Friday, June 30, 2006

Again With the Crafty Procrastinating

I am trying to write a thesis on stuff about America and nationalism and foreign policy. I also work part-time, teach part-time, and I sometimes work as a research assistant.

Each week there are precious few moments left where I can work on my own research and writing.

I treasure those moments.
In order to be as productive and time efficient as possible it is important to make my environment as conducive to scholarlyness as possible.
I make a pot of tea.
I put on the soundtrack to Waking Life (excellent writing music by the way).
I curl up on the couch with my blanket, books, pens, post-it-notes, journal, and laptop.

And then I start doing this:

I’ve also just taught myself to crochet. I figure when I finally crash and burn and don’t actually end up eradicating all global conflict, poverty, disease and violence, I will be able to support myself and my brood of chubby babies by knitting.

I’ll start like this:

You know, knitting for a cause. Perhaps not the cause in the above picture though, more like world peace. I'll start the


And then I'll probably end up like this:

For any and all who, in their search for more creative ways to procrastinate (and have already washed your entire collection of tea canisters) I heartily recommend you give knitting a go.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Attention Grabbing

Amnesty International in Switzerland have just launched a new ad campaign created by Walker Werbeagentur with the tag line:

"It's not happening here but it's happening now."

Generally, when confronted with images of suffering and violence, the senses just seem to shut down now. We've seen similar images too many times before and generally they're too hard to really identify with. The use of these transparent billboards, however, seems frighteningly effective. The fact that the hooded, tortured Iraqi man craddling his child, who looks either wounded or dead, would appear to be sitting on the pavement next to you would, I imagine, make it very difficult to distance yourself from.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gulag Tunes

An article over at the Moscow Times has a piece about a new album that has just been released in Russia that blends traditional prison songs with Hawaiian style surf music.

The cover deipcts Stalin wearing a necklace of skulls in place of a more traditional Hawaiian lei.

The album's creator, Mikhail Antipov, was surprised this had never been done before, stating the idea

"is lying on the surface. It's an obvious thing."

Antipov did face some difficulties in trying to get permission to use some of the songs.

"He recalled that one songwriter, Iosif Aleshkovsky, who now lives in the United States, said, "Go to hell," and hung up the phone when he heard the name of the record company, which means "Union." "It brought up some bad associations," Antipov said."

Brilliant. Next I'd like to see an album that blends nationalist Iraqi songs of protest against foreign oppression with some good old fashioned yodelling.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Art of Procrastination

There really isn't any particular purpose for this post, except that I came across this:

a few days ago and decided that a hot woman on a pier with a pun was worth sharing.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Good Book and a Hot Cup of Tea

A little while ago Snaz and I were at my parents’ house for the weekend. We had taken Anne of Gables on dvd with us to watch while we were there. I hadn’t seen it since I was a young and impressionable teenager. As the first line was spoken Snaz and I both burst into tears and continued to cry through the entire film. I think we provided as much entertainment for my parents as the film did.

I can’t remember how old I was when I first saw the film but I do remember quite vividly that it was the first time I fell in love. I fell heart achingly, head over heels in love with Gilbert.

Watching the film again made me think that I had probably also had a bit of a girl crush on Anne. She was strong, and intelligent, and always followed her instincts no matter how hard it was. Often, it meant making decisions that were neither comfortable nor easy.

Over at
Read Alert there has been an ongoing discussion about strong female characters in children’s books. It’s easy to forget how much children learn about life from the books they read. For young girls, reading about strong and independent heroines is immensely important. They can provide inspiration, but also refuge and solace. Recently, while reading Little Women with Jelly, Snaz, Lili, and Munkey, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who had felt this way.

These days, when I go to bed, I generally take with me whatever book I’m in the middle of reading for my thesis. Recently it was a book about WW1. After I dreamt I was drinking tea from fine bone china with Field Marshal Haig in the middle of a field full of dead soldiers, I thought I should probably change my night time reading habits. So I started reading The Story Girl by L. M. Montgomery again.

The Story Girl is another example of an incredibly strong heroine who defies convention and continually expresses herself with honesty and confidence, and, like Anne, courageously weathers the criticism and misunderstanding of those less inclined to stand apart from the crowd.

In all my reading and research over the past few years I’d forgotten how insightful and uplifting books for children and young adults can be. It’s far too easy to become attached to one’s own cynicism and forget what it was like to just delight in beautiful prose, warm hearted story telling, and the thrill of falling in love.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Girls In the Israeli Army

Snaz sent me a link to this site the other night. It is a collection of photographs taken by Rachel Papo of girls being trained in the Israeli Army. The images are beautiful and often quite sad. Rachel’s statement about her photography is here and articulates the mood and ideas she was trying to explore.