thumb and index finger on both hands (occasionally the middle fingers) to make for minimum wipe-offage/rinse-age.

22. I have an affinity for old folklore and mythical creatures like mermaids.

23. I have never seen Waiting to Exhale (black woman card revoked) or Titanic (human card revoked).

24. I have a potent death-stare.

25. If I point at something/someone, I often use my pinky instead of my index finger because I am self-conscious about my long fingers (I was also teased mercilessly growing up for my big feet relative to my height).

Ok, I'll be damned if I tag 25 people seeing how this isn't Facebook. I am tagging Desiree, Vesper, Little Miss Knobody, Marlo, Doc Brown, Chanel, Chocolate Orchid, and anyone else who hasn't done a similar meme. Get to it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New President, New America

How lovely and wonderful was yesterday? It was such an awesome moment to see all the people there to witness the swearing-in in person, and even to think of the millions who tried to catch the live feed on the internet at work (like me). I work at a university so it was nice seeing all the students standing up for the national anthem and just enjoying the moment. Also, seeing the faces of some of the older folks in the crowd and what this moment meant to them; I could almost feel what they were feeling. I am really excited about my country's future.

In natural hair news, did ya'll know Michelle Obama and her daughters are natural? They get presses instead of relaxers. I think this is just icing on the cake of being role models for black beauty in our country. I hope this inspires that certain number of women out there who want to go natural but still want the option of straight hair. Believe it or not, this option (though I don't personally recommend straightening hair) is healthier for your natural tresses than putting the harsh chemicals of the relaxer in your hair year after year. Look at how many of our older women either wear wigs or have thin, brittle hair. *steps off soapbox*

Michelle Obama was a goddess at the balls last night. That dress was beautiful on her. Again, I cannot stress how hopeful I am about this country's future (that was a complete non-sequitur, but just roll with it).

Friday, January 16, 2009

What Are Your Vegetables Doing When You Look Away?

I hope everyone has a wonderful (hopefully holiday) MLK weekend, prepare to watch Inauguration events, eat well and (attempt to) eat healthy. I don't know about ya'll, but my vegetables are chaste, modest, and moral. Marlo from The Red Pill Pixel has pre-emptively destroyed any hope I had for this weekend with the following picture from a restaurant he had eaten in:

The only other thing I need answered is, are the vegetables themselves hoes? Does a ho bring your vegetable plate to you? Either way, you can plan on having ho fun for only $7.95. Visit Marlo for wonderful photography and his perspective on life.

I Love the 90s Friday: Pretty Brown Eyes

Mint Condition - Breaking my heart
Uploaded by welcomeback
Another classic case study in 90's fashion/music. The vests. The high-waist belted jeans. That hair (lawd, that hair). The cuntiness of the men (especially dude eating the apple at the 40-second mark). The zesty, raw emotion (the look given at the 2:02 mark). Once again, these 90s videos have ruined my life. I still like the song though :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I have a fascination with the animal kingdom, and particularly those who dwell down below in the great blue beyond. One strange creature that I am obsessed with is the octopus (and to a lesser extent, the squid). They are just so weird and mysterious. I have always believed that there is so much we don't know about ocean life and it's clues to the evolution of organisms. There have been winged and finned animals found who show traces of having had feet at one time (and footed/hoofed animals showing signs of fins/wings). Many creatures have straight up evolved right the hell up out the ocean, so it's clearly a hard-knock life down there.

Anyhoo, the fact that the octopus gets all dramatic and cunty when something/someone bothers it and shoots out ink to make itself disappear and getaway is just marvelous to me. Also, just look at them! They look like some sort of marine alien-pod/hippo/spider hybrid. If I could see one in real life, that would be wonderful. I don't mean on a plate in a restaurant, either. I mean in the ocean (or a very nice/spacious aquarium, even).
Another clue that we just don't know much about ocean life: Giant squid keep getting discovered.

Look at this mother-loving beast. If he/she could, best believe he/she would eat you and everyone you care about.

This lends credence to my theory that there is a supreme, all-powerful, possibly vengeful octopus overlord down below in the depths.

This depiction may not be accurate.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


One of my greatest goals is to see the world, like many people. I have many wonders that I want to see. I have a fascination with the different colored beaches that exist, and want to set foot upon one in each color. We all know about the white and tan sandy beaches, but I want to share with you the magic of the lesser-known colored beaches. Join me, won't you?

