Sunday, December 21, 2008


After the whirlwind that was the past four months, I'm finding myself having a difficult time knowing where to start again on this blog.  I could finish the India journal entries.  I could explore all the interesting fiber art related things I've been doing.  I could write about some of the hilarious things that have happened to me in my attempts at dating and navigating life... but I'm just not feeling any of  that right now.  I'm mentally and physically drained.  I feel that I should restart this blogging habit since I've finished my semester and have time, but the thoughts/ideas seem stuck.  I know they're there... and have been nagging me, yet they appear to have accepted their lot and don't want to budge due to prolonged occupation of my mental back burner.  

I suppose I will attempt to reboot, restart, and do some reorganizing.  

Stay tuned... I will be back, just another slight delay.

On a side note:  I hope this Holiday finds you safe, warm and surrounded by loved ones.  I'm looking forward to the band new shiny year and all the adventures it has in store.

growing pains

I've been thinking about a lot of things today.  Mostly due to finally having a moment or two to myself for reflection and inspection.  This has been one hell of a semester for me.  I took too many credit hours, only to find that I'd have to wait/work until August 8th to graduate.  A blessing and curse in disguise.  I now have three additional months to figure out what the heck I'm going to do post-graduation.  

On a whole though, 2008 seemed to have been a year of growth and change for me.  Interesting that I used the word "change"...  the Obamamania has penetrated my subconscious.  As I look back in my journal from the previous year I can see how I've grown to become more comfortable in my own skin, in my relationships with friends and colleagues, and with the world around me.  Some of the growing pains which accompanied much of the year's transformation are now humorous and sweet.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

my little helper

 So my life has been a bit hectic lately.  School has just gotten in my way and made me a bit crazy.  But never fear, I will be done in a week or so and posting again.  I've learned to spin yarn and can't wait to share it!  Until then, here's a picture of birdface getting caught drinking my coffee while I was writing a paper.  Just what he needs, more energy.  

Monday, November 17, 2008

the world according to monsanto

Monsanto is the world leader in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as one of the most controversial corporations in industrial history. This century-old empire has created some of the most toxic products ever sold, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the herbicide Agent Orange. Based on a painstaking investigation, The World According to Monsanto puts together the pieces of the company's history, calling on hitherto unpublished documents and numerous first-hand accounts. Today, Monsanto likes to style itself as a "life sciences" company. The leader in genetically modified seeds, engineered to resist its herbicide Roundup, claims it wants to solve world hunger while protecting the environment. In the light of its troubling past, can we really believe these noble intentions? Misleading reports, collusion, pressure tactics and attempts at corruption: the history of Monsanto is filled with disturbing episodes. Behind its clean, green image, Monsanto is tightening its grasp on the world seed market, striving for market supremacy to the detriment of food security and the global environment.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

passion and power

I went with LBG(TQ) Saturday night to see this film at The Hippodrome State Theater in Gainesville.  We had a wonderful time!  It was interesting, hilarious, and highly educational!  A must see for any woman curious about if she's alone "in that area".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008


For some reason this bothered me a bit.  I didn't find it funny, nor did I really find it offensive.  In fact, I really don't know what I thought of it, other than my internal reaction was not one of humor or warm fuzzies.  It was posted on Campus Progress:

The only thing I could really think of upon seeing this was that I was hoping to start the process of getting past the black/white, us/them dichotomy.  I was hoping we'd stop seeing and assessing people based on race.  I was hoping that this would start with a dialogue... not a joke.  But then again perhaps we still joke because we're still very uncomfortable with the very idea of a black man being president.  

Sunday, November 9, 2008

tiny fists of fury

Sunday mornings I have a highly predictable routine. I get up. Shower... or not. Stop by the Main St. Publix & pick up my Sunday edition of the NYT. I then spend the next few hours at 2nd Street sipping coffee, that I sometimes neglect to pay for, and enjoy the company of wonderful people.

