CED Round-Up: Seattle Pride Parade!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

This week was event-filled and awesome, so a lot of the work I was doing happened outside - particularly at the Seattle Pride Parade, in which I fanatically snapped pictures of everything from the Washington Bus Summer Fellows to the amazing outfits that people adorned. Check it out after the jump - and yes, there will be dancing.

Like The Cowation on Facebook to see more of the pics!

How to Value Your Work

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This summer, I set myself the goal of going multi-media with the blog, so I am excited to present my first vlog post! The subject is valuing your artistic work and bringing it together with your identities. I apologize that there is currently no transcript because I did not yet have time to create one. After the jump, you can read some fast facts about the video-making process. Enjoy!

You may also enjoy 5 Ways to Find Balance in Productivity and some other lessons.

5 Ways to Find Balance in Productivity

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What are some pairs that don't go well together? Creativity and exams. Productivity and busy work. Deadlines and relaxation.

Yet these same pairs come together all too often in the life of anyone who has a job or attends school and still wants to channel creative pursuits. Putting these pairs together is like assembling furniture with directions in another language: stressful and in need of some clever planning to maneuver through. During the academic year, I am a part-time employee and a full-time student, so I know this feeling all too well: I am constantly asking myself "when will I be able to create again?"

I haven't figured out a foolproof strategy yet, nor do I get to all of the creative projects I would like to had I not decided to be a full-time/part-time anything, but I would like to impart some of the ways that I balance these two halves of my life. Take a moment to assemble some ideas with me about personal vs. school/work productivity.

Politics with a Youthful Twist: Working for the Washington Bus

Monday, June 27, 2011

I am a young voter - there, I've admitted it. I'm on par with the unicorn in my rarity and have only been voting for nary 2 years now. However, I have worked on campaigns before. In my high school days, I registered people to vote when I was not yet allowed to touch a ballot. I cheered on President Obama's election without being able to send in my vote. And, I must admit, I became a little bit worn out.

I distanced myself from politics when I moved to NYC - there were so many more interesting things to do with my first year at college than canvassing for change, right? I also found myself in a new place, so I had no clue what the important issues were for that area. Instead, I took national and global politics as my weathervanes to gauge the state of politics and left local work behind.

I am happy this summer to return to my local roots in Washington. I have had the great fortune to be chosen as a Summer Fellow at the Washington Bus, a youth-oriented movement that wants to bring young voters out of their unicorn status and get their voices heard when the ballots drop. They have reconnected me to the local Washington landscape in a way that has surprised me: they have forced (if the word 'force' can be taken as a gentle shove) me to go to events like Seattle Pride and have taught me all about local politics. Today's post is about my first week and experiences with the Washington Bus, and what it feels like to get back into the political game.

Are you a youth voter? Let me know what you think about politics in the comments! And if you're not a youth, what are your views on youth voters/the youth population in general? Let me know!

The Q: What Does Fashion Do For You? (And Responses from Last Week)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This week, I have been talking a lot about feminism and fashion and the way that personal meets political through your self-expression. Now it's your turn to speak:

What does fashion do for you? What messages do you share with the world (consciously or unconsciously) when you put on clothes/makeup/accessories? Does your personal interact with the political through those choices?

As with last week's question, your answers will be posted here at the end of the week!

And, without further ado, here are your answers to last week's question: What/who made you think about your identity?

On Location: Seattle PRIDE!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

For the next two days, I will be attending Seattle Pride supporting queer people as an ally - both the Capitol Hill version in Cal Anderson Park and the citywide version downtown tomorrow. I will be live-Tweeting my escapades and pictures will be forthcoming. If you're in the area, come see me (I'll be in a rainbow chimney hat and makeup that says VOTE)!

Caught My Eye: TED Talk on The Uniform Project

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Uniform Project is truly where fashion meets activism. It is an interesting project in that it took the deceptively simple challenge of wearing one black dress every day for a year and made it a metaphor that people could invest in - bringing kids the money they needed to go to school.

I am particularly impressed with the way Sheena Matheiken explained the idea at TED Dubai. It was inspiring to hear her speak about the impact and the uses of everyday challenges like these. She brings together a confluence of factors (look-at-me blogging, personal style, and sustainable fashion practices) in order to create her own brand of personal is political activism.

