Thursday, May 31, 2012

One in the Blogosphere

This post has taken too long to write, but I'm it's about something good. Something nice like the Versatile Blogger Award.

Now, I haven't actually looked into the history of the Versatile Blogger Award, but I'm going to guess that it's just like the Liebster Blogger Award, you know a chain type of thing. Regardless, I'm extremely happy to receive this. Now according to the rules, I have to thank the person (in this case people) who have nominated me. I also have to include a link to their blog.

My first nomination came from Michelle Pond:
Sopphey, I think you are versatile so I am giving you the Versatile Blogger Award.
I think Michelle is versatile too. Check out her amazing poetry blog. Also, check out the nomination post to learn seven things about her (spoiler, they're seven things she doesn't always right about!).

The second from Muddy Kinzer:
[Comment about the post Behind the Name] For that and for all you do here, I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!
Muddy is definitely versatile too. I have too much fun reading her blog about her new adventures in rediscovering herself. Don't forget to check out the nomination post where not only will you learn seven things about her, but you'll also see the essence of why I'm so glad I met Muddy during the MNINB April Platform Challenge.

And lastly from Kristi Carver:

Hi Sopphey! Your blog is very entertaining! ... very awesome! and to make your day, you've been nominated for the Versatile Blogger award;) you go girl! 
Kristi is truly versatile too. Her blog, Colorado Girl Writes, is full of personal insights to her. She's very hands on too, like she made a wine tote! It's so awesome! I once tried making a pencil bag, and it doesn't look as awesome as her tote. Right, so other than making wine totes, she does a whole lot more. Check out the nomination post and learn more about Kristi.

Now those were the Thank Yous. Time to select 15 blogs/bloggers that I've recently discovered or follow regularly. Ok, yeah this is too much to do. I can't just select 15 blogs! That's terrible. I also hate having to pick someone over another person. I follow too many blogs and you cannot make me choose just 15 to recommend. I'm going to make a web list, kind of like Lara Britt's annotated blog roll, but with every single link I can think to recommend. This list is going to take a really long time to make, but I sort of started it already. One more disclaimer, making the list is going to be a very slow process.

Finally, tell the person (people) who nominated you 7 things about yourself (myself). OK, well I kinda talk a lot about myself on this blog. I'm going to list 7 things I don't normally talk about and may or may not blog about.

1. I have this crazy relationship with food. Especially sweet foods. I like to taste food. The flavors are really cool, the actual eating doesn't always sit well, though. Consequently, I love drinking everything. There's a huge difference between eating an apple and drinking apple juice. Most times I'll opt for drinking apple juice. In my quest for drinking delicious drinks, I've come very close to creating interesting things like... cheesecake in the form of a milkshake. It's just like drinking a milkshake, but it tastes like a cheesecake and satisfies both your cheesecake craving and moderate amount of cheesecake calories!

2. I'm an Aquarius and a lot of times feel like I fit the bill for the "cold" version of the sun sign. I've been told before that I give off the impression that I'm cold and don't care for much. Now, this could absolutely be true, but in reality it's something I don't have much control over because of various medical terms and conditions involved in my biological make up and environment.

3. I'm one of those people that would die (or experience huge withdrawals) when they don't write.

4. I've ruined blog analytics by accident. I have this really bad habit of clicking on a link, reading the blog post, think of something to comment, and then leaving the blog post open (without commenting). I probably leave these links open all day until I realize I have 30+ tabs open and then CTRL+W everything. So like... if you notice a spot in your statistics with 30+ minutes of time from somewhere in Texas... then that was probably me.

5. My favorite color is purple. All the purples, anything that is vaguely purple is good for me.

6. I don't talk about my family often, but I love them because they're all unique and incredibly creative.

7. I hate doing laundry. It's so inconvenient and it usually takes 2.5 hours to do (for my single self). Logically speaking, it's approximately 38 minutes for washing and 45 minutes for drying. Why it adds up to 2.5 hours is beyond me.

Tada! We made it through my Versatile Blogger Award post. Don't forget to check out the incredibly awesome new things on Michelle's, Muddy's, and Kristi's blog and stay tuned for a mega list of websites that I recommend.

Monday, May 28, 2012

MM 28 May 2012

Donna Summer Tribute

I meant to post this playlist last Monday, but time kind of paused a bit. It's never too late to write it, though. Today's playlist is available at Grooveshark, at Spotify or in the embedded widget below.

