Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All About Hair

While Vancouver has been gearing up for the imminent Olympic Games and my anger issues have been ballooning to previously unforeseen levels, an entirely different transformation has been taking my hair.

That’s right. I, Ivy Donegal, have stopped using Shampoo, a decision prompted by the interweb and my own reckless abandon. A few short weeks ago, if you had asked me to stop rubbing various perfumed medicinal ingredients on my skull every day, I would have said, “No,” and also, “ew.” And I would have been wrong.

Despite popular belief, hair that lacks shampoo and conditioner does not smell. It does not fall out of your head, or turn into dreadlocks. It does not become one large, unattractive oil slick. It does get oily - and then this oil builds up and coats you entire head of hair, changing its texture and look, though not in an unattractive way....for me, my hair looked progressively worse for about four days, before it started looking better. And by “better,” I largely mean “different,” with more body, increased shine, and the ability to curl. (Curly hair might not be a good thing, since it tends to make me look like a well trained, vertical poodle.)

But that’s just me.

If you yourself are contemplating the poo-less plunge, I suggest lots of research and careful consideration, as well as acknowledgement that the au natural look may not work for you... After all, a hundred years ago nobody used shampoo, but a lot of those people probably looked like crap.

I, however, have always been an embracer of radical, debilitating hair styles - from dreadlocks (age 16 for one month), pixie cuts (age 18 for one year), to shaving off your hair completely (age 22...bad decision). So the decision to go head-first into a world of potentially smelly hair was a thing I took in stride. And so far, it’s a very happy thing (I’ve gotten more hair compliments in the last three weeks than any time in recent history), but please, decide for yourself. And give me lots of credit, should your poo-less hair turn out to look amazing.

Oh, and the feeling of enlightened superiority you’ll get every time a shampoo commercial comes on TV...amazing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Fatigued Rage

I’m tired.

I’m tired of the Vancouver police pulling innocent men out of their homes at 2am and beating them so severely that their facial bones were fractured and their eye swollen shut. I am tired of statements released to the press of “attempting to hit officers, resisting arrest,” hastily withdrawn, and icy apologies which fail to account for the problem: NOT police incompetence (though that's not good, I suppose), but police brutality and a total lack of public accountability. (The 911 call regarding domestic violence came from the basement apartment - Oops!)

I am tired of the Olympics, which has all the feel of a military coup, and will make my commute marginally more difficult. I am tired of the circling black American-military helicopters, and the show of militaristic security which has been proven, time and time again, to make citizens less safe. But more importantly, I am exhausted by the international gathering in a city which has no level of government accountability. I like our mayor, but...ahhhhhh.

We have No Federal Government. Stephen Harper walked out with his middle fingers (metaphorically) raised when the opposition (majority) asked questions regarding Afghanistan torture.

We were (and ARE) implicit in international torture, in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. We still have a child-soldier locked up there, the last dual citizen held in Guantanamo Bay and youngest detainee, and all because our government has declined to ask for his return. (Oh, AND apparently nobody cares that in addition to torture, there's also lots of murdering happening in Gitmo, too.)

I am tired of the "opposition," who apparently completely forgot about their plans to take over the government last year (distracted by something shiny, no doubt). I am tired of their laissez fair attitude, and I am tired of the failed party system and the entire failed political structure. I am tired of the Queen of England, and I am tired of the Governor General, and I am tired that we as Canadians simply don't care enough to revoke our status as monarchy.

I am tired of the provincial government, where a voter turnout of 30% is considered an optimistic guess for the next election, because no party feels it necessary to shake up the status quo and elect an electable leader.

I am tired of being implicit in all of these things, because I do not know what to do to change them, and I have allowed, along with the rest of my country, for these systems to continue despite full knowledge of their failures.

Do I need to riot in the streets? Would anybody join me, or...would I just be shot?

Something Grows

Today, I was weeding my garden in the rain (as one does) in an attempt to clear out the refuse accumulated during the winter months, as well as the skeletal and morbid remains of the previous growing season (mostly corn stalks, a few blackened beans, and bamboo).

I have been told by most gardening experts lurking on the interweb that, each year, plants must be replanted from scratch every year, or at least that is the case if you live in Canada and the temperatures regularly drop below the freezing point. Which seems fair enough to me - gardening yields delicious things, delicious things are valuable, and valuable things are never produced very easily.

I haven't been in my garden for months - it sits, neglected, and reminds me that I used to be an outdoorsy person, or at least more outdoorsy than I am today, or perhaps just the sort of person who would occasionally spend an hour outside. During the winter months of perpetual rain and doom, this is difficult, and like most Vancouverites, I enter a state that is somewhere between "catatonic" and "emotionally dead."

This changed when, two days ago, the sun came out, prompting the people of Vancouver to dance in the streets and be merry. I came home during my lunch break to play with my frolicking band of puppies, and found myself sitting in a patch of sun, warm, happy, and plucking away at dandelions (who I think of as my hive-brained arch-nemesis). This led to a bout of full-blown weeding and, within twenty-four hours, I was composting, clearing, and planting absolutely everything I could, including a Meyer lemon seed which I'm praying will grow into a replacement of my dearly deceased lemon tree, Cecil. (I will name the new tree "Cecily," in his honor.)

Today, it was cold and rainy again, and so gardening was not especially fun. But I made a discovery which confuses me: my carrots, apparently, never stopped growing. The ground of my garden is crowded with babies in certain areas, and in others, a lone, behemoth carrot looms. Some are rotten, some are soft, but for the most part they seem crunchy and enthusiastically orange. So...what happened here?

I'm a bit concerned - these carrots have turned ferral. They were once employed to serve humanity, and now they have discovered that they are self sufficient; no longer servile and weak, they are independent and  strong. How long before they realize that I am the enemy - and how long before they seek their revenge?

Note to self: Do not trust the carrots. Compost at earliest convenience.

Good day.