Though The Uniform Project is now over two years old, I am still awed by the way that this simple idea took hold and helped a lot of underprivileged children find their way to school. Watch the video and check through the archives for some more greatness.

Want more media for consumption? Check out the rest of the Caught My Eye series.
Read some of my posts on feminism and inspiration.

CED Round-Up: Visual Learners Unite!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This week's round-up is a bit late because I just arrived back from a retreat with the Washington Bus, but it is here nonetheless! I did some exploration this week by way of photography and, when indoors, did some writing and drawing on my Wacom tablet. I will learn you yet, Wacom!

Check out some more of the Creative Everyday series, or some more of my photography, writing, and knitting.

Science Fiction Stories: The Observer (Part II)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Today I am sharing part two of The Observer, my serial science fiction story. Two weeks ago, I introduced Taligunge, the alien observer who comes to Earth, and in this second part, she continues on just that journey.

If you haven't read part one, I highly recommend you check it out right here. And, as always, feel free to let me know what suggestions you have for the next installment! Part two commences after the jump.

A Day in the Life of a Failed Fashion Blogger

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not too long ago when I was working on this blog, before I had all my notions about women of color and feminist identity, I thought that I would make it into a photography blog. Indeed, last year I posted a photo a day for half the days of the year, working on my life in pictures. Although I didn't focus on it, I also took a lot of self-portraits. And thus, for a while, I entertained the thought that I would be a fashion blogger.

As you might imagine, that thought dried up pretty fast. Perhaps you will take some of my considerations to heart if you've been thinking about starting/changing to a fashion blogging focus. Or perhaps some of you have gone through the same feelings! Here they are:

Denim and Black Cloth: Feminism and Female Expression

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last week, I talked about my position on skin-lightening creams. Even as I wrote that post, I was bursting with contradictions. Some include:

Is it a woman's right to do that to her body?*
Are people using these products uninformed about the consequences and the societal expectations informing their choices? If not, what makes them choose to use it?

And, most importantly: Are fashion choices sanctioned by feminism, even when they are considered destructive?

Thinking of fashion from a feminist perspective is a tricky feat. There are feminists on both sides of the burqa debate; there are those that find mini-skirts and booty shorts just as offensive or progressive. In many senses, fashion can be liberating or constricting.

As we go into a season where people come out of their thick layers and begin using their clothing to express all different messages, I want to explore this single question:

How does feminism intersect with fashion and what are the consequences?

More after the jump.

*I know that men also use skin-lightening creams, but for the purposes of this post I would like to restrict it to women.

The Q: What/Who Made You Think About Your Identity?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

This week, I have shared a bit about my racial identity, so I want to turn it over to you:

What or who in your life has made you think about your identity, for good or for ill? And what did you value most about that experience?

Identity can take many forms: racial, national, gender, sexual orientation, philosophical, spiritual, even your picky eater-itude! Let me know in the comments, Tweet me a response @thecowation, or email me at jordanalam@gmail.com. Next week, I'll put up your answers to this question for everyone to read.

Yay, audience participation! And have a Happy Father's Day!

Want to read more about identity before the answers go up next week? Check out my review of Colonize This!, a book of essays by women of color approaching feminism.

Caught My Eye: Colonize This!

Friday, June 17, 2011

This week, I read Colonize This!, a book of essays by women of color about their experiences finding - and molding - feminism. I read this book (394 pages) within four days - not just because the library due date was coming up, but because I was absorbed in the stories of these amazing women of color from all different walks of life. Check out my thoughts after the jump!

CED Round-Up: Bones, Cyborgs and Flowers

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This week, I introduced a new artistic medium and harkened back to the old as well. Below, you'll find examples of my coding efforts, my writing, drawing in two ways, and my severe need to move my hands while watching TV. Enjoy!

Wow, You Look Great! Did You Get Paler?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer is fast on the approach in the northern hemisphere, and though it may be a blessing to some, it can seem a curse to those who want to keep their skin as pale as possible. Today, I take a look into skin-lightening creams.

