Sunday, August 17, 2008

Controversy

My last couple of posts have been a bit frivolous, and that's ok, because there is a time to joke, and a time to be serious. I'd like to take a bit of a turn from my usual zaniness and write about something very serious and extremely important.

Many of you are no doubt enjoying the Olympics this summer, I know Jon and I are. It's difficult though, trying to enjoy the Olympics when there is the black cloud of controversy and oppression hanging above the games.

I'm talking about the controversy that surrounds Women's Gymnastics. All around the world, from decades past millions of girls are plucked from their homes at a tender age and forced by their parents and coaches to...



...wear scrunchies. That's right, these poor girls are forced to don these extremely outdated accessories while they train and compete. Everyone knows that no girl above the age of 9 and living outside of the 1980's has any business wearing a scrunchie (we'll be a little more lenient with the Chinese gymnasts because they are nine), and yet the oppression continues.

One wonders if this travesty has any affect on the performers themselves. Luckily enough, I have had the opportunity to get in touch, via email, with a USA gymnast who wishes to remain anonymous and this is what she had to say:

Does it affect my performance? Of course it does. I consider myself a fashionable person who otherwise wouldn't be caught dead in such a hideous hairpiece, but I am forced to wear one whenever I compete. As soon as I step out there, I see all eyes on my scrunchie and I start to lose my concentration. It gets in my head and once that happens, it's difficult to regain control of my focus. Not to mention the fact that my equilibrium is completely thrown off by the extra weight. It's getting to the point where I have to wear them all the time if I want to maintain my competitive edge. It's really been a struggle to overcome. Thankfully though, the world of gymnastics is making strides in the right direction, we are no longer forced to wear glitter or "mall bangs," and it's changes like these that make me hopeful for a scrunchie-free tomorrow.

And there you have it. It's nice to see that in the face of such opposition, this particular gymnast is so willing to hope for the future. I'm not sure that I share that same hope. As you can see from these pictures, scrunchies are an epidemic that has a very strong hold on the gymnasts of today.

Here, Nastia Liuken and Shawn Johnson grasp hands in empathy for the struggles they share as fellow athletes and friends


This picture shows that the US is not the only country where this oppression continues today


This is almost reminiscent of Hitler's reign


Here you can see the scrunchie having such a negative affect on this gymnast's balance that she actually has to hold her arm out in an attempt to regain her balance, almost causing her to fall and risk injury.


Here you can actually see the shame on one of the athlete's face
as the others look on in sympathy.




These women might be considered quite lovely without the ugly masses of fabric surrounding their ponytails, but the real tragedy is that some girls are actually mimicking their behavior because they don't know any better. I worry that we will see many more scrunchie laden years before the awful cycle is broken.

Please, I urge you to do all that you can to stop this virus from spreading. Contact your congressmen and alert them to this heinous crime forced on women, and maybe together we can make the future brighter and more fashionable for the daughters of the world.

Thank you so much for your support and for reading about this cause that is so close to my heart.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Words

Phrases I love:

Reckless Abandonment--it's just so much anarchy in one little phrase!

And some punctuation that I can't get enough of:

?!?! or the reverse !?!?! the first being used at the end of an overly emphatic question, and the latter at the end of an emphatic statement with a hint of question. Very useful, and I find that they allow me to express myself better.

Words that I love:

Nefarious-- I absolutely love this word, but I find it very hard to work into conversation.  I've tried, many times, unsuccessfully.  

Evidently-- I always think that something funny is going to follow this word.  Seriously--try tilting your head, raise your eyebrows and say it with a smirk--and then try not to laugh.  it's not possible.

Unhinged-- this word gives the best visuals.

Awkward--it really is.

Terms I invented and their definitions:

Kid Noise:  The noise that accumulates as a result of having kids around.  More specifically that which comes from the television, radio, or toys.

I've had too much kid noise today, I need a break.

Words that are completely overused:

Raw
Fierce

Words that are on the bullet train to overused town:

sick (as in super cool)

Words that are misused (and quite frequently) annoying me greatly:

Deconstructed  --Deconstructed does not mean unstructured (without formal organization or structure), and it has no place being used to describe haircuts or modeling poses.  Deconstructed is a literary term that describes a relatively vague concept that is used to analyze literature--not hair.  The official definition of Deconstructed is: "to take apart or examine in order to reveal the basis or composition of often with the intention of exposing biases, flaws, or inconsistencies"  or in other words, within the constructs of a particular literary work, lies the ability for it to be undermined  (see what I mean about vague?).  So please stop confusing the two (if you have never heard this done, you will start to notice it, I promise).  

