Friday, November 27, 2015

My Christmas List

I'm at a point in my life where when I want something, I find a way to buy it for myself. It might take a minute, but I'll get it. When I have to put a list of gift ideas together for my loved ones, I include items like this amazing shirt. In real life, I won't buy myself a $25 t-shirt. However, if someone were to buy it for me? I'd wear it all the time.

I'm one of those those people--I don't like giving or getting gift cards, even though they're easy to buy and can be very useful. I always want my gifts to mean something and I want someone who gets a gift from me to know that I know them. I know, it's annoying.

This year, my list has a few frivolous t-shirts and other items on it-- and I would be tickled to receive any of them-- but I also added some of my favorite organizations in Kalamazoo so people can make a donation for me. I've never been the type to ask for donations for a gift. I don't know what happened to me this year, but I can't really think of anything else I want besides things are cost insane amounts of money. I can't really ask people to donate to the Human Fund, ya dig?
These places are doing so much for our community and are mostly run on donations and volunteer power. That's pretty badass. Here they are, in case you're looking to do the same and need some ideas:

1. Clean Water for the World because I love the work they do.

2. RAWK: Read and Write Kalamazoo because I'm still an English teacher nerd at heart and RAWK helps create new reading and writing nerds.

3. Peace House because I love the East Side of Kalamazoo and so do they.

4. KGLRC: Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center because I've worked with hundreds of youth in the community over the last decade and many of them have received amazing resources from the KGLRC.

5. Animal Rescue Project because of our fur babies.

6. Educating for Freedom in Schools because I love their approach to curriculum and schooling. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Favorite Podcasts for Morning Dog Walks

I've been working to get my morning routine down before the depressing gray of winter hits me. There are two things I look forward to each morning: Yoga with Adriene (more on that sometime soon) and walking the dogs while listening to podcasts.

I switch my podcasts up every few months depending on what's being updated on a regular basis. These are the five podcasts I'm diggin' on these fall mornings:

I've been listening to All Songs Considered since my undergrad (lots of years ago now). I used to go to the computer lab on campus, work on a paper, and stream the show so I had good study music. The podcast is fun-- sometimes they have artists take over as DJs, the music always keeps my attention, and Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are a genuine music nerds, always looking for gems to share with listeners. Recently, they interviewed Carrie Brownstein about her memoir and the reason it was awesome is because it was two music lovers sitting down with a musician who isn't afraid to talk about her love of music. Ya dig?

Snap Judgment has replaced This American Life for me. I first loved Snap Judgment because of their Spooked episodes. I like scary stories all year long. It's not just the Spooked episodes though. The stories are edgy and cause driveway moments. Over the last few years, I've heard every episode and now I just listen to the new ones-- those are coming out every few weeks. Sometimes, the episodes are hit or miss, especially when there is a fictional story thrown in the mix. It's still one of my consistent favorites. 

Popaganda is Bitch Media's "feminist response to pop culture" and it releases two types of episodes: Backtalk, in which Sarah Mirk and Amy Lam review what's happening in pop culture that week and what they're diggin' on in pop culture. These are my favorite episodes because they keep me posted on what's happening with pop culture through a feminist lens and because Sarah and Amy are funny. Amy does a white feminist siren that cracks me up every time-- very similar to the misogyny siren I used to play in my classroom when we had discussions about hip hop. I feel like we'd be friends if they lived in the Midwest. Other episodes dive deeper into pop culture topics-- a recent (to me) favorite of mine is about YA books

I started listening to this podcast when I did the Whole30 in September. I love that the whole family is behind this quirky podcast--Michelle, Henry, and their kids are really cute. I'm learning so much about eating paleo, especially when you're busy or think you're too busy to focus on eating what's good for you. When I first started Whole30, I thought people who live a paleo lifestyle were missing something (like bread and cheese, obviously). However, now that I know living paleo makes my body feel good, I need tips and this podcast has some good ones. 

Risk is like an uncensored Moth. Depending on the day, the host Kevin Allison's voice either grates on my nerves or makes me laugh, but the stories on this podcast always hold my attention. Big props to Kevin Allison for that! These are real people taking a risk by sharing stories they never thought they could. It's definitely not something to play in the car around your kids, but it's a great one for walking your dogs by yourself.

I'm glad my motivation to walk the dogs is as simple as good podcasts. Fer reals. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Speakers Droppin' Knowledge All Over My Town

Last Monday, I heard from Ta-Nehisi Coates and he dropped truth bombs all over the audience. It was awesome.
His talk left me feeling super hyped-up about organizing in our community. My absolute favorite quote from his talk, one that will stick with me forever is this:
"The struggle against white supremacy is not only the struggle of those who live under others' boots."
That's something we need to remember, especially when this is happening. In 2015. 

