Monthly Archives: February 2014

Give Your Stuffed Bear to Charity and Kiss Your Childhood Goodbye, it’s time to Grow Up Already

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Give Your Stuffed Bear to Charity and Kiss Your Childhood Goodbye, it’s time to Grow Up Already

“Old teddy bears are pretty gross. They’re all raggedy and worn out.”

Yeah, how ’bout no. As a girl who spent a solid 90% of her childhood in the company of the stuffed, I can personally say this will never be me. My stuffed animals, and I had quite the collection in my prime, were my best outlet for my terminal condition: Over-Active Imagination. (Needless to say I’m still struggling with this reality-threatening “illness”.) My doctor, Aapa, (the giant stuffed dog) thinks I should stop fighting it and embrace it. He says I should make my condition a  strength instead of a weakness. He also says I should start having actual conversations with, you know, like, real people? But hey, one step at a time.

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Family Picture

 

The best part of stuffed animals is that they will never break your heart. Our parents, friends, cousins, brothers, sisters, and everybody we love will eventually let us down. There’s always that one Christmas present we didn’t get, that one friend who kicked you when you were down, that one secret your parents kept when they were trying to protect you. Our favorite stuffed animal was always the one who was there for us. Yes, obviously our parents and family and those who love us were also there, but through the eyes of a child, our best bet for good therapy was grabbing our stuffed monkey (Bongo, for the record) and heading out back.

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Bongo and me
(Family Picture)

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Fetch (the tan one) and Sparky (the real one)
(Family Picture)

I look forward to the day when I bring my own small human home and bestow unto it my old friend, the stuffed monkey. By then, my faithful Bongo will have seen dozens of birthdays, thousands of tears, and maybe a college dorm or two. Sure, his fur will be faded and his tail will probably have been sewn back on a few times, but that’s what makes him so special. No matter how thrashed he got, my mom was always able to fix him. So one day, when my little girl comes running to me in tears holding Bongo in one hand and his tail in the other, I’ll be the one to smile and sew him back together again.

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Happiest Girl in the World
(Family Picture)

Kids need stability just as much as they need change. They need to be constantly on the move, discovering new things exploring, but they need someone to climb the trees and slide the slides with. Someone just big enough to hold tightly and just small enough to drag along behind them. Someone who will always be there. Every kid needs a stuffed monkey named Bongo to make the trials and tribulations of childhood not so trying. And every teenager should have a ratty stuffed monkey named Bongo to remind them not to grow up too fast.

Don’t forget the glitter- iamtheseventies.

Let it Snow (just nowhere near me)

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“The cold is ugly cause you have to wear sweaters, which make me look ugly, and ugh! I just don’t like it.”

My team mate, apparently, doesn’t appreciate the cold. I thought this one was interesting because she says she doesn’t like the cold because it changes her appearance. She doesn’t like wearing sweaters because it makes her look “ugly”. And she wasn’t talking about those ugly Christmas sweaters you brake out for that one Christmas party you go to once a year, she meant sweaters: any and all.

Earlier this year, my best friend Lara and I went snowboarding at China Peak. It was early January and there was no snow, so on the last day we (along with Lara’s mom, dad, and younger brother) went on the most amazing hike of my life. Although we set out in full winter gear, by the end of the hike Jascha, her brother, was shirtless and the rest of us were on our way to joining him. I’m sure we didn’t look “attractive” in our pit-stained shirts and ratty Ugg boots, but we had way more fun than you’d think would be possible on a 9 mile hike through a snowy forest.

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(photo by yours truly)

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(photo by yours truly)

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(photo by yours truly)

The thing about appearances is that it’s defined by other people. You have to look to other people for validation; to make sure you’re parting your hair the right way or wearing sandals with the right shirt and skirt. If we stopped looking outward for validation and just asked ourselves if we liked what we were wearing rather than asking the world, we would probably look, by today’s ridiculously high standards, just that: ridiculous. We would be purely individual if we didn’t take other people’s opinions into consideration.

