Saying It Well...

Khrystine's favorite quotes

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."— Mark Twain

Modern Muse

Modern Muse
Adriana Lima in Elle Magazine

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I need to remember this...

I am a human being, not a human doing.

Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t . . . you aren’t.
----Wayne W. Dyer

Monday, October 05, 2009

Everything else that happened in September...

So as you may have gathered, my time is stictly limited. Here is an extremely rough view of my first month here.

As you can see, the flat has been taking shape. We have been able to decorate a bit, and the living room now has furniture. Unfortunately, the plumbing in our apartment is not first rate, so we are waiting on maintenance to come fix the toilets.
I started working for the school newspaper. I got a movie review published and am now interim calendar coordinator, which means I get to know everything that's going on on campus and in town (though I still don't actually attend any of it). If you go to the website, you can find my review as well as see that almost all calendar events were submitted by moi.

Speaking of moi, I have started school-I have four credits humanities, four credits aesthetics, four credits french, and two credits creative writing. (I think this is the best way to explain my course load to non "greeners", as they call us up here.)  I love the subject, but school is kicking my butt. I spent 10 hours on homework today. 10! I'm finding French pretty easy to understand, but it's still 8 hours of homework-apart from basic studying. I am in school eight hours a day just in class, and the other night (between class and the paper) I didn't get home till 11 pm. I am still broke, despite my hard work. ;) I am accepting donations if you want to send me a personal check or money order. I still haven't found a real job yet, but I will be going to an employment workshop tomorrow. The images above are my view on my way to class (so lucky) and my view from the back corner of the bus (not so lucky, just crammed!)
On the fun side of things, my roommates and I went to Seattle the other day. J'adore Seattle! (Side effect of the French. I've been dreaming in it, which is awkward seeing as I've only had two classes and don't know much yet.) I was very disciplined, only buying food, ferry tickets, and okay, one book for my mother because it's going out of print and I couldn't resist. (It is coming Mommy, I just have to buy stamps!)

 Britnee, Jean, Me.
Now a note from Toby-what he doesn't like and does like about college.
Being confined in the apartment all day.
The declining frequency of treats.
Taking showers.
Being alone.
Most of the dogs at hearthstone, notably that smug boston terrier-pug mix.
The balcony.
The smells.
The balcony.
The fact that going outside lasts longer than 2 minutes.
The blacony.
One of the dogs at hearthstone, namely the papillon that lives next door.
The balcony.
Chasing Girlfriend all over the apartment.
The balcony.
Toby in his chair and the yard, respectively.

Toby actually has taken an upswing in energy, and he's lost a little weight. I do get worried because after his monthly bath, he gets much colder here than in Salt Lake. I wrapped him in a dog coat and t-shirt, which he hated, but it's better than the violent shiver he had just before I put it on. Strangely, I miss Toby just as much as anyone. I'm always worring that he needs to go out and I don't know it, that he didn't get fed enough, that he misses me. His seperation anxiety was pretty bad my first week at the paper-he even peed inside. I feel a little bit better when he's able to wander about the pines on the dog run, or when I snuggle him and he seems happy. I have definetly decided that I'm going to get a pizza and breadsticks for us to share one day, like we used to on my days off when there was no one at home to hear his complaints. I'm sure Toby would love familiar visitors, hint hint.
I also need a Ruby Tuesday cherry coke at least once a month I've decided. I'm jonesing, I tell you. And while not quite as effervescently lovely as Millie's, they're pretty good.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Post on My New Life

So now that I am finally unpacked and generally settled (if not actually organized), I can blog all about my adventures in Olympia thus far.
Getting here has been one hell of a ride. The car died 22 miles outside of Baker, Oregon. (Miraculously, we were able to slowly find a Dealership with what has to be the nicest man on the planet)  Then Mother and I got lost in Pendleton, Oregon, likely further screwing up the car. That night I got sick-fever, chills, and everything. Nevertheless, here I am.
My apartment has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one kitchen/dining area, one balcony, one huge living room, one washer/dryer, and no couch.The four occupants are me, Toby, Jean, and Britnee. I would consider our kitchen, dining room, and the bathroom I share with Jean done. Our kitchen/dining room is blue and yellow, and our bathroom is green. The whole place is gorgeous, the apartment and the grounds. Toby loves the outdoors, there are lots of new smells and rich grass. There is even a dog run where he is free to hang out sans leash. Toby hates our stairs. He refuses to go down them, I think because he can't see very well or his depth perception is off or something. He cries and frets. Since I don't want him relieving himself on our front porch, I must pick him up and carry him down from the third floor.
Toby has adjusted very well. He is okay to be left alone in my boudoir and he enjoys chasing Girlfriend all over the house. He also enjoys the balcony, but has a tendency to talk to every single car that drives by. He is quite exhausted, as am I, which is why this blog isn't very well written.
More to come...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Book Review-Primitive by Mark Nykanen

Primitive Primitive by Mark Nykanen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was awesome-it keeps your attention right up to the last page. It makes you think, it's entertaining, the characters are relateable...
Truly fascinating look at climate change and the radicals on either side of the fence. Also very frighteningly current.

