Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cristy Road's "Bad Habits"

I can't remember the first time I met this wacky Florida girl Cristy Road who had named herself after the Green Day Song "Christy Road", but I think the first time I heard of her was '97 or '98. She used to call the mail order phone at Lookout and want to talk about Green Day and all things related. Rop, always willing to indulge a girl in the cutest of ways talked to her every day I think. The legend is she would call every day after school and yap about anything on her mind. She's still sort of like that, only now she's an amazing and accomplished artist and published graphic novel author. Rop likes to take credit for turning her on to riot girl and we can let him, 'cuz I think we're all luckier for it.

Her new book "Bad Habits: A Love Story" is out now and she's doing readings all over the place including one at my local barnes and noble this Thursday! I'm so proud!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hot Love: Swiss Punk & Wave 1976-1980

I got this book for the Maximum Rocknroll archive after seeing it at Ooga Booga, and having looked through it over the past few months still feel like I haven't gotten to the bottom of it. Kleenex/Liliput were the only band I really knew about from Switzerland, and I think that band offers such a complete world inside a record in terms of their aesthetic, sound and band idea that in my mind there had to be more similarly minded bands in existence that just didn't get recorded or recognized. The book is huge, like two phone books split in half maybe, and set up like a scrap book. So there are tons of pictures of cool looking punk girls, homemade bondage shoes, fliers and zines, degenerate squats and collapsing practice spaces... Ramona from The Mo-dettes has an excellent piece that covers the history of her punk life, from art school in Geneva to the London squat scene.... I actually had no idea she was Swiss; she named herself are seeing The Ramones play, which is so dreamy. She just makes being in The Mo-dettes seem like endless kicks and mishaps that brught to mind the nature of their sound, complex, thoughtful, rambunctious pop music. It's great reading a complete other history of that era from the perspective of a woman who was in one of my favorite bands; I don't know, sometimes it seems like punk is eulogized by THAT SAME DUDE in a way that takes it out of reach and makes it into some weird weighty HISTORIC EVENT that is not open to participation or question. My favorite thing about the book was the fractured nature of the presentation, the millions of voices and ideas and images. It really represents to me the possibilities that DIY culture offers. Also the fact that it (punk? DIY culture?) works better/is more exciting and expansive when it exists in the cracks outside of 'rock' history... There is a great roundtable between all these women from the scene, fanzine writers, guitarists, singers, artists... including Sara from TNT who are a band you HAVE to investigate! Total insane punk lady vocals and falling apart music... Marlene from Liliput/Kleenex (there's the dreamiest picture of her in Bazooka bubblegum shirt, leopard print pants and jean seberg haircut in total transfiguration of ready for action guitar hero pose...)At anyrate this book offers a refreshing perspective on what punk is or was or could be, and speaking as someone who is totally immersed in a world which sometimes seems so defined and concrete tomb like in doctrine and costume this book was a reminder of potential realities, punk rock as an endless adventure.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Girl I Left Behind: A Narrative History of the 1960’s and How Women Transformed America by Judith Nies

