floatingleaf: (Rossetti flaming hair)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] meathiel and [livejournal.com profile] dissonant_dream for the blue dragons!... They're cute.;)

Winter is making its final (hopefully...) stand this weekend, and after trudging through frozen snow for most of the day running errands my legs feel weak and achy. Luckily I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow...

No other personal news to share... but there is something I've been thinking about a lot for the past few days. See, I discovered this blog on intersexuality. Also known as hermaphroditism - but the latter term is seen by some people it refers to as controversial. Anyway... the essence of the matter is that our (Western) culture tells us everyone is born either male or female, except for some extremely rare "birth defect" cases that require immediate corrective surgery. And that is simply not true. )
floatingleaf: (thoughtful)
A disturbing article on how pharmaceutical companies in the US create and "promote" new mental disorders in order to sell more drugs:

http://www.alternet.org/story/153634/7_reasons_america%27s_mental_health_industry_is_a_threat_to_our_sanity/?page=1

Ever wonder why we suddenly have so many mentally ill people in need of drug treatment, including small children?... Yeah, that would be why. If you're feeling brave, read the story of a four-year-old who died of a massive overdose. She had been diagnosed with ADHD AND bipolar disorder, and prescribed three different psychotropic drugs. Yeah, a four-year-old. Why? Because she was "hyper". And even though her parents went to jail after she died, the psychiatrist who prescribed the drugs wasn't even put on trial. She's still treating small children according to the same guidelines, "without any restrictions, penalties or supervision."

And here's the conclusion of the article, which I completely agree with:

When we hear the words disorder, disease or illness, we think of an individual in need of treatment, not of a troubled society in need of transformation. Mental illness expansionism diverts us from examining a dehumanizing society.

In addition to pathologizing normal behavior, the mental health profession also diverts us from examining a society that creates the ingredients — helplessness, hopelessness, passivity, boredom, fear, and isolation — that cause emotional difficulties. We are diverted from the reality that many emotional problems are natural human reactions to loss in our society of autonomy and community. Thus, the mental health profession not only has financial value for drug companies but it has political value for those at the top of societal hierarchies who want to retain the status quo.


In other words, apparently being human is now a disorder. We all need medication that will transform us into unfeeling, unthinking, unquestioning, docile androids. And if it kills us in the process, then oh well... accidents happen. At least someone made a profit.:/

Which reminds me of how a year ago, when I had landed myself in a nasty financial pickle and was feeling pretty crappy because of it, some people immediately suggested that I should seek "treatment for depression". Which, had I done it, would have most likely resulted in being handed a prescription for some mind-numbing pills. It kind of shocked me that this was apparently the most obvious "solution" to the problem in the eyes of those people - but perhaps I understand it better now. Not that I find it any less troubling - but at least I can see where it comes from...
floatingleaf: (sultry)
So there's this new lovely Viggo article in the New York Times Style magazine. Called Viggo Talks and Talks.:D With quite a few nice photos, I might add. You can view the whole thing here (someone kindly provided the link on [livejournal.com profile] viggo_daily):

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/viggo-talks-and-talks/

My favorite part:

Mortensen’s combination of cheekbones and limpid-eyed sincerity has tended to inspire a slightly awestruck tone in journalists over the years. Some of their more breathless accounts of his chilled-out, barefoot demeanor have come perilously close to making him sound a bit of a pill: a parody of the soulful gypsy artiste, all flared nostrils and rippling Kant quotations. Happily, he is not really as oppressively soulful or as grandiose as such reports might suggest. He is earnest, God knows, and his pronouncements on life and art verge, occasionally, on the sententious. But he’s not a preening nostril-flarer. What he brings to mind, more than anything, is your older brother’s hippie friend from childhood — the one who played you your first Velvet Underground album and instructed you in Trotskyist politics.

