We all know what tomorrow is. The RAPTURE. And while I WISH I was talking about the New York punk-dance band, whom I love... no dice. (For the record: NO, I don't believe that this is going to happen. I felt like I had to kind of set that out there. One, I don't really think anyone reads my ramblings, but Two what if they are, in a sense "enraptured" with my blog, and take everything I say for seriousness. Girl, nuh uh. IS judgement day imminent? I don't think so.) I need to confess that I actually didn't know that there was some sort of schedule to the Rapture, like say On May 21, 2011. Apparently the Rapture has a problem with punctuality (join the club), and has been re-scheduled over and over again. According to the best information source on the planet for lazy people such as myself (yes, I'm talking about Wikipedia):
1844 - William Miller predicted Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, then revised his prediction, claiming to have miscalculated Scripture, to October 22, 1844. The realization that the predictions were incorrect resulted in a Great Disappointment. Miller's theology gave rise to the Advent movement. The Baha'is believe that Christ did return as Miller predicted in 1844, with the advent of The Báb, and numerous Miller-like prophetic predictions from many religions are given in William Sears book, Thief in The Night.
1914, 1918, 1925, 1942 - Dates set for the end by the Jehovah's Witnesses
2060 - Sir Isaac Newton proposed, based upon his calculations using figures from the book of Daniel, that the Apocalypse could happen no earlier than 2060.
Well well well... looks like people have been upset over missed dates since they invent the Rapture. It's The Great Disappointment all over again (why is that such a funny title?).
P.S. While lazily reading up about the Rapture (wiki strikes again) I learned that the word rapture is cognate to the English words "rapids", "ravish", and "rape". The latter two... um... don't seem entirely sacred. Those words are both sexy and frightening. I don't want the Rapture to happen if it's going to ravish and rape me. No way. The Oxford English Dictionary provides more etymology for the word "rapture": Latin- rapere: to seize, especially abduct. Again. Do I WANT THIS? No. Rape AND kidnapping... wow.
Excuse the throwback to '02 Nelly (sorry- Cornell Haynes, Jr.) reference. I'm starting Bikram yoga this week... and I am how they say "pumped". I made the calculated purchase of a month long pass to Bikram Yoga Salt Lake City from Living Social (we've all bought coupons on Groupon... LS is like its twin sister). I made the second calculate purchase of a yoga mat... and then made the third not-so-calculated-but-excused-because-my-doctor-said-to-buy-it purchase of a foam roller (not really directly needed for yoga, but when I start making lists I always feel like I need to end on odd-numbers... Annnnnnnnnnnd foam rollers are awesome for injuries and sore-muscles...). I just read a really convincing article about Hot Yoga (which is similar, but less HOT then Bikram). It convinced me to change from being a out-of-sorts meerkat to a sleek and skinny minx. "Hot Yoga Changed My Life, Body, and Spirit Animal"
Come salute the sun and sweat from your elbows with me. Mind you, yoga will be the only posing allowed.
(or How Reading Comics Put Me On a College Reading Level During 7th Grade)
This semester we have explored a great many issues surrounding the possibility of the human form. We’ve covered subjects that range from shape-shifting to aging, from the Terminator to body building, and everything in between. It’s been a wild ride, from start to finish. In this paper I’d like to take a look back on my favorite topic analyzed in class, one that really brought out the nerd in me: superheroes, and more specifically, the X-Men. Superheroes and mutants with special powers have always intrigued me. I think this interested started middle school, a period of life when everything is in transition. Your friends would rather prank call boys than play pretend in the backyard (as if asking Andrew Jones if he could name all of Baskin Robbin’s 31 original thirty-one flavors would guarantee a place in the 8th grade social Valhalla). Your parents don’t understand you, your teachers don’t understand you, no one understands you… and you hear yourself saying that in excess to mirrors, your cat, and to the poster of whatever teen heartthrob’s likeness you’ve pulled out of Tigerbeat (that’s a thing, isn’t it? Maybe it was Bop…). Even your body is betraying you, as it grotesquely morphs to something mysterious; something hairy, something unfamiliar, and, quite frankly, something that is as scary as hell and eternal damnation. Middle school was the worst. This is a statement few would argue against. The previously mention changes I experienced during this time made me feel like some sort of monstrosity, something that was set apart from the rest of the world, or at least should have been set apart. I had real estate in bell towers and hermitages on the mind. So when the X-Men comics and characters turned up on my pop-culture radar, I was drawn to it. Why? Because these super-humans were monsters in their own right, but beautifully so, and romanticized in a way my life wasn’t nor could it have been. Storm, Wolverine, Rogue, The Beast… these people were my celebrities. Jean Grey and Cyclops were my Beniffer (Jennifer Lopez/Ben Affleck reference… it’s ok… it’s been a long while), Charles Xavier was my Ronald Regan, and I wanted to marry Gambit (who wouldn’t?).
