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Federal Judge Vaughn Walker performed one of the most rational smackdowns I've ever seen in his ruling overturning California's Proposition 8 yesterday. The ruling is worth reading (though if you can't spare the time for all 138 pages, do at least read through some of the findings of fact, half of which have been helpfully summed at the Yes Means Yes blog or in full in the ruling itself on pages 56 thru 111, and read through Judge Walker's conclusions starting on page 111 and running through to the end at 138.

You can also wander over to my other blog and read my full commentary on the Prop 8 ruling if you so fancy. (Also, for anyone who wants to follow the other blog on LJ automatically, I created a Livejournal Syndicated account for it you can follow and see any posts there in your LJ feed here.)

Also: I just now saw that Elena Kagan has been confirmed to the Supreme Court! :D

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These next two weeks are going to be insane, which is typically just the way I like 'em.

  • After much fuming and sadfacing, I finally got the iPhone 4 working. It took me a trip to Rogers and a trip back to the Apple store fifteen minutes before it closed, but finally there was triumph. It came a little too late in the evening for me to really enjoy it, though: by the time I got home it was almost 11 PM and I had to be up at 7 the next morning, so I methodically went through every app I had and re-logged on, adjusted the settings, and did everything I needed to do to make the phone usable for the next day, then promptly passed out on the sofa. At some point around 4 AM I think I woke up and stumbled to my actual bed.

    It's so much faster than the 3G I had, and the screen resolution seems impossibly sharp, almost unreal. It's a dream to use, though I do have to be careful to make sure I force quit certain apps -- like Skype -- when I'm done with them, otherwise they run in the background and drain the battery something fierce. The camera is a significant improvement over the 3G camera, and the flash works decently enough for what it is. Haven't taken much video yet (I'm not really a video person) so I can't comment much on that, but I did try out Facetime with SS last night and it was kinda neat. Still not sure how often I'd use it, but since learning that Facetime doesn't use up phone minutes (because it works over WiFi only), I may opt to use it in certain daytime situations. I'm seriously considering getting an iPhone dock for my desk at home, especially if the angle is right. I know enough people with iPhone 4s that it may actually be useful, especially if I need to talk to those people when they're out of town but still have wireless access. Way cheaper than calling long distance.

  • Went to a wedding on Saturday which was lovely and nerdtastic. There were also a number of really awesome speeches, including a couple from really excellent public speakers who clearly have a talent for timing and speech structure. The speech section was longer than usual for a wedding, but they were so engaging, funny and interesting that I didn't really notice until after everything was done and I checked the time. My Toastmasters group would have loved it.

  • I did a favour for some friends and checked in twice a day on their cat while they were in Calgary for the past long weekend, mostly because the cat has a heart condition and has to take heart medication every morning. Getting a cat to take a pill is no fun. The first day we did okay, the second day was tricky, and then the third day he was just a miserable twat about the whole thing. I think he figured out I wasn't as good at it as his proper people so he tried harder to squirm away. :/ Very frustrating business, getting pills into cat mouths that do not want any part in the process.

  • FRINGE FLAIL. So much to do, so little time. This weekend was handbill/poster/media kit chaos for the media launch that happened this morning, which was a lot of print design work and I hates print design. All the files are so damn big and everything takes 10 times longer than it does when you're working on web design. Something that should take 1 hour takes 3 because every file takes 2 minutes to open/save/close/etc. Also, my desktop computer strains under the combined stress of running multiple Illustrator and Photoshop files at the same time, which just makes the slow problem even worse. All I have left is the business card handbill which shouldn't be quite so bad because it's much smaller, and then program which is mostly words.

    Also have to build the show slides sometime before our Saturday afternoon tech, and hopefully create the sound effects, though the more complex ones can wait until after tech if they need to. We may have decided to use a different screen and projector which will save me a ton of time because then I won't have to construct anything, which would be awesome. All the more time I can spend building awesome projections! :D

  • I attended Edmonton's Heritage Days Festival for the first time ever yesterday, and I can't believe I've never been before. It's an awesome and huge event: I had no idea how massive it was, covering the entire of Hawrelak Park. And the food! *omnomnoms* I tried camel! And octopus, which I'd never had before. I will definitely be attending this festival again next summer.

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Back to posting regularly again...
  • If you're flailing because you heard death by methane bubble is the way the world is gonna end, rest easy: from io9, the methane doomsday story has been debunked good and proper. Also, Deborah Blum over at Speakeasy Science calls out the irresponible reporting that started all this.

  • Also, because this enraged me today, apparently if you're carrying more than two condoms around with you in D.C., you can be charged with prostitution. Proof positive that we never waste a moment to A) discourage safer sex, and B) assume that all women who carry condems -- you know, maybe because they enjoy sex -- are whores. *headdesk*

  • Swing dancing on Saturday night was lots of fun! It was meltingly hot, so you could only do a couple of dances at a time before you had to retreat to bottled water and the (slightly) cooler temperatures outside, but aside from that it was a good time. I'll definitely go back again. They did some kind of crazy swing/line dance at the end of the night that I want to learn thought I'm not sure my feet move that fast.

  • Caught the last act of the SOSFest on Whyte Ave last night, and while I'm not Shout Out Out Out Out's biggest fan, the street-party vibe on Whyte was infectious and responsible. For all the people having a good time, there was no destruction or chaos. I do wonder how much the event being held on a Sunday night impacted that point, and whether the party would have been quite so relaxed if it'd been a Friday or Saturday.

  • I think the plan is to work remotely from St. Albert tomorrow and do laundry while I'm there, which will free up my evening for some Shakespeare in the Park for the evening. Also, it sounds like it might work out well for user testing in St. Albert tomorrow afternoon, so clearly it's fate.

  • Still haven't been down to the Street Performer's Festival yet: hoping to go Wednesday after work if the weather cooperates.

