Friday, April 28, 2006

I should be a poet

I am pulling an all-nighter because I overslept today (well, yesterday). This should give me time to catch up on some things and gather some random inspirations from the roaming muses, who probably thought they were free from inspiration-hungry day people.

Anyway, I was taking a break and I decided to take some quizzes. (I love taking fun quizzes.) There was a quiz about what kind of writer I should be, and I, naturally, wanted to know. Below is the result:

You Should Be A Poet
You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways.And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery...Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever.You're already naturally a poet, even if you've never written a poem.

What Type of Writer Should You Be?

Well, it's nice to know that my head is in the right place.
If you haven't done so already, check out some of my poems on my web page.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

On my mind: gendered jobs

Note: society ~= people, we, or our

I find it interesting that what Hilary Lips (in her book Women, Men, and Power) pointed out in 1991 is still true in 2006, which is that there is a great deal of news coverage on instances of women breaking into stereotypically male fields or positions, but there is little to none of such coverage on men breaking into stereotypically female fields or positions. As Lips says, there is great media coverage for women's many "firsts"... but "there are no front-page headlines for the first man elected president of a regional nursing association or the first male secretary hired by a large corporation" (p. 2).

Doesn't this make you feel that there's a bit of hypocrisy in society’s recognition of and desire to ensure gender equality? I think this difference in media coverage is an example of how society reinforces its value of what is associated with males and its devaluation of what is associated with females, even while proclaiming progressive efforts.

Why do people still say some variation of "doesn't he have something better to do? I'll give him a job, ha ha ha," when they hear that a guy is a stay-at-home dad?

Why did Ben Stiller's character, Greg, in the movie 'Meet the parents" feel so reluctant to say what he did for a living (he was a nurse), especially since it's a job he seemed to enjoy? Why do some people still mockingly laugh when they hear, "he's a male nurse"? And why do people have to qualify it as "a male nurse"?

Or simply, why is it that stereotypical women's jobs are in one way or another perceived to be inferior to stereotypical men's job? Why are women paid less than men even when they do the same job?

I hope there will be a time when the work that a person does will not be valued/devalued on the basis of the sex of the worker.

OK, I'm done; that's all I have to say.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

afro jazz

I took an afro jazz class about three days ago, and my body is still a little sore--the instructor had us do some intense stretching exercises. Good gracious! Now every turn or move my body makes aches it in that oh so delightful pain of a good workout. I am looking forward to regular dance classes, unhindered by terrible weather. It was nice coming back from dance class, a little sweaty (I don't sweat a lot), with the breeze blowing on me, instantly cooling and refreshing me. I'm sure I must have had a big smile planted on my face.

I saw "take the lead" yesterday, and it just made me even more hungry for dancing. Thank goodness that the weather is getting better. As it gets warmer, the only problem I'll have is choosing which dance classes to take. I can't wait.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My beloved tree

My favorite fruit in the whole world is mango. And even though I have not tasted all the fruits in the world, my tongue has a rock-solid loyalty to this absolutely delicious tropical fruit. I love mango juice, any mango dish, or basically mango in or on any thing that I find edible.

Back home (Nigeria), I particularly liked the soft, juicy kinds, with the skin a freckled yellow or a perfect yellow. On a particularly exhausting day, I liked to sit somewhere, get out a mango, and then eat it while watching people go by. Mango was my fruit or item of choice when I had any spare money.

One day in 1991 (I was about 10 yrs old), I had the best mango I had ever had, and that's saying a lot, given the amount of mangoes I had consumed. This single mango took sweetness to a whole new level. Sugar or honey or candy (I had (have) a sweet tooth) was a pitiful competitor. The softness, the juiciness, the everything about this single mango was indescribably perfect to my taste buds. My taste receptors must have experienced a whole new kind of fantastic, tasty message.

To cut the story short, I didn't want to part with this mango, with this taste. So I planted it. Yep. I planted it so I could have reminders of it for years. Every morning, I would wake up to water it and to sing to it.

The song went: mango pu, pu, pu pu. Iyu kun noneche, Iyu kun noneche. (repeated many times). song means: mango grow, grow, grow, grow. You are the one I'm waiting for, you are the one I'm waiting for.

I was the laughingstock of my friends and family, who found this romancing hilarious. I waited years to finally see my tree bloom. Its first set of fruit was delicious, absolutely delicious, but admittedly not as delicious as the parent fruit. I, however, accepted this with joy, because I had a part of the parent fruit with me (the tree), so there was always hope that one day, one or more of the tree's fruits would delight my taste buds in the, as yet, unique way.