On further investigation we see that the X in X-Men stands for the extra gene (the “X-Gene) that these people carry inside their DNA, making them mutants, special in their own right, though the earliest comics gave them the “X” because of their “extra” abilities that normal humans. Either way, the X-Men had/have some addendum to a normal body, some extra special ‘sexy’ something, which, in my eyes, was a great deal better than the addendum that I experienced because of puberty. Though my body’s changes were a far- and less aesthetically pleasing- cry from the changes and powers that the X-Men claimed ownership of, I related to them, in all their weird and wonderful glory.
The X-Men, along with other comics of this ilk, not only gave middle school Claire something to relate to, something to maybe day-dream-aspire to, but it opened doors to an understanding of a common human theme: good vs. evil. This theme was a blanket for other deep and provocative themes, such as prejudice and racism. I don’t believe that a lot of 6th and 7th graders are out there who understand the complexities of our culture in the way I had started to because of my obsession. I was gaining an education on human life that reading The Babysitter’s Club couldn’t quite keep pace with. I was turning into someone who understood the world as opposed to the ‘Gossip Girl in Sweet Valley of the Traveling Pants’ breed that populated my age group. My fascination with the mutants of the X-Men, these monsters, these demi-gods, these creatures of power, held me captive and I watched as they faced off against others with abilities and powers like them. My heroes were held in the act of fighting to protect those without powers- the lowly mortals, the non-X-Men. This understanding of “With power comes great responsibility” (special thanks to Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben in that 2002 blockbuster travesty) gave my own view on my changed form more poignancy.
To see that the changed body could be used for good made me re-evaluate the horror that I had at my own growth. My new body wasn’t built to hold Magneto at bay, or stop genocide and end world hunger, but who said it couldn’t? My new body could do anything be anything. This potential put a new light on my changes, and made me re-evaluate the thoughts of “Oh-my-gosh-dear-lord-what-is-happening-to-me-please-god-no”, putting a more positive spin on my attitude. To be clear, I didn’t actually believe that I could stop bombs with my fist, or that my very presence could cure cancer or anything. I certainly wasn’t crazy or huffing glue (momma didn’t raise no fool). I was, however, learning that I could go out into my world and make it a somewhat better place, someone that could raise her voice and hands to make a difference, whatever cause I chose to champion, or value system I chose to personify. I was no longer a mewling and co-dependent life form. I was becoming an adult, a normal human adult. But if you look at adulthood from the standpoint of a pre-teen, or tween/teenybopper, adulthood is a form of mutant-cy. There are abilities and powers that come with reaching adulthood. As an adult you can do things you never imagined to be possible, like ordering products from infomercials, being able to vote and have sex (not simultaneously), and DRIVE A CAR (the big one). I’d like to narrow it down and simply call it confidence. I saw that with the power of adulthood, I could change the world.
This sounds so typical, so cheesy, as I type it all out on the screen before me. But there it is: my coming of age story, as inspired by the X-Men and other weirdos in spandex. It doesn’t matter that it is typical, it just mattered that it happened, and that my catalyst was easy to identify. Superhero worship changed a potentially terrifying time in my life, aka puberty, into a reason to make a difference in this world, gain new knowledge, to aspire higher, to fight against the evils of this world, and a reason to consistently wear spandex. Maybe that is why I became a dancer in the first place.
In case you are unaware of the height of this awesomeness, PDN is a leading photo magazine, THE leading photomagazine. You should immediately hire Jess to make fine photographic art. You really really should. Then you can say that you have an original J.Peterson hanging above your mantle. All your artsy friends will be very very jealous.
Today I opened my trusty Firefox browser to the Google homepage, at the behest of my dear friend Jackie Surpriseme... and was stunned. Quite literally, my breath was taken away.
Today is 117th birthday of the late Martha Graham, one of the giants and pioneers of modern dance, and one of my personal heroines... no... not "my personal brand of heroin"... the other type. Lady hero. Google rocked my dance-nerd world and celebrated this day with an animated Google Doodle of a dancer performing signature movements from the most notable of Graham's choreographic pieces to spell out the letters in GOOGLE. Graham was born in 1894 and is known for creating a completely new style of dance in the 1920s and 1930s. She started her own dance company in 1926 and created 181 dances throughout her life, until she passed away in 1991. Some of her most well-known works are charted in today's Google Doodle.
