(no subject)

I feel the need to record this Facebook exchange for posterity. (of how I and my friends are assholes, if nothing else.)  (Disclaimer: I don't think everyone in the UK is racist.  I do, however, find it (and chauvism & to an extent homophobia) to be a lot more socially acceptable here, still, than it is in my hometown.)  The gold is near the end, but full conversation included for context and reason why it's all in caps:

Caley > Jacqui
I think I may regret asking this, but how is "The Beatles" a place to live in Canada? I DON'T THINK IT MEANS WHAT I THINK IT MEANS.
Jacqui: I SAID VANCOUVER/VICTORIA. I know "The Beatles" would not be a surprising answer for me to give, but in this case I am innocent!
Caley: KEEPING WITH THE CAPS LOCK THEME, REMEMBER WHEN I SAID I WAS GOING TO GET THIS? [redacted]

YEAH. I GOT IT. WAAAAT.
Jacqui: CAPS ARE RAD. AS IS YOUR TATTOO. VERY PRETTY. I AM GETTING ANOTHER ONE SOON, TOO, I HOPE.
Caley: IT'S CAPS LOCK FRIDAY UP IN THIS SHIT, WHAT'S HAPPENING ACROSS THE POND? IT IS SUNNY HERE AND I HAVE BANGS. THAT'S ABOUT ALL THAT'S GOING ON IN CANADA AT THE MOMENT.
Jacqui: I LIKE YOUR BANGS. MY HAIR IS BRIGHT RED AGAIN. IT IS ALSO SUNNY HERE, I AM GETTING A TAN. ASIDE FROM THAT NOT MUCH.
Caley: WHEN YOU SAY TAN, DO YOU MEAN A LOVELY SHADE OF "PORCELAIN BEIGE INSTEAD OF ~IVORY~? I WANT TO SEE THIS FLAMING RED HAIR, YOU MUST POST A PHOTO.
Jacqui: I MEAN I TURN PINK AND THEN IT FADES TO SOMETHING NOT QUITE SO PASTY AS I NORMALLY AM. & I WILL TRY. FOR SOME REASON MY WEB CAM DOESN'T PICK UP THE RED. WEIRD.
Caley: I FIND YOUR WEBCAM IS BEING SEVERELY COLOURIST IN ITS DECISIONS.
Jacqui: RACIST AGAINST GINGERS.
Jacqui: LIKE THAT MIA VIDEO
Caley: EVERYONE HATES ON THE GINGERS. DESPITE THERE BEING SOME VERY BEAUTIFUL ONES IN THE WORLD.

HATERADE.
Jacqui: THERE IS A LEGITIMATE PREJUDICE AGAINT GINGERS IN THE UK, I AM NOT EVEN JOKING. THIS COUNTRY IS FUCKED.
Jacqui: THEY'RE ALSO JUST PRETTY RACIST, THOUGH.
Caley: IT'S LIKE YOU'RE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS COUNTRY. IF THIS WERE DR. PHIL JACQUI, I'D TELL YOU TO LEAVE NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU LOVE IT.

AND THEN YOU WOULD HAVE AN EPIC BREAKDOWN THAT INVOLVES MASCARA RACCOON EYES AND TEAR STREAKED MAKEUP.
Caley: YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE STRENGTH TO ~*MOVE ON*~
Jacqui: FUCK DR PHIL. AND HIS STUPID FUCKING ACCENT.
Jacqui: YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND OUR LOOOOOOVE
Caley: OH I HEAR SOME VITRIOL IN THAT TONE OF VOICE. PREACH TO THE CHOIR, SISTER.

