Is it okay to buy my boyfriend flowers?

Firstly, a short appreciation shout-out to my boyfriend, who is wonderful. Of course, I have my pet peeves about him, but the bottom line is that he respects me and loves me very much, and always does his best to show it. Since he is very vocal about things, he tells me all of the time that I’m beautiful, and is always very nice and considerate and knows what I like. We have our space, and he understands that he doesn’t have to be clingy or controlling. We have a great relationship.

And, he often buys me flowers (for school dances, holidays, etc.). However, I have never bought him flowers. His birthday is coming up, and I have been toying with the idea of getting him some. On a side note, not roses. We both think that roses are kind of cliche (he once got me a huge bouquet of sunflowers spread throughout the day to ask me to Homecoming. Everyone was jealous and surprised that he didn’t get me roses. FYI, sunflowers are really heavy though.). The question is, do I do this?

I don’t personally know, off of the top of my head, any girl who has bought her boyfriend flowers. However, people that I know are weird in relationships, and to put it bluntly, there aren’t very many steady couples in my group of friends right now. There seems to be a social stigma against the tradition, stating that boys buy flowers for girls. People say that boys don’t want to receive flowers, because it isn’t a “manly” gift. 

Thanks, Hallmark. Do you know how difficult it is to think of something to buy something for a boy? So many things “aren’t manly” and would “embarrass the boy if he received them”. There have been two things that have been swaying me towards purchasing them after all, however.

The first: my boyfriend doesn’t care about traditional gender roles as much as society does. He doesn’t excessively care about posturing to appear more masculine, either for me or other guys. He will “fanboy” (I dislike that term, but it applies) over things that other men would pretend to be disinterested in. He accepts the fact (I hope) that I will “fangirl” over traditionally masculine things, and I accept that he sometimes wears v-neck t-shirts. So, one point for Chloe.

The second: he is so damn mushy sometimes. As someone who is a little bit less “romantic” in the traditional sense, his habit of showering affection sometimes baffles and confuses me (For example, I have a high self-esteem level, but he finds the need to tell me that I’m beautiful often, which I find excessive and sometimes unnecessary). So, if I got him flowers, it wouldn’t be unnatural for him to love the sentiment. He likes sentiment. He would “get it”, and understand that these flowers wouldn’t be a declaration of love, but rather a token of appreciation.

So, now that I’ve successfully convinced myself to buy him flowers and ignore the rest of the prejudiced world, here comes the hard part. What kind of flowers do I buy?

Live Long and Prosper

~Chloe

Why I love: Gillian Welch

 

Gillian Welch’s style would best be described as old-style country, with some bluegrass mixed in. Instead of singing about trucks, beer and cowboy boots, though, she croons about loneliness, bleak landscapes, and poverty. Her musical partner, David Rawlings, perfectly accompanies her, and has his own solo work which is worth looking into. The primary instrumentation includes an acoustic guitar (or two), a touch of drums, husky vocals, and occasionally some harder stuff (like an organ or harmonica). It’s what my family refers to as “highway music”.

Gillian Welch released her first album, Revival, in 1996, but it was her fourth album, Soul Journey (2003) that I will listen to for the rest of my life. My mother and I know (and sing) all of the lyrics for all of the songs, and occasionally debate the meanings of some of them (No one Knows my Name). Her voice is a little rough-hewn (kind of Bob Dylan-ish?) without being ridiculous. It’s easygoing, soft, and lilting. Her songs are catchy without being purposely catchy (I’m looking at you, Call me Maybe). 

I always really hesitate to call Gillian Welch “country music”, since I really hate country music. To me, country music is about pickup trucks, beer, cowboy boots, hot women, and horses. Lots of beer. Lots of trucks. Way too many cowboys. If all of my cowboys sat around drinking beer and driving their pickup trucks, they’d all be fired, and end up in one of Gillian Welch’s songs. However, she’s not quite blues or bluegrass; those imply more of a structure, and are more “wild-sounding” and “old-fashioned”. 

Overall, I’d highly recommend Gillian Welch to music lovers who appreciate good lyrics and well-composed and performed songs. If you like gritty, tough, realistic country music, this is probably a win. At the same time, Mumford and Sons, the Avett Brothers, and other alternative bands with strong folk roots would ease a listener into Gillian Welch’s unique and wonderful sound.

Live Long and Prosper

~Chloe

Kino no Tabi: What does it mean to be a god?

im-not-god1

 

One recurring theme in Kino no tabi, both in the novels and the anime adaptation is the idea of being a god. This got me thinking about what it means to be a god. Not in the traditional Christian, Jewish, or Islam or other religious sense, but in an alternative way. How do you know if you meet a god in the street?

