What’s Up? (3/26/14)

It shouldn’t be any surprise to you that I’m writing after 3AM once again. But why? Why not go to bed if there’s nothing else that you need to do? Perhaps I just feel like it, or perhaps I’m writing here so late at night/early in the morning because I need to. That could explain why I don’t chose sleep over voluntary writing; the writing is not voluntary, it is a necessity.

What must I write that is so important that I absolutely need to lose thirty minutes of sleep over it? Well, it’s good news! Yes, good news that perhaps makes me a tad bit nervous, and a whole lot of excited. It’s such good news, that perhaps, I dare not go deeper into explaining it for fear that I jinx it. For what it’s worth, I’ll hint that a problem expressed in a recent edition of What’s Up? may finally be coming to an end.

Oh I know, I’m being a tease right? There are some things I can tell you about though! I finally had a chance to hear Dr. Lisa Brush speak on something; that something being Women in the Workforce. A presence during Gender Sexuality & Women’s Studies programs, she’s always asked interesting questions – and last night she also proved to be an interesting speaker. I also ran into somebody who, perhaps I wish I hadn’t run into, because whenever I do – I think about inviting her to hang out, even when exiling her from my life would probably be easiest. Finally; in a screwed up world where I somehow have four simultaneous games of Pokemon in my life (Pokemon Silver,  Twitch Plays Pokemon Emerald, Pokemon Black 2, and Pokemon Y), I’ve found the most joy in creating mono-type teams in Pokemon Y. The ability to access an easy-to-use Global Trade System, and the diverse Kalos region, has made assembling a Water-type team a few weeks ago, and a Fairy-type team yesterday fun, and as challenging as I want it to be.

Sometimes I feel embarrassed about how relevant Pokemon is in my life, as somebody turning 21 soon; and somehow the words of somebody I don’t even like ring true in my head. He said something along  the lines of, “not giving up something you love as a false gesture of your maturation,” and while again, I kind of hate this guy – he’s right in a way. The “mature” thing for me to do is accept and embrace that I’m going to be a 21 year old who loves Pokemon, as abandoning it just to prove I’m “all grown up” is actually the childish thing to do, and a mistake I wish I hadn’t made over ten years ago.

I twirl the glass cork through my fingers, I toss it into the air, I catch it in the palm of my right hand, “14” it says. 

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What’s Up? (3/18/14)

I’m so tired. I completed a feminist critique on the first season of The Wire on Monday night/Tuesday morning ahead of schedule, as it’s due Wednesday night. I thought this would free up Tuesday for working on another 3,000-word paper, due on Thursday, but it hasn’t really. Though Monday was incredibly productive, as a good speech on trigger language was given, and a paper was completed, Tuesday was more tiresome, emotionally I suppose.

I chilled in my Professor’s cafe, discovered Carlow, learned about gay marriage in Europe, and discovered the world of Eco-Feminism; all great things right? But all it took was the presence of one person to bring me down ten steps, and then to walk home alone – another few steps. Suddenly the energy and optimism I had coming out of Spring Break was sapped, and ultimately I’m in a hole of feeling lonely tonight.

I like to write with a touch of happiness, but I’m just tired right now. I feel emotionally drained, in need of companionship; and I overate and drank sugary soda to compensate for this, so now I feel bloated too… The choice now is whether to slug through this funk and start on a 3,000-word story, or to break of the funk and work on this story in higher spirits tomorrow.

Office Space (1999)

I watched Office Space for the first time last night, and I thought I’d give my general impressions of the film. Though the category is called “movie reviews,” I don’t think these should be considered as such. What I’m doing, and what I think I’ve always done with my reviews, is try to express what I felt and took away from a particular work; not rating, ranking, or suggesting that something is or is not worth watching.

What I got out of Office Space was mostly a good time, an anti-establishment, rebellious blip of a movie that’s fun but not exactly deep. It plays out like an alternate history version of Fight Club (which came out the same year) wherein the nameless narrator finds peace at work, rather than group therapy sessions and street fights. Peter, hero of Office Space, is basically hypnotized into taking it easy at work, and finding the confidence to ask out Joanna the waitress (played by Jennifer Aniston). I had absolutely zero idea that hypnotherapy had anything to do with the core concept of Office Space, but it’s really just a means to get Peter to become rebellious through acting in his own interests. That he doesn’t come around to making this decision on his own, but rather through an unfortunate hypnotherapy accident, was something I expected to come up at some point in the movie. Peter’s office-disturbing antics, perfectly set to Geto Boys’ “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta” (1992), are richly therapeutic, and fun to watch, but all a result of hypnosis and not a personal decision – so while Peter’s fun to root for, he’s not a great character.