Phrases that are Magical:

No Offense
Just Kidding


Just Kidding

Monday, August 04, 2008

Admissions

I am at a point in my life where I am secure enough with my identity to admit a few things, and here they are in no particular order:

Hiking:

I hate to hike.  I know that hiking is supposed to be something that everyone is supposed to enjoy, and when you tell them that you hate it, they act like it is a sin against nature.  Invariably they get this look on their face that says you hate to hike?  How can that be?  Are you saying that you hate outdoors?!?  I mean, if you want to get all hot and sweaty walking around through itchy plants and bugs with the sun beating down on you--be my guest, but it's not for me.  Ironically, when you use the term "hike" to describe a distance it is generally a negative connotation, as in I had to hike all the way up here from my house.  Or it's quite a hike from here...  And yet when it's used in reference to the canyon, suddenly it becomes a positive thing...

Dogs:

I'm so over the dog thing.  A couple of years ago, I really wanted a dog.  And then two things happened: I dog-sat for my Mom for the weekend, and then I got my own dog*.  All of the barking and hair and bad smells and poop in the house got really old really fast.  Now I'm to the point where I honestly can't understand people that like dogs.  I think that the "I love dogs" gene goes hand in hand with the "I don't mind messes and dirt and incessant barking" gene, and I was given neither of these genes.  I'm not sure I even like puppies anymore (Gasp!!).  I mean they are fine and cute as long as three inches of plexi-glass separate us, and I'll smile and wave, but really those are dogs in there.

U2 and Dave Matthews Band:

Here's where I betray my generation.  Lately I'm finding that I forward all of the U2 songs and Dave Matthews Band songs on my ipod, and when one comes up, a little groan enters my head partly because I feel guilty for forwarding them, and partly because I want to go on to more enjoyable songs.  This forces me to ask myself-- do I really like U2 and Dave Matthews Band?

iphone:  

I have not recieved the first official "I'm calling Ali on her cell because I can't reach her on her home phone" yet, and I haven't been able to hear my ultra cool custom ringtone as a result.  it's driving me nuts, and I have to keep calling my new number just to make sure it works...

My blog:

I stalk my own blog.  I read and reread and reread my posts.  And then I read the comments, but I always reread my post before I read the comments.  Jon caught me doing this once.  "What are you doing?" he asked.  "Reading my comments" I answered.  "but you are reading your post..."  "...yeah..."  "...but you wrote it..."

The temperature:

I'm upset that it isn't hotter this summer in Arizona.  I want to be able to wow people with my tales of 115 degree or higher weather, but then I check the weather on my computer and it is only 105 and I get disappointed. (I mean while it's already too hot to enjoy being outside, it might as well be impressive, right?)

Books:

I do this odd thing when I am reading a book, I start to think in the same style that the author wrote the book in.  For instance, when I read Jane Austen I think the word "one" a lot, as in "one would think so," or "securing one's happiness."  When I read Uglies  and Pretties I began to use the author's slang: "littlies" for kids and "happy-making" for, well, things that make you happy.  And recently, as I am reading An Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal I find myself compartmentalizing my thoughts into short (hopefully amusing) anecdotes just like I read in her book (hence the style of this post).  Also, I have started writing more in italics because I like the way she does it.

Mirrors:

I still make faces at myself in the mirror.  And then, when I'm done, I look around a little embarrassed that I was just making faces at myself in the mirror.

Silly expectations:

I always expect things to be smarter than they are, like the fly in my car for whom I roll down the window to allow him to be set free, and when he refuses to fly out, I angrily wonder why he would rather stay in a car where he will most certainly die.  Another example is my cat who is not allowed to jump on the counter, and he gets squirted with water when he does, but even after all that, he still meows over and over as he stares at the counter right before he jumps so that I know exactly when to squirt him.  And then I am always disappointed that he wasn't smart enough to mask his intentions.

*this only lasted two very long days, and then she was safely returned to the breeder to be sold to a more tolerant-of-poop-in-the-house kind of person.  I'm sure that she has now found such a place to live.