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Hero's Journey

I posted a new video. It was created by someone named Ciaran Vejby and it's from a site called Myths-Dreams-Symbols. It's about the hero's journey. Basically every (good) story in the world follows this basic pattern. This is what I'm studying, more or less, in school. These stories are awesome because, in one sense or another, they are all true. We all go through this.
So watch and enjoy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Devil's Feathers

Devil's Feathers Devil's Feathers by David Chacko

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. It is fast-paced and entertaining, but well written enough to be far from a guilty pleasure. I can see this ending up on PBS' Masterpiece Mystery someday.

I was also excited to find out that there are other stories about Onur Levent, as his character was by far the most interesting part of the story. The plot may or may not be somewhat predictable, I for one was more interested in Levent's process.

So while this book is not life changing, it is perfect summer reading for the reader who is bored with chick lit and typical mystery novels. I will definitely read Chacko again.

View all my reviews.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Transcendentalism can be defined as a belief system that adheres to the existence of a higher spiritual reality. This ideal reality transcends empirical knowledge and can only be experienced through intuitive, spiritual experience. At first look, this definition seems like it could have aspects in many religions and philosophies, and indeed it does seem to lend itself to any mystical or supernatural idea. So how can we understand transcendentalism for what it truly is? We begin by looking at the history of transcendentalist thought, and then explore the ideas and contributions of some of it’s major thinkers.

Transcendentalism begins as a form of Unitarianism, which itself begins as a deviation from orthodox Calvinism. Unitarians rejected the Calvin doctrines of predestination and the Trinity. Predestination is the belief that all events, including those in the next life, have already been determined and are now unavoidable; therefore free will does not exist. Many people, including Unitarians, find this outlook as rather bleak. Calvinists in the 18th and early 19th centuries also had a habit of encouraging speculation on who was destined to be saved, a rather alienating (not to mention philosophically pointless) practice. Unitarians believe in free will, and hold that one can create one’s own “fate”. The Unitarians gain their name from their rejection of the Trinity, or the mainstream Christian idea that God is one being with three consciousnesses or manifestations. While various groups had various ways of interpreting Christianity this way, usually by rejecting the divinity of Jesus, all agreed that God is one and only one personage or consciousness. William Ellery Channing is considered the Unitarians leading pastor at the time, in part because he adopted the once derogatory term Unitarian to describe his beliefs in 1819. He greatly influenced transcendentalists by his proposition that humans could “partake” of divinity and therefore become closer to and more like God.

However, transcendentalists did reject the idea that miracles proved the truth of religion, an attempt to prove the existence of God empirically. In an address to the Harvard Divinity School in 1838, Ralph Waldo Emerson expounded his (and other transcendentalists) view that “conversion by miracles is a profanation of the soul.” The miracles described in scripture cannot be considered empirical because it is not first hand experience , but even if one saw a miracle, one would not be truly converted-that required something else. Emerson also attacked the church as an “injuror of man” a direct contradiction of true Christianity. Andrews Norton, the so-called “Unitarian Pope”, publicly and angrily responded to Emerson’s “incoherent rhapsody”. It became clear that this new school of thought was not to become a religious interpretation of Unitarianism but a completely new branch of independent philosophy.

While transcendentalism can be seen as a mode of thought, there are key components thereof and, as Emerson pointed out, it has root in philosophical traditions of Plato, Hume, and Kant. Transcendentalism holds that a) Each individual has free will and a portion of divinity within them and can receive personal revelation through the form of intuition; b) This world is an often symbolic representation of higher powers; c) Science, the senses, and institutions (including religion) can only go so far to help us understand this world and the “higher reality”. It is intuition and the action of the individual that must do the rest. Transcendentalist thought has had immense influence on American art and spirituality to this day, but we will focus on four major thinkers and their ideas to better understand this radical belief system.

The Eccentric: Amos Bronson Alcott

Connecticut, 1799-1888

"The good Alcott; with his long, lean face and figure, with his worn gray temples and mild, radiant eyes; all bent on saving the world by a return to acorns and the golden age; he comes before one like a venerable Don Quixote, whom nobody can laugh at without loving." –Thomas Carlyle

The most extreme transcendentalist was Amos Bronson Alcott. Alcott received very little formal school, however he managed to teach himself to read and write, becoming a self-educator and an innovative educator of others.

