Monday, June 30, 2008

A word that does not mean listless

I’m in search of a word.

Often I imagine my life a segmented off into discreet boxes, stacked neatly into columns, packaged into blocks that coincide with some version of time that’s hybrid of linear and whatever else exists beyond it. And when I’m compulsively making my to-do lists, I color code those blocks of time to correspond to whatever I’m compelled to achieve for the moment. Only sometimes, I stand at the precipice of one block, peering into the abyss of undone, unwilling to cross over. It’s then that I push, ever so gently on those flimsy lines that quarantine off what I have done from the web of things I have yet to do in order to make a little space for that yearning to just linger…

What do I call that?

Folksonomy Musings (article and poem)

In a moment of insomnia, I've decided to post the only real pearl of wisdom I gained from the technology portion of the Allied Media Conference, and it can be summed up in the equation: Folksonomy= folk + tagging = more democratic pathways of information.

I know, it sounds so theoretical that you're probably either wanting to click away in annoyance or preparing to commence mental masturbation, but if you make it to the end, then there is a geeky yet kinda cute (if I do say so myself) conclusion.

It seems that even the "experts" find Web 2.0 to be a nebulous concept, but from what I gather, it refers to a new way of creating, accessing, and thinking about information that has come about via the internet, but what makes it 2.0 is how we're using it. When the process of creating content becomes communal like in open source, when the process of distribution becomes social like in youtube, when the process of cataloging becomes collective and democratic like in tagging (the blue highlighted words at the end of each blog entry that are actually searchable key terms), that's when we're operating in Web 2.0 space.

[skip this if you want to avoid theory] Let's take a second to deconstruct Folksonomy (folk + taxonomy) or "the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content" according to wikipedia. With tagging, we assign arbitrary associations that, rather than being based upon external, standardized cues, add meaning from our own experiences, allow us to highlight which aspects of a give piece of information are important to us, and allow us to connect with other people who categorize in similar ways to what we do.

Tagging is like identity. It is created based on reference points that shift according to whom is interpreting what and in which context. Content can inhabit multiple varied, intersecting and/or overlapping categories at any one time. There is a portion of it that has to do with the actual content but most of its meaning comes from how the user relate to it- how they call it, who they send it to, what they associate with it. Where as old-school internet searches operated by a tree-like structure, with one category embedded underneath another one (ie. to find soccer scores you would look under entertainment then sports then soccer then statistics), tagging only privileges one way of categorizing information above others in so far as it is more commonly cited and understood.

But is that enough to call it folk? Some of the distinguishers of things that fall under the category of folk in my mind are... it's something easy to teach yourself, something can be done almost anywhere by anyone, something that requires relatively little investment of time, and training, and/or money upfront. Let's remember who does and does not have the access to the internet and under what circumstances (things that make sense to check out on my laptop which I have 24 hour access to are different than what I would check out if I were on a public library computer for 20 min blocks). Let's remember who has the confidence and spare time to teach themselves (I only learned how to use some of these programs when I flew half way across the country to go to a conference). Lets remember that we only occasionally do it in the same room and almost never do it in the streets...

Other neat things to think about:
Zipcode tagging = what’s going on around you? Who could you meet? Possibility of real world connection.
Pivot browsing (browsing by using tags) = conversational flow

[You've made it past the techy part!] Why is this important? Because it means that we are learning new ways to relate to content, we are becoming actively engaged in the media we are consuming at each step of the process. Of course there is the issue that all of the infrastructure we use (like blogspot) is corporately consolidate and sustained mostly through data mining. Even though there are promising alternatives to corporate monoliths (such as instead of youtube), they have only a fraction of the traffic, and in a cyber world where there is too much everywhere all the time, distribution is an important consideration. It's democratic in the way that political parties and lobbying are, which is to say it's easy to bully.

In the end, web 2.0 is not anyones salvation. It is a tool that is less limiting, less consolidated, less inaccessible than television was, but its not local, its not class-blind, and it doesn't belong to us. We should let our imaginations be freed by it in-so-far as it creates new ways of relating to and with each other via technology but we should be cautious that we don't let it technology circumscribe our notions of what community and social networking actually mean.