Yep. That's our Viggo. The one we all know and love. *sporfle*

And now for something completely different - long, work-related rant under the cut. )
floatingleaf: (thoughtful)
I haven't been getting enough sleep lately... mostly because I tend to stay up too late nearly every night.:/ And then I sometimes randomly wake up about two hours before I'm supposed to get up - and can't fall asleep again. I think I need to get more serious about a regular sleeping schedule. As well as regular exercise. I haven't done ANYTHING in that department for a good few weeks.:/ Yes, I do walk a bit every day, since I no longer have a car - but that doesn't, just by itself, constitute a "healthy lifestyle". Basically, I need to spend less time glued to the computer. Which also means posting less often. It's either that, or muscle atrophy and a permanent headache... lol. I know I've been through this before, and I know I can improve my daily routine... but then, after a while, I tend to slip back into the old, unhealthy habits. So, every once and then, I need to give myself a reminder. And now is the time. Because I'm starting to feel crappy, and it just takes any fun out of "doing whatever the hell I want". *sigh* Luckily for me, this weekend we are moving back the clocks - which should help with the sleeping schedule readjustment. But regardless, I think I need to hit the pillows early tonight. As in, around 11 p.m. Yeah, that's early - which is, in itself, kind of disturbing during a work week.:/

So, if you hear a little less frequently from me over the coming weeks, this will be why. And today I just want to share an interesting link before I sign off. I was reading my favorite feminist blog at work today: http://tigerbeatdown.com/. And there was an article about the "war on drugs" and why Western society is so much more approving of alcohol (despite its obvious dangers) than, say, psychedelic mushrooms. The article quotes extensively from a book by botanist/philosopher Terence McKenna, "Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge – A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution". And I find those quotes fascinating. Let me just give an example: )
floatingleaf: (flirty Sinead)
I seem to have recovered from my minor bout of sniffy autumn blues.;) All it took was some nasal spray, medicinal herbal tea, Halls candy, homeopathic pills, hot milk with honey & garlic (grandma's recipe.;) and lots of sleep.:) Also, the sun came out, which definitely helped. It's still chilly outside, but not nearly as bad as it had been (I still sleep in my fleece pajamas, but the space heater is off for the time being). The weather forecast for the next few days looks bright and promising - let's hope it will stay that way through at least part of my vacation... *crosses fingers*

I checked the festival website last night, and guess what? A Dangerous Method has sold out already. I am SO glad I got my ticket in advance!!... *wibbles* It was definitely a wise decision. *nods sagely* ;)

I have tons of stuff I want to talk about, but as usual when that happens, can't make up my mind where to start. How about something funny then? )
floatingleaf: (blue flower)
I've been reading about asexuality again. I've found this site: http://www.asexuality.org. Tons of useful information there, to say the least. I've barely started dipping into it, and I am a little overwhelmed at the moment.;) There are actual DATING SITES for asexual people, btw. Of course, my first thought was, "why on earth would you be interested in dating if you don't want to have sex?" - but then I thought again, and asked myself why I no longer check any of the dating sites I used to be on a few years back. And the answer is, "because I am not comfortable with people automatically assuming that if I like them/interact with them, I will at some point inevitably want to end up in bed with them, too". Read more... )
floatingleaf: (violinist lestat)
We had another power outage at the office today. It came completely out of the blue, since the weather was perfectly fine. It also happened in the morning, before 11 a.m. Initially we were told to stick around while they were waiting for ComEd to show up and fix the problem - so we did some cleaning around our desks, took early lunch etc. But by noon it was obvious that the power wasn't going to come back for the next 2-3 hours, so they let us go home. Which was really a godsend, since I needed a nap after staying up too late night.:P

Anyway... back to last night's topic. I almost forgot to mention another singer/songwriter I accidentally discovered last weekend. I was just checking out one of my customary feminist blogs, and there was a post about a gay music festival. Which included a video of this artist and a link to her download page. She is a cute little baby dyke with an endearingly young voice, as well as smart, funny and thoughtful lyrics. So, without futher ado, I introduce Mal Blum:

http://malblum.bandcamp.com/

Again, you can listen to the full album on the website, and the download is 8 bucks. My favorite song is called Wait Forever, Baby:

I won't wait forever, baby
I won't wait forever, baby
I won't wait forever - not for you

I won't wait forever, baby
I won't wait forever, baby...
But I guess there's nothing else to do


So cute.:) Not a musical or vocal masterpiece, perhaps, but a pleasure nonetheless.:P


Yeah... I think that covers all my latest discoveries. Now, back to Gogol Bordello. I just realized they have a few official videos on their website, and was wowed all over again. I mean, the first clip that plays when you open the video page (http://www.gogolbordello.com/us/official-videos) is this hilarious animated masterpiece that puts most other music videos to shame. I also checked the band member profiles, and found they are a wildly eclectic ethnic mix of like-minded people whose varied cultural backgrounds make the music such a truly explosive blend. Read more... )
floatingleaf: (rockstar lestat)
So, I have this big music post coming up, but I am not quite sure where to start. 'Cause that's what I've been busy doing for the past week or so - downloading music, creating playlists etc. It all started quite accidentally, with a random post by a randomly friended stranger, who was talking about how she randomly walked into a bookstore and ended up with an album she wasn't planning on buying, as well as a link to a free music download given her by the checkout clerk, who happened to be in a band. How awesomely coincidental is that? Well, here's the link in question:

http://theluckyjukeboxbrigade.bandcamp.com/

Only four tracks, but you can listen to them right there on the website, as well as download them for free. I think my favorite is Moroccan Fire Drill, but they're all pretty awesome - especially for a debuting band. Apparently, that was enough to awaken in me a wild hunger for new music - because I've been on a roll ever since.:)

Anyway... what my randomly friended flister described as "this Russian-French blues Piafian swing thing floating through the air" was the music of DeVotchKa. I got very intrigued (I'd heard of the band before, just never listened to their music), and promptly found several albums for free on Pirate Bay. And... yeah. French-Russian-Spanish-Italian-alternative-rock-folk-blues-film-noir-whatever-kinda-thing.;) Absolutely delicious.

But that was only the beginning. The abovementioned post also randomly referenced Goran Bregovic, whose music I have always loved. So I went on a random search for albums/tracks I might not be familiar with. Btw, I heartily recommend the website http://www.soundike.com/. They have nearly everything you can think of, music-wise, for the ridiculously low price of 15 cents per track. I ended up finding/rediscovering an obscure Polish band I never thought I'd hear again after my sister borrowed and lost their only album I had, years ago. But I digress.

All of the above sort of reminded me of Gogol Bordello, whom I had discovered back in 2007 or thereabouts (after watching the amazing film Everything Is Illuminated, starring Elijah Wood and the band's frontman, Eugene Hutz). I had bought the first two albums on CD, and then somehow stopped following the band's further progress for a few years. Until now. So imagine my delight when I found four other albums on Soundike. Now, here's where I am at a loss for words, because I feel like gushing profusely for about three hours, while in fact at this point in time I should already be in bed.:/ So I think I'm going to come back to this later. Let me just toss in the link to the band's official website:

http://www.gogolbordello.com/us/home

You can listen to some of their music on the website, and there are plenty of videos available on YouTube. I had meant to post some here, but I only managed to watch 3 or 4 before my prehistoric laptop "lost display functionality" again.:/ So no YouTube for me.:( Anyway... I'll leave it at that. For now. I can't possibly squeeze the awesomeness of this band into one sentence, and it's too late to keep trying anyway.:P

creeeeeeepy

Dec. 3rd, 2010 11:45 pm
floatingleaf: (sacrilege)
Another mind-boggling example of how religion messes with some people's heads:

http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/149022/creepy_christian_patriarchy_movement_shackles_daughters_to_their_fathers_and_homes/

