(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Diary style entry: Get your bags ready, it's candy hunting season!

I really don't think today could have gotten off to a better start.

I woke up with my alarm at 6:30, which to be honest, was torture. I hadn't gone to sleep until 2 because I went to Rocky Horror here on campus, and just crashed. I didn't even wipe off my makeup or anything.

So I got up for crew practice at an ungodly hour on a Saturday, and it was gross out. Windy, rainy, it sucked. My carpool gets to the lake right about at 7, and we're running our oars out to the launch, and all of a sudden it's perfect. The wind is gone. The rain stopped, and because this is a Saturday practice a little later in the morning, it's almost light out.

And we rowed for a good two hours, and it was amazing. Sure, we need to work on our form and skills and practice with all 8 in the novice boat going at the same time, but that's why we do this, so we can get that experience. By the end of practice we we still kind of rough, but we actually had decent power with all 8 and relatively little mishap.

Oh, and it's Halloween today. Candy, beezies! Yes! I won't be trick-or-treating, but it'll still be fun. Costumes and food and people. There's no way it can be bad.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Poem is an Act of Creation

Dance With Me
We are all searching.
We are all dancing,
left 2, 3, right 2, 3.
Circling and gasping as life burns through us.
Celebrate it and rejoice.
Show the world what it means to move.
You are not beholden to anyone except yourself,
so expand. Grow.
Like the Christian god said, "Let there be light."
Let it shine forth so I can see it.
Let it spread.
Let it be what it was always meant to be.
Ten million candles glow with the light of a forest fire.
If we each to our own selves be true I hate to be the one person standing in the way.


I was up early this morning (though it was sleeping in compared to what time I wake up normally) and decided that this kind of cloudy, overcast Sunday morning would be perfect to write a poem or two. It's been a while since I've slowed down enough to tangle words like this. I think the result is a little sketch, but in its own way was cathartic and soothing.

For the record, yes, the girl who punches me in the shoulder is you, Charlie. And while you're everything I could want in a dance partner and friend, I think we both know what I really mean at the end there.

Read on and enjoy.


To borrow the words of Billy Idol,
I feel like "I'm dancing with myself,"
I'm searching for someone who can keep up with
the ratatat percussion of this four count step
I keep getting lost in the music.
Circling, spinning, dip and twirl.
Frustrated, distracted by that face in my mind.

We almost fall.
There's no one to catch us
as the secondhand stops at 3.
A knockout beauty stands in front of me.
I apologize profusely.
She playfully punches me in the shoulder.
Refocused in that moment I lead us
onward, upwards, down and out
We show this world what it means to move
while inside I'm still searching for the perfect partner

Monday, October 19, 2009


I realize that this particular issue will strike a chord with people. It's a hot button issue, but I was a reading an article for my LGBT Lit class that got me started thinking about this.

The passage in particular that got me thinking about it was from Gayle Rubin's essay, "Thinking Sex." The specific paragraph was about consent laws and went further to say:

"Adults who deviate too much from conventional standards of sexual conduct are often denied contact with the young, even their own… Countless lesbians gay men, prostitutes, swingers, sex workers and 'promiscuous' women have been declared unfit parents under such provisions."

Earlier on, Rubin had made the point comparing the exclusion from the capitalist structure that sexual issues receive with the quality of medical practice were it to experience the same levels of removed legality and acceptance. Essentially it seems that a minor point she is making here is that were prostitution (to use but the most readily available example) legalized and socially accepted, the quality would go up.

Anyways, it led me to wonder just hypothetically, why not legalize prostitution? It's not socially accepted because our culture teaches us it's wrong, but other than that, what's stopping it?

It's dirty/unsafe you say? If we legalize it, then there would theoretically be various monitoring organizations in place to ensure... a quality experience, probably under the jurisdiction of the FDA or some other such bureaucracy.

It's goes against the bible. And remind me again what's so special about the Bible that puts it above other religious texts? Why not the Vedas or the Quran or the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

You can tax legalized institutions, unlike underground operations, providing valuable revenue to fund pointless wars (and to be fair, wars that do have a point).

I understand that this isn't something that's going to happen, and I can't say I advocate it or would participate in, but I also understand that the inherent hypocrisies behind this as an issue make the illegality of it a matter of absurdity. Other than undermining the already shaky foundations of morality, the pros seem to outweigh the cons. If people choose this who is it hurting?

And as far as "unfit parents" if they're providing for their children and not exposing them to undue physical or mental harm, aren't they doing their job as a parent? These are just some questions to ponder.

Another day, another class period of LGBT Literature

I don't remember if I ever finished writing this (it's from a couple weeks ago) but I'm going to post it anyways.

