Sunday, August 24, 2014

Welcome to Space...

Top Hat is in a band.  They're actually fairly good, and I suspect if you like what they call "space rock" they are even better than good.  In anticipation of an upcoming show with the noise rock band Hammerhead, they had a space show.  A space show is essentially a show in a band's practice space.  It's also a good excuse to hangout in an industrial parking lot and drink beer.  The band actually rents the space Soul Asylum used back in the day...also a good excuse to drink beer in an industrial parking lot.

Last night's show went like this:
Pre-show beer/parking lot.  The bars on the windows create a nice, safe feeling.  As does the Somali discotheque next door, and the  "massage parlour" housed on the third floor of the adjacent building...classy.

Welcome to Space...

View upon entering the void.  When I asked if placing "Enjoy Coke" under photos of Guns N' Roses, Ozzy, and the Stones was intentional commentary, they assured me it was merely coincidence but a brilliant observation...
The adoring audience, in part, I couldn't get everyone in the shot.  People from 4 different states showed up.
2/4 of the band.
3/4 of the band, plus a brother-in-law

The man behind the synths.  He's going for a Keith Emerson setup, but the $90,000 Modular Moog will have to wait. 

The only band I know that uses a storyboard as musical notation.  I'm sure a cactus playing a sax is a profound representation of something.  And I'm sure that electrical outlet could use a few more things plugged into it.

It was a fun, sweltering time.  They get the test pressings of their forthcoming vinyl album this week.  A listening party is tentatively scheduled for the upcoming month, although I think it is likely to take place somewhere other than the vacuum of their space.     

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Weekend: A Pictorial Wishlist

This is how I intend to spend my next few days, all with a relaxed bliss:

Replace the rubrics and papers with a paperback, and all is well!

1) Literature and an adult beverage in a random bar at midday.  Check.  An interesting NPR read, and I would totally read a book in a bar with the author, although we would have to discuss the phrase "culture critic" at length.


I am slightly impressed by my own skill in taking this photo, however.  Simply gorgeous.


 2) Trees, sun, and lake(s).  Done.  While I would give almost anything to be visiting this particular spot, alas, the Big Horns are not my destination. 


3) Silence.  @$&% yeah!  I'm looking forward to possibly not speaking to/interacting with another human being for multiple hours at a time. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

4 != 4: Equality

And you can quote me on this: "Equality does not mean treating everybody the same. Equality means being flexible and responsive in appropriate ways that meet people's needs with respect, honor, and dignity." ~ Rita 2014

I use this quote and concept often, both when teaching multicultural counseling and engaging in the practice of counseling.  Sometimes people get stuck on the idea that equality means symmetry in balance.  For example, 4 = 4, end of story.  While this has merit in certain situations, it is very limiting.  Helping people move beyond that limited conceptualization and recognize that 1+3 = 4 and 2+2 = 4 are also valid, useful ways of obtaining an equivalent outcome of 4 is a challenging but valuable task.  Just as you can have two cups of water, a pint of water, or 32 tablespoons of water and still have the same amount, people can get their needs met in different and creative ways.  It is also about the quality of the diverse and creative ways needs are met.  Incomplete or partial combinations do not lead to an equal opportunity or outcome.  There is no rounding up or down in regard to equality.  It's all whole numbers.  

I think equal in terms of flexibility could easily be misconstrued as equal but separate, an unfortunate mistake.  In reality, it is quite the opposite.  Oftentimes, the attention to meeting the needs of diverse groups of people is done in an integrated and functional way such as universal design.  A person who does not use a wheelchair can use stairs or an escalator, yet someone who does use a wheelchair has little use for either.  A ramp, however, can be used by both in addition to people with strollers, walkers, canes, luggage etc.  Flexible, respectful, functional, equal.  

Conversely, sometimes when an inflexible, "uniform" approach to something is implemented it is not functional and is poorly conceived due to bias and privilege in the decision making process, such as "regulation" military hair styles in the U.S. 

