Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recently Read Book Quotes I Like

I like this:

He said that women are God's most perfect creation because they are more heart than mind and less cold and more understanding and because they have intuition, which is a godly type of understanding. He told me that it is a sin to live a useless, empty life and that I should do what I can with what I've got and not be pretentious and that I should stay pure and bright and innocent in my own mind. He said that the ultimate goal of marriage should be to bear children, and that if someone doesn't plan to have children, they shouldn't marry, unless they're old and it's more for companionship anyway.

And also this:

Mr. Dunn also said that you should remember that there is always someone who loves you and cares for you as you are, and who will accept you, no holds barred...that someone is God. One cannot expect to have such a perfect relationship with any human being. It would be asking too much. Human beings are naturally selfish and cannot completely sacrifice their pride and ego and give their entire heart and soul to another human being.

I may not believe in "God" in a Christian sense, or any sense that I can explain, but I really like how this is worded.

These are quoted from Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner, which is excellent.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Plan Z!

This is inspired by this blog post.

I like this post because it's realistic - sort of. And it's actually fun to think about - not long ago I was fantasizing about the perks of being homeless.

So here it goes - my Plan Z.

This would involve me not being able to pay my rent, having to sell everything I have, give my dog to my parents to look after, and not be able to afford my lovely organic foods, fancy cacao things, or Gorilla Food. I would be either stuck squatting, sleeping on friends' couches, or living in a place much less expensive and most likely much further away from downtown. I would certainly not have a car, or a Blackberry. I'd have a pay-as-you-go phone, check email at the library, and ride the bus for free as much as possible (which I already do). Everything I'd own would fit in my backpack (I'd try and get a Magic Bullet for smoothies, at least!).

I would be fired from the bookstore, and possibly take up panhandling - but not the typical kind - I'd be a busker. I'd do some hoopdance in the summer, and maybe some comics in the winter. But! In the winter, if I had no job and no rent and no dog - I'd just go south. I have a passport. I could save up my busking money for a Greyhound ticket or a cheap one-way flight to California for a while, or even Hawaii. If I had to sell my car, I could certainly afford it. Hell, I could save a lot of money without paying rent. Having no ties would free me up to travel and read gobs of library books and hike and I could forage wild food. I would still try my best to eat raw - hell, it would probably always be hella fresh food as I'd be eating everything I buy right away from farmer's markets or grocery store produce aisles.

If I really needed some money I'd go do some paperwork for someone or get a part-time job at an office - I like paperwork. If I could get it, I'd work at a tiny indie bookstore. If no one would hire me I'd tell em to fuck off and keep panhandling. I'd get a tent and sleep in the forest. In the winter I'd hit up my parents if necessary. If they said no, I'd ask pals, or stay with Tagen. I'd make them delicious raw treats and clean in exchange.

Without work I would read and write! I would spend all my time writing my graphic novel, and my regular novel! I would lie in the sun all day. I'd go to dog parks and run around with fun creatures! I'd gorge on blackberries and volunteer at the SPCA. I'd write hand-written letters and take photos with whatever crappy digital camera I could find on craigslist that fits in my pocket. I'd buy babydoll dresses at tiny thrift stores for $1 and stomp around in old Doc Martens. I'd grow out my hair to it's natural colour as long as possible (I'm doing that anyway), OR, I'd hack it into some bizarre Mad Max style so I didn't have to wash it every day.

If I ended up single, I'd fritter away my time on dates with random cuties who can buy me dinner. We'd make out and then I'd say bye and continue on to my next destination. I would delete all my online accounts except for my blogs. If I had a bike, I'd do my cross Canada trip. I'd do the opposite of my normal self and be a wandering vagabond. I'd keep a knife on me, and a ear-splitting rape whistle. I'd go to free classes and learn to fight.


See, this was fun. And it sounds kinda rad. And not scary. It sounds liberating.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Changing Patterns With Opposites

This is a pretty personal post, but I feel a lot of what I write here is important because it is intrinsic to a personal change of mine.