ON AN UNRELATED NOTE, I AM GOING TO A RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE COVER BAND ON SUNDAY WITH HEATHER. I FIGURE THAT I'LL NEVER SEE THEM LIVE WITH ZACH DE LA ROCHA EVER, SO I'M GOING TO SETTLE FOR THE NEXT BEST THING.
Jacqui: I APPROVE OF THIS PLAN. I AM DOING SOMETHING SIMILAR BUT FAR MORE GEEKY BY GOING TO SEE A SCREENING OF FRANKENSTEIN BY THE NATIONAL THEATRE BECAUSE THERE ARE NO LIVE TICKETS LEFT. BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH & JONNY LEE MILLER DIRECTED BY DANNY BOYLE, YES PLS.
Caley: OH MY. YOU WIN.

TOO BAD YOU MISSED AN EPIC TIME WHEN IAIN, MY FRIEND SOO AND I WENT TO A LED ZEPPELIN COVER BAND AT SUGAR. IT WAS REALLY GOOD, AND IAIN GOT PUNCHED IN THE FACE BY SOO BECAUSE HE MADE HER CROWD SURF.

GOOD, SAFE, PG-13 FRIENDLY TIMES.
Jacqui: IN GEEKERY, MAYBE.

ACTUALLY, IAIN TOLD ME ABOUT THAT NIGHT. AND THE GIRL HE WAS MACKING ON WHO THEN WENT OFF TO FLIRT WITH SOMEONE ELSE. I WILL ADMIT TO SOMETIMES MISSING VICTORIA.
Caley: TO QUOTE IAIN'S BRILLIANCE (HE WILL LIKELY PUNCH ME LATER, BUT IT WILL BE WORTH IT): "YOU KNOW, I CAME OUT TONIGHT NOT EXPECTING TO GO HOME WITH ANYONE. SO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO DO? I'M GOING TO GET MORE DRUNK, AND GO HOME AND MASTURBATE. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? THAT'S OKAY."
Jacqui: THAT IS BRILLIANCE. HE DID NOT TELL ME ABOUT THAT, JUST HIS RIDICULOUS PICK UP LINE THAT ACTUALLY WORKED.
Jacqui: AT FIRST.
Caley: SHE ENDED UP SAYING SHE WAS GOING TO THE BATHROOM AND THEN LEFT WITH SOME OTHER DUDE.

PURE CLASS GIRLFRIEND, PURE CLASS.
Jacqui: YEEEAH, WELL. WHATCHA GON' DO?
Caley
: DRINK MORE!
Jacqui: AND THEN GO HOME AND MASTURBATE.

(no subject)

Happy Earth Day, everybody!



Some suggestions: Get outside into this beautiful sunshine. Make a pledge to start recycling more. Plant a tree. Use organic, biodegradable products everywhere you can (I know it's difficult and more expensive). Breathe deeply, smell the air and the flowers. Go for a picnic today, try to eat local organic produce from now on. Go for a swim in the ocean (personally, I'm thinking of ditching London and heading to Brighton for the weekend. I've spent almost the entirety of the last week in parks, but I want the seaside, and I want it now.) Don't litter anymore. Walk, bike, take public transit. Whatever you do, it's great to have a day that reminds us that we all share the same earth and sky. Which I know sounds hippy-dippy, but I grew up on an island in the Pacific Northwest.

I used to be a fall-and-winter-only girl, but in the past few years I've slowly grown into loving all of the seasons for themselves. And even though there'll always be a place in my heart for autumn, I do really love summer now. It feels like we've skipped right over spring and into summer here in the UK, and I have to admit: the living is easy. It's been so beautiful in London, especially (and Paris, while I was there earlier this month - it was warm enough for us to picnic on the banks of the Seine in skirts and t-shirts at midnight. When I say 'picnic' I mostly mean drink cheap wine with locals, and listen to them play guitar & accordion, and wave at people on boats, and flirt, and get swept up into a waltz. Paris will forever be one of my favourite cities.) that all I want to do right now is be outside, all the time.

Have some good-weather songs I'm obsessed with right now:

“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” -GB Shaw



Favourite placards spotted at the March for the Alternative today:
     "I wish my boyfriend was as dirty as your cuts."
     "Thatcher II: The ConDem Nation" (actually a giant banner)
     &
     "The easiest way to rob a bank is to work for a bank."