Tags for my life 06.30.08
Lost, wandering, VA beach, Northampton, Marlboro College, in between, liminal, intersticial, borderlands, genderqueer, queer, white Puerto Rican, abstentia, unemployed, Buddhist, groundless ground, vulnerability, stronger, Afraid, Recovering, compassion, asexual, romantic, intimacy, connection, wrestling, kink, play, boi, post-modern, writing, teaching, Meg Mott, creating, media, documentaries, reflexive, Truth, dysfunctional family, baggage, lies, silence, confusion

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Homade Seitan Recipe

Many of you who are reading this may be familiar with the yummy goodness of seitan, a protein source made of wheat gluten. However, I'm sure there is someone who is not, and this reproduction of what is heralded as the best seitan recipe is for exactly that deprived soul. Enjoy!

by Isa (Recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance)
prep time: 15 minutes | cooking time: 1 1/2 hours - 2 hours | makes about 4 cups
Traditionally wheat flour is washed and kneeded 3 times and over 2 days in order to make the wheat gluten, but this seitan is made quicker by using Vital Wheat Gluten flour. The flavoring for this goes well with pretty much anything, but depending what you are using it for you can change the flavors up a bit by adding finely chopped herbs to the mixture, or if you're making something Asian or Indian, some grated ginger wouldn't hurt.
Large ceramic or glass bowl, Smaller bowl for liquid ingredients, Skiller (Cast Iron is best), Large soup pot with lid

1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 cup very cold water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated on a microplane grater
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Simmering Broth
10 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce

In a large bowl, mix together Vital Wheat Gluten Flour and nutritional yeast flakes.

In a seperate bowl, mix together reamining ingredients: water or veg broth, soy sauce. tomato paste, garlic, lemon zest.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a firm spatula, knead dough for about 3 minutes until a spongy, elastic dough is formed. Let dough rest for a couple of minutes and prepare your broth, but don't start boiling it.

Now roll your dough into a log shape about 8 inches long and cut into 3 equal sized pieces. Place the pieces in the broth. It is important that the water/broth be very cold when you add the dough, it helps with the texture and ensures that it doesn't fall apart. Partially cover the pot (leave a little space for steam to escape) and bring to a boil.

When the water has come to a boil set the heat to low and gently simmer for an hour, turning the peices every now and again.

Now you've got gluten. Let it cool in the simmering broth for at least a half an hour. It is best if it cools completely.

What you do next depends on the recipe you are using. If it calls for gluten use it as is. If you want to store some of it for later use put it in a sealable container covered in the simmering broth.

If your recipe calls for seitan cut your peices up as desired. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet for the frying because it produces the best flavor and texture. Use as little oil as possible to coat the bottom of the skillet, 1 teaspoon may suffice. Heat the skillet over medium high and add your gluten. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally. And there you have it. Yummy seitan.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Queer Open Mic Moved

This flyer now is no good. I think the 17th would be better!

Ps. flyer desIgned by Chlirissa
with artwork by Christy Road aka Croadcore

Digital Storytelling Scheme

My current mission statement is that I want to explore how to use media in the context of social justice organizing with youth. What does that mean? I want to teach kids from marginalized communities (latino and/or queer to be exact) how to use media in order to tell the stories that are important to them. This means 1) affirming that what they have to say matters 2) sharing a technical skill that has practical applications, and 3) creating media that could potentially be employed towards a variety of educational and political ends.

All that seems great, but what does it look like? Well, I learned about two models when I attended the Allied Media Conference. On was presented by The Center For Digital Storytelling. They travel around doing 3 day workshops with other non-profits.. Here are my notes…

7 Elements: point (why that story at that moment), dramatic question, emotional content, voice, soundtrack, economy (300 wds), pacing.