As in, women AGAINST feminism. Because, you know, feminism is so very bad for you. And, apparently, God doesn't like it. Or, in other words, your daddy and your pastor don't like it - which obviously means that God doesn't like it either. *bangs forehead against the wall*

My favorite quote? (...) prime purposes of feminism are to establish a lesbian-socialist republic and to dismantle the family unit (from the pro-patriarchy website Fathers for Life). God(ess) help me!... I LOL-ed so hard I almost fell off the chair. Not that I would necessarily mind a lesbian-socialist republic... but yeah. Sometimes stupidity is so great it achieves accidental brilliance.:/

My next favorite quote (from the notorious preacher Pat Robertson): feminism is a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians. Now, kindly note the order in which said calamities are listed: "destroying capitalism" seems somehow worse and more terrifying than killing children, but "becoming lesbians" is the ultimate evil. Looks like I started my descent into darkness from the wrong end, LOL. But I often do stuff backwards, so no worries. Now can someone please tell me how to destroy capitalism?... I'd like to get that done before I move on to the witchcraft. Killing children doesn't sound appealing, so I think I'll stop there. Also, no need to leave a husband, since I never had one. See? I messed the whole thing up. I'm not even a "proper" lesbian, since I do get hetero-crushes every once in a while. Maybe I'm just not feminist enough. Because, apparently, heterosexual feminists don't exist (see above). Just like lesbians never have children or start a family. Gahhh. I think I have moved past the stage of being outraged at such vicious nonsense and achieved a state of semi-permanent hysterical amusement. It's a coping mechanism, I'm sure. Otherwise I would probably have to become a terrorist and blow something up. Like Pat Robertson's church, for example.

Yeah. Just this little tidbit to mull over on a Friday night. Will try to catch up on comments/emails over the weekend - no predictable success rate, though.;)
floatingleaf: (halder)
First, a link to an article on Thanksgiving and what it's really all about. Because, unlike my mother who thinks we should celebrate Thanksgiving for no other reason than that "we live in the US now and Americans celebrate it", I chose to actually inquire into the origins of said holiday and decide for myself whether I see a point in celebrating it. And, in all honesty, I do not.

http://www.alternet.org/news/148991/no_thanks_to_thanksgiving/

So, for me, it was just a regular Sunday dinner at my parent's place.:P Which really applies to all the traditional holidays (Christmas, Easter etc.), when I stop to think about it. I don't actually "celebrate" them, as in attach any symbolic meaning to them - I spend them with my parents, because THEY care about them, and about me being there. When I was still in Poland, and my parents already here, I didn't really mind spending those days alone. I actually tried to avoid/get out of holiday dinner invitations by extended family, because I felt much more comfortable by myself, holiday or not. But that's probably just proof of my antisocial tendencies.:P

Second, there's this author meme going around. The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who have influenced you and will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes, and they don't have to be listed in order of relevance to you:

my list under the cut )
floatingleaf: (thoughtful)
Here's another interesting website I recently discovered: http://whatprivilege.com. Plenty of thought-provoking articles on various forms of social privilege - some not easily identified at first glance, but definitely present. For example, I was really struck by this little piece on "extroversion privilege": http://whatprivilege.com/extroversion-privilege/. I am quoting almost the entire thing below, highlighting the parts that totally hit home for me.

First, a definition session since people often use “introverted” to mean shy and “extroverted” to mean friendly. It’s not that simple. )

hmmm

Sep. 25th, 2010 11:57 pm
floatingleaf: (thoughtful)
So, my chiropractor says I basically created another trigger point right there between my spine and my right shoulder blade (in addition to the two at the base of my neck). And I just have to be extra careful not to overwork that muscle. So no lugging heavy bags on my right shoulder. She put some needles in there today, applied some pressure to release the tension in the sore spot and tried to do an adjustment - but my back was too tight for the adjustment to work, so I am due for another appointment in two weeks. In the meantime, I am supposed to do some "cat stretches" and drink plenty of water (it's a good thing to remember that proper hydration can actually prevent muscle injury). The pain has eased much over the past few days, btw, so hopefully it won't get worse again unless I do something stupid (I was VERY careful with the shopping bags today and used only the left shoulder to carry the bigger ones, so I think I'll be fine).