There's something really amazing about being a part of a protest like this. 500, 000 people in solidarity. Over half a million people took to the streets in London today.  And they came from across the entire country - there were coaches organized specifically for the march, among other means of transport.  I'm working on a long article about the whole experience, but for now: I feel proud to have taken part in such a strong, positive (because despite what the media would like you to believe, it was an overwhelmingly positive, non-violent event.  The sound I heard most frequently was laughter) action.  As a Canadian, I have to admit I felt a little nervous about going, but as someone who has chosen this country as her home, I felt it was my duty; once I got to the start of the march, though, all apprehensions faded.  I met some truly lovely, kind people today, and we were all united in a common cause.

Because action's the only way the population can get their voice heard when a government fails in its duty to represent and protect them.  And if this government continues in the direction they've been going, the UK's going to see a full-out class war.




(& thank you to the people who commented on or sent me messages after my last post.  I'm doing alright.  Some days are good, and some days are very, very bad, but - that's what we do, isn't it?  Carry on carrying on.)

(no subject)

yesterday:

8am. wake up to a beautiful morning, make a cup of tea, slice up a nectarine, and head into the sitting room to watch the sun come through the windows. notice i've accidently left my mobile in there overnight, check it to realize i've missed a call from home, minutes before.

phone back, confused, but not that worried - it's the middle of the night there, but not too late. they're probably just tipsy, and phoning to say i love you. my mom answers, and i'm really confused - sean had been babysitting tyler the night before, i thought, not this one? why is she at my father & nikki's house? and then i'm scared, because she's asking where i am, and if there's anyone at home with me.

she's telling me my father's dead. she says: he had a massive heart attack honey, and he didn't make it.

nikki picks up the other extension, and all she can say, over and over, is: i'm so sorry sweetheart. i'm so sorry.

and then she's gone, sobbing, and my aunt, my mother's sister the nurse, the one born on the same day as my father two years later is there, and she's calm, so calm, and that's when it really starts to sink in. she tells me i can't feel guilty about being in london, makes me promise. i say the words, that's all i can do.

8pm. get my best friend on skype and break down in front of him. he calms me down, somewhat. tells me he loves me. it hurts, not being able to touch people right now.

my daddy, who fought for custody of me, who raised me, remembered every boy i'd so much as mentioned, bought me encyclopedias when i was little so we could look up the answers to all my questions together, coached my fastball team gladly for ten years, even the last year when i was too sick and busy with school and work to go to more than one or two games, who was everything and anything and who always saved me is gone.

i don't know anything right now. i have to think properly, logistically. make decisions - make the right decision. i don't know what that is. i just don't know.

(no subject)

I didn't post about this yesterday because by the time I got to posting here yesterday, I was consciously not thinking about it in an attempt to calm down. Because I am usually angry about something, since the world is an unjust place and I wish it weren't, but right now I am so full of rage and hurt that I noticed myself shaking several times throughout the day, that I can only listen to Rage Against the Machine and Gogol Bordello and Eminem's "Not Afraid" because every time I put something calmer on I have to stop myself from throwing my ipod across the room.

Because on Saturday, as I'm sure everyone has heard by now, Democratic Rep. Giffords and at least eight other people were shot in a parking lot in Tuscon, Arizona. Because a nine-year-old girl, who wanted to become a politician to help people less fortunate than her, was killed. Because federal Judge John Roll is also dead.

Because Sarah Palin and other extreme rightwingers had been using violent language, such as "elimination" and shooting-related metaphors in her tweets, and crosshair targets on a graphic of the US on her website, for months, creating a rhetorical political climate of violence and bigotry.  (Palin is now eliminating all such content on her twitter, facebook, and site.)

Because Giffords called her on it:  "Palin's list has a gun sight over our district. They have to realize there are consequences to that."