  • My road trip to Vancouver with Sister to visit Brother and Sister-in-Law is fast approaching, and I'm so very ready to leave town for a week. I haven't had a real vacation in two years, and I'm itching to get away. I'm trying not to think about it too much because it's hard to focus on work, life and such when I do, but... *bouncebouncebounce*

  • I may be starting another blog project. Because obviously I don't blog enough yet. :P I'm pitching an idea later this week and depending on the reception, I'll go ahead or not. I don't really need a lot of help, but I do want a second opinion from someone who's been in the skeptic community longer than I have as to the value. Also, I've been itching to mess around with some CSS3 and have been hoarding links on delicious, and this may be the perfect excuse.

  • Also going to take my first attempt at building an iPhone stylesheet, probably during the first week in August when I get back from the Road Trip of Sisterly Win. Should be a challenging and interesting project, which is just my cup of tea.

  • Speaking of tea, almost out of tea! :O This will never do. Time to stock up again.

    I've become such a massive tea snob it isn't even funny. Every time I have bag tea now I'm disappointed, and at restaurants when all they have is Red Rose tea I sneer. Currently my plan is to bring a tea stash with me on the Road Trip of Sisterly Win because I simply cannot bear to be without it for an entire week. This means I also need to bring a french press or other such method of properly infusing said tea. So much for packing light.

  • Speaking of Road Trip of Sisterly Win, I have to clean out my car before I can take it anywhere. It also needs an oil change. And possibly a tune-up. I should probably get on that. *eep*

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Oh hey there Livejournal. Did you miss me? It's been almost two weeks since last we spent some quality time together.

  • Wedding came and went, and aside from some (frankly ridiculous) interpersonal hiccups from within the groom's side of the bridal party and a minor music glitch at the ceremony, things went swimmingly. It was very strange to be sitting at the head table, though, elevated above the rest of the tables. It felt very VIP.

    There was a Scrabble theme at the reception, complete with awesome Scrabble cake and a plethora of loose tiles spread around each of the tables. Probably unsurprisingly, it was not long before some gutter-minded individuals started up a dirty word/sex Scrabble challenge that ultimately used up every tile in the place. At one point half around half the guests were crowded around the table (and not just the young ones, either) brainstorming naughty things to add.

    Also! I got to drive an awesome car for the weekend. The bride and groom rented two Mustang convertibles, and I was in charge of one of them. :D :D :D And, since the ceremony was 45 minutes out of the city, I got to drive it on the highway! VROOOOOOOOOOM!! It was sad to return it on Sunday morning.

  • It was really awesome to see my friend L again, who came up for the wedding. I hadn't seen her in five years, and the last time she was up it was while I was still in theatre school and smack dab in the middle of the biggest show Grant MacEwan had ever put on, so I only saw her for about an hour after a disastrous dress rehearsal and when I'd been awake for something like 36 hours straight. Not exactly a quality visit, so this time around it was great to take a few days off and actually get to talk and hang out, even though there was a lot of wedding crazy going on. Excited that she's going to school in Vancouver this year, which is significantly closer-to than New Brunswick, so I'm certain I'll see her again within the year.

  • As anticipated, the iPhone 4 is likely going to be released in Canada while I'm on vacation in Vancouver. This means I'll probably have to wait an extra week to get my gimmie hands on it. :c This is especially annoying considering the iOS update, while awesome in many ways, is tediously slow on the 3G.

    In other iPhone related news, my mother just bought one, which means Apple owns the full Saunders set. Also, she's discovered (and is quite enthusiastic about) text messaging, and I am apparently one of her "fab five" or something. Uh oh.

  • Fringe meeting with my writer/actor last week! I'm excited for the show, and pumped to be doing some theatre again! The script is still in rewrites, but it seems like there will be some fun sound design and perhaps even some projection work. Hoping to do photos for the poster and marketing materials soon, maybe next weekend.

  • Wrote a post at about the research in Florida on engineering female babies in utero to be heterosexual and more stereotypically feminine that I haven't formatted for LJ yet. I also talk a little about the clitoral surgeries going on at Cornell.

    I'm likely going to start fake-cutting posts like this over to the other blog rather than duplicating them here in their entirety. There are two reasons for this: the first is that formatting longer editorial pieces like this takes long enough the first go-around, and having to do it twice is a massive pain the ass; the second is that, while duplicating content is more convenient for readers here, it's kind of an SEO no-no.

  • The YEGfeminist group I'm trying to get off the ground is having its first meet'n'greet social tomorrow, and there are actually people coming! :D Pumped to meet feminists in Edmonton in the flesh.

  • The whitewashed Avatar: The Last Airbender movie is getting abysmal reviews which has removed any and all temptation I had to go and see it, which I wasn't planning to do anyway. It sucking makes that easier, though. DarianeNabor has a long but worthwhile review of the movie on Darnivorous, and there's actually been a fair amount of press on the racebending issues in the film, which is good to see.

  • Edmonton Street Performers Festival starts this weekend and I am determined to go this year. I have never been, which is insanity.

  • Friend @Jillus drew another picture of me, and it was so awesome I had to make an LJ user icon out of it! :D
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Oh hey there Monday. When did you happen? I could have sworn there was a weekend between you and Thursday....
  • Taught my SEO class on Friday afternoon at Guru Digital Arts College and it was both awesome and fun. It sounds like they want me and my brain back again, so hurrah for me!

  • Final Keynote project almost complete, and then it will be nice to put Keynote away for at least a couple of days. Maybe even a couple of weeks. We'll see how things go. I think work is discovering I'm good at building these things, so it may expand.

  • Bachelorette party on Friday! :D We had way too much fun, and the bride actually got drunk which, for those of you who don't know her, is really weird. She doesn't drink at all really, so I was surprised, shocked and impressed when she did one shot, never mind the five that came after. o_O She wasn't sick (I forced her to drink much water) and spent the night with me, and it turns out she's an extremely giggly drunk. So much fun and giggling was had. Also drunken Facebook posting/chatting.

  • Saw Toy Story 3. It was fantastic in many ways. Ken is hilarious. My love affair with Pixar continues untainted. I'm not sure I loved it more than How to Train Your Dragon, though. If I had to decide on one for best animated movie this year, it would be tough.

