What if people who were dead came back to life, but instead of just being normal, they were flesh-eating monsters, you know like zombies?...No, wait, that's been done. Night of the Living Dead and ad infinitum.
But what if these so-called zombies destroyed civilization, and we got to watch the survivors in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse?...Oh, no, that's been done too. The Walking Dead et cetera.
So then what if one of those brain-eating creepers accidentally fell in love with a girl and regained his humanity?...Okay, that's been done, too. Warm Bodies, a zombie romance.
Insofar as zombie-related plots are concerned, it seems like it's all "been there, done that." Hmmm....
Ah, but what about this--The zombie apocalypse has occurred, but the survivors have reversed it with a new miracle drug?
Hey, that hasn't been done before!
And now it has. Welcome to In the Flesh, a post-zombie apocalypse story courtesy of the BBC.
I've only seen about the first 30 minutes of the first episode of this series (okay, so I'm definitely not an expert--I know that), but I am really psyched about the premise. A boy named Kieran is one of the undead...or at least he was, but now he's been identified as actually having Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS), an ailment that apparently causes people to lose their minds and go cannibal all over people's butts (well, every part of their body, not just their butts). But now, with the help of medication, he's learned the error of his ways and has recovered enough to be returned to his family. The problem is that he's wracked with guilt and suffering flashbacks of the people he's eaten in his zombie state, his home is ground central for a militia that hunted and exterminated "rotters" like him, there is still a lot of simmering anger towards people with PDS, and Kieran's sister Jem was/is a zombie hunter (Her buddy in the Human Volunteer Force (HVF), Billy "Sarge" Macy calls her The Rambo of Roarton). How is Kieran going to navigate this new life as a regular-teenage-boy/recovering-human-flesh-addict?
I can't wait to find out!
Here's what I like about this series so far:
As far as I can see from a rudimentary Google search, In The Flesh originally aired on BBC three and BBC America. It's available now on Hulu Plus. I don't know if it's available anywhere else right now, but if you get the chance, check it out, and please let me know what you think about it in the comments below.
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I was recently listening to PRI's The World, a radio program about current events and movements around the world, and my ears perked up when I heard them mention something called "slow fashion." Ever heard of it? No? Well, have you heard of slow food? Slow food is a push back at fast food. Slow food is about investing time and energy into food preparation and taking the time to enjoy it. And so slow fashion is...well, it's nothing like slow food really.
According to the story from The World, slow fashion emphasizes organic fibers, high quality construction, and fair wages. It's fashion that defies trends--the intent is for you to use and wear these garments for twenty years or more. Does that sound like an outrageous length of time to you? According to the story, most women wear an article of clothing only seven times before discarding it. Yeah, you read that right. Seven times! Who are these women?!?! I wear my clothes over and over and over again. I keep my clothes until they're so messed up I can't wear them anymore or until I can't wear them anymore because my belt line has shifted locations. :-/ I have been known to wear shoes until there are holes in the bottom, making the soles flop up and down, and I still only part with them reluctantly.
Okay, so maybe I'm not a fashion maven. In fact, the word "maybe" is a bit too generous: I am definitely NOT a fashion maven. But I do like to look nice...even if the attire I wear is not quite in fashion at the time.
Because slow fashion is of the highest quality (it's gotta be, right? How else would it last for 20+ years?!?!), it's also pricey. A plain t-shirt goes for $55, and a pair of socks is $20. *elephant-sized gasp* A pair of socks for $20! Good Lord! Who can afford those prices? Not a skinflint like me, that's for sure!
So here's an alternative--let's say you are interested in looking good and helping the environment by keeping perfectly good clothes from ending up in the city dump. And let's further say that you don't want to pay $55 for a t-shirt or $20 for a pair of socks. In fact, let's say you would actually like to get an entire wardrobe on the cheap. How can you do all that?
Pay a visit to your local thrift store!
You can actually go into a thrift store and for $30 or so, buy an entirely new wardrobe.
But, ew, you may recoil and say. Am I really telling you to buy and wear clothes that other people have worn and discarded? Well, yes, I am. I mean, it's not like I'm telling you to go digging through someone's trashcan and wear their old discarded newspapers with coffee grinds dripping off. And it's not like this stuff is dirty. Most (if not all) thrift shops actually do wash their donated clothes before they ever put them on the shelf. Once you get past the "ew" factor, I think you will actually be pleasantly surprised. Below, I've posted some pictures of several outfits I've purchased at thrift stores over the years. As you look at them, remember that I'm not a professional photographer, and I'm actually a pretty terrible picture-taker.
