Fundraising

Yeah, I’m fundraising. Help me out? Please?

I’m part of this Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon thing. Ride a bike for some distance, get people to sponsor you, raise money to help people locally and globally through the power of bikes.

No, seriously, bikes are awesome. There’s this theory I have that when you teach a disenfranchised person basically anything, you change their life. Not just teach them I guess, but mentor them. Here’s a statistic:

Jim Sporleder, high school principal at Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Washington, started a new way to attach student suspensions. Rather than suspending students immediately for infractions, teachers and staff send students to the principal who then asks them what’s up and how they’re doing. There are still suspensions, of course, but some 85% of these students are no longer being suspended.

Drawn from The Huffington Post

85%! That’s amazing. Now, this isn’t exactly mentorship here, but it is someone reaching out to show care. It’s a supportive influence from a person you view as “more powerful” than you. There are all sorts of projects that do this kind of this. The films Born into Brothels and Waste Land are two examples of this through art, one with kids and one with adults.

That’s part of why Bikes-Not-Bombs is cool. They make a difference through the power of bikes by mentoring (mostly) youth and (even) adults in the Boston area. They form connections, find new kinds of hope, learn skills, and, of course, get bikes.

They do the same and more globally. They do lots of nice stuff. When I listen to people talk about all the nice stuff they do, I get teary eyed.

But, the point of this post is fundraising.

I’m -really- bad at a fundraising. I am too longwinded to explain in any concise way why Bikes-Not-Bombs is good and why a you should give money to them. I’m also awful at asking people for money, both personally and basically in any other way. I hate the concept of asking people for money for charities and the associated guilt you give them. I have been known to scream when canvassers for groups like Children’s International come up to me on the street.(1)

So yeah, I think Bikes-Not-Bombs is super awesome. I’d like it a lot if you would donate to them through me so I can go on this awesome bike ride and feel good about myself.

(1)I think these charities likely deserve support. I don’t know enough about them to be comfortable saying that they do deserve support. I also understand that canvassing is a hard and often thankless job that college students frequently do because they need that dough. I feel guilty over not being able to help people who so obviously need help (I only have so much time and my paycheck is only so big). Screaming is not planned, but a frequent reactionary response to the threat of the (sometimes debilitating) guilt I feel when they talk to me.

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Hat

In front of the elementary school on Cambridge St, I was stopped behind a school bus. A boy in a top hat and a red shirt bounded down the steps. A blond girl in pink followed him. Walking next to one another, she took his hat and put it on.

Smile

On Webster Ave this morning, I stopped to check something in my bag. A woman got into her car, which I was blocking. Deep in searching, I didn’t notice her.

“Are you going to move?” She asked me.

I looked up at her. Her shoulders sank and she smiled.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m late and it’s my fault.”

“Sorry,” I said.

She smiled again and I got out of her way.

Stereotypes

The stereotype of an American family gathering is that someone cries, someone yells, people ignore obvious problems, people are hugely disappointed at various points, there’s a lot of food, and at some point everyone agrees that they love each other a lot.

I wonder if other cultures cultures have stereotypes about family gatherings–or if people perceive the American ones to be different. I also wonder when these stereotypes began to exist. At some point in time, people lived in close geographic units. Moving to America from another country could very well mean never seeing your families again. In Jane Austen stories, people float about England, having family gatherings and solo adventures. I guess the Little House books involved the American Frontier Spirit, and traveling around the US. They had infrequent, if incomplete, visits with family. But still, I think the average was family units in the same space.

Shoes

Oh my god, shoes.

People love to use shoes to let readers or viewers know what kind of person someone is supposed to be. This isn’t anything new. I remember being shocked when I realized that all women in movies and shows wear high heels. Even Detectives Kate Beckett (Castle) and Olivia Benson (Law and Order: SVU).

Well, Dana Scully wears flats sometimes.

A photo of a poster of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from the X-Files

I do not own this image in any way. It’s from season 4, 5, or 7. I can’t tell how long it is. (Seven had shorter hair). I think seven, because of the style of the jacket. Err…

A promo shot from X-Files season 9.

I, in no way, own this one either. Season 9: Low cut shirts and heels for the ladies.

General trends I’ve noticed are that in books, women less frequently wear heels (unless we’re talking the comic kind of books). Songs too. Boots show slightly more dangerous girls, unless they’re marked as the hiking kind. Flats are reserved for slightly more innocent and feminine of girls. Sneakers go to the less traditional of our female leads. Here are some examples.