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(photo by yours truly)

HOWEVER: That’s not the way our world works. Never has been, never will be. The only reason we have friends is because our best friends are the only people who will stand by our side and fight off the world’s hounds from hell and then quietly inform us that no, you don’t wear the Kenneth Cole’s with that dress because it is, you know, mixing genres. There’s a fine line between ‘socially acceptable’ and ‘straight up psychoid’, but if you want to walk that line in a pair of six inch platform boots by all means do so. What ever you do, do it with confidence. I mean, come on, does it really matter if all he ever wears is basketball shorts or jeans accompanied by a simple black jacket? No. Why should it? It all comes back to whether or not you care about the bad things the mean people are saying. And if you do, kid you’re not hearing all the rad things the cool people are saying. Because if you were, you wouldn’t think twice about being your strange and wonderful self.

Don’t forget the glitter- iamtheseventies.

Watch Out for the Exterminator, Spidey!

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“Ahh. Ugly. Well, yes. That’d be spiders. Any and all. Exterminate those ugly bastards.”

An angry friend of mine slipped this into my hearing range while I was asking a group of people the famous “what is something you think is ugly and why?” So. Spiders, huh. Really? Spiders? Couldn’t you have picked something less…repulsive? It’s easy for me to disprove things like garage doors and old people, but spiders? This is going to be a tough one.

Ok. The spider. Um… hairy, creepy, all around freaky- ARGH! Ok get over it already! Spiders rock. They help the environment! Spiders eat lots of other insects like fruit flies and that would otherwise overrun us. They also have really nice legs. Eight of them. And nice long pincers…

Spiders do make really nice webs, I’ll give them that. Once, on a hike in Salt Point CA, I came across a spider’s web early in the morning. It was reflecting the morning light in a way that only a spider ‘s web can. Even unpleasant things can make beautiful ones. Almost like Eric Clapton and his music. He’s definitely not anywhere near my favorite person, but man do I love the Yardbirds.

 

I guess spiders can be cool. They’re pretty dark. I bet if God, or Evolution, or The Creator or whatever you want to call it, had a side-kick, it would have been Tim Burton and he would have invented spiders. Take Spiderman, he’s pretty cool. A kid gets bitten by a spider and then feels the overwhelming need to save New York by suiting up in red tights and shooting silly string our of his wrist. I guess it’s better than a grown man slapping on some hockey pads and a spray painted cape and pretending to be Batman. (there can only be one)

When I was a kid the only TV show I could ever watch was Steve Irwin’s Crocodile Diaries. I wanted to be on his crew that went around wrestling crocs and dancing with snakes. But the one thing I could never do like Steve was grab a giant, hairy tarantula and hold it in my hand while I played with its fangs. Steve was fearless. He had the highest respects for anything and everything that moved. So, in memory of Steve Irwin, the first huge influence on my small life, I will try to learn to appreciate spiders. (I almost said ‘learn to love spiders’ but I doubt that day will ever come. Sorry, Steve.)

Don’t forget the glitter- iamtheseventies.

Freedom of the Road

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Freedom of the Road

“I think cars are ugly because they pollute the Earth.”

Yes, but not all of them. Today we have to worry about our fossil footprint and what hurts what and if we can even afford this gasoline that kills the fun of driving. It used to be that you could get a car when you were 16 and have the time of your life. Nope! Not anymore! In the FABULOUS 21st century, IF you can afford a car when you are 16, it’ll probably be an old model which breaks often and needs constant repair, guzzles pricey $4 gas, and is a clutch that you don’t even know how to drive because everything around you is automatic.

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Probably what my first car will look like
(Photo by Ivar Ivrig)
http://www.ivarivrig.com/2010/05/26/rusty-old-cars-v/

Or, if you’ve got the dough, you can splurge on an environmentally friendly car that runs on electricity, doesn’t have parts that break, and is so quiet you can easily pass as a ninja. But if you’re like me or just about any average person, option two is way out of the price range. So if cars are so expensive and troublesome, why do we even bother?