Deviating sharply from the norm, Alcott believed that education should be about freeing the child to follow his/her natural impulses. It should also be philosophical and physical in nature. Alcott introduced gymnastics, playtime, and even human physiology into classrooms, reflecting his belief that mind and body were of equal importance. He used teaching techniques such as the honor system and Socratic dialogue. His methods raised much suspicion and when he admitted an African-American child into his school in Boston, it was closed. This first school, held in a Masonic Temple, was not the last. The Alcotts were always poor, until daughter Louisa May Published best-seller Little Women.

Alcott was very mystical, even for a transcendentalist. He believed that spirit was the only reality, everything else emanated from it. He believed in intuition to the point of visions, and that humanity had been in an existence before the current one, or preexistence. He also thought that humans can find truth without organized religion, an idea that attracted many to transcendentalism.

Transcendentalists were criticized as being brilliant but impractical, and this was certainly true of Alcott. However, in Conord, Alcott was able to do his job freely and met with success. He started the Concord Summer School of Philosophy and Literature, which ran for nine years. Despite his radicalness at the time, Alcott influenced many modern educators by expounding the idea of a teacher having responsibility to the students.

The Sage: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Massachusetts, 1803-1882

“How rare he was; how original in thought; how true in character!” –The Chicago Tribune

Ralph Waldo Emerson is considered “the most thought-provoking American cultural leader of the mid-nineteenth century”. Though he was a dissident and unorthodox, at his death at age seventy-nine he was eulogized extravagantly.

Emerson was the son and grandson of ministers, and despite being raised by a poor single mother, entered Harvard at age fourteen. He became a Unitarian minister at age twenty-three. As we have seen above, he eventually left the church; among other things, he no longer believed in Communion. He became a popular attraction at lecture clubs, eventually organizing his own courses. These later comprised his books. While Emerson’s lectures were not always agreed with, or even understood, they were always popular. He created controversy by attacking materialism, organized religion and slavery. He is considered the epitomal transcendentalist, though he never seemed comfortable with that term. He did hold to the ideas of individuality, and wrote of something called the Over-Soul, which we should try to harmonize with. (This can be compared to the Holy Spirit or Tao.) Emerson’s real purpose was to help create an American culture, which he certainly has done. He wrote and lectured about man’s nobility, nature’s link to spirituality, and God’s relation to the Universe. He was an amazing writer, poetic in his prose. His legacy is that of a brilliant writer and speaker, wise and sincere.

The Prodigy: Sarah Margaret Fuller

Massachusetts, 1810-1850

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” –Sarah Margaret Fuller

Sarah Margaret Fuller is one of the many under-appreciated women of history, however it may be because her life ended tragically, rather than due to her womanhood. One gets the impression that Fuller would not let that happen. Fuller’s father was supportive of her education, beginning her Latin lessons at six. She soon was reading classical literature and writing.

Fuller began giving lectures at clubs, but soon faced criticism for speaking to audiences that included men. Rather than retreating into obscurity, she cleverly decided to give lectures at home, as “conversations”. This resulted in her book Women in the Nineteenth Century, in which she discussed social restrictions on women, as well as how they could fulfill their potential. Fuller became the editor of the transcendentalist journal The Dial. Her excellent artistic and literary criticism got her a job as a critic for the New York Tribune.

Fuller eventually settled in Rome, where she and her husband fought for independence from Papal authority, which failed. She wrote heavily during this time, which resulted in a history of the failed revolution. Sadly, Fuller, her husband, and son died in a shipwreck off Fire Island. As if this wasn’t tragic enough, the entire history of the Roman Revolution was also lost.

The Rebel: Henry David Thoreau

Massachusetts, 1817-1862

“His soul was made for the noblest society.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Henry David Thoreau has had a global influence, particularly the idea of civil disobedience, which influenced, among others, Mohandas Gandhi. He was also a notable nature writer.

Thoreau gained a reputation as an individualist at Harvard. While not unpopular, he spent his time writing, determined to be a writer no matter what. Of course, this was an impractical career, and most of Thoreau’s life was spent attempting to survive and write at the same time.

Thoreau’s ideas mainly focused on nature, to which he seemed almost addicted. While transcendentalism holds nature as a symbol of higher truths, Thoreau nearly deifies it. He also argued heavily for individual conscience, taking ideas of individuality and intuition to the fullest-one could (and should) break the law if that is what conscience dictates. He was even arrested for refusing to pay taxes to support a nation involved in slavery, and usually preached pacifism. He also believed one’s energy should be fully focused on what one thinks is right, avoiding any distractions, and felt that people enslave themselves at every turn. Walden, his most famous work, is essentially advice on how to avoid distraction and slavery, as well as a triumphant denial of society’s superficial values. The original title-page featured a rooster, a symbol of cocky defiance.

