Monday, November 29, 2010


The theremin is one of those things that is just so fascinating, it kind of blows my mind. The theremin is an electronic instrument that is played without actually touching the instrument. Two metal antennas sense the position of your hands, one hand controlling frequency, and the other controlling volume. It is very challenging to control pitches on this instrument, and you can tell by these videos just how accurate the hand movements must be, with even the slightest movement altering the pitch of the note. I've never played one, but think it would be fantastic to try. Here are four videos of the theremin that I thought were pretty great.


This video is so peaceful, it's the perfect tribute to the sun on a winter's day.

This makes me want to sit in the sun and soak up it's rays. Or, cuddle with one of these adorable creatures.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

will it get better?

The recent ‘it get's better' videos that have been circulating the web are an interesting phenomenon in many ways. I have trouble with some of the content of these videos, but do think the idea of creating a network of queer expression, allowing people to share messages of self reflection,or whatever messages they want, is a good idea. People have used this project in different ways, but it was originally framed as a project to give inspiring messages to queer youth to encourage them to wait things out until high school is over, and tell them that things will get better for them. When I kept hearing about more young people who were victims of homophobic bullying and took their own lives, I was angry. I was pissed off, and I wanted our whole fucked up way of thinking about gender, identity, and sexuality to I don't want to tell each generation just to wait out their time in school, assuming that children are inherently mean. With each generation, the people change, but the problems of homophobia, racism, and bullying still persist. Even if we teach children that bullying is wrong, we are teaching them definitions of what is acceptable, normal, or ideal. When children bully people who don't fit in this definition, then whose fault is that?

I'm not sure that it’s a great message to tell youth that if they wait it out, things will get better. Of course when contemplating suicide, youth should know that high school is only a very short, and often painful, fragment of your life. Though it may seem to be dragging at a snail's pace and each day may provide new challenges as well as old one's that never seem to go away, before you know it, it will be over. There are always people, somewhere, who will absolutely love you for who you are. When you’re finished school, you have more freedom to pick your own path - you always have a choice to make changes in your life, no matter how hard things may be. You have options right now. Dropping out of high school, taking a break, or switching schools are all options. Though there is a lot of pressure to finish school, when your own life seems like too much to deal with, there are options out there that you can choose. Suicide is never the only option.

When the years of high school are hard to deal with, I don't think that telling youth to wait it out is the best message. Igniting youth with a fierce passion for change is far more inspiring then telling them to sit idly until their problems go away. And that's exactly the problem - that homophobia isn't going away. It's not going to go away, unless people tackle it right now, at it's source. To think that homophobia is only a problem in high school is a complete joke. Where do kids learn this intolerance from? Their parents? Society? They don't invent it, and they don't leave it behind them once they leave school. Yes, some kids regret being bullies later in their life and realize that it was wrong, but we have a systemic problem in our society that needs to be addressed at all levels, because it doesn't go away once school is finished, it just takes on different forms. Some of these videos are just focusing on bullying in general, and while it is good to hear words of encouragement from adults who care about you and what you are going through, that never takes away the pain of being bullied, and being attacked for who you are. Examples of financially successful gay people spreading messages about finding a good job, starting a family, etc., do not speak to everyone. Not all of us are going to get married, not all of us are going to ever fit into roles that are currently accepted in society.

Children are taught gender from the moment they are born. From the very second they enter this world. We teach them what is acceptable. What they should be. Children are taught what relationships look like. That one type out of many, many kinds of relationships is the only one that is okay. I don't believe in teaching tolerance, because it is rooted in a separation of identities, that creates a hierarchy of what is normal and who it is that we’re tolerating. We are all different in so many more ways than is evident to the eye. We should be accepting of people's differences, but we should also teach children that there are many options for them, and whatever they chose to be is not only okay, but it's absolutely great.

Loving yourself is so important. I'm not trying to undermine the efforts that people have made to encourage youth to love themselves. Because it is important. But queer youth won't love themselves unless they love queerness, and they think that being queer is a wonderful way to be. Being part of loving, radical queer communities that aren't going to sit around and wait for things to change sparks a great sense of love and acceptance for who you are.

Encouraging youth to come out is also something that I have a problem with, and have personally struggled with. I am offended by the notion that I need to come out to anyone. No one ever asked me who I'm attracted to, or said that I had different options, and I don't owe it to anyone to tell them anything about my sexuality. We generally don't expect people to tell us information about their sexual preferences, so why is it expected of queer people to make sure everyone knows how they define themselves (if they even define themselves at all)? We don't need to stress youth out about when they are going to come out. Yes, sometimes it does make you feel better to let your family and friends know, and it can be a weight off your shoulders to not be keeping it a secret. But it's not like being queer is a secret you carry until you 'come out.' With each person you meet, you don't re-enter a closet until you tell them this piece of information about yourself. Sometimes it happens to come up in conversation, sometimes it doesn't. You don't owe it to anyone to tell them. Just because you haven't mentioned it yet, doesn't mean you are hiding. Closets only exist in a heteronormative world, and we don't put ourselves into closets. Society creates closets by assuming that if we don't tell people about our sexuality, that we are straight, and if we aren't straight, that we are hiding in a closet. The closet is created by a culture of fear and intolerance, and I don't need straight people telling me that I need to open this door and come out. Though a lot of people don't know that I'm queer, that is only because they never considered it a possibility. I'm already out, and I never came from a closet.