Well the obvious answer is transportation. We need an efficient way to get from point A to point B, and the car is the optimal solution. But other than that, what appeal do cars have? The answer: Freedom. Remember how it felt getting into the driver’s seat of your very own car? (Or how you dream of that day.) Owning  car is the first time our parents put something of real value into our hands and toss us the keys.

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(Photo by Doug and Theodore Kearley)
http://www.shorpy.com/node/9087#comment-103010

A car of your own. Something that is yours to take care of and love. You can go where you want when you want. It’s a real test of responsibility;  our first real chance to prove to our parents that we are more than capable of handling ourselves, thank you very much!

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My mom’s worst nightmare: Heath Ledger with the keys to James Dean’s car.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arethusa33/2520312077/sizes/m/in/photostream/

This is one of those situations where we know something is bad and harmful to the environment but we keep doing it anyways because we are so used to it and often don’t have a better choice. It makes me honestly very sad to know that I’ll never get the teal 1975 Dodge Ramcharger of my dreams because it’s a gas guzzling car seven times to big for the slight streets of Santa Barbara. But this is one of those situations where you gotta take what you can get until something better comes along. Hell, life is one of those situations.

Whatever. Cars of all shape and size mean freedom. Your first car it something you’ll never forget, even if you don’t get it until you’re twenty. It’s your first grasp at real independence, which is definitely a prize worth our time. Maybe in the future they can make a car that has a ’75 Ramcharger body and an electric engine. (Hint hint, engineers)

Don’t forget the glitter- iamtheseventies.

Old People Stink

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Old People Stink

“It’s not that old people are ugly, they just smell and are like children, but worse. And  I guess they are kinda ugly.”

I can personally confirm this. And I can just as easily disprove it. Just before the start of the school year, my mom’s mom moved in with us. It’s been quite the adventure, and I could write a book of crazy Nana-isms. But despite the horror movie ideas that have spawned off of our new flat mate, the good times out weigh the bad by far.

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Nana, with a rose from our garden gently tucked behind her ear.
(Photo by yours truly)

 

Yes, she smells. Yes, she is like a child. Yes, it takes a village. No, I don’t hate it. It’s actually really neat to sit next to her at night and eat dinner with her. I can see the young woman she used to be; her elegance, her grace, traces of her beauty and poise. My grandmother is, in fact, the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen. The picture below is my favorite picture in the universe. It’s of my grandparents at their engagement party.

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Marshall and Nancy Turner, 1950: the epitome of love and the ’50s.
(Family picture)

I think people who try to elongate their youth are in denial that one day they will indeed wither and die and crumble into a pile of stardust. Sure, there might be hip new medicine that extends our wistful existence, unless we off ourselves first. Look, if we just accept the inevitable and grow old, I think we’ll have a much better go of it. Just because you’re old, doesn’t mean you can’t be awesome. I just read an article published by hovercraftdoggy on an 83 year old man who creates astounding “flying ships” (shown below). If you take the time to take your ‘I’m so superficial’ shades off and actually see the world, I think you will be truly in awe of its depth. You might even fall into the void. (you should visit me there)

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Luigi Prina, age 83, being awesome.
(Picture by Gianluca Giannone of hovercraftdoggy)

I live in the past. I wish I was an old person right now, because it would mean that I’d have spent an awesome life tromping around the most important and rocking time in music history. When I look at old people, I don’t see death, I see life. I see a life I wish I could have called my own. To me, old people aren’t a nuisance, they’re a comfort. Even if I didn’t get to scream at The Beatles, or The Stones, or Jimi Hendrix; even if I didn’t get to live through the greatest decades, musically, of all time ever, I know that they did. And that is what lets me sleep at night.