Workshop Model about 12 students w/ two instructors

Day 1: Elements, writing time, idea discussion, adobe training, production time

Day 2: Scripting, story boarding, photo workshop, voiceovers, DV tutorial Final Cut, Production time

Day 3: Rough edit, special effects, production time, screening

How to use: Silence Speaks National Center for Lesbian Rights compile include w/ manual for outreach to social workers, include with letter lobbying congress, include with grant proposal

Funding: grants through community organizations, work exchange

Website:; decentralized youtube;

Similar organizations: Mass Impact in Boston, Creative Narration in Seattle…

It produces impressive results in terms of stories (which are normally a series of still images put to narration), but not in terms of relationships. It’s training more than growing with the learner, but that being said, it takes a lot less investment from the trainer or the learner. It’s logistically manageable.

I’m thinking that it would be feasible to follow more or less this model in making an afterschool program that would meet a couple of hours a week for a month or so. Perhaps if we were to target a group that already met regularly, like a Queer Straight Alliances, then there would be a group of people who felt already felt comfortable talking about personal things, then it may work. The first step seems like it should be finding a partner in crime...

Short Hair

It’s been so long since I’ve had to be anywhere I didn’t want to be, that I forgot how public space feels against my skin.

“You in the service?” an older man with a worn expression inquires. I look him over, reading the loose threads of his cut-offs, the wrinkles in his over sized shell of an sweat suit draping down from his carefully trimmed neck line to mean he was.

I’d not been asked this question when I grew up in my navy town. In the moment of hesitation, an image of myself registered in my mind, short curly hair above a tall body clad in board shorts and a sports bra. I forgot how reference points shift with cultural territory, how a sense of place mediates the meaning that etches itself into our bodies. What, in Northampton, is decidedly dyke boarding on queer wedges itself into the military discount arena once I set foot within 10 miles of a base.

“Naw, but my mother was an aviation mechanic. She did twenty years on fighter jets at Oceana.”

He nods approvingly in an effort to mask his surprise, “I didn’t know women did that. Ya know…back then” I want to tell him that fuck yeah some women did that, and some still do. Instead, I shrug it off refusing to indulge the novelty of his statement. After all, it’s always been normal to me.

Signals from Strangers

**something I meant to post last month**

A stranger started a conversation with me in the coffee shop about transgender history. It was only days after I decided I was going to embark on the transgender oral history project. At first it seemed awesomely serendipitous, but then the questions crept upon me: How did he know this is something I’m interested in? What made him think I had an investment in it? What was his connection to trans issues? What did he presume min was?

The encounter went from being exciting to seeming dangerous. My body recoiled in retreat. He had spoken what I had spent so much time convincing myself people didn’t notice.
I was exposed. He knew something about me that I could hardly find the words for. Something I had tapped into while groping around in the darkness. Something familiar I kept there half for the comfort of tracing its outline and half in fear that the light might prove it to be less real than the sinews of its shadows.

Sometimes the signal becomes irrelevant. It only matters how strong the winds have blown, how quickly the rain beats into the pavement and how much the antenna have been bent and rusted in the process.

Book Review: Butch is a Noun

Butch Is a Noun Butch Is a Noun by S. Bear Bergman

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
As pride season is coming to a close, I’ve began reading Butch is a Noun and it’s been one of those books that I instantly connected with because was given to me at exactly the right moment. It’s jubilant, celebrative, and playful-everything pride should be, but it’s managed to save itself from tilting over into triviality, subsuming honesty for rhetoric, or recycling inspirational platitudes. A collection of personal essays by Bear Bergman, Butch is a Noun addresses topics that range from sex to community to his admiration of all the multi-faceted genders in his life. He is a story-teller, a gender theorist, and a synthesizer. Above all else, he is unwaveringly genuine. If you’re butch, or might be, or care about people who could be construed as, then I’d recommend giving it a read.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

SPUNK Magazine submission call

> SPUNK is a new magazine exploring masculinities and male genders.

> We want to make a space were we can create our own visions of
> sexiness, fluid and diverse, reflecting, celebrating and reinventing
> our cultures and communities.