Friday, I heard from Gloria Steinem. Coates and Steinem in one week?!? In Kalamazoo, MI?!? Let me tell you, I felt like Babe Pig in the City. Gloria Steinem was a reminder of why I do what I do. Her words didn't move me like Coates', nor did they--at times--feel as well-researched. But at eighty-one, she's got some life-research under her belt, so I can't fault her.
Gloria Steinem is fiesty and full of energy. When someone said their son wanted to know if he could be a feminist, she said:
"Abso-fuckin'-lutely." Bwahahahaha

Here are some other knowledge bombs from Gloria Steinem's talk in Kalamazoo:

On truth-telling, even when it is hard: "Every movement needs a big dose of truth-telling, because that is the basis of consciousness change." and "We have to support each other into truth-telling." 

I hope every mansplainer and whitesplainer hears this at least once in their lives: "If you're in a situation where you have more power than the people around you, make sure you listen more than you talk. If you have less power than the people around you, make sure you talk more than you listen." 

On race: "Understand that if we made it up, we can unmake it up."

On intersectionality (or being intertwined): "Imagine we are linked, not ranked."-- This tidbit can be found in bracelet form at Maiden Nation.

I'll leave you with this:
"Worry less about what you should do and do everything you can."
That's an important self-care piece we forget sometimes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Best Parts of Master of None, Season One

When I'm into a TV show, I'm INTO a TV show.

I binge-watched Master of None this weekend and now I want to talk about every episode. Since no one around me has yet finished season one, I'm breaking this first season down to my favorite part of every episode because this is the best show I've seen in months and I'm sad that I watched it too fast.
I also made a playlist for myself on Spotify of all of the music from this season... check it out here. I'm a little obsessed right now. Please tell me your favorite parts too! I want to talk about this show!

Episode 1: Plan B
This whole episode won me over, especially because I've been thinking about the pros and cons of kids lately, but can we talk about Dev's hypothetical daughter putting ketchup and mustard on the iron?
That ish was hilarious. I looked up who was writing this show besides Aziz Ansari because I feel like there must be some knowledge coming from women. I've been having the same inner struggles about kids lately. No women credited as writers. It's Ansari and Alan Yang. Who are their lady friends that they talk to for this info though? I want to know them.

Episode 2: Parents
I related to this episode so much. The scenes in the beginning of the episode that give a glimpse into Dev and Brian's parents' lives before they come to the States were the best. I wish I had that. I've also had the feeling that both characters express throughout the episode-- they want to know their parents' stories and to thank them for all of their sacrifices, but they don't know where to start. I've never known what to do except say thanks, but the guys take their parents out to dinner. Maybe I'll try that sometime.
Best conversation from the episode:
Dev: Mom what about your first day in America, that must have been pretty exciting.
Dev's Mom: No. I just got dropped off from the airport and your father went to work, I didn't know nobody and I barely knew your father. We had an arranged marriage and I knew him only for a week or so.
Dev: Well what about that first day though? Did you go out and explore the city?
Dev's Mom: No, I sat on the couch and cried.
Dev: Well, that's really sad.
Dev's Mom: You asked!
Dev: Is there anything else you remember?
Dev's Mom: Yeah I was scared to answer the telephone because no one could understand me because of my accent.
Brian's Dad: I was scared of answering the phone too. They yell so much! "What?" "Huh?" I just got to this country. Why are they so mad?

Episode 3: Hot Ticket
Dev tries to put the moves on Rachel and gets shut down.
He responds genuinely and awkwardly. When he goes to hug Rachel but she hesitates, he says, "I've been up in those guts." That was hilarious.

Episode 4: Indians on TV
First, this hat.

Second, this conversation, which felt like one I've had with my friends:
Dev: People don't get that fired up about racist Asian or Indian stuff. I feel like you only really risk starting a brouhaha if you stay something bad about black people or gay people. I mean if Paula Deen had said, "I don't wanna serve Indian people," no one would really care. They'd just go back to eating their biscuits.
Denise: Yeah, but Paula Deen didn't get in trouble anyway. She gave some fake ass apology and then went back to making fatty foods.
Dev: True, but, she did have to apologize, right? Like she had to go meet with Al Sharpton. I mean, that's kind of the punishment, right? You've gotta find Al Sharpton and have to eat with him or whatever. We don't have a person like that. Who are you supposed to meet with? Deepak Chopra? The Indian dude from No Doubt?
Brian: Yeah, but who's my guy? Steve Aoki? George Takei? He's busy with gay stuff.
Denise: Who's my girl? Like Oprah? Or Beyonce? Oh shit, I've got the heavy hitters. Nevermind.

