Archive for ‘Goings On’

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!




{gif via the wonderful pusheen the cat}


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October 1, 2012

Monday Inspiration

One of the rare stories that I find on my Facebook newsfeed that I feel compelled to share. What an inspirational story about an amazing woman and some of the amazing (and surprising) responses the story has generated. While the story made me feel somewhat ashamed of my vanity, more importantly it was a reminder that true beauty comes from within and through your actions.

I’ll re-post the story here, but you can also read it at Jezebel.





Reddit Users Attempt to Shame Sikh Woman, Get Righteously Schooled

 Lindy West

A Reddit user going by the handle “european_douchebag” posted a surreptitious photo of a Sikh woman with the caption “i’m not sure what to conclude from this.” The user’s apparent confusion stems from the fact that the woman—bound by her religion not to cut her hair or alter her body—has an abundance of dark, untrimmed facial hair. The mind of european_douchebag was SO INCREDIBLY BLOWN by the fact that women have hair on their bodies—and, yes, faces—and that some women are bold, self-assured, and pious enough not to cave to western beauty standards (and gender expectations), there was nothing for him to do but post her photo online and wait for the abuse to flood in.

But then something totally lovely and unexpected happened. The woman in the photo responded:

Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn’t know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled 🙂 However, I’m not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it’s who I am. Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn’t reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying ‘mine, mine’ and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. 🙂 So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I’ve gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. 🙂 I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.

And then, THEN, something even more miraculous happened—the original poster apologized:

I know that this post ISN’T a funny post but I felt the need to apologize to the Sikhs, Balpreet, and anyone else I offended when I posted that picture. Put simply it was stupid. Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you’re making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.

/r/Funny wasn’t the proper place to post this. Maybe /r/racism or /r/douchebagsofreddit or /r/intolerance would have been more appropriate. Reddit shouldn’t be about putting people down, but a group of people sending cool, interesting, or funny things. Reddit’s been in the news alot lately about a lot of cool things we’ve done, like a freaking AMA by the president. I’m sorry for being the part of reddit that is intolerant and douchebaggy. This isn’t 4chan, or 9gag, or some other stupid website where people post things like I did. It’s fucking reddit. Where some pretty amazing stuff has happened.

I’ve read more about the Sikh faith and it was actually really interesting. It makes a whole lot of sense to work on having a legacy and not worrying about what you look like. I made that post for stupid internet points and I was ignorant.

So reddit I’m sorry for being an asshole and for giving you negative publicity.
Balpreet, I’m sorry for being a closed minded individual. You are a much better person than I am
Sikhs, I’m sorry for insulting your culture and way of life.
Balpreet’s faith in what she believes is astounding.

Holy shit, internet, I don’t even know you anymore! I never thought something would come out of the seeping necrotic abscess that is Reddit that would actually make my day better, but wow. MY HEART GREW THREE SIZES THIS DAY.


So did mine.


September 27, 2012

Moby Dick Big Read

Have you heard about the Moby Dick Big Read? I heard an interview last week on NPR that talked about this incredible project and knew I had to share. Essentially, they have created a free online version where a chapter a day is released for free download or listening. Each chapter is read by both celebrities and non-celebrities (including Tilda Swinton, John Waters, sea captains, etc.) and is accompanied by a visual art piece by various artists. Super cool.


From Chapter 1: Loomings
Albus, 2009 by Marcus Harvey


According to the site:

Moby-Dick is the great American novel. But it is also the great unread American novel. Sprawling, magnificent, deliriously digressive, it stands over and above all other works of fiction, since it is barely a work of fiction itself. Rather, it is an explosive exposition of one man’s investigation into the world of the whale, and the way humans have related to it. Yet it is so much more than that. It is a representation of evil incarnate in an animal – and the utter perfidy of that notion. Of a nature transgressed and transgressive – and of one man’s demonic pursuit, a metaphorical crusade that even now is a shorthand for overweening ambition and delusion.

Out of all this, Herman Melville created a unique work of art – as unique as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, as mythic as Coleridge’s Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner – a true force of nature, set in a century that challenged every tenet of faith that had been held until then. Melville’s book – is it barely a novel – exceeds every expectation of a literary work. It bursts out of its covers with the enormity of its subject – as if the great White Whale itself were contained within.