> SPUNK is a new magazine for boys, men, trans men, butches, pansies,

> fellas, dandies, billy goats, blokes, arselickers, chaps, buddies,
> otters, gents, ravers, kings, gigolos, bois, puppies, bogans, lads, masters,
> banim, guys, bears, slaves, nerds, guerrillas, studs, bottoms,
> brothers, rascals, queers, rent boys, beefcakes, uncles, cock suckers, doofers,
> jocks, homos, tom cats, mugs, daddies, geeks, bisexuals, machos, fudge
> packers, westies, tigers, transsexuals, muscle marys, gaylords,
> philosophers, dicks, wolves, faeries, rogues, FTMs, cubs, buggers,
> labourers, alphas, waxheads, gender benders, intersex, queens,
> stallions, intellectuals, sons, thugs, poofters, males, bulls, gods, chubs,
> gvarim, fathers, home boys, transvestites, heroes, rams, crybabies, chasers,
> granddads, lions, bards, brutes, freaks, nancy boys, bulldogs,
> shamans, tops, bludgers, switches, cocks, poofters, bookworms, trade, sissies,
> badgers, faggots and other gender fuckers.

> We are launching in September/October and want contributions from all

> gender fuckers.

> What to contribute: fantasies, art, erotica, verse, fiction, soul,

> thoughts, porn, dreams, photos, magic, ideas, desire, articles,
> music, lust, interviews, libido, performance, song, sex, poetry,
> multimedia, creativity, spirit, dance, graffiti, words and films.

> More info: Contribution deadline: 1 August 2008

Andrea Gibson (updated)

I've been spending a lot of time with a girl who's into slam poetry and Judaism over the last couple of weeks. She's not going to be around much anymore, which explains why I actually have time do some posting, but I thought I'd kick off my (hopefully) more frequent batch of postings with a couple clip of someone she turned me on to. Oddly enough, the very next person I met was also a fan and gave me one of her CDs, so I guess I was meant to fall in love with Andrea's work and I did. enjoy.

Andrew by Andrea Gibson
(A gender poem)

Blue Blanket by Andrea Gibson
(A sexual assault poem)

For Eli by Andrea Gibson
(A war poem)

Swingset by Andrea Gibson
(A gender poem)

Dive by Andrea Gibson
(a life poem)

Wasabi by Andrea Gibson
(A love poem)

Emergency Room by Andrea Gibson
(A suicide poem)

Walmart by Andrea Gibson
(A coming out poem)

Say Yes by Andrea Gibson
(A love poem)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Airport Vignettes

An Australian accent brushes past me on the moving sidewalk connecting lighting the way to terminal C. Tones of frustration sound into the phone, “Just be normal.” She coughs and repeats her plea, more forcefully though betraying her lack of conviction.

English isn’t her first language. As her arms flail I see how her voice was forged in liquid motions, fingertip accents, arms outstretched in intonations. I see how she traces the curvature of each note with her tongue, imagining the palm of her hand attenuating her meaning. I can’t help but be distracted by images of her small frame, shoulders slumped, pupils watching someone tell her how to choke out ugly droplets of static audio, how to adapt kinetic expression to sound waves vibrations. I want to ask her how to say assimilation in American Sign Language, but the metallic reverberation keep droning that sidewalk is ending.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Radical Children's Books: A Reference List

Ideas about illustrating and writing a series of graphic novelettes/ children's books that tell the history of Latino social movements are bouncing around in my head. It all started when I was drawing a picture of the zapatistas for my brother...Anyways, it has fueled my motivation to continue my search for radical literature to indoctrinate youth and here are some lists I have found or compiled with asterisks by the ones I've used or read personally. I plan to continue to update so that it gets bigger and more precise..

