1411668109231_wps_21_Plus_Size_Model_Denise_BiI have heard every self-love, anti-shaming talk, read every ‘you’re all beautiful’, fat celebrating article. I have rejoiced at the idea that real women can all of a sudden be considered beautiful too. We all knew it, now media and society are starting to come around. But I find myself despairing at the same time.

The truth is, in our ‘love everybody’, politically correct, socially conscious murmurings, our fight against the man, “I matter too” bandwagons, we gloss over the harsh, unbending realities of life. I am sure that whatever I say next will offend someone, but I feel the need to say what never gets said.

Ugly people exist. (Gasp, cover your children’s ears)

No, I’m not referring to people who are ugly on the inside, caring only for themselves and squashing the little guy.

Neither am I saying that anyone ever deserves to be shamed, unloved or not appreciated for their personalities, achievements, kindness or confidence.

But we know the difference between ugly and pretty.

I can already hear you crying out to shut me up. But wait. Just a moment.

Love it or hate it, I have always known what was attractive or not. We know when we’re kids that we want to look like the movie stars and not like the monsters. It’s an awful truth, whether it’s taught or innate but no matter the cultural morays, the concept of attractiveness is built in. Whether your culture likes long necks, big butts, blonde hair or fat rolls, there is always a hierarchy of attractiveness, who’s HOT and NOT, although we never mention it overtly in adult society any more except to denigrate it. Whether or not we admit it, we all have some idea of where we (and others) stand. And we know when we fall short.

But t’s not something we can actually change.

We can mask it with makeup, get plastic surgery, or wear a pushup, or a corset, we can change the cards we’re dealt but we still rate ourselves on an impossible scale. And maybe that’s the best part of the whole ‘accept yourself’ movement. You are who you are. Love yourself. See the beauty in everyone.That part I can get behind.

There is not a single person who I know who I would consider ugly, regardless of how they might look. Because “ugly” has a connotation that means something much meaner than just “less attractive”. It means, you are worth less than others. It means, your life is harder. It means, you don’t matter.

And that’s the issue I have with the whole goddamn argument.

Who gives a shit how you look, if you’re fat, or pretty or disfigured or wear makeup or don’t wear makeup? Why do we spend so many hours validating ourselves and each other and then turn around and read makeup tutorials and fashion magazines and go on crazy diets for the new year? WHY DO YOU CARE? If what’s inside is what counts then why do we need to validate anything about the outside?

If` the system is broken then beauty is inconsequential.

OF COURSE you’re amazing if you’re smart and funny and talented and kind, but then why do you also feel the need to be pretty? Why do we obsess? Not as one small thing, but as the ONLY thing that really matters. It presses in on you from all sides, the media, your peers, but it really exists for one reason: to sell pretty shit that makes you feel better.

And it’s just not worth that effort and pain. Because no matter how much makeup you put on, or cute shoes you buy or diets you go on, you will always have the same genes. You will always be you. Not ugly, but probably not the most attractive person in the world either. And while you’re spending all that time in front of the mirror trying to change how you look, you’re wasting the time you have on worthless things that don’t change anything at all.

What makes you worth something is not how you look, it’s what you are, what you achieve, the things about yourself you can change and create. You are a blank canvas to be filled with colour, you are a symphony continually being formed and played, you are a story with a choose-your-own adventure.

By saying “everyone is beautiful” we are saying no one is. We are putting forward stunning images of women of all shapes and sizes and still focusing on the WRONG thing. Yes, there is beauty in everyone. But you don’t fix a system obsessed with looks by saying “look at something else”. All that happens then is that the society changes what it finds attractive and suddenly big butts are really in, short hair is a-la-mode, nose piercings have a comeback. I don’t know. Whatever.

The focus is just shifted to a different part of the outside, while the inside suffers.

Instead of saying “You’re all beautiful”  to little girls we should be saying:

“You’re all amazing. You each have the potential to do wonderful, unique things. You are all gifted with different skills, different perspectives and these will lead you down different paths. You will be painters and doctors and architects and plumbers and you will craft out your world as you see fit. You create beauty.

Just don’t lie to us. We know what’s real.


The 8 things you will do after University

It seems to me that we all get out of university with little to no idea of what the hell we’re supposed to do next, we are told some contrasting and small pieces of relatively useless advice (be yourself, do what you love, get a real job, have business cards, travel, get married, don’t get married, make lots of money, money isn’t important, choose a career, explore your options while you’re young, etc.) and then proceed to do the only thing we really can do to survive, which is take the only job that will hire us.