MM 28 May 2012 by Sopphey Vance on Grooveshark

 In this playlist:

1. Bad Girls
2. Love to Love You Baby
3. She Works Hard For the Money
4. Last Dance
5. On the Radio
6. Hot Stuff
7. I Feel Love

I'm still not sure how to write this post, but I'm going to try my best. I don't empathize with too many artists deaths, but Donna Summer is different. Her music helped make it possible for my younger sisters and I to come semi-full circle in our friendship.

I listened to a lot of Donna Summer as a teenager without knowing her name. My older sister had a large collection of "Mixed CDs" sung by "Various Artists" and I would hijack these CDs and listen to the songs all night long. We had an old CD Player (possibly even a CD/casette player) back then and after a while we lost the orignal casings for the CDs. At this point, every song was Track [Number] and when looking for our favorite song, we'd start from the beginning of the CD, play a couple of seconds, then press skip until we found our song.

I was probably around 12, my sisters were 9 and 8, when I decided I would coreograph a dance for my sisters to show off at school. We started with a "best of the 70s" CD and played track 2. We lived in an old trailer at the time, the CD player sat in front of the television, we stood in the living area, and showed them step by step my genius dance steps. We played the few seconds of the song over and over until the singer sang the words "bad girls."

Somehow my young brain thought that my younger sisters had to learn to dance a song about working girls. Miraculously, my sisters and I danced the entire evening to the song. We danced the same minute over and over until we called it quits. That day was probably one of the last days where we hung out without arguing.

After that the hormones kicked in for me. My mom began working a lot, my older sister began working a lot, my father somehow came back into the picture with a new wife and daughter, and I had this self-realization that my sisters needed me. My young self thought that they needed protection against my dad's new wife. I swore to protect them from everything, from the hurt in the world, from their peers that only spoke about sex. For the next 5 years, I became the enemy. I chased them around to clean their rooms, to do their homework, to eat their macaroni and cheese I carefully cooked, and lots of other things.

All that chasing made me a very angry kid. I would yell at my sisters, and sometimes even threw random objects at them. Being the oldest around the place made me bitter. All the screaming, yelling, crying, and throwing of things created this guilt in me during high school. Along all the teenage agnst, I felt really sorry that I became a monster in my sister's eyes. For a while, one of my youngest sisters had a lot of problems in school and that made the guilt worst. I only became more angry, and at the first chance I got, I moved out. I went to an out-of-state university. And, I got a chance to learn about me.

Sometime during my self-discovery and collegiate journey, I rediscovered Donna Summer. I laughed to myself as I remembered the one or two moves I made for "Bad Girls." I explored her other songs and smugly found bits of my life in the lyrics. Some bits like, "She Works Hard for the Money," are too accurate of what I do. I work hard, end of discussion.

Fast forward to Summer of 2011. One of my younger sisters and I spent the entire summer arguing with each other, drinking, playing Just Dance 2, Guitar Hero, and avoiding dishes. Just Dance brought back memories of that period before my crusade to protect everyone from the world. My younger sisters and I bonded again, at a more adult level, by trying to beat each other's scores in "Hot Stuff". And after that, we bonded again by trying to achieve 5 stars in "I Feel Love."

We still argue, but in a way Donna Summer brought us semi-full circle. I don't feel as guilty for being a meanie as a teenager, but I still try to protect my sisters from the world.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Surprising Thoughts About the Westboro Baptist Church

The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), well a couple of dedicated protestors from the WBC, visited the Rio Grande Valley for the first time on May 20th. They stopped at a couple of Texas sites before heading down south to the tip of Texas for some classy smothering heat. Yeah, it was too hot. I got together with a couple of the Occupy McAllen folks and we drove a roughly 60 miles to Brownsville, Texas. After a couple of phone calls and navigation planning, we wound up at the first church. The small WBC group stood on the corner across the street while the group of counter protesters stood on the corner near the church.

It was a spectacle, at first, for me. I made a number of inappropriate but we're in the Lord's parking lot statements. Refused to hold a sign for a whole five minutes. I practically stood in the middle of the road to get a good look at the WBC group. I was fascinated by this group of people that preached hate. Well, the cop told me to get out of the road, I took out my cheap cell phone and started snapping some photos. They all came out blue.