Everyone has consistent patterns that happen in their lives - I know I do, and of course, the general complaint is that these things happen TO us, and not because of us. In some instances that may be true, but I think that the majority of the time, we let these things keep happening to us, and to break a pattern we don't like, usually we have to change ourselves.

For instance, my own patterns have been:

* short, intense relationships, usually with musicians or long distance, most or all effort coming from myself - or ones that never turn into relationships at all, but I keep hoping they will

* friends who constantly flake on me (I always blame my city)

* low paying jobs

These have been the main ones. I've managed to break the first two.

I'll tell you a story - the one that helped me break my pattern.

A couple of years ago, I reunited with someone I had an enormous crush on when I was a teenager. We'll call him Monte. I had a huge crush on this guy for a couple of years when I was about 15-16 years old. We worked together at a record shop, and he was very flirtatious but he was too old for me. Other than a kiss once, nothing happened.
As the internet came around, I searched for him online now and again, never getting results. I had found everyone I'd looked for except him. But, eventually, I did find him.
He lived overseas now, but visited often to see family, and so when he came to town, we got together. We went for dinner, reminisced about the past, and then exploded over each other. After 14 years we got to have each other, and we both (seemingly) fell hard for each other. He was only in town for 3 days, but when he went back overseas, we kept in close touch and it seemed like kismet/fate/whatever. I was a goner.
As time went on, and the sweet words kept flowing, I fell deeper into my blind "love" of this guy, and despite him rarely following through on his promises (he had good excuses, or so I was led to believe - by myself), I continued to believe that this romance was so EPIC and AMAZING that he had to be THE ONE.
God was I wrong. I kept telling myself it was too good NOT to be true. But as usual, it was.
He's a musician, and his touring was one of his excuses, and I heard from him less and less, but I kept on holding out for his imminent return a few months later. Less and less contact. When I did hear from him after a two week absence, it was a pathetic and emotionless message, and then 3 weeks went by with no contact whatsoever.

By that time I was a wreck and had so much anxiety that I could barely function. I couldn't work because I felt ill all the time. I quit my job. I laid around weeping and not eating. My roommate had to bring me food to try and get me to eat. I sent him a message that I spent an entire week crafting to say goodbye. There was no animosity and just a total understanding and heartfelt words. I felt I had lost him to his music, which is something I am used to.

2 months passed, and right before I started my new job, I heard from him. He wrote out this long, emotional letter to me, which left me crying my eyes out, and then he called me and actually convinced me to forgive him. He brought up marriage, kids, the whole lot. He told me that he had freaked out, he didn't know what to do because of the distance, on and on, even though I had been willing to relocate to where he was. He said that he didn't feel worthy of asking me to do such a thing (ha!!)
This guy is a masterful charmer, and I fell for it, even though I had a million red flags - for one, when I was trying to say something in the midst of his long rambles, he called me a shithead. He said, "Hey, shithead!" because I interrupted him, and I lost it. It's the only time I ever spoke up for myself, and I'm glad I did.

What I should have done was hung up. I've never really told anyone about that.

My fear, of course, is that he would disappear again. And two weeks later, he did. He was supposed to come to Canada for Christmas, and told me his arrival date and all - I even went to the airport, hoping to see him. I missed him due to his being detained for getting in a fight with the customs officers. Also, I had seen a photograph of him smoking heroin, which I convinced myself was the source of all the issues.

I never got an apology, and I never got an explanation. It took me a long time to get over, because I had fallen in love with this STORY - I was certain I was in love with HIM, but I was not. He gave me no reason to love him. I wanted the fantasy, the love story, the happy ending to this epic tale. And everyone around me wanted it, too. Most people were behind me, saying it was worth it. Except for one friend who was brave enough to tell me the truth, and really lay into me.
I was so angry at my friend, but two days after ruminating, I knew he was right. And I started to let it go.

I took a sort of sabbatical - I went offline for a couple of months so I could avoid my "ex" (for some reason I wanted to try and stay friends) and just focused on me 100%. It worked.