If you are extremely well connected and lucky, this may be an unpaid internship in the company of your dreams. (However, since it’s unpaid, unless you’re independently wealthy and can afford the ridiculous rent in the expensive metropolitan city where you undoubtedly must move to, you’ll have to get a paying job.) If less lucky, it’s probably a barista in Starbucks, or more likely, working the shelves in Walmart.

Here’s your latte sir! Oh I’m sorry, let me make you another one.

You then do this job, for a couple of years, perhaps able to save a little money, and begin to learn about all the things that NO ONE EVER TAUGHT YOU. Perhaps this is a rite of passage, some sort of universal, miserable life-experience hazing ritual, but seriously guys? No blanket university class on basic budgeting, taxes, tenancy, insurance, health insurance, writing a resume, interviews? I remember a class where I took care of an egg when I was like 14, but I’m not going to remember that when I’m 22. Things I will never use and barely remember about the REQUIRED maths course I took to graduate from a music degree are utterly useless in a situation where I am asked to figure out how to fill in a tax form, or explain what my weaknesses are without making myself either seem unrealistically infallible or just completely inept.
My econ partner abandoned me and our egg baby half way through the project with an unpaid morgage and a new car. Hows that for some real life lessons?

My 14 year old “husband” abandoned me and our egg baby half way through the project with an unpaid morgage and a new car. Hows that for some real life lessons?

Sometimes you’re lucky enough to learn quickly, to make small mistakes or get advice from people just a couple years ahead and make it out unscathed, but more often I think a lot of people just end up feeling like they’ve been pushed into the deep end of a swimming pool without armbands. Perhaps the drowning feeling is what they call “a learning experience”.

Four years in your barista job, you are now some form of a manager and you have very much decided that you don’t want to be working in this god-forsaken hell-hole any longer. But all you know how to do really well is talk to customers, order inventory, manage two college dropouts and your chomping-at-the-bit assistant and make a really good double espresso cappuccino, extra foam. Which is great if you want to open a coffee shop of your own, but pretty much useless for any kind of “career job”.

It seems that in order to get a “real” job, you have to have some experience in administrative work.

“I’m a manager!” you cry. “I am an administrator! I manage a small team.”

“Ha. No.” they chuckle, “We don’t hire anyone without at least 3 years of admin experience. Come back to us when you have more experience.”

"So which one of you is Pamela, which is Simon and which is, god what was the black guy's name?" "Oh god! Is it racist if I don't remember the black guys name?"

“So which one of you is Pamela, which is Simon and which is, god, what was the black guy’s name?” “Oh god! Is it racist if I don’t remember the black guys name?”

Unfortunately, there are zero “real” jobs that hire experienced baristas and waitresses, or even managers of baristas and waitresses.
So you begin changing small things in your CV, putting in buzzwords, practicing interviews with friends. You start looking at everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you have EVER done that might be rephrased in a way that makes you seem experienced enough for the field. Perhaps you took a class, or had a conversation or visited a foreign country but now that class is a full blown course, a degree even, that conversation becomes years of a relationship with a respected professional and that overseas trip a charity aid mission to help orphans, or something, anything to convince these suited gods to let you join their little club. You may be applying for a position in the lowest of the low positions, but you know, once you’re in, you’ll climb the ladder like the little monkey you are.But it’s all based on lies. Big ones, little ones, it makes no difference, you may have made it past the first barrier, but you are still just faking it, just pretending you’re something you’re not, just barely keeping your head above the water.

The truth is, there is no point in any aspect of life where that drowning feeling fully goes away. It’s all just pretending you have any idea what you’re doing, and consistently lying your way through interviews and parties until you start to actually gain a very small modicum of the experience you seem expected to have.

Everyone, from the lowest office worker to the Vice President is working very hard at gaining just enough experience at the job they actually do to be allowed to fake their way to the next rung of the ladder. God knows why. I hear there’s a golden Lexus at the top.

Public Parking? What are we, peasants?

Public Parking? What are we, peasants?

Hell, anything beats spending the rest of your life serving ungrateful idiots coffee, right?