Another thing that looks very promising as a source of long-term relief in the muscle department is this cool website I was directed to by [livejournal.com profile] stormatdusk:

http://www.anatbanielmethod.com

This woman basically invented a whole system of innovative exercises designed specifically to prevent and/or treat chronic pain and repetitive stress injuries - like those sustained by people who spend most of their time glued to the computer screen. Can I just say it's a godsend?... LOL. I got hooked immediately and signed up for this nifty "Desk Trainer" program, where a little animated guy tells you how to move your head/neck/arms etc. for a few minutes to avoid/relieve muscle stifness or pain. It's really cool, simple, effortless and can be done as often as needed. I'll be sure to take at least 1-2 such short exercise breaks every day. There are also CD's and DVD's with detailed exercise programs targetting specific areas of the body. I am seriously thinking of ordering some - but first I will do the free 42-minute mp3 lesson I have downloaded from the website (haven't had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet). If the exercise method is really as effective as the website claims, I should be feeling some positive change after that already. But we'll see. I just really like the holistic approach towards physical/mental wellbeing that those exercises seem to promote. I also like the idea of natural, chemical-free pain relief (like many people in the US, I have become extremely wary of the pharmaceutical industry - "taking a pill" is usually a last resort for me). So I suppose I might really get into this. I'll be sure to share the experience here if that happens.:)

random work-related rant under the cut )
floatingleaf: (violinist lestat)
And now for something completely different. A friend sent me this link - the history of Poland in 8 minutes. A very cool little 3D animated movie. I think it's beautifully done - even though it probably won't give you a hell of a lot of information if you've never studied Polish history. It's a very cursory overview - but I love how realistic everything looks (I don't play video games, so I am still amazed by the wonders of digital animation... lol). I've always been a history geek, and I find the idea of "moving through the ages in fast-forward mode" extremely appealing. If you've seen any similar videos about other countries, please let me know.:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DrXgj1NwN8&feature=player_embedded


And here's another short animated film - done by the same artist, I think. This one is very dark and creepy - but in a good way. The little blurb explaining the plot says: In an old forgotten military base far from civilization, a group of deranged military officers nurture their insanity. - but I think it can also be seen as a pretty good metaphor of our modern culture and its sick fascination with violence and death. Powerful stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7HMz1WKkso&feature=fvw


Oh, and btw, my laptop lost "display functionality" again while I was watching some other related videos... so I need to give it a break from YouTube, I'm afraid. Not that I necessarily have to be watching videos for this to happen - it can be pretty random and unprovoked, as far as I can tell. Just the normal death-throes of a 7-year-old computer... lol. So if I ever disappear from LJ for any extended period of time (like over a week), it will probably mean that the laptop has expired and that I am frantically searching for a good deal on a new one.:) Which I should probably start doing right now, just in case. *nods*
floatingleaf: (zodiac)
This is totally unplanned, but I can't resist. Here's another article. A therapist is talking about the role of innate predispositions - versus outside influences - in shaping our lives.

http://www.alternet.org/health/147676/do_our_personalities_pilot_the_way_we_live_our_lives

