Sunday, August 15, 2010

Knitting While Bound for the Beach

I'm knitting a series of donuts. I've knitted two jelly-filled donuts and one chocolate-covered donut. I'm giving the chocolate-covered one to Jason Toner in thanks for the amazing, vegan donuts that he has made from scratch and shared. I've enjoyed sitting around with a group of friends and eating Toner's hot, fresh donuts. I've helped frost and fill them, but I doubt that I could match Toner's skill in making donuts. So good.

I knitted Jason's donut last Sunday as I sat in the car with Pat on my way to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. On the way home, it was too dark to knit and I played dj with my iPod.

"Donut shop rock. Come on everybody and do the donut hop!"

On a more annoying note, turning away from yarn and friends -

My boss at work has made a new office policy: all jelly donuts that enter the office are his donuts. He's decided to make such a claim because "the one that got away" left an empty space in his stomach. A co-worker brought in a box of donuts from Duncan Donuts one morning. Someone ate the only jelly-filled donut, which was nested in a box with 23 others. My boss had the audacity to yell at the pregnant woman down the hall from me, bellowing out how pregnant women are always hungry and nosing around her office looking for signs of powdered sugar. In the end, she hadn't eaten it. Feeling slighted, my boss launched his donut-claiming campaign. He thinks that vegan food is unnatural, which gives my food some sort of loophole or sanctuary from his designs. Strangely enough, my boss would be the first to admit that he's being a jerk.

Regarding the beach -

The water generally felt icy, although, the last day that I was there, the water warmed up a little and became clear enough for me to see my feet as I walked out to jump in the waves. Typically, the water has more sand and debris in it, so I feel lucky.

I loved the giant sand dunes near the beach. Climbing with sand between my toes felt like freedom.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Charm City Art Space

Charm City Art Space advertises itself as socially conscientious. Today, it issued a draft statement with the goal of ending debate over claims of sexual misconduct on the part of one of its members. Five women accused one guy of sexually harassing them in separate incidents, including one woman who accused him of having sex with her against her will. Unfortunately for the women, members publicly vetted the question of what happened to them for over six months with several members essentially calling the women liars. As a result, friends of the victims and the victims left the space. The remaining members agreed that, in essence, nothing should happen to the guy. A few people did talk to him about boundary issues.

After the draft of the statement was circulated, members responded with questions about whether the person who was accused of the harassment felt comfortable with the statement's wording and protested against the women being called "victims," requesting that they be instead called "survivors" or "accusers." No one asked how the women themselves felt about the statement's wording. I do appreciate calling women who are raped "survivors," but not in the context of discussing how to handle rapes. At the point of the rape, you aren't looking at the woman's future ability to move past the attack and gain strength,. You are looking at the wrong as she is being attacked and dominated. If I suffer through adversity, don't use my ability to heal to justify ignoring the evil of what happened.

I don't feel comfortable calling Charm City Art Space a "safe space." I am concerned that if one of its popular members sexually assaulted me, that I would be more stigmatized for bringing it up than he would be for violating me. Plus, I don't want to be a double victim - once as an individual being sexually harassed and then again as a person being alienated by those who fail to listen or, even worse, try to discredit me for refusing to silently be abused.

August 21, 2010 - Charm City Art Space posted their final statement this week. Backlash - a flurry of e-mails from people who've gone to shows at and supported CCAS; someone painted "rapist" on the CCAS door. The statement reduced the other four women from CCAS who were attacked to "a history of problematic sexual conduct," only mentioning the rape of a woman the guy met at CCAS. The statement called the woman the "accuser."

People protested and lots of women complained that CCAS has made excuses and is ignoring the security and well-being of its female members. As written by a woman I've known for five years:

"Saying that you can't take a side in a situation like this IS taking the side of the accused person because he is still allowed to operate in a 'safe' space... Also, creating and maintaining a safe space is not as easy as just saying you have a safe space; it's not just shit like walking women to their cars at night and saying 'racism sucks.' It's believing marginalized people... It's about support, even when it means questioning what you think you know about a friend."

Another women I know responded with an e-mail to CCAS in which she pointed out that picking apart the words of the women for months signals disbelief. CCAS reinforced this message of denial by trying to harbor the accused and by disseminating an answer to the accusations that amounts to: whatever.
Almost 3 years later.  A lot of new people are involved in Charm City Art Space.  They and long-term members insist that they are committed to providing a "safe space."  They can't change the past, but insist that they learned from everything that happened in 2010.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Than a Run-On Sentence - a Run-On Blog Entry

My week started off with a clothing swap and potluck at Christine's house. My housemate Zack, our friend Olga, and I made tabouli salad using a recipe from the Moosewood cookbook. Gathering the ingredients in a last minute rush, we got stuck buying limp, curly parsley at the Giant near my house. Then, once we started dicing scallions and tomatoes, I noticed that we were low on lemon juice. With an eye on the clock, we substituted lime juice for some of the lemon juice in the recipe. Fortunately, the lemon-lime still balanced the garlic, tomato and parsley well. I liked it. The food table at the potluck mostly amounted to a some chips and grocery-store cookies. As for the clothing, I appreciated the variety of sizes, colors, and styles. I got a few dresses, a shirt, and a patch.