So, this is a very brief retelling of what really should have been a dazzling 3-day fling instead of a huge drawn-out mess, but even though I went through a lot of turmoil, I'm glad, because I finally had sense knocked into me.

My issue was not awful musicians who fucked me around. It was that I put up with their behaviour. From day two, I should have known better. On that day, he both was really late, and said, "Most of my ex-girlfriends hate me." I never forgot that, and I know why. Again, the next day, late. For months on end, never called when he said he was going to. Always phoning from someone else's place, as if he was stealing their long distance. I can count maybe 2 times he did what he said he would. And he seemed to want to keep me a secret, or that was the feeling I got.

The thing I value most in people is BEING CONSIDERATE. And I let it all go out the window because I was "in love."

Now, this wasn't the only time. I had another guy disappear on me back in 2003, and many others have left me, when I was still there wanting to work it out. I am still friends with all of these guys, by the way, except for the one I just wrote about.

I don't place all the blame on them anymore. I place half of the blame on me, and I always wondered what I did wrong, why I could never get a long-term boyfriend, or a boyfriend at all - why did guys always just want me as their playmate, and why did they never fall in love with me?

I was unsure, but I decided that I was going to do everything different from then on. The opposite of everything!

And I had a grand challenge ahead, because I was put into almost the exact same situation as with "Monte." Another guy from my past came along, another musician I'll call Jay, someone who I had REALLY loved in my past, and who (of course) didn't live here.

We got involved, but I knew right away that it couldn't be more than what it was. I let it happen, and I enjoyed the entire 2 months that we were involved. I refused to believe it would be some fairy tale, and I was okay with this because he had integrity and never promised me anything, and we respected one another. It was insanely difficult to keep my feelings in check, but I wasn't delusional. I still felt much love for Jay, however, I didn't have to be WITH him to love him.

These two guys were very great teachers for me. Instead of considering myself unlucky, I took these two experiences for what they were: strict schooling.

I knew that I still had to change my ways. I decided that the following would have to change:

+ I usually date people far away. So, I will only get involved with people who live in my area.
+ I seem to love musicians. NO musicians.
+ I tend to put in the majority or all of the effort. No effort from them, bye bye. And I will definitely not say "It's okay" if they've done something to really upset me.
+ I fall really hard and really fast for people.Therefore, I will not confuse infatuation with love, ever again. I will go slow emotionally, and physically.
+ I seem to get involved with people who are hard to communicate with. The person MUST OWN A PHONE (I have met so many guys without phones, it is truly bizarre)
+ Guys always want to get in my pants. It would seem that is the only reason they like me. So if he shows only interest of a sexual nature and nothing else = bye bye.
+ When I like someone I like to show them how much!! DO NOT over compensate. Don't write letters, make artwork, buy little gifts. Let them show YOU how much they like you.
+ Guys never seem to want to hold my hand or kiss me out in public, or whatever. It's like we're pals or something. Affection outside of the bedroom is a must. If he is hiding me from everyone, there's a reason.

These were the basics.

A month later, I finally decided to do something about a long term crush I had on a friend of mine. He fits the description of what I just listed. We've been together for a year on June 10th! He's not perfect, and I don't expect perfection from anyone. But my basic needs are met, and so I'm happy!

I am finally invested in my own basic NEEDS, instead of constantly yearning for some ideal, or hoping some guy will fall for me simply because I want him to.

I really, really like the change. I like going slowly with my emotions. It means what I feel is real, once the initial excitement has calmed down. And since I had known my current boyfriend for a good long chunk of time as a friend, I knew what sort of person he was. The others were just ideals - I didn't know them enough to be in love with them. I like the process, now. I can't believe it took me 3 decades to differentiate between infatuation and love - they feel SO similar in the body. No wonder it's so hard to take it easy.

So that's the relationship part.