This show isn't afraid to real talk about race and I like it. Nothing is black or white in Master of None when the candid conversations about race happen. The show does a beautiful job of highlighting the gray that so many people of color face in our society. And it's funny!

Third, this quote: Private racism becoming public racism that gets fools fired? That's so bomb.

And lastly...Tastee!

Episode 5: The Other Man
Dev sleeps with Claire Danes' character because of how he treats ice cream. Ice cream. I love it. I mean, there were probably other reasons if you want to read into it, but for me, it was because of ice cream.
When Dev recognizes that it's her husband in the ice cream shop. Classic Aziz face.

The delicious looking ice cream Dev doesn't get to eat. I've recently given up dairy fer reals because of my lactose intolerance, so this just looked delicious to me.

Dev's face when the husband throws the ice cream away. Another classic Aziz face. 

Episode 6: Nashville
The Baby Justin scene in the hotel room.
It felt like something the Hubs would do to me. It felt like a more real flirtation than the way flirtation is usually portrayed on TV. It didn't make Rachel out to be a the stereotypical manic pixie dreamgirl (sorry Nathan Rubin). She's just goofy, like so many of us.

Episode 7: Ladies and Gentlemen
The whole first part of this episode before the credits was spot on. The experience of two dudes walking home from the bar compared to one single lady walking home was relatable. I asked myself again, who is writing this show? Aziz can't be this in touch with my life! But I Googled it again, especially because the show blew up last weekend and everyone is writing about it and yep, it's still two guys-- Alan Yang and Aziz Ansari. Who are their friends?!

Especially when she does this:
How many of us have done this or walked with your keys in between your fingers so you could scratch a potential rapist/kidnapper/murderer in the face?

Episode 8: Old People
One word: Paro

Episode 9: Mornings
This scene about cleaning between Rachel and Dev... another exchange that felt very real and made both characters more real. The fight wasn't ridiculous, it was one that people face when they move in together.

After she picks up her clothes, Rachel says, "What are you gonna do there anyway?"
He says he's going to hold a plank pose.
I wish all stupid fights about cleaning ended like this. 

Episode 10: Finale
At the beginning of the episode, Dev and Rachel attend a wedding where the bride and groom make every couple around them feel bad about the state of their relationship. You can't say that's never happened to you. Sometimes we spend too much time comparing ourselves to other couples instead of being really in our own relationships. The whole talk about marriage Dev has with Benjamin near the end of the episode is real talkin' at its best. In our eighth year of marriage and thirteenth year together, I've got to say I agree with what was said in this scene 100%.
The end of the season didn't make me feel disappointed-- I was happy that the message wasn't that you must find a relationship to be happy, rather, you've got to figure yourself out, you can do that on your own, and that's okay.

Here's a hug for all of you waiting a year for Season 2:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tunes for Tuesday

I'm making a concerted effort to post more. Over the next month-ish or so, I've made a vow to get out of my head and back on my blog on a more regular basis. I've been working on several longer posts, but not following through on completing them. This little writing project is for me to get back into my writing habit.

I'll be going back to Earworm Wednesday, which I've decided to rename and move to Tuesdays because I was only posting songs I liked, not annoying songs that got stuck in my head. Plus, every time I thought more about the word "earworm" I got grossed out by the mental imagery.

I'll be posting about movies and shows I've been devouring lately. Master of None, anyone?

I'm going to post some teaching resources too, because I have eight years of pretty good ish and I want other like-minded teachers to have my stuff fo' free.

Maybe I'll do some throwback AOL Instant Messenger/MySpace questionnaires. Do you remember those?!

Please excuse my excessive posting. Or... come along for the ride.

Today's Tunes for Tuesday are from the Dope soundtrack. Pharrell Williams is winning at life even more after writing the songs for the fictional band Awreeoh in this movie AND curating the soundtrack. I've been obsessed with the it ever since we saw the movie a few weeks ago. The movie moved me. The song below, Go Head, is just fun. It's on my workout playlist now and it makes me smile when my day isn't going well.

The other song I loved from the Dope soundtrack (one I've loved since it came out) is Kendrick Lamar's i. A sample from the Isley Brothers and some powerful messages from Kendrick Lamar?Noice. 

Last song from one of my favorite scenes in Dope is Home is Where the Hatred Is by one of my favorite artists: Gil Scott-Heron. I was already happily into the movie when this song came on and the scene won me over completely. 

Have a great Tuesday.

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