While today lacked Mr. Clark, who I usually shoot the shit with, I had a wonderful time. A happy accident of running into Faryn and catching up with her. 

NYT left me without much rage or strong feelings of any sort. But the Satellite... oh the Satellite fueled some fury. 

Review of Jenny Lewis' new CD, Acid Tongue, made me snarl through gritted teeth: "WHAT THE FUCK?!" Now I'm not really a Jenny Lewis fan. I like some of her stuff, and back in the day loved Rilo Kiley. Not so much now, I've grown out of it so to speak. But I would never wish this upon ANY artist.

Below is the first line of the review:

"I was primed to take pleasure in this album; I enjoyed Jenny Lewis' last CD, I really am fond of Rilo Kiley, and to be honest, big breasts turn me on a lot."

Excuse me J. Maggio, but what the hell do big breasts have to do with her CD? What do they have to do with Lewis' music? Is there some correlation to the quality of music by a female artist and her breast size? Can we make similar judgements about penis size and quality of music by male artists? Has anyone made such a claim about a male artists? 'So and so has a tiny penis therefore his music is very thoughtful' or 'He's got quite the package, totally making up for his lack of musical talent.' NO self respecting journalist or writer would even think about publishing such a statement. The shear fact that J. Maggio had the audacity to MENTION Lewis' breasts when talking about her music was enough to set me off. 

So, naturally I had to read more:

"But this is a horrible CD only somewhat redeemed by the presence of Elvis Costello - who must also like big boobies, too - on its best track, "Carpetbaggers." Gone are the insightful lyrics of previous Jenny Lewis output, only to be replaced with hackneyed and banal lines like "our love is thicker than angel wings" and "nobody believes a liar." Wow! Like Sarah Palin, even Lewis' "hotness" cannot redeem the complete lack of substance. Some songs - like the horrifying "The Next Messiah" - even sound like they are based around the first riff the guitarist played at practice. Even Lewis' voice takes a nice timbre in the Dusty Springfield tradition, the lyrics are so hideous, and the melody so bland that one cannot help but press "skip" on the iPod. The title track and the Elvis Costello duo are about the only two songs of value on this ghastly CD. I think I will stick with Lewis' older work, and looking at pictures of her best "features" - ironically knowing that I'm not sexist at all." - J. Maggio

No Maggio... you're just Gainesville's tool of the month.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

morning procrastination

mr. fish, Harpers.
I freakin love it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

a more perfect union

Happy November! Lets remember this wonderful, inspiring, and uplifting speech given back in March.  
I hope that you exercise your right to vote Tuesday. I, personally, am ready for a change.

Friday, October 24, 2008


This column ran in The Independent Florida Alligator (local Gainesville/UF rag) and enraged me enough to write the editor.  Below is the column, which ran Thursday, and my response which ran today:

Thursday, October 23, 2008 1:56 AM EDT

Halloween treats adults to more than just candy

By STEPHANIE DUNN, Alligator Writer
I'm convinced Halloween was created for the sole purpose of getting boned. No other holiday compares. When mischief and moonlight abound, someone is going to get laid. Throw in a chintzy costume, garish makeup and orange beer, and you're done for.

Long gone are the days when you relentlessly sought the creepiest costume, the one that would really make your Nana piss her granny panties when you popped up from behind the couch spewing fake blood and guts. We college students still take our costume hunting seriously, but in a decidedly naughtier direction. That angelic little girl who, a decade ago, was happy with a wand, glitter and plastic pumpkin for trick–or–treating has morphed into a ravenous, raunchy little hooker – but just for Oct. 31. Unless you go to FSU, then it's a year–round ordeal.