In terms of my other patterns, I can say this:

I still know flaky people. I don't put up with it anymore. I just stop being friends with those people. I still like them, but I put no effort towards them, because it's frustrating and pointless. I don't take it personally, but I just removed the problem - no effort on my part equals no stress of having them bail on me. I just spend time with people who don't flake, or time on my own! Done, solved!

And in terms of low paying jobs - well, I still have one, but I enjoy my job. And if and when I move on, I will set my sights higher. My pattern is that I always apply for low paying jobs, because I figure that's all I can do. So, next time, I will aim higher, try harder, and do all that shit everyone tells you to do that I always rebel against (in fact, I did the "call back" for my current position after my interview, which I don't normally do, and I'm certain it got me the job).

Oh, and I have also made a couple of rules for myself:

1. If everyone around you is giving you the same advice, take the advice.
2. If you are not happy in any given situation at least 90% of the time, it's not worth your time. If you can't change your situation (rare), change your attitude.

That's it.

My advice to you is very simple. Do the extreme opposite of whatever you usually do, if you have an unpleasant pattern in your life. It works very well.

A lot of people I mention this to bring up a particular Seinfeld episode where George does this exact thing. I don't ever remember seeing it, but perhaps I should watch it.

Oh, and some books that helped me through my healing were by Byron Katie. Anything by her is a freakin' blessing. No other books have helped me as much as hers did. I thank you for your work, Miss Katie.

What would happen if...? #2

+ you wrote your mother a letter for mother's day/father for father's day saying how much you love her and WHY - truly madly deeply from your soul, instead of buying her something just because you feel you have to?

+ you said to your most cherished friend (or lover, or both), "Do you know how much I fucking love you?!"

+ you went an entire day without complaining about ANYTHING? a week? a month?

+ you realized that nothing is a big deal until you MAKE it a big deal?

+ you went on a mad expedition of your own city/town/country?

+ you started to send real letters, written by hand, stamped, mailed, and full of love?

+ you shunned all ideals OTHER people have set for you?

+ you wrote at least one sentence a day in a journal, about your life? Just one sentence is enough. That's enough to keep it going.

+ You started to do the things you admire in others, without actually comparing yourself to them?

+ you stop paying attention to people who offer nothing to society which then makes them rich and famous? Pay attention to awesome, vivacious, talented, interesting people instead! What you focus on indeed has an affect on who you are.

+ you realize that being cute is not enough?

+ you buy something from the grocery that is completely foreign to you, then look up a recipe for it online? Try jicama, okra, fennel, leeks, kelp, kumquats, or anything you have never tried. I know someone who's never eaten an orange or tomato! Well, maybe she has by now (I hope). If you are very brave, try durian. They have it at Asian markets. Smelly but delicious.

+ you removed yourself from whatever is making you misersable on a constant basis? If anything is making you sad on an ongoing basis, you need to remove yourself from it, or change your attitude. It's your life, why spend it being a grump?

+ you realized being happy is a choice?

+ you realized a healthy body and mind is the key to choosing to be happy?

+ you made a valiant effort at everything you bother to do, whether it be the dishes, or walking the dog, or typing a memo? Instead of complaining about it, really get into it. You have to do it anyway.

+ you learned a simple type of massage and treated your friends to it when you can see they need it?

+ you made a treasure hunt for someone you adore, leading to a special gift, or a beautiful letter?

+ you realized nothing is YOURS, and that you are just borrowing it while you are alive?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Random Niceties

Tonight a 13 year old girl got arrested at our store for shoplifting magazines. She had too much cleavage and a bunch of self-inflicted cut marks on her arm. She had braces. I felt awful for her.

I know what it's like to be that girl. Her mascara was streaked down her face, but she wasn't bawling like some of them do.

I wrote her a note, and motioned to her when I put it in her bag. I didn't want the security guy to see, so I had to slip it in that way.

I said:

Don't be embarrassed. And please stop hurting yourself.
Read I am an Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler.

I understand because I've had the same thing happen to me. It's never worth it.

Hugs. PLEASE stop hurting yourself.

