Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy for the Playstation 2 is AMAZING!
Evidence - The Last Ritual. Sitting on the shelf at Target it appeared innocuous, a PC game cleverly packed in a sealed plastic "evidence" bag. The case was clear plastic, and on the cover was a evidence label with the names of the police officers who checked it in, the dates and times, etc. I was struck. The back promised an intriguing puzzle based game focused on catching a serial killer called The Phoenix.
The scene: Standing outside my office building, leaning on Bob's car, hanging out until my lunch break finally comes to an end and I have to go back to work.
Bob: "I was reading an article about the oldest man alive."
Me: "Oh yeah?"
Bob: "Yeah. He's Japanese, and is 111. He attributes his good health to never having smoked or drank alcohol."
Me: *laughing* Wow, never drank alcohol? What's the point of life???"
Bob: *laughing as well* I know. Anyway, he looks great. I mean, he's old, but he looks great."
Me: "That's cool. I guess I should stop drinking and start eating sushi."
Bob: "Weird thing is, the oldest living woman is from the same village."
Me: "Huh. How old is she?"
Me: *laughing* "Yep, that's because it's been statistically proven that women live longer than men."
Bob: *scornful noise*
Me: *lecturing tone* "Men say it's because women nag them to death, but it's just because they don't want to admit that women are the genetically superior gender. It's sad, but true."
Bob: "It's because women suck the souls of of men. They suck the life force away from men to sustain their own life. Soul sucking fiends!"
Me: *eyes widen, staring at Bob*
Me: "YOU'VE DISCOVERED OUR PLAN! Our wicked scheme to one day control the human race and lock men away like the cattle you are, to feed upon at will and make us nearly immortal! How did you know??? We were so careful never to let on! You man, you could never figure it out on your own! Who betrayed us?!?!"
Me: "I mean.... that's ridiculous."
I stumbled across some interesting photos on Yahoo! news. So apparently this past Saturday (June 9th) was the World Naked Bike Ride, where people across the world took their bikes out for a spin in the nude, some painting their bodies in colorful and interesting designs, to protest dependency on oil, highlight the damage that dependency on cars has caused, and promote the use of bicycles. According to Yahoo! news.
I was immediately curious about why riding your bike in the nude was supposed to promote the use of bicycles. Why not just stage a massive bike ride clothed, although I suppose being naked would certainly attract a lot of attention. ^_^ I wasn't judging, I was just curious about the thought process behind this event. Hell, if scores of people want to ride a bike naked, more power to them! So, I did a little more research.
Visiting www.worldnakedbikeride.org I was immediately confronted with this:
"We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences we all face due to to dependence on oil, and other forms of non renewable energy."
Huh. Interesting. More info?
In the FAQ section of the website, I found this:
"Why are you riding naked?
To celebrate cycling and the human body. The ride demonstrates the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and is a protest against oil dependency."
Well, okay then. Actually, this sounds pretty cool.
The dress code for the ride isn't strictly nudity, it's a "bare as you dare" policy. Any level of bare skin is welcome. Riders just as often go partially clothed as they do nude. And of course, a country's laws prohibiting nudity can get in the way, such as in 2005 in Aukland where riders were ordered by police to put on underpants, though female cyclists were allowed to remain topless. On the question of legality, the FAQ had several things to say - here are a few of my favorites:
"A common question that seems to be coming up is, what does the law say?
Yup, it seems that almost everywhere in the world riding your bicycle naked is illegal — but still we do it!"
"The laws on nudity also seem to hinge on something called "indecent exposure". The fact of the matter is that being naked is not "indecent". There is nothing indecent about a naked body. The only thing that is indecent are the laws on indecent exposure. Simon Oosterman of the Auckland 2005 WNBR says it best: "Stop the indecent exposure to vehicle emissions!" After all, the shame is on them, not on us!
There are many indecent laws that we the citizens of the world have to stand up to, especially those that infringe our personal freedoms. "
"Police do not want to be seen confronting a large group of peaceful naked people. It's too embarrassing! "
I also loved what they had to say in response to this question:
"What about the children? Aren't they especially at risk from the adverse consequences of seeing naked people?
The idea that somehow children are negatively affected by non-sexualized nudity is a myth. Children are more likely to be curious if nudity was discouraged in their family. The only thing prudish parents have to worry about is that their children might want to get naked themselves if it looks like people are having fun. As children grow older they are more likely to resent repressive parents if they think they lack common sensibilities. "
They also have a link to an interesting essay titled "Children, Social Nudity, and Scholarly Study".
Exhibitionist? Well of course! The object of the ride is to get attention and make people aware of the issues that they're stripping and riding for. And really, think of how much fun it would be to participate. Body paint is big in these bike rides, and people can get extremely creative. The more I think about it, the more it seems to me to be a bold celebration of the human body and brilliant way of making people aware of the dangers cyclists face.
The first few months of 2006 were difficult ones for me. The office where I work was in total upheaval, I was moving to a more expensive place and the bills were piling up, and my best friend's mother, whom I had been close to, was losing a battle with breast cancer.
One night my boyfriend at the time had a show his band was playing in Kirkland, and I went along with him. The show was at some shitty little dive bar, as they so often were. Towards the end of the evening I decided to brave the bathroom, because after several beers even the prospect of a filthy dive bar public restroom isn't enough to make your bladder agree to hold on for another half an hour, even if you beg. ^_^
In this restroom was more graffiti than I have ever seen. Covering the sides of the stalls were the usual anecdotes about sex, name calling, and political slogans. Crudity in black ink. Amused, I was entertaining myself by reading a few of the sentences, laughing at the improbable drawings of male anatomy, when I saw it. Surrounded by important quotes such as "I <3 Lucas, best sex ever!", "Impeach Bush", and "Katherine is a whore", was one sentence that struck me:
"It just is."
Just three words, written in small letters, diminutive next to the rest of the phrases that people had been in a hurry to scrawl across the side of a toilet stall. And I found in those three words surrounded by filth, something so profound I can't quite express it. It's amazing what you find when you really need something, but you don't know quite what it is that you need. I think about that phrase that I found surrounded by graffiti whenever I'm depressed or stressed out, and sometimes it helps. Not always, but enough. So to whoever thought to write "it just is" in a public restroom, my hat is off to you. Thank you for giving me those three words.