Sunday, November 02, 2008

Election Time

Its Election TIME!!!! WHOOOO.... only a few more days... I cannot wait. I got a transfer to Los Angeles last tuesday and now I am running the West Hollywood office until our more experienced directors come back from election work. Then, I move back to San Diego and start as an assistant director in the San Diego offices. I'm so glad to be back in southern california. I'm totally a socal girl!

Today I found a studio apartment in San Diego and put in an application. Tomorrow i put in my security deposit, and then I move in on the 15th! I'm so excited! My first apartment! Life is moving along... quickly. Once I get settled in a few weeks, I'll get a chance to start blogging about more interesting stuff. ;-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

San Francisco

Hola folks.... from Silicon Valley! I've been living and working in Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area for almost a month now. I have been so busy that that I hardly have a chance to think... thus nothing new to write about until now.

San Fransisco and the Bay Area is UNBELIEVABLY liberal. I've never been anywhere like this before. My shock and amazement of San Diego liberal is in comparison rather conservative. I have yet to figure out what exactly though all this liberal-ness is. I can't quite describe it. The area has a rather odd sisterhood with NYC and Ithica (NY), as well as Boulder (Colorado), Portland (Oregon), and Seattle. Despite its liberal tendencies, I have had a rather difficult time finding gluten free food. Although the problem lies mostly in that I have found 2 restaurants/stores in 30 days that speaks enough English for me to describe my food "allergies". If the servers/managers/staff speak english then they always seem to know what gluten is. If they don't speak English, I have a hard time even communicating that I need to avoid wheat. My attempts to explain that I cannot eat wheat, barley, and rye, as well as soy and dairy has even resulted in the staff looking at me and asking whether or not I just asked for a job. AAHHHH!

Currently I'm running an office here for Environment California (www.environmentcalifornia.org) and it has been a lot of hiring, training & managing staff (as well as firing several people) and all the administrative parts of running an campaign office. I work at least 12 hours a day, plus a 35 min. commute each way. Add 7-9 hours of sleep and that leaves me with about 2 hours to cook food (or find food in most cases), take a shower, talk to a few people on the phone, and read a bed time story. My "bedtime story" these days is Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman, the NY Times columnist on foreign policy and economics.

All that aside, life is going well. Albeit stressful. Vernon, a mutual friend of mine and Adam's that worked with us over the summer in San Diego is now running another office in the Bay Area. Last weekend we visited San Fransisco and saw sights in the Bay Area. Yesterday I had a regional meeting/training in Berkley with all the other NorCal offices (Northern California- there are 5 total). Vernon and I spent the night in San Fransisco and then took a hike in the Redwood forests this morning. I found the experience extremely refreshing and sad at the same time. I have missed the forests, fields, and water of upstate New York and the brief hike was wonderful. However, the effects of climate change (that I have chronicled in Europe and San Diego) are visibly evident in the Redwood forests here, which made me very sad. I wonder whether or not if in the next 50 years we lost our ecosystems even at the same rate that has been occurring in the past 50 years, how many of our forests and water bodies and natural environments will still be alive and thriving? Will my children get the chance discover an owl, a deer, or even a snake or a bear wild in the forest, or will they only see them in a zoo?

This book I have been reading by Thomas Friedman has made me think more and more as I get deeper into it. My work with Environment California dovetails closely with the concepts Thomas Friedman lays out in his book, although in a much simpler, 30 second version. I don't agree with everything has written about, but he has some very interesting theories and proposals. With the current economic crisis, I wonder how we will ever be able to deal with our energy crisis. Our dependency on oil and other fossil fuels has led to skyrocketing energy costs and global warming. However, we have the technology to harness the wind, sun, and other homegrown, clean energy sources. But there is no political willpower to do even what scientists call for as a minimum. Looking back at US history however, I am both afraid and thankful for this economic slippery slope. Perhaps I am over simplifying, but the 20's were an era of decadence, greed, independence and over-abundance. Then the stock market crashed. The Great Depression happened. But we pulled out of it by harnessing our innovation and reinventing our society. We don't have much time if were are to reduce our global warming pollution to avert even the worst parts of dramatic climatic changes everywhere, all over the globe. But this economic down-spin we are in may be a blessing in disguise. Nothing so far has spurred us enough to confront this challenge of systemic change in our energy production, consumption, and conservation. I certainly don't want this path, but I'm afraid it may be one of the only viable ones left.

Such challenging issues... and yet my greatest frustration is that so many Americans are oblivious to it all. Why do the rural Chinese and Africans, and news giants in Saudi Arabia, as well as the business class on India and even entire governments in Europe are acknowledging and even addressing these problems and we have yet to agree on whether or not they exist yet? This goes beyond simple apathy to plain ignorance, which fortunately is a solvable problem.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Moving

Its been crazy the past month. I've been working a lot harder at the office recently. I have been helping train directors to be sent to swing states and now I'm the only field manager. I have to plan where we work every day and lots of paperwork. We just closed our Human Rights Campaign project, advocating for equal employment legislation in congress that would end employment discrimination (it's still legal in 30 states to fire someone for being "Gay"). We were also chosen as a testing office from the national headquarters in Boston to try out a new campaign for legalizing Same-sex Marriage. Of course, with same-sex couples having been grated that right here in California, it has been an exciting project to work on. There is a ballot proposition this fall to add an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage, so of course, there has been lots of support and debate (and opposition). Working out in the field and talking about this issue has been eye opening.