Opposite ends of the street!
I began mingling with the crowd. Snapped a couple of (ok) pictures of the counter protesters. I actually asked permission before snapping photos, but didn't ask permission to use them on my blog. But, I'm sure that is ok with me sharing this photo.

I took some pictures then picked up a sign to match my viewpoints.

This is the sign I borrowed from a friend's son.
The police drove by a lot.

There goes, the police, like always.
I became a bit overwhelmed by both sides chants. Nobody might believe me, but I'm one of those people that picks up on other people's emotions. It's not always the emotions that the person is feeling, sometimes it's emotions that are carved deep into a person's subconscious. I couldn't help but feel very bad, and very wrong, feelings from the WBC group. I just had an inkling that there was something deep, something not right underneath those brightly colored signs. Something sinister.

No, it wasn't something Satan-like sinister. It was more human, and very sad. So after I counter protested and got home I began an in-depth search on Fred Phelps, his family, and the WBC. I found two documentaries by Louis Theroux.

The Most Hated Family in America is a 2007 documentary about the family's life that attempts to portray the family members as sensible, normal, and even good natured people. I've actually never met any of the family members, so I can't say if they're sensible or not, but from the video I could deduct that they're convinced of their message. There is no wrong for them and they stick together. That was cool, I guess. Then I found the follow-up documentary.

America's Most Hated Family in Crisis is a 2011 follow-up documentary that speaks to a couple of ex-family members from the original documentary. Louis Theroux really hints that there is something sinister and unbelievably awful behind the whole family's existence. Something like, anger on the part of the family patriarch Fred Phelps. That got me thinking more and I ran a search for one of Fred's ex-children. You know, children he swears are dead because they left the family.

Nine seasons of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, SVU, couldn't have prepared me for what I found. I'm not going to accuse Fred Phelps of being gay. I can't, haven't met the guy and my gaydar sucks. But, I am going to claim that he required a lot of Gender-Reinforcement. Maybe, he really needs to prove to himself that he's a man. Or that he's a straight man. Or that he's a man in the sense of the Bible. There's a short version and a long version of the Fred Phelps story that makes me think this way.

I stumbled upon the first version first. Mark Phelps (Fred's first son) left home as soon as he could. In the 19 years since he left home, he hadn't spoken to his father and answered the occasional question about his time in the Phelps home. In 1993, Mark wrote a letter describing his feelings of "gentleness" for his father. These couple of sentences from the letter reinforce my thinking that there's something seriously wrong with Fred Phelps:
Instead, my father's behavior characterizes, I believe, Hate, Outbursts of Wrath, Contention, Jealousy, Vengefulness, Misery, Harshness, and Selfish ambition. He mis-states the truth about his own behavior, about others, about the Bible, with apparent ease and regularity. He behaves with a viciousness the likes of which I have never seen. He accepts no genuine accountability in his life and is subject to no one. His lifestyle betrays the sacred trust of what a pastor, husband, father and grandfather should be. I suppose if a comparison were made between the life of Jesus Christ and my father, there would not be much to compare.
Even then, Fred Phelps just seemed like an angry guy. I thought, there are angry people everywhere... right? Then I stumbled upon another statement. More graphic and saddening than any SVU episode. I found an account of Fred Phelps beating his sons to a bloody mess, and instantly my stomach clenched. Here's a sample of the pain the Phelps children endured:
The first blow stunned your whole body. By the third blow, your backside was so tender, even the lightest strike was agonizing, but he'd still hit you like he wanted to put it over the fence. By 20, though, you'd have grown numb with pain. That was when my father would quit and start on my brother. Later, when the feeling had returned and it hurt worse than before, he'd do it again. After 40 strokes, I was weak and nauseous and very pale. My body hurt terribly. Then it was Nate's turn. He got 40 each time. I staggered to the bathtub where my mom was wetting a towel to swab my face. Behind me, I could hear the mattock and my brother was choking and moaning. He was crying and he wouldn't stop.
At that point, I couldn't be angry at the WBC. I felt sorry for them. No, not sorry, it's this particular feeling I get every time I hang out near a church, in a church, and most places of worship. That dirty, sinister, blood-filled feeling of everything shameful and regret. The Phelps family and the Westboro Baptist Church seem like a miserable line of victims. Yes, at first sight they appear like a strongly convinced family living the Good Word. But, that's now how it feels. It feels bad. Feels sad.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Money Grappling Fool