  • Have I think successfully converted Twitter friend @Jillus into a RL friend, which is awesome because she is awesome. We connect on many a nerdy level, and everyone knows there is no such thing as too much nerdiness in my life. For serious, I am forever grateful to Twitter for bring so many completely awesome people into my life. Many of them I haven't met in person yet and many of them I have, but they are all wonderful. My social life and general happiness levels owe a huge debt to Twitter and the #yeg Twitter community. Social media is not just about online friends, it's about friends period.

  • Epic #brunchwar on Sunday was epic. Biggest turnout ever, and a faction of us stayed very late, then went and got Marble Slab ice cream and hung out chatting about increasingly geeky things in the shade in the park.

  • Apparently I was tired Sunday night. I fell asleep at 7:30 and didn't wake up until 7:30 this morning.

  • This week is Wedding Week. I expect there will be Busy. This is the first wedding I've been a bridesmaid for and I'm interested to see how it changed the Wedding Experience. Also, wedding means that L is in town on Wednesday and I haven't seen her in literally years so I'm super pumped! *dances*

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My week this week is crammed full of too much stuff to do. At work, in life, in preparation. Anyone have some spare hours they can lend me?
  • The theme of this week seems to be Keynote Presentations.

    For those that don't know, PowerPoint is not your friend. If you must create a presentation, savvy people will use Keynote. Because it's just better. It looks better, it works better, and the animation and transition features lap PowerPoint several times over. It is a Macintosh-only software, though, so all you silly PC users are just plain outta luck. Have fun in the pit of despair that is PowerPoint.

    The first presentation I built this week was in a rushed two hours after work and before Toastmasters on Monday for my speech about blogging. I thought I was scheduled to do my speech next week, but last Thursday I received the roster and saw my name on it for Monday's line-up, so I had to throw something together fast. It was well-received and I'm pretty satisfied with it over all, though I'd hoped to include a little bit of custom animation razzle-dazzle. Ah well.

    Keynote presentation number two is work-related for our retreat next week and all about mobile Internet usage and development. Statistics heavy, which -- given Keynote's robust charting functions -- you'd think would be a quickie, but alas. I am too anal about the style and look of the thing and the charting function doesn't give me the infograph look I want, so I'm building all the charts and whatnot from scratch. Fortunately, the presentation is short.

    The third is for a class on search engine optimization I'm teaching on Friday afternoon at Guru Digital Arts College. It's going to be significantly longer, but fortunately I know and have all the content I need to build it already, so mostly it's just dividing the words up into slides, formatting it appeal to my inner designer (I can't bring myself to build "ugly" presentations, I just... can't) and adding screen shots where necessary. How much razzle dazzle I add in will depend on how much time I can devote to the thing between now and Friday morning. It helps that I've built three different "tutorials" on SEO in the last two months, so I have tonnes of pre-existing, comprehensive content to draw from.

  • Went to the Greater Edmonton Skeptic Society meeting yesterday and discovered the Elephant and Castle pub in City Centre makes a pretty decent Shepherd's Pie. I got suckered into taking minutes because the usual minute-taker was absent (okay, fine, I reluctantly volunteered when it became clear no one else was going to). At some point this week I have to tidy up those notes and fire them off to the board. Or maybe I'll do that on Sunday, when life is somewhat calmer.

  • Bridesmaid duties are increasing, as I expected. I was super organized yesterday and made a bunch of phone calls and organized a pile of things that needed to be organized. Bachelorette party is on Friday, and at some point I have to come up with/prepare fun games that are appropriate (or low-key enough if not) to get away with playing in a restaurant. Any ideas?

  • Also have to clean my apartment (and WHOA NELLY does it need it BAD) before Friday night. Um...? Kitchen and bathroom + general tidying planned for tonight, but I'm going to leave vacuuming for as long as possible owing to life with Velcro Cat.

  • Haven't had the chance to watch any Chuck at all since sometime last week. This makes me a little sad, but since I'm almost done the last available season, I'm also okay with drawing it out a little longer.

  • Client meeting tomorrow morning means I have to iron me some actual business clothes tonight. *adds that to the list*

This week is only half over and I'm already exhausted.

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I have finally finished migrating all the posts from my old Blogger blog over to Livejournal. I've been working on it here and there for almost two years, and this week I decided to bite the bullet and just push through it. So now it's all here, from December 2003 until today, complete and unedited. (The "unedited" part was particularly painful. There were times back when WYSIWYG editors didn't offer helpful inline spell-checking and I was really, really lazy that I didn't spell check anything I posted, but it felt somehow wrong to go back and fix all the errors. Like it or not, that's part of who I was and so it shall remain as untainted evidence of the progression of my life. Feel free to judge past me if you like; I certainly do.)

It's fun (strange?) to go back to the beginning and see how my writing and blogging style as evolved in the last seven years. As a documentation of my twenties, my blog offers up two views: the first as a story of my life and the second as the evolution of my writing. Some of it is rubbish and a lot of it is nonsense, but it's my rubbish and nonsense. As a teenager I tried on and off to keep a diary but was never successful for more than a few weeks, and yet here I am seven years later still at it. Something about sending my thoughts out into the Internet void is more motivating than secreting them away between the pages of a book.

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My phone has been buzzing with text messages all day. Merely a coincidence or is there some kind of Text Chelle holiday/conspiracy afoot do you think?
  • ZOMG I can't believe I didn't mention it yesterday: the iPhone 4 has been officially announced and -- to exactly no one's shock or surprise -- I wants one. *drools* My current 8G iPhone is almost full, so the upgrade to 16G is perfectly well timed. Also, I'm squeeful and hand-flaily about the extended battery life, the 960 x 640 screen resolution, 5MP camera with flash, HD video, front facing camera, multitasking and multiple Exchange account support. There's also video calling, but I don't think I'd use it often enough for it to be the "killer app" Apple seems to think it is.

    I'm a little cranky at Apple again for not launching in Canada the same time they launch in the US. I don't understand what is so difficult about launching new products in North America all at once. The extra month wait is infuriating.

    Also, I may buy a white one this time. What do you think?

  • I think I've conquored my template design problem by completely ignoring the colour combination suggestion. (A time-honoured designer trick tactic from way, way back.) I've used the suggested colours but in separate templates. I might have figured something out with the combination, but there was a time restriction so at some point I had to sacrifice the vision and just get it done as best as possible in the time allotted. Which I think I achieved. We'll see what appears in the inbox about it tomorrow.