Thoreau was most admired by his friends (and is admired today) for his complete application of philosophical principles. While many hold philosophy or religion in the abstract, Thoreau sees it as reality. As Emerson said, he “wished to settle all his practice on an ideal foundation.”

Goodman, Russell, "Transcendentalism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Remnants of Romanticism: Evidence of Romantics Today

Remnants of Romanticism: Evidence of Romantics Today

Western Civilization: Renaissance to the Present

Khrystine Kelsey

Romanticism was an artistic and literary movement of the nineteenth century. While the meaning has been lost to many, associating the word only with erotic love, elements of romanticism are still thriving today.

The reason the term romance has been adopted by lovers the world over, is that one can often fully appreciate the romantic sensibility when one is in love. Romantics emphasize the reality of feelings, passion, and intuition. All of these come into play when one is in love-there is an intuitive connection to the other person, feelings blind reason, and everything is felt and done more passionately. The true romantic advocates being in this world at all times. Anytime we see a Dionysian character, they are romantic. Modern examples of romantic/Dionysian characters can be seen in the T.V. show Bones, an FBI drama that is essentially a comparison of Dionysian and Apollonian characters. In one episode, Agent Sealy Booth, annoyed at an ice cream truck that has interrupted his phone call, whips out his Government Issue gun, and shoots the clown shaped speaker. While one can debate the various moralities and practicalities of such an act, it is a romantic gesture.

Science has recently found that when one is in love, the mind experiences the world similarly to the mind under the influence of certain drugs. Many artists throughout the ages have taken drugs to tap into creativity, which is considered somewhat of a supreme power for romantics. While not all romantics use or advocate the use of drugs, the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle is thoroughly romantic. As one famous rock star said, “We’re all just a bunch of romantics born in the wrong time period.” * The stereotypical rock star, with their rule by passionate impulses such as “looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night”**, is always in this romantic mode, and their fans are also usually romantic, fully accepting the genius and power of such artists. (e.g. “That concert was totally worth $X.” “It would have been worth it if they had just played Baba O’Riley and left.” “It would have been worth it if Townsend had come out, done the windmill and left.”***)

Romantics also have a fascination with the other, and usually glamorize it, whether it is the poor, the rich, gypsies, frontiersmen, prostitutes, and the list could go on and on. Director Baz Luhrman is a modern example of this, with such movies as Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and Australia. As is the romantic way, all such things, even the dark, horrible, or strange, are beautiful and meaningful. These three movies are full of spectacle, and whether one enjoys them or not, they are in style and content some of the best examples of modern romanticism.

In the same vein, romantics are fascinated by the supernatural, whether it is religious, fantastical, or just plain weird. Any speculative fiction is most necessarily romantic, even if it proclaims not such romantic ideals. You simply cannot have a “naturalist” speculative fiction. Even stories written on the basis of more naturalist viewpoints, such as science fiction, end up turning out romantic in the end if only because they have a point. (Naturalists, as a response to romance, argue that nothing inherently has a point beyond science and what we say it does.) However, of course, this can be done convincingly or unconvincingly. Vampires seem to be a particularly timely example of this, as they have seen a resurgence of popularity due to Stephenie Myer’s Twilight series. Vampires are often portrayed a strangely beautiful, since the Romantic Movement society has never been able to go long without their stories. In this newest incarnation, as in virtually all others, the young maiden has a strange quasi-sexual desire to be consumed by a young strangely-virile-even-when-undead vampire. Religious subjects are usually more convincing, partly because religion also usually has an element of the supernatural in it.

Romantics are particularly interested in religion, even if many reject the organized kind. Most romantics believe in an “Absolute”, which could alternatively be called God, energy, nature, etc. It is not surprising that most romantics, if religious, follow traditions that are more mystic. Religions provide an opportunity for the romantic to more concretely visualize a perfect world.