Dry my tears with crumbled dollar bills
Pin me down with nickels and dimes
Hold me accountable for digital transactions
Tear my flesh from me with your liberty
Trade away my identity for your false
sense of pride and security
It's not me that you're afraid of
It's the power that crushes you
You rest at the height of the greed mountain
Assuming your kind is of the gentlest
Embarrasing your opportunities of friendship
You only care for your packed suitcase of wealth
Your stuffed pillows of convenience
Count my last days while at your shining desk
You slimy, money grappling fool

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Internet is Freedom

Internet and Government

Internet giants (Facebook, Twitter, Google) track your every click to maximize their profit. Are you going to let them share this information with the Government? How many websites do you visit while still logged into Facebook? Who do you tweet with? Possibly every website has Google Analytics or Google tools, how much do you think Google knows about you?

CISPA, the bill in Congress that would end privacy on the internet, has gone through a tricky legislative maze that has a lot of people confused. Here's the deal: CISPA is now tucked inside of Senate bill S.2105, which has bipartisan congressional support, is being actively supported by the Obama Admin., and is scheduled for a vote in early June. It's alive and well, and on a clear path to becoming law.

Privacy is Awesome

How is privacy awesome? Well, I'm probably the most "liberal private" person I know and I make too much of an effort to carefully manage the data I release online. For example, if I had stalkers (not too sure how one finds if people have stalkers), I would refrain from using foursquare. Really, why would you let the Internet know where you're going? Why would you want the Government to know where you're going? What is this wire-tap era... next thing you know the Government will want you to wear an Digital ID tied to your State ID.

The End of Anonymous

The Government wants you to wear a Digital ID to match your State ID. Starting with the State of New York (Hey don't they have the Statue of Liberty there...). New York's Bill S06779 is adding some interesting mandates such as:
A website administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP Adress, Legal Name, and Home Address are accurate. All website administrators shall have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.
How would the end of anonymous posting discredit writers with pen names? Isn't the point of a pen name to keep your personal life apart from your writer's life? Why would the Government care what "anonymous posters" say or do not say about the Government.

The Internet is Scary Place

Maybe the Government is afraid of its people. You know, not everyone is a Saint or heavenly and the Internet reflects that with the slew of Trolls, Scammers, Liars, Scholars, Commerce, Gurus and all sorts of people who populate the daily bytes. Intruding on everybody's Internet privacy is not going to make the Internet a better place. You can see that In Real Life (IRL) where governing bodies regulate everything. We, the Internet, don't need global governing bodies dictating our servers. We need to rise up and secure our freedoms. Freedoms that don't obey a particular jurisdiction.

Let's use our IRL powers to keep the Government off our Digital backs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Behind the Name

This is a long story. I've been putting this off for roughly three years. Well, since when it first began in July 2009. July 2009 was a big month for me. It was the month before my senior year in college. I spent the majority of the summer at home doing a lot of nothing, reading, writing, and exchanging poetry through text messages with someone I really liked.

I really liked him, but it was one of those textbook bad relationships that doesn't do good for anyone. I had repeatedly attempted at ending our relationship, managed for two weeks the winter before, and yeah we still hung around each other. But then, I finally saw a for-sure way out that month. He would be leaving to chase his dream at the end of the summer and after that we'd both be free from each other. That was a good thing.

That month I finally tried the blogging thing. I launched Sopphey Says to a crowd of 20 people who I considered a part of my life. The first plan consisted of writing about poetry and poets/people I admired. I started out with Ad Lucium a post for Aleister Crowley. Crowley led me to grow into my pagan feet. I read a lot of his work, about his life, and in general didn't really agree with his witchcraft, but I became hooked on esoteric teachings.

Crowley's real name is Edward Alexander Crowley. He reached a point in his life when his name wasn't living up to his expectations. An excerpt from The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography leads to the following:
"For many years I had loathed being called Alick, partly because of the unpleasant sound and sight of the word, partly because it was the name by which my mother called me. Edward did not seem to suit me and the diminutives Ted or Ned were even less appropriate. Alexander was too long and Sandy suggested tow hair and freckles. I had read in some book or other that the most favourable name for becoming famous was one consisting of a dactyl followed by a spondee, as at the end of a hexameter: like Jeremy Taylor. Aleister Crowley fulfilled these conditions and Aleister is the Gaelic form of Alexander. To adopt it would satisfy my romantic ideals."
So, in part because of the fascination for Crowley, I too decided it was time to change my name. I was tired of people mispronouncing it. Yes, the guy I liked could say my name and that mattered a whole bunch when we were gazing at each other's eyes. But, I was ready to be a professional. I had a goal for my senior year to rock on a hundred levels of awesome (for the record it rocked on two hundred levels of awesome) and I couldn't walk around having people mispronounce my name.