Finding My South Asian Identity in Literature

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I want to explore a little bit more about South Asian identity and where it comes from for young South Asian Americans. I grew in a multi-racial (but still primarily white) neighborhood with few Indians and no Bangladeshis my age, so I may only speak for myself in this post, but where I found a lot of my role models was in books. After the jump, I give some examples.

"Where Are You From?" (Race vs. National Identity)

Monday, June 13, 2011

I went through many of my old posts this week to make my new About Me page, and was struck by The South Asian Question in a New York Minute, a post I wrote on the conflicts within South Asian American identity. In the year and a half since I wrote that post, I have found even more to say on the topic. In particular, I want to focus on the intersections and conflicts between racial and national identity, which often duke it out in the question "where are you from?"

Where are you from?
Right over there.

Musical Interlude (Part X)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

This week's entries into the series are some calm, somber favorites of mine that I listen to when coding in the middle of the night... I am moving the Musical Interlude series over to my Tumblr starting next week, so if you'd like to keep following the music, check out The Cowation on Tumblr.

Sarah McLachlan - Fallen

A Fine Frenzy - Almost Lover

Ellie Goulding - This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)

Check out the previous entries in the Musical Interlude series.

Caught My Eye: This American Life Ep. 435

Friday, June 10, 2011

This week, I am featuring one of my favorite episodes of This American Life! I listen to most of my podcasts while walking and/or jetting off to the next location, and This American Life always provides me with both entertainment and food for thought. This episode in particular really got me thinking as I made my way to the coffee shop that morning, so I hope you enjoy it as well.

Otherwise known as "How to Create a Job," this episode is about job creation and how much involvement the government really has in the process. The podcast dissects the idea that government can create jobs by first asking the seemingly innocent question: how does one create a job?

This American Life shows that the answer is more complicated than you might think, and not just from the perspective of government officials. They explore job training programs and conventions of professional economic developers in order to show all sides of the issue. Ultimately, this episode caught my eye (and ear) because it was informative and honest - although it did present a pretty unsatisfying answer to how a job is created. I'll leave it to you to be the judge of how effective our leaders are at keeping their promises to workers in the US.

Any fans of This American Life already out there? What's your favorite episode?
Also, I am always looking for new podcasts to listen to, so share yours in the comments! Your favorite ones, ridiculous ones, even very specific ones (I listened to one about the history of knitting fibers before) are all welcome.

Check out more media with the ongoing Caught My Eye series.
You may also be interested in listening to my audio posts Pressing the Record Button and Is Blogging "Giving It Away For Free"?

CED Round-Up: Allergies, Aliens, and South Asian Lovers

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have been experimenting with short fiction this week, or at least scenes that tell a standalone story; I have written about everything from aliens (as part of my new serial fiction, The Observer) to time travelers, allergies, and South Asian lovers. Check out what I've been writing (and knitting in between keyboard marathons) after the jump!

Is Blogging "Giving It Away For Free"?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hi all, today's post is about blogging, media, and the freelance market. Since it was pretty long in typewritten format, I decided to record it; listen up, and then leave me a comment about what you think!
(The transcript is available after the jump, and it includes links to some things I mention)

Check out some more of my writing and stories, including one I read aloud: Pressing the Record Button.
You may also be interested in some of my other opinion pieces, including What Blogging has Taught Me, Single Sex Education for Women and Girls, and Discrimination and Mixed Metaphors.

Science Fiction Stories: The Observer (Part I)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Drumroll, please! Today, I am introducing first installment of my serial science fiction project, The Observer. As a writer, I have gravitated mostly towards science fiction in the past, and wanted to re-visit my love for it through producing content regularly. So, this serial fiction is coming to you in parts, just like your favorite TV shows. Enjoy this first section, and let me know what you think of it (and science fiction as a whole) in the comments! Also, I am accepting suggestions to use for the upcoming parts of the story. Leave those in the comments as well!

Taligunge tapped the side of her head reflexively. She prepared herself to receive a transmission that would never come – one that would tell her she was in the right place. Slinking out from a side alley, she surveyed her destination from across the street.