What compels me to post it is that the author is using her own personal experience as an example to illustrate her points, and some of those autobiographic bits gave me a few serious OMG THIS IS ABOUT ME moments. Except I never deluded myself that I could somehow become a completely different person if I tried hard enough - the way she seems to have done. I wasn't even aware that the concept of inborn "temperament" had been nearly dismissed by science and is only now making a "comeback". To me, there's nothing more obvious than the fact that some basic psychic core (or "character") is already in existence when a person comes into this world. It is then shaped by said world, obviously - to a large extent, perhaps - but even the ways it is shaped are somehow predetermined. Of course, someone could say this is a convenient excuse to justify your flaws instead of making the effort to work on them - but to me, the very fact that some people need to put this gigantic effort into overcoming something that others don't seem to have a problem with at all is proof enough. By all means, try to get a handle on the traits that are making your life difficult - but don't expect them to disappear just by sheer force of will. Telling people they are capable of that is pure bullshit. Saying: "If I can do XYZ, so can you" is bullshit too, and I apologize if I ever did that to anyone (I know I might have... lol).

But anyway... the author mentions her cat-like tendency to seek "warmth, light and solitude", and finds herself "smiling into the sunshine" while curled up on a comfy old couch with a good book, a steaming cup of tea by her side. That's me right there, basking in the golden afternoon light coming in through my west-facing windows, savoring my hard-earned peace and quiet (my rent almost equals my whole bi-weekly paycheck, so you can be sure the privacy of living alone is worth a lot to me and ranks pretty high on my priority list). And yes, just like the author, I too have a vivid memory of sitting alone in a sunlit room with a children's book in my lap when I was but a few years old. The HAPPINESS of it. 30+ years later, I can still feel it every once in a while. Funny that, isn't it?...:D
floatingleaf: (halder)
Because I haven't posted in over a week, and because I feel like sharing, here's an interesting article on sexuality:

http://www.alternet.org/sex/147677/why_are_we_often_terrified_of_our_own_sexuality/

Yes, this is the kind of stuff I read while at work.:P (At home, I read fanfic.:D) And since I have recently discussed sex-related topics with several different people, including [profile] illuins_lair and that old friend from Poland who uses me as her private long-distance shrink (;D), I thought the above piece might provide some new perspectives on the subject. Written by a guy who describes himself as "heterosexual, but not straight". Hmmm... intriguing. Marianne, I have a feeling you will totally agree with a lot of what he has to say.:D

I wish I could somehow formulate my own thoughts that have been provoked by the above and let them run away with me... but if I try to do that, this post will take hours to finish, and I simply don't have those hours in store.:/ I am perpetually behind on emails and comment replies (I will get there, I promise!...), there is a mountain of dirty dishes in my sink and I REALLY need to be in bed by midnight every day if I want to feel remotely human at 7 a.m. the next morning (stayed up too late last Sunday, finishing a long-delayed email to a friend; as a result Monday was spent in zombie-mode and I dropped like a log around 11 p.m. - which still didn't prevent me from having trouble getting up THIS morning and being late for work yet again :|). So I have to stay really organized and basically take life one thing at a time - otherwise I will loose my tentative grip on reality and succumb to CHAOS.:P

work-related navel-gazing under the cut )
floatingleaf: (pensive Sinead)
So I've been reading this blog... real stories of women who broke free from religious fundamentalism after years of brainwashing and abuse. I found it by pure accident - the blog's founder, Vyckie Garrison, left a comment under an article I was reading on AlterNet.org, with a link to her site. I clicked on it out of pure curiosity - and ended up getting hooked for weeks, devouring the stories with my jaw hanging open most of the time. I had never even heard of the "Quiverfull" movement - let alone that it was gaining popularity in the US these days. Get it: there are actually increasing numbers of people who willingly adopt a "biblical" lifestyle, based on the "ideal" of the wife's complete submission to the will of her husband, as well as the desire to "leave family planning to the Lord" and have as many kids as the Lord sees fit, regardless of how the endless pregnancies might impact the woman's health and wellbeing. Now, at the time when the Earth is seriously overpopulated and poverty in many countries, including this one, reaches a new low. The mind boggles. This blog is a resource for women who have been sucked into this mire and want to get away, or who are trying to find themselves after getting away - a therapeutic retreat and a warning. Click on the link below to read the introductory post by Vyckie, where she explains how the site came into being:

http://nolongerquivering.com/about/

Alarmingly, the women who end up joining this movement are in no way stupid or easily deceived. Vyckie herself, as evident from her posts, is incredibly smart, thoughtful, well-read and strong-minded - and yet, it took a suicide attempt by her eldest daughter to make her start questioning the "rightness" of the life she was leading (despite her own deteriorating health from multiple pregnancies and lack of proper medical care). The site's co-founder, Laura, is another stunning example: raised by TWO LESBIANS (can you imagine a more open-minded upbringing?...), she still somehow managed to get married to a fundamentalist guy, get locked up in an isolated farmhouse and have 11 children, who then weren't even allowed to see their grandmother until she "gave up her sinful lifestyle". Fortunately for everyone involved, Laura "recovered" (after much pain and disillusionment, of course) and is now happily married to someone else, while both her children AND her parents still have a place in her life. Other stories are less positive in outcome. All in all, an absolutely fascinating read. Sometimes I can't tear myself away even if there is new V/O fic popping up on my flist - and that REALLY is saying something.:P

In more mundane news, I FINALLY found THE RIGHT shampoo for my wayward hair. Read more... )
floatingleaf: (thoughtful)
Another excellent article giving a very insightful evaluation of the mess we're all in.

http://www.alternet.org/media/146005/we_stand_on_the_cusp_of_one_of_humanity%27s_most_dangerous_moments

Just a little excerpt below:

The election of Barack Obama was yet another triumph of propaganda over substance and a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by the mass media. We mistook style and ethnicity – an advertising tactic pioneered by the United Colors of Benetton and Calvin Klein – for progressive politics and genuine change. We confused how we were made to feel with knowledge. But the goal, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand for an experience. Obama, now a global celebrity, is a brand. He had almost no experience besides two years in the senate, lacked any moral core and was sold as all things to all people. The Obama campaign was named Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008 and edged out runners-up Apple and Zappos.com. Take it from the professionals. Brand Obama is a marketer’s dream. President Obama does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertisers want because of how they can make you feel.

And another:

The cultural belief that we can make things happen by thinking, by visualizing, by wanting them, by tapping into our inner strength or by understanding that we are truly exceptional is magical thinking. We can always make more money, meet new quotas, consume more products and advance our career if we have enough faith. This magical thinking, preached to us across the political spectrum by Oprah, sports celebrities, Hollywood, self-help gurus and Christian demagogues, is largely responsible for our economic and environmental collapse, since any Cassandra who saw it coming was dismissed as “negative.” This belief, which allows men and women to behave and act like little children, discredits legitimate concerns and anxieties. It exacerbates despair and passivity. It fosters a state of self-delusion. The purpose, structure and goals of the corporate state are never seriously questioned.

I love it when someone expresses my thoughts much better than I ever could.

Also, to top it off, TEH BEST bumper sticker EVAH: PRACTICE ABSTINENCE. NO BUSH. NO DICK. This totally made me LOL, because it applies to me on so many levels.;D
floatingleaf: (pensive Sinead)
Happy St. Patrick's to all the Irish on my flist and anyone else who celebrates it for whatever reason.:) *waves a shamrock*

I am stuck at home today due to yet another plumbing disaster. This is becoming some sort of a neverending saga: if it's not the tub, then it's the kitchen sink, and if it's neither the kitchen sink nor the tub, then it has to be the bathroom sink. This time, it is the kitchen sink. Completely clogged since last night. As in, standing water that has to be scooped out every once in a while, because yes, the dripping tap that has been "fixed" several times already is dripping AGAIN, and so the water level is actually RISING. When I got up this morning, the sink was filled almost to the brim. No way could I just leave it like this and go to work. So I took the day off (at that rate, I'm going to use up all my personal/vacation time by mid-year :/) and called building management. No one picked up the phone. I left a message. Three hours later, I called again. Left another message. No call back so far. The OTHER number I have for maintenance issues is giving me an automated voicemail saying that they're "not available" right now and that they will respond ON THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY - unless it's an emergency. Which, theoretically, it isn't - as long as I am here, scooping the water out every 3-4 hours. Fun fun fun.:/