I mean, logistically, how hard was it for someone who could never pronounce Spanish to say:

"Hi, this is Sarai Oviedo. She designs our award winning magazine."

It always turned into:

"Hi," awkward pause and shake of head, "this is Sau390ur49efuefj. She designs our award winning magazine."

I just hated it. One of the things about me being Mexican, was me being against nonMexicans butchering my name. I felt wronged. It felt wrong. So, I took Crowley's courage and narcissism to give my name its Mexican honor back. I took a long hard look at my life and the poets I was reading at the time. I looked through my favorite Greek poets, Sappho and Ovid and things just clicked.

I had no clue about dactyls or spondees, but I did know I wanted two syllables. Because, two syllables is easy. I would keep my name intact, by starting my new name with my initials:


then I would take Sappho's middle pronunciation:


then I scrambled for a name that sounded similar, I chose Sophie. I had developed an online personality that always used the combination "ey" at the end of a name, so I decided to stick it to my name:


aka Sopphey.

I started my senior year meeting new people with:

"Hi, my name is Sarai but you can call me Sopphey."

Of course, my old friends insisted on continuing the "Hey Sau390ur49efuefj." Some accused me of changing my name to be American, others just preferred the ‘old me,’ but Sopphey caught on.

Taking control of my name made me realize that I had it in me to start the publishing company I always wanted. So I started calculations for a print size for my printed books. Then, in the middle of all that I became ordained because it felt right. Knowing that awful relationship would end and knowing I had the rest of my life to do whatever I wanted made things awesome. In May of my senior year I had one of the last conversations with my father*.

I came out to him that day and he supported me. I told him how I changed my name so that people would stop mispronouncing the awesome real name he and my mom gave me. He completely supported the idea. We talked about how Sopphey was a very feminine name and all I needed to really fit into my shoes was a guy name. We bounced around some ideas, his first choice was Bruno, but my first choice was Vance. He thought about the name while he told me a joke then reassured me that any name I pick would be the perfect name.

Thus, I became Sopphey Vance. Looking back at this story, you could almost say that a lot of good things happened out of this name change. In a way, a lot of things did happen. But, I didn't fully step into my new name until last year when I walked into a bar, already drunk, ordered a shot of vodka and a Smirnoff Ice. I sat on the stool thinking, "she's such a cute bartender." For a drunken moment I realized that changing my name had nothing to do with being more American. It wasn't a way to hide my crazy side from my "real identity." It was a change in presentation to the maze that I am. Sopphey Vance means that I rock on over 200 levels of awesome and I'm doing it on my terms.

*I don't know where my father is. He could be dead (but I really know he's not), or he could be in Mexico. Wherever he is, I miss him.

Monday, May 14, 2012

MM 14 May 2012

(More Life Reflections)

It's kind of Monday. I've probably been the worst employee in the universe these past few months, but today I really feel like changing that. I'm going to dedicate this week to doing everything with precision and accuracy. That includes semi-updating this blog.

Today's playlist is available at Grooveshark, or in the embedded widget below.

MM 14 May 2012 by Sopphey Vance on Grooveshark

In this playlist:

1. Crystal Ball by Grimes
2. Cover My Eyes by La roux
3. Astroboy (And the Proles on Parade) by The Buggles
4. Man Without A Yes by Obi Best
5. o0Oo0Oo by Oberhofer
6. Don't Stop (Color on the Walls) by Foster the People
7. Boogie Down by MGMT

I probably had a very relaxing weekend. Saturday was my older sister's birthday and Sunday was Mother's Day. I spent a portion of Saturday watching movies with my sister. Munched on pizza with my Mom on Sunday while being on my better behavior. Can't say that I completely behaved myself, I got a bit grouchy over some "well you're single" jokes, but over all behaved.

I spent the rest of Sunday watching a documentary on The 14 Hour Technicoulour Dream (Dream) and How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM). Most of Dream covered Pink Floyd and small insights into Syd Barrett's multi-color character. HIMYM should really be called "Before I Met Your Mother" as it really only talks about the main character's life before he actually meets the girl he marries.

