Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy (sexy) Halloween

I think Tina Fey got it right in Mean Girls. Lindsay Lohan's character dresses up for Halloween in a scary zombie bride (or "ex-wife") costume, and laments that no one told her that Halloween is really a chance for girls to dress as scantily and sexy as possible.

And I have to admit, somehow my subconscious is buying into it. I went to a Halloween party this past weekend, where the theme was "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Thinking I'd be creative, I went as a Toys R Us kid--you know, "I don't wanna grow up..." However, as I was contemplating how to create this costume, I kept thinking, "but if I do this, I won't look sexy." Hello? Since when is this necessary? Men certainly don't consider that when picking out a costume (and if this is incorrect, men, please let me know). They go for most creative, or simply fun.

I went with a denim skirt, knee socks, and a form-fitting tee (on which I placed the Toys R Us logo and KID in big letters). I looked cute, but I wouldn't say sexy. At the party though, there was a French maid in an itty bitty skirt, a sexy sailor, Tina Turner, Betty Boop, and a couple other amiguous sexy costumes. Yes, there were a few who went for fun--a woman in pj's with pigtails and freckles, an astronaut. But even Ike Turner (played by a woman) was wearing skin tight pants.

And apparently, this idea is quickly flowing from adult culture to girls. An article Tuesday in the Washington Post discusses the costumes being marketed to girls--most including showing much more skin than an 8-yr-old should ever show outside a pool.

Is this a result of feminism? We feel we can't dress slutty for most of the year, so we do it on Halloween? We're repressed normally, so we take the chance to let it all out one night of the year? There is something about a costume that allows you to be more adventurous than we might normally be--the idea that "it's not me, it's the costume," but I think somehow we've crossed a line, especially if we're marketing this idea to girls.

Boys and men are having fun being ninjas, Spiderman, gladiators and Spanish cartoon characters (those last two were present at the party I attended). Why can't girls and women do the same, without feeling the need to make every costume "sexy?"

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Artistic endeavors

First of all, I hope you enjoy my new layout & template. The lighthouse just wasn't working for me anymore. Now, on to the blatherings...

I've been bad this week. For large chunks of time (hours, people) since I got back to NYC Sunday night, I've avoided doing my reading for class in favor of working on a new art project.

It all started innocently enough. I was on the bus, bored as usual but not wanting to sleep, so I pulled out one of the magazines I bought for research on my senior project. It was a new discovery called Cloth Paper Scissors and features mixed-media projects and artists. Well, I dog-eared a few pages, but one project looked so great I knew I need to start right away: a recycled-book sketchbook. Perfect for sketching out senior project ideas!

Tuesday morning I went out and bought the glue and gesso I needed. I put the bag on the common room table where I could see it and use it as motivation to get my homework done as fast as possible. Reward systems work for me, what can I say. Bare minimum done, I started the book, figuring I could finish that evening, allowing the glue to dry during class.

Well, unforunately gluing every 3-4 pages together of a 160-pg book takes a while. It took me about 4 shifts just to glue. Then there's the gluing of the collage on each new thicker page, and THEN you get to gesso over that.

So last night as I watched a fabulous Josh Beckett (I love you!) take the mound in Cleaveland for a 7-1 win over the Indians--on to game 6!--I managed to gesso the whole book.

Now, as I think about my weekend plans and homework responsibilities, I am pondering whether to just leave the cover as is (with title of recycled book in view on spine) or invest some more time and energy into gluing some fabric on it....what do you think I'll choose?

Oh, and on an "it-could-only-happen-to-me" note, I somehow managed to get poison ivy in Brooklyn and a splinter in my toe while wearing shoes and socks. Seriously...

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And this is why I feel the need to be "evangelical"

The UCC website reported recently on a study released by The Barna Group about young people's attitudes on Christianity ( It's not pretty, but it's not surprising. One of the reasons I feel called to ministry is to share my relationship with a God who loves all of us, and to share what may seem to many as a radical Christian faith.