*Freedom School, Yes! - Floyd Cooper (civil rights era education project in Mississippi)
*Encounter - Yolen (Landing of Columbus through the eyes of a native child)
*Cats in Krasinski Square - (Based on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, when a jewish ghetto resisted being take to the concentration camp)
*Flowers for Mariko- (a Japanese family leaving an American internment camp)
*Si, Se Puede- (the LA janitors strike through the eyes of the strike leader's son)
*The Story of Harvey Milk- (the first publicly elected gay official)
My Dream Martin Luther King- Faith Ringgold
*If a Bus Could Talk: Story of Rosa Parks- Faith Ringgold
Auntie Harriet's Underground Rail Road- Faith Ringgold
*A Golden Age- (recounts the history of a post world war II generation and the significance of the radio in that history)

*Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel - Virginia Buton
*Si, Se Puede- the LA janitors strike

Indigenous Resistance
Story of Colors - Subcomandante Marcos
Questions and Swords - Subcomandante Marcos
Brave Eagle’s Account of the Fetterman Fight - Goble
A Boy Called Slow - Bruchac
Crazy Horse’s Vision - Bruchac
Red Hawk’s Account of Custer’s Last Stand - Goble
Rabbit-Proof Fence - Pilkington
Battlefields and Burial Grounds - Echo Hawk
Death of the Iron Horse - Goble
The Defenders - McGovern
Osceola: Seminole Warrior- Oppenheim
Osceola:1804-1838 - Koestler
Cochise - Schwartz
With All My Might - Dean
Geronimo: Apache Warrior - Haugen
Geronimo: Wolf on the Warpath - Moody
Geronimo: Apache Freedom Fighter - Hermann
Sitting Bull Remembers - Turner
The Story of Sitting Bull - Eisenberg
Tecumseh: Shawnee War Chief - Fleischer
These Lands are Ours - Connell
Crazy Horse: Sioux Warrior - Haugen
Crazy Horse - St. George
Black Elk - Shaw
Ishi - Peterson
Not Guilty - Sullivan

General Anti-Authoritarian
*Yertle the Turtle - Seuss
*The Sneetches - Seuss
The Butter Battle Book - Seuss
Anarchist Farm - Jane Doe
Harold and Maude
Table where Rich People Sit - Baylor
Tacky the Penguin - Lester
Araboolies of Liberty Street - Swope
Work, Work, Work - Quinn
Anarchist Stories for Children - DeVoy
Calvin and Hobbes Guide to Life - Banks
Children’s Guide to Nihilism - Aragorn!
Bear and Raccoon Stories - Aragorn!
Anti-Authoritarian ABC’s zine

Anti-Authoritarian Biographies
*Life and Times of Emma Goldman - Emma Goldman Papers Project
A Visit to William Blake’s Inn - Willard
Zhuangzi Speaks - Chih-chung Ts’ai
The Trouble with Henry: A Tale of Walden Pond - O’Neil
A Man Named Thoreau - Burleigh
Into the Deep Forest with Thoreau -Murphy
Henry David’s House - Schnur
Walking with Henry - Locker
A Hound, a Bay Horse, a Turtle Dove - Wood
What Befell at Mrs. Brooks - Overlie
A Mind with Wings - JHusman
Luisa May and Mr.Thoreau’s Flute - Dunlap
Henry David Thoreau - Reef
Henry David Thoreau: Writer and Rebel - Stern
Henry Works - Johnson
Henry Climbs a Mountain - Johnson
Henry Builds a Cabin - Johnson
Henry Hikes to Fitchburg - Johnson

Where the Wild Things Are - Sendak
The Secret World of Duvbo - CrimethInc
I’m in Charge of Celebrations - Baylor
Super Cilantro Girl - Herrera
Math Curse - Scieszka
Piggy in the Puddle - Pomerantz
Naughty Parents - Gosney
The Way to Start a Day - Baylor
Uno’s Garden - Base

Direct Action
The Luddites - Liversidge
The Story of John Brown’s Raid - Kent
The Lorax - Seuss
Hoot - Hiaasen
Flush - Hiaasen
The Sheep Look Up - Brunner
Quest for the Faradawn - Ford
Little Squatter’s Handbook - Cordelia and Ziggy
Pom Poko (video)
Missing from Haymerket Square - Robinet
Breaking Free: The Adventures of Tintin - Daniels
Farewell to Shady Glade - Peet