All this inspired the theme to this playlist. I'm largely attracted to psychedlic music and topics because of the rich, colorful, and even majestically whimsical feelings it builds in me. It's almost like swimming in a fish bowl with thousands of colors radiating out of a prism into my blood. Kind of like tasting rainbows and easing into a bodily sway of ecstasy.

At the same time, HIMYM reminded me of the state of life and where I want to be in five years. So like maybe I do want to find a special someone to parade around town and strategically denounce modern society evils. Or do I want to dance to my own private soundtrack of music like in this playlist? Maybe I want to create art and live a pseudosolitary life.

I kind of just want to do everything and attempt to do it well. I can only do one thing at a time, though. Must learn this organization thing so I can continue my own color Dream party with no regrets.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Iron Supplements are Photogenic

They're also good for your heart.
You know what else is good for your heart? Love. No wait, that's not always good for your heart. Love can lead to heart break, nobody likes heart break. In late March I decided I was going to be really heartful and make a poetry book full of love poems. I finished gathering and writing around 13 poems in one night and was satisfied.

Then in April, I took this notion one step forward and blogged about the poetry book as part of the April A to Z Blog Post Challenge. G-Good Intentions, the post describes the book a little bit, then in L-Lovely Poetry Book About Love talks about it some more. This lovely heart photo is your first preview at the cover for the poetry book. I'm not using this photo for the cover (it's not colorful enough!), but if I would have it would look like this:

Very, very iron like.
I'm pretty excited about this book because it's like one really long poem broken into different tenses all about the same characters. And, all about love.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Liebster Blog Award Origins

Finally, after several hours and various Google queries. I've found the original Liebster Blog Award rules. I wish I could find the original post, too. However, some of the older mentions of the award have been either been deleted, or changed URL names.

At first, I received the blog award from two fellow bloggers. I went to Google and searched for the term "Liebster Blog Award" and found an endless list of blogs that received this award. I then changed the query to reflect blog posts posted in 2010. I got closer to the origin, yet not close enough before I decided to call it a day. The most I learned was that it was kind of like a chain letter, a blogger to blogger award, you had to nominate 5 bloggers with less than 200 readers, "liebster" is dearest in German, and that no one knew the origins.

Then, I received my third award. Three's the charm, right? I couldn't live with three awards/nominations without knowing the origin so I went on another wild search. I changed my criteria until I searched for blogs that contained the "Liebster Blog Award" in the title or in the URL. The earliest mention I found so far happened on December 19, 2010 by a German blogspot blogger.

The Liebster Blog Award is indeed what I've originally thought except for some one minor difference. Once you accept your award you have to nominate 3-5 favorite bloggers who have less than 3,000 readers. How do you get from 3,000 to 200? I have no idea, and I don't think I'm dedicated enough to figure out when it changed. (OK, maybe if I get a 5th award... maybe!)

So there you have it! The origins of the Liebster Blog Award. You can read my original post about the nomination in the post Crazy Dreams and Nominations. I'm still trying to figure out if I want to add to that post or create a whole new post for my second batch of nominations. We'll see.

***A sort of edit/note.

The real "gist" of the Liebster Award is that there is no real award. There are no judges, no special rules. No website with an official team to congratulate you and hold your hand. It's mostly what you want it to be. If you receive the award, you can 1) accept it and 2) pass it along. It's that easy.

Pass It On

I can't understand the appeal of not doing anything that will help someone other than yourself. I just can't. I blame my delirious brain for this. It must be something to do with doing the right thing. I was born with the idea that doing the right thing means not hurting someone. Also, doing something for the good of someone other than yourself. Maybe it has to do with morals, too.

I first noticed this in elementary, possibly kindergarden. My classmates and I sat on the colorful rug. "Sit Quietly," Our teacher ordered us, so I did. One of my classmates turned to me and accused me of being quiet because I wanted a reward. I stared at her. My brain was confused. Rewards? What rewards, life isn't full of rewards, it probably wanted to scream.

Instead, I just shook my head denying her claim.

Doing the right thing is the right thing to do. It doesn't feel good to do it or make you feel better about yourself. It makes you feel right. Which, doesn't necessarily make you right or anything just doesn't make you feel wrong. Or, feel like you've done the absolute worst thing in your life.