You can actually go into a thrift store and for $30 or so, buy an entirely new wardrobe. And since it's so cheap, you can change and add to your wardrobe constantly without breaking the bank. You may have to dig a little, of course, because while all thrift stores have great bargains, they also have mountains of clothing that you will find horrible. But don't give up, and remember that with each article of clothing you buy from a thrift store, you're helping Mother Earth!
So please, before you buy some polyester something online or at a store, consider thrift-shopping. Just give it a shot and see what you think.
"'Slow Fashion' Designers Tout Their Wares as Better for the Planet"
Read the original story that inspired me at PRI's The World.
"8 Awesome Thrift Store Items People Often Miss"
This article describes several treasures you can find at your local thrift store.
"10 Reasons Why Thrift Stores are Awesome"
This article lists several benefits of shopping at a thrift store.
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For my composition students' first paper, they wrote an essay based on a quote. It was a diagnostic essay, which implies that I am a "doctor" and they have writing "ailments" that I have to cure. :-) Below is one of the quotes they were allowed to choose to write their paper on as well as my own meditation on the quote's meaning and its relevance to my life.
"I think there's a time in your life where you don't feel like you fit in. I think everyone has that when you're a teenager, especially, and especially in the society we live in."--Matthew Vaughn
We were reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self Reliance"--his proclamations that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," and that "Whoso would be a man, must be a noncomformist." Eleventh grade English class, Calera High School, 1993. After we reveled in Emerson's trenchant philosophy of life--which went completely over our teenage heads--the teacher, Mrs. G.--who in my opinion looked like a witch with her sharp eyes, crooked nose, and cackly voice--asked the class if they knew anyone who was a noncomformist. Tara, a girl with a big voice who never sufferd her presence to be unknown, piped up and said that I, yes, me, Cheryl Clark, the brown-haired pipsqueak who sat at her desk and never said anything ever, never spoke up in class, never gave her opinion, always let gossip and mayhem flow around her, never to graze the flesh of her skin, I was a nonconformist.
I was shocked in two ways. First, I was shocked that someone had called attention to me in class. The thing about me as a high school student is that I abhorred attention. I was a tiny mouse who crept around the corners of social life, peeking in from the outside, never one to be looked upon, except to perhaps comment on the background wildlife in the room. My heart sped up, just like that of the tiny creature I identified most strongly with--the field mouse--one who's spotted a predator in its periphery. Maybe my mouth dropped open; I know for certain all thoughts fled my little mouse brain. I had no way to respond because all I wanted was for the attention to pass around me, like a stick flowing around a rock in the middle of a stream.
_______________________________________ The identities we carry as teenagers remain with us throughout life.
Mrs. G. protested. What? No, Cheryl is not a nonconformist. Don't be ridiculous, Tara. I'm talking about a real nonconformist, she said. And that's where the second shock came from.
Was I a nonconformist? I was very shy, didn't speak up in class. I tried to avoid crowds, not to stand out in them. And I read. A lot. I loved to read. I rushed through my assignments in class so that I could grab the novel I kept at the ready next to my desk and devour every last morsel of prose. I got good grades, really good grades. Most of my peers were satisfied with C's or even D's. But for me, it was A's, preferably A+'s, or nothing. So in many ways, I did not blend in; I did not conform to the behavior of my peers.
But Mrs. G said I wasn't a nonconformist. Was she right? I didn't live in a cave or eat worms. I wasn't a hermit. I didn't dress like I bought my clothes from a retired theater troupe. I didn't do anything zany or ever stand out. People's eyes trailed over me, never lingered. I was the forgotten girl. I was not special.
So perhaps my nonconformity--that which Mrs. G. scoffed at--was a quiet sort of thing. Mine was a silent rebellion. Against the negative expectations, the self-destructive behavior, the brashness, the idiocy, the irresponsibility, the promiscuity, the boldness that marked my peers. I stood out by not standing out. And no, I didn't fit in. I had friends, but they were the weird kids--the kids no one else wanted, the fringe folks who just didn't connect with the mainstream.
The identities we carry as teenagers remain with us throughout life. I still feel like I am the odd girl out of the group. I still feel like a noncomformist, but whereas it bothered me when I was younger, these days I embrace the status of the outsider. I don't want to be like everyone else. I don't want to be a typical middle class white lady. I don't want to keep up with the Joneses. I don't want to strive for mediocrity.
