"Hairy Women"

So, LVC is a group of young activists concerned about community, simplicity, sustainability, social justice, defying conventional societal norms, anti-racism, and many other things. For some LVCers, the "defying conventional societal norms" means more than just extricating oneself from the standard American consumerist/capitalist mindset.

For many LVC women, this means deciding that their internal merit is far more important than their physical appearance - many opt to go without make-up. Some take it a step further and do not shave their arms or legs, or pluck their eyebrows... and a daring two or three have decided that there is no real reason for them to shave any of their body hair. Yes, this means hairy female armpits.

I fully support this decision in theory, and want to believe that since I was simply socialized to find smooth armpits and legs attractive, I could be socialized out of the belief. I know that I would be somewhat uncomfortable if Lisa decided to stop shaving her armpits or legs - but I know intellectually that expecting her to shave her body is an outmoded, sexist convention that I could get over.

As I was thinking about this, and about how much I respect the two women I've met this week (there might be more) who do not shave their armpits, I found myself thinking about my face, and how I haven't shaved in a couple days. And - wait. Why do I shave my face again?


I've been gone for a bit - because I've been ultra-busy. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook (which is likely, I don't know how anyone would find this blog otherwise) then you know I recently moved to Seattle, to work with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps for El Centro de La Raza. Let's recap what happened before that:

Two weeks ago was my last week in Portland. I was sad to leave; I loved Portland, with its strange and wonderful denizens, bike-friendliness, ease of navigation, weather, and more. I dreaded the move to Seattle, except (and this is a very, very large exception) for the fact that Lisa would be in Seattle! Even if I was going to be working as a dirt licker, I would have welcomed the move.

I had a lot to do the last week - I had a blog to write for this one guy, I had some work to do for Charles, I had to pack, I had to finish my sign twirling, and I had to get my summer reading done for LVC (still haven't completely finished that). On top of that, I found out early in the week that my brother was going to be hitch-hiking up to Portland with a friend! So once he got there, most of my time was spent with him and I couldn't spend much doing the stuff I needed to do. But it was good to see him. We still don't really see eye-to-eye, at all, but it was a good time. We hung out, busked a bit for tobacco money, and talked. It was a good time.

Anyway, I left Portland, gave my garden to Sal, and drove up to Seattle - and met Lisa! And we spent a week looking at roomshares for her to live in. I found out where I'm going to be living too, and it's gorgeous and less than a mile away from where I'll be working (pretty freakin' convenient). Lisa's place is OK; we definitely looked at a bunch of dumps. The best thing about it is that it's month-to-month, so she can jet out if it turns out to be just terrible. I guess the worst thing about it is the location (Magnolia); it's not super far from downtown or anything but it's just not central or in a cool neighborhood like Ballard.

The next couple days Lisa and I spent garage sailing in search of a desk; Emily and Brian gave us a dresser and side table that will work well. We found a cool one at "Not Yo Mama's Garage Sale," which was pretty sweet. The rest of the garage sales were pretty lame.

So far my review of Seattle, vs. Portland, is that Seattle is, and definitely feels, like a much bigger city. Seattle is extremely difficult to get around in. The street names seem arbitrary, and the directional designations (NE, S, SW, or none) are difficult to wrap my head around. Portland was so easy. Lisa and I got lost basically every day. I think we're starting to get the hang of it, now. I'm going to be glad to be taking the bus most of the time, I guess? Or walking to work? Not having too far to drive. I hope I can get a bike soon, I suppose.

Anyways, I didn't spend long in Seattle; at present I am back in Washington, DC, for a week, to do a training thing for LVC. I took a red-eye flight and didn't sleep really, which is a bummer. I arrived in DC at 8:30am, which is 5:30am PST. I don't have anywhere to be until 2:00, so I am at an Au Bon Pain down the street from our registration area waiting it out. I'd be nice to sleep here in the cafe but I don't see that happening :)

I do like DC, though. When I lived here I don't know if I took advantage of/appreciated the city as much as I could have. I love the metro. I love the feeling of the city. I love its overtly diverse nature. Anyways I'm here for a week. It's hot. Luckily it's going to get cooler while I'm here, but anything's hot compared to the perfect Seattle weather right now.