We had a brief intersession with Environment California this last week, working on our previous Global Warming Campaign, and then on Tuesday we start a campaign on behalf of Environment America to help transition the USA into a clean energy future. Just 2 weeks ago, Governor Schwarzenegger hosted a public panel and town meeting on global warming here in San Diego. We have been mobilizing support for a cap-and-trade system that would require polluters to pay for every ton of pollution that they emit and use the money to reinvest in clean energy solutions such as wind and solar power. It was super exciting to attend the meeting. It reminded me of my days working for the Youth Bureau in NY and also reminded me how much I want to continue doing that work.

The Democratic Convention was exciting news and we are even more excited about McCain's running-mate choice. She is a disaster! She even sued the Bush Administration this spring for putting Polar Bears on the endangered species list! It shall be interesting to see how the next week or so turns out.

Adam left for Denver this morning for training. He is being sent to a swing state, but he doesn't know which one yet. I'm leaving on Tuesday morning for San Francisco. I just found out Thursday that I am being promoted to a directors position. I will be working in Palo Alto, CA in the bay area until after the elections, then returning to San Diego for the remainder of the year. I have made a commitment to work for the Fund for Public Interest until Aug. 09. I'll be working on our street team, which is also another step up in the organization, since only the top canvassers work on street. I'm really excited about it and nervous. I'm salaried staff now! To boot... this was Obama's first major job out of college before he went on to grad school. He worked for the NYC offices.

On a personal note... i have been feeling much better and I am slowly on the path to health, thanks to the help of Adam (he has been there supporting me emotionally and practically), and recently the use of acupuncture and acupressure. I'm actually functioning again. Every month I'm stronger. I know that even a month ago I never would have been able to accept this directors position.

I finished my world history course and have started a new one on the History of the English Language, taught by Seth Lerer of Stanford University. It's quite intersting. I'm also reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

Currently, however, since I am in the process of packing and eating all my food in the fridge before tuesday, I am looking forward to some blending action with my frozen fruit and some rum... all gluten free of course!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

today sucked. one of the houses on my turf, there was a girl screaming. just screaming. it reminded me of when i used to scream. it didn't matter how long or how long... no one came to help me. the police were never called. no one ever believed me. it was as if a door was unlocked in me. i know that something def. happened yesterday at my naet treatment. i was shaking as dr. nahama went thru the NET. i'm scared for tomorrow. all I could think of was the country song by martina mcbride, concrete angel. i always connected to that song without fully understanding why. I always made excuses because there were never stories or songs exactly like what i went thru. but the emotions are the same. and that is all that matters when it comes to pain and healing. what my mother did to me was not right, it was wrong. it wasn't evil. but it killed a part of me. it def. killed a part of me. that screaming... i swore that i would never let that happen to someone else. I contacted the police.

When i got off the phone, i had a difficult time. i felt like i was second guessing myself. i didn't know if i had done the right thing. maybe i was wrong and everything was ok. but what if i was right? the screaming eventually stopped. i sat on the curb for 20 min. the police never showed up. I am confused about it all. if something was seriously wrong, the police were not there when they were needed. what is the point of notifying them at all? life is so fragile. this is a trigger point that i want to deal with. i have a feeling that tomorrow is not going to be easy. i'm dealing with a horrible time in my life. i felt so trapped, alone, watched, manipulated, mistrusted. i was so mistrusted. no matter what i did it wasn't good enough. i had so many problems. my friends left me. my school work was becoming overwhelming. as i tried to take a leadership role in the school, i found myself subjegated to my mothers' watchful eye. she manipulated my teachers! she went thru my school files! she even prevented me from seeking help from the nurse and counseling center. what would inspire her to do this? the screaming never ended. it felt like every night she got angry at me. it was always about my math grades. i was so angry and lost. upset. confused. when i became a woman, it was not celebrated. i was interrogated and made a fool of. i think i locked a part of myself away then. maybe even something died. i don't know if and even what that part of me is anymore and where it is. this is kinda scary.

tomorrow i am having a phone interview for a CD position in sacramento. this is huge. i guess i need sleep. its gunna be a long day tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Help solve high energy costs

"Al Gore took a big risk when he called on us to get 100% of our electricity from cheap, clean sources within 10 years.

It's an achievable goal, but it's already under attack from the oil and coal companies. They're calling his plan unrealistic, impossible, and crazy.

We can turn back Big Oil's attack if hundreds of thousands of us personally endorse Gore's challenge to power our country with 100% cheap, clean energy within 10 years—and then we urge Obama, McCain, and Congress to get on board.

A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to Obama, McCain, and your Senators and Representative" -MoveOn.org

I just signed a petition to support Al Gore's ambitious challenge. Together, we'll urge Obama, McCain, and Congress to get on board.