I remember a few years back when I was working as a school librarian, a teacher told me that her aspiration was to be the epitome of middle class-ness. She wanted to have the best house on the block, the kids with the highest grades, the nicest clothes a middle class income could afford. She want to be the best example of the middle class that small town Oklahoma could offer. I had never heard such an aspiration verbalized before, and I found it shocking. It seemed like she was striving for everything I had railed against all my life--why would anyone want to be the best at being like everyone else? It seemed a strange idea, and it still seems strange to me.
So how important is fitting in? For a young person, I suppose it is the thing, and for many adults it is as well. But like Emerson and like Robert Frost, the great American poet, I like to think that I have taken the road "less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference."
If you enjoyed this post, please click the share button below. Thanks!--Cheryl
My experience working in public high schools has caused me to shake my head in dismay and declare that feminism is dead. I've seen too many girls who wear skirts so short their rear ends hang out and blouses whose necklines dart precariously toward their belly buttons. I've also known teen girls whose entire lives seem to revolve around their boyfriends, and when their relationships end, they trot like lemmings to the next guy who will have them.
Fortunately, not all girls are like that. Many of them fly under the radar because their lives are not sensationalized and they actually have self respect. Recently I had the pleasure of doing an email interview with one of them, 12-year-old Alyssa Dodd, the daughter of one of my very dear friends. Here is our exchange, my questions in bold and hers in regular font:
Based on what your mother has told me, conversations with you, and your online presence, you seem to be very interested in feminism. So I was wondering, what is your impression of feminism as a twelve year old? In other words, what does feminism mean to you?
To me, feminism is fighting for female human rights. No matter what skin color, sexual interests, or religion a person has.
Why do you think that females need someone to fight for them? Do you see examples in your own life (or in other places) where females' rights are compromised (i.e. abused)?
I think every female should fight for herself, but not all women think they need to. I do see examples in my life where women are oppressed. For example, a friend of mine who is a girl, wanted to help a teacher move some desks, but the teacher wouldn’t let her and chose boys. She is actually bigger and stronger than the boys chosen.
In 5th grade, the teachers took all the girls in my class aside and told them that they were causing problems by being so dramatic and that the boys never caused similar problems, which was not true.
What has influenced your views on feminism?
My main influences on my views of feminism are my mom and social media. I follow people on Instagram who share my interests and inspire me and I talk about everything with my mom.
What are your mother's views on feminism? How has she influenced your views?
She thinks girls shouldn’t have to prove themselves and that they should get the same respect boys do.
She has taught me a lot about sexism and what to do about it.
What do you see in social media regarding feminism?
I see all kinds of things on social media, things against racism, sexism, self-harm, beauty standards and more things.
What do your peers (your friends and classmates) think about feminism?
My peers strongly disagree with feminism. Mostly because they think some of it is against the bible.
In what ways do your peers think that feminism is against the Bible? Do you agree that it is against the Bible?
They think that feminism is against the bible because it also regards gay rights. I do not think that feminism is against the bible, because the bible also says to love all people, not hate and disrespect them.
What do your peers think about your ideas on feminism?
My peers do not like my ideas of feminism, mostly because they believe it is a movement for gay people’s rights too.
Why do they associate feminism with gay rights? I don't get it.
The reason they associate it with feminism is because it is for all women, not just straight women.
Do you think feminism is also a movement for gay rights?
I think a small part of feminism is also gay rights, but feminism is made up of a lot of things.
Why are they against gay rights?
I honestly think that the reason they are against gay rights is because they want to feel [like they are] better than other people.
How do you feel that your views on feminism might influence your future, such as your social life, your relationships, your career choices, and your life choices in general?
I want to be a powerful woman when I get older. I plan on becoming a lawyer. And I do not want to marry.
Thanks, Alyssa, for the interview!
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Jeez, Cheryl, stop with the kind words already. Is that really the title you want to use?
Yes, actually it is. It's true--nobody cares about you. And if that's what you suspect during your moodier days, then, congratulations, you're right!
So you're saying no one cares about me?
Yes, that's what I'm saying. You are alone in this world. So give in to to the unhappiness, the feelings of self worthlessness, the doldrums of depression. Soak it all up and wallow in it, buddy!
Wow--Way to make a person feel better, Cheryl. Jeez.
Okay, so I wasn't serious about that last part. I don't want you to get depressed about the fact that no one cares about you.
Well, you sounded pretty serious to me. That was mean.