Black sand beaches

These are found throughout Hawaii's Big Island. When I visit Hawaii, this is the island I want to experience first. It is not as touristy as some of the other islands, and many hotels do not have TV, phone, or internet. It's just you, your hammock, and nature. The black sand was created by the volcanic activity on the island; when the lava meets/met with the ocean. Black sand beaches are also found in Santorini, Greece.
Pink sand beaches

These are found in the Bahamas, specifically Harbour Island. I hope the next reuinion I go to in 2012 I can visit more of the outer islands, and Harbour Island is on that list. The pink sand is a result of the color of the shells of a microscopic creature. Check out these lovely pink sand beaches in Barbuda that Farsighted Fly Girl posted about. Pink sand beaches are also found in Bermuda.

Red sand beaches

This is found in Hawaii; Maui specifically. It's secluded and not really meant for swimming. Word on the street is nude sunbathers often visit here. Look at the gorgeous contrast with the ocean; I love it! There is also a gorgeous red-sand beach surrounded by breathtaking cliffs in Santorini, Greece.

Green sand beach

Another Hawaii beach--I am so wanting to do an island-hopping spree--this one is also on the Big Island. The sand gets its coloring from olivine crystals. This beach is supposedly difficult to access; a lot of hiking involved etc. If you have an adventurous spirit, this will be worth it. There are only two green sand beaches in the world--here and in Guam.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Illustration of Why Civil Rights Are Necessary

I just read this heartbreaking post at Clay Cane. Waris Grant's partner of 5 years, Jamall King recently died. While King was in the hospital, he instructed medical staff that Grant would be the one in charge of everything if he could not make decisions. King's parents took over instead and would not allow Grant to talk to medical personnel about King's status and condition, and after King died Grant was not invited to the funeral services. Here are some quotes from the post:

According to Waris Grant, "Jamall's situation in his last couple of weeks took a turn for the worse. One of his lungs had to be drained, which decreased his lung capacity. He had to be put on a restrictive mask that made a seal with his face and forced oxygen into his lungs mechanically. This procedure was only administered once. Jamall was informed that he would have to be placed on a respirator in an induced coma. As I stood there, I was stunned and saddened by this prospect since the doctors also advised him that people do not usually get off a respirator. Jamall and I spoke about this for no more than 5 minutes at the most -- a swarm of doctors and technicians came into the room to ask his decision. He agreed to the procedure since it seemed to be his last resort. One of the professionals in the room asked, 'Who is your next of kin or who do you want to be in charge while you are unconscious?' Jamall promptly answered while pointing to me, 'I want Waris to be in charge of everything.'" Waris was not in charge of everything. He lost all of his rights.

Waris also says, "Jamall had an identical twin brother, Jermell King, who died of HIV/AIDS complications seven years ago. His family has always said his brother died of cancer. Now, his family denies to any of his friends, whom are already aware of his status, that Jamall's illness was at all related to HIV/AIDS. They tried to prevent me from bringing his close friends, loved ones and even his caseworker to see him while he was hospitalized.

Waris continues, "Up until October 17th, which is more than a month after his death, Jamall still had not been laid to rest. My proposal for his final arrangements was refused by his family. It was refused out of prejudice and bias and up until 3 days prior to his mother's supposed arrangements -- I was still in the dark about the location of the venue. I was not invited. They thought I would divulge some closely guarded family secret and were under the impression that Jamall's employer would pick up the entire mysterious tab, therefore, me and all his friends were snubbed."

Imagine being in a relationship with your loved one for years and one day he or she is gravely ill or injured. If you are heterosexual and married (this couple would have married if they could have) you would not have the same worries a couple like this would have about somebody taking away your right to care for your partner in their time of need and to take care of any subsequent arrangements. Imagine standing by helplessly as the person's parents go against their wishes for medical care. Imagine not being allowed in to see your loved one. Imagine not having any say in funeral arrangements. Imagine being banned from attending the actual funeral. Imagine sharing a home with your loved one, but because the home was in your loved one's name, imagine the parents selling your home and all its belongings (this didn't happen in this case but someone in the comments for this post has a friend who experienced this). How can you be aware of all of this and still deny someone their rights? This has nothing to do with your personal beliefs about homosexuality. It is not your business nor your place to strip away basic civil rights of another group because you do not agree with their lifestyle. It is saddening that so many people are so shockingly and willfully ignorant about this.