Romanticism’s desire for idealized utopias gave rise to nationalism, in both positive and negative aspects. This broad term is the only real political one romantics agree upon, though they are also known for favoring revolutions, and some confused romantic support revolutions that eventually oppress the creativity and freedom they find so important (e.g. fascism, communism). Due to a romantic’s passionate nature, it is very easy for one to idealize nations, parties, or people. In the last administration, we have seen romantics viewing the war in Iraq as an opportunity to bring freedom to an oppressed people. We have also seen romantics who claim it is the signal for a new revolution in which the constitution is “actually upheld”. Both romantics, of course fiercely love America, and the same person based on new information or enlightenment on the issues at hand might hold both views. ****

Romantics also have a serious crush/love affair/worship (depending on the person) of nature, particularly as untamed. Nature represents the authenticity and unspoiled passions that romantics so earnestly search for. More humanistic romantics see man as a harmonious part of nature, others see us as highly detrimental to it, but both agree that humanity should check itself before making an impact on it. (An extreme view can be seen in Alan Weisman’s The World without Us.) All environmentalism is a romantic sentiment, and there has been a renewed interest in it lately as evidence for Global Warning is becoming harder to sweep under the rug. Even fashion magazines, wal-mart, and car companies, the triumvirate of consumerism have been advocating “green” practices lately. This nature also applies to people and society, especially in the case of urban romantics, whose numbers have grown throughout the last century. These romantics appreciate the universalism of a kid playing ball with a dog in the park, and see beauty in the street musician outside the theatre. Urban romantics, unheard of until the industrial revolution became widespread, have a need for nature as well. This often manifests in wanderlust, and even the most citified romantic needs time in a park now and then. As the ultimate city girl, but nonetheless romantic character Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City said, “City girls are just country girls in cuter outfits.”

One character has emerged from the romantic ideal as the romantic hero; he is sometimes called the anti-hero. This hero fights within themselves and society to be themselves. They can be moody, even obnoxious at times, and they are usually a loner. The apex of their heroism is to know themselves, rather than to conquer an outside enemy. Good examples of triumphant romantic heroes are Andre and Kyra in the book We the Living by Ayn Rand. Andre commits suicide after he realizes he is serving a corrupt state, and Kyra dies moments away from the border of the Soviet Union. Despite the tragic ends, this is a triumph romantically; both characters are free from society. A romantic tragedy would be 1984 by George Orwell, in which Winston, on the verge of being a revolutionary, is brainwashed by the state. A more recent romantic hero, who does affect society for the better (a plus but not a goal of romantic heroes), would be John Bender (played by Judd Nelson) in The Breakfast Club. While all the characters in this movie are heroes, Bender is the hero and the best example of a romantic one. Class is not important to romantic heroes; Bender is at the lowest end of the spectrum. He is the loner, and seriously offends every other character at least once. He is a revolutionary in the sense that he is completely against the administration of the school. He even has long unkempt hair, reminiscent of paintings of Byron. The school is the ultimate romantic villain-not an individual, but a body, who uses fear and trades on authority to abuse the students, who are not to be believed, even (or especially) by their parents.

Romanticism can cause many problems. Even to a self-proclaimed romantic like me, it is not always ideal. I am a humanist first, a romantic humanist, not a humanistic romantic. I see no point in contemplating a world without us, even if I do believe in creating sustainability. I am a city girl myself, which gives me authority to write on urban romantics. I believe, at least politically, that we should be tempered by reason. Nevertheless, as a romantic, I will never stop believing that people are at their best when given complete freedom to live their ideals. I will never be convinced that I am imagining things when my intuition is telling me what to do. I will always keep a healthy respect for the supernatural, not messing with what I do not understand. I am artistically of the romantic school, and even historically. I will assume people are and were noble until given evidence to the contrary. You will find me in any group of people determined to make the world as it should be, and not merely what it is. To quote another romantic, undoubtedly my biggest influence, “You will find me at the foot of every rainbow, searching for the vision seldom seen.” *****

*I do not remember who said this, which bothers me, as it is one of my favorite quotes.

**Wayne’s World 2.

***My friends and me after a Who concert.

****Also me.

*****Eli Benjamin Kelsey, a song that may or may not have a name.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Assembled Art Project: The Wheel Goddess

Assembled Art Project: The Wheel Goddess

Art 1010

Khrystine Danielle Kelsey

Title: The Wheel Goddess

Genre: Collage

Date Completed: April 27, 2009

Materials: Computer scanner, photo editing programs, Microsoft paint, photographs. Photograph of Sharon Leal by Carter Smith, Allure Magazine, May 2009. “Muladhara” found at “Svadhisthana” found at “Manipura” found at “Anahata” drawn by Kelsey using Microsoft paint. “Vishudda” found at “Ajna” cut and pasted from copy of Smith photograph. “Sahasrara” found at

I have always been fascinated with collages as a form of borrowed art. Collage, like many forms of design (e.g. fashion, furniture, architecture) is art that is appropriated for ones own uses. The difference is that while these other elements may be as embellished or as purely functional as the artist desires, collage is always conscious of the desire to create a new artistic piece, with a message that may be completely different from the original artist. Especially considered in my re-interpretation of Carter Smith’s photograph was how technology affects art, the blending of East and West, and the prominence of the nude in art, especially the female nude in portraiture.