In other news, I found this random blog entry about Tanith Lee - a British fantasy author I've been reading, on and off, for the past few years. Read more... )

ETA: I finally got a call from the building management, sometime after 2 p.m. The plumber arrived after 5 p.m. He brought several massive pieces of equipment, including a gigantic bucket, and cleaned out the mess in record time. The tap's still dripping, because this is old plumbing and the replacement parts are not that easy to obtain at a moment's notice - but at least the water is going DOWN... Hallelujah.:) I can cook now, without having to worry what on earth I'm going to do with the resulting mountain of dirty dishes (washing them in the bathtub seemed decidedly unappealing... *shudder*). So, on to make a delicious Mediterranean chicken salad (with red onion and pear slices and crumbled feta cheese and walnuts and garlic croutons and all kinds of good stuff, yay). *slurp*

Btw... the three pounds I had previously gained in a week? They're gone. Last week's nervous tension ate them. Give me just a little bit of stress, and my angsty quivering burns the calories off like there's no tomorrow. Guess when I had the best figure? Yeah, during that epically toxic saga of my first "romantic" relationship. Not a healthy way to stay in shape, by any stretch - but I certainly hadn't heard of a wholesome diet at that point in my life, and yet I was skinny as a supermodel. As well as severely neurotic, desperately disturbed and obsessively unhappy, but yeah... the looks, I had them. Not that the price was worth it or anything... but it's a fact of life for me. I only have to watch what I eat when I am in a happy, peaceful state of mind. Weird but true. Just saying.
floatingleaf: (thoughtful)
Just a link tonight. An excellent article that perfectly sums up my present outlook on the world in general and the USA in particular. Not an uplifting vision by any stretch, but sometimes brutal honesty is refreshing. And I find the vicious sarcasm refreshing too.

http://www.alternet.org/news/145840/joe_bageant%3A_americans_are_%22hope_fiends%22_because_honestly_looking_at_the_present_situation_would_destroy_just_about_everything_we_hold_as_reality

Long article, I know, but totally worth it - even if it is, to some extent, stating the obvious. That's precisely the kind of reading material that keeps me awake all those long hours at work.;) (Reading porny fanfic at the office might be too risky, but anything else is fair game, as far as I am concerned - especially if it prevents me from nodding off while staring at the database...:P)
floatingleaf: (green eyes)
And now for something entirely different. I have stumbled upon this fascinating article about emotional abusers. Fascinating because up until now, I wasn't quite aware that this is what I went through at some point in my life, that it is so well defined and has such a clinical term attached to it. Emotional abuse. According to the article's author, it is no less damaging than its physical equivalent - though far less obvious and sometimes hard to detect or defend yourself against. Especially if you're young, clueless and totally inexperienced, relationship-wise - like I was at the time. Reading this article tripped me out, because I kept recognizing one thing after another. I wish could have read it 15 years ago - not that it would have helped, necessarily, but you know. It's just... perhaps it would have made me realize that I wasn't alone in this, and that it REALLY, REALLY wasn't my fault (I know that now, I've known that for years - but I didn't know it back then, and I can't help thinking that MAYBE things would have been different if I did). So anyway... here's the link:

http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/emotional_abuse.shtml

The whole text is rather long, and fortunately only parts of it apply in my case. So I am just going to copy-paste some relevant fragments below.

If you are in a relationship where you have a sick sense that SOMETHING is wrong, but somehow it's always YOUR fault, and you find yourself always tring to "fix" things, this article may be for you. Read more... )
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