Archive for the ‘Blog News’ Category

I’m Still Around…

Hi everyone,

It’s been nearly a year since my last post! That’s ridiculous. I’ve been very busy, and I’ve been meaning to write a new blog post, but it never happened.

This is a quick note to let you know that I’m still around and kicking. I’ll try to post something new before another year rolls by. Yikes!

If you’re still sticking around despite this hiatus, thank you!

All I Want for Christmas Is You

Christmas TreeThis is the first Christmas without my dad. I wish he was still alive to celebrate this holiday. Not gonna lie – this season feels extremely empty for me. I hear the happy holiday tunes incessantly on the radio, and I see the people carrying shopping bags on the bus, but my heart doesn’t feel the same this year. Christmas means nothing if people you love aren’t around.

Ever since stores took down their Hallowe’en merchandise and put up Christmas goods, I felt a strong sense of loss and hurt. Why was I robbed of happiness during a season that prides itself on being the “happiest time of the year”? My dad was taken too soon, and it’s not fair. (Life isn’t fair, and the sooner we realize this, the better, but I’m still sucking on a raw lemon.)

I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I’m just trying to be real. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like they’re hit the hardest in December. You look everywhere and you see parents and their kids together. Every time I see a father with his daughter since my dad passed away in March, I’ve felt an undeniable rise of jealousy. It makes my chest feel tight.

Yes, I still have my mom. And I do have a brother. But the closeness I shared with my father trumps all. It’s not like losing a best friend or a boyfriend – you’ve lost ties to your roots. You’ve lost the chance to sit down with the person and reminisce the good times. You’ve lost the chance to ask for advice. You’ve lost a person who you know loves you unconditionally.

Since my dad passed away, not a single day has gone by that I haven’t thought of him. And I pray for him often because he deserves to be in Heaven. I remember the great times we spent together, his funny antics, and the way he always managed to encourage me. I remember his strength, his devotion to Catholicism, his ability to talk for hours, and how much he loved movies.

One of my co-workers who also lost her dad (but years ago) said, “It doesn’t get better, but it does get easier.”

Whenever I’m hanging out with my friends, I’ll often bring up my dad – not in the ‘I feel sorry for myself’ way. But, for instance, if someone’s talking about building their DVD collection, it just makes me think of my dad and how he was such a movie buff. I’ll start talking about my dad’s DVD collection, and how much my dad appreciated the cinematic arts. I think that by constantly bringing my dad up in casual conversation, it’s helping me preserve my memories of him. It also helps others know what a kind-hearted, loving, and great person he was.

Another weird thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes when I go to places where my dad and I went, I’ll find myself looking for him as if he’s still alive and as if he’ll just appear and say, “Hi, Mary! I missed you! I’m back!” Then I’d cry, we’d hug, and I’d be so relieved it was all a bad dream. But, of course, I never see him. And I just see strangers bustling through the mall like insects in an ant farm.

Also, I’ve had lots of wonderful dreams of my dad – new situations and not just rehashing old memories of him. I’ve even woken up with a smile on my face after many. But I haven’t had any new ones for maybe a couple of months. And in my last dream with him in it, he was telling me how he can’t stay around forever and that he has to move on to the next stage in the journey. He wanted me to be okay. And I told him that I couldn’t expect him to stick around here for me, and that I wanted him to be happy (as he deserves to be).

I miss my dad so much.

This Christmas is going to be the hardest for me and my family. I just hope it doesn’t completely suck.

When Will Things Start Looking up for Me?

My life is falling to pieces. Personal and work life are horrible. I’m a strong person, but I’m really unsure if I’m strong enough to endure what I’m about to. Seems like ever since last year, I’ve been hammered down repeated with something new to stress me out.

We all worry about our inadequacies and what the future holds. For me, the future holds tough times ahead because Matty, my best friend (who also happens to be my ex-boyfriend, former roommate, and former co-worker), is leaving the country and will be living there for an indefinite period of time. We did so many things together – had fun and feuds!

He’s leaving because he doesn’t know what to make of his life, and he really hated the way things were going for him. It also doesn’t help that he has a significant amount of debt to pay off. He’ll be moving in with his parents and will try to find a new job (since today was his last day at work).