My basic purpose of this work was to show how modern women, and indeed women of all time represent the characteristics of the goddess-the female archetype that embodies fertility, transformation, and wisdom. The original Smith photograph (below) was, I believe, intended to show the same thing in a more straightforward “modern” sense. The compelling aspect is the mix of softness and strength. I however wanted to show that this is not just an aspect of the modern woman, and that we in our modern society are much less removed from the primeval, mysterious, and magical than we think.

It seems that much of western art from Impressionism to the present has been concerned with portraying the modern as something new, when really it is just the fact that we are here, and not our parents, that make this particular zeitgeist so exciting. This is not a criticism, we should feel this way. Nevertheless, the times we truly feel ourselves rock with the cradle of the world, there is an awareness of certain things that transcend time. Eastern art and philosophy, at least in places where it is allowed to flourish such as India, seem to have more awareness of this. Kundalini Yoga is an old practice that has gained popularity among people who ironically refer to themselves as “new age”. Kundalini is a meditation on various energy centers associated with various parts of the body and represented by chakras, a Sanskrit word that means wheels. (Hence the title, “Wheel Goddess”.) The ideal is that these wheels be spinning at all times, ensuring the correct flow of energy in all areas of ones life. I chose an object to represent each of the seven wheels, some based on tradition, some based on interpretation. I wanted to create a feel of modernity and antiquity by combining nature with vestiges of middle history and the modern metal curtains the model Sharon Leal is wrapped in.

I created most of “Wheel Goddess” on a computer. I believe there are those who question whether anything created through these means can really be called art, just as there were with photography at one time. I do not wish to discuss this in much detail, but it is interesting to note perhaps how much simpler it is to find the materials for a collage. However, it is not necessarily easy to do a collage this way, unlike with glossy magazine cutouts, the textures of the various photographs are not the same, neither are the quality of the photographs. This creates a weakness in that the collage is not as unified, has blocky sections, and is less organic than a traditional hands-on creation.

Leal is nude in the photograph. This is nothing new in art. Artists choose to portray women nude for many reasons. Sometimes it is simply part of the theme, such as a woman bathing. Sometimes it is to make the scene idyllic; the woman is innocently without her clothes, like a child might be after he escapes his mother trying to dress him when he has better things to do. It is also used to convey a sense of timelessness or eternity, as in my interpretation in this collage. For many it is an aesthetic celebration of the body (as in the original photograph), for some it verges on the scientific, and for pornographers it is intended to facilitate sexual climax. Despite the fact that they are not inherently erotic, many people are uncomfortable with nudes. Indeed, there may be a fine line between aesthetics and erotica, and erotica and pornography. Some may feel this line is thicker, some thinner. I have struggled with my own definitions, which I believe are important on a personal level. Smith’s photograph served my purposes of a timeless open, confident woman well, yet the original photograph is erotic, more so than the others in the series it came from, and I hesitated using it. Perhaps what bothers so many people about the nude in art is the projections of the artist on the subject. That is why aesthetic and erotic nudes (yes, even in photograph) don’t bother me, the subject is sharing of his (though usually her) self. Pornographic and scientific nudes both treat the subject as an object, to be examined or used. This is not my intention with “Wheel Goddess”. She is a powerful woman who transcends earthly trappings of clothes or the lack of them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Book Review-Mixed Blood by Roger Smith

Mixed Blood: A Thriller Mixed Blood: A Thriller by Roger Smith

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Smith is a screenwriter, and you can tell reading this book-it's very cinematic. This book makes you want to keep reading, and it's fast paced. However, there are several very disturbing images, and it's hard to tell if the characters really redeem themselves. Maybe they're not supposed to. I didn't dislike this book, but I was relieved to finally finish it.

View all my reviews.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Since Last I Wrote...