Can you imagine what would happen if all mechanics treated every car issue the same, using only specs for an '89 Yugo, based on the belief that all cars are cars, and therefore the individual differences or between group differences were irrelevant in maintaining them?  Sure, it would be equal treatment and it would seem efficient...until a fuel injected car started having issues and no one could figure out what the hell a fuel injector was and why the carburetor was missing.  Or what an on-board computer does and why the check engine light wouldn't go off.  It's not to say that there aren't similarities between cars that would be transferable (changing a tire, having a steering wheel, an engine etc.).  But come on, really?   It isn't like they would then say, "Only cars that fit these specs/can be made to fit them are worth our attention!"  The entire concept is unreasonable and unsustainable.  Yet, that is what we do with people and groups of people.  

"But, Rita, people aren't cars and we can't be tailoring everything to everyone all the time!"  Yes, and when there are people involved and inequities persist, people get hurt.  That's a problem.  It's true we can't tailor everything, but that is not what I am advocating for.  This is where " flexible and responsive in appropriate ways" comes in.  There are limits to what can be done to address the specific needs of individuals and groups when balanced with everyone's needs.  Flexibility is requisite for all involved, and sometimes that means compromise.  And it also means get creative and be proactive.  Before something can be addressed, it has to be recognized.  Gaining recognition involves highlighting the concern and creating awareness.  Although there are often institutional and societal roadblocks to this flexibility and growth, it doesn't mean we get to be complacent or steeped in our own privilege and ignorance.  Achieving equality also involves being open to awareness, which seems to be where most people really struggle...somehow, it is inconceivable that two people can have different cultural backgrounds and needs while respecting and valuing those differences and sharing an understanding. 

Too many people are driving in other people's lanes without realizing that I can drive my car with all of its quirks and specific features, and you can drive your car too.  We don't have to drive the same car to safely share the road and arrive at the same destination. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bangs, Headbands, and Pancakes

     One of my favorite ways to start a day-- making excellent buttermilk blueberry pancakes from scratch.  I apparently also make excellent regular buttermilk pancakes according to popular opinion.  Blueberry anything is where it's at though; cheesecake, muffins, ice cream, pie...all delightful.  Generally, I am forcefully against photographing food, but these were not only highly palatable, they were aesthetically pleasing!

 When I was home last, I had the opportunity to make a copy of this, er, lovely, childhood photo.  I think I was 8 or 9 years-old.  One of my great-aunts died earlier this year.  As they were consolidating her belongings, they divided up the photos she had and gave them to whomever seemed appropriate.  This was especially nice for me as all of our family photos, among everything else, were destroyed in a forest fire in 2002.  That probably has something to do with my desire to collect photos, new and old.  

Never a real smile, it was always the patronizing "I hate you but have good manners" smile

I remember the headband, the bangs, and the dress.  I used to swim in the creek in that dress.  There were tiny pools 2-3 feet deep all over the place.  There was one little pool about a mile from home that I frequented.  I used to back float and stare at the sky and trees for extended periods of time, hours some days.  The sense of muffled silence the water covering my ears created was so relaxing and peaceful, so quite.  The water tends to be cold when you are at an elevation over a mile high, but I would float and spin until I felt warm as the breeze blew across the pond and my face.  I was always perplexed by that.  I would be freezing walking home, but if the wind blew or I ran, the air brushing against me felt like a warm blanket.  The air is distinctive back home.  The pine trees are very fragrant, and their resin seems to be unique in producing this.  I would float, listen, and breathe the fresh air.  If I stayed long enough, sometimes the trout in the creek would become accustomed to me, and I would feel and hear them flitting around me.  Their tails make a weird noise underwater like a bubbly splash.  Luckily I never had any water snakes slither by, that may have been the end of my swimming.  When it was time to go home or when my mom thought I should be home, our dog usually found me.  By found me I mean located me and then barreled into the creek for a swim too.  His name was Bog, and he was a border collie/German shepherd mix.  Highly intelligent, fiercely loyal, and unbelievably protective of us.  Also fond of water and car rides.  I miss him often; he died almost 10 years ago.  His name is a not so long but moderately funny story for another time.  Suffice it to say that he and the dress were an important part of fun times.  I would wear the dress again for sure.  The bangs, however, are something else entirely...