While we were at Christine's in DC, a storm hit with almost the ferocity of a tornado. The high winds sent both power lines and trees crashing onto the streets. The rain literally came down in sheets. Our housemate Meredith had remained home alone with Basil and Viola, the two Boston Terriers that I was watching for Pat while he was on tour with Rations. Meredith holed up in the basement with the dogs cuddled up against her as our electricity went out. Apparently, more than 300,000 customers in Maryland lost power. At Christine's, we stayed dry inside. When Zack, Olga, and I ventured out, the ride home presented unusual challenges, forcing us to maneuver through intersections with the traffic lights out and around tree limbs strewn across the roads.

According to Meredith, as she ran upstairs to retrieve her cat, Motley, she glanced out of the window. Meredith spotted the elderly lady who puts trash in our yard. The lady was soaked and roaming around in the street, looking at our house. The lady was nice to me the next day and I haven't spoken with her in a long time. She told me that she'd worried about us and wasn't sure we'd know what to do in a storm. I ignored the condescension, although Meredith complained to me that Meredith wasn't the one circling trees as branches blew by in the wind. I thought maybe the lady would stop discarding rotting food items near our sewer drain, but she didn't stop. This very morning, I saw two rotting tomatoes perched curbside in our yard.

When I got home after the storm, I sat with Zack and debated going to Ilsa's record release show. He went. I focused on food. People had inhaled our tabouli salad at the clothing swap and I was hungry for dinner. Pat called me from Brooklyn. Inviting me to stay at his house in DC, I accepted after calling one of his housemates to confirm that they had electricity. I drove with Pat's dogs through the debris-filled streets. By then, the failure of the traffic lights and the impatience of drivers had resulted in a series of accidents. Navigating around the obstacle course of tree branches, I just felt tired.

When I got to Pat's house, I left off the dogs and went to dinner with his housemate Rachel. It was almost 8pm. We drove to multiple restaurants, finding each one closed. I finally settled on ice cream made from coconut milk that I bought from Giant. Totally unhealthy. I went to sleep early in Pat's bed, with Pat and his other housemate, Greg, still in Brooklyn for the Ration's tour. I appreciated the air conditioning.

On Monday, Pat was back and I saw his and Zack's band, State Violence, play at the Corpse Fortress, which means in the basement of a house in Silver Spring. They sounded like a wall of angry feedback and noise, heavy on the bass and drums. Mundo Muerto (CA), Perdition (NYC), Lotus Fucker (DC), and Syndrome (VA) provided a night of incredible music. Mundo Muerto especially surprised me. They have an early 80s punk sound and I really got into their music.

Not to give a daily rundown, but I saw my friend Bridget during the week. For no occasion at all, she bought me a spatula that looks like a guitar and a set of pirate-themed baking cups for cupcakes. Another night, I went to Casey Jones, a restaurant in La Plata that serves wood-fired pizzas, to commemorate the last day of one of the law clerks volunteering at the Public Defender's Office where I work. The restaurant is amazing in the context of La Plata, which is, in essence, a collection of strip malls and fast food restaurants. The pizza's crust is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They don't have vegan cheese, but do offer a pizza without cheese with extra sauce and a collection of green vegetables.

I went to a show on Friday at St. Stephen's Church. State Violence played again. Blood Type, a straight-edge band from New Jersey whose demo tape is called Bringing More Stuff Down, played a set with an 80s hardcore sound. They did a cover of Black Flag's Drinking and Driving. Who wouldn't like hearing a cover of that song? (Aside - I spoke with a guy named Max from Austin who told me about a girl he'd met in Germany who claimed "covers of songs" as her favorite type of music. Weird.) Nomos played next. Their singer scrunched his face up and shifted his eyes around as if he was trying to imitate Jack in The Shining. Christine, from Deathrats and the clothing swap, told me that she liked his somersaults. Some other friends told me that the Nomos singer was criticizing them for not wearing shiny, athletic shorts. The guy insisted that the shorts breath well and increase his mobility as he belts out those lyrics. Of course, he didn't appear as the picture of health and his shorts slipped down his waist as he rolled on the floor. Next, Brain Killer played. Dan complimented their name. He categorized their sound as "mind melting," like a musical lobotomy. Finally, Deathrats played their songs about women's empowerment, independent-thinking and personal accountability.