The first occurrence of Kino stating that she is not a god, nor does she want to become one, is in Volume 1 Chapter 4 of the English light novels. In the anime, this is episode 6 and 7 (though this line is omitted, the context is the same). When Shizu realizes her plan to kill the king, he exclaims, “My God.” Kino responds by saying, “I’m no one’s God”. Although I originally mused on how this seemed to contradict her actions in the episode, I had to revise my idea of what she meant by that statement. Originally, I thought this was kind of her version of the Prime Directive, where she didn’t get involved if her life wasn’t directly in danger, and if she had a choice.

However, I changed my idea about this. A God wouldn’t heed the consequences of her actions, and Kino seems to plan for the consequences. Also, she plays by the rules of the country. I think that in the long run, this is what she means by her statement. She’s not above anyone else. In order to get her results, she is bound by the same forces as everyone else. She can’t just go around killing people because she can, or because she’s asked to.

In Volume 4 Chapter 3, Kino is asked by a woman to kill her husband, because he is physically and emotionally abusing her, and Kino would not get in trouble with the law if she did, because she is an outsider. However, Kino responds by stating that she “is not a god”, and therefore cannot grant salvation to or condemn anyone, because she thinks they may be worthy of either fate. Although she holds lives in her small hands, she sees that she shouldn’t, and strives not to if she can help it.

If Kino is Captain Picard, Shizu is James T. Kirk when it comes to the Prime Directive. He does interfere, multiple times, simply because he wants to. Nobody asks him to, and people often discourage him from participating. One prominent example is the Volume 8 Epilogue, where he actively tries to save the Ship Country and its people, even going so far as to hijack the ship (with the reluctant help of Kino). He pretty much blatantly ignores the laws of a country if it suits its purposes (which gets him thrown out sometimes). You could almost say that Ti is his reality check, and the person who brings him down to earth sometimes. She seems to remind him that he has obligations, and one of his responsibilities is now her. In becoming a god in the Ship Country, he is rewarded by getting violently stabbed and almost blown up having another companion thrust upon him. 

Similarly, in Volume 4 chapter 9, he kills 22 bandits on his own, because he feels like it is right. Kino would never interfere that strongly, unless her life was in danger or she was hired to kill them. Neither happened here. Shizu always wants to grant salvation to the people that he comes across, unless he chooses to condemn them, like the bandits. In that way, he holds the power of life or death over a pretty considerable amount of people. 

ti 2

When Shizu comes through a country, he often leaves a pretty large and unasked for mark upon it. When Kino moves through a land, she wishes to leave very little imprint upon it. She doesn’t always succeed, but one of her goals is to observe and learn. Shizu’s goals seem to include making people’s lives better and killing people. Now, he means well most of the time, but he is still a god. Or at least trying to be one. And that is why Kino could never travel with him.

Live Long and Prosper

~Chloe

Doctor Who Watch: Midnight

I most confess, I am not a die hard fan of the Tenth Doctor. Now, I do enjoy a great deal of his episodes, especially the Donna Noble ones, but Rose Tyler honestly doesn’t always do it for me. When I started watching Doctor Who, the Eleventh Doctor had just started, so that’s where I kicked off. 

However, “Midnight” has always come up in lists of the best Tenth Doctor episodes, and as one of the creepiest. I can definitely see why. Everything starts out normal and cute, and relaxed. It’s vacation time! We get to see a temporarily companion-less Doctor interact with other humans in a very stressful and frightening situation.

Easily the most frightening things in this episode are the other people on the ship, and their lack of belief and suspicion concerning the Doctor. The characters offer a nice variety of ways in which people respond to emergency situations. Anybody else totally not predict the hostess saving them all in the end? Also, the general chaos and uncertainty made things really tense in that cabin, and Skye parroting everyone’s words didn’t help the mood either. 

But when the Doctor changed from an ardent protector of the creature into its helpless victim, that was where the story became quite harrowing. (On a side note, did anyone else have flashbacks to Star Trek: TNG when Picard was taken over by the Borg? The thing that bothered him the most was being so helpless to stop them). The audience was similarly helpless to only watch as the passengers dragged the Doctor towards his death. I felt so bad for the assistant scientist girl (We honestly don’t really know anyone’s names here, do we?) who wants so badly to stop them, but can’t. 

I like that Donna was the Doctor’s companion in this season, because Donna knows how to comfort the Doctor. He is obviously haunted by this experience, and she just gives him a great big hug when he gets back, and lets him talk about it. She really is the Doctor’s best friend, and that’s why, on a complete side tangent, Donna is one of my favorite “modern” companions. She’s just great. 