Because during his campaign effort to unseat Giffords in November, Republican challenger Jesse Kelly held fundraisers where he urged supporters to help remove Giffords from office by joining him to shoot a fully loaded M-16 rifle.

Because in the responses to this attack, it is repeatedly being called "unfortunate," a "tragedy," and "inexplicable."  Because the shooter Jared Loughner is being called a "deranged individual," "mentally unstable," and "psychotic."  (Full disclosure: he is schizophrenic.)

Because people with mental illnesses are NO MORE LIKELY to be violent than people without them.  In fact, they are more likely to be victims of it than pereptrators.

Because of course he's being classified as a mentally unstable individual, because he's a white American.  Therefore he can't possibly be a terrorist, right?  Even though terrorism is essentially violence and attacks designed to incite fear and political change.  But every person of colour or Muslim person who does such a thing is a terrorist, and representative of all POC/Muslims; every white person is a fringe character.

Because when Giffords voted in favour of the health care bill (which is what the above-mentioned map was about), her office in Tuscon was attacked and vandalised.

Because Judge Roll had previously been threatened due to his ruling that illegal immigrants could sue their employer, making him extremely unpopular with the hyper nationalist movement.

Because Loughner was unstable enough to be cut from the military and suspended from college, but dammit if he couldn't buy himself a semi-automatic gun.

Because Arizona is a hotspot of racism and anger and intolerance that would most definitely skew the beliefs of someone with a mental disorder.  (They may not be more violent, but they can be more easily swayed or unhinged.)

Because now people are too busy pointing fingers and assigning blame than trying to group together and work on fixing the issues that lead to this happening.

Because so many people on the left are now using this as a reason to blame Palin and others (and they should be held accountable, yes)  while glossing over the very real climate of anti-immigration - which is racism against immigrants but also white supremacy and the militarization of borders, and the policing of them on homes and workplaces and bodies and families - that also contributed to it.

Because when you add all these factors together, this shooting becomes not shocking, but inevitable.

Because, as someone tweeted on Saturday, when a nine-year-old is killed in cold blood, we have all failed.

Because someone retweeted that and added, simply, "Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan."  And they're right.  Palestine, the US-Mexico border, gang violence, Sudan, Uganda... We have all failed.

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And because I'd like to end on at least a slightly positive note, I want to tell you about my new hero, Daniel Hernandez, the 20-year-old aid of GIfford's who on Saturday ran towards the gunshots and who is most likely the reason she is still alive - he held her and applied pressure to the entrance wound until paramedics arrived, and then rode with her to the hospital.

"Of course you’re afraid, you just kind of have to do what you can," he said, as well as: "It was probably not the best idea to run toward the gunshots, but people needed help."

This man, you guys. This barely-out-of-his-teens, brown, overweight, openly gay man. This man, whose body has been criminalized in Arizona, who the white right-wing doesn't want there, says has no place, isn't good enough to be there. This hero.

(no subject)



(My first official jam of 2011. Their entire album is fantastic, and totally recommended.)

So, I am compiling a list of feminist resources both on and off the internet. I am excited about this! If anyone has any recommendations, I would love to hear them! In doing so, I re-found these three articles by wonder-woman (and personal hero of mine) Sady Doyle:

The Fantasy of Girl World: Lady Nerds and Utopias
Lady Robots: The Shape of Things to Come On
Ellen Ripley Saved My Life

And, y'know, Sady's written a lot of great things, from the insightful to the hilarious to the downright snarky. She runs Tiger Beatdown and has contributed all over the place, from Bitch to the The Guardian, and she was the mastermind behind the (and took so, so much abuse over) #MooreandMe Twitter campaign that saw Michael Moore take back his rape apologia and say "Every woman who claims to have been sexually assaulted or raped has to be, must be, taken seriously. Those charges have to be investigated to the fullest extent possible." on national television. But these three pieces are probably my favourite work of hers, on a personal level. They're about geek culture, and storytelling, and being/becoming a woman, and the last one especially hits so very, very close to home for me it left me in tears.