I want the best for him, but it’s hard for me because especially during this time when I’m still trying to cope with the death of my father and work is going pretty shitty, I feel like I really need him for social support. Two people have never been closer.

The last time I’ll get to see Matty is tomorrow. After that, it’ll never be the same again. Even the most exciting books you cherish come to an end.

I feel so alone.

Abandoned.

Weak.

Bitter.

Angry.

I’m certain that I’m going to bear a cross in the days ahead. But one thing I keep trying to remind myself of is that while everybody may let you down, you cannot let yourself down. Life is hard, but you have to put up with the bullshit if you want to make something of yourself.

Dear readers, I fully intend to write a proper blog post. It’s just that I’m going through a very difficult time right now. Don’t lose faith in me. I’ll return soon!

Blog News: www.Glockoma.com

Guess who finally got her first domain name ever? That’s right – yours truly! To visit Glockoma, all you have to do is type http://www.Glockoma.com.

Since landing the domain name, I’ve considered getting hosted. There’s a smorgasbord of things I want to modify to really personalize the look and feel of Glockoma. Nothing’s engraved in stone yet, but it’s definitely something I’m eagerly researching. (If you know of any good web-hosting deals, please let me know.)

R.I.P. Peter Shaw (1939-2010)

I still can’t believe my father passed away on March 2nd. Every morning, I wake up thinking that maybe it was all a terrible dream – it can’t be real. But it is real. It was so sudden, and came with little warning.

He had been recovering from a moderate stroke, but in the end, it wasn’t the stroke that did him in – he had an abdominal aneurysm. A blood vessel’s lining was thinning and burst. My father was internally bleeding to death. Thinking about my father suffering so much is unbearable for me. But at the same time, it shows you how strong he was.

The surgeon said that most people who have aneurysms like my dad don’t even make it to the hospital alive even if they call the ambulance immediately! But, of course, my dad was a fighter ’til the very end – he lasted about 8 hours. He’s so incredible, and even though he’s ‘gone’, he’s still teaching me new things.

New Things My Father Taught Me

Souls Really Do Exist

He was a really religious man who took great pride in being a Catholic. On many occasions he’d talk to me about faith and God. And I remember him telling me that the body is just on loan from God – it’s like a shell we borrow and we have to take good care of it because it’s not really ours.

I believed what my father said, but it was only when I saw my father’s body in the emergency-room operating table and then again at the funeral-home visitation that it really hit me. It’s hard to describe, but even though I was looking at my father, it wasn’t my father. Something was off.

I realized that my father was right when he said that the soul leaves the body when you pass away.

The body is nothing more than a shell. The soul is what gives a person that spark and personality. And then it made me think about how when we look at each other, it’s not actually the physical appearance we see. I mean, yeah, we notice a person’s build and hair colour, but when they’re gone, even those don’t look quite the same anymore.

When we look at one another, I now believe we see the soul. We just don’t realize it until the soul leaves.

Scientists and religious scholars may have struggled for centuries to prove that a soul exists. Naysayers can argue otherwise, but because of my experience, I will always know in my heart that souls really do exist. And it’s a comforting thought.

When Someone Dies, You Don’t Actually Lose Them

It’s become pretty common to say, “Sorry for your loss” to express your sincere condolences to the devastated family. I never gave it more thought until recently.

I realized that I didn’t actually lose my father. I found him. Where? I found him at the place where he’s always been – my heart. And there he will always be.

In an upcoming blog post, I’m going to share the eulogy I wrote (and read at the funeral-home visitation). It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write because nothing I said could ever do him justice. But I did it because he would’ve wanted me to. I’ll be sharing it because I’m proud to be Peter Shaw’s daughter and because everyone deserves to get a glimpse into this wonderful man I was blessed to call my father.

Later, I also want to share my experience when I saw my father’s urn placed in the niche at the cemetery and also all the headache regarding the myriad of legal matters you confront when a person passes away.

Please continue to say prayers for my father and my family. We need help to be strong.

I Love You, Daddy.

My father passed away on Tuesday March 2, 2010 at 12:16 am.

(He was recovering from his stroke, as you’ll remember me telling you in this post and in the bottom part of this post.)

I’ve been worn really thin planning the funeral and visitation with my mom and brother. I was extremely close to my dad, so although I’m trying to remain strong, it’s a huge cross for me to bear.