I have been reading this on and off for the past few months and it is (also) overdue at the library so I'm trying to finish it up. While I enjoy the feminist memoir and 1960's cultural history, and am sort of obsessed with "second-wave" feminism, this is not a particularly thrilling or radical example of that kind of thing.
First off, who is Judith Nies and why do we care what she thinks?! I'm half way through the book and I'm still trying to figure it out. Her point of view and life experience is biased by her privilege, but she's smart enough to try and position herself accordingly. Unfortunately, there are still some things she seems to miss, but no one is perfect I guess, at least she is trying...and though it may be be my own position in the world (white, American, fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel outside the U.S. occasionally and to be in school, etc) that enables me to tolerate her limited perspective--I find her story compelling. Maybe it's because I don't actually know any women like this, despite knowing several her age.
She frames her memoir as a record of feminist transformation. She says she wants her daughter to understand how things changed for women in her lifetime, and how those changes were accomplished through feminist movement. She doesn't just focus on gender, but discusses imperialism, specifically the war in Vietnam, and world affairs generally. Her discussion of race and class is predictably less than complete, but it is in there, some, though it is also glaringly absent at times. Her class analysis tends to focus more on the difference between the upper middle-class (her circumstance) and the billionaires who run the world than on any kind of sustained critique of how economic stratification is maintained by global capitalism and what that means for the lives of ordinary working-class people; which is another severe limitation of her work. This informs her idea of what feminism is, so you have to be kind of critical when you are reading it if you don't want that to seep into your consciousness.
The book starts out with the discovery she has an F.B.I. file and then back tracks. She obtains a degree in International Affairs at a time when most educated women were placed in secretarial or teaching positions. Had she been better connected, she would have probably found work at the C.I.A. or perhaps the Pentagon--she studied with Condoleeza Rice--instead, circumstances lead her to study abroad, where she meets people who were critical of U.S. imperialism (see the history of U.S. and Iran, Guatemala and later, Vietnam) Shortly after the Gulf of Tonkin resolution passes, she goes back to the US to seek employment. She ends up working for an employment agency, probably because of the amount of time her and her friend spend trying to find meaningful work for women with master's degrees. It's 1966, she just had an illegal abortion in Italy and is reading Tom Wolfe at work. She promises herself she will quit her office job and move to Washington D.C. as soon as she finishes the last chapter. That's about how far I have gotten. As I understand it, she ends up working for the first Senator who opposed the Vietnam War, with all of the obligatory sexual harassment that kind of work entailed at the time (and probably still does). Not sure what happens next, but I imagine she becomes a mom, divorces her husband and becomes a feminist, faces challenges in a professional field dominated by men--not necessarily in that order.
While this book has its limitations--some may find her younger self's naivety about the world not as endearing or incredibly interesting as she seems to think it is--her attempt to locate her personal story in its social context is a worthwhile pursuit; as is her effort to document the social history of her generation. So, while it's not my favorite by any means, and I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, if you are interested in the experience/thoughts of someone like this as well as the subject matter, then it's worth your time. It actually reads pretty fast, it's just taking me too long to finish it because I am reading, like 20 other books, all the time. I'm sort of scatterbrained like that.

Here are a few other books that I think are better, if you are into memoirs by radical women of the 1960's

With the Weathermen: A Personal History of the Weather Underground by Susan Stern

and local favorite:

Outlaw Woman by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

p.s. I'm also reading Freewheelin' with Bob Dylan by Suze Rotolo, which I absolutely LOVE

--And here is the rest of it.

Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity

Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity - Anne Elizabeth Moore

This book is overdue to the library and I've been putting off returning it until I could take time to write about it. The problem is that there is so much I want to say.

Unmarketable is about the intersection of corporate marketing and DIY/underground culture.
Moore gives examples of instances when advertising agencies have created campaigns using graffiti (both legal and illegal), appropriated imagery and phrases from punk bands, and hired underground artists/writers/zine makers to create work or run events.

It's not as simple as pointing out the sell-outs... she acknowledges that the slippery slope is dotted with what seem like sensible trade-offs. She even writes about her own experiences running a zine-making workshop sponsored by Starbucks.

In contrast to corporately-produced culture she returns again and again to an idea of undergound/DIY cultural production as being defined by integrity and passion. To me, this is too simplistic. Blatant self-interest is also a driving force, for instance. People do things partly for cred... cultural capital (Pierre Bourdieu) or subcultural capital (Sara Thornton). I don't think this diminishes the importance of this kind of work. (I also don't think it's necessary to claim that the products of the DIY/undergound sphere are more entertaining, involving or of a higher artistic quality than the products of the mainstream culture industry.)

As part of the connection between marketing and underground culture she criticizes the Adbusters-type detournement of advertising. At its most simplistic, this takes the form of something like the "Joe Camel" ads remade as "Joe Chemo." Her view is that as an anti-consumerist message this type of work is counterproductive: "Just Don't Do It" fails as an anti-Nike statement because it reinforces the centrality of Nike and their slogans in our culture. In this way, corporations benefit from brand recognition regardless of whether the association is positive or negative.

She holds up Ian MacKaye and Dischord as examples of underground integrity, both for the usual reasons and also particularly for avoiding what she would consider the pitfall of responding to a major corporation's appropriation of their imagery.

