Some of My Faves

cat-votes-for-himself

Photo was googled, Not mine.

As I’m still trying to concentrate on my personal statement for my grad school application, but also don’t want to back down from my 30 day challenge (welcome to day 12!), I thought I would share with you just a few of the bloggers and youtubers that I find inspirational and really enjoy.

  1. Hank and John Green – These guys have so much going on (Vlogbrothers, Crash Course, SciShow, Dear Hank and John) that they’re hard to ignore. I’ve blogged about them before (here and here) and eagerly watch and listen to almost all of it.
  2. Karim Metwaly and Daniela M Biah – Karim has two different channels on Youtube (AreWeFamousNow and AreWeKukuNow) where he showcases a mix of pranks, thoughts about life, and his perspective as a Muslim American. Daniela is a good friend of his and while she often appears in his videos, she has her own beauty channel where she also talks about her perspectives as a Muslim woman of Arab and Latina background.
  3. NerdyAndQuirky – Smart and witty Canadian teen that I anticipate will end up doing great things with her life. That she is able to juggle life and high school while still making quality videos gives me encouragement.
  4. Access Bollywood – Breaking down and reviewing Indian cinema for Western audiences. Beyond recommendations from friends, I often look to this blog when considering which films to seek out.
  5. A Day in the Life of My Dolls – Not only is Phyllis’ blog awesome on it’s own, but Phyllis is also a cherished member of my Facebook group, Handmade Lammily Fashions. When I first started getting hooked on dolls, this blog is one of the sources that introduced me to the Dollverse and where I discovered Mixis dolls.
  6. Culture Monk – Very deep writing about a wide array of topics across the human condition. Kennith Justice is one of the bloggers that I read whenever I get the chance and he blogs frequently enough that I often have trouble keeping up, haha!
  7. Is the Coffee Ready Yet? – I’ve mentioned Claudia Bette before in another post. For awhile there, I was absolutely sucked in reading about her life from one post to the next – her relationship with her mother, her inspirational diet and exercise saga, her romantic pursuits, her kid… but she hasn’t posted since July. If you’re out there Claudia, we miss you and hope you are well!
  8. Context and Variation – SCIENCE! LADY BUSINESS! w00t! I actually had the privilege of taking one of Prof. Kate Clancy’s classes my final semester at University of Illinois. Of course I’m giving her work a shout out!
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Off the Beaten Path

I wrote the following on January 12th. That was almost a month ago. Any guesses as to why I never bothered to publish it? I was on a guest computer and was unable to find a good pic to throw up in the heading. Yeah, that’s it. And now, I’m sitting here debating with myself whether I want to delete it, or try to edit it because it’s a month old and no entirely up to date. I’m not going to do that. I do that too frequently as it is. My dashboard has a cache of half-worked blogs that I never finished and now feel too lost in time to bother completing. That ends. So, here is what I intended to publish almost a month ago, still lacking a photo:

Today, I was going through my reader, reading some of the newer entries of other blogs that I love but don’t always have the time to dedicate to reading – because I am working, or spending time with friends and family, or creating things, or watching Hindi films (which is usually a 3 hour commitment where I actually have to pay attention to the screen so I don’t miss subtitles and get lost. No knitting or embroidering during a Hindi film. All the more reason I should probably buckle down a really learn the language beyond the handful of words and phrases I know.).

One of the posts I was reading was this post from my internet acquaintance, Arlee. If you’re a artsy person, or if you’ve been around an artsy person, or have noticed the chaos in some of the photos in my own posts, you know that clutter tends to be an inherent, and arguably essential, part of the process. Since I left my one bedroom apartment and moved into a house with 2 roommates, I haven’t had the kind of carte blanche to just wreak havoc in my endeavors (which my be part of why there seem to be fewer such endeavors, or at least not so many hardcore artistic adventures), because I need to be respectful of shared spaces. I’m also too broke to afford awesome studio space anywhere. Fortunately, my roommates are pretty laid back and awesome nerdy types that spend most of their free waking hours holed up in their bedrooms on their laptops (Nerdy types are just, in general, awesome people. Of course, I’m rather biased.), so I am usually able to get away with dominating the big table for 2-3 days before I actually need to clear it off (to make room for gaming).