I have taken finals, gone to Seattle, given my hair a makeover, become an aunt again, and attended one and a half parties.
Finals: Grades haven't come out yet, but my anatomy final (which scared me a ton) seemed a lot better than I expected. I am almost worried that the teacher will be suspicious that I actually know something. I will likely be posting final papers, but I think I will wait until grades for the semester are officially posted to "publish." I also will be posting a final art project, so you all can judge me. ;)
Seattle: Seattle was great, I truly love it up there. Our first night in town we attended a new student party at Safeco Field. I was surprised to publicly recieve a scholarship award and also to find a fellow Salty. (As in Salt Lake City Resident.) So evidently I will not be the only Utahn at Evergreen. We stayed at the Raddisson, which was very nice. They have sleep number beds that are soooo comfy. My number is thirty-five, by the way.
Saturday we drove down to Olympia to explore the campus. I had seen the campus before, about three years ago, but this time I explored a little more. There are these awesome little trails I think Toby will love to go for walks on. I also looked into finding a place to live. That makes me a little nervous because it occurs to me that I might need things like rental history and in-state cosigners, neither of which I have. Luckily, Daddy seems like he'll be very supportive and will do what he can to help me find a nice place.
On Sunday, Daddy and I went to play in the city. We ate at Ivar's, which is a famous fish place near the docks. I had deep-fried salmon. It was really good, but I spent most of my time throwing french fries to the seagulls. Seagulls aren't all creepy and greedy, like pigeons get. I even held out a fry that a seagull took from my hand! Then we went shopping at Pike Place Market. Those who know my shopaholic ways will be impressed to hear I only spent ten dollars on myself at the Market. I bought a suede Pony Tail Wrap. It's wraps around your hair and almost looks like it's been braided. I love it. I find cities so inspiring, and I have decided to rename my blog accordingly. Street musicians, people swing dancing in front of Starbucks...awesome.
The day before finals, I decided to dye my hair a deep rich brown. I bought some Nice 'n' Easy hair color and ended up with black hair. I really had to get used to it. I'm okay with it now-I even sorta like it-but I think when it's time to do it again, I'll just re-do it.
On May 6th, at 6:26 pm, JoAnna and Jeffrey had their baby, Rayne Miranda. She is gorgeous! She has sparkly, pretty green eyes. JoAnna and Rayne stayed with us last night, and are planning to for a while I think.
On the 8th, Friday, my friends Sara and Natalie graduated with their bachelors of anthropology and family sciences, respectively. We all hung out at Natalie's place that afternoon along with Aurora an Alexa (in this picture). Natalie's sisters and mom were there too, but I don't have pictures of them. :( The next day I was supposed to go to my friend Ginger's baby shower. She's having twin boys on the twenty-third of June. I woke up on Saturday exhausted (I don't know why-I didn't have a baby) and didn't leave the house until 12:40. The shower started at noon, but I couldn't buzz into the apartment (not hers). It just didn't work. So later I stopped by and dropped off her present at her place. But it was still good because it was just her, her mom and youngest sister Nicki. So I got to find out how the whole family, who I've basically adopted, was doing.
So this week, I turn twenty-one, on Tuesday. My niece's daughter Hunter will be one on Wednesday. My brother Eli will be in town from Florida, so that's pretty awesome. And today is mother's day. So in honor of that, let me just say how cool and stylish my mother is. As bad as this will sound, the more I hear about other people's mothers, the more I appreciate my own. So here's to Mother!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pack o' quotes

"When things that are of the greatest importance are passed over by weak-minded men without even a thought, I want to see truth in all its bearings and hug it to my bosom...I never hear of a man being damned for believing too much; but they are damned for unbelief."-Joseph Smith

"Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?"
— Stephen W. Hawking (A Brief History of Time)

"If you're going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet."
— Keith Richards

"Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking."
— Ayn Rand

"It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane."
— Philip K. Dick

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww'"
— Jack Kerouac

"I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
— Marilyn Monroe

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."- Marianne Williamson

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


So I am officially going to Seattle in April. After I somewhat covertly purchased tickets and a hotel reservation, my dad has decided to come along. Good Times!

Monday, February 02, 2009


I feel kind of out of it and weird lately. I was going to study all day long, but I didn't. I did work out and take Toby for a walk, which he enjoyed, but that was about it.
My work is having a conference in Utah County on Saturday and I'm encouraged to go, but I'm not. I have so little time/motivation lately that I don't do anything on the weekends but study. Well I did have dinner with friends on Saturday, but not until like after 9:00. Sunday I fell asleep at like 10! I'm thinking sleeping in the afternoon might work better, but I doubt it.
Ugh. I'm just so tired lately. I think having a clean warm room would help-but no time for that either. I want tranquility and femininity and wealth, not of money, but of ideas and comfort.
Oh, I don't know what to say. Blah.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What's up with me???