When a major athletic shoe company ran an ad campaing that blatantly appropriated the cover of the first Minor Threat 7" Dischord got them to halt the campaign but did not sue or seek money damages.

A lawsuit or settlement would have meant that Dischord had a) set a price on xxxx's use of the imagery, even if it was after the fact and b) allowed the US courts to decide the matter. It also would tie Minor Threat/Dischord to the shoe company in the public discourse. Following from the argument Moore builds about brand recognition - even when such recognition is not positive - being the top priority for corporations the athletic shoe company would benefit from their brand being tied to the name Minor Threat.

Dischord's response - to just accept that the ad campaign was pulled and then drop the subject - is fascinating: in an economy based on participation, withdrawal becomes a form of resistance.

This has parallels to the idea of exodus discussed by Hardt and Negri in Empire, and the kind of anti-protocological actions discussed by Galloway in Protocol.

Moore doesn't really go into online culture but the rise of the social networking sites is even more insidious in terms of how cultural resistance is exploited for corporate ends.

I am glad that this book exists, especially because Unmarketable comes from within the sphere that it speaks about: Moore is a fanzine maker and a former writer/editor/co-publisher of Punk Planet. I would like to see more serious attempts to understand and strategize independent/underground cultural production that come from and are directed at the participants.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Physics and Psychophysics of Music

Do books for school count? This is the sort of book I'd probably pick up to browse through at the library, but I don't think I'd check it out. So it's good to have to read it for a class I'm taking on acoustics. I love acoustics and psychoacoustics and neuropsychology, so the book is very intriguing. I guess it's considered a seminal book on the subject. It's written by a physicist but there's very little physics or math. I don't understand all the formulas and charts, but the verbal descriptions are easy to comprehend. I'm only on the second chapter, though, so maybe it will get tougher as I continue reading.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

working sex: sex workers write about a changing industry

considering the source, i had very high expectations of this book. the height was merited.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

from the introduction by annie oakley:
"Sex workers telling stories, humanizing ourselves through the sharing of experience and insight, punctures the bloated dream of consumption without consequence. It puts a real face on the mythological creatures that are the subject of so much fantasizing and demonizing. It moves us from a weird landscape populated by iconography of people's fears and desires to a tangible, relatable reality; and only from there can we begin to be taken seriously as people deserving of safety, agency, and respect."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

On Prisons, Borders, Safety, and Privilege: An Open Letter to White Feminists

Borders (or, Who Crosses, and Who Cares)

"Prominent white feminists often say they are organizing against violence, for safety. So where have they been while working-class immigrant women have been pulled from their homes and workplaces, often separated from their young children, in immigration raids across the United States in recent months?

Brownfemipower of Women of Color Blog has written extensively about how popular white feminist bloggers failed to quickly and substantially cover the specific damage done to women during a major immigration raid in New Bedford, Massachusetts, early last year. New Bedford was not an anomaly: immigration raids -- many of them marked by multiple forms of violence, including surprise attack; immediate separation of parents and their young children; racist and sexist abuse of people held in binary-gender-segregated immigration-detention facilities; deportation itself; and the creation of the constant fear that the next one could happen anywhere, anytime -- are happening all the time, all over the United States.

Immigrant communities are living in near-constant fear, with little "safety"; women and trans and gender-nonconforming people are suffering gender-based violence at the hands of federal immigration officials; and the movement for immigration-policy reform is arguably the largest mass movement in the United States today.

Where are white feminists?

As far as I can tell, white feminists' "solidarity" with the immigrants' rights movement amounts to occasionally featuring a woman who works at an immigrants' rights nonprofit in a publication or panel, and occasionally mentioning a sensational case of violence against a particular immigrant woman on a blog. I was at the mass May Day marches for immigrants' rights in 2006 and 2007 in Los Angeles, and I saw no notable presence of any of the major U.S.-based feminist organizations. In 2007, I could find no mentions of the upcoming marches, or report-backs the next day, on popular feminist blogs. Hundreds of -- some places millions -- of people were on the streets for social justice. Where were white feminists?"