Can you join me? Just click here:

http://pol.moveon.org/gorechallenge?r_by=-9715266-zXmM4dx&rc=paste

Friday, July 18, 2008

HRC

So, I guess it's been a while. I'm excited and nervous about the upcoming months. Tomorrow I start campaigning for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) at the Hillcrest/San Diego Gay Pride festival. I'll be continuing the campaign while working on "door".... so going door to door and signing up members to support us. Thursday I was promoted to a salaried staff position in the office, so mostly likely 60+ hours a week. Then, sometime in August or September, I'll be sent to a swing state to organize volunteers and voters for the election. When I get back to San Diego after Nov. 4, I have no idea what will happen. Hopefully I'll be hired as an Assistant Director in San Diego, but its not likely. Who knows...

I hope everyone is doing well. My life has become this job. I enjoy it... there is nothing else much new. Other than the fact that Adam and I have been seeing each other for 3 months now. He is sooo sweet. ... smart, responsible, and dignified too. He's kinda cute in the fact that we picked out a book to read together and we go grocery shopping together sometimes. We don't see each other much. But we have been having fun checking out the aquarium in La Jolla, and we went sea kaying for his birthday. ... there were even baby dolphins out in the cove. And the worlds largest (perhaps 2nd) Giant Kelp Bed! I can't wait to get back into school and study again.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July

For me, America feels like a dog eat dog world. Its all about making the most money, even when it means that people die. Of course people are going to be like that all around the world. And I know that it is mostly unintentional. But seems like in America, in order to beat the game, you have to play the game. While in Rome, do as the Romans do.

However, when you live in your own sustainable environment, its not like that.... you just be. You are in control of yourself. Your food and water and shelter you made with your own hands or you know the people that produce/provide what you use. I now realize what it is that made me fall in love with East Frisia. Sure, it had the 19th century charm. But Ostfriesland was largely independently sustainable. They were entirely dependent on local wind and solar energy... even selling off the excess. I could bike to school or the store. My potatoes came from the neighboring town, my milk from my next door neighbor. My tea cup was made locally and the sad part is that only in the past 30 years has items such as clothing and toasters and tourists have brought new items and practices into Ostfriesland. It was a special treat to go to the gelato/ice cream store because it was Italian. It was a unique experience to eat toast because the bread was not made locally. The teahouses now sell coffee at tea time and mixed tea blends. The people of East Frisia created their own environment hundreds of years ago and they know what must be done to sustain it. That means letting the sheep graze on the coastal dikes instead of cows for example. Its honest work. Straight forward.

Unfortunately, that kind of world is dying. Ostfriesland cannot survive on its own anymore without tourists. Everywhere from Pakistan to Tanzania to Oaxaca, to small town USA, people are learning that they have to plug into the outside world for survival, travel farther distances for necessities such as water, food, and gas. Its a scary interdependent world. Dare I even say the catchphrase: globalization? But what happens when those communities don't or can't do so? There are impractical things that simply become impossible when, for example, families in Mozambique must spend 6-12 hours just to obtain a 5-gallon jug of water or the nearest medical clinic to your small Mexican town is a 36 hour walk down the mountains... and they don't even speak your language at the clinic; or even small towns in northern California have no electricity and power because they are too far out in the country and must survive on diesel generators that run on fuel that costs over $5.00 a gallon and the nearest grocery store is 26 miles away. Small communities die from a lack of necessities. But surely, these things are not new in human history. The difference is that instead of these communities dying in their natural cycle as do all communities in the history of the human race, suddenly globalization is an answer, a solution that never was available before.

Mass production and better communication/infrastructure has and continues to make the lives of billions of people better each day. The biggest problem for me right now is that most people don't even realize, or worse yet don't even care that they are being bought out. Their desires, thoughts, values, etc are all shaped by a few corporations that make millions and billions of dollars each year. They are apathetic. The reason that you dive a car on a freeway instead of taking the train is because Ford bought out and created the seedlings of the massive infrastructure we use today over 100 years ago. Or the reason you eat fruit from South America instead of the berries in your backyard is because it is cheaper, or perhaps safer, or even... more convenient? So the question for me is, how can this wonderful yet difficult answer called globalization avoid becoming rampant consumerism? How can small town independence and/or locally sustainable efforts in food/water/energy production be streamlined with globalization efforts? And even more important, what are the consequences if we don't?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Comments

So, for the past 2 months I have been receiving rather derogatory and defaming comments on my blog. I very much enjoy receiving comments and learning from others their opinions. But I would appreciate those comments to be accompanied by a name and not be anonymous, or not be posted at all. THANK YOU!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Million For Marriage petition

Do you want to live in a country that legalizes discrimination? Despite the recent California Supreme Court decision that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is unconstitutional, efforts are underway throughout the country to take away rights from same-sex couples.

I just joined thousands of others in showing my support for marriage equality for all. But recently, proponents of bigotry and hate collected even more signatures in an attempt to invalidate the California Supreme Court decision. And they won't stop with California - extremists are even trying to add a ban of marriage for same-sex couples to the U.S. Constitution.

We are at a turning point in our nation's history and I'm hoping you'll join me in standing up against discrimination. Please sign the Million for Marriage petition and get us one name closer to showing that Americans overwhelmingly support marriage equality!

http://www.MillionForMarriage.org

Every committed couple deserves to enjoy the privileges and responsibilities conferred by marriage. Add your name to the petition and be a part of the movement to fight for marriage equality for all.

Thank you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gas Prices

Wow... so I saw a gas station that was over $4.70 a gallon yesterday. I'm buying a bike any day now. In the meantime, here is some interesting information...