On a really random side tangent, I am not up on the whole “Rose Tyler stuck in a parallel dimension or something” storyline (which is ridiculous, since it’s about 7 years old), but the whole screen thing was a simple way to heart-breakingly remind all of the audience of this dilemma. And there’s literally no explanation on this, I think. Oh well.

Overall, great episode; it definitely lives up to its reputation. A good balance of plot between people and sci-fi, and very enjoyable in a creepy and horrifying way. It is a thinking episode: the audience naturally thinks about what they would do in this situation, and hope that they would do the right thing. Also, all of the characters are relatable; haven’t we all faced our friends, who all want to do something that we strongly disagree with? Peer pressure and intimidation from your friends is very scary. Only watch this with all of the lights on.

Live Long and Prosper

~Chloe

Poetry: She was a phantom of delight

She Was a Phantom of Delight

William Wordsworth

She was a Phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment’s ornament;
Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;
Like Twilight’s, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;
A dancing Shape, an Image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and way-lay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A Spirit, yet a Woman too!
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin-liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A Creature not too bright or good
For human nature’s daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A Being breathing thoughtful breath,
A Traveller between life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
A perfect Woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of angelic light.
Live Long and Prosper
~Chloe

On Expectations: Will I lead a “normal” life?

In 2009 in the United States, the average age for a woman to marry was about 27; for men, it was 29. Among Americans over 40, about 90% have been married. Among all women aged 40-44, 18% has never given birth to a child (in 2008). In 2009, 38% of Americans said that the growing trend of childless women is bad for society.

According to the statistics, it’s not rare for a women to never have children, even though it is for them to never have been married. However, upon reflection, it occurred to me that I would be hard-pressed to name a middle-aged adult that I know who is either not married or has nor children. 

So what if I don’t want to do either? For some reason, this question has been popping up in my mind a little bit more than normal recently. I feel like it’s the cultural expectation for a woman to be married to a rich, successful man (sorry, gay marriage!), have one or two children, a successful career, and always complain about her looks. Even though most of the time it’s never said aloud, and there has been a societal push towards the other direction as well, it’s been subtly impressed upon me that every teenage girl should do/have several things. A Pinterest wedding board, a very focused and practical career goal, and several baby names on-hand. And there’s nothing wrong about this.

What bothers me a little is that once I started thinking about it, I realized that until now, I had never seriously considered my future to be any different. And once I did start, a variety of social stereotypes came up. Firstly, the dedicated, shrew-like career woman who simply doesn’t have time. Well, I thought, that doesn’t sound fun. Also, I have no clue what career I want, so I think that’s not me. Next, the ugly and crazy old lady who never got married because no one loved her. Okay, that’s definitely not me. And lastly, the poor, Charles Dickens-age mouse who can barely scrape up enough money to buy herself some stale bread. Um, no (hopefully). Oh yeah, and lastly, the woman who can’t have children because she’s infertile, so her husband divorces her. That’s most likely only found in soap operas and reality shows. 

There’s also the disillusioned, depressed woman who has sworn off love, and can be “turned around” or “persuaded” to get married or have children. (Do you know how many times this statement comes up in discussions of how same-sex couples have been addressed?).

So what’s left? Well, just the normal woman who doesn’t want to get married or have children, or like me, honestly has no clue if she wants to or not. I too have my very nice Pinterest wedding board, and have looked up really cool baby names. However, should someone I know flat-out say to me that they never want to have children or get married, my response will now be: 

“That’s okay too”. 

Live Long and Prosper

~Chloe

Poetry: A Modern Romance

A Modern Romance

Paul Engle

Come live with me and be my wife
And we will lead a packaged life,
Where food, drink, fun, all things save pain
Come neatly wrapped in cellophane.

I am the All-American boy,
Certified as fit for joy,
Elected (best of all the breed)
Hairline most likely to recede.
My parchment scroll to verify
Is stamped in gold and witnessed by
Secretary-Treasurer of
Americans Hundred Per Cent For Love.

You are the All-American girl,
Red toe to artificial curl,
Who passed all tests from skipping rope
And using only Cuddly Soap
To making fire in any weather
By rubbing boy and girl together.

We are the nation’s nicest team,
Madison Avenue’s magic scheme
To show how boy gets girl: my style
Succeeds by using Denta-Smile.

How merchandised that ceremony!
The minister was scrubbed and bony,
And all was sterile in that room
Except, one hoped, the eager groom.