  • Jessica Smith talks about giving up a career to look after the kids, and is frustrated why it's still almost always women who do so. I wish she'd posted this article a few weeks ago, because I got into a debate about exactly this and could have used several of her points. Though it probably wouldn't have helped: I was arguing with one of the most patronizing, sexist men I've met in a long time who was really only interested in mansplaining to me why feminism is no longer necessary and women are all equal these days don'tcha know. The more I debate feminist topics the more frustrating it is to go back to feministm 101; probably that's true for any -ism.

  • I already knew this, but probably some of you don't: advice from health food and supplement stores is almost always either poorly supported or misleading and completely contradicted by scientific evidence. These places and their staff -- who, by the way, almost never have any more expertise in the things they sell than the average McDonald's employee might -- are keenly interested primarily in selling you the most expensive thing on their shelf.

    I have taken a couple of herbal supplements and vitamins in my time, but in every case I did a pile of research on the supplement or herbal remedy before I even entered the store, which probably made me more of an expert on the product than the sales person. I'm not saying these kinds of things are all always blanket bull-shit (though often there isn't a shred of real science to back up the claims), but before you shell out a lot of money for what might be nothing more than the placebo effect, it's probably worth doing a little reading.

I'm trying to post more often, not because I necessarily think you're all dying to hear from me every day but because the experiencing of personal journaling is helpful to me. It's easier to keep track of and reflect on the every-day little happenings when I take the time to write about them. When my parents used to ask me what I did at school I used to answer "nothing", but it's not nothing, so I'm changing my answer.

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I was supposed to go on an OKCupid date on Tuesday but it got unexpectedly cancelled and rescheduled. Which I was fine with me because it meant a relaxing night in watching more Chuck and hanging out with Velcro Cat.

You know what I like best about Chuck? The way Sarah can be a female CIA agent and sexy without always needing to mix the two, even though the show is often handwavy and campy. When they go on a raid she dresses in the same bulky body armour as the rest of the agents. If she knows she'll be walking into a potential gun or fist fight she dresses in flexible clothing, ties her hair back and puts on sensible, flat shoes. If the mission calls for her to sex it up (undercover at a snazzy party for example), she often -- and I know this will stun people -- removes her heels before chasing the bad guy or engaging in a fight; sometimes they even explicitly show her removing her shoes and going barefoot, while other times she just appears fighting or fleeing shoeless later, having shed them at some point along the way. Because if you're running for your life, the last thing you're gonna do is keep on the 3" pumps, and that tiny injection of realism makes my heart swell with love for this show. I love all the characters, but I'm fangirling all over Sarah Walker who is strong and weak and brilliant and flawed in lovely, honest, sometimes subtle ways.

Last night was dinner with some of my old Brick coworkers, which was super fun. I got caught up on all the gossip and politics (most of which did not surprise me at all). My new job is awesome and I love it, but I do often miss the camaraderie we had at in the Brick Internet Department, mostly born from needing to unite in the face of overwhelming adversity. Very much a "better we laugh than cry" mindset. Things there seem on par with what I remember, and listening to stories of the chaos is much more entertaining when it isn't chaos I have to deal with.

Tonight: Pecha Kucha!

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Holy crap it's already June.
  • The past two weekends have both been cloudy, cold and rainy. BLAH, I say unto you Mother Nature. BLAH. I am obsessively checking and rechecking the weather forecast for this weekend in hopes of sunshine and warm. *crosses fingers*

  • Last thursday I attended my first Turkey Shoot, which for those who are familiar with Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is exactly that except in a real movie theatre with real people and everyone gets to play. For those who don't know MST3K, basically what we're talking about here is playing a really awful, badly-written B-movie and making fun of it while it's playing. The movie we watched was The Room which they've shown before but I had never seen, and WHOA was it so incredibly, delightfully and oftentimes completely randomly awful. There was bad acting, awful writing, montages, awful soft-core pornography, rose abuse, nonsense blocking, and -- my personal favourite -- tuxedo football! This is one of those movies that can't be explained: it must be watched (and watched with a room full of enthusiastic sarcastic commentary) to be fully appreciated. Great event, and I look forward to the next Turkey Shoot.

  • Someone keyed my car on Friday. I'm still pissed about it.

  • On a friend's advice, I have started watching Chuck. This show is AWESOME you guys. I'm already done season one and started season two. It's kinda like a modern day Get Smart. I strongly urge those looking for new TV to watch through the summer to try Chuck.

  • I have not posted a single recap about season five of Doctor who and feel a little bit guilty about that. So far I'm more or less meh about the whole season insofar as the plot goes. I'm quite fond of our three main characters as they stand (and somewhat more ingratiated to River Song), but I've found the plots and writing to be unsteady. There's very little so far that has brought out the impulse to meta, so I just... haven't.

  • I leant Twitter friend @Jillus the first three Harry Potter movies so she could marathon them over the weekend, and she thanked me by drawing this completely awesome picture of me wearing Slytherin garb! XD The term "squee" does not come close to covering how this picture delights me, no matter how many exclamation points you put after it. :D :D

  • Speaking of Harry Potter, this shirt is possible the awesomest thing ever.

  • Had drinks with that ex of mine on Saturday night which was interesting. Not in an I-want-to-date-this-person-again way, just in a I-remember-we-used-to-have-interesting-conversations kind of way. It's kinda strange seeing someone you haven't seen in six years, especially when your last interaction was breaking up with them. Kind of surreal.

  • I ended up being a last-minute pinch-hit debator in my Toastmasters' Club debate contest last night and then won second place! I like to debate and argue but have never participated in a formal debate before, and I really enjoyed it. When there's another one I'll definitely sign up again: it's very good practice, especially being on a time limit. It forces me to be concise and stick to one or two points.

  • My new prescription sunglasses should be in sometime this week! I'm excited to not squint when I'm outside anymore that is if the sun ever shines on a weekend.