I wasn't sure what else to say. I want her to read that book because it might make her feel more important, more powerful. It was obvious she was a mess inside. Her friend ditched her, too, once she was caught, and her mother almost didn't come to get her because she'd been drinking.

I just felt bad for the girl. She needed someone on her side. I asked her if she was okay, and she nodded. I told her to read the note. I hope she does. It wasn't much, but it was something.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mini Book Reviews for April and May!

Here are the books I read the last 2 months! HOORAY!

39. Ignore Everybody - Hugh Macleod

This one was a short but cute inspirational book, more geared towards someone in business and art. It had some nice suggestions on productivity and following your creative compulsions. Nothing ground breaking, but still a good read. It originally caught my attention because of the title, and I thought it was going to be about hermiting yourself away from the world, saying "SCREW YOU GUYS!" and immersing yourself in your own pleasures. It's not.
I did find his references to his business card comics tedious after a while. Like...okay, we get it! This book is based on a blog, like so many these days, but I was hoping for more. His drawings are cool, though.

40. The Vagina Monologues - Eve Ensler

I'm on an Emsler kick because of "I am an Emotional Creature" (now in mass quantities at my workplace as my staff pick) - I'm surprised I had never actually read the Vagina Monologues as I had seen video of it many times. There's some great bits (bad, unintentional pun?) in this book and yet again, a powerful read for women, as all of her books are. Emotional Creature is still my favourite.

41. The Good Body - Eve Ensler

A monologue with herself, mostly, about her relationship with her body, and the irony of caring how she looks despite being an outspoken feminist. There are also other monologues/stories about body image from other women, woven in with her own. REALLY good!

42. The Hipless Boy - Sully

I really enjoyed this - it was a random grab in the library. Illustrated bits and pieces of the author's life, which is always my favourite type of comic :)

43. The Visual Miscellaneum - David McCandless

This was a fun read, full of graphs and data visualization. There is a lot of backlash on Amazon as to the validity of some of the information, but regardless, it's really fun to look through. I especially love the graph of which country is best at what - Canada is best at single parent families, USA is best at serial killers, etc. I find it pretty disturbing that Siberia was listed as best at abortions! There is an updated graph on the website Information is Beautiful if you want to see it yourself. Apparently Canada now is best at drinking fruit juice ;)
Even if some of the graphs are confusing (which I didn't notice), it does a good job at showing the bizarre things in our world, the excesses of unimportant things, greed, and the weird priorities of human beings.

44. Born to Run - Christopher McDougall

THIS BOOK IS FANTASTIC. I am not even a runner, and I was totally fascinated with this book! A random grab at work (I like reading about extreme athletes), it ended up being put aside for a few weeks, and I started to read it on the bus to work, where I planned to return it as I had not gotten around to reading it yet. But I was hooked right away! It made me WANT to run. There is so much interesting stuff in here, and the writing is superb. It's about a tribe of people in Mexico called the Tarahumara who will run hundreds of miles without stopping, and enjoy it. Seemingly impossible feats become real.
There is also a ton of eccentric people in this book, exciting races in the canyons, debunking of all the stupid fancy running shoes and Nike (basically, you're best to run barefoot or in cheap shoes - the fancy padded ones actually weaken you), and lore about hunters who catch their prey by exhausting them. REALLY great, check out this book. It's also what convinced me to get the Vibram Five Fingers shoes. When I started barefoot hiking last year, I was hooked. Now I have some shoes to protect me in other types of environments (no matter how odd they look).

45. Necessary Targets - Eve Ensler

A play about the effects of war on women. Well written and of course, powerful. The introduction "When we think of war, we think of it as something that happens to men in fields or jungles." This book is a series of conversations with several females affected by the war in Bosnia, led by a trauma counselor/writer and a psychiatrist. Are they helping the women, or exploiting them for their own means? Do they actually care, or are they there because they want to write books, etc?

