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Showing posts from September, 2009

Steampunking: Charitable Practicality!

I have been pointed out to this amazing technology called "Adaptive Eyewear" which aims to provide corrective lenses to as many people as possible, especially in the African countries where over a billion people live without perfect vision.

Having worn glasses since I was 9, I cannot imagine what life would be like without my glasses (though I wear contact lenses for modeling and acting), and everytime I wear my glasses, it is a sign of my privilege that I can afford to have perfect vision. Hell, I even get to nitpick over my frames.

The glasses work by way of fluid-filled lenses, which can be adjusted by the turn of a dial! Users adjusted the amount of fluid in the lenses, which changes the shape of the lenses until the user can see properly, then the adjuster is taken off. If that's not steampunked, what is? Adaptive Eyewear is a non-profit organization dedicated to making these glasses available at low cost (10 pounds / 15 dollars a pair!). Not only that, but these gla…

But I'm Here

I curse you, I say.
What that mean? he say.
I say, Until you do right by me, everything you touch will crumble.
He laugh. Who you think you is? You can't curse me. Look at you. You black, you pore, you ugly, you a woman. Goddamn, he say, you nothing at all.
Until you do right by me, I say, everything you even dream about will fail. I give it to him straight, just like it come to me. And it seem to come to me from the trees.That is an excerpt from The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. In the movie, it's known as Celie's Liberation Scene, where she finally walks away from her abusive relationship with the man she's married to.

Whenever I feel down, whether from plain old depression or just dealing with messed up bullshit from home, I look up this passage, and I also look it up on Youtube.

It is so powerful, that quote. It's the part where Celie finds that courage in herself to stand up against her abuser, with the backing of people who love her. It's the part where she gr…

Thoughts on Feminism: Children Edition

Not all mothers are feminist and not all feminists are mothers. I know some women, feminist or not, who rather loathe children, and I know some women, mothers or not, who rather loathe feminism. The following quote comes from book 4 of Marilyn French's From Eve to Dawn, and I found it interesting:

... part of [conservative feminist] analysis seems to me to be on target: a feminist society should be centered on children. Moreover, we cannot overestimate the importance of the philosophical foundations of patriarchy, its division of experience into two distinct realms: mind, ruled by men; body, in which women are immersed. One is volitional, the other necessary; one is granted the right to dominate, the other the requirement to obey. And there is no question that in struggling to change patriarchal values, women are stumped by the so-far-immovable male refusal to take responsibility for children. All efforts at equality founder on the fact that women give birth and take the responsibi…

Review: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

Gordon Dahlquist opens Vol 1. with Miss Temple having been dumped by her fiance. Now, this should ordinarily scare away any reader, but as it happens, there is something about the title of the book(s) which gives one pause before dismissing this outright.

Also, consider that within the first page we are given Miss Temple's reaction to the breakup, but also a little, less-than-flattering tidbit about her: "The manner of dismissal she barely noticed - indeed, it was just how she would have done such a thing (as in fact, she had, on multiple galling occasions)- but the fact of it was stinging."

We are given scrumptious details about her breakfast and the little relationship before its end, and Dahlquist is all about the details. He notes the food she's eating, how she eats it, the furnishings, the nervous gazes of aunt and maids, everything.

Because Miss Temple is not the kind to just weep, and because she is, ultimately, petty and prideful, she sets off to find out why he…

Review: No Choice But Seduction

I read my first Johanna Lindsey book when I was 11. It was The Magic of You and was the first Malory book I read, though it's the fourth one in the series.

The not-so-cool thing about romance novels, which is a reason why I don't pick them up much nowadays, is that rape is generally cloaked under this rose-tinted romantic overtext. Bad enough that as I grew older, I really did think romance was about the whole being-swept-off-feet stuff and completely forgot to include a personality.

Except, of course, Amy Malory actually did have a personality, but this review is not about her.

No Choice but Seduction! What a problematic title in the first place! I mean, if you do enough readings on the whole concept of seduction, it's easy enough to see it's pretty darn close to rape! The title is also a misnomer, because Boyd Anderson, hero of the story, actually has a choice besides that, and he actually really does his fucking best to not resort to that. Why do I have to give props t…

Quick Observation

I was reading the New Strait Times article on the sexuality survey done by University Malaya and mostly skimmed it at first, since there was a graphic with tables and stats.

My first thought was, "those kids pictured on there are white." Did I miss a memo stating that the default stock Malaysian is white? Or do we simply not have stock pictures of young, healthy Malaysian teens? Or do we not give a shit that we, too, default to white as representative of a population at large?

I give the article kudos for fairly neutral reporting, although I'm quite sure there will be some hysteria over the fact that out of 2005 girls, around 100 are having sex, and that since the mean age of marriage is now higher, it means many more years of premarital sex. Being well aware of the values back home, unless they have changed, there will definitely be some hand-wringing over this.

I must admit, though, the sight of Datuk Aminah Abdul Rahman's face cheers me: a woman leader!

And, "fem…

Fun With Glow Magazine, October 2009

Yay! I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not receiving every single issue of glow magazine, which is a shame, because then we could be doing this every month, but that's okay. I still like reading it, and I like the coupons, and it's time to go through the pages again and check out just how multi-racial our media can be!