Now, in the 21st Century, a century and a half since it was first conceived and launched onto a misbelieving world, Moby-Dick retains its power – precisely because we are still coming to terms with it, and what it said. Incredibly prophetic, it foresaw so many of the aspects of the modern world with which we deal with. The abuse of power and belief; of nature and the environment; of the human spirit. It deals with art and artifice and stark reality – in an almost existential manner. It is truly a book before its time – almost ancient myth, as much as futuristic prophesy.

In the spring of 2011, artist Angela Cockayne and writer Philip Hoare convened and curated a unique whale symposium and exhibition at Peninsula Arts, the dedicated contemporary art space at Plymouth University, under the title, Dominion. Inspired by their mutual obsession with Moby-Dick and with the overarching subject of the whale, they invited artists, writers, musicians, scientists and academics to respond to the theme. The result was an enthusiastic response which evidently could not be contained within the physical restrictions of a gallery space and a three-day symposium.

‘I have written a blasphemous book’, said Melville when his novel was first published in 1851, ‘and I feel as spotless as the lamb’. Deeply subversive, in almost every way imaginable, Moby-Dick is a virtual, alternative bible – and as such, ripe for reinterpretation in this new world of new media. Out of Dominion was born its bastard child – or perhaps its immaculate conception – the Moby-Dick Big Read: an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome: each of its 135 chapters read out aloud, by a mixture of the celebrated and the unknown, to be broadcast online in a sequence of 135 downloads, publicly and freely accessible.


Moby Dick is one of those classics that I still haven’t gotten to, but this would be a fantastic way to go. I’ve already started downloading chapters to my iTunes and plan on burning them to create my very own book on CD to listen to on my commute and share with friends. This is an amazing project and I hope they plan similar collections for other great literary classics.

You can learn more about the Moby Dick Big Read and download chapters here.




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September 19, 2012

Wicked Lit

The scheduled for this year’s Wicked Lit has been posted and I’m in talks with a friend who is trying to get a group together to attend.

The scope of Wicked Lit is to create and produce new stage plays based on classic horror literature. Over 15 Wicked Lit plays have been written since 2007 including adaptations of works by Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Mark Twain, M. R. James, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Washington Irving and many others.




Ok, so my understanding of Wicket Lit is this. It is an annual October event produced by Unbound Productions. The reason I’m so psyched about this is because some years back, I went to a play about the Dalai Lama that took place outdoors (I think it was at the Arroyo). The audience basically followed the actors as they literally moved from scene to scene, so that we ended up journeying through the story with them along paths through the park. It was so cool and really added another level to the performance that really drew us in.

That was apparently also an Unbound Production and that is apparently how they roll. They take you with them so that you can feel like you’re a party of the story.


Oh, man, that means Wicket Lit is going to be wicked cool. It takes place this year at the Mountain View Cemetery Mausoleum in Pasadena. eeks!

Back for 2012, Wicked Lit features dynamic adaptations of classic horror literature presented at Mountain View Mausoleum & Cemetery. Walk the hollowed burial grounds of Mountain View as three scary stories unfold all around you.



Katie Pelensky and Michael Perl :: The Chimes at Mountain View Mausoluem.

Brian David Pope and William Joseph Hill :: The Cask of Amontillado at Mountain View Mausoleum.











So, if you’re looking for something different and spooky to do this Halloween, you might want to check out Wicked Lit’s schedule.


WHAT:  Wicked Lit

WHEN:  October 12-31, 2012

WHERE:  Mountain View Mausoleum, Altadena, CA



September 11, 2012

The New Yorker: September 24, 2001

Posted last year today, on the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.




“Ten years ago, my husband, the cartoonist Art Spiegelman, our daughter, and I stood four blocks away from the second tower as we watched it collapse in excruciatingly slow motion. Later, back in my office, I felt that images were suddenly powerless to help us understand what had happened. The only appropriate solution seemed to be to publish no cover image at all—an all-black cover. Then Art suggested adding the outlines of the two towers, black on black. So from no cover came a perfect image, which conveyed something about the unbearable loss of life, the sudden absence in our skyline, the abrupt tear in the fabric of reality.”

– Art Editor Françoise Mouly on “9/11/2001,” the first New Yorker cover following 9/11.


{via newyorker.tumblr}


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