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The Water Aerobics Gals
(Photo by yours truly)

“Those stinky old people” will one day be us, accept it or not. Might as well make a fair go of it while we’re here. I’d rather be that “weird old lady with a tattoo on her arm and funky sunglasses who’s always smiling” than “that weird old lady who’s face is all bumpy with silicone and has a literal fake smile”. Anyways, I love my grandmother, and I’d never trade watching the 5:30 news with her for the world. I wouldn’t even trade it for a chance to see David Bowie in concert. (And that’s not something I say lightly.)

Don’t forget the glitter- iamtheseventies

You couldn’t say “ashes to ashes” if there wasn’t a fire

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“I think fire is ugly. It’s destructive and I hate the look of it.”

Fire is ugly. It’s horrifying and frighteningly powerful.  I would know, it almost destroyed my whole street. In the end, it just took our beloved field a the top of our little hill, our childhood sanctuary. But without death, there would be no life.

The thing about fire, is that it always creates life. About a year after the fire, we went up to the field and it was explosive with life. Sure, when it hits, it hits hard. Fire is relentless, wild. Fire is the ultimate rock and roll band: in your face, don’t-you-dare-ignore-me, horribly, terrifyingly beautiful, and always leaves a glittery path of destruction visible from Mars and a knee-high boot string’s length worth of broken hearts.

Fire is way more than just a flame. Thinking it’s not is as shallow as thinking that Johnny Depp has always been Jack Sparrow. (hahaha. I just made you say “Captain. Captain Jack Sparrow” in a swashbuckling accent.) Fire is a living, breathing, snarling beast. We all have fire inside of us that makes us go. It motivates us, drives us. My coach’s favorite saying when talking to an angry player is “Let it light a fire under your butt.” (There’s no swearing on the field.) It’s the fire inside of us (or under our butt) that makes us want just one more grounder, just one more lap, just one more free throw, just one more.

Ever heard the saying “it lights a fire in your stomach”? Well ‘it’ isn’t always alcohol. ‘It’ can be love, hate, fear, anger, passion, frustration, sorrow, pain, or any other  raging emotion that places high on the scale of blood-boiling feelings. Even figuratively speaking, fire can still hurt us. If we let it, that fire inside of us will roast us; give us third degree burns on our heart. That’s why we hurt. Every time we feel sad, depressed, heartbroken, let down; it’s just the fire reminding us that it’s there. However, if we let it, it’ll consume us and scorch us until we are reduced to the very thing that we were created from: stardust. Ashes to ashes, right? Yeah, eventually. But giving in to our own fire speeds the process way up. When we give in to that fire, we are letting the very thing that has the potential to make us break us.

A dead Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) on fire

This Sequoia relies on fires to release the seeds locked inside their cones.
http://www.warrenphotographic.co.uk/00103-burning-giant-sequoia-tree

Moral of the story: fire can burn and will burn, but if whether or not we let that stop us is another thing. If you buckle down and fight the fire into submission, I personally promise new life from the ashes of the old. I’ve seen it first hand.

Don’t forget the glitter. iamtheseventies.

(featured photo by ABC of Australia up in flames this past year.)

One man’s trash is… still another man’s trash. Usually.

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“Trash cans are ugly because they remind me of waste and the unuseful things in life.”

Trash cans. Smelly, dirty, and filled up with junk to be thrown in a landfill. I see where you come from. But how can we make trash not so trashy?

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Photo from Random Refuge: Arcata- Trash(can) Art 1 http://randomrefuge.blogspot.com/2010/08/arcata-trashcan-art-1.html

First, we have to look at the object in question itself. Trash cans weren’t made for fashion originally, they were strictly function. But as time’s gone by, I think these civil servants deserve a new splash of creativity. They do (literally) the most dirty job of all in the ‘can’ family, shouldn’t they get the props they deserve? Trash cans are the unsung heroes of urban life. What about the things we throw in them?