In other good news, I got two paychecks in the mail today - as soon as I get my reimbursement from LVC and my deposit back from Larry, I am officially going to have my credit card paid off! YES! That means that I spent two months in Portland, spent my savings (there really wasn't any) and my graduation present cash (also not too much, but a sizeable amount), and basically came out even. But the experience - was it worth the experience? I don't know; I ended up getting a job in Seattle anyway (which I could have done from home and saved $1000 or so). But Portland was a great time. And I found out how much I loved the city. I am glad I did it, so then, yes, it was worth it.

That's all for now :)

"My first ever comic!"

OK! Wow! I'm nervous. I mean, really, nobody is going to read this anyway, but... Well, this is the first comic I've ever really done. Like, scripted it, drew it, inked it, scanned it, a little post-processing, and now it's here online.

And it's not great, but that's kind of the point, I guess? Like, going through the archives of some of the webcomics I read daily now, it's crazy how much they've changed, how much better they've gotten. I'm just glad that I've begun, that that's out of the way, that I can start getting better (I have a long way to go) at drawing comics.

I drew this comic on a 9x12 piece of sketchbook paper, with a mechanical pencil, and I inked it with a fine-tipped sharpie. Haha. For the word bubbles and some clean-up I used photoshop.

So, with all that being said, the comic makes a lot more sense if you (well, I guess, it makes no sense at all unless you) read webcomics. I reference inkdick, DAR, Penny-Arcade, Questionable Content, Pictures for Sad Children, and Octopus Pie in this comic, so if you aren't familiar with them you might not "get" it. Anyways, here you go:

Original Version (click to enlarge):
This one has my original word bubbles in place and I didn't do the greatest job of trying to edit out stray pencil marks that wouldn't erase.

Second Version (click to enlarge):
This one I entered the word bubbles in with photoshop because I wasn't really satisfied with my handwriting (especially toward the end). And I did a little bit better with editing pencil marks. And there's a tiny bit of color.

I still have to decide whether I'd like to put word bubbles in digitally (not this crazy hybrid I tried here that doesn't work) or just be more careful with my handwriting. Anyways, please enjoy and leave a comment! Good or bad, tips, tricks, which of the two versions you like better, etc. Thanks a lot.

"Christianity & mewithoutYou's Lyrics"

I recently read Anne Lammot's "Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith," which I highly recommend (both to Christians and to anyone else). One of the thoughts she shares in the book struck me.

Before she became a Christian, for weeks she would walk into a Church nearby the Sunday flea market she frequented, because the music was so beautiful. She had been brought up with a healthy distrust of Christianity, and would stand in the doorway listening to the music but leave just before the sermon. For weeks she would stand, entranced by the music, feeling a strange peace in the beauty of the songs, and then her intellect would get the better of her and she would leave after the songs ended. Eventually the music broke her, and she began to stay for the sermon and then, much later, she became a Christian.

A few weeks ago, when I was in LA for Nick and Sheena's wedding, mewithoutYou was playing at a downtown music venue and a bunch of my friends were going. Because one of my goals while in LA was to see some of the friends that I so dearly missed since moving away from LA, it was a perfect opportunity to interact with a bunch of them at once.

I'd never been a big fan of mewithoutYou; the strange vocals, nearly inscrutable lyrics and too-hardcore for my taste musical style turned me off. But I read Chris Faris' review of their new album, and I knew that many of my friends (Amy, Trevor, Matt Dougherty, to name a few) absolutely LOVED the band, so I decided to give them a try.

And the concert wasn't great. I had downloaded their albums a week or so prior and tried (in vain) to get into their stuff. At the concert, I didn't know a bunch of the songs; it was far too loud and hot and crowded; I was tired from a missed flight and hours of public transportation and didn't want to stand there listening to music I didn't really enjoy.

But I talked to Trevor about his love for the band and he said it was all about the lyrics. He said that he is consistently amazed when re-listening to their songs, that he reaches newfound insights each time he sits with the lyric book and follows along. He called them "the most Christian band I know." Coming from the teaching pastor at the church I attended frequently, this is something, and equally so because I very highly respect Trevor's taste in music.

So after getting back from the show, and especially after getting their new album, which is much, much more easily palatable than their older stuff, I started listening to them more. And then a lot more. When I found that I really, really enjoyed their new album, it somehow gave me license to like their older stuff too. Except for their first one (can't get over the screaming, sorry) their last three albums are now at the top of my frequent listening list. I really, really enjoy mewithoutYou's stuff. And now, after having listened to their albums over and over, something curious has been happening.