For the full post and more information, click here.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Sidebar: Wtf is going on in this picture? Is this a ladybug? If so, why is it depicted as a fat, bald old man? Why is he wearing sunglasses? Why does he have arms? Wtf are the bottom two arms doing? And what does he have to do with compliments and feeling good? I need answers.
Anyhoo, compliments in our society have gotten tangled up in the web of etiquette. We are expected to have self-esteem and confidence, but often when we actually exhibit it, it is mistaken for arrogance and/or not being humble. It is possible to exude confidence without being stank, stuck-up, or snotty. Too many of us turn down or deflect compliments when given.
You look nice=oh, I'm fat/bad hair/pimply/a mess
You did a good job on that project=oh it was nothing/I could have done better
You are so funny=I'm weird/a lunatic/a spaz/a tard
...and so on.
Our society has taught us that it's polite to say these things so as to appear grounded. But many human behavior experts/therapists, etc. will tell you that rejecting a compliment makes the complimentor feel you are telling them what they are saying does not matter or they don't know what they're talking about, which is rather offensive and insulting when you get down to it. It also doesn't allow you, the complimentee to absorb the compliment and subsequent good feelings that go along with it.
I think a lot of people deflect compliments because they don't know how to handle them, or don't want to feel pressured into responding with a compliment. I have historically had a problem with this. I get embarrassed really easily, have hated being put on the spot (especially in a group) and I blush easily. Once I recognized this about myself, and realized how I was making myself feel (not worthy as a human), I began to just say thank you, I really appreciate it, that was a really nice thing to say, or something similar. There are not many things more attractive to me in a person than one who is confident and sure, one who values the different opinions of the world, but doesn't let nit-picking or regret slow down their lives. I think it's particularly nice when strangers go out of their way to say something nice to someone. I have personally experienced and witnessed someone noticeably brighten up after a kind word was said. The little things make each day worth living and before you know it, you have a life worth living.
It seems fitting to end this post by encouraging you to compliment someone today but that is not the point of this post. Only compliment someone if you really mean it. Accept compliments that you receive and feel good that someone thought something about you was special enough for them to recognize it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I Love the 90s Friday: Tracie Spencer

I still like this song, lol. If this video isn't the apex of 90s style, I don't know what is. The swing sets, the denim, the locket...lawd. Anyhoo I have always loved her voice. She should have been much more successful than she was. Does anyone remember when she had a semi-comeback in 1999/2000 with It's All About You (Not About Me) and You're Still in My Heart? I actually liked both of those songs and videos. I thought the latter was kind of random with her lover sleeping with her on the beach and then kissing her goodbye to go surf and then presumably getting eaten by a giant octopus or something, but I still liked it. Apparently she is focusing on modeling and acting more now but I wouldn't mind hearing some new material from her.

Unicorns! Charlie the Unicorn and Candy Mountain

Who is responsible for this broke-ass video? Fair warning, don't come complaining to me that you want 4 minutes of your life back after this. This is in keeping with my wish that unicorns rain upon your day, as featured in my About Me section. Dedicated to Lex.

Chaaarlie. Chaaaaaaaaaaarrrrlie. Ok I'm done.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae

What a wonderfully unique artist. I love her voice. I love artists who use their voices as instruments. Also, her lyrics and melodies are so fresh and dizzying. Look up her Many Moons video too; it's outrageous. It is so nice to see up-and-coming trailblazers in genres of music. She is the future; her image reflects that. If you like what you hear, visit her website.

I am loving the Sincerely Jane song. Smile showcases her lovely voice, the falsettos, the throatiness, the ethereal. You Are My Everything presents lyrics that many relate to with a nice groove. My Favorite Nothing and It's Not Fair have awesome melodies.

She has been nominated for a Grammy as well. I truly think she deserves it.