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Bay View Arts Guild (Milwaukee) http://www.bayviewarts.org/Community.html

Think about the last thing you threw away. Was it a water bottle? Gum wrapper? Half eaten sandwich? Human waste is an ever growing problem, and the Greenpeace in me is dying to remind you to recycle, but that’s not what this post is about.

I lied. That’s exactly what this is about. (Sorry. (Only not really)) There’s an art shop in my town (Santa Barbara) called Art From Scrap where funk-zone inspired artists go to create. They have everything from skate board wheel scraps to bottle caps to spare yarn. They are the people to go to for all of your environment friendly artistic cravings.

So back to the title: One man’s trash is…still another man’s trash. Usually. No matter how bad you think you have it, I promise someone has it worse. So next time you storm the PTA asking for better lunch meat- or whatever it is you find necessary to complain about, ask them why your school isn’t helping the bigger badder world become a better planet. So while you and that gal sitting next to you both think that whatever you just threw away is trash, someone on the other side of Earth might be willing to do anything for your piece of trash.

We only have a short amount of time on this rock. We’ve exploited it’s riches, we’ve commercialized, urbanized, and corrected our politics to the point of exhaustion. This rock has done a heck of a lot for us, so let’s return the favor. Leave Earth a better place than you found it. And don’t blame trash cans for trying to clean up your mess.

Don’t forget the glitter- iamtheseventies.

(for more stories on cool trashcans, check out Random Refuge, Mighty Lists, mental_floss, Bay View Arts Guild and The New York Times.)

CAUTION! INDIVIDUALS IN MIRROR ARE MORE UNIQUE THAN THEY APPEAR

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CAUTION! INDIVIDUALS IN MIRROR ARE MORE UNIQUE THAN THEY APPEAR

“I don’t like half-shaved heads. It just doesn’t look attractive to me.”

Feel free to replace “half-shaved heads” with any trademark feature, such as nose piercings, tattoos, platform boots, or the”mop top”. Since The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show almost 50 years ago to the day, young rebels have been challenging the fashion status quos. Even though hair slightly longer than a buzz cut might not seem like anything to put your panties in a twist today, when the Fab Four introduced their “mop top” look to America, it was extremely radical.

(Below: Luis “Skrillex” has been in my Spanish class for a solid 2 years and, honestly, he’s probably the only reason I’m still in that class. )

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday we young’uns are still causing quite the riot, and we have more options of how to look when we do it. In the grand year 2014, no matter how you dress, do your hair or make-up, you can probably find a group of people in your school who dig it. We are a much more diverse culture than we were just 50 years ago.Take the “half-shaved head” look. Sure, it’s something to look at; but I think they can pull it off. It’s how they want the world to see them. We all send out a message, and this is theirs.

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(Above: Ethan, the punk drummer in the local rock and roll band Pernicious Nonsense. Check them out here.)

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(Above: Lily, the artist. This diamond in the rough is a very talented member of the VADA academy, and boy does she shine.)

(Below: Chandler, the lover of anime. Also in VADA, this crazy fun guy is practically oozing creativity.)

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No, being an individual is never easy until you find your people. It takes courage, time, and, most importantly, confidence.  You have to believe in who you are to be yourself and persevere until you find someone who like you for you also. Then the going gets easier.

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I guess what I’m preaching is that criticism is just a side affect of individualism. And if you are one to criticize, don’t think you’re special. Everybody is constantly judging the next body, despite its background, story, or personality crisis. For every nag you throw down, someone else is nagging on you. But it’s those of us who can tune out the nasty voices and focus on the fun ones in our head that pull out of this battlefield called life faring best. Just something to dream on. Best Adventures- your friendly neighbourhood Mars Martian.  Oh! and-

Don’t forget the glitter. iamtheseventies

(all pictures by yours truly. special thanks to Ethan, Skrillex, Lily, and Chandler for being awesome.)

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