Here are some large companies that do not import Middle Eastern oil:

Sunoco.........................0 barrels

Conoco........................0 barrels

Sinclair.......................0 barrels

BP / Phillips................0 barrels

Hess. ............................0 barrels

ARC0............................0 barrels

Maverick........................0 barrels

Flying J. ........................0 barrels

Valero............................0 barrels

Murphy Oil USA ............. 0 barrels (Sold at Wal-Mart)

The other companies such as ExonMobil, Cheveron, etc are making record profits while also being the largest contributers to global warming pollution. They are also exempt from many industry standards and regulations here in the USA that local companies much comply to. Therefore, they can get away with much more. So, THREE reasons to boycott middle eastern oil. BTW.... if you drive 65 mph, instead of 75 mph, you save 50 cents a gallon when driving!
Driving 60 rather than 65 lowers fuel costs by an additional 20 cents a gallon!!! 55 mph is the ideal speed to save gas however.

Question: What's your advice to the average American who is hurting now, facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline?

President Bush: Wait, what did you just say? You're predicting $4 a gallon gasoline?… I hadn't heard that."

— News conference, Feb. 28, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Gas prices

Gas prices have now hit $4.57 a gallon. This time last year I was paying around $2.80. jeeze. On one hand I totally can't afford this. On the other... I hope gas prices hit $8.00 a gallon! (thats the environmentalist in me speaking). So... my next paycheck, I'm buying a bike. Tomorrow I'm going to the DMV and hoping that I have everything I need to get registered and licensed quickly. I got my smog test yesterday and passed. whooo!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wild Parrots

OMG, so there are totally WILD parrots that live in Southern California. Last week while canvassing I stumbled upon one, literally parading up and down a gate to a house I wanted to go to. I thought it was weird, but I didn't think anything of it. Then yesterday while in Ocean Beach (a community within San Diego) I saw a whole troop of them in the palm trees, squawking and such. I didn't even know parrots were in North America, let alone San Diego. I want to take pictures and post things on my blog here, but my camera lens has stopped working. Its stuck in the camera and wont come out! :*(

But anyway. Parrots. Thats AWEsome.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Canvassing

So, I totally love canvassing. And being healthy. And canvassing while being healthy...

I started on Monday with campaigning (canvassing) and Monday and yesterday were awful. I didn't get anyone to support us on the issue. But my problem was that I didn't have my act together. I couldn't get the information out without sounding like a robot, etc, etc. However, this evening I totally got my act together and did great. I can't wait until next week to do this full time. As for the rest of this week... I'm at the museum. We are having the gallery opening of Georgia O'Keeffe and the Stieglitz (sp?) circle. I wish Georgia O'Keeffe hadn't died, then I would have been able to meet her tomorrow! Schade! We have two more parties this week, Friday and Saturday, that I am also working. Sooooo, should be fun. Its been crazy this week trying to manage the transition between jobs and figure out how to keep my self feed, on time. Pay day is friday... whoooo... I get to make a trip to the DMV and become a California citizen! I'll probably do that next week though when I get through inspections and stuff.

Rwanda Rerun

Just a quick note, violence has escalated in the Darfur-Sudan Conflict. We all have seen movies like Hotel Rwanda or Blood Diamond. Well, this is not a movie.... and this kind of violence is what is going on right now as we speak. The numbers (deaths) add up quickly, so if you care, click on the title of this blog entry, or the following....

http://action.savedarfur.org/campaign/escalation_fb?rk=d1cxfh4q3cIeE

and sign the petition. Please check out the website as well (click on home at the top) and see what else you can do.

.... Never forget we live in a democratic society. Thus, your responsibility is to ACT.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Civil Wars

A rather striking thought (actually several) occurred to me during my world history course today... as we entered into the contemporary era, starting with WWI, there was a great shift in political structures (democracies replaced monarchies), gender relations, living environment (rural to city) and class structures (a decline in land holding aristocracy and an increase in upper class members with wealth based on merchant activities, etc). WWI and WWII were, essentially, western wars. Now, if I were to draw rather loosely upon the infamous Foreign Affairs article, The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel P. Huntington, in that the world could be divided up into relative cultural civilization zones (the West, Latin American, Arab, etc), would it be safe to say that WWI and WWII were essentially "Civil Wars" within the Western civilization?!?! Thus, could we predict that a major theme of our contemporary era is Civil War? ...will the rising powers of Asia, Arab nations, Latin America, Africa eventually be confronted with these civilization-wide civil wars. hmmmm. that kinda gives an interesting macro structure to things.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Global Warming and Gay Rights

So, you all have probably heard, California Supreme Court overturned the ban on gay marriage that was passed in 2000 by a 60% majority via public ballot. Things are crazy here! Its the most amazing feeling to see everyone so happy here in Hillcrest. And for me personally, its liberating. Can you imagine living as a second class citizen? ... never knowing if you will be fired from your job for your sexual orientation or if some gang beats you up, there is no legal recourse whatsoever!?!? I made a vow that I would never marry a guy until gay rights were granted and gays, bi's, lesbians, and trans could marry too.

