October 29, 2008

Popular vote in Ky--

We're known as a Red State. All my friends from the Northeast wonder how I can stand living in such a place. My response has always been that I never minded being different from the people around me--I always felt like Kentucky was more diverse, than, say, Boston or Boulder or Seattle. Not racially/ethnically, necessarily, but my experiences lead me to believe definitely income, education, and political view--wise. (Kentucky and Massachusetts, interestingly, are tied for state with the widest spread between poorest and richest inhabitants in the nation). I found this table that shows the popular vote results by county for the 2000 Presidential election.
TOTAL= Gore: 640,123 Bush: 872,141
Of voting citizens, 2 of every 5 Kentuckians that you meet are likely to be Democrat. That's higher than I would have imagined. See? It's not so bad here. I quite like it, actually. What's a little more disturbing (nationwide, not just in KY) is how few people get out to vote. But that's another story.

October 27, 2008

Simple Measures of Success

[wildflowers from Dad's farm, Sept 2005)
I heard a chinese proverb on NPR the other day. Paraphrasing: "if you only have 2 pennies to your name, buy a loaf of bread with one and a lily with the other." I like both the practicality and beauty of that statement. It came just days after I told a friend that my aim in life is to have enough disposable income to be able to treat myself to cut flowers regularly. Having grown up with my uber-green thumbed and talented Ikebana Master (literally, that's her title) Momma, flowers seem missing in my grown-up life. I have lots of pretty plants in my house, but I miss the spot of color and seasonality that cut flowers bring indoors.

October 26, 2008

Ladies! Let's Bike!

A great article that exposes what we all knew was true, but never saw in print before: the worry of helmet hair is actually deterring people from riding bicycles to work! It talks about how gender inequality in the form of what grooming habits are deemed acceptable is having an effect on global warming. I am sad to say that on certain days when I'm expected to look a certain way, I have not ridden my bike to work for this exact reason (not that I'm infallible otherwise...I admittedly don't ride as much as I could/should). How can we change this?! How can we improve the numbers of people who ride to work/school, and the ability to still look/smell great when we get there, and change the expectations of co-workers/clients so that they are more apt to congratulate you for riding to work instead of dissing your helmet hair?!

October 24, 2008

"Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

I just found this blog, and have been "laughing" at some of the content therein. Some "good ones":

October 23, 2008

Early Relationship Classes in UK

I'm all for having more useful classes from a very early age--not just relationship/sex ed classes, but classes on 'how to deal with stress' or pre-emptive health/nutrition classes that go beyond your regular gym class. There's more to learn (and not just more, but more universally important) topics beyond RRR (readin', 'ritin', 'rithmetic).
This is an article from the BBC that talks about what they're beginning to implement there. I particularly like the video because nearly a third of it is the teacher chastising Abdul for not paying attention. Ha ha. I want to see the next lesson!

October 22, 2008

Albania's transgender

This short article from the BBC is a really interesting look at ladies, mostly in their 80's now, who swore to be virgins their whole life, and lead the life of a man.
It reminds me a little bit of how white women in Maasai culture are allowed to do things with women, but all they have to do is put on pants and then they're accepted in the men's crowd, too, even being allowed (on occasion) to watch the male circumcision rituals.
Why is it so uncommon for people to see one another as Person rather than as Man or Woman?

October 21, 2008

Aquariums where you want 'em

You don't have to just have your aquatic friends on a table in a 5 gallon glass tank any more. You can have them in your toilet (an idea that my sister Chelsea actually slavaged a toilet to accomplish as a sculptural peice. She got as far as painting it silver and glittery, making a collage inside the seat lid that read "Where all good fishies go" with arrows pointing down the commode. And there were still-life fishes headed down the commode, but we never quite replaced the water tank with a real fish tank).

Or in an old computer (methinks these flat screens and laptops these days won't quite cut it, though).

And so on...

Oct 24 EDIT: I just saw this one, too, for those who want a small fish hemisphere on their walls.

October 20, 2008

Dance of the Tarantula

Teresa, Mel & I performed for the Wondrous Sunday "Dance of the Tarantula" at the Western Kentucky Botanical Gardens yesterday, with David Rogers' Big Bugs exhibit as a backdrop. Here're some links to excerpts of our 40 min show.
(note that you can watch them in high quality if you like)
Part 1, Struggling in the Web.
Part 2, Veil.
Part 3, Bite Poison.
Part 4, Feast.
Part 5, Rest.
a Flickr slideshow, taken by Mick Jeffries' step-dad who runs the botanical garden.