Besides, it's not true that no one cares about me. My mom cares about me! And my family cares about me! And so do my friends, so there! You're wrong, meanie pants!
Oh, so someone does care about you. In fact, several someones care about you. Yeah, you're right. When I say that no one cares about you, it is a bit of hyperbole (you know, that fancy literary term for exaggeration). The truth is that some people do care about you. Think about how many "friends" you have on Facebook. Let's be generous and say that not only do your family and friends care about you but that many acquaintances care about you too. Let's say that as many as 1000 people care very deeply about you and say a little prayer every day that you will have a super-fantastic, awesomely superlative day!
Okay, yeah, let's say that. 1000 people. Well, that may be a bit too many. I mean, I don't even have that many "friends" on Facebook.
Doesn't matter. I'm just putting a big number out there. So you think, then, that 1000 people is a big number of people to care about you, right?
Yeah, it sounds pretty nice.
Good. But let's compare that to the number of people on the planet. There are approximately 7 billion people on the planet, and by the time you read this post, there could be as many as 9 billion people alive on Earth. So if 1000 of those people care deeply about you, then that means approximately one out of every 7 million people on Earth cares about you, or approximately 0.0000001% of the total human population, a statistically insignificant number.*
Go out there and embrace your vulnerability, your
ridiculousness, your weirdness, the things that make you
special, the things that make you unique.
Okay, sourpuss, back to the bad news, then. Gee, thanks.
No, but don't forget about the second part of my title--"and that's a good thing." It's actually really great that so few people really care about you. It means you can make lots of mistakes and very few people will care about it. You can screw up big time, and the world will glance over you like you're a speck on the sidewalk.
Hmm...I see where you're going with this. So I can do all kinds of crazy things my teachers and my parents tell me not to do, and no one will even notice. Okay, then, bring out the drinking and driving, the cocaine by the bootful, the promiscuous behavior! Great! I'm on it!
Actually, I didn't mean to go that far because you have to remember that there are consequences to your behavior, you know, stuff like wrapping yourself around a tree, ending up in rehab or with the inside of your nose rotted out, getting pregnant or getting a disease that makes your insides rot--you know, the usual things.
So what you're saying is that there are not many people who care about me so I can do all kinds of things people tell me not to do, but I shouldn't do them because they're bad. You're bumming me out again, Cheryl! This seems to be a lose-lose situation. Where's the silver lining? Come on, I need a silver lining!
Right. There is a silver lining. And it's this: since very few people care about you or pay any attention to what you're doing, you have the freedom to be bold and take risks. Sing a song at the talent show. Apply to Harvard University. Wink and smile at that boy or girl you like. Take chances! Don't let your fears about what other people think stop you from doing what you want to do!
Yeah, but what if I screw up and make an idiot of myself? I mean, what if I forget the words on the stage and everyone laughs at me. What if Harvard rejects me? What if that person I like looks at me like I'm a mangy gerbil?
Well, all those things are possible. That's why they're risks. But here's the thing--just because other people might think you're a weirdo shouldn't stop you from doing the things you really want to do. Besides, people have short memories these days. There's a different "big" story of people humiliating themselves almost every week. Do you remember the kid who did that stupid thing earlier this year that no one would shut up about? Maybe his pants fell off during gym class or she farted really loudly during a speech? Well, you had probably forgotten about those incidents, and if that person was smart, he or she probably made a joke about it anyway.
After all, do you remember Tonya Harding? No? Never heard of her? Back in the 90's she was in the headlines for months when she was accused of having an assailant attack her rival ice skater, Nancy Kerrigan, before the Olympics. It was a huge story, but did you know about it? Probably not. And even if you did, it probably didn't make a big impression on you.
The point is that people forget about the missteps and the bloopers, the mistakes and the gaffes and humiliations. So don't let the chance of screwing up stop you. Don't wrap yourself in a cocoon of safety where nothing ever happens and you never accomplish anything. You might make yourself safe, but think what a boring life that would be.
Instead, go out there and embrace your vulnerability, your ridiculousness, your weirdness, the things that make you special, the things that make you unique. Be yourself, and carpe the heck out of the diem, my friend!
PS--Making mistakes is good for you. Don't believe me? Read these articles I found doing a simple Google search**:
7 Reasons Why Not Making Mistakes is the Biggest Mistake--This inspirational article offers seven reasons you should embrace mistakes.
Why Making Mistakes Is Good For You--This article is written for men but offers great insights to anyone, whether you're a man, woman, child, or bigender!
