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Jun 27, 2013 elissa commented on Shifting Foundations.
I really loved this book. It's unlike anything I've read before. It was a different sort of read, a slow one that didn't let me skate along the surface, because every sentence was bafflingly gorgeous. Read it!
Feb 19, 2013 elissa commented on A Theory of White Native Americans.
"Native American" is not an entirely racial distinction. To be Native American is to have a unique political relationship with the United States based on treaties and the trust responsibility, especially when an individual is enrolled in a tribe, regardless of blood quantum. The notion of "how much" Indian a person might be has no basis in pre-contact societies and was imposed on Native cultures after the time of contact. Blood quantum laws were first used in early Virginia to limit the rights of Native peoples. Tribes have not traditionally had any reason to determine a member's degree of ancestry. To constantly return to "blood," a faulty metaphor, as the determining factor in a person's Indian identity, is to buy into extermination policy, because blood quantum will only diminish.
Jan 10, 2013 elissa commented on The Writer Is Major, the Books Are Minor.
I really loved "The Nature of the Fun," an essay about writing, and thought "Democracy and Commerce at the U.S. Open" was also great--an interesting look at the Open's many details that aren't part of the TV broadcast.
Dec 20, 2012 elissa commented on Review of Balagan Theater's Avenue Q.
I loved this show. I saw it last weekend. I previously saw Avenue Q at the Paramount, but I was in the balcony, and the smaller space totally transformed the experience for me. Everyone was excellent.
Dec 20, 2012 elissa commented on "Also Go Fuck Yourself".
Just a note on health care for mentally ill patients--one improvement I would like to see is earlier availability of generic drugs. Quetiapine, an atypical antipsychotic commonly used for the treatment of several conditions (including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), is sold as Seroquel by AstraZeneca. In my experience, Seroquel was extremely expensive, even with solid insurance, and although the US patent was set to expire in 2011, AstraZeneca received a pediatric extension that pushed its expiration to March 2012. While many psych meds are generic and affordable, others are not, and these drugs are NOT interchangeable. Some people will not tolerate or respond to any drug but the one that happens to be unaffordable. Aripiprazole, brand name Abilify, will be under patent until 2015. Abilify is also prohibitively expensive, from what I recall. If someone isn't enthusiastic about med compliance, I can't imagine them wanting to pay for these drugs, or even the copays if their insurance only chips in (say) 85%.
Dec 11, 2012 elissa commented on Buy Art!.
I have been thinking about this a lot since commenting yesterday. In the past, I have only bought art when I could afford to put down $100, $200 on the spot for a piece or a couple of pieces. I seriously had no idea that a payment plan was something that was done. Buying pieces of art I loved in galleries seemed completely out of my reach, and some of the pieces I have truly loved seemed like things I would never be able to afford if they were paid for out of a single paycheck. I always felt that I was allowed to appreciate art only inasmuch as I could look at it when it was publicly displayed, but the actual purchasing was left to those with substantially more means.

I think it's really important to talk more about some of the ideas and notes in this piece; "Every gallery wants to help you buy something if you love it"--I honestly hadn't thought of it that way. I didn't know about payment plans. I am still going to find all of it intimidating. I'm seeing a desire to keep this payment plan stuff somewhat quiet because there's the desire to limit how many people take advantage of it, but I just don't see more visibility being a bad thing. I think it would get more people willing to buy.
Dec 10, 2012 elissa commented on Buy Art!.
I honestly had no idea that payment plans for art existed. I am an artist myself--not visual--and I like the idea of all of this, but I am putting down plenty of money, constantly, supporting the artists within my discipline (=other writers) as Jen is suggesting we support visual artists here. I do have a few prints and a couple of other pieces that I bought for $150 or less, but I have admired many, many pieces I could not have handed over a lump of cash for on the spot. I would have considered a payment plan, though. My wall still has one open space...

I think we are all experiencing a lot of worthy demands on our wallets, not only from the basics of staying alive and all of that, but for those of us who are in arts communities, we like to buy books by local authors, support local nonprofits, or whatever makes us feel good. Art is one of those many things. To me, personally, books are just more personally relevant, and I buy them with reckless abandon. Each person has his/her point of personal relevance.
Nov 22, 2012 elissa commented on On Audiobooks vs Regular-Type Books.
@15 Take a look at your library's selection. Audiobooks are expensive, but I find that Seattle Public Library has an amazing selection. http://spl.lib.overdrive.com/
I definitely don't listen to books I'd be taking notes on, but I find that being able to listen to books frees up my reading time for being able to focus on the books I want to use for research, while I can listen to books I've been hearing about but don't necessarily want to sit down and read. I just listened to BLOOD, BONES AND BUTTER by Gabrielle Hamilton, also liked THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick DeWitt, LOVE IS A MIX TAPE by Rob Sheffield, BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey. Got some Mary Karr out of the way and learned I'm not a fan without wasting precious sit-down-and-read time. All SPL downloads.
Nov 21, 2012 elissa commented on On Audiobooks vs Regular-Type Books.
I listen to tons of audiobooks. Everyone who listen to audiobooks has a different way of working them into life. I couldn't listen to them while driving, but I listen to them while walking, taking the bus, cooking, and doing chores. I'm a writer and have a huge backlog of things to read, and audiobooks have been helping me work through a lot of the memoirs I probably wouldn't get to otherwise. I sometimes listen to fiction, but that's a little tougher for me to follow, for some reason, and I prefer memoir. I also really love audiobooks read by the authors. I get my digital audiobooks from SPL and King County Library--both have great selections.
Nov 9, 2012 elissa commented on Yup, This Is Racist.
I am a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and I do not think this is okay. The No Doubt video is not okay, either. Native people deal with a range of actual, contemporary problems--environmental, legal, medical, etc. Representations of Indianness as a costume, and of Indians as characters in games and fantasies, can turn us into caricatures rather than real people. When the word "Indian" brings to mind a cartoon "savage" with a warbonnet and the mention of "Native American" calls up images of Kevin Costner playing Indian with a group of olden-day Lakota in their best dress, it can be difficult to adjust to the thought of Indians as office workers, PhD students, or baristas. I teach American Indian Studies at the college level, and I am constantly amazed and motivated by the amount of work that needs to be done to correct the harm done by these problematic stereotypical representations.