46. Occy: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Mark Occhilupo - Mark Occhilupo and Tim Baker

Another surfing book - this was a really great read because Occy became a surf legend when he was really young, and then basically broke down and became the opposite - like an Elvis of the surf world. Fat, lazy, a hermit, hiding away from the world. The awesome part of this book is that he had a comeback in his 30's and won a world title, which was basically thought impossible, but he did it. And of course, Occy is an insanely likable guy, so while reading the account of his life (from his, and other people's perspectives) you're elated that he succeeded, because reading about his downfall is really rough. You just want to smack sense into him. Luckily, he found that sense and his "Elvis years" just made his success even more inspiring.

47. Green Porno - Isabella Rossellini

WEIRD and GREAT. So, the lovely actress Isabella dresses herself up in bizarre costumes and acts out the mating habits of certain creatures, mostly sea life. There is a DVD that comes with the book, but you can see some of the shorts on youtube, here's one!! You need to watch these, they're hilarious and fascinating!

48. How Sassy Changed my Life - Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer

Ohhhh Sassy, how I miss you, even at age 32! If that magazine was still around, you better believe I would still buy it (I guess BUST is the next best thing, these days). This slim book became known to me because it was a special order of someone at work - I promptly went to the library on my break and got it for myself! So many memories, and the whole story about the inception and downfall of this much loved magazine. If they weren't so expensive on Ebay, I'd snag them all up again.

49. Girl Power - Marisa Meltzer

I read this one at work, all about girl rock in the 90's, riot grrrl, foxcore (wtf, I never heard this term in the 90's, yuck), and the transition of "girl power" to the mainstream, the Spice Girls, and more. Really interesting. Made me want to listen to Bikini Kill and wear stompy boots with babydoll dresses again. Time to go vintage shopping.

50. Drugs are Nice - Lisa Carver

Thanks to my 90's nostalgia, Lisa Carver was reintroduced to me, and this is her autobiography. This woman is a dynamo, a revolutionary, and a badass. She is the type of person who will go out and do something just to have the experience. Her life goes kind of like this: grows up in Dover with sick mom, moves for a year with her father who she finds out has killed people and is newly out of prison, starts a "band" called Suckdog which is mostly noise and nonsense, writes to other crazy musicians, meets and marries a French musician with whom she writes bizarre operas/stage performances, becomes a prostitute at a massage parlour (while married), starts her famous zine Rollerderby, gets involved with Boyd Rice who is known as a neo-Nazi, gets pregnant, has a baby who is genetically disabled...and so on. So interesting, and very well written. Lisa Carver is a fantastic writer.

51. Dear Diary - Lesley Arfin

A collection of diary entries from age 11 to 26, a timeline from childhood into heroin addiction and rehabilitation. Of course this takes place over the 90's, which is what drew me into it. There are some cute illustations throughout - this book is in our humour section for some reason, though I didn't really find it very funny. The neat part about this book is that after the entries, Lesley will write something ABOUT the entry, seeing it from her adult perspective, and sometimes even interviewing the people in her life as they are NOW. THAT is what makes this book awesome. I enjoyed it bigtime. Once she gets into the heroin I was not as into it, but it was still interesting. She sort of glorifies drug use, though.

52. Female Chauvinist Pigs - Ariel Levy

I guess I'm really into feminist books, lately. This one is about the rise of Raunch Culture, and reading this really raised my eyebrows. I agree with pretty much all of it, too. Read the reviews on this one, they're more in depth than I can get in a mini review. Basically, it's about how women have basically stopped trying to become a strong and powerful force of their own, and instead tried to be more "like a man" (whatever that is - I think most guys even struggle with this). I found all this truthful as it's all around us, and even looked at my own behaviour. Now, this isn't to say this book describes ALL women, but I would guess that it describes the vast majority, as I really pay attention to how girls are.

Summer Plans

So, I have been quite at a loss, lately, and for months now I have been diligently writing EVERY DAY in my hand-written journal. And I notice a theme...I don't have a hell of a lot to write about.