"As a black woman, I have to deal with identity or I don't exist at all." -Audre Lorde

We had a small discussion based around this quote on Wednesday and at one point came to the conclusion that you have to have an identity in order to assert yourself, but I ask what is identity? I believe I've addressed this in previous posts, but it's a prevalent question in our society worth bringing up again. How we define ourselves and more specifically, how we define the criterion we use to define ourselves drastically alters not only how we are perceived by others, but how we create ourselves.

Further, identity is amorphous and in its own way hard to define. It is simultaneously both inclusive and exclusive. I've heard the word essentialism (which I had to look up) mentioned and I agree that this plays a role in how we categorize and think about identifying: there are certain properties of identity that without them you cannot identify anything. But each essence, as the name essentialism suggests, isn't always clear. Philosophy has been waffling for years trying to figure out exactly how you classify something as human. So I'm not even going to try to touch that subject any further than I have just yet.

We are each defined by multiple spheres of influence: society, family and various cultures. In my AP US Government and Politics class my senior year of high school we called such varied influences cross-cutting cleavages, and they don't always run parallel to each other. More often than we like, our base identities clash and we have to choose which social/economic/familial belief or affiliation dominates our identity.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eric Hutchinson

Want a button? Go here

I happened to run into this artist (figuratively) when I went to Bumbershoot at the beginning of September. Ever since, he's been one of my favorites.

So I figure, why not give a shout-out here on my blog? I've also included a YouTube video someone posted from that same Bumbershoot show I saw him at. Singing about Ponchos, naturally.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Something I wrote on Blackboard for my LGBT Lit Class

The Gay/Straight Binary

I found it interesting in my reading of Sedgwick's Epistemology of the Closet, when she mentions on page 55 the "attempts to name, explain, and define this new kind of creature, the homosexual person - a project so urgent that it spawned in its rage of distinction an even newer category, that of the heterosexual person."

This particular sentence seems to suggest that were it not for the search for a way to define a homosexual identity, there would not have been possible a heterosexuality, which by extension shows the inextricable link between the two. Which, as we've already discussed in our analysis of Judith Butler and Adrienne Rich, does not necessarily mean that homosexual and heterosexual practices have not existed, but that (and here I connect to D'Emilio) it is the rise of capitalist culture that allowed the emergence of a homosexual identity and by extension then it means capitalist culture allowed the rise of a named heterosexual identity.

Before the split that created this dependant binary system, there effectively was no heterosexuality. I call it a dependant binary system because without one the other would not exist. For lack of a better term, there were people and not-people. People, of course meaning parts of the nuclear family unit, and all others counting as abominations, witches or some other form of outcast from the norm of society.

So where does that put us now?

Clearly from the theory we've been reading the "gay" culture is a move to push past this restricting binary system would in many ways be beneficial, but as was mentioned at the very tail end of class, that is not the direction being taken by the LGBTQ movement. Is this binary essential to the establishment and creation of a strong queer culture that can work to break down what we've seen as the heterosexist views held (consciously or unconsciously) by the mainstream?

At one point, yes, this binary was essential. It has proven a valuable way to create a rallying point behind which to wave that rainbow flag, but it seems like this fight is progressing to a point where keeping the us vs. them mindset could actually prove a stumbling block. What's that tired adage? You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. And while I propose no actual solutions here, I think the necessary step is to change the mindset of a culture, which means rather than forcing your existence into view and banging pots and pans, we must use our power outside the culture to recognize the problems within it and help remedy them.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pulse of a Lazy Sunday

Perhaps its a remnant of yesterday's early morning and late night, but today (Sunday) has been marked by a distinct sense of lethargy, a kind of perma-drowsiness that has made it hard to concentrate.

It didn't help that my friends, much as I love them, kidnapped me and took me to Woods Coffee down at Boulevard Park. Literally, they pulled out a pair of handcuffs and used them to pry me away from my book, my computer and my bed. I remember a time when no meant no, those were good times. I don't know why they continue to bother, they know I don't drink coffee and prefer to make my tea myself. Ah well, I shouldn't complain.

I'm supposed to be reading Big Blue (aka The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader) for my LGBT Lit class, but I was laying with my feet up on the window frame and happened to notice that I could see my pulse in the vein/artery that runs over the top side of the arch. It was just such an interesting little blip blip blip under the skin that I took a video of it just so I could post it here.

I'm in wonder over the simple power of the heart. I wonder how high you can manage to be while completely sober.

I'm supposed to be reading The Epistemology of the Closet. What can we learn from the closet. Perhaps if I read the essay it will make sense. Or maybe it will make less sense. Such is the world of the college literature class.

I should go read, but maybe you've been inspired by that little blipping pulse. Namaste world, until next time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Power to the Sheeple

The majority of you reading this know my opinions when it comes to freedom of thought and the meaning of status quo. Normal is a construct of society that is used to trap and confine us. As a definition, it does not exist, rather it is a spectrum of what has been deemed acceptable. The status quo is the agent and mandate of normal for without the idea of the one, the other could barely maintain existence.