I first saw the Big Bugs exhibit in Framingham, MA when I first moved up north, four years ago. Performing such a trance-like piece, here in my homestate was very cathartic for me, a sort of 'full circle' representing that all the bad that has happened in the past 4 years can be let go of, and I am free to move beyond, in a new direction. Here's the dragonfly up in MA:

And here it is in KY (you can tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly by the way they hold their wings. The former holds them parallel to the ground while the latter holds them upright when landed):

I had a great day hanging out with Mick & Lucy, Farhad & Mel & Teresa. We got the full Owensboro tour!

Mark & Jordan's Wedding

Drove down to Greenville w/ Tara, Phillip & Ben to celebrate Jordan and Mark's wedding--not the first two-Gaines-fellows-getting-married circumstance, but the first I've been to. They had a small, intimate, and concise ceremony followed by an appropriately luxurious, delicious, and Southern reception. (Mmmm, pies instead of cake! And Ben was excited for a week about the country ham). Someone yelled, "CONGRATULATIONS" out the car window of a van as Jordan was walking down the 'isle'--perfectly timed and funny. The orchids were gorgeous, and everywhere. Lovely seeing other Gaines fellows and their mates & Dan & Wendy, too.
It was funny to drive into Muhlenburg county: 4-wheelers for sale and unlimited fast food restaurants on one side of the street, insurance companies and medical equipment services on the other. So you can have your vices and have the consequences of those vices fixed on the same street. How very efficient and practical. Ha ha. I was amazed to learn that if you use oxygen tanks regularly, these days you have the option to purchase 'flavored' oxygen--this month's special= "spice" aroma. Huh. Some memorable moments from the day:

October 15, 2008

Just like these.

Pleasing to the eye. Mine, anyhow.

Politicians are to Simpsons as...

which reminds me, incidentally of SAT/GRE questions where you fill in the blank
a) violet
b) basil
c) sunflower

which reminds me of an inappropriate and funny pick-up line that a gay friend of mine from college once made up using the same syntax, "Am I [colon] you [colon colon] penis [colon] colon?". Good one, Eric.

Computers distract everyone

No matter where you are.

Favorite Pic from Iraq

I love that it's so tranquil, that you can't tell that it's from a war-torn place: it could have been taken in Kentucky somewhere, almost. And yet, there's something bittersweet about it. The tranquility is about to be disturbed. Also, there's a sense of playfulness that I'm glad to see.

Feeling Rather Better

In the past couple weeks I have had some little occurrences that, together, make my life much more bearable.
1) FlowMingle (Ben's dating site that he's been working on for >1 yr) was launched. Phew! YAY BEN (and Phil and Ben V)! ...a bigger, better announcement on that yet to come...
2) I started taking lexapro (anti-anxiety meds) again. Aaaahhhh--so nice to just be able to focus on what's in front of me instead of worrying constantly to the point of desperation and severe depression about every sucky thing.
3) I had an interview (my only interview in SEVEN months!!!) at the Lexington Healing Arts Academy that went well--I'm still in the running to potentially teach Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology to the massage students there in 2009. It was such a lovely place, and I got really excited about the possibility of spending some time every week working there, using what I know, brushing up on human anatomy, working in a place where the workplace culture is compatible with my beliefs, and so on.
4) I have been looking into PA (physician assistant) school as a possibility: went to an information session, and I spoke with the advisor there who was kind and intelligent, encouraging and understanding of my situation. I would have to apply to start in Jan 2010 which is farther away than I'd like, but the main thing is that I have something to garner my attention and focus now. For a goal-oriented person, this is MAJOR. Being cast out with no direction was virtually unbearable for me. Now I have some direction. What. A. Relief. And while I'm feeling pretty good about this option, I am reminding myself that it's not the be-all-end-all, either: I can continue to look into other options during this next year while I'm applying/finishing prerequisites, etc.

Okay. So in the meantime, I have found ffffound.com, and spent a few hours perusing pictures, taking some self-prescribed time to chill and relax a bit. I found lots of images I want to share. That's what these next few posts will be.

October 11, 2008

Not Entirely Necessary

My friend Dennis Lees--a rock-climbing, music-playing, geek-stuff-loving, good-humored, bright, handsome Irishman who happens to be married to one of my favorite people in the world, Stephanie Coster Lees--has started a blog called Not Entirely Necessary. I have been enjoying every one of his posts so far, and I hope you do too. Make comments if you like what you see/read/hear--and tell him I sent ya. This amazing video that he posted of Imogen Heap mixing some acapella music in real time blew me away. I'm in awe. Thanks, Dennis!

October 8, 2008


Even though I knew what was coming, I laughed every time.

Tiny Books

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with little tiny things. This would have made my day. (Artist Chen Forng-Shean's work at an international Calligraphy show.)