So this has been an interesting week.
I've been accepted to two schools now, one in Olympia and one in Chicago. Yea!!!! I'm very excited but also twisty and nervous.
Part of the reason I'm nervous is that school is not going very well, largely because the bookstore has decided I don't really need my books after all. I barely passed my first anatomy test-52%-which I still think is pretty good for not reading the chapter.
Also, I really feel like I have no space. My dad bought me a space heater, which didn't really work, so I've lived outside of my room for a while now. I either don't have the time or the inclination to do anything about it.
I bought Toby some bath stuff, which is good because his face gets really dirty and stinky. It makes him smell really good but he's still really itchy everywhere else. Last night I kept waking up to him crying and trying to scratch himself. So I pick him up and try to comfort him, help him reach his tail, coax him back to sleep, etc. This happened three or four times throughout the night. So my alarm goes off at seven this morning and I decide I can sleep until seven-thirty. Besides I'm having a lovely nightmare about getting fired for breaking all the toys in the day-care, which also results in me getting excommunicated. Of course the next time I'm aware of the alarm going off, it's like 9:30, and so much for Sacrament Meeting. I end up sleeping in really late. This is what frustrates me. Apparently, of late, I have a complete lack of discipline.
I have been eating better, but for today, even if calorie wise I ate enough/not too much, it was totally horrible food. Which leads me to the thing that truly freaks me out-my skin. I have some sort of bizarre rash on my torso, so I'm going to the doctor tomorrow. I have an inkling it might be stress related. But I feel scared-yes scared-that no one will believe me. Believe that I've been stressed out. Because I'm happy in general, but can't I still be stressed, overwhelmed, preoccupied? It seems like anytime I ever feel anything, it must be that I'm not eating enough, I have too much sugar, etc. My mind lately is either crammed full or nearly empty. I'm having a hard time spelling, focusing my eyes, thinking clearly. I feel so tired. I feel like this at the beginning of every year. Is it twisted Spring Fever? I don't get it. I just want someone to tell me it's okay, but who would it have to be in order for me to believe it?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Book Review-The Note by Kay Bognar

Miranda Jenkin's best friend is lost at sea. He was seen throwing a bottle overboard containing a note for her. Miranda finds herself becoming obsessed by her search for it.

I received this book as an early reviewer, and to be honest, was only mildly interested by the plot. I however found myself sucked in immediately and couldn't put it down. It is truly more interesting if you have just the slightest hint of what the book is about, although one wonders how successful the book will be with it's two-second teaser. Though the novel is written for young adults, the style of writing is somewhat old-fashioned, which I personally enjoyed. The only complaint I had was that the pacing seemed off. Some events take forever to describe, while others happen so fast that I read them twice to make sure I'd processed it. I hope enough people pick up this book to discover the weird and wonderful plot inside.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Individulaism Throughout The Ages

4. Greece had a strong individualist ethic. Man was the measure of all things and reason reigned. Socrates and Aristotle had forgiving views of human morality; immorality was the result of ignorance or imbalance rather than a desire to defy God or consort with Satan. Therefore, the individual didn’t have to be afraid of himself. One was allowed to think, to reason, to consult different sources such as the Oracle, the mind, or the world around to gain knowledge. Each individual was believed to have a specific fate that was his/hers and his/hers alone. The deities were highly individualized and personal. This most democratic, in the literal sense of the word, society allowed and indeed expected each citizen to be fully aware and involved in politics, ostracized when they were not at court to give opinion rather than for dissenting ones.
Gnostic Christianity was also intensely individualistic. Gnosticism, meaning to know, held that to know oneself was to know God and vise versa. They took the Biblical phrase “The Kingdom of God is within you,” to a much more literal extent than did so called “orthodox” Christianity. Christianity is a highly individualistic religion, the focus is on the individual soul’s achievement rather than the group one belongs to, and the doctrine of repentance shows the individual’s ability to change and progress in spite of past mistakes.
Orthodox Christianity did not embrace individualism to this extent, at least not at first. The western doctrine of original sin (this does not exist in the Eastern orthodox religions today, but Catholics and most Protestants in the west still hold to it) claims that we are all guilty for Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden. This doctrine arguably negates individuality, because it means one can be held responsible for another’s actions-and what is individual if not the actions, thoughts, and words of one person as opposed to another? (One may say that all Christianity, if following this logic, negates individuality. This however depends largely on how the atonement actually works in one theology vs. another.) While salvation is an individual process, orthodoxy (which means narrow way) held that all individuals had to do the same individual things-and conformity, no matter how small the group or the similarity, is necessarily the opposite of individualism.
The Romance of Tristan and Isolde, who are conspicuously absolved of sin by any picky readers through the drinking of a love potion, widened the road for individuals a bit. Romantic love is an individual thing-it is the defining, individual characteristics of the lovers that draw them to each other.
Parzival, then, takes this to the next level. Parzival can only save the fisher king by asking him what is wrong, which is frowned upon by society. Each knight must take their own path. Parzival’s “heathen” brother representing nature is brought into the fold. The grail king can only find relief when looking into his soul. The story is replete with individualism.