Since Tuesday, we’ve had to go through a lot and are really busy. I had some blog posts time-stamped to go live in the next few days, but decided to put them on standby for now. Just want you all to know that I’ll resume blogging again as soon as I can because after this sudden tragedy, I have lots to share.

I ask that you please say a prayer for my father and my family (whether or not you’re religious). It would mean so much to us. Thank you.

Blog News: Still Kickin’ It Without Smudging My Eyeliner

This is just an update to let you know what’s been going on with me lately and what I have planned for the future of Glockoma.

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet & Away We Go

Finally caved and joined Twitter today. You can find me under the username GlockomaBlog (Glockoma was already taken by someone else!).

And if you decide to follow me, don’t worry about being bombarded with tweets. I’ll likely just send out direct messages and the occasional tweet. They may be random thoughts that provoke a feminist discussion or it could be to let you know that I’ve posted a new blog entry.

Back to The Future

And since we’re on the topic of new posts, I’ve thought long and hard about why I don’t blog more frequently. It’s because I feel as if I always have to post a long entry or say something profound.

Many times I sit down to write an entry and end up scrapping it because I don’t think it’s ‘good enough’. That mentality turns blogging (something I consider fun) into a dreadful chore.

Well, it’s time to change that since I’m sure it must be pretty boring for you to have to wait so long for a new post. (They say that the most successful blogs have regular and frequent updates.) I really want to gain readership and build a community that can openly engage in thoughtful discussion.

From now on you’ll see really short (even one-paragraph-long) posts in the mix, too.

This is a feminist blog, for goodness sakes, and if I want to promote the idea that women’s thoughts are to be valued, I should start valuing my own thoughts instead of second-guessing myself so much. Sometimes the most interesting things we say are the things we just blurt out. And it makes us more human – less scripted…more real. Amen to that.

If there are any other bloggers reading this, I would love to hear from you. Let me know any suggestions you may have via a comment on here, e-mail, or Twitter.

My Father: A Stroke Survivor (Not a Stroke Victim)

After reading my previous post about my dad suffering a stroke in December, you may be wondering how he’s doing now. He’s out of the hospital and recovering at home.

A lot of the functioning he lost has come back – he regained the use of his left hand and his eyes can move normally again. His speech has also improved, but there’s still some slurring because part of his tongue has lost feeling. Another thing that was severely affected was his taste – things that he enjoyed eating before now repulse him and he’s complained about his loss of appetite.

All in all, though, he’s doing very well despite the annoyance of having to be on a drug (Warfarin) that affects every part of your life. He has to go see the doctor often and go for weekly blood tests to monitor his INR (International Normalized Ratio) levels. Those tests check the tendency of the blood to clot because it can be affected greatly by food with a lot of Vitamin K including spinach and broccoli. If the INR changes, his Warfarin dose needs to change.

It amazes and inspires me to see that he’s still a fighter despite having been through this ordeal. Sometimes I think that he’s stronger than I am. I mean, I’m not even the one who had the stroke, but I’ve felt worn down and broken. But my dad has maintained a positive disposition. He’s a living example of how we all need to cope with health problems.

Well, those are all my updates for now. Next time I’ll have a proper post for you. I’ve already got a bunch of topic ideas in the works – it’s just a matter of giving procrastination the boot.

Featured Feminist: Elsie MacGill (Queen of the Hurricanes)

GlockomaFor those times when we want to fold like a bad poker hand, we desperately need inspiration to help us realize that we can pull ourselves out of the quicksand.

Inspiration can hit you between the eyes when you’re not looking (or even when you are). And now it’s gonna be aiming for you. Don’t worry – it won’t hurt. Actually, it’ll feel really good. And it doesn’t reek of rotten tomatoes.

I’d like to introduce you to the latest addition to Glockoma. Featured Feminist is a section I’ll use to post true stories about modern women and famous women in history who exemplify what feminism is all about. This will include writers, inventors, politicians, and¬† musicians, just to name a few. Feminist messages that help the women’s movement advance are everywhere if you look for them.

Since I believe in a school of feminism that encourages the involvement of and interaction with men, you’ll sometimes read about feminist men in the Featured Feminist section. This is very important to me because in all forms of media, we’re shown male chauvinist pig after male chauvinist pig – it gets more tiresome than a drunk pick-up line.