I guess this comes with the territory of being a bit of a loner and reading a lot (reviews coming up soon!) but I feel like my life has become too bland. So I have some plans for the rest of the year, AND I have a book that is bubbling in my head, and I know it will be written down and out. It's forming bit by bit, and it will be epic. Possibly a series.

So, one of my favourite bloggers and authors, Keri Smith, is moving to Vancouver to teach at Emily Carr, so I want to take a class with her - fun! If you don't know her books, I recommend you seek them out because they are very original and fun. Also, I want to take a creative writing course and more photography. This is because I do really well with structure.

I also plan to learn to forage a bit this year, and if I end up staying in this apartment I have to learn how to garden with what I've got - we have a balcony but don't get much light - or maybe we do in the morning...I'm never up.

Hiking, and planning to start running once I get my weird Vibram shoes (with the built-in toes).

Must go cliff-jumping at Lynn Creek and Playland at least twice since I didn't do either last summer - I was too busy ravaging my boyfriend. Oh, and I'd like to do the zombie walk again :)

In other news, it's our anniversary next week!! I'm making him a comic about our year together. This is my longest relationship - so it's a big deal to me to make it to one year.

Mostly I am going to try and sleep less, too - my diet has been nut-heavy all winter and I have been sleeping a lot (or not at all, when I get insomnia) so I am going to try and lighten each meal, eat more greens (KALE CHIPS), and not eat at least 4 hours before I sleep - when I eat before bed I always get too hot, and I can't sleep at all, even with the window open. Usually I have something heavy when I get home from work and then my body is digesting away and no wonder I can't sleep.

I read a good article about emotional or habitual eating if you are interested - it made a lot of sense to me. I am still obsessed with reading about food :)

I love Angela Stokes.

OH, I have decided that my next vacation is going to be to Ecuador, next May! There is a raw food gathering there - I saw lots of video footage of the one that just happened over the last month, and it looked so awesome that I just have to go. Also, then I can visit the Galapagos if I can, and go to Brazil and see my uncle! I guess I'd need at least 3 weeks off...I can do it!

I am a bit hyper right now as I had my cacao concoction.

Is that the sun I see, peeking out? I hope so. I have been aching to lie in the park on the grass and just enjoy the warmth on my back. But nooo, we have to have the rain! Oh, I promised myself I wouldn't complain all day. Oops!

I fooled some people at work into thinking that I chopped off my hair. It was fun.

March Mini Book Reviews

Ack, I should have posted this ages ago!

Yay! Here are the books I read in March, plus short reviews! (the numbers are a continuation from February).

22. Pride of Baghdad - Brian K. Vaughn

Really great graphic novel about a pride of lions that escape the zoo that they live in, in Iraq. This is based on a true story, but told from the animals' point of view. Depressing, though.

23. LUST - Ellen Forney

This is a collection of kinky personal ads illustrated by Ellen Forney - there is also interviews with some of the people who placed the ads. Interesting stuff!

24. Summer Blonde - Adrian Tomine

A collection of 4 stories in graphic novel form. First one is about an author who is obsessed with his high school crush but ends up being involved with her teenage sister. Second one is about an isolated woman who does odd things to compensate for lack of social relationships, such as prank calling a pay phone outside her building and watching the people who answer it. Next is about a woman who has three men wanting her - her boyfriend, a jerk of a lover, and his obsessive, stalking neighbour. 4th is about 2 outcasts in high school and their place in the social hierarchy. Good stuff. Very enjoyable.

25. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid in the World - Chris Ware

This is a really thick graphic novel. I really enjoyed it. It's about an awkward middle-aged guy who has a clingy mother, and a bizarre imagination. He eventually reunites with his absent father. It's quite gloomy and melancholy throughout the book. There was 2 panels near the end that made me cry. They didn't have any words at all but the pictures were really, really poignant. Recommended.

26. Tiger, Tiger, Is It True? - Byron Katie

A book for kids based on the work of Byron Katie (who I love). Belief-questioning, in order to find happiness instead of pain. Very cute, recommended for kids!