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The Occupation Nation

When I first heard about the Occupy movement I was ecstatic. Finally, after years of hiding in our bedrooms and complaining on blogs like this one, real people were doing real things to make a difference. The protest renewed my faith in the system, in people’s desire to seek change. As I watched the camped out activists, I was reminded of the Vietnam protests and the massive movements in the 60s and 70s, the picketers fighting against injustice and the establishment.

The only thing is, in this case, I’m not certain anyone is sure what the Occupy movement is trying to achieve.

If people are gathering in the name of a cause, or even several causes, great. We’re legally allowed to gather in protest in the constitution. But what exactly is the goal of the Occupy movement?

Call it Occupy Wall Street if you like, but the celebrities we worship and politicians we voted into office make up most of the population of people we  are protesting against. The big businesses are the only things left in America that still provide jobs. There are no small town businesses left that have survived the oil, fast food, media and factory farming rampage. Every town has a Shell or BP gas station, a MacDonald and good old cable television. 99% of your options have been systematically destroyed so that when someone asks you what you want you think “do I want Chinese or Mexican for dinner?”.

Even inside the system we can tell something is wrong. Politicians spin fantasies to win us over. They create imaginary insignificant gossips and enemies to distract from the subtly squeezing hands around our necks. This is not a system that can be changed by protest. Those in power tend not to bow to the masses, even if it is to their advantage. They will simply lie about it and do what they want anyways.

They have created a generation that is easily distracted and quickly bored. Today the Occupy movement is news, but when the country stops caring, will the people go home? What must happen for the movement to have worked? I know we will say that if the top 1% taxes are raised and enforced that it will change something, and fix the economy, but are we really satisfied with giving more money to the government that has forsaken us? Perhaps the money will go back into financing socialized healthcare and welfare and school programs, but as far as the budget is concerned that money would just serve to finance yet another needless war. Will it improve the environment, or lessen corruption, or give the people any more power than that which our corporate overlords allow us to have?

The system is broken, and we have taken a step in the right direction. The people stand together, but our voices are many and easily drowned out or silenced. We are organized without a direction, standing together without any purpose other than rage and frustration. We are like frightened sheep, bleating around in our pens. How wonderful would it be if someone could focus the strength of this new arm into a fist? How much change could we do if together we do more than just speak our minds, but fight, break down the walls of a system that has decided that we can be controlled and openly lied to? How many of us are brave enough to fight for a future where no man can say he deserves his riches any more than his neighbor?

People call it a class war, but no one really seems to know who to fight. Make no mistake, the lords and ladies and kings and queens did not die out in America. They sit upon their thrones and pass the power and corruption on to their heirs like so many families have done for hundreds of years. They consider themselves noble, better than the common man. They are not satisfied with anything less than amassing more money than they could spend in a lifetime, and they do not live in the world we do.

They could not hope to understand what it is like to watch your children raised around drug dealers and taught how to live from Wal-mart paychecks to feed the kids they had at 14 because state funded middle America doesn’t teach basic sex education. They can’t know what it’s like to die alone in a hospital, not because there is no cure but because you have no insurance.They can’t understand how honest hardworking people can be poor and homeless and need any help they can get, because nothing in their lives was ever fair.

Life for the rich is a walk in the sunshine: friends are plentiful, opportunities grow like weeds, and ordinary people look like tiny ants from the tops of private jets and skyscrapers. The CEOs and private billionaires don’t know what poverty is. We can’t expect change from the politicians with their gold lined pockets or the businesses that pay them, or the media that tells us what they want us to believe. We can’t expect handouts because the government is done giving them, and we can’t expect to change anything by staying within the neat little boxes they make to keep us in line.

My main question is this: Do we need a protest or a REVOLUTION? Car mechanics have a term for it: totaled. In a situation beyond repair, there’s just not enough left that works properly anymore. You can sell the parts for scraps, or perhaps take working bits off other cars and build yourself a new machine, but broken things aren’t just going to fix themselves. We need a new car. We need a new system. And we can’t just sit back and expect the old one to suddenly fix itself.

What I actually use facebook for…

So I recently heard about Nov 5th this year as Anonymous’ possible attack on Facebook, their eventual goal to shut down the site for sharing our private information with corporations and the government. Initially, I was appalled about the attack.. and then I started to think about whether or not Facebook really did all that much for me. What was I so sad about losing?

Here is a list of the things I actually do on Facebook… and how I maybe could be doing them.