The fight has just begun though. People are already rallying behind the pro and con sides. There has been a petition to put a constitutional ban on gay marriage on the ballot come this November. So, I've decided to quit my job at the museum (I'll only be working part time on weekends to keep my employee benefits there) and join up again with the organization I was working with this past winter and campaign and organize people here in San Diego to protect and uphold the court decision. GLBT issues have destroyed my family and my life and working on this has never felt so right in my entire life. I won't give up a future of full equality for myself and my family and future generations for anything.

Game Plan: the next 1.5 months we are working on a Global Warming campaign (the second dearest issue in my heart and my obsession for nearly 7 years) and if I make top numbers in our office, I'll be given (hopefully) responsibility for the Human Rights Campaign here in Hillcrest. 92103 baby!

With the CA court being one of the most influential courts in the country, if we can make this happen, it will only be a matter of time before the rest of the country will follow. CA was the first to legalize interracial marriage. This is no different. A poll in 2006 indicated that people are shifting support towards gay rights. In just 6 years, the numbers in opposition went from 61% to only 51%.

On a side note, the Interior Department declared the Polar Bear officially as an endangered species on Wednesday. The idiots, however, left out vital information from the report that will effectively render the polar bear as un-save-able because the only thing that can be done is to prevent the ice from melting.... which idiot Dirk Kempthorne declared is not a significant enough issue to address seeing that the Endangered Species Protection Act is "not designed" to fight global warming. So... what is it designed to do Mr. Secretary of the Interior?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dad's home

So, Dad just got home from a week sojourn on the east coast. I'm happy to see him again! :D I also seem to have inherited a rather pretty ring, and no one knows who it belongs to.

It's been a great week. Paul started his job, and he works evenings, so he sleeps during the day (and so thus it's quiet) and then I get the house to myself at night! I've been cooking all week. There are these funny fruits called loquats here in southern California. Adam has a tree in his apartment complex, so we picked a whole bunch and I made cobbler for him. This picture makes them look bigger than they are. They are only about 2" long.

I had a job interview with a small biotech firm in La Jolla, right across from Torrey Pines Golf Course (where the PGA is held). There are a second round of interviews next week. The woman I interviewed with will call me by Wednesday if she wants to see me again. I'm so nervous! This is the first time I have applied and interviewed for a job that is part of my career. I really need this break, for the experience, and career, and to get back into school. I figure I can get into the UC schools; establish residency and get free tuition. Thus, I need to work for a year and if I get this job (which is full salary, basically at a bachelors' degree pay rate and benefits) it'll work out fine. Next fall (so 1.5 years from now) I'll apply to one of the UC schools, either here in San Diego or something up north where it isn't as expensive to live. The experience from this job will help me get into the super-competitive science programs here, and get a bit out of debt. Plus, La Jolla is the freaking most awesome place in the US. Work gets out at 4:30... by 4:45 i'm on the beach, chillin'!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

San Diego pictures



I forgot how much I love my camera and taking pictures. Here are the koalas at the San Diego zoo (free admission because I am a park employee!) the other picture is me at Mt. Soledad with Adam. That is the pacific ocean! :D

Monday, May 05, 2008

Healthy Becky

So, I just got back from the Doctor, and this totally deserves a public post. I'M HEALTHY! it's seriously like a miracle. Ok, so things aren't perfect and i've got a ways to go before I'm completely put back together, but enough so of a clean bill of health to merit no more doctor appointments for 2 months. WHOO! It's been an amazing week.

The museum closed our major exhibit so traffic is slow and boring, and will be until our Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit opens on the 18th. I've been enjoying working with the administrative aspect of Security as well. I'm no longer working at the deli. I guess I am not very talented at carving meat and cheese and putting them on bread to make a sandwich, but that is ok. I was not liking it at all anyway. I'm going back to the Environment California job and canvassing on May 19th, part-time. I might possibly go full time after I turn 21 in June. I am SO looking forward to that. I won't be a god-damn "child" anymore. I'll have legal rights and the courts in NY can't order me around anymore. Or anyone else for that matter either.

I've started seeing someone here in San Diego and have made some friends. We went to Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, just north of San Diego proper, but still within the "city" limits. It was beautiful. Then we found a neat restaurant in Pacific Beach. It was great because they had gluten free food (Cali is great... so many restaurants have GF menus) and a vegetarian section.

I'm still depressed about Wooster not working out. I got an extension on my scholarship and I would totally do anything to continue doing research with Dr. Edmistion. But, somehow, it just doesn't feel right anymore. My friends are all graduating, I don't have enough funding to finish out, the food and doctors I need are not easily to obtain, and I am not prepared academically for Wooster classes. Its a decision that I need to make before June 6th. I have to renew my drivers license. And whether or not I register in California or Ohio will be the deciding factor. Very, very scary. I found a graduate program/direction that I would like to pursue. It's called Anthropogeny. I just need to get an undergraduate degree. I know what I want to do now, I want to continue doing research. And if I stay here in California, I can get free tuition at a state school.... kinda makes sense, no? Did I mention UCSD (University of California: San Diego) is one of the top research schools in the nation? Jeeze... the only thing to fear is fear itself.