6 Tips from Writing Workshops: Opening Lines, Content, & Revision

Monday, June 6, 2011

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending an all-day set of writing workshops at Richard Hugo House in Seattle. Since I have been learning to beat writer's block, this day was a necessary shock to my system - an entire day of learning, writing, and revising is just what I needed!
And, because I believe in the power of sharing, I thought I would disclose some of the most valuable writing lessons I took away - specifically on openings, content, and revising.

Musical Interlude (Part IX)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'll be groovin' in my bedroom to this week's music choices. How about you?

Yolanda Be Cool - We No Speak Americano

Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams

The Chemical Brothers - Galvanize

Check out some other great music in the Musical Interlude series.

On Location: Write-o-Rama

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Today, I will live-Tweeting from Write-o-Rama, an all-day writing workshop event that raises money for the Seattle-based writing organization Richard Hugo House. Follow my Tweets (@thecowation) or #writeorama for updates from the workshops and advice for writers!

Caught My Eye: Dear Sugar Column at The Rumpus

Friday, June 3, 2011

As I was trying to rouse myself from a literary stupor this week, I searched around the internet for some inspiration to fill myself up until I could no longer stand the feeling of not writing. One of the articles that I came across that most inspired me was The Rumpus' column Dear Sugar.
Dear Sugar is a self-reported advice column, but it caters to those of all stripes - it is not just a love life column, nor an inspirational manifesto, but also takes care of its writers and other people in long response articles. My favorite of all such articles is Write Like a Motherfucker, which tells the unabashed truth: get writing and keep doing it until it hurts.
Check out the rest of Sugar's advice column for everything from marriage advice to alternative graduation speeches; you will not be disappointed!

Check out some more media with the rest of the Caught My Eye series.
You may also be interested in reading 3 Ways I Beat Writer's Block to a Pulp.

CED Roundup: Bears, Knitting, and Growing Ideas

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Creative Every Day hopes this week were somewhat diminished as I found that I had a lot of ideas, but nowhere to go with them - thus, next week's goal will be implementing those ideas and seeing how it all turns out. The pictures this week reflect my new sweaterdress project at different stages of its completion, my urge to draw bears, and some design changes to The Cowation logo in order to fit with the Facebook parameters - speaking of which, you can now Like The Cowation on Facebook, as I have set up a new Page for it!

Blog Ideas
 Thurs: All the blog ideas I had when I was interlinking archived posts for days on The Cowation.

Sweaterdress Beginnings
 Fri: This is the back piece of my sweaterdress at just an itty bitty rib area of 16 rows. Working my way on up to 19". 

 "There was little in this world that kept her attention so much as the strange boxes that projected to these humans images of themselves. They were square and often large, spreading from wall to wall in some of the rooms she had seen. They came with control boxes or with sensors that would accept data disks and present whole new worlds to their viewers... Without the boxes, the humans were alone and unconnected, unlike most other animals."
"She found it difficult to watch the autopsies in progress. After spending countless hours encoding their information into the system, holding conversations with them, feeling empathy for their successes and failures, to see an individual human lain out on a table made her shudder. She knew that her cover profession as an investigator made it necessary, but it was never her favorite part of it."
Sat: I worked a bit more on the serial fiction story; above are two more excerpts from the upcoming work.
Sun: This is the back piece of my sweaterdress at 11.5" - motoring on towards 19".

Facebook Page SplashFacebook Button
Mon: I did some re-designing for the Facebook Page of my button and splash.

Clown Bear Drawing
Tues: I originally wanted to draw a person, but it evolved into this clown bear in a box. Also, the lens flare is starting to grate on me - I must do better with lighting.

Sweaterdress Middle 2
Weds: This is the back piece of my sweaterdress at 16" - working my way to 19"!

Check out some more drawings of bears in my collaborative comic The Bearniverse.
Take a look at previous Creative Every Day posts.

7 Lessons I've Learned from Re-watching Buffy

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

As I noted briefly in the last Caught My Eye post, my boyfriend and I have been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer like fiends ever since I was blessed with the power of Netflix. Since there's nothing like a little '90s programming to get my neurons crackling, check out what I've learned from re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.