Your Personal Moon

I found these images on Unicorn Diaries. She isn't sure where they originate; I think it's from a Russian website/blog. Aren't they magical?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Artist Vs. Entertainer

The Black Snob did an awesome post on Beyonce. She really touched on the reasons Beyonce's music leaves me cold. Sure she has some feel-good/dance-y jams but I don't prefer her music overall. For me, I like there to be an element of the personal in my music. When a musician really relates to, feels, or experienced the topic in a song, the song is so pure.

Beyonce has a carefully crafted image and she is like a vessel for catchy music. You don't know anything about Beyonce's life; and most of the time there is an absence of personality from her. A repeated theme you hear from Beyonce is that she wants to be an icon, a true entertainer. Most of the true soul icons are there because they struck a chord in fans through their essence, their pain. Beyonce doesn't share any pain to relate to so all of her songs are very superficial and when taken together create a plastic world of female empowerment skewed toward chicken-headville. It's like she tries too hard to be an entertainer and loses the artist part in the process. Also, whoever keeps sending her acting roles needs to be shot, kthnksbye. Anyhoo, here are some excerpts from Snob's post that I liked:

It's not that I don't think Beyonce has inner drama. Everyone does. Everyone has doubt and failings and pain. My argument is that Beyonce does not want you to know of this drama, any real drama, that is. She's closely guarded with an even more tightly guarded image. She is more about being the fantasy of what she thinks you want her to be (cue "Sasha Fierce!") rather than revealing anything of character.

The pain has to be real for the song to have meaning. And that's what separates someone with a wonderful voice who makes an outstanding pop artist from a true artist.

A true artist brings the pain. Some people say Beyonce wants greatness, hence why she chases those who already have it (see James, Etta). I can't blame her. A lot of us do. This would also explain why at the last few of Grammy Awards she sang with Tina Turner and Prince as if their true measure of pain and "fierce" would rub off by osmosis. She's obviously a hard worker, but no amount of hard work can fake pain. When Prince sang "When Doves Cry" you may not have known what the song was about in 1984. Maybe you still don't. But you know he's broken up over something. A woman. His parents. God. Himself. Ultimately, for me, the song is about obsession. But, sex, Jesus or obsession are good fallback explanations for nearly every Prince song. Turner is the same way. She didn't even write "What's Love Got to Do With It," yet the emotions, the sound, the pain were all Tina's. No amount of wonderful song writing can create that.

I'm not saying Beyonce needs to get in a dysfunctional relationship, be abandoned by her family, pick up a drug habit (or several drug habits), become completely disillusioned by fame and moved to the islands, become a conflicted Christian who went pop or go nutbar on me but the great ones give up some pain. There's really no way around it. Without the pain, you're just a more charming Mariah Carey who can actually dance. Or worse, Janet Jackson with better vocals. Both Mariah and Janet have outstanding pop careers. And if you want to be a wealthy, beloved, popular singer, you're on their heels of catching and surpassing them in sales and accolades. But Whitney, the trainwreck everyone roots for, you will not. Beyonce Knowles can't convince me she knows the blues. It's her only real flaw as a performer. Her kryptonite. But she shouldn't feel bad. It's a pretty common flaw among pop singers.

This makes me want to do a Songs That Make You Feel the Pain post. I think I will! Leave any nominations and thoughts in the comments!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Rape and Not-Rape Epidemic

Click here to read a wonderfully written essay on the culture of rape, not-rape, and pressure to keep quiet on women in our society by Latoya Peterson of Racialicious. Here are some excerpts that were striking to me:

Rape was something we could identify, an act with a strict definition and two distinct scenarios. Not rape was something else entirely.

My ex-boyfriend had a friend who had been dating the same girl for about seven years. I found out the girl was eighteen at the time of their breakup. Eighteen minus seven equals what? The girl was eleven when they began dating while the man involved was nineteen. When the relationship ended, he was twenty-seven. I expressed disgust, and my ex had told me that while everyone else in their friend circle had felt the same way, the girl’s parents were fine with it, even allowing the guy to spend the night at their home. “Besides,” my ex offered nonchalantly, “she had the body of a grown woman at age eleven.”

Not rape was being pressured into losing your virginity in a swimming pool pump room to keep your older boyfriend happy.
Not rape was waking up in the middle of the night to find a trusted family friend in bed with you - and having nightmares about something that you can’t remember during the daylight hours.
Not rape was having your mother’s boyfriends ask you for sexual favors.
Not rape was feeling the same group of boys grope you between classes, day after day after day.
Not rape was being twelve years old, having a “boyfriend” who was twenty-four and trading sex for free rides, pocket money, Reeboks, and a place to stay when your mother was tripping.