  • I've been watching the news about the BP oil spill pretty closely, but if you haven't here's a good list of links to all the important things you should know about it.
  • I want an iPad. So, so badly. *pouts*
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This popped up on [profile] ontd_feminism today and, predictably, given my typical reaction when someone plays the BUT HER BREASTS ARE TOO BIG card, I has thoughts to share. Cross-posted to my other blog.

Some parents are in a twist because Mattel's new "Back to Basics" Barbie collection -- featuring a line of dolls in modern cocktail attire -- has a doll sporting a knee-length black dress with a plunging neckline and "bowling-ball cleavage".

Let's consider for a moment that all these Barbies, as a set, are themed around cocktail and evening wear. None of the dresses on any of the Barbies in this set strike me as particularly over-sexed: most of them are pretty standard fair, black dresses based on current trends or classic styles. There are only two showing off any extreme amount of cleavage, including the one in question and -- arguably, depending on your perception -- number 11 with the halter dress..

A concerned Minnesota mother says:

"I don't want [my daughter] to think she has to be this, you know, busty Barbie who's constantly wearing heels and these low-cut shirts. And that's really the image I think a doll that you're going to buy for a child is portraying."

Read the full article.

Not for nothing, but some of us HAVE naturally large breasts and for me the problem at the core here is a culture and society that over-sexualizes large breasts and judges them as automatically inappropriate. I have large breasts and I'm sick of being policed for them, especially by other women: they're no more or less appropriate than small ones.

What if the daughter of this woman grows up to have naturally larger breasts? What kind of messages are we sending to her then, that her large breasts are abnormal and 'slutty' just by virtue of their size? That she's forever doomed to the "fake-breasted stripper look" if she wears a top that so much hints at cleavage? How is that any better than telling small- or average-breasted teens they need large breasts to be sexy?

Also -- and I know I've said this before but I'm gonna say it again -- slut shaming and madonna/virgin worship are two different sides of the same coin: women are either pure, modest and sexually restrained or slutty, sex-crazed whores. The clothing choices on this set of Barbies seems very measured to me given the theme: the hemlines mix from long to short, the tops range from turtleneck to plunge, and the sleeves range from full to strapless. As a representation of basic cocktail dresses women in the current day and age wear, I think Mattel did pretty well representing a broad set of styles and degrees of sexual expression.

Of course, they're all identical body-types -- skinny, hourglass-shaped and tall. That's the bigger issue to me than what they're wearing. Wouldn't it be great if we could see a range of body-type as broad as the range of fashion? Short, stout girls, pear-shaped girls, flat-chested girls, tall and lanky girls, etc. Mattel is starting to think a little more carefully about race when they're building these dolls (though still not enough: hair and face shapes still tend toward a largely caucasian standard even when the skin tone is modified), so why not represent a broader range of body sizes and shapes as well?

Sure it would cost more to manufacture, but also think of the sales potential! With a variety of body types comes the need for consumers to buy a broader variety of clothing and accessories, especially for girls with multiple dolls that wouldn't always be able to draw from the same wardrobe. If I was Mattel's CEO that's where I'd steer the ship: good publicity and a whole host of new products to sell.

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A shiny new Apple store opened in Edmonton this morning in conjunction with the Canadian iPad launch, and since I'm an Apple Fangirl from way, way back and missed the WEM Grand Opening a few years ago, I decided to get up early this morning and hit Southgate with some friends who were nearly vibrating with excitement to get their hands on a 3GS iPad. I scored grand opening swag in the form of an official Southgate opening Apple t-shirt.

And since we're on the topic of wearable swag,

Dear Apple:

Many of your hardcore fans are not size XL. I'm not saying you should have a complete size range to pick and choose from when it comes to free swag, but I would be more likely to wear your branded shirt in public if it didn't resemble a potatoe sack on me.

Fangirly love,


The Apple Store Grand Opening experience was definitely an experience. There were something like 30 blue-shirted and enthusiastic high-fiving Apple employees ready and waiting, and a whole lot of iPads looking for new homes. I didn't buy one, but I'm sure I will eventually. As a reference tool for meetings and presentations, I think one would be extremely useful, and I'd love to transition most of my reading to an ebook format.

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Last weekend was not my best weekend ever. Fortunately for me I have awesome friends who were willing to deal with my uncharacteristic emotional valley in ways that were constructive and (more often, and for me just as helpful) distractive. It didn't help that the weather nearly the entire weekend was cool, damp and gloomy.

Being sad is extremely difficult for me to deal with in public, and I consider "anyone else in or near the room who might see, hear or notice" to qualify as "public". Tears in particular are notoriously tricky territory for me: in one way or another, for the vast majority of my childhood I was taught that crying was silly, that things were not worth crying over, and nearly every time I did cry I was told in matter-of-fact terms to stop. It is perhaps, then, not terribly surprising that as an adult tears (both mine and others', but mostly mine) embarrass me profoundly. When I do cry I do so almost exclusively in private; it's not unusual for me to cry in the shower where the sound and sensation is -- quite literally -- drowned out. I avoid looking in mirrors until all trace evidence in my face that tears even happened have disappeared. The most problematic part of all of this is nothing makes me cry quite so predictably as feeling embarrassed, and thus is created the inevitable circle of my personal hell: tears lead to embarrassment leads to tears leads to embarrassment leads to... You get the idea.

It's a difficult thing to admit sometimes I'm lonely and a little bit broken. I feel it disappoints people who expect better from me.

This is all a rambly and largely off-topic way of saying that I'm mostly okay and not heartbroken, just a little bit heartweary. This somewhat subtle but important difference was made significantly clearer on Tuesday evening when I saw SS at the Toastmasters social and it was surprisingly not awkward (at least not for me: I have no idea if it was for him). My saddness is more about a companionship hole in my life rather than missing anyone in particular, especially missing someone who honestly never did fill that role to begin with. I think we make very compatible friends -- and I hope we will remain so, because he's really very awesome and we have a great time -- but in the end I was always considering other options in the back of my head anyway. Something wasn't there, but I was too invested in the idea that it might be if I gave it enough time to notice.