Married, with advertising’s blessing,
We can begin togethernessing.
Before I carry you, my bride,
Across the threshold and inside,
I’ll take, to help my milk-fed bones,
Vitamins, minerals and hormones.

Now look how quickly I have fixed
A dry martini (ready-mixed).
So drink to our day, consecrated,
In chairs of leather, simulated.
While you are changing out of those
Nylon, dacron, rayon clothes,
I cook the dinner, without fail
Proving a real American male,
Humble, without too much endurance,
But lots of paid-up life insurance.

From the deep-freeze, to please your wish,
A TV dinner in its dish,
All ready-seasoned, heat it up.
Pour instant water in this cup
On instant coffee from a can.
Be proud, love, of your instant man.
Innocent food, mechanized manna
(Except the delicate banana),
Can you endure — forgive the question –
The messy horrors of digestion?

Even our love is pasteurized,
Our gentle hope homogenized.

And now our pure, hygienic night.
To our voluptuous delight
Your hair is up, restraints are down,
And cream is patted on your frown.
The brand-name mattress on the bed
Is wrapped in paper like fresh bread.
We can, to make our own campfire,
Turn the electric blanket higher.
We will cry, Darling, I do care,
In chastely air-conditioned air.

We’ve read the books, know what to do,
By science, wife, I offer you
This helpful, vacuum-packed, live nerve
(Just add devotion, dear, and serve).
Hurry! Out back I seem to hear
The landlord’s Plymouth prowling near.

If this efficient plan produces
By chance (those awful natural juices!)
That product of a thousand uses,
A Junior, wrapped in elastic
Inexpensive bag of plastic
(Just break the seal and throw away)
From antiseptic throats we’ll say:
It was an All-American day.

Live Long and Prosper

~Chloe

Poetry: Leaves

Leaves

Sara Teasdale

One by one, like leaves from a tree,
All my faiths have forsaken me;
But the stars above my head
Burn in white and delicate red,
And beneath my feet the earth
Brings the sturdy grass to birth.
I who was content to be
But a silken-singing tree,
But a rustle of delight
In the wistful heart of night—
I have lost the leaves that knew
Touch of rain and weight of dew.
Blinded by a leafy crown
I looked neither up nor down—
But the little leaves that die
Have left me room to see the sky;
Now for the first time I know
Stars above and earth below.

Live Long and Prosper

~Chloe

Star Trek Watch: Mirror!DS9 Part 2

Wow, they don’t wait long before the action in this one! 2 minutes in, and Sisko is off! Because the Mirror Universe has already been re-established in DS9, not much preamble or confusion is needed. Although I have to admit, if one was seeing this for the first time and didn’t know that it involved the mirror universe, it would be quite surprising. 

It’s nice that in DS9, a large amount of the cast can get involved in the Mirror, because of the multiple episode format that spans from season 2. I like that they can bring back characters like Jennifer; it makes these episodes very very interesting. It gives us more personality for her, for example, even though we have very little to compare Mirror!Jennifer to. The Badlands also lends a Maquis feeling to everything.

Rom! Julian! Dax! Tuvok? Whoa, this is basically a Voyager/DS9 crossover. Ooh, Sisko is a great improviser. Kira and Julian probably told him quite a bit about Other!Sisko, so at least he’d have a general basis to go off of. I also like how the Mirror Universe can acknowledge side/crack ships, like Sisko/Dax and Kira/everyone female. (On a side note, I love Dax’s hair here. It’s got a very Ezri vibe to it.) I wonder how awkward Sisko feels having Dax as a mistress, and Kira as another mistress. Inside, he’s probably like, “What the hell? This is creepier than Weyoun”.

(Haha, maybe Sisko is just indulging in his fantasy of hitting Doctor Bashir when he gets too talkative and annoying. But probably not, Season 3 Bashir is more mature).  Sisko’s pretty good at acting, though. Not even Dax or Kira (yet) notices that he’s different, which is impressive. Jennifer will definitely be a challenge, though. However, they haven’t seen each other in 5 years, so Sisko can just put it off to that. He really doesn’t have to lie too much, though. 

Did…Did O’Brien just pull a Julian from “Crossover?” I mean, the same situation just worked again for both parties. Oh, and is Sisko going to use Civil Defense information for this episode? Because that would be great. 

All in all, pretty good. Sisko episodes are always really good, and adding the mirror universe makes things better. It was an intriguing episode that offered many twists and turns, and had great depth. It was a great sequel to “Crossover”. Looking forward to the next Mirror!DS9 episode!

Live Long and Prosper

~Chloe