Wonder Boys, a book by Michael Chabon, was turned into a tip top Pgh movie starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire, with a pre-Cruise Katie Holmes as Hannah Green.

Grady, our lead (played by Douglas in the film) described Hannah as:

A talented writer who rented a room in my house. I knew her to be insightful, kind, and compulsively clad in red cowboy boots. I had, in fact, never once seen her without them.

Hannah rents a room in Grady’s house and is attracted to him, coming on to him at several points [in the film].

fun. has a song called “All the Pretty Girls” which is also about a boot glad woman.

It includes the line “I wish all the pretty girls were shaking me down, but not you, you still wear boots and your hair is too long.”

The song, in general, is about how the singer wishes “all the pretty girls” would try to hook up with him, but in truth, he doesn’t want them because he wants the lady he’s singing about, even though he thinks she’s bad for him. Or at least says she is as a way to comfort himself over the rejection.

These women–for they are women as they are sexual creatures–both wear boots. They are also both trouble.

I recently read “Angel Burn” by L.A. Weatherly. I don’t recommend it. Our point of view character, Willow, is non-traditional, a bit of a hipster, and fixes cars–something she likes to remind us it not a normal thing for girls to do. She wears purple converse, a nontraditional take on a boy’s shoe.

Skye, the Colorado teen who leads us in Jocelyn Davies “A Beautiful Dark“, wears ballet flats. She wears makeup, feeling not quite complete without mascara and lip gloss.

I am totally losing the ability to keep track of all these young adult romance heroines.

Young

I am a twister version of a person who only reads romance novels. That is to say, I only read young adult romance novels. That’s not entirely true, I do read other things: sci-fi, history, fantasy are in the current crop. However, the vast amount of what I read can be summarized as thus:

Female is strangely attracted to male (or male A and male B). She develops strange powers. As she comes to terms with them, she discovers she is at the center of some crazy plot that leaves the fate of the earth/universe/galaxy/species in the balance.

And I read this. Voraciously.

There’s no good reason. I could make some up. It could easily relate to my nearly encyclopedia love of the X-Files, my fondness for bad horror movies (not campy bad, but bad bad), and the works of J.J. Abrams–there’s a comfort in the familiar. YAR (young adult romance) is like the Friday’s of the literary world. It exists wherever you go and it’s guaranteed to be mediocre. There’s no need to take a risk in something that may be worse, and there’s something good about a menu with the same things wherever you go and a plot that always ends with love winning.

It’s not just about love winning, it’s about a nearly Hollywood methodical plot progression. Within the first few pages, Girl had landed her eyes on Boy and finds herself unnaturally attracted to him. Girl is fairly normal, she may or may not have a close friend, she may or may not be a little strange. She has had a boyfriend, or none at all, but no more than that. In truth, she’s never really been all that attracted to a boy before. Someone near her, a boy, wants her, somewhat desperately, and she doesn’t really know what to do with that.

After she meets Boy, something happens–usually he’s a jerk in some way. This frequently has to do with him being unnaturally attracted to her as well and not knowing how to deal with it. Their relationship progresses. Her unnatural tendencies come to light, she casts off her former life and former friends and embraces the otherness while Boy embraces her.

And that’s kind of how they go.

These have become wildly popular because, I believe, of the comfort they provide. We know what will happen and we know how it will end. We don’t have to fear what will happen, because we know what will. We know they’ll survive. Instead, we can get caught up in the ideas behind the story: that there is more to the world than we see, and that we don’t have to be alone.

Dreams

I have wildly cinematic dreams. I like that I have these, as every day I wake up having just watched at least one movie starring me. There are frequent themes, me running from something, me searching for something. The exceptions are those dreams where my teeth are falling out or I find out I have a final/deadline for a class/project at work I never knew about.

I hate those.

In one of the dreams from my childhood, I daresay the first dream I remembered having, involved being trapped in a museum or office or crazily designed building of some sort. We needed to escape, because dinosaur like monsters had gotten lose in the building. There were no elevators, only stairs and labyrinth like halls.

I asked my mom if that was a movie we saw, since it was more like watching a movie than any dream I’d ever had before–if I’d even had them before. I hadn’t even known I was asleep.