Let’s get to our very first profile!

GlockomaElsie MacGill

Nickname: Queen of the Hurricanes

Birthday: March 27, 1905

Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)

Claim to Fame: First woman in the world to design an airplane

Why You Should Care: She paved the path for many women in a field that is traditionally dominated by men. During WWII, she developed, designed, and tested aircraft as an aeronautical engineer.

And, according to Wikipedia,  she was the first woman to achieve a lot of other impressive things, too:

  • 1927 – First Canadian woman to earn her electrical engineering degree (University of Toronto)
  • 1929 – First woman in North America to earn her masters degree in aeronautical engineering (University of Michigan)
  • 1938
    • First woman elected to corporate membership in the Engineering Institute of Canada
    • First woman to hold the position of Chief Aeronautical Engineer (Canada Car and Foundry)
  • 1946 – First woman to be the Technical Advisor for the International Civil Aviation Organization
  • 1947 – First woman to chair a UN committee (She was the chairperson for the United Nations Stress Analysis Committee.)
  • 1953 – First woman outside the United States to be named Woman Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Women Engineers (She also was made an honourary member.)

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GlockomaSome Other Awards & Recognition

  • 1941 – Gzowski Medal from the Engineering Institute of Canada for her paper entitled Factors Affecting the Mass Production of Aeroplanes
  • 1967 – Centennial Medal from the Canadian government
  • 1975 – Amelia Earhart Medal from the Ninety-Nines
  • 1979 – Gold Medal from the Ontario Association of Professional Engineers
  • 1983 – Inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame

GlockomaWhy I Consider Her a Feminist

All of the above already indicates that she’s clearly a fighter who came ready with her boxing gloves. And I bet they weren’t pink.

Well, there’s more to the story that illustrates her strong drive to succeed despite the obstacles.

Case in point: the doctors told her that most likely she’d be wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life after she got polio. But did she take the news sitting down? No. Instead, she taught herself how to walk with the support of metal canes.

And doctoral studies weren’t cheap. Don’t think that she got handouts for her education. During that time, Elsie MacGill financially supported herself by writing articles for magazines about planes and flying.

GlockomaWhy She’s Known as the ‘Queen of the Hurricanes’

When she worked for Canada Car and Foundry, she was chosen to build the Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft for the Royal Air Force. She also came up with new ideas for how to winterize the aircraft.

GlockomaElsie MacGill Was a Feminist Activist

In the 1960s, she focused on women’s rights issues and was the president of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. In 1971, she received the Order of Canada for her work as a member of the Ontario Status of Women’s Committee.

(The Order of Canada was concieved in 1967 to “[recognize] the achievement of outstanding merit or distinguished service by Canadians, through life-long contributions in every field of endeavour, and who made a major difference to Canada, as well as the efforts made by non-Canadians who have made the world better by their actions.”)

Elsie MacGill seems to have been a proud and vocal feminist, which I think is important. She was quoted saying, “I have received many engineering awards, but I hope I will also be remembered as an advocate for the rights of women and children.”

It frustrates me when some women are afraid to call themselves a feminist because they’re too lazy to deal with any societal backlash to the often-stigmatized label. Kudos to the Queen of the Hurricanes for not shying away. May we all be so brave.

Getting Nailed: Bottling up Gender Stereotypes

FeminismGlockoma is just a newborn feminist blog. But with some TLC, I’ll help it grow strong enough to confront a circus of mature topics that’ll get your mind revolving like the Giant Ferris Wheel at the amusement park. I’ll burst your bubble and maybe I’ll even piss someone off.

Come fly with me on our way up, and let’s call out the scum of the Earth as we dip it low. Opinions run full circle without getting winded – I hope you can keep up.

Since the frequency of updates on my feminist blog have been lackluster, I’ve spent some time brainstorming what subjects I’d like to address in near-future posts. After a barrage of lighting bolts and some thunderstorms, I came up with a few.