Aside from that, I took today off from the job hunt and spent it writing poetry and plotting out a possible play idea. It's strange, but lately I've been thinking that I might cut my time in the UK short, and head home to get started on school and whatnot. We'll see, I'm not making any rash decisions, and it might just be a whim, but as I said to my roommate the other day, "I could go home today, you know. Not because I’m homesick or I hate it here, but because I’ve become so settled. Because I’m happy here, and I’ve finally started to make peace with myself, and figure out what I want. I could go home tomorrow and start on that life and be perfectly happy."

things.

1. Now that Christmas is over, I'm not actually working at the bookstore anymore - I was just a temp. I'm sad about this, but not about losing the job as such. I'll just find another retail job, or maybe a coffee shop position. As long as I can pay rent. I'm sad because there was this boy there that I like. And, like, I'd forgotten how easy and fun it can be to have a crush? Especially on a boy? (I don't know guys, I might just be an epic failboat, but girls are hard for me. Especially to get over.)

2. Collapse )

3. Am seriously jonesing for another tattoo you guys. It's pretty bad. I've got three different ones planned. Going for a wrist one first, I think. Then two different arm placements, one on my foot, and I am seriously considering getting a band-aid on my knee.

4. I am other places on the internet! My travel journal, which you will probably not find all that interesting, as it's intended for family more than anything. Tumblr. Add me if you've got one! Twitter!

5. Relatedly, I had my first paid publication a few months ago. Super stoked, guys. It's the one called "Red" and it's nothing all that amazing, but still.

[ETA: WOOOOWWW, I just re-read this and realized how much of a jerk I sound like in #2. I wasn't trying to say that I KNOW ALL or anything, and I realize that's probably how it came off. I am not an expert in punk by any means, despite enjoying it and being very attracted to certain attitudes that manifest throughout its history. It's definitely not the only music I listen to, nor is it the only 'scene' I associate with. I was cranky because I'm sick of the assumptions I keep hearing again and again about Canada, and because in the above conversation I was dealing with a specific type of white male ego that must always be right, and which always rubs me the wrong way. But I realize that the last bit of my rant is kind of making it sound like I always have to be right, and I didn't mean it that way - I was just trying to point out that just because I don't look like a punk (and what does a punk look like, anyways?) is no reason to assume that I don't know anything about it.]

(no subject)

So, being home sick for days on end leads to - aside from lots and lots of sleeping - empty time. And since there is no way I'm feeling up to braving the crush of people along the Thames to see the fireworks tonight, I made a list of my favourite albums of the year instead. And now I think I'm going back to bed.

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a little wounded, but on fire (not cut because this is important)

Song to Myself at Seventeen
-Gerard Wozek

I didn’t know how to save you then,
so forgive me. How you were able
to latch onto your spirit and go on
breathing, astonishes me even now.
Even though you knew who wrote
Faggot on your locker in indelible ink
your junior year, you never said a word.
And still somehow, you kept going.
In your mind, you sang to them
and your voice filled them with light.
You imagined they became your friends:
the ones who stole your gym bag,
smashed the headlights on your car,
or yelled Queer down the hall at you.
Still, you kept walking. And singing.
Quietly, almost silently, to yourself.
But then, how you found the courage
to take on the choir solo, I’ll never know.
Your lips trembled next to the mic.
At first, a tremor, catch in the throat.
Then the first notes, unsteady
and broken, but poised to soar.
Flaming Caruso. How you torched
the auditorium with your song.
Then afterwards, the handshakes
and back pats from the prom king,
captain of the varsity football team.
All docile. All dumbstruck. All yours.
Until you left alone that night.
I didn’t know then. If I could have
somehow stood next to you,
walked you to your car. Made sure
you got safely through the dark parking lot.
Now some twenty years later,
I still touch my throat. That thin line
of raised white scar tissue. But
I am not silent. I’m singing
to the you who once was me,
and to all the brave Carusos
who dream their voices into the world,
a little wounded, but on fire.