Another bit of excitement I have is learning that The Culture Monk is going on an epic Drinking in the Culture Tour (he’s referring to copious amounts of coffee, not booze – why is it that “drinking”, unless you specify a beverage, always seems to refer to alcohol?).

And then lots and lots of random travel blogs from people that have either more determination or less emotional ties to family than I do. (Wander Onwards and Halph– which is done by my friend, Jesse – are a couple of these) I would love to be able to travel the world, to live abroad for awhile. But there are so many things I would miss out on if I left.. I am sure that somewhere there is a universe in which I am living in India or wandering aimlessly around the world.

But, for now, I think I am going to find some manner of crochet pattern on Ravelry for a lemur or meercat or something to make for this new baby in my family that was just born yesterday.

Longing to be a Western Bollywood Heroine

I got to see Agneepath this afternoon at a local art theater. It was amazing to see it on a big screen, in a packed house. I love the energy of the audience, the way everyone claps and cheers when the Hero comes on the screen. I’m still riding the high. I love Indian Cinema. I love the music, the culture, the clothes… It is a wish of mine to one day visit India.

A good friend and I awaiting last summer's showing of "Ready".

While Hindi films have gained a fairly large fan base in the US over the last few years (at least, I know a good number of people familiar with the term “Bollywood”, even if they’ve never seen a single movie.), I often find myself being curiously asked about my interest by Indians I encounter. Today, during intermission, I was asked by 3 people sitting near me how I was enjoying the film, if I’d seen a Hindi film before, if I was able to follow the story well. I never mind answering, I love the conversations that tend to follow – in this case it was a short discussion about how South Indian films are often remade in Hindi and it’s typically the Hindi versions that get the recognition in the US. (There’s fodder for a whole other post that I won’t go into here.)

Last time I went to see a Hindi film in the theater, I went with some friends, and I dressed in a salwar kurta and jeans. Admittedly, I felt self-conscious and wondered if my choice in attire was being well or ill received, or if I was over-thinking it. I couldn’t help but think about the words of a TA (Teacher’s Assistant) I had in college, and I still think about them. One day, in class, he read to us a poem he’d written entitled “I am not a dot”, after which he went on to talk about cultural appropriation and we had a discussion about whether it’s ok to take elements from another’s culture, how different aspects of cultures are appropriated, dynamics of power and so on. (It was actually quite interesting and enlightening.. I still have it recorded, but sadly, I need a new micro-cassette player to access it.) I also distinctly remember Madonna being mentioned, and, while these things never really have a “right answer”, I remember his distaste for the way she wore mehndi, and the way she talked about yoga. These discussions are a large part of why I’ve never donned a bindi, even as I have become more infatuated with Indian fashion and design.

I know, mirror pictures are garish. I had no other choice... really.

Despite seeing numerous positive blogs and videos and generally having been told by friends that I look good and can pull it off, my mind somehow always wanders back to the issue of appropriation. I start to dance around when I hear the tabla, and then I hear George Carlin saying, “…stick to your … polkas and waltzes, and that repulsive country line dancing shit that you do.” I get carried away in the magic of a Hindi film song, and as I close my eyes and begin to imagine myself as a heroine, sometimes I see myself merge gracefully like Heather Graham in The Guru, other times, I think I clash like Rachel Shelley in Lagaan.

 

Additional Reading:

How to be a white girl in Indian clothes – http://jacquelinecieslak.com/?p=1327

Cultural Appreciation or Appropriation? – http://www.the-nri.com/index.php/2010/05/whats-wrong-with-white-women-wearing-sari/

Recommended Movies (just a few, or this list would never end!):

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Ghajini (There’s a Hindi version and a Tamil version, I like both)

Kites

3 Idiots

Veer Zaara