This is an excerpt from a powerful piece written for Make/Shift by Jessica Hoffman.

I just subscribed and ordered all the back issues. I will post more soon, but wanted to post this today because it feels urgent.

Where Wizards Stay Up Late

Where Wizards Stay Up Late - Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon
I picked this up because while I was reading Protocol I decided I wanted some more background on how the Internet was developed . It is literally a blow by blow account of the building of the Internet, funding, hardware decisions, development of protocols, etc. The authors make the case that the Internet was not developed specifically to withstand a nuclear attack (as has often been said) but rather to be a reliable network for sharing scientific research. This is despite an early 1960s report by the Rand Corporation that focused on the need for a distributed network to keep military command and control intact in the event of such an attack. It is a good read up to a point but the authors go way overboard in the amount of personal detail about the various engineers and programmers - down to what they ate, their quirky behaviors, etc. This would be fine if the story centered on a small group of people that you followed through the book, but the book introduces a couple dozen people so it ends up being a clutter of superficial details. I did like the image of electrical engineers in the 1960s using the symbol for electrical resistance as an anti-war statement though.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization

Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization - Alexander Galloway, MIT Press

The internet continues to be framed in terms of its radical potential - the smashing of hierarchies, the expanded access to information, the ability to participate in public forums.

Galloway, however, theorizes the Internet in terms of its "materiality" - its hardware and operational protocols - in order to uncover how mechanisms of control are built into its structure. While TCP/IP - the protocols that govern how packets of information are broken up and find their way across the web - distribute control, DNS - the Domain Name System that resolves World Wide Web domain names into numerical internet addresses - is strictly hierarchical. For Galloway, a "protocological" analysis is one that focuses on what is possible or allowed in the system, rather than on the meaning or content of individual messages within the system.

In a society that increasingly falls into a distributed network mode rather than the decentralized hierarchies of the modern bureaucracy, such an analysis has implications outside of media technology studies. Galloway includes several examples of art/activist responses that test the limits of the system.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I throw MOVIEPARTY around a lot. Thats what I call my blog, thats the 'brand' I put on my videos and as of lately that is what I am calling my night at Dunes. I'm currently trying to do a monthly screening of videos and films at MOVIEPARTY created by and for feminists movie enthusiasts. The first of these screenings will be held November 6th. I'm posting this in hopes that people would like to submit things for this event. if you're interested please contact me at nadiabuyse@yahoo.com

Monday, September 15, 2008


Zippy strips here and there

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

I finished this book a couple weeks ago. It surprisingly came off as relatively non-biased, even though it takes on an industry that is not only unfavorable but basically terrifying. Almost every aspect that this book covers of the american food industry has a sympathetic character at some point, from owners of franchises to cattle ranchers. It's definitely one of those fact-confirming books, like everyone has ideas about the horrid things that happen within the food industry, and this confirms it, and then goes into detail about it. Some things that were mega-interesting to me was that the flavor of most food (the processed kind) is completely designed and engineered in a lab and that the difference between "natural" flavors and "artificial" flavors is basically non-existent. It was also really fascinating to read about how the "cleanest" meat usually ends up in fast food and that the gnarliest meat, the stuff that can't be sold to the general public, is instead used in school lunches. I know that this idea is obvious and everything, but it's completely deplorable that this country puts so little value into education, even down to the food that's provided. School food always makes me think of this time I had a job taking yearbook photos, and I was at some Olympia school working and they had a huge cart of vegetables in the main hallway, and it was totally fine for kids to just leave class for a vegetable break and go and grab some carrot sticks. It was the coolest thing ever!!!!!