Whetting Your Appetite for Upcoming Main Courses

  • Singled Out – Unfair negative views of single women compared to the positive image of your typical bachelor
  • Hairy Situations – Why does society expect women to be virtually hair-free when the majority of men flaunt their forests?
  • Pooping Plastic – Understanding the rise of plastic surgery & its lacerations on women’s long-term self-image
  • Sex Sells Sellouts – The unfortunate reliance on womanly wiles & the Casting Couch to climb the corporate ladder
  • Being Nice Is a Sign of Lacking Personality – Is this statement true? Does the modern woman really need to be mean & nasty?
  • A Wrinkle in Time – Investigating anti-aging products & the unreal search for the Fountain of Youth

GlockomaNow that I have your attention, let’s get on with the show. Curtains, up! Spotlight, on! Glocks in hand!

GlockomaThe first thing I want you to sink your teeth into is the Big Bad Beauty Industry. It huffs and it puffs…and it shamelessly perpetuates gender stereotypes with conniving marketing tactics!

This isn’t anything ground-breaking, but if we become more conscious of it when we view their commercials and print ads, maybe we won’t be so willing to take it quietly.

But it’s too vague and overwhelming to tackle the entire beauty industry – I need to pick apart one facet. How about nail polish? Can you get down with that?

My stash is now at over 150 bottles, and I’m always reading the latest blogs to find out what the next hot shit is. Needless to say, I’m pretty passionate about nail colour!

Would You Rather Raise a Fist or a ‘Pink’y in the Air?

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Browse through your local beauty store or look online. Check out the spectrum of polishes available to you. You’ll have an overwhelming number of sheer nudes, traditional pretty pinks, a heaping pile of reds or burgundies, some flirty purples, and a few beautiful blues.

Now look for yellows, greens, and dark grays. Much harder, no? The message we’re getting here is that girls and women are “supposed to” like Mommy-dearest pinks, barely-there soft colours, and/or red sex-kitten hues.

Just like TV sitcoms try to jam gender roles down our throats, the nail-polish companies seem to want to push the sales of a clear set of hues they deem ‘feminine’. Reds and pinks are their favourites. While I have nothing against those colours, I do find it a major yawn fest to see the exact same boring pink/red released in so many new seasonal collections. We’ve seen it before! At least give it a twist like a matte finish or holo glitter!

What’s interesting to note is that ever since Sephora by OPI introduced the unique mushroomy stunner last fall that was Metro Chic, female consumers simply went ballistic! The average woman actually embraced this atypical colour. Even to this day, it keeps selling out, and you’ll find pathetic peddlers trying to milk the cash cow on eBay by auctioning off bottles for profit.

Since then, nailphiles everywhere have rushed out to get China Glaze’s green-glittery Emerald Sparkle, Essie’s surprising blue-creme Mesmerize, and OPI’s taupe You Don’t Know Jacques. Even shy violets took the plunge and reveled in those crazy summer neons like Essie’s Funky Limelight! (And c’mon, we’re all seriously lusting after the rare and discontinued dark-green Zulu by NARS.)

Oh, how it’s a sign of the times! I hope we continue to see an explosion of these non-traditional¬† colours season after season. Whatever the impetus was for the beauty industry doing a handstand and producing them is worth investigating.

Could it be that more women are getting tired of being force-fed gender stereotypes even when it comes to the makeup they choose to wear? Maybe modern women are flipping off the cosmetic companies and demanding originality.

Ahhh…It’s a good day for feminism!

Blog News: I’m Gunning for You

FeminismCheck it – this feminist blog got a new layout. Where’s the badass black-and-white graphic with a menacing hailstorm of glocks and various guns? Yeah, I miss it, too. But I sacrificed it for superior blog navigation.

(Don’t worry – there will still be tons of glock/gun images sprinkled throughout.)

These days, my financial situation is tighter than this dude’s pants. Sooo…I’m using a free WordPress account until I win the lottery (not likely since I don’t buy tickets) or Warren Buffett takes pity on me and showers me with mad cheddah (again, not likely).

What does having a free WordPress account mean? I can’t modify the templates.

My previous layout had the navigation on the bottom, and it was a hot, jumbled mess. I’m pretty sure that most readers found it quite frustrating to have to scroll all the way down the page before being able to read other posts. It drove me bonkers!

While my new grassy-spring template here isn’t nearly as hardcore (Waaahhh!), I do like how everything is easily accessible on the right sidebar (e.g. calendar, archive, categories).

Now that I’m finally happy with my layout, I’m going to try to blog more often.

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