This is apparently the formula: Take any character or profession and whorify it beyond recognition. Really slut it up – underwear will suffice. Oh, you're a Victoria's Secret Angel for Halloween? How clever. You can be a sexy nun, a sexy soccer mom, a sexy sex slave. It doesn't matter, as long as it's transparent, shows butt cheek or cleavage, and comes equipped with an accessory that can double as a sex toy later on – fishnets or a whip will do. Since when are Disney princesses cock–mongering whores? Since now. Guys are minimalists. If they put any effort into their costumes at all, which is a rarity, they go for the funny costumes or at least ones they think are funny. Dead celebrities, political parodies, cross–dressing, the usual. But I think that deep down, they want to be sexy for Halloween, too. Whether they're 12 or 22, guys fantasize about being Batman, Superman, anything ending in "man." They can fulfill their boyish fantasies for a night, even if they'll ultimately be disappointed in how they look in a bat suit, and I get that. What I don't buy is the guy who starts hitting the gym in September, oils up his abs and quads, and slaps on a four–inch long loincloth thing because "King Leonidas kicked ass in '300'!"

Couples should just pick each other's costumes because it's a free pass to hand–select who they want to take home at the end of the night. It's like cheating without the guilt. Any other night of the year, if you dress up for sex you're either kinky beyond belief or your relationship has gotten so boring that dressing up is a last resort. Not so on All Hallows Eve. The one thing that hasn't changed since we were kids is that Halloween is all about indulgence. If you have a fetish, tonight you can go all–out. A fetish doesn't necessarily have to do with feet or body fluids I'd frankly rather not mention. It can be as simple as a "thing," and everyone has a thing. You're bound to find at least three people from your fantasies parading drunk down the street, so why not take advantage?

I know that not everyone gets all skanked up for Halloween and that some of us have an ounce of originality left. I daresay it would be more fun if we still dressed up in scary costumes. But somewhere along the line, it clicked that fear and sex go together in a sick Freudian way (hence the adrenaline–filled horror movie sex scenes). Eventually, we decided to leave out the unpleasant fear component and just go with pure sex. So, in honor of Slut–o–ween, treat yourself to a trick and leave the candy for the kids.

Friday, October 24, 2008 1:11 AM EDT

Halloween sex column lacked substance

By Liz Martin, 4LS
I was bothered enough to feel compelled to write about Stephanie Dunn’s Thursday article “Halloween treats adults to more than candy” in this week’s edition of Sex on the Avenue.

I’m impressed that the Alligator has the gall to run a seemingly sex–positive column; in fact I applaud it whole–heartedly. However, this writer has continually missed the mark and simply enraged me this week.

I do not approve of the way in which Dunn presented her case against scandalously clad women on Halloween. Is Halloween really the one holiday “created for the sole purpose of getting boned”?
   What about New Year’s Eve? Or Valentine’s Day?

The way in which Dunn discussed women’s costume choices both degraded and reinforced the objectification of women and their bodies.  By calling women “sluts” and “whores,” Dunn recreated the image that women are objects asking to be ravaged, exploited and “boned.”  It’s highly degrading to construct women as inferior beings who don’t seem to have enough sense not to dress up like “raunchy little hookers.”

Then Dunn moved on to men. Why are men continually painted as brutish, lazy and sex–crazed? These stereotypes hurt men just as much as they do women. They encourage men to act in a hyper–masculine manner and send the message that something is wrong with them if they don’t behave this way.

There were many other things that bothered me about Dunn’s work, but what was most frustrating was the lack of any real critique or content.  I would rather see the space used to actually discuss these constructions and people’s seemingly sex–driven Halloween choices than some crap about how women are all sluts on Halloween, how dressing up is an excuse for people to play out their “kinky beyond belief” fantasies or pretend their partners are someone else because on this one night, it is socially excusable.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

death of the american dream

As I sat outside writing a paper on my chic little mac, enjoying a beautiful fall day here in Gainesville, I took a small break to read one of my favorite blogs, Sweet Juniper.  Today it wasn't the usual adorable tales of the socially conscious stay-at-home dad, that make me dream about one day having children of my own and contributes to the fantasy construction of the hypothetical father of my future children.   It was about one of his solitary adventures to an abandoned school in Detroit.  My heart broke into a thousand little pieces and I wondered how people can so easily overlook  the poverty and despair that exists here in our own country.  How do so many different wolds exist within each other?  Why are some more visible than others?  Why has the distribution of wealth become so very skewed and lop-sided?