Monday, April 28, 2008

working, and working, and working

so, i've been working hard at my two jobs, both of which are never consistent. I'm trying to catch up on my bills. but it's not working very well. Another round of court battles ensue on may 8th. the last one didn't go so well. it looks like dad and I won't be able to keep ourselves in this apartment. The problem is, that are rent is already the lowest in the area. but the good news is that i got an extension on my scholarship at Wooster, so I might be able to get back in January, yea! ... if we can get through this. I'm sick of living in constant fear. never knowing what will happen. One week everything is going to be ok, the next week the whole world feels like it is collapsing on me. I can go to Wooster, i can't go to Wooster. I can cover all my bills, then I can't. We are going to loose the house and the car gets repossessed, then it isn't. Back and forth, back and forth. Everything.

my spare time (whats left) is taken up by cooking my meals in preparation for the week and reading a bit. I've started making some friends too... so that is fun, hanging out and stuff. its good for me, lol.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Moving on

Increasingly it feels like my parents are fighting over me because it is something to fight about. I don't think very many people could possibly imagine the horror I've been through in the past 3 months. When it comes to money, my parents fight over me so they can get tax write-offs and other support payments to pay off credit cards, mortgages, etc. But when it comes to helping me with medical bills, food, or going to school... forget it. I'm non-existent.

I have dreams and goals. Things I want to do. To see. To be. But it feels like one half of those things I'm being or have been prevented from accomplishing. The other half I'm too afraid of because every time I try to achieve them myself (mind you... without much support or guidance) I often failed. When I succeeded, it didn't matter to my family. I guess I had chosen poor friends because they didn't care much either.

San Diego feels like both my prison and my haven of respite. If I went back to school, would everything just magically be better though? No... But I'd at least like the chance to pretend.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Job

I started my job on Wednesday, and totally love it. I have been working the new India exhibit. I'm so tired because I am on my feet the whole time, but I love being with all the artwork. It is rather inspiring. It makes me want to work harder at learning Hindi. I even got a gift certificate for $25 at amazon, so I bought a book on Hindi, another on eastern philosophy, and a third on meditation today. In conjunction with my homework from my doctors I've been learning how to meditate. One of the galleries next to the India exhibit is full of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I must being doing something right because today I even got a promotion, already! I work 5 days a week, with Monday and Tuesdays off.

I've been learning some interesting things this week about mind-body medicine and have been reading a book called the Mozart Effect. It has been so exciting to work with the Pandora radio and compile genres of music that go along with my Music History course work. I'm slowly working though my World History course. For the first time in as long as I can ever remember, I am starting to feel well again. My blood sugar is starting to stabilize and I'm sleeping normally again.

I've become such a strong person. I'm going to make it through!

Monday, March 03, 2008

America has the best health care in the world

I just realized something kind of scary. I have been trying to come to terms with socialized medicine versus a privatized health care system like our own. One of the major advantages of privatized medicine is that it is capable of developing and making discoveries on a scale unlike any other. This leads, as the argument goes, to better health care and opportunities. But how does it do this? Sure, there are 50 million uninsured Americans (... sucks to be them!), but why and how are the insured Americans receiving "better health care" in this system than a socialized one?

Alright, so most major cities and universities have free health care clinics and research studies, right? Hundreds of people travel from all over the country to get into these research studies sometimes. Here in San Diego, many end up or have been on the streets. Even those that aren't on the streets struggle.
Most, if not all, are the uninsured or under-insured. Just this weekend I read that up to 50% of all Californians are on the brink of financial ruin due to health insurance premiums and uncovered medical bills (I don't know the accuracy on this, so don't quote me!) In addition, 16% of those in California don't have health insurance at all. But anyway, at these research facilities (and under the strictest codes of confidentiality which prevent social security numbers, names, etc from leaking out) the patient exchanges seeing a doctor and learning more information about themselves and their aliments for letting themselves essentially be guinea pigs and donating information about their bodies. With access to so many "lab rats", these universities have greater resources to develop new bio-technology. The patients also get access to the free medical clinics with greater ease, which are also run by the university. This provides opportunities for those that are down on their luck. However, these clinics are run either by very dedicated doctors and nurses, or medical students.

In socialized medicine, no one would be so desperate to give away their bio-info because they have no need to. Medicine is about helping people, not about making money. But without gross disparity, we have no advances in health care.

But the ends justify the means for American's that that actually do have access to insured medical care, right? I talked to a physician the other day at a lecture. He works in the pharmaceutical testing industry doing phase 1 clinical research and explained to me that many if not most doctors are afraid to be the first one to try out a new therapy or medication, etc because it often causes unintended lawsuits. Medical advances and knowledge is vast, yet application is severely limited. SO, tell me again how is privatized health insurance systems advantageous to the consumer again? ... let me hear those Nixon tapes one more time.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Knowledge is Power!

I'm going to rant and rave and bitch about something I know nothing about.... so, something that I have realized about the United States is that it is a place of dreams. If you have a dream and are willing to work hard, this is the place for you. The brightest and the best from all around the world are lured here. It can be cut-throat at times, but no one will ever take away your dreams! You have a chance, a hope... You are told that nothing is set, you can move between social classes and be what ever you want to be! There are laws to protect your rights against anyone and anything. And if you feel threatened or want to express you opinion, you are free to do so.