1) Chat with friends that are far away about irrelevant stuff we never discussed when we were in the same room together.

You ever notice that? How when you’re on Facebook it’s all “What’s new with you?” but in the real world you’d chat about zany stuff like ice cream flavors, or philosophy, or music, but only spend like 10 seconds on a life update.

2) Status Updates: Telling people who don’t care about the mainly irrelevant stuff I do on a kinda regular basis.

No, I don’t message my breakfast every morning, or what I did EVERY DAY… but I’m pretty sure my friends don’t actually care much about whether I made cupcakes, or if I’m angry at my boyfriend. They might be interested enough to post one sentence… but in their world my life is just a blip of mild amusement (at best) on the endlessly entertaining and distracting World Wide Web.

3) Friend people I don’t really know, or don’t talk to any more.

Admittedly, I have tried to limit this, but it’s such a fine line. Do you friend someone if you just met them? If not immediately, when do you know they’ll be someone you’ll be friends with? At what point, after not talking to someone for a while, do you say “We’re not friends any more” and delete your friendship? You have to keep them on, reminding you of the people you used to know, or met once, or once hung out with. Despite this, no matter how many times I see a status update from them, I don’t care enough to ask how they’re doing. Why should I? Facebook lets me know without even needing to let them know. Which brings me to….

4) Anonymous observation of cute guys, friends and relatives… also known as STALKING.

Does it bother you a bit that you have no idea if the creepy guy at school has your Facebook as his home page, or if your mom is checking up on you every hour, you have not a clue? I mean, I enjoy the perks, like checking out the interests and relationship statuses of cute boys I just met. However, all that means that is instead of saying hello, or resorting to any contact, I can safely (creepily?) observe their daily behavior under a shroud of anonymity. I don’t even need to visit their page to get a news feed status update on the activities of my friends. So even if I’m interested in what they’re doing, chances are I won’t even comment, and if I do it will be a snappy one liner designed to amuse and attract attention more than to connect.

5) Post perfect pictures of myself, and get tagged in pictures where I look ugly.

In today’s day and age, with modern technology, I can take any pox ridden, obese, cross-eyed goof and make them look like Brad Pitt. This is software that I regularly take advantage of by taking hundreds of web cam pictures and selecting one to be processed into a presentable image to put on Facebook. Everyone does it. So it’s no surprise that in just karmic retribution, every friend posts the pictures they have of me, which just happen to be ones where my eyes are half shut, or I’ve got two chins, or I’m looking the wrong direction. Yes, I can un-tag myself from some, but I can’t stop the influx of pictures, except by avoiding cameras… which I now do. Hopefully no one notices the paradox between the me I present, and the me the rest of the world presents.

6) Have unnecessary drama over whether or not I’m in a Facebook “relationship or not.

Maybe for you it’s different, but isn’t it odd that in order for most people to feel secure in a relationship, you have to declare the thing on Facebook? Maybe I do want to date a guy, but I probably don’t want to tell everyone about it right away. I’m not really the post my personal business and gross pictures of us making out kinda girl. And so what if it’s complicated? It’s ALWAYS complicated. There’s no such thing as a normal relationship. I don’t want to stress about whether I should change my status from Single to something else. No one wants to be first. I just don’t think that a social site should get to dictate whether or not I can just be happy being undefined for a while.

7) Post links to things I really don’t care much about.

Pretty much just that.

So, yes, my life might be changed if Facebook ceased to exist. I’d have to resort to e-mail, or AIM again (oooh retro!). I might even have to initiate contact with people that I actually remember, and forget about the friends I haven’t seen in years, and get out and talk in person (maybe), and stalk from bushes again. Just kidding, I don’t stalk… or do I?

So here’s the question guys: Do you think Facebook actually improves your life? And will you be sad if Anonymous destroys it?

Update… Life in GB.

So here is the PaperDandelion life update, for those of you who care.

I’m currently working as a waitress at a golf club, where I spend half the time pouring old men drinks, and half the time sitting around while they all go off and play golf. It’s very good pay, and the people are nice, if sometimes a little crude. I’m planning on going on to school… yes, I know, I’m not ready to grow up quite yet. I’m applying to Oxford Brookes University, though I don’t know yet if I’ll get into the program, for the Psychology conversion course. For less than 20 grand I can get my Psychology masters in 1 1/2 years.
I have managed to make some friends in the country, although they’re a little far away, and since I don’t have a car the cab fares are exorbitant, but it’s worth it. They all come from this little village called Ley Hill where every night of the week it seems there’s a party going on. The people are lively, we play games like Pub Quizzes and Killer Darts, and everyone gets drunk every night of the week. It’s an atmosphere where no matter who you are, you instantly feel comfortable and a part of the group.