I thought more about it.  About Michigan's crumbling struggling economy in the shadow of the dying American auto industry.  About the corruption of Detroit's government and public officials that is often the butt end of jokes.  And I shed a tear.  Is this a preview of where America is heading?  Is Michigan just the beginning?  

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.  Change is coming.  Perhaps there are more beautiful days ahead.  

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

mister foe

Went to go see this last night with Mr. Man.  More to come, but for now enjoy this trailer:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

solitary adventure

Saturday I was mentally exhausted and fried.  I haven't had too much time to sit alone and reflect on anything since the semester began.  In fact, most of the time I've spent alone in the past few weeks has been to a) sleep, b) study, or c) do chores around the house.  None of which I enjoy so much to classify as an adventure.  So when I sat down to study Saturday morning in attempts to again hit the books, I felt cranky and irritable.  I resolved to go on an adventure with myself and simply enjoy the overcast day.  To sit out and think, reflect, and simply be.  These are some pictures I took while I played on Payne's Prairie.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

surprise from the past

When I returned from India, Erin filled me in on a book that was coming out by artist Keri Smith.  I've posted things by her before.  We were giddy back in July about her upcoming book How to be and Explorer of the World.  We decided that since it made connections between artists (Erin) and scientists (me) that really it was a book about our adventures together and overall curious friendship.  I pre-ordered the book on Amazon and promptly forgot about it until Friday when it materialized on my coffee table.  Thank you past Liz!  You made me remember all the things I have stopped thinking about lately due to overwork and overload of college life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

way to my heart

I recently started dating a wonderful person who has found the way to my heart... plants.  Here are some flowers I received.  A week later they're still looking amazing.

I later dissected some of the flowers to study parts for an exam I took this past week.  Not all, just a few.  :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

article published!

I talked a week or so ago about being asked to write an article for some friend's budding publication The Fine Print.  Well, here is the final product:

While I'm nervous about how I'll react upon receiving criticism, it's something I a) need to come to terms with and b) am really proud of myself for simply doing.  It took me quite some time to actually write the article.  I'm also forever indebted to Hanners and Kite for allowing me to use some of their amazing pictures from the trip.  I didn't know exactly how to deliver what the editors had asked for, mostly because I couldn't articulate what I wanted to.  I'm still having a difficult time discussing and truly explaining my experiences.  Yet I feel that this article is probably the most real and accessible I've been in terms of explaining it.  It's odd, I can talk to people from the trip very easily mostly because I don't have to really explain anything, but get me with someone who knows limited things about India and I get overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  I suppose I don't really care what people have to say about it.  A classmate of mine, a graduate student from India, said she really enjoyed the piece and found it rather accurate.  Greatest compliment I could have received and all I needed.

Also, if you acquire a print copy of the publication, be sure to read Losing Grace by Matthew Clark.  It's not online for some reason.  I wish it was so I could post a link for it.  It's a short column, but I honestly feel it's the best written and most interesting piece in the 24 page publication.  I'm not just saying that because Matthew is a dear friend of mine, but because it is what I truly believe.  He's a wonderful writer and I, for one, look forward to reading more of his work.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

morning procrastination

Happy October!  What in the world happened to September?  Oh well...  Here's today's procrastination.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

felted bowl finished

Finished Felted Bowl!  Before and after felting process.
Not a bad first attempt.  I'm going to refelt it again soon, since I did it by hand and had to stop because my hands were raw.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