But what about the people that don't want to fight to be the best? What about the people that strive to be mediocre?; just to have the basics: food, shelter, family, etc. The American dream is a house and a car and two kids with a white picket fence. But dreams need to be worked for. If you aren't fighting, then you are loosing... because America is where only those that "work hard" get everything they want.

Some people, to put it in a Social Darwinian perspective, just aren't fit.

But let me ponder a bit more. If the socially unfit are not worth taking care of but are also the backbone of the society as the working class, eventually these "hard working" people at the top will keep working harder to take more and more for themselves. The actual working class is left with a promise and a dream and are told, no one can take away your dream, this is America!
Only thing is, ...they just leave out the part that it is only a dream. Personally, I would rather be told that my dream is impossible in the first place rather than be deceived. Eventually the underclass with either give out, or like all good human societies... persevere against all odds.

For me, if I have to be a number, I would rather be a number (think social security number xyz, living on plot 123 in apartment 456, working at abc company listed under 789 registration code, etc.) in a society where power is not in the hands of those who have a stake in making money, where everything is analyzed in profit margins. Our government has a revolving door at the top: senators become CEO's and the richest lawyers get seats in congress. When the president is done being the president, he goes back to running his billion dollar multi-international firms. Everything is so decentralized and so many people have a stake in the process that no one person is to blame. And no one person can fix it either.

Knowledge is Power.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ohio primaries

I'm so excited for the debate in Ohio tonight. I got my absentee ballot yesterday, and I'm voting tonight! Been doing a little research and realized a shocking fact. The speaker of the House does not need to be elected from the House... it could be an outsider! I'm wondering who would be the vice president as well. When I think about the choosing of the vice president, often the runner up is selected. Although, certainly not always! I can imagine both Clinton and Obama in the presidency. But my question then becomes, who would be a better VICE president?

The Vice President needs to be someone strong and determined, hard working, capable of getting things done in a no nonsense way, and has proven he/she can do so with a track record to boot. He/She needs to be capable of ceremonial duties, being high profile, and not always getting the credit for everything. This person has the responsibility of running a country without being totally accountable to the public opinion polls, otherwise nothing would get done.

The President on the other hand needs to be a visionary; strong, determined, a listener, and a problem solver. He/she needs to be able to connect with the common person, at least on the surface level, whether that be from ideals, background, past employment, history, etc. He/she has a responsibility to guide the administration along the fine line of public sentiment and realistic policy making. However, he/she needs to be able to propose radical ideas and have the humility to put those ideas aside if they are not realistic. The President needs have the personal power and charisma to get things done, when and where he wants them with no questions asked. This requires, above all, loyalty. And loyalty comes from respect. But there 2 kinds of respect: one comes from fear the other comes from admiration.

The best President of the United States can be judged in the ability to instill loyalty and respect, have compassion, empathy for the people, be charismatic, benevolent, and powerful. And in my opinion, the greatest act of power is that in which mercy is given. The difference between mercy and weakness is that when mercy is expected, you are weak. When mercy is unexpected, those whom you grant mercy to not only know what could have happened in its stead but also feel indebted, thus strengthening loyalty and your own power.

So the question becomes, what kind of respect does Obama and Clinton, and even McCain instill in me? This encompasses the ability to foster respect in groups of people radically different from my own as well, both inside my country and in other countries. In the end, we are choosing a leader that has enormous power over our own lives and the lives of many many people in countries around the world, both directly and indirectly.

So if all power comes from either fear or admiration (born out of and fostered by hard or soft power), and the Bush administration has preached a doctrine of fear, fear the US, fear the terrorists, fear foreigners, etc. and some of the "best" presidents of the 20th century were those who fostered loyalty in the form of trust and admiration, Chinese loyalty in the 70's and 80's, Russian loyalty during detente, trust in social programs, etc... who can best foster these sentiments in our current three candidates?

President Bush knew that Saddam knew that we wouldn't normally invade and destroy his country. Saddam expected mercy, the hallmark of American power. Our power was weakened because Saddam had no fear or admiration of the US. The misguided War in Iraq was therefore, not misguided in the decision to invade to prove American power. If the United States expected to have power over Iraq, then loyalty either through hard or soft was required to restore that power. But the bully in the schoolyard only picks on the other kids cuz there are deeper problems in his/her own life. The bully also takes no responsibility for his/her own actions and leaves his/her victim in the dust to suffer the consequences of the attack alone.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

squirrels

I realized today after seeing a squirrel that it was the first squirrel I've seen since I left Wooster! There are so many squirrels in Wooster that sometimes we take them for granted. :/

I'm totally enjoying a new radio program I found. I'm a devoted radio listener. I grew very board of collecting songs on iTunes and taking up so much space on my computer. Then I discovered the international music radio stations on iTunes. I've now been eagerly exploring Pandora radio at www.pandora.com You type in a song or band and it finds similar songs/bands and plays an entire radio station of matches. You can even combine multiple "stations" and fine tune the selection! I've been very excited about the possibility of synthesizing a great variety of information I have collected on historical music by creating stations about a particular era and writing information about the music styles. Check out my stations on the right side under the video bar. :D

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I'm published!