While I’m on the subject of not-great-characters, I want to talk about Joanna. Introduced as the pretty girl that steal’s Peter’s heart (but he can’t ask her out because he might be in a relationship already, with a woman who gives off a might-be-cheating vibe), Joanna never moves past the point of being an object for Peter to win. Joanna and Peter both hate their jobs, and they both like Kung-Fu movies, and that’s the extent to which they’re a good match. Joanna has dialogue for when Peter wins her over, when she’s talking to her male boss at the restaurant, when she’s defending herself from Peter who rudely yells at her for sleeping his boss (years ago), and for when she (of course) accepts Peter’s apology. Joanna and Peter’s relationship is otherwise fit into to the previously mentioned “Peter is a rebel” montage.

Office Space is better than decent, it has a great 90’s hip-hop soundtrack, and there are some really great laughs to be had (Diedrich Bader’s character is gold every brief second he’s on screen), but the core “I got hypnotized into becoming a likeable rebel” premise, and the incredibly shallow stapled-on romance plot leave the film short of what I’d consider a great comedy.

What’s Up? (1/28/14)

It bothers me a little bit that, while it’s the 28th while I’m writing this post, in my time zone at least, WordPress has the final say, and wherever they are, it’s the 29th. Regardless, let’s get started.

It’s a beautiful day! I mean, not physically, because it’s below zero, wet, snowy, windy, and all of that great stuff. No, it’s a great day because for the second day in the row I feel a rejuvenated spirit, and a very clear sense of self. On Monday, I gave a speech to my Advanced Public Speaking class about how shitty the labels “masculine” and “feminine” are, and it felt great. It wasn’t the first time that I’ve vented that opinion before, I’ve written about it in essays before, and people have read my essays before – and used female pronouns to describe me, the anonymous writer, but it was the first time I got out in front of people, in the open, and talked about it. I was high on spirit, for a long time afterwards too! The feeling lasted hours after I spoke, and was only interrupted by discovering that I had to write a 7-page assignment by Tuesday.

It took me until 5:40 AM to finish that assignment, and while exhausting, I felt really good about what I had created, and the physical exhaustion that comes from sleep deprivation is intoxicating. I start laughing more often, usually for no reason, I dance to music, and do really dumb things and well, sleep deprivation is not the worst thing there is.

Jump to: Tuesday night at 9PM, for the Campus Women’s Organization’s “Why I Need Feminism” event. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I appeared to be the only dude; I struggle to be politically correct on this, because there are so many ways to say this incorrectly. That’s not really important though, what’s important is that, it felt great to be there. To hear people vent all of the shitty ways they’ve been treated, or seen others treated, or treated themselves, because they were women, to be in a place of such therapy felt therapeutic. I belong there, I felt like I belonged, though I don’t know where my place to contribute is, perhaps it’s only to talk about the horrors I’ve witnessed. I’ve certainly suffered, as a man, in unfair ways, because gender norms, suck – but I’m not going to jump the gun on venting that in the open, not when there are girls who are given knives to protect themselves, and taught how not to get raped. Besides the philosophical struggle, I was so happy I went, and I think I met some really cool people who could be friends.

This is how great the day’s been: I’m actively missing out on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to talk to you about this.

Anita Sarkeesian

I started, and completed today, a portrait I had been meaning to do for a while. Anita Sarkeesian’s “Feminist Frequency” videos have really opened my eyes to the ways that tropes in media hurt women. Her videos make it easy to see what’s wrong in our everyday media, and I hope she keeps making them for years to come. I mimicked the YouTube player using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and the plaid shirt pattern that Anita was wearing during her Damsel in Distress in Video Games video. Both were fun, difficult, and rewarding challenges. The white skin and black hair style is something I’ve gotten the hang of, as I’ve been doing that since, 2008 or earlier. I also nailed the background color gradient, though that only required a base level understanding of gradient mesh. I’d love for her to see this, but that seems like a long shot.

Happy New Years, Anita.
– Kenneth CW.

May the Feminism be Frequent.

May the Feminism be Frequent.