I want to explain each of the dance movements, but writer Chloe Albanesius already did this so beautifully: The first image is the shrouded figure from "Lamentation," Graham's well-known solo from 1930. According to the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance , the solo was Graham's desire to "chart a graph of the heart" with her dances. "The innovative costume, a tube of stretchy wool, accentuates the torque and pull of the movement, becoming the sculptural evocation of grief itself," the center said. The second image is from 1932's "Satyric Festival Song," in which Graham mocked the new-found fame she had gained from works like "Lamentation." It also takes its inspiration from the clown figures used in Native American ritual, showcasing her love of all things American southwest. The dancer then spins to her knees and reaches forward to re-enacts the bride role from "Appalachian Spring," a ballet she created in 1944. Graham collaborated with composer Aaron Copland and sculptor Isamu Noguchi for a work they all considered to be their contributions to the war effort, the center said. The bride then jumps, her legs rising above the two "Os" in the Google logo for Graham's famous "contraction" move. This particular doodle image is from 1947's "Night Journey," which tells the story of Oedipus through flashbacks from his mother and wife, Jocasta.
Finally, the doodle ends "with a sweep of the skirt and the determined finish—feet planted firmly, head erect and focused." The young woman is from 1935's "Frontier" solo, which "reminds us of Graham's reverence for individualism and self-empowerment and of her unquenchable 'appetite for the new,'" according to the center." -Chloe Albanesius
This animation awestruck me on different levels. As you know, I've got this boy who does the animation thing at Brigham Young University (meaning the LORD'S SCHOOL, folks. This is big time.... ugh)... and he takes class from the genius animator/artist Ryan Woodward who created this doodle, taking inspiration from Blakeley White-McGuire, a principal dancer with the current Martha Graham Dance Company. Talk about worlds combining...
Happy Birthday Martha Graham, dancer, choreographer, and acrobat to the gods.
"A paradox a paradox a most ingenious paradox... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha: a paradox."-Ruth and the Pirate King (my high school memories of Pirates of Penzance. I was the most curly-haired daughter. This sounds more cryptic than it is. You just had to be there.)
I have this friend who has this theory (one, I might add, that we seem to talk about ad nauseam, but in a good healthy I-feel-like-Oprah way). This theory talks about the pay-per-view fight of the century: emotion vs. logic. My friend has informed me that his mother is logos and his father ethos, meaning that his mother is a most a logical creature and that his father is ruled by his emotions, both to a fault. These traits reside on complete opposite sides of a spectrum... and we talk about this opposition a great deal because he is convinced that that those strong character elements are at war inside his own psyche. These traits pull him apart at all times, making him flame and flare, then turn right around to a calmer smoother water-like sense. He believes that his mind and his heart are at war, driving him to distraction consistently: water vs. fire, cold vs. hot, opposites at every angle. I believe him. The boy is nuts (but at least he's interesting). The two opposing sides of this young man’s nature seem to be larger than life, even more so than anyone else I have met. Because he feels so torn apart by his own nature, most our conversations go along the vein of control and cooperation, learning how we can use our opposing sides to temper the another, and vice versa. In other words, how we can sculpt our yin with our yang.
My own personal yin and yang, my sense of ambition against my sense of fear of failure, often control my life and my mind. Just think of having a serrated line down one’s brain and I’m pulling at the edges, trying to make sense of it all separately. This opposition makes me feel as crazy as it sounds (like I said, at least it makes one interesting), and just as painful to put back together. The only way I have been able to assuage my paradox has been to use my fear to keep myself in check and on task, and my ambition to overcome the fear when I want to stop or give up. It hasn’t been easy, but let’s get cliché and talk about how it has been worth it.
I have turned the opposing sides of my nature and made them examine one another. These contrasting faces look directly into the other’s eyes and see down deep to its soul. It’s a scary sight, one that is liable to make one venerable and embarrassed. No one likes to be called out on faults or labeled as this or that, but when you face yourself, face your fears and your faults head on, you find yourself more clearly directed on the path you need to take to succeed. This mentality has helped in my progress in my personal and academic life. The more I can make my opposing sides, my fire and my water, whatever they represent, face each other, the more I can make them work together. I can step forward into this evolution of understanding and an embraced whole.