This subject also makes me think of the slow food movement. There are a lot of aspects that I completely agree with and am excited about, such as making a connection between what's on your plate, where it came from, and how it got there, or sustainability, or the idea of preserving regional differences and stopping the homogenization of the world. However, and slow food advocates continually deny this, but there is such a huge class gap in this that I feel like a lot of these ideas are rendered useless. A couple weeks ago there was this whole slow food festival weekend, and past the fact that they made some of the civic center grounds into a garden, almost nothing was free. All the workshops and lectures and stuff were all in the $20 range, while actual slow food meal parties or whatever tended to land in the $50 range. The parts of the population (and I'm mainly talking about the U.S. here) that would benefit the most from education about these ideas, and implementing these ideas into everyday life are poor people and people below the poverty line, and at this point the slow food movement doesn't seem to have taken the time to reach out to and include these populations into the movement. I think it would be much more valuable and revolutionary to take these basically anti-corporate ideas and make them so they weren't so built for upper-middle class.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis

Just finished it the other day, then re-watched the film. I was surprised to notice that the screenplay was written by two women and the director was also a woman. The book is incredibly darker - much more horrid and sinister than the film, the latter which merely skims the surface of a story and character that is so complex and chilling. What I enjoyed most about the book, er, appreciated, er, not sure what word to use - well, of the writer's strategy, was the slow build regarding the character's psychotic tendencies, how well these were blended in with a constant barrage of brand names, designer label references, and the insidiously vapid conversations of the rich and bored New York elite. I'd seen the film years ago and was struck by Bale's incredible performance, so I had him in mind as I read, (which wasn't particularly difficult as most of the dialogue in the film was verbatim from the book) and then re-watching the film gave me an even deeper appreciation of Bale's range and abilities. But the reason I wanted to read the book is that there was a question that my first viewing of the film had left unanswered - and it still is...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Too Cool To Be Forgotten? Hmm....

Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson is a recent graphic novel about a middle aged man (40) who gets hypnotized to quit smoking and finds himself a 15 year old in 1985--back in high school again. I got it at the library because 1) I'm a sucker for time travel 2) the character is my age (class of '87) 3) I was hoping the story might offer some interesting insight into the 80's/00's youth/middle age 4) I'll pretty much read anything in comic book form ....
...well it's really not good! oh well. I mean, I guess I would recommend this if you are stuck somewhere and have to kill time, but it's full of uninteresting cliches, bad storytelling and doesn't have much to say, generally. I was thinking that the art, while not great, was probably the most interesting part, but then Pete Best picked it up and said "this art is terrible". ha! I mean, that could have been a stylistic assessment, but I took it to mean it wasn't done well, which is something I'm not really qualified to evaluate...still, I do think this drawing is the best part:

Anyhow this brings me back to one of my themes, which is, I'm not sure how to evaluate a work of fiction here, other than to express a personalized reaction to it. Your thoughts?
Also, I know there are some comics fans on here...taking suggestions! I think I have to stop checking out things featured in mainstream entertainment magazines.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blogs/websites etc.

This blog has introduced me to a lot of good books. I really appreciate reading everybody's discussion of them, but with each new post I also get slightly dismayed, because my dream of reading every good book is made progressively more impossible.

This blog also made me realize I do a lot of reading on the internet. I know I'm not alone in this, so I was hoping people would let me know about what blogs/websites they love. I don't know if there are as many good websites I've never heard of as good books I've never heard, but I would sure like to find out. Please divulge away.

I'll start by plugging my newest exciting discovery. Its not a book or a blog, but since many of us went to Evergreen, lets just say its a text and include it. What I'm talking about is the Pacifica radio show Against the Grain. I had never heard of it until earlier today when a friend texted me assuming I had listened to the recent episode with Slavoj Zizek. After he told me what he was talking about, I downloaded the Zizek episode and an episode on Decolonization. Both were excellent. Now I can't wait to dig into the rest of the show's massive archive which includes topics like Social Movements, Feminism and War and Tolstoy's anarchism. They're gonna be awesome.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Reward & Punishment: American Hunger

since my office moved i've been listening to an assortment of library Books-on-Tape while filling orders. i've picked up a bunch at random, just whatever is on the shelf and i discovered i'm pretty picky. on our last tour, joaquin-the-roady & i listened to Crime and Punishment as read by some British dweeb. it was terrible (and annotated) and i knew it would be bad because i had already listened to the whole thing once-- on the spider and the webs europe tour--but on tour you get so sick of listening to each other talk that putting on a book on tape is sometimes the most effective way to achieve a moment's peace--so we endured it to the end and now i will never be able to read Dostoevski without hearing a British thespian pronounce Russian names in a snooty, over-dramatic accent! oh well, i have a tendency to dislike classics-in-translation but force them on myself as a regimen--still the audio book seems like cheating, if doing push up's on your knees is cheating--maybe it's just exercising different muscles?

