Sunday, March 29, 2009

Utah's Gay RIghts Failure

I recently wrote an article for BYU's Political Review titled Utah's Gay Rights Failure [update: Internet Archive version] about the saddening defeat of the Common Ground Initiative, a set of bills in the Utah legislature that would have granted some basic rights like not getting fired if your employer finds out you're gay, hospital visitation rights, health care for partners, and the standing to sue in the case of wrongful death. I'm just linking to the article on the PR website if you'd like to read it so that you can also take part in some of the discussion going on there.

Also, I highly recommend Ryan Decker's piece from the same issue called Teams With No Winners [update: Internet Archive version] about blind partisanship, and why it's bad; don't worry, he puts it a bit more eloquently :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ahh, the ghetto that is University Villa!

I live at University Villa, and don't get me wrong: I like it. My roommates are the grapes, my ward is chill, rent is cheap, and cleaning checks are not analistic. But I do have to chuckle sometimes at the ghettoness of the place. (Disclaimer: I know, compared to 95% of the world, I live in the lap of luxury here. I am talking strictly relative to middle-class America when I call it the ghetto)

Half of the walls are (painted) cinderblock. The pool is going to be mostly a big gravel hole without water for another month and a half. And--what really motivated this post--this is a picture of how maintenance fixes leaks in the floor of our bathroom: by putting some caulking down and holding it in place with a board which in turn is held down by two rocks and some phone books. Stupendous!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Random nerdy stuff

Well, I just updated my old grandcentral account to Google Voice. I don't know how much I'm ever going to use it, but it's cool to play around with at least. I even added a little gadget on the right side of my blog there so anyone can call me--and they don't even get to know my number! Hopefully that won't result in anything creepy, but fortunately it's mostly my sister and brother and friends who read this blog (I think) so it should be ok.

Also added a little "followers" gadget on the right-hand side, just for fun.

Yeah, I'm kind of a nerd.

Friday, March 13, 2009

How I Like Music and Remember People at the Same Time

As I listened to the Elliott Smith song "Everything Means Nothing to Me" (the best possible title of the song that follows "Everything Reminds Me of Her") I was reminded of why he's one of my favorite artists. I love the way his voice loops back over itself and the whole feel of the song, but most of all it reminds me of the first Elliott Smith song I ever heard, which was his cover of the Beatles' "Because" from the American Beauty soundtrack. And the reason I love that song is just because a friend of mine told me she loved it. I'd never heard of Elliott Smith before but it was a great song, and since a friend loved it, I loved it too. Then I remember hearing about when he died back in 2003, listening to that song again, and then buying more of his stuff and completely falling in love with his music.

A song takes on special significance for me when it's a friend's favorite. It's just contagious. I used to think I was unoriginal because of that, but I've decided it's my way of remembering people, since I'm pretty terrible at the normal, not-connecting-them-to-a-song way.

And no, this post has no real point, except that you really should just put on some nice headphones and drift away to Elliott's feather-pillow voice sing a classic from Abbey Road:

Because - Elliott Smith

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Pre-emptive International Women's Day!

In honor of International Women's Day this Sunday, I decided I'd make a list of some of my favorite feminist movies. Why? Because I love movies and I love women and I love feminism. So without further ado, and in no particular order:

Fried Green Tomatoes - First of all, this movie is hilarious. Second of all, Mormons should love it because it makes genealogy/family history sound like it would actually be fun to do. And it is a great feminist movie too with lots of strong, independent, and smart female characters. It even critiques the kind-of-weird new-agey feminism and focuses on good old-fashioned real women being who they are and not getting pushed around. Plus there's a great racial equality theme too. What's not to love?

The Hours - Just saw this movie recently, and it's beautiful. The music is also spectacular. It's sort of depressing, but sort of not--I can't decide. But it's definitely a feminist film because of the three great performances from Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, and Meryl Streep and how it delves deep into the lives of three women in very different situations but with very similar problems. My favorite plot-line is the 1950's one.

The Passion of Joan of Arc - Wow. I just saw this movie last week at International Cinema at BYU and it floored me. Joan of Arc is the only female in the whole thing (except for some extras in the crowd scenes at the end) but she makes the film. She stands up to a whole slew of jerk men who are desperate to prove that she is delusional for actually having revelations from God. One of my favorite scenes is when she is in her cell and the judges know she is desperate to receive the Eucharist ("take the sacrament" in Mormon-speak). They order the priest to come in, light the candles, get everything ready, bring out the wafer, and then, when you can just see the anticipation on her face, just before putting it to her lips, they tell her she can only have it if she signs a confession saying that her revelations came from the devil. She doesn't. You go, Joan! And the movie is all the more impressive because the whole thing is based on the actual transcripts from Joan of Arc's trial.

The Whale Rider - Wonderful story set in the Maori culture of New Zealand. Archetypical story of struggling with male-dominated traditions that marginalize women just because they're women. But such a great message by the end! I love it!

Bend it Like Beckham - Women playing football (soccer). Title IX, eat your heart out. Fun movie, great music (thanks for the soundtrack, Diana!), and has one of my favorite lines of all time: [old Indian aunt:] "A lesbian? I thought she was a pisces!"

Those are just the ones that I could come up with more or less off the top of my head. Any other suggestions?