For a long time, I was one of those young people who didn't want to call myself Christian. The majority of Christians that are in the media, that get seen by the general audience, don't represent my beliefs. It is no wonder the young people in our country see Christians as anti-gay and narrow-minded--those are the only voices we hear. We hear about male Christian pastors caught in relationships with other men who after a few weeks of therapy are "cured" of their homosexuality (nevermind the fact that adultery was committed). We hear about bishops of a major mainline Protestant denomination deciding to "exercise restraint" and not consecrate partnered gay bishops, as well as promising not to authorize "any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions." We often hear of prominent Evangelical pastors preaching on the "immorality" of hosts of things from Harry Potter to education about contraceptives.

And this is why I feel the call to ministry, and this is why I call myself Christian, and this is why I call myself evangelical (notice the lowercase "e"). Evangelical means telling the Good News. A group of Christians have co-opted this title to basically mean bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ as Savior--or else. Well, I'm taking it back--the name Christian, the title evangelical. I want to share the Good News of Jesus who shared meals with outcasts and "sinners." I want to share the Good News of the realm of God in which there is food for the hungry, freedom of the captives, and justice for the oppressed. I want to share a love of God which is so powerful, so encompassing that we can ever do anything so bad that it would make God stop loving us (this is not to say God does not get angry or pass judgment, however--but that's another topic for another time). I want to share a faith that welcomes the imperfect, the doubting, the questioning, the hesitant.

And most of all, I want to let people--and especially young people-- know that not all forms of Christianity are anti-gay, judgmental, and hypocritical. Yes, all organized religion has its problems and shortcomings, and we are no different. But there are Christians out there, like me and like many of the people I know, worship with, and go to school with, who embrace a much more welcoming message.

And we need to speak up.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Just call me an artiste!

It continually amazes me how much I can get done by procrastinating. No, no, not the stuff I should be doing--everything else.

Here I am on a beautiful fall day in NH. Due to lack of motivation this weekend, instead of just having a vacation, I've been left with a paper to research and write before Thursday. I've managed to look through two books, read a total of about 20 pages, and written nothing.

I have however vacuumed, raked the lawn, done work for my internship, read last month's Glamour, played with the cat AND the dog, and cooked (and eaten) two meals. I'm not sure why I tend to choose housework as my procrastination tool, but I do. This past Sunday I managed to do five loads of laundry, thoroughly clean the common room, re-make my bed and vacuum part of my room before 1pm. Notice that none of that at all involved schoolwork. Hmmm...

Well, now that I've successfully updated my blog, I suppose now it might be time to do some more studying. Oh, wait, I need to bake those raspberry bars for Mom...

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Virtual childhood

I saw a commercial last night for a new toy that left me a little incredulous. It's made a company (who shall remain nameless) I recognize as generally having good toys for kids: fun, developmentally appropriate, and many times educational as well.

They have come out with a new toy, however, that makes me wonder if kids growing up now will remember how to actually do anything in the real world, as opposed to the virtual world. The new toy, through an electronic drawing pad and a computer, allows kids to virtually paint, draw, and create an array of fun crafts including (as shown on TV) a crown and paper flowers.

Hello? How about sitting the child down with a smock, water colors and some paper and letting them have at it in real life? Sure, it's a little more messy, and unless you're using a coloring book, the horses sometimes look like castles and vice versa, but that's part of the experience! Pipe cleaners and tissue paper make great flowers!

Look, in my opinion, kids (and let's be honest, adults as well), spend way too much time in front of screens already. Don't put their art and creativity there as well!

Besides, does anyone else think that by creating art on a computer and then printing it off, kids miss out on the tactile and sensory fun that goes along with arts and crafts? The cool color the water turns when paint colors mix. The smell of crayons, and the feel of the paper wrapping . Holding scissors and trying to make them go the right direction. The sound of stamps going back and forth from ink pad to paper, ink pad to paper. Glue--the smell, the squishy-ness, and the way it peels off your hand like skin when it's dry. The marker-stained hands, arms, and faces worn like a badge of honor for art worked hard for.

Life is messy and meant to be touched, tasted (who didn't taste at least one art supply as a kid?), seen, smelled, heard and felt in many ways. It's not meant to be experienced all nice and sterile in front of a screen.

Excuse me now, I've got to glue some pom-poms and feathers. Just because!

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