I finally got the information on the article that I helped Dr. Edmiston on! here is the link...

http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/cmatex/asap/abs/cm0716001.html

yeah!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

spring

I am trying to decipher if Spring has actually arrived here. The trees are in bloom... the gardeners are planting flowers at the park. It is as if everything has been perfectly orchestrated for Valentines day. Although it is overcast and somewhat chilly today, the fact that is has been 70-80s and sunny out all week (hence why I have not written much... i've been outside!) makes me wonder.

Getting my background check and all the details has been a real hassle with my job at the art museum. I am extremely anxious to start working but will probably have to wait another 2 weeks at least! uhg.

I started a course in World History this week. 1-1.5 hours a day. It is very different from any history class I have ever taken, much more theory oriented. But nice. It blends well so far with some anthropology books I have been meaning to get through anyway. I'm still plodding through my polysci books from college. I finished my lecture series on China last week. ...That was very interesting!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Explorations

I found 2 Buddhist temples withing 4 blocks of me, a walking/footpath suspension bridge over a nearby ravine/gorge, and a new museum (a historic building) with gardens that are still gorgeous in winter! What an amazing place! I just can't get over the weather either. 70's and sunny. On another subject...

how does one tell the difference between democracy and populism? ... and what do we do when populism in the name of democracy goes horribly wrong??

Saturday, February 09, 2008

economic prosperity and sunlight

If anyone out there has access to some good information, I would be most grateful if they could answer a question for me.

Is there a correlation between the percentage of sunlight (or cloud cover) and the overall economic prosperity of a state or nation?

Looking at states; take the five permanent members of the UN security council: USA, Russia, Britain, Germany, and China. I take these 5 because in one way or another they have demonstrated considerable power and/or prosperity, thus enabling them to secure those permanent seats. I can hardly believe the USA, Germany, and Britain can be counted among the most popular destinations when one is looking for a sunny vacation. As for Russia and China... i don't know enough about them to made a claim. On the other side, states such as Italy and Spain have high rates of annual sunlight and are (arguably) on the weaker end of the economic spectrum among the core EU states. I would imagine that a considerable amount of adjustments would have to be made in order to account for political and other factors.

... just a thought. Would be kind of interesting bit of knowledge. What would some of be the implications be if a strong correlation did exist?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Hair cut!

I got my hair cut today!!! It is now much thinner than i am used to. The under layer is very very curly and wavy. Most of the upper layer has been cut off (which is stick straight). It will definitely take some time to get used to. But it is very pretty. Perhaps I will get a picture up some time.

I have been very sick these past few days. I anxiously wait for Monday when my tests are over.
I have the house to myself for the rest of the weekend. Already it is much too quiet and lonely. Our pluming got backed up last night and we sent 5 hours trying to unplug it. Finally we had a plummer come this morning and he had to actually cut part of the pipes to unclog them! It was a disaster because all of the sinks in the apartment were backing up into the bathtub. Thank god the toilet wasn't backing up too!

The weather was absolutely beautiful today. It smelled like spring and the sun has been shining all week. I wish I could set up my hammock, but we don't have a yard or trees. The temperature is just perfect.

I hope everyone is doing well. I miss you all!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday!

yea... yesterday was Super Tuesday. I watched the news for 4 hours. It looks like it will be an exciting, prolonged event. Hopefully the candidates won't drop dead! normally they get this time to rest before the major election!

no news on when i start my job. :( but i'm happy that it is such a good fit. been reading a lot. today is a cooking day. I start medical testing today and it goes until monday. So, i gotta stock up on my food supply!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Job

I was just offered a really sweet job!!!! I'm so excited. It's part time, good pay, and in an art museum! Benefits include free and unlimited passes to all San Diego museums and the zoo!! Whoo! And since it is only in the park, which is 6 blocks away, I can totally walk to work. :D

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Smart Cars

Whooooo! About 2 years ago I blogged about Smart Cars in Europe. And OMG i saw my first one yesterday. SOOOOO exciting. I think i'm obsessed. The first US models came out after the first of the year. Here in San Diego there is already a 1.5 year wait. I totally want one :)

Renewed

I don't know if there is anyone out there still reading this, but I've decided to start writing again. I'll also be starting a second blog, based on my health issues. There is a link on the right hand side under "links". I have updated the template of my blog and many of the settings. And don't worry, all the old posts from Europe are still there!

I'm now in San Diego. In October I finally reached a point where I could not go on with school, and so I dropped out on medical leave. My father moved to San Diego over the past summer, so I decided to move here. It was a move based on the health care opportunities and quality of living (or potential thereof) of Southern California. Since my last post, my academic adviser, my mentor, and (arguably) my hero, Dr. Edmiston, managed to pull some strings and keep me at Wooster. I worked for him the whole summer and now this month I shall be published as a co-author for the work that I did for him. So exciting! It has been devastating to leave Wooster and all that I had grown to love there. I struggled so much to readjust to American life. But now here I am, far away again.

I apologize for not writing. At first the reason, I truly believed, was that no one cared. Then, as my health issues became overwhelming over a year ago, it was much too difficult to write and keep up. Finally, the past year my family has gone through so much upheaval that I have been afraid to write, in fears that what I write may be used in court against me. But life goes on, and we struggle. To this day, I believe that one should never burn bridges, the very reason I named my blog so. But I have also learned that some bridges need to be burned and new ones built. So, I am building a new bridge with this blog. welcome back to my blog!