I can't say that I'm always the best at living this, but I don't like following the norms. I'm not a normal person and I wouldn't be me if I tried to fit that mold, so it's big to me to train myself (or rather retrain myself) to think for myself. Certain kinds of rules, especially unspoken ones, are made to be broken, because let's face it, they're stupid. If they made sense and were anything more or less than defying the sum average of what everyone else is doing, they wouldn't be unspoken rules. They'd be spoken and written down (in stone. By God).

We're social creatures, it's one of the genetic reasons we think in terms of normal and status quo. If things are the way we want them, they're good. If they're different, something bad is going on and we're all gonna get eaten by the lions or whatever. It makes a certain kind of evolutionary sense for us to be distrustful of anything strange, and if we see an example being set we follow it because that's what we assume the normal is.

It is this mentality of following the example set for you that I personally find most satisfying to mess with.

I bring this up, because I inadvertently set such an example today whilst trying to check if there was a chance of recovering a textbook I seem to have misplaced (see lost, unable to find). My best guess was that I lost the book during class on Wednesday. Since my LGBT Lit class isn't in some big lecture hall, I figure there was a slim chance the book might still be sitting on the windowsill where I believe I left it.

I got to the room around a little after 2 only to find a class occupying the space. As much as I wish I were true ninja, I doubt I would have been able to slip in unnoticed and make my way to the far back corner, so I decided to wait, hoping the class was nearing its end. The time neared 2:30 and I realized it wasn't an hour and a half long class ending, but a class that had just begun.

I wandered the halls of Old Main, even pulled out a book I'd hoped to share with the Book Exchange operating out of OM555 and read for a while down the hall. No luck. 2:50 passed, and the class was still in session. It was an hour and a half long class that went until 3:30!

I decided to wait the remainder of the time outside the door, ready to spring in and out, fast as an assassin making a kill. So I took out my book, leaned against a wall, and began to read. The class across the hall got out at 3, they passed by me without seeming to even notice I was there.

I continued to wait, and soon a new class started to show up to enter the recently emptied room. The first saw the room was empty and entered, no problem, but as the room filled up, people began to get hesitant. With me standing right outside the door, they assumed I was waiting for a class to get out and so appropriately formed a line behind me.

Technically I was waiting for a class to get out, just not the one they needed to get into. I didn't know if I should laugh, point out I was waiting for the class across the hall where there was a professor lecturing, or keep my silence. I kept my silence and eventually one of the first girls to wait behind me asked me if the class had let out yet or what. I answered truthfully (a good policy to have) and she and her friends, followed by the rest of their class, filed past me into the room.

In short, I set an example by waiting and the sheeple saw sheeple did. And it took one girl who stepped out of the line and thought for herself to make a difference.

In case you were wondering, when I finally got into the classroom, my book wasn't there.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Art of the Mix

I've been a fan of the Mix CD since I've had the ability to make them (namely the last three or four years). It's an art form really, and that idea has been reinforced in me since I read the Rachel Cohn and David Levithan collaboration: Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List about a year ago.

The protagonists themselves, aren't that noteworthy for their musical prowess, but the love interest of the heroine, a sexy, black man named Gabriel. He makes a carefully crafted mix for Naomi a little over halfway through the book. It's got reason and rhyme behind every song selection and the songs aren't just haphazardly shuffled together either. Gabriel recognizes that like in real estate it's all about location, location, location. There are certain songs and certain kinds of songs that just can't go together and make a good mix. There has to be flow, a continuity and unless you do so intentionally, by design, breaking that flow or tone has the potential to throw off what could be a really good mix.

You see, it's not just about having good songs. A Mix CD is like telling a story. Kind of like: http://www.plurk.com/p/q5c4c was a poem told in YouTube music videos, so is the playlist you use to make the mix the ingredients for a mix. By definition, a mix is both a singular and a plural. It is made up of many things, but is also a cohesive whole. Without some kind of structure or order, it's chaos, which doesn't make for the most enjoyable listening experience.

My friend Grace had the idea to start a WWU Mix CD Exchange Group, and we had our first meeting today. It went smoothly, as you can see in the video, and we plan to make it a weekly thing, every Thursday night at 7. I understand that not everybody shares my philosophy when it comes to making mixes, but at the same time I can respect that. It's their right to not to be so obsessive about song placement and selection.

I love the idea of this group though, because with a diverse (or large) enough group of people, chances are you'll hear something you've never heard before. And if you like it, you may even make friends with the person who's CD you end up with. The last few months, I've been all about expanding my musical horizons, especially with respect to the local scene around Seattle. That's how I've found such groups as The Senate and Dyno Jamz and Common Market. But now I don't have to go looking to find music, it will come to me.

I'm totally psyched for this to continue.