Why Failure is Good for Success--This article offers reasons why failure is good for both businesses and individuals.
Failure is Good--This article from Psychology Today looks at how failure is an innate part of the human condition.
Go out and do your own web search for more information. And remember--Fail, fail, fail, make as many mistakes as you reasonably can without killing or maiming yourself or someone else!
*If I got the math wrong, please leave a comment and let me know. When I tried this calculation on my calculator, I got a weird number ending in an e, whatever that means.
**If any of these links are broken (not working) by the time you get to this article, please leave a message in the comments. Thanks! :-)
Feeling better about your anonymity now that you've read this post? Feeling invisible enough to start a career as a top secret spy? (Just kidding.) If you liked this post, please share it with everyone in the whole wide world--click the buttons below to "like" or tweet it. Thanks, dude!
Oh, but did I trick you again? Are you reading this expecting to see all kinds of whining about dumb things people have done, or maybe one of those 1000 Ways to Die/Darwin Awards kind of funny ha-ha oh-what-dumb-things-people-do types of things?
Bonk!!! *I hate the bonking no-you-got-it-wrong quiz show noises, but well, I put it there anyway*
No, actually I'm making an observation about how odd we are as a species.
Here's the thing--we do things ALL THE TIME that are not in our best interest.
Aren't animals--and humans--supposed to do whatever they can to survive, you know procreate, of course, eat, breath, avoid danger, whatever? And isn't survival supposed to be the main thing? We wanna live as long as we can so we can, well, procreate, ensure the longevity of our genes 'n stuff?
So why do we do such dumb things that are totally counterproductive to the purposes of survival?
It's like we are more interested in saving face and impressing the other guy than in keeping ourselves in one piece.
Okay, I'm going to pick on teenagers again. Yeah, I know. You teenagers never get a break.
Have you noticed how die-hard obsessed and nutty teenagers are about fitting in with their peer group? Not just that, but impressing their peer group? Showing off that they are the number one coolest person in the world and everyone else wants to be like them?
"No, Cheryl, you've got it all wrong," Gen Eric Teen says. "I don't try to fit in. I try to stand out. I try to be different. I don't care what anybody else thinks about me. So, no, you are absolutely wrong and friggin' stereotyping me!"
Okay, okay, calm down Gen Eric. What a funny name, by the way. Did your parents name you that? Here's the deal--are you trying to be different just like the kids you hang out with who love labeling yourselves as different--the geeks, the freaks, the kids who are just grooving to their own thing? Cause if that's the case, then, no, you're not really trying to be different. You are--in the words of a good friend of mine--being different, just like everybody else.
Getting back to my premise--that we are a stupid species that does things that go against our own self interest--think about what dumb things people do not to make their lives better, but to fit in or impress the other dummies standing around? How many people have taken up smoking--ahem...not actually good for you--to fit in with the people they hang out with? How many people have done drugs--not going to lead to a great quality of life, actually--because everyone around them is doing it? How many teen girls have slept with their boyfriends--okay, so that's propagating, but it could also lead to an STD that shortens your lifespan--because they didn't want to lose Mr. Prince Charming? Yeah, and there's other stuff too.
Teen boys are the worst. They won't admit it, but they're not trying to impress the girls--well, maybe there's a small part that is. They're trying to impress each other. That's why they jump off cliffs, skateboard off the sides of buildings, and drive motorcycles through windows. Recently I heard about a kid who impaled himself on a statue of a steer because he was hanging around in the middle of the night with a bunch of other meatheads. Yeah, that's not going to ensure longevity. The kid died.
So why on earth do we do such stupid things? It seems that we are more interested in society and our standing in it that we are in our own skin. Wouldn't it be smarter and more logical if we were more concerned about our own well being?
Sigh. Fine. Yes, I know there is a perfectly logical reason why we do the stupid things we do. It comes from evolution.
As we were hunting bison and small rats and gathering nuts and weeds, it was much safer to live within a group than by yourself. And in order to live in a group, you had to get along with the other rat-hunter/weed-gatherers around you. Otherwise, they'd leave your butt in the cave and go off to hunt and gather elsewhere. So, yes, I realize that's the reason why we still strive so hard to fit in with the idiots around us. We haven't evolved far enough to do what's good for ourselves.
So in the future, after we've invented daily-use spacecraft, we can look forward to the news reports about how many idiots have flown into the sun and vaporized themselves because someone dared them to do it.
Word and Book Lover.