well, this is all to say that all the audio books i have started have been insufferably bad and since i'm not in van-jail and have access to infinite pod-casts, radio shows and mp3 playlists, i haven't finished them. i did, however, check out a Book-on-CD of Louis Menand essays (which i don't recommend as an audio book) called American Studies and became intrigued by his piece on Richard Wright....I read American Hunger a few weeks ago, then discovered it is the second volume of a two-part biography that is now available in the revised-edition of Black Boy. American Hunger was censored by the Book-of-the-Month club. Wright was the first African-American novelist to have work available through the club, but when he submitted his autobiography for their consideration, he was told he needed to take out the parts about his involvement in the American communist party and that most of the sex would be censored--as a result, American Hunger (part 2 of Black Boy) was published as a separate edition, after he died. so I read the second part first and now am reading the first part second. i haven't read any of his fiction yet, but his life story is intense, as is his need to read as a means of psychic survival. the writing is pretty real, it will hit you in the gut. here's an example, he's writing about how his mother's early death impacted him:

"At the age of twelve, before I had had one full year of formal schooling, I had a conception of life that no experience would ever erase, a predilection for what was real that no argument could ever gainsay, a sense of the world that was mine and mine alone, a notion as to what life meant that no education could ever alter, a conviction that the meaning of living came only when one was struggling to wring a meaning out of meaningless suffering."

i highly recommend spending an afternoon or two on it if you haven't read his work yet.

so the lesson is, even though these Books-on-whatever format other than paper seem to suck, you can still discover cool stuff, so i guess it's worthwhile and i'm going to keep exploring the medium. but i am taking suggestions for audio books! i have had bad luck even with books by authors i know i like. i think it is its own particular format and needs to be thought of in that way. clearly that is the case. does anyone listen to them regularly? please advise.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What comes first-the music or the words?

I've been reading Alan Moore, along with a bunch of other stuff.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

joshua plague and local zinesters at the olympia timberland library

Vegan Cooking Demo & Zine Reading with Joshua Ploeg, aka "Joshua Plague"

my fabulous co-worker Kelsey has put this program together...

Traveling vegan chef, food writer, musician and zinester Joshua Ploeg will demonstrate vegan cooking techniques. Joshua sang for hardcore bands Behead the Prophet and the Mukilteo Fairies, has published several cookbooks and zines, and worked as a food columnist. Local zinesters will read their work following the demo. If you're curious about independent publishing or vegan cooking, please join us!

the other three local zinesters who are reading:
Zach Mandeville (he writes funwater awesome)
Chelsea Baker (works at danger room comics and makes minicomix)
and Nicki Sabalu (wrote a zine about working in new orleans after hurricane katrina).

Event Type: Adult Program
Date: 9/6/2008
Start Time: 2:00 PM
End Time: 4:00 PM

green getaways with V.C. Andrews

Escaping from NY is a common theme for many of us who live here in the city. It's wonderful to have so many places to go within just a few hours of train or driving but everything requires lots of detailed planning and can be a pain in the butt! We decided to make this weekend "green" by taking our bikes on the train to go back and forth to the beach (only 3 miles from the hotel we were at.) Yay us!

Anyway, one of the sweet not too widely known about spots is Greenwich Point Beach, easily accessible from the Old Greenwich metro north train station. Besides being a relatively quiet beach visited by mostly locals, having a decent snack bar with veggie burgers as well as your standard dogs and fried clam sandwiches, it has a lending library of books beach goers have left behind. The pickings were pretty slim but I was happy enough to stumble upon Garden Of Shadows by V.C. Andrews.

I actually never read Flowers In The Attic when I was a kid although I did see some part of a movie version at some point. It seemed creepy and I never did like the idea of confinement, preferring tales of greenery and liberty like The Secret Garden and Ballet Shoes. Garden of Shadows is a fantastic read as in, it takes 2 seconds to finish and is super creepy (incest, god, sexism) therefore entertaining, but how can it be for kids??