coffee inspiration

The way I see it
Isn't necessarily 
The way you see it
Or the way it is
Or ought to be
What's more important
Is that we're all 
Looking for it
And a way to see it
- Desi Di Nardo, author and poet
Poem found on Starbucks cup
I don't usually buy Starbucks anymore.  Their coffee is too sugary, too fatty, and too socially irresponsible.  But I broke down out of convenience yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by the above.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

peace day

Sunday, September 21, was peace day.  The image is completely unaltered and is something I happened to get leaning on a Vietnam Veteran's memorial which the Vet's for Peace were set up right next to.  I was doing work with the Civic Media Center (CMC) where I'm currently doing an internship.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

bridal shower

This past weekend, Karebear and I threw Greenie a bridal shower.  Neither of us had ever done such thing before, but I like to think it went exceptionally well and has set the bar.  It was a lovely afternoon filled with mimosas, treats, and the bride-to-be (last picture).

Monday, September 22, 2008

garden fun

Playing in Erin's garden.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

projects and tinkering

Below are photos of fun time playing with old jeans with Erin, camera practice, and my felted bowl project still on the needles.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

article idea...

Below is the speech I gave at the Harn Museum of Art on Water politics and activism.  I'm thinking about submitting it to a local publication several friends of mine work on.  I've been asked by many people to write something about my study abroad experience and perspective on India.  The best I've been able to do so far is this speech below, and the journal entries I posted this summer.  I feel it falls short of both my and their expectations... mostly mine.  I have so much more to say... just no idea how to say it yet.  Any suggestions would be wonderful!


My research focuses on activism within India’s anti-dam movements and why these particular movements are gendered. By examining India’s multifaceted dam discourse through a gender lens, I seek to draw conclusions on the condition and involvement of women in this sphere of activity.  This is part of a larger body of work I did this past summer for the UF in India study abroad program. 

The issue of water scarcity is seen as part of women’s burden.  This stems from the role of women within the Indian family, community, and society.  Through their role in the family, women are expected to gather the water for household activities such as cooking, cleaning, drinking, livestock upkeep, and maintaining sustenance agriculture.  As water becomes scarcer, women have to walk farther and spend more time, labor, and energy gathering water for daily use.  As farms have failed and more men migrate into the cities to search for work, the women are left as the sole caretakers and maintainers of the household.  Since water is an essential resource for daily activities and survival, women have carried the brunt of the burden of water crises.    

Women emerged into the Indian public sphere during the movement for independence.  Mahatma Gandhi called on women to do traditional activities in public spaces as a means of protesting British industry and control.  Women were encouraged to spin their own thread and take up the national issues as mothers, wives, and sisters of India.  This became a new responsibility that women incorporated into their roles within society.  While the majority of activists were village and rural women, men participated in leadership or figurehead roles.  Yet this is changing as depicted by prominent activists Dr. Vandana Shiva, Medha Patkar, and Arundhati Roy’s facilitation of various environmental movements.  As women become more vocal about water crises and subsequent social problems, they emerge from the margins and into the center of society as activists and defenders of community and common resources.  These women have stepped in and claimed agency within this context.  Through these new constructions, women’s organizations and groups are now gaining support of the community and being publicly granted legitimacy as active members of the communities.

Many of the anti-dam movements, and environmental movements in general, developing across India’s landscape are deeply rooted in the ideas and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.  Although his great work, Hind Swaraj, was in reference to freedom from colonial rule, its ideas remain highly applicable and are deeply ingrained in modern anti-dam discourse.  As Gandhi describes it, “modern civilization is a disease (Gandhi, 2007, p. 34).”  Modern civilization used in this context refers to the capitalist, industrial, cultural homogeneity that is Western “development” and culture.  Gandhi analyzed this so called civilization as a degradation of morality, religion, duty, and self.  The discourse used in the anti-dam movements updates these ideals and applies them to the current discourse and framework. 