27. Co-Creation - Vladimir Megre

4th book in the Anastasia/Ringing Cedars series. Some of this was really difficult for me to read, and I forced myself through it because when it came time to describe where we came from, there was Christian stuff involved. I was like, "FUCK, is this Christian propaganda?? It can't be...or I would have heard about it" - so I tried to keep an open mind and trudged through. I must say, in terms of a creation story, this one is pretty different. I liked it. I read it as pure fantasy, though. There is also lots of weird stuff in this book - extraterrestrial beings and their relationship with us, creating "spaces of love" for families and self sufficiency, etc. There is some beautiful and lovely things in this volume. I love these books - even if there is some things I don't agree with, I always feel really good after I read them. Definitely not Christian books, though there are some elements that seem to be.

28. As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial - Derrick Jensen

FANTASTIC. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It's a graphic novel that revolves around 2 main characters - one, a perky girl doing everything she can do be "green" - following all the tips she can to help save the world. Then there is her cynical counterpart who thwarts everything she says, because all these minor things are futile in regards to the huge damages being done. Even if the entire world did all of them, it still wouldn't be enough. Things need to be MUCH more drastic than changing lightbulbs. There is also side stories about the government making deals with alien robots (exchanging gold bricks - which are the alien robot excrement - for permits to ingest everything on earth), and a one-eyed bunny "terrorist" freeing his animal friends from laboratories. The thing about Jensen's approach to ecocide is that it states that violence is necessary. It may very well be so.

29. Twilight: The Graphic Novel - Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim

I liked this better than the original book, because it's a lot more to the point. There isn't all this garbage writing by Meyer and it focuses more on the story. The artwork is beautiful - the best kind of manga-style, nice brush work. I read this at work - it's only part of the story, so of course Meyer can squeeze even more money out of all this. I really wish these books had been written by a skilled writer, because I like the story. The execution is just crap.

30. I am an Emotional Creature - Eve Ensler

READ. THIS. BOOK. I LOVE IT. SO MUCH. I want to scream, I loved it so much. I plastered my "Staff Pick" stickers on the copies we had at Chapters and they're now gone (we only had a couple, but they were gone within a week of me doing that). I am going to make it my official staff pick when we go back to normal ones.
Anyway, this is a powerful book aimed at teenage girls, and I think that every teenage girl should read it. It's amazing and poignant and actually, I think EVERY girl should read it, because it's POWERFUL.
The book is laid out as monologues, like Ensler's other books, but unilke most things about teenage girls, the stories in this book ring true. It is IN YOUR FACE style, and makes you realize the untapped resource that teen girls really are. There is huge energy within them and it's being dumbed down, trivialized, and weakened. The issue with teen girls today, and even older girls like me, is that we are inundated with stuff to dumb us down and keep us focused on really unimportant things.
Anyway, read this book. 3 months into the year and I've found my choice of Year's Favourite!

31. Y: The Last Man Vol 1. (Deluxe) - Brian K. Vaughn /Pia Guerra
32. Y: The Last Man Vol 2. (Deluxe) - "
33. Y: The Last Man - Ring of Truth - "
34. Y: The Last Man - Girl on Girl - "
35. Y: The Last Man - Paper Dolls - "
36. Y: The Last Man - Kimono Dragons - "
37. Y: The Last Man - Motherland - "
38. Y: The Last Man - Whys and Wherefores - "

WHAT AN EXCELLENT SERIES. Wowww. So, the premise is that a plague hits the world and every single male dies. Anything with a Y chromosone. Animals, humans, fetuses, sperm, - all of em, all at once. Except for one guy, Yorrick, and his monkey, Ampersand. The result is chaos for women who are trying to cope with the loss of males, and also survival as the entire structure of how the world works has suddenly changed. There are major changes to society, that include people who want to find a way to bring back the men, and women who are VERY against it, despite impending extinction - unless of course there is a scientific breakthrough. This series takes place over a period of 5 years - lots of traveling and trying to figure out why the hell the two males survived. Highly recommended!!!!

That's it for March :)