Although I’ll miss them all, I’m looking forward to the future, and hopefully will be in Oxford sometime this year. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Fix the 1015 error loop and get back your jailbroken iPhone 3GS/iPod Touch 2G (Mac)

Did you just jailbreak and unlock your iPhone 3GS only to accidentally destroy all your hard work by pressing the update button? Stuck in an endless loop of 1015 error messages and inescapable recovery mode? Fear not! I have found the answer…

Read the instructions in full before trying the steps.

Disclaimer: This guide for educational purposes only. So, try it at your own risk. I can NOT be held responsible if anything goes wrong. Please read through the instructions before implementing.

Download iOS 4.1 (iPhone2,1_4.1_8B117_Restore.ipsw)

Download RedSn0w 0.9.6b4

Download RecBoot

Step 1. Plug in your iPhone and launch iTunes and RecBoot.

Step 2. In iTunes, Press and hold Option and click on the restore button. This will allow you to choose the iPhone2,1_4.1_8B117_Restore.ipsw file as your firmware.

ATTENTION: iOS 4.1 will update your baseband which is not reversible. It will void your warranty, and you will not be able to update or recover the phone to any other iOS.

Step 3. Let iTunes and the iPhone go through the sequence. They will still display the 1015 error message, but this is not a problem.

Step 4. In RecBoot, press the Exit Recovery button. This will bring your iPhone to a Emergency State… where you still see the “connect with iTunes” image on your iPhone screen, but you would be able to make emergency calls.

Step 5. Launch RedSn0w.

Step 6. Click Browse, and choose the iPhone2,1_4.1_8B117_Restore.ipsw as the file you want to use. If your iPhone is of the new OS (most likely, yes) confirm it.

Step 7. Now select your desired options. Make sure that at least Install Cydia is selected. Now hit Next button.

Step 8. RedSn0w will ask you to turn off your device. Hold down the Power button until the red slider comes on and turn off the phone. When it’s off and plugged in, hit the Next button.

Step 9. Follow the on screen instructions. At this point it may simply go through the sequence, but in case it doesn’t you’ll be instructed to put your device into DFU mode.

On iPhone hold down Power button for 3 seconds,

without releasing Power button, hold Home for 10 seconds,

without releasing Home button, release Power button and hold Home button for 30 seconds.

Step 10. Once your device goes into DFU mode, RedSn0w will start jailbreaking it. Once done, you can find the Cydia icon on your iPhone 3G home screen.

You should be fixed, out of the loop and done. If you want to re-Unlock your phone simply follow these instructions.

Whatever you do after this, just make sure not to press the update button when you plug in your iPhone, or else you’ll have to go through these steps all over again.

Unique and Original

There is no such thing as true originality. Everything you have ever thought or said has been equivocally thought and said before by thousands. Though the DNA may be microscopically different, you are not a unique snowflake. Your struggle is not original; your story is not new; your melody is an old tune and your jokes are older than you are.

Lucky for you, we love to hear the same stories over and over again with slight variation. Our memory is such that we forgive endless monotony for the way things simply are. We are comforted by familiarity, by traditions and allusions. Although we know that we are not special, we still like to think our perspective needs to be shared. We act in self-assuring interest, desperately believing in simultaneous belonging and individuality. We will read your stories, listen to your songs, giggle at your jokes and laughingly tell you when you surprise us that you are wonderful, beautiful and unique.

But we will ostracize you if your situation makes us feel uncomfortable with our own comfort, although we have felt your pains. We will convince ourselves that melanin makes a difference to who we are and that a belief in something greater than ourselves is not enough to rectify the tiny discrepancies in doctrine. Our political beliefs, although rational and not that different, will cause us to shout hateful things, and question each other’s judgment, intelligence and even humanity. We will forget you when you do not confront us, and hate you when you force us to see something of ourselves in you.

We will expect everything from you, and give you nothing. And so will you. You are not a unique snowflake. You are us, and we are you.

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. – “I am the Walrus” The Beatles

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