In other non-related news, frisbee yesterday was fun. I hurt this morning, but not as much as I thought I would. I also managed to mostly keep up with the running which kinda shocked the hell out of me. No cramps, and while I did hang back occassionally and opt to play defense and guard our line rather than go hard constantly to help score, I didn't take an actual break at all in a game that spanned almost two hours. I choose to take this as a sign that I am more fit than I was last year, and that all the walking I'm doing since my life centralized around downtown is deserving of most of the credit.

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Insomnia is starting to catch up with me.

I haven't slept for more than a couple of hours a night since Sunday and do I ever feel it today. The worst part about insomnia that lasts more than a day or two is how it expands time to almost unbearable durations. I can't sleep when I have time to sleep so I lie awake counting the ticks of the clock one by one, and then when it comes time to be functional and awake I'm so drained and exhausted that I have trouble focusing or concentrating on much of anything, so everything drags by. I'm awake for more hours but half as productive. Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah...

It probably doesn't help that it's been so warm in my apartment that I've been getting what little sleep I can manage on the sofa. There's more air in the main room and the leather keeps cooler than my mattress. Not the greatest for my back, though, and I'm too tall to stretch out completely so I toss and turn more.

Hopefully the issues causing this recent bout of sleeplessness will be sorted tonight. It's lucky work has been light this week, or my zombieishness would have been a way bigger problem.

Bought new prescription sunglasses yesterday. I haven't owned a pair in ages, but with all the walking I've been doing since my life centralized around downtown it's become a necessary expense. They're on order so I won't actually have them for a week or so, but I'm pumped to play frisbee without squinting. Also, I have flex credits through work insurance that will reimburse me for the cost of them, so they're basically free tinted awesome. With my luck they will be broken or lost inside a month.

Long weekend this weekend. I so very badly need one, though I fear at this rate I'll end up sleeping through the entire thing and missing it.

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Missed updating last week, but I had a good reason (well, a reason anyway): work!
  • Work! A huge report that had to be written last week did, in fact, get written. Almost 40 pages of business writing on social media, and sprinted in two days. WOOO! My hands and fingers were all crampy after, and I admit the very last thing I wanted to do was type anything. The report seems to have been well-received, so it was all worth it, but wow was I tired of looking at Word after that.

  • Iron Man 2 was good as sequels go, though the first one was better (aren't they always?). The plot was a bit all over and it seemed like they were trying to do way too much in one movie. Sequels often turn out that way, probably because there's so much pressure to deliver something bigger-better-faster in the second go-round, but they usually end up unfocused and scattershot. Too many plots leads to an overall plot that is incohesive, and too many character moments lead to breadth without depth, and depth is where the really good stuff is hiding. Sequels should arguably be able to go deeper into character and relationships because they don't have to spend all that time introducing them to us, but often what we get is whatever they manage to skim off the top.

    Scarlett Johansson is all kinds of hella-hot in this flick as Black Widow, though. Best action sequence in the movie hands down.

  • Pink Tie gala was fun! There were tasty h'orderves, champagne, cocktails, a silent auction, a fashion show, and lots of pink everywhere. Afterward we hopped in a cab and met friends for karaoke, and I sang a little Journey (Don't Stop Believing) for the small crowd and made some new friends. Part of the reason I enjoy Edmonton Twitter events so much is that I always seem to meet someone new and awesome. How would I have ever met these people before Twitter?

  • Aside from work, last week was actually fairly quiet. My parents took me to Live and Let Die: A Syphonic Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney and it was awesome; I've had Hey Jude stuck in my head for the past week and I don't mind in the slightest. The best thing about Paul McCartney and the Beatles is how they span age demographics: during the encore the entire audience was on its feed and dancing -- old and young, men and women. There is nothing quite so fabulous to watch as an 18 and 68 year old grooving enthusiastically to the same music.

  • The Edmonton City Market opened downtown this weekend, so I wandered over and met a friend for a little light shopping (mmm... mini cucumbers are delicious) and lunch. Also managed to score my first sunburn of the season. *facepalm* I have this problem where I forget every year that the sun can burn in months other than July and August. I'm hoping once the burn goes away that I'm not left with dark tan lines: I just got rid of last year's awkward lines. At least I was wearing a tank top instead of a high-neckted t-shirt or something.

  • Today is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. In BC, parents quashed many of the IDAHO activities a local group of high school students had planned. Because apparently spending any class time talking about homophobia is inappropriate. *sigh*

  • I may be SMing a one-woman Fringe show this year! Theatre! And me being involved in it! WOOT!! :D :D

  • The May long weekend is coming up, but the weather forecast says rain. :c This quite literally puts a damper on potential plans of wearing hats and going to the horse races. *crosses fingers for sunshine*
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Right now my personal gateway to joy is Starbuck's lemon raspberry loaf. The winter months are made ever-longer by its absence.

And oh hey, it's my semi-weekly bullet point update of life in general!

  • Ventured into St. Albert last Thursday to have dinner with my grandparents for maybe the first time since Christmas. I'm certain this makes me a very, very bad granddaughter, especially given how often that side of my family gets together. Unfortunately, they have a habit of not notifying me of events until the day of, and with my schedule right now that's about two weeks too late. :P Dinner was nice, though, and it was good to see them. Apparently they are looking at moving into either a condo or bungalow: I think their knees are complaining about all the stairs in their house.

  • Suprise party last Friday for a friend, and can I just say that waiting in someone's house in the dark with sixteen other people is hilarious? We played a lot of Jenga. :P Later on that evening, we lit a cake on fire.

  • Went to the Butterdome Spring Craft Sale on Saturday with Mom and Sister, and scored a little table perfectly sized for my entryway! It has a drawer and everything. I am extremely pleased with my new piece of furniture. :D

  • Also went to the District 42 Toastmasters speaking competition Saturday afternoon, and was overall very impressed with the speakers. They all seemed to group around the same basic themes, and it would have been nice to see more diversity outside the Inspiration/Motivational Speech, but I enjoyed the event. The chairs were extraordinarily uncomfortable, though, and my back was not pleased to spend three hours there.