Queer Families
One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dad- Johnny Valentine
Heather Has Two Mommies- Leslea Newman
*All Families Are Different
Daddy's Roomate-
Michael Willhoite

Interracial (link to a wonderfully detailed website)

BON ODORI DANCER by Karen Kawaamoto McCoy and Carolina Yao
BRINGING ASHA HOME by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Jamel Akib
THE COLORS OF US by Karen Katz
DUMPLING SOUP by Jama Kim Rattigan
HOPE by Isabell Monk
JOURNEY HOME by Lawrence McKay,
DUMPLING SOUP by Jama Kim Rattigan
JINGLE DANCER by Cynthia Leitich Smith
TWO MRS. GIBSONS by Toyomi Igus,
Efe - Siy
Penen - Siy
Eeyou - Siy
Waorani - Siy
Black Indians - Katz
A Journey to New York - Norberg-Hodge
The People Shall Continue - Ortiz
Coyote Columbus - King
When Clay Sings - Baylor
Erandi’s Braids - dePaola
Whale Rider - Ihimaera
Clambake - Peters
*The Sneeches - Dr.Suess
*Freedom School, Yes! - Floyd Cooper
*The Other Side - E.B. Lewis
All the colors of Earth - Hamanaka
Black, white just right - Margaret Davol
Let's Talk about Race - Barbour
All the colors we are/Todos los colores de nuestra piel - Kissenger
Ain't Nobody a Stranger to me - Pinkney


The Cats in Krasinski Square - Karren Hesse
The secret Seder - Doreen Rappaport

HOPE by Isabell Monk, illustrated by Janice Lee Porter (Lerner, 1998)

Animal Rights
A MAN CALLED RAVEN by Richard Van Camp

Differently Abled
*Mama Zooms- Jane Cowen Fletcher (story about a boy playing with his mother who happens to be in a wheelchair)

There Was A Bold Lady Who Wanted A Star - Harper

Whitefeather’s Outdoor Survival Handbook for Kids - Whitefeather
Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature Survival for Children - Brown
North American Indians Survival Skills - Liptak
More than Moccasins - Carlson
Houses of Bark - Shemie
Houses of Hides and Earth - Shemie
Houses of Snow, Skin, and Bones - Shemie
Houses of Wood - Shemie
Houses of Earth and Shell - Shemie
Houses of Adobe - Shemie
Long Ago Lake - Wilkins
Crinkleroot Guides - Arnosky

Awareness Activities
*Peaceful Piggy Mediation- Kerry McLean
*Meditation for Kids-Laurie Huck
Keepers of the Night - Caduto and Bruchac
Earthways - Petrash
Native American Crafts Workshop - Bernstein
Traditional Native American Crafts and Activities - Braman
Sharing Nature with Children 1 & 2 - Cornell
Sharing the Joy of Nature - Cornell
Talking to Fireflies, Shrinking the Moon - Duensing
Kamana for Kids - Repoley
The Young Naturalist - Repoley
Keeping a Nature Journal - Leslie
Ecoart! - Carlson
Good Earth Art - Kohl
Earth Child 2000 - Sheehan
Keepers of the Earth - Caduto

Wild Children - Landau
The Boy Who Ran with Gazelles- Mayer
The Wild Boy - Gerstein
The Wolf Girls - Yolen
The Mystery of Human Wolves - Wilson
Children of the Wild - Burger
The Forest Child - Edwards
Wild Child - Plourde
The Girl who Loved Wild Horses - Goble
Salamander Room - Mazer
Jaguar in the Rainforest - Ryder
Adopted by Eagles - Goble
Lost Colony of Roanoke - Fritz
Dream Wolf - Goble
Dark Horse - Sedgwick
Wild Girl - Wormwell
Man Eating Bugs - Menzel

Our Allotment - Burnett
Permaculture: A Beginner’s Guide - Burnett
ABC’s of Permaculture - Zine
Native American Gardening - Caduto
Compost, By Gosh! - Portman
Pee Wee and the Magical Compost Heap - Roulston
In the Three Sisters Garden - Dennee
The Secret Garden - Burnett