My friends and I confided in each other, swapping stories, sharing out pain, while keeping it all hidden from the adults in our lives. After all, who could we tell? This wasn’t rape - it didn’t fit the definitions. This was Not rape. We should have known better. We were the ones who would take the blame. We would be punished, and no one wanted that. So, these actions went on, aided by a cloak of silence.

Fighting him was out, as he had already proved he was stronger than I was. I considered telling some of my guy friends, but I quickly realized I had nothing to tell them. After all, I wasn’t raped, and it would really come to my word against his. As I was the neighborhood newcomer, I was at a disadvantage on that front. Telling my mom was out as well - I’d only get into trouble for opening the door for boys while she was at work.
I gritted my teeth in frustration. There was nothing I could do to him that wouldn’t come back on me worse. So I got up, took my shower, and stayed silent.

This is how the Not Rape epidemic spreads - through fear and silence, which become complicit in perpetuating the behaviors described here. Women of all backgrounds are affected by these kinds of acts, regardless of race, ethnicity, or social class. So many of us carry the scars of the past with us into our daily lives. Most of us have pushed these stories to the back of our minds, trying to have some semblance of a normal life that includes romantic and sexual relationships. However, waiting just behind the tongue is story after story of the horrors other women experience and hide deep within the self behind a protective wall of silence.

The essay is a lot longer and I encourage you to read it. I think all young women especially pre-teens and teens need to read this or have someone in their lives to inform them, REALLY inform them of how it is out there. Not scare them and not brush it off, but keep it real.

Poodles Take Over the World

Here is my poodle, Pookie:

I would never do to him what you are about to see; but these pics just illustrate further how awesome and versatile poodles are. The full gallery can be found here. I would like to thank InstantVintage for snatching my soul away this morning with these pictures.
Peacock poodle...bitch knows it's fierce too.
Camel poodle. The groomer's costume...I can't and won't deal with this anymore.
Ninja turtle poodle. This is the one responsible for sending me to the Upper Room. I quit life.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ten Time

Another meme that has been floating around; Muze inspired me to do this one. Since this one is so long, I am tagging everyone who wants to do it instead of specific peeps. Here we go! *dramatic Who Wants to be a Millionaire music*

10 things you wish you could say to 10 different people:

*Please just shut up and leave me alone. Your personality is driving me insane and everyone else shares this thought.
*I love you and your family, but it is a chore to maintain our friendship.
*I wish we had a little more in common; we would be much better friends that way.
*I wish we could hang out more but I fear you would find me boring.
*I think you are a bitter person who hides behind religion to get through your life.
*I have nothing but contempt and pity for you and the way you have lived your life and have affected the people in your life.
*I wish we could have been better friends.
*I am uncomfortable with the way your family is treating this incident, but that's how it goes I guess.
*I am so grateful for the way you have supported me without throwing it in my face.
*I seek your approval.

9 things about yourself:

*I have really big/long hands/fingers and feet in proportion to my body...damn Bahamian ancestry.
*I never got chicken pox.
*I am glad I eat vegan now because I have always been a picky eater and now I have an excuse for turning down food at other people's homes...I hated when people would call attention to that.
*I hate chocolate...even the smell of it...barf.
*I am reeeeealllllly passive-aggressive, trying to change that.
*I have minor internal panic attacks about my career path but I try not to focus anymore because regretting what I did or did not pursue will get me nowhere.
*I am a huge daydreamer...blame my Gemini sign and only-childness, lol. I mean a daydreamer who will imagine all sorts of scenarios and play them out in detail from the mundane to the most absurd.
*I am constantly told I have good handwriting for a left-handed person.
*I have never had the flu...I don't even get colds or other normal illnesses. Instead the most random illnesses/injuries happen to me. Tonsil abscess, anyone?

8 ways to win your heart:

*Possess intelligence and curiosity about the world.
*Understand and exhibit the different nuances of humor, from subtle to extreme.
*Be honest (and keep your word).
*Love animals.
*See the big picture.
*Exude confidence without being stank/arrogant/uppity.
*Fight fairly.
*Be open about culture.