    I also gave my icebreaker speech on Monday at my own Toastmasters club, and it was received very well. I'm actually pretty comfortable in front of an audience: my personality has always leaned a little towards 'ham', and my drama and musical experience makes public speaking much less anxiety-filled for me than it might be for other people. What I'm trying to do in Toastmasters is work on my impromptu and prepared-but-not-memorized speaking: in the past, I've either read a fully written speech or delivered one I'd memorized line-for-line as if it was a script. I'm trying not to memorize my prepared speeches word for word, and though my first lacked the polish and poetry typical of my speaking, I'm reasonably certain that, too, will come as I acclimatize to the format. I'm also working at Bring the Funny, which has always been a struggle for me. I am by nature dark and moody, people, not light and humourous! (Snarky I grant you, sarcastic yes, but not really funny 'haha'.)

  • Between blogging and Toastmasters and life right now, I'm spending far too much time trying to figure out why it's easier for me to open up to a crowd -- whether that be speaking to an audience or writing to the internets in general -- than it is to open up to one person. This has not always been the case, but in the last two and three years I find myself struggling to talking in a meaningful way with people one on one, even with those whom I've historically been very open with before. I worry life has taught me to be too closely guarded, and that while I'm getting better and better at socializing on a superficial level, my ability to connect to people in a more intimate way is slipping. I have a basic understanding of where this has come from and why, but no concept of how to fix it because the prospect of trusting people not to break me is pretty overwhelming. Yet blogging about it, openly, on a non-anonymous public journal? Somehow okay. WTF right?

  • Going to see Iron Man 2 tonight! So far critics seem to be agreeing on 'blah' while non-critic people I know who caught the midnight show last night are singing it's praises. Could go either way.

  • Pink Tie Gala with Boy tomorrow night! :D I'm excited to have a reason to dress up and feel extra pretty. Since work moved to our new location in a condo and I no longer work in a large office building with loads of other well dressed business people, my norm has lately been jeans and t-shirts unless I've got a meeting.
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And now, for a life and times of me recap:
  • Saw Drowning Girls at the Citadel on Thursday and it was amazing. It's a black box show performed on a wet-stage with water everywhere. Three amazing actors, three bathtubs with working shower heads above them, and a storytelling style that hooks me every time. This is the kind of theatre I love the best because as live theatre is the only way this kind of structure works, where actors slip in and out of characters interchangably, where the story cuts and flits around the emotional underscore, and where there is -- quite literally in this case -- a splash zone. This is the kind of theatre performance that makes me sad I'm no longer in the business, because wow.

  • Participated in the first Edmonton Improv Everywhere's MP3 Experiment, and it was awesome fun. My birthday's coming up at the end of June, and for the last three years I've done a 'Chelle in the Park' kind of event to celebrate. This works because 1) my home is small and can't accommodate all the people I wish to accommodate; and, 2) it's summer and warm, so no one wants to be inside anyway. I've been thinking I might record my own little MP3 Experiment as a bith of birthday fun in the park. :D

  • Wedding shower for jonesinforsin on Saturday, which went well I think. This is my first time in a bridal party, so this is all pretty new territory for me, but it seems to be going well. One of the other bridesmaids offered up her home as a venue, so I agreed to do the invitations, handle the RSVP logistics, and play host to the event since I... like to talk. :P

  • Sunday I was wiped for reasons I don't understand, and other than meeting some folk for #brunchwar just before noon I basically slept all day. Then, obviously, was awake all night because of it. Oops.

  • This week was empty of plans just a few days ago, and now this week and next week are full. How does this happen to me? When did I become a socialite? I blame Twitter.

  • New user icon! I have some pics from my photo shoot to post at some point this week, but right now I love this one so much I had to make it my default user icon. :D Will post larger version plus others, hopefully tonight.
afterthree: (srsly?)
(I posted this yesterday to my other blog, but had not the time to format it for LJ until this morning. So you're all behind the times over here. :P)

It seems I am incapable of resisting writing something about this #boobquake meme that's grabbed hold of the internet in the last week, so here goes:

To recap the Boobquake meme:

Last week, a senior Iranian cleric blamed women who behave 'promiscuously' and wear immodest clothing for earthquakes:

"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes," Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Sedighi is Tehran's acting Friday prayer leader.

Women in the Islamic Republic are required by law to cover from head to toe, but many, especially the young, ignore some of the more strict codes and wear tight coats and scarves pulled back that show much of the hair.

"What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?" Sedighi asked during a prayer sermon Friday. "There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes."

Read the full article.

Jen McCreight, skeptic, athiest and Blag Hag, responded to his claims with an, ahem, 'immodest' proposal:

"On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that's your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake."

Read her full blog post.

She created a Boobquake Facebook event which in one week went massively viral, resulting in over 200,000 people as 'confirmed' guests of Boobquake. She also coined the Twitter hashtag #boobquake which has been trending in Canada on and off for the last week, and has amassed some 17,000+ now almost 21,000 tweets in the last seven days.

Mainstream news outlets (like cnews, The Vancouver Sun, CNN, and The Examiner) got ahold of the meme, and then we were really off to the races.

The Boobquake Response:

Having never anticipated her little blog post would spur such a massive explosion, Jen McCreight posted a quick followup, addressing some of the concerns being expressed about the event, both in terms of the sexualization inherent, the specific call out to breasts as the method of immodesty, and the science involved.

"I just want to apologize if this comes off as demeaning toward women. To be honest, it started as silly joke that I hurriedly fired off since I was about to miss the beginning of House. I never thought it would get the attention it did. If I would have known, I would have spent more time being careful about my wording.

That being said, I don't think the event is completely contrary to feminist ideals. I'm asking women to wear their most "immodest" outfit that they already would wear, but to coordinate it all on the same day for the sake of the experiment. Heck, just showing an ankle would be considered immodest by some people. I don't want to force people out of their comfort zones, because I believe women have the right to choose how they want to dress. Please don't pressure women to participate if they don't want to. If men ogle, that's the fault of the men, not me for dressing how I like. If I want to a show a little cleavage or joke about my boobs, that's my prerogative."

Read the rest of her follow up at Blag Hag.