The tree's fruits became sweeter and sweeter every year, and this tree became, in some sense, like my child. I frowned on anyone else who climbed it without my permission. I more or less waged war on anyone (one man in particular) who wounded it--to get its bark for some purpose, medicinal or otherwise. When I came back from school, I (and sometimes my friends) would climb it and explore the world from its branches. And on some days when I wanted to be hidden from everyone, to have some alone time with my thoughts, its strong, solid branches were always welcoming. My mango tree also made me richer in two ways. First, I no longer had to buy mango from others, and second, people bought mangos from me. I also acquired quite a few "want-your-mango" friends.

You can imagine my heart break when I heard the news from back home that someone had cut my beloved baby, my mango tree. I didn't get to say goodbye to it, and its potential to produce a replica of that unique parent fruit was, thus, cut short. I felt sad, I cried. I wanted to go home, to Nigeria, to see its remains, to tell it that I am sorry for leaving it to such a fate. My tree. My tree, how I had looked forward to seeing you again, taller, fatter, and more grounded. I miss the breezy days that I had sat on your branches, feeling so secure and like the owner of everything, as I looked down at everything, as I saw farther than I had ever seen.

But there is some justice in the world, and it wasn't rendered by me. The person who crippled my tree had done so because he felt that my tree was encroaching on his land and so was likely to weaken his fence. Well, it rained heavily sometime after his deed, and the fence came down; it was destroyed. Did I feel better, knowing what happened to the fence? No. My tree is no more. It's ok. My tree and that unique parent fruit are immortalized in my mind. I will always remember them. Their status in my mind will not be surpassed: the best tree, the sweetest mango.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Getting a cat

I am thinking of getting a grown-up pet, generally a cat or a dog. And I have decided on a cat. For now, the daily demands of a dog are a tad too much for me (although I'm sure they are nothing compared to the joy a dog can bring). Besides, I think that a cat is more in tune with my personality. Cats have relatively little need to please. The cat can do his or her own thing, and I can do mine, and we'll each have to earn the other's affection and respect. I also admire a cat's gracefulness (both in manner and action) and sensitivity to cleanliness.

I am going to adopt my cat sometime during this summer. If it is a female, I'll name her Rosa. And if it is a male, I''ll name him Ross, or Rosae regardless of its sex. I know it might seem a little weird that I'll be naming my cat a derivative of my own name, but I think it's a nice idea. Of course, come summer, I may find myself in love with another name, or maybe the nature of my cat will inspire a completely different name. Anyway, I am looking forward to my new family member.

{side thought. Hmnn. I hope I have a well-behaved cat. It can have any number of idiosyncrasies, but it should still be a good, well-behaved cat. Of course, the only bad cats I have seen are the ones on television. No, my cat and I are going to get along quite well.}

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Monday, April 03, 2006

The storm

I had my biochemistry exam today, and boy (or girl), do I feel free. Now I can focus my mind more on life's other important things, like listening to Miriam Makeba.

I have a friend staying over for a while, so figuring that ordering out was getting old, we decided to go to Whole Foods to stock up my refrigerator. On the way, we took a detour to blockbuster, which disappointingly didn't have anything that interested us. We walked back towards Whole Foods, admiring the warm weather, which had increased people's affinity for the outdoors and which restaurant owners always welcomed.

The grasses and flowers looked pretty, but the stench from the fertilizer was terrible, so we hurried on. At Whole Foods, I picked vegetables while my friend picked fruits. We met to decide whether we should get the two 6oz spinach "special" or the one 9 oz spinach. We decided to go for the two 6oz spinach bags, because together they have a longer preservative potential than the one 9oz bag.

Anyway, I am a vegetarian, so I hunted for some plant protein . . . That took a while because there were so many choices. Then I heard that there was supposed to be a storm, and sure enough the sky grew dark and mysterious. We hurried up and paid for our food stuff. But when we looked outside again, there were fat, angry droplets of rain, pounding on the ground and then bouncing off of it with such vigor. The rain droplets seemed to be communicating together, because you couldn't see one droplet by itself. All I could think was I'm not going out in that. Even the taxi drivers were scared. We tried calling for a taxi, but none came.

As the anger of the rain cooled, my friend and I decided to brave it (because we had frozen foods), even though it could start up again on our way. With our grocery bags and our tiny umbrella, we ran for it, with the lightning threatening (and parading itself) ahead of us.

We said a quick prayer for God to let us get to our home safely and with relatively dry bodies.

We did get home safely, and we didn’t need to change our clothes.

Then the storm stopped.

Hmnn. The lesson of the day is “Don't go out shopping for food. Instead, stay in your home and order out, unless you are brave.”

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