Y’know, growing up, I never went to church or Sunday School or anything.  I was always told that if I wanted to, I was welcome to it, but I didn’t develop much of an interest in spirituality until high school.  Religion in my household - especially at my Dad’s - was focussed around music.  That was how we related to each other, and what taught me all my big lessons.  I had Bruce to teach me about working hard and reaching for your dreams; Janis, Joni, Patti and Joan taught me sitting down and shutting up was only what people want you to think being female is about; and David taught me about glam, exploring and inventing personality, and, well, sex.  I’m still not sure what I learned from Zeppelin other than the importance of a killer guitar riff, and I learned far more from Kurt’s widow than I ever did him.  There’s a bunch of other artists my Dad introduced me to, or I found for myself, that fit into my little personal mythology too, but what I’m getting to is my favourite.

‘Cause The Beatles taught me that all you need is love.

I’ve been struggling with what to say and think about the It Gets Better Project, and associated efforts.  And I do agree that there’s problems with it, and I’m not the hugest Dan Savage fan, and that it’s not actually going to fix the problem.  But I also know that all the people who have contributed to this, from the girl down the street to Chris Colfer to yes, even Obama, are doing it because they care and they don’t want anyone else to make the one decision they can’t take back.  And doing something out of love is never wrong.  Love is never wrong.  Isn’t that the whole point the lgbtq-rights movement is trying to make, anyways?

I’m working on an entry for the We Got Your Back Project right now.  I'm bisexual, my best friend is gay, we were lucky enough to go to a highschool where you were more likely to get bitched out for a homophobic remark than to feel threatened because of your sexuality, where even the douchiest jocks didn't care if you were a queer (just don't, like hit on them, 'kay?) - and you know what?  It was still hard.  So those people out there that don't have friends and frienemies and even 'enemies' who've got their back over the hard stuff?  They need all the support they can get.

And yeah, it would be really, really great if all the people contributing to these projects went out and also did something more (I don’t like the phrasing of this, but I can’t think of a better way to put it) ‘obviously constructive,’ like volunteering with a youth group or gay rights organization.  And yes, the bullying is a product of a far wider and deeply rooted issue of prejudice and kids seeing the cruel ways that adults act and emulating them; the problem’s not going to go away unless we fix the root of it.  But these videos, and these stories, and that purple we all wore the other day?  That’s because there really are a lot of people out there that truly, genuinely care.  That know that love’s the most important thing there is.  I really do believe that - whatever you do, if you do it out of love it can’t be wrong.

And sharing our voices, our stories, our support, is an act of love.  The hardest thing in this world is to speak when everyone wants you to remain silent - and that's why those kids thought the only option was to silence themselves forever.  So please - I know I've got a lot of queer people or allys on my flist, and I know you're all decent human beings - if you see this, and you haven't yet, think about adding your voice to the chorus?

HEY VANCOUVER AND COASTAL BC:

In London with a sprained ankle, frustrated and tired, listening to a Wagner feature on BBC 3 and wanting a drink.

But this post isn't actually about me. (I'll likely talk about that later, as I am incapable of using crutches and therefore not going anywhere today.) More importantly, my best friend Hannah? You've all met or heard me talk or post about her. The musical she wrote with her friends Anton Lipovetsky and Ben Elliot is about to enter its second week of showings in Vancouver. The show is called THE PARK, and y'all should get on that.

Directed by David Hudgins, with a talented local cast, and created by Studio 58 students/alumni, it will be totally worth your time and money. The accompanying band are Anton and Ben themselves along with Spencer Schoening, drummer for Said The Whale. There's a Vancouver Sun review here.

And since I'm not actually sure how many people from back home still actually use their LJs, or read this one, I also just want to say congrats to Hannah, Anton and Ben, and everybody else involved in creating this show.  You guys are all so talented, hard-working, and inspiring, and are gonna be big stars someday.  I wish I could come.

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