Cover page: white
white
white
white
white
white
white
white
white
white
white
white

Ooooooh, Penelope Cruz!

white, white (well, maybe mixed?), white, brown-skinned PoC!

white white Asian, white white, white
white, oooo Rosario Dawson, and Scarlett Johansson, white, white

Plenty of bottles. I like looking at bottles, some of them are really creative and pretty!

white, PoC, white, white, brown?, whitewhite, white

Ooooooh, I love this: a bunch of silhouettes. I think that's very nice, since I can imagine any ethnicity in them but no natural black hair!

white
product product product!
white, white, whitewhite, white, white, white, possibly brown? white, white, white, white

couple …

Steampunking:What's a Wardrobe Worth?

One of the greatest punk contradictions is this: that the DIY look of the punk fashion is often copied and commercialized. From being a bricolage, something made with one's own hands (and thus, pretty darn cheap to put together), it becomes yet another capitalistic venture where the one with the most money gets the best look.

I daresay this part of the punk ethos is difficult to maintain within the steampunk subculture.

There is a certain look to a steampunk; it involves either the time, effort, and handicraft skill to put together accessories or a wardrobe worthy of the name, or the money necessary to buy said accessories or wardrobe.

I invest a great deal in my wardrobe: if I feel I won't be wearing it on a regular basis, I try not to buy it. This has led to the purchase of many work-suitable shirts from Suzy Shier, several black pairs of trousers (ranging from size 2 to size 10, which is slightly more than embarassing), good jeans, and such-like things.

But I do splurge, oh my,…

Eat Shit, Or Ruin an Afternoon?

People reading this blog have probably read Melissa McEwan's post, The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck, which discusses dealing with sexism which happen on what could be called a micro-aggressive level - sexism that comes from not from random men in our lives, but men we love and care for, who shock us with the misogynistic things that come out of their mouths.

My dad, although he is made of Awesome™ and Win™, and my brother, slightly more typical than my dad, have occasionally sprung such unpleasant surprises on me in the past. Usually it's my dad, circulating emails filled with stereotypes, counter to what I know to be my reality. He means well, and just wants to share a laugh, but I have written back angry emails telling him, no, this isn't funny, and this is why.

There used to be a time when he would have a very long CC list, and I would hit Reply To All.

Yes, all, I Ruined Afternoons.

=/ In retrospect, I didn't do a good job of it. I didn't have the wo…

There Was No Script: The Girl at MacDonald's

One day, I was in MacDonald's, joining a lineup. In front of me was this young woman, possibly in her late teens, early 20's. She wore a tank and jeans. Her expression was totally spaced out. She had a twonie in her hand.

She asked the woman in front of her, "do you have any change?" to which the answer was a negative.

She turned to me, asking the same question. I didn't have change either.

She went around me to ask people behind me the same thing. Then came back in front of me.

I asked, "what do you need it for?"

"I just want to get a burger, that's all."

"I'll get it for you," I said.

When we got to the counter, she ordered a cheeseburger, a large fries, large drink, and a McFlurry. I ordered a medium fries and a second cheeseburger. I paid, and we sat down together. She ate intently, still completely spaced out. I asked where she was from, she said, "Bridgewater," a town which is an hour or two's drive from Halifax.

Review: Julie & Julia

You know, there are cute movies, and then there undeniably pleasant movies. They're to be enjoyed. Every second is an enjoyable second. Sometimes, you may laugh out loud. You may feel for the characters. The ending is a happy, cheerful ending. You come out, you feel good, and you move on.

Julie & Julia looked like it promised this. Without being a chick flick. I went in hopeful, and I came out pretty darn happy.

WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

I was paying extra special attention to the movie credits. I only saw two recognizable names: Meryl Streep's and Amy Adams'. However, I took note of the other names - several women. In fact, more women than men! I had a good feeling from then on.

Meryl Streep was a delight to watch as the overly tall, ever slightly so awkward, stumbling foreigner in a foreign place, who nonetheless maintains her dignity, her stubbornness, and determination to master the art of cooking. Julia Child is portrayed as a remarkable woman, who takes things…

Star Trekking Across The Meaning of Hair

Recently, on the Spock/Uhura LJ comm, there was a bit of a kerfuffle on Uhura's hair.

By a bit of a kerfuffle, I mean, A LOT OF FAIL. Here's a brief summary of all the usual arguments that come out of the woodwork as a result of any discussion of racism.

Much like Fatima Mernissi's observation of the "Size 6 Harem" in Scheherazade Goes West, wherein control of women is done through dictating how she must look like:
... The Western man manipulates time and light. He declares that in order to be beautiful, a woman must look fourteen years old. If she dares to look fifty, or worse, sixty, she is beyond the pale. By putting the spotlight on the female child and framing her as the ideal of beauty, he condemned the mature woman to invisibility.So is it done to black women - not just the usual caveats for beauty, but also on what her hair means.

It boggles the mind how intelligent, smart people can totally miss the point: if it really was just hair, then the afro would be …

Colourblind's Problematics: A Further Response

Because I apparently cannot go without a disclaimer, I wish to make clear that what I said in the earlier post is merely opposition to the idea of doing away with race entirely. On the flip side of the coin, it is clear that differences between races in Malaysia have been a wedge between race relations.

These differences however, are played up by specific people, for specific reasons. There is no good reason why Chinese are apparently controlling the economy and why the Malays apparently control the politics and why everyone else are just SOL. That's how power plays itself out, how people retain power and refuse to let go of it, even though it is obviously detrimental to whole swaths of the population. There is no goddamn reason why I should have to note what my race on any sort of application in Malaysia - it's irrelevant for most administrative reasons.

Except, of course, for that strange affirmative action policy in place which insists that Malays need to make a specific perc…