What activists are calling for is “appropriate technology – the application of grace and scale to machinery in pursuit of ecological balance” (Leslie, 2005, p. 28).  The Narmada Bachao Andolan calls for the use of small check dams that could provide modest amounts of power to individual small villages instead of encouraging the wasteful energy consumption habits of Westerners.  Activists call for responsible, sustainable development that takes into account social and environmental implications of dam building and technology.  They call for examination of effects across societal boundaries and a government that listens to the concerns and protests of its people. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

september 21

This video is really quite powerful and awesome.  It sent shivers up and down my entire body.  I love the idea, and I can't wait to see how it pans out this year.  I'm also trying to think of what I'll personally do...

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I've resolved to teach my future dog commands in only spanish.

Yes, I like this plan.  Also, can limit what others tell my dog to do.


Also, will work on said resolution by talking to other people's dogs in spanish.

This might be fun.

Step One:  find a dog to talk to....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Sometimes people surprise me in the most interesting ways.  Yesterday was one such case.  I wish I could fully describe it and explain why yesterday was such a lovely day.  It felt like it wasn't one day, but several.  So much can happen and change in a day.  People can surprise you, while others can remain highly predictable and frustrating.  Yet they exist in the same space.


I'm slowly working on a few felting projects.  I'm knitting the piece first, then turning the beautiful wool into felt.  There is one skein of  yarn that I'm in love with as is.  I'll post a picture of it very soon.  I'm currently trying to figure out what to do with it to keep the properties I love so much, but make it a practical and functional piece.  I love the yarn unknitted for its colors and soft feather-like texture.  A melting of sage green, soft grey and hits of light browns and egg shell.  I knitted it into a swatch and was disappointed with the outcome.  I felted the swatch, and was only slightly satisfied.  I shall solider on.  Any suggestions as to what to do with it would be lovely.


There has been a lack of beautiful found metal in my life lately.  Perhaps I've just been too busy and not paying attention to the ground around me, but nothing glittery has really caught my eye.  I have refound several bits while cleaning up my desk, apartment, and emptying out bags.  Its almost as if I foresaw this slight lull and created a treasure hunt for my future self.  Which would be rad if I had purposely done that.  Perhaps I need to devise surprises for future Liz.  I think she'd like that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Interesting looking film that will be playing in Gainesville Sept 19 - Sept 25 at the Hippodrome:

I'd really like to see it.  Word is out that we're going to try to do a India reunion and see the movie together.  I love that we're all staying close.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

adult minus the dull

This week it has really hit me that I'm an adult now. I gave a talk at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art this past Thursday on Water as a Metaphor for Identity. My talk was on women's activism around water politics in India. TB, Kite, and Jimi Hendrix also spoke. We all kicked ass. It went remarkably well. So many people that I know and love were there to cheer us on. It meant the world to me. Almost everyone from the India trip was there. It was wonderful to see everyone and reminded me how much I love them. Greenie called me the next day and told me people were taking notes on my portion of the program. WHAT I HAD TO SAY WAS NOTE WORTHY!  Perhaps I can do this academia thing after all.

Today Karebear, Greenie and I went to Jacksonville to taste cakes and have Greenie try on her wedding dress and make sure it fit. I cried when we walked in to the bridal shop. Tears of joy and pride. I can't believe the little girl I met 10 years ago is a beautiful woman and getting married. She looked so beautiful. Karebear cried too. We looked silly I'm sure, but couldn't help it.  Abe Lincoln is going to have a heart attack when she walks down the aisle to be tied to him in holy matrimony.

That's all for now. Botany classes are going amazing well. I was learning how to identify leaves in Taxonomy Lab Friday and was geeking out... hard.  I'm very proud of my inner geek, I embraced it long ago.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

pisgah hike photos #6

morning procrastination

While peeing on campus today I noticed some beautiful grafitti on the stall wall. It read:

Don't diet.

You're already beautiful.

Thank you stranger! You've made my morning.

Monday, September 1, 2008