The response to Boobquake has been varied and somewhat contentious. A rival Facebook event called Brainquake sprouted up protesting the sexualization of the Boobquake event, the (predictable) male enthusiasm of Boobquake, and the perception that women with smaller busts lacking cleavage are left out of participating. (Oh hey, didn't I just post about social sexualization of large breasts vs. small breasts the other day? Breast-size shame goes both ways, though it's a different brand of shame for my small-busted friends.)

There are feminist and cultural concerns, as well as concerns about the validity and practicality of the science being proposed here, especially in light of the fact that a surprising number of earthquakes happen every day.

Heidi Anderson of The Fat One in the Middle had some thoughts on Boobquake today that resonate for me:

"EVERY DAY should be a day when you feel comfortable expressing your sexuality and seeking sexual attention. Why has this event taken off like it did? Could it be that there is STILL shame in women expressing their sexuality? Of course there is!

But you don’t need a fake protest, catcalls from supportive men, alcohol, or the approval of your friends to be sexual. If you dress in a sexual manner, some people will think you are slutty. If you dress in a modest manner, some people will not give you the time of day. But the way we use Halloween, Girl’s Night Out, and now Boobquake as holidays in which “good girls” are given permission to be sexual pisses me off. You don’t NEED permission. You just need courage, and the willingness to take responsibility for your decisions. Part of that responsibility means being willing to give up the labels of good girls and bad girls, and just be."

Read the full post.

Her words reach to the core of my own Boobquake uneasiness: I think a lot of females are participating, not because of any desire to show solidarity or debunk a religious man's claims, but because it's an opportunity to justify being and feeling good about being sexual in public spaces. Because women in our society still need an excuse or a reason to embrace and display their sexuality, largely for fear of the slut shaming that often accompanies women appearing in public as sexual creatures. And even when women do get that 'free pass' to be sexual -- at Halloween, a girls night dancing, or an event like Boobquake -- we're still subjected to slurs and name-calling, often-times from other women. The number of times I've seen the words 'slut' and 'whore' used in anti-boobquake comments on Twitter today is disappointing yet unsurprising.

I'm also leary about the expectations we generate around those 'free pass' sexual days, which push women from one extreme expectation -- modesty, sexual restraint, etc. -- to the other. Halloween costume-hunting last year was particularly troublesome for me: finding a costume that wasn't sexy (insert job/role here) was nearly impossible, and going out to the clubs on Halloween without showing off thighs and cleavage is apt to get you as much ridicule as if you went out any other night with clothing of similar style. Jen McCreight doesn't want anyone to feel pressured to participate, but the reality is women will be: men and women will mock those who choose not to participate or weren't aware of the event, and likely many women may be coerced by peer pressure into participating. The expectation is that, since this is now a 'free pass' day, any women who chooses not to take the free pass is prudish, prissy, bitchy, uptight, etc., especially from men who -- for obvious reasons -- delight in those days when women's bodies are on sexual display.

So, while I'm still mostly up in the air about my feelings on Boobquake, I would ask the following of all people, whether you participated or not:

  1. Be aware of your slut-shaming language. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the premise of Boobquake, but don't use words like 'slut', 'whore', 'hooker', 'tart', 'tramp', etc. in your argument. There are legitimate feminist concerns and expressing them is important, but please don't police women for choosing to be sexual. Women are entitled to be sexual creatures when and where and if they want to be, and do not deserve to be called whores because of it.

  2. Don't tease, mock, or pressure women not participating to unbutton that extra button or hike up their skirts. If you'd like to explain the event to those in the dark, go for it: some women upon hearing about it will join in of their own accord, and others will balk at the idea. Do not expect either, and please don't coerce or cajole the ladies around you into doing something they're uncomfortable with.

And so endeth my epically long post on Boobquake.

afterthree: (high five barney)
Woo, another bullet point post. Woooooo! Woo!
  • Have officially decided to join a local Toastmasters group, mostly in an attempt to rid myself of my bad speaking habits. I'm doing a lot more speaking at this job than I did at The Brick, and while I'm a capable enough speaker there are definitely things I could be better at. I went as a guest for a couple of meetings, and I really like the format: it's very structured but still at-your-own-pace, and includes both prepared and impromptu speaking challenges. The most alluring part for me -- being the chronic criticism seeker that I am -- is that every speech and table talk is evaluated by a fellow member, and then after that the evaluators, toastmaster, and other members with roles are also evaluated by a general evaluation. It's an evaluationpaloza! A veritable goldmine of constructive criticism! :D So I'm signing up.

  • Boy and I went to see a great stage play on Thursday which I want to gush about later tonight. We almost didn't get to see it, though, because I just missed the train and the next one came five minutes before the show started, so I had to hoof it. Made it just in time, though, so it all worked out. Then, after the show, I thought I'd lost my iPhone and there was much panic, but found it in between the lining and exterior fabric of my jacket much to my relief. Then more transit fail which meant I had to walk home in the cold, during which derogitory things were yelled at my by a drunken man. So basically awesome sandwiched between fail.

  • Got a haircut on Saturday afternoon, and somehow even though I'm growing it out I managed to get a cut that both looks nice and requires very little effort. I let it air dry on Sunday and it dried perfectly without any intervention. \o/ pretty much sums up how I feel about less hair bother in the morning.

  • Boy's birthday party on Saturday! Lots of people and lots of fun was had. Impromptu poker game was played: I got screwed in an all-in pot by an unfortunate last flop, but it wasn't for real money so I wasn't too fussed. I ate way too much (Boy is an excellent cook, and very skilled with a BBQ). Also, apparently, I'm discovering I like beer. I had three bottles of Alexander Keiths. Last summer, wine; this summer, beer!

  • New office! My work has relocated to a new office location and we moved in on Friday. It's a business condo just west of the downtown Edmonton core, which means it's closer to my apartment, which is clearly AWESOME. It only takes me 15 minutes max to walk to work now, and I can go home for lunch if I want. There are two Starbucks locations close to, and also a Marble Slab Creamery, which is so so SO dangerous because I love Marble Slab ice cream. I also scored a desk right under a window that opens, so FRESH AIR FTW! :D


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August 2010

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