I get inspiration from communities of resistance, collective struggle, and united communities of people who take care of each other. People who refuse to conform, who are full of love, who live with passion for change. I gain inspiration from people who are fierce and angry while being gentle and kind but above all, full of love.

These videos bring up a lot of questions about identity. People aren't just gay. They come from different contexts and merging identities, and these things all effect our experience. Isolating queerness from other identities is exclusive, and isolating queer struggles from other struggles leaves us all stranded. We are all connected and we are all resisting the same system of power. Standing together makes us stronger. If tomorrow, by some miracle, homophobia has evaporated out of this planet, we won’t walk away content, because if we did, we’d be leaving the majority of us behind. We are women, we are trans people, we are poor, we are living under occupation, we are racialized, we are immigrants, we are refugees, we are living without status, we are of many abilities living in an inaccessible world full of barriers. We are never just queer. I am privileged in many ways, and I understand how this effects my position in the world, and connect my queerness (amongst other things) to other struggles. I refuse to partake in single issue queer activism, because it’s selfish, and it won’t ever put an end to homophobia - which is a complex problem that is connected to all forms of oppression, because it all comes from the same place. Struggles with racism, poverty, and living in a patriarchal society certainly don't end after high school. Finishing school is just the beginning, but it is a new beginning, and it can be a fresh start to something wonderful. Nothing is ever immediate, and life is never perfect, but we meet people along the way who give us hope and made us stronger. Life is an amazing journey, and there is always something incredible to look forward to. Just stick around long enough to make it happen, and you will realize how much potential you have to live an amazing life. Whatever struggles you are facing, you are never alone, and there are always other people out there who are going through similar things. Let's not sit around and wait for things to get better, let's meet up now, and get angry! Let's love each other in huge ways, and keep fighting.

I love queerness in its endless forms, including you. I have gained so much inspiration from all the amazing people I've met, both queer, straight, and people who refuse to put a label to their identity. Regardless of age, there is so much we can learn from each other. So feel free to comment, because I'd love to hear what you think. about anything. about the 'it get's better project', about suicide, about identity, about anything. I only barely scraped the surface on some issues, and can now think of many very important things that I didn't scrape the surface of at all. But I'm going to sign off here, and share a video that I came across. It's a video by some amazing high school students. I was really inspired by these awesome people, and it goes to show that it’s not just adults offering success stories to youth to encourage them, but youth can offer so much to us too, and to each other. By resisting, you are already a success, because you are refusing to fall through the cracks and play by the rules that other people have set for you. These youth aren’t waiting for things to get better, they are living incredible lives right now.

Reteaching Gender and Sexuality from PUT THIS ON THE MAP on Vimeo.

Monday, November 22, 2010

dying spark of light

You are a firefly
Trapped in a jar
Your glow a beautiful gem
that anyone
Would want to hold onto forever.
You are a sight of awe
But as you bounce back from the glass
You wonder how anyone
Could just stand there and stare
As you desperately try to escape.

When you realize you are trapped
You have no reason to glow
For this glass is not yours
And does not need to be lit.
With eyes ablaze on you,
you burn out
and fall.

A waste of something beautiful
When people try to hold on
For longer than this gift was given.
A flash in the dark
Was all you were meant to be.

black creek rage

Friday, November 19, 2010



a good excuse to be a clown.

Quinoa stew

vegetble broth
green beans
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans

also added curry powder, cumin, garam masala, basil, oregano

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

How can you hold so close to you
What you once resented.
You speak of it as a part of your identity,
And I suppose it has become so
But you only noticed because it was once missing.

Pulled by rope you tumble to their side
I wonder if you have forgotten
What once compelled you so,
But I don’t think I should ever ask.

The world has tilted and it now makes sense to you
But it makes less sense every day
If you are compelled to question it.

I worry sometimes, that you think down upon
What you have left behind
And it surprises me that once you did understand.
But I don’t think things are ever that simple

We have two different realities
That crash and tumble
As this earth spins around on its axis
And we both see our paths clearly
Two parallel lines that can exist beside each other
And occasionally cross paths.

This earth has no centre
And I’m glad we can all be here.
Your flavour has lost me
And now all I taste is bland.
I don’t know if it was even that good to begin with,
But there’s no sense in questioning
What used to give me pleasure.

My tastes have changed –
In people, places, food, ideas..
What used to excite me
Now just hangs blankly
Like stale aftermath.

Though these long nights feel so wasted
I know I am not wasting away
I feel strength and courage for what is to come
But for now I will not wait.
I will let these moments count
I won’t let the guise of importance
Make this feel meaningless.

A new tremor fills me from within
and I let it take over.
Your existence is mirrored in a feather image
Lightly brushing the past with fine strokes
Of longing and intimacy.
It looks to the future with bright anticipation
Tied to chains it does not yet understand
But wants to break before it does.

Passionate and enthused yet calm
Placidity that seems out of place,
Alluding to the storm that is to come.
A wildness creeps over that surprises even yourself.

Funnelling like a liquid down a drain
You are water and I am molasses
So I let you go on ahead
I’ll catch you later if the moon pulls itself
Towards the earth for awhile.

Never by accident.

Screeching birds hover and swoop,
Excited by your presence.
You were never afraid of them.
A fish falls from the sky
An offering, perhaps
But it is seen as an omen
And people begin to wonder about this strange town
That they hesitate to call home.

On the strangest day of them all
The sky was bright and cheerful
But people left town in a hurry.
I decided to stay for awhile,
Just to see what would happen.
The moon came a little closer
So I wandered out into the starlit open
Of long grasses and weeds
And I found you again.