Surprisingly, there are people who can live with themselves knowing they did the wrong thing. Things like cheating authors out of their royalties, lying on your resume, and maybe even causing suffering to someone who is suffering. I can't understand these people.

I can't necessarily avoid them either. They're everywhere! And that upsets me. I know it's too much to ask for, but I would love it if more people do the right thing. Do you do the right thing? Have you done something nice for someone this week? You should, it'll be awesome and you'll make someone's day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

MM 7 May 2012

(Cinco de Mayo Reflections & Music)

Monday! I despise Mondays even though I work every day of the week. Some days I work a minimum of four hours while others I'm busied for 16+ hours. So, to make Mondays better I started creating a "Monday Morning" playlist.

Listen to the playlist at Grooveshark, Spotify, or in the embedded widget.

MM 7 May 2012 by Sopphey Vance on Grooveshark

In this playlist:

1. Mi Niña - Los Angeles Negros
2. Déjenme Si Estoy Llorando - Los Angeles Negros
3. Angelitos Negros - Los Pasteles Verdes
4. De Que Menara Te Olvido - Los Pasteles Verdes
5. Cielito Lindo - Pedro Infante
6. Amrocito Corazon - Pedro Infante
7. Al Despertar - Rayito Colombiano
8. Me Gusta Vivir de Noche - Los Tucanes de Tijuana
9. Señor Locutor - Los Tigres Del Norte

This past weekend sort of inspired this playlist of some of my favorite Mexican songs. Sort of, and you'll see why. This past Saturday was Cinco de Mayo, one of non-Mexican's most favorite holidays. It's the equivalent to the Irish holiday of St. Patrick's Day. Everyone brings out their favorite Mexican dishes, puts on their sombreros, and parties like the Americanized version of Mexican pachangas.

In Mexico, the day is a celebration of the Mexican victory in the battle in the state of Puebla against the French. Did you know that? Not too many people do. So, you may wonder, why is Sopphey talking about Mexicans and or criticizing the Americanized version of Cinco de Mayo. Well, I was born Mexican, my real name is Sarai Oviedo, and being Mexican isn't anything you think it is, for the most part.

Being Mexican means being obedient. Obedient to God (Catholicism being the majority's religion), Obedient to the law (or the lawless ways), Obedient to the oldest family member, and or ultimately being Obedient to men. Little Sarai did not believe in obedience and has some nice memories of being hit. And screamed at. My punishment was being forced into caring for the majority of the chores. Not only that, as I grew into an apathetic existence where what I believed didn't matter as long as the household kept running.

The keep running or fall behind feeling. The I'm going to work until I can't work at all mentality became part of my identity. It's how I still consider myself Mexican. Are all Mexicans obedient? Are all Mexican's like me? No, there are many different flavors of Mexicans just like there are very different personalities in all countries and cultures. However, no matter how bitter I can get about obedience in Mexican culture, this playlist is only a snippet of the wide variety of music in Mexico.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Crazy Dreams & Nominations

I had this really crazy dream Wednesday morning. It was one of those dreams where I got to play myself in a whole different life with strangers. Dream started out gentle, just a couple of friends playing miniature golf with manicured lawns and spotless clothing. The clouds couldn't be anymore picture perfect and my dream guy and I struggled with my clumsiness while I learned to play. After several attempts, and almost hitting him, I finally hit the golf ball! Then, thunder faintly knocked onto the scene. The clouds became distorted figures of electricity and and hand drawn images.

First it was a whole bunch of lines.


Then a whole bunch of jagged lines.

Jagged Lines!

Finally, a whole bunch of curved lines.

Curved Lines!

Yeah, those drawings were actually what I dreamed of. Then the lines turned into a talking dragon, that looked more menacing than what I drew.

Dragon Lines!
By this point, my hands had permanently attached themselves to the golf club and I couldn't move. The talking dragon lines' voice echoed into the dream land with a frightening prediction of the apocalypse complete with the tale of a demon spawn. That, and there was blood everywhere. Pretty fucking scary because blood in large quantities scares the shit out of me.

I finally wake up, fearing the worst for the day. I have no one but myself to blame for the crazy dream as I drank coffee the night before. I'm a recovering espresso addict, and yeah I don't drink coffee every day, but I tend to drink a cup or two once a month. Whatever prompted me to drink coffee also made me create a handy graph of the situation. 