7 things that cross your mind often:

*Will we make it? If not, how long do we have?
*My graduate degree
*My career path
*My lost artistic potential
*Finding meaning in life

6 things you do before you go to sleep:

*Take dogs out
*Brush my teeth
*Braid my hair
*Stare into my closet
*Check alarm

5 people you couldn't live without:

*The Mr.
*Certain friends...that can round out the 5, lol.

4 things you're wearing right now:

*Glasses (soon, Lasik...soon my pet)
*Ponytail holder
*Indian scarf
*Blue flats

3 songs that fit your life perfectly:

*Didn't Cha Know-Erykah Badu
*My Torture-Esthero

2 things you want to do before you die:

*Visit every continent

1 confession:

*I assume people are more intelligent/have more common sense than they actually do and get extremely irritated when they don't measure up.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Another Racially Profiling Incident Leads to a Shooting?

A former high school classmate of mine was shot last night in his own driveway, next to his car that the police claimed was "stolen". He and his cousin were laying on the ground of the driveway per police orders, his mother came outside to protest, one cop pushed her up against a wall, Robbie tried to complain and was shot as he stood up...he had no weapons. They live in an affluent part of Houston, the suburb Bellaire. They were black; the cops white. The car was not stolen. He was unarmed. 2 other shots missed Robbie. He is expected to recover and there is an investigation going on now.

Here is the full article.

There are over 1000 comments on that story already. This one stuck out to me:
Did the idiot cop by any chance think the house was stolen too? j/k-How else do you explain shooting someone outside of their house with a car registered to that address?

Update: The bullet is lodged in his liver; he will likely have to live with it the rest of his life. Click here for an updated article.

Have a Magical New Year...YOU CAN DO IIIIT!

Any New Year plans, resolutions, goals, etc.? I hope to exude more confidence, stop procrastinating, and manage my finances more responsibly. I plan to travel to Detroit and hopefully San Antonio, time will tell the rest. I hope to get some new furniture this year. I hope to take some fierce pictures for my 25th birthday (coming this Memorial Day). I hope to begin my thesis. Tell me your hopes for 2009 in the comments!

1st of the Month Book Discussion: Jurassic Park

I figured I should start living up to the 'bookworm' part of my blog title, lol. I am a heavy reader, but have just been too lazy to post about books I read/have read. I will try to make this a montly thing but it depends on my classes for the Spring semester and how they go. I am going to begin with a favorite book of mine from childhood; Jurassic Park. This book is like comfort food to me for some reason and it has remained a timeless classic. If you do not want to be spoiled on the plot or any details, please scroll past the rest of the post.

For those who are thinking of the movie; this book is nothing like it. The cheesiness, corniness, and kid-friendly-ness of the film is not replicated from the novel. It had to be watered down heavily to make it more palateable to the family masses I suppose.
Anyhoo, Jurassic Park is a science-fiction/thriller novel about an island where genetic experimenting has brought dinosaurs to life in a zoo-like theme park. Archaeologists, mathematicians, lawyers, and other relevant people visit to get a preview of the park and to verify accuracy and mention any safety concerns (besides the obvious safety concern of FRICKIN' DINOSAURS BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE!). As Ian, the mathematician mentions frequently in the book, chaos is inevitable; what can go wrong will go wrong.

The magical thing about this novel is its darkness. It is a very dark, chilling, creepy thriller. Included in the novel is anthropology, archaeology, medical facts, history, geography, biology, mathematics (chaos theory), and psychology. Crichton is a master of suspense and most importantly, detail. Authors who can vividly paint a picture with words and put you into the story are heroes of mine. If you are into any of the subjects I just mentioned, you will love this book.

If anyone has read this, be sure to de-lurk and put your favorite parts from the book in the comments! One of my favorite parts is when the velociraptors are stalking a group of the visitors and have them trapped in a room and are attempting to come through a window in the ceiling...the window has steel bars that are usually electrified but electricity has failed and they are chewing through the bars. Another favorite part is when one of the archaeologists is with the 2 children (by the way, in the book the girl is younger and very obnoxious and the boy is older and quite intelligent) and they are trying to evade the dilophosaurs (spitting venomous dinosaurs) and the T-rex.

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