I went to bed at the 3 mark.

I didn't remember what did though, so I do morning things then I check my email. New comments on my blog (which is super cool!). A couple of new comments on my blog for the last two poems I wrote. Two in particular had a common message: Liebster Blog Award.

Which instantly made me feel like the following picture.

I added the "I Think I'm Cool" part.
This is Binky, the shy panda who has a big heart... to love you
from the My Blue Nose Friends.

The comments were:
Your poetry is beautiful and the way you juggled all those challenges in April is inspiring. I want to give you a little something to show you how awesome you are!
So yeah, go to Dana's blog and check out the awesome nomination post. (Note: Dana writes awesome poetry! Go read it.)
I've nominated you for the Leibster award because I like your poems and how you encourage people to push forward. Here's the link to the original post. Hope you have a great day!
And now go to Jeannine's blog and check out the sweet nomination post. Oh, and also check out her parenting momaikus. (Note, Jeannine also said that I was: righteous and awesome and introduced me to the art of the hangout. Jeannine! I think you're awesome too, I love your blog, and I admire you! Also, thank you for accepting to let me interview you while writing this post.)

Right, so time to pay it forward. Liebster rules:

1. Thank the one who nominated you by linking back.
2. Nominate five blogs with less than 200 followers.
3.  Let the nominees know by leaving a comment at their sites.
4.  Add the award image to your site.

*Note: There is no general committee that awards this award. It's just a recognition from one blogger to another for how awesome they are. Kind of like a really big Internet hug!

My nominees:
Even though these are the top names I could come up with, in reality I want you all to check out a million other amazing blogs. So, I'm going to create an extremely long list of blogs that I'll be updating sporadically. If you don't want to wait till then, I recommend checking out MNINB participant blogs by going to this FB page.

Wow, that was probably the longest blog post ever. Since April is over and I'm going to participate in life challenges versus writing challenges, I'll probably won't update this blog every day. I'll still be chattering on the Internet, like on Facebook and Twitter. See ya!

Edit: May 9, 2011.

Well, this is unexpected. I've received my third nomination via a comment from Ms Meena Rose. The comment:
I traveled and I clicked and I read and I continued to be blown away with all segments of your musings and ramblings. Forget Hooked on Phonics, I am hooked on Sopphey.
You so know what is coming next... Smile, the Liebsters are here

 So now, you must go. Yes, go to Meena's blog and check out the super nomination post, too. (Note, you're going to find a wide variety of posts on her blog. So much to read, so much to swim through, it's truly fantastic.)

Right, so where does this leave me? Am I still going to nominate more 9 more people? The answer is yes. In my search for the origins of the Liebster Blog Award, I found a lot of blogs that that had less than 50 or so followers. I'm going to go on a blog hunting spree for blogs that are either new or have less than ten followers for my next round of nominations. Why? Because I can. Also, it's nice to find a small blog that will rock your world. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

International Workers Day

Occupy is Love. No apologies here.
I'm very sympathetic to workers. Mostly, because I've been on the end where the boss doesn't really care about you even though you're working and doing your best for six days a week from 7AM till a little bit after 7PM (with around two breaks around 45 minutes each). I'm also very sympathetic to workers because sometimes you work so hard and still gain little. It's how I feel in the recent two years.

Anyway, workers are cool! We have to thank a lot of old workers for their great contributions to our lives. Such as, the 8 hour work day! And weekends! Err... benefits! Thanks a whole bunch! I haven't had the opportunity to share the following poem on my blog yet, so today will do. Enjoy!

I Am a Worker

every day of my life
i have worked to get by
i've been bought, sold,
and traded since I was nine

first job was one of a kind
set up tables at the pulga
two hours a weekend for a 5

going up the age ladder
raising kids without collecting fees
to later leave the valley
as a 100-dollar per week nanny

my extended resume makes me laugh
sandwich artist, pizza artist, fryer watcher,
cleaning artist, jello artist, cashier, mentor,
designer, editor, writer, note taker, health educator

one day my job didn't support me
chain of events left me eating
green or black tea for a week, two weeks

working to get by doesn’t leave room
room for mistakes… for mistakes
trading off hours for dollars
inspiration for references

nobody sees it quite like me
but, there are others suffering with me
just looking for a new job
with little to no experience

just a lower class girl full of dreams
not being able to live my dreams
feels like living life with my eyes closed

Looking for more poems?