Thursday, April 17, 2008

Actually Getting Things Did

Are you still reading this? Because the whole semester away thing is kind of coming to a close. I'm not sure when I'm going to stop writing in this blog, but I will leave a final, summing up kind of thing ... probably ... eventually.

Life has been kind of bug nuts lately. From having people who are practically strangers crush my soul to learning that I can re-build my confidence yet again. What a whirlwind three months!

I wanted to post today because I'm finally starting to feel like I have my life on track, and I'm starting to get a little perspective on the last few months. This is what I came up with:

How the shit can Stephen Colbert make an entire career out of pretending to be a conservative ass, but I can't make a clear-cutting joke while working in Greenpeace?!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

What a Dystopian World

Have you heard?! The apocalypse is so hot right now. So is the Earth! (ba dum dum!) But seriously, guys, the dystopian landscape is really getting a pop culture boost, which I think is in part due to climate change, scare tactics related to climate change, controversy over environmental issues, the economy, and (gasp!) war!

I just realized yesterday that I'm totally getting my apocalyptic pop culture freak on, and I didn't even know it. Which is also more evidence that this new four horsemen around the bend mindset is permeating our culture! Below I've itemized a few things I've been kvetching over:

Battlestar Gallactica: Okay, this show is my obsession. I know you're thinking, "what a nerdbucket!" but give it/me a chance! BSG is the best political drama television has ever seen, and probably has the best female characters since Lisa Turtle or, uh, Sydney Bristow. AND it's about the end of human civilization, complete with sex, drugs, robots, and violence.

Y: The Last Man: Wow, I'm really exposing myself to be a total geekwad. This is a really addictive graphic novel (adapted from a comic book) about a mysterious disease that wipes out every mammal with a Y-chromosone. EXCEPT one man, Yorrick, and his monkey, grammatically named Ampersand. Y: The Last Man is so ripe for women's studies I'm surprised there isn't a seminar devoted to it ... yet. Also, the movie rights have been sold, so remember you heard about it here first! Oh, and go read it so you look cool when Shia La Beouf or whoever is taking on the role of Yorrick and screwing it all up.

Jericho: I got this twice canceled TV show on DVD a few weeks ago. It's not that great - obviously CBS's failed attempt at having their own Lost - but it is about what would happen if there was a massive nuclear terrorist attack on the United States. Hint: Bleak dystopian future! But somehow Skeet Ulrich remains completely sexy, even through nuclear fallout! See? Miracles do happen.

Vampire Weekend
: Ok, this really great band isn't actually related at all to apocalyptic culture. But doesn't a "vampire weekend" sound like something that would really mess up the world? Yeah, I thought so too. Also, they're a great Afro-pop ironic hipster band that is actually good. Go buy their album and thank me later.

Thanks for reading, now go stock your fallout shelter with Pop-Tarts! AAAAHHH!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Judgement Day (Again!)

I'm now staying with my grandma in Visalia, working on school stuff and helping her out with whatever she wants. We're going to do eBay and go to the movies and stuff like that.

The way I see it, I saw enough of the GOT to know what I think and how I'm going to go about this thesis paper. I came in with amazingly high expectations, and I was disappointed, and that really sucks. Believe me, this was not at all how I imagined things going. And you know, I tried. I tried about 18 million ways to make a change and I only became more and more convinced that I wasn't good enough, wasn't smart enough, and was completely worthless to the GOT and, in association, Greenpeace. I made (?) and lost friends, I lost confidence, and I lost motivation.


I'm not writing this to cry and complain and continue being the sadistic hate-monger those ol' GOT peeps think I am! I'm saying this because I think it's pretty frakking awesome that I did this, and that I did try, and even that I was shot down, because I learned a lot. If you look back at all my moody posts, I am trying in every one to find some reason this is all worth it. Sometimes that reason was, "to learn that life is a bitch," but it's still a lesson, and I still think this experience was a good one. Sometimes, even if things don't turn out all rainbows and sunshine, you need to just say, "oh well" and move on. At least that's what I plan on doing.The only thing that's total bullshit is that I can't just move on, because I keep getting sucked back in. With catty emails, with bitter voicemails, with an overall lack of support. So here's the part where I make a request: Tell me you like me, if you do. Don't just read this and think that I may have a bit of a point or that I'm interesting or that I do a mildly good job of standing up for myself. TELL ME. I could use a little confidence boost after all this. Oh, and if you read this to have something to hate, then please don't contact me. I don't want to have to change my phone number (Sprint customer service is terrible).

This is still a collection of my feelings first and foremost for a school assignment, so I'm still going to be posting. I'm not technically a Greenpeacer anymore, but I'm still gonna write about it! And other stuff! And fun stuff!! So stick around if you're nice. And if you're not, well I think that says more about you than it does about me. Boo Ya!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

And Please, Direct All Scathing Emails to Joel Stein

Below is an article in the latest Time, written by the insanely adorable Joel Stein. (At left I've included a picture, for obvious ogling reasons.) I totally see where he's going with his general claim, but there are some points here that I don't really agree with. Even so, I think this relates to my thesis and my research, so here it is.
My wife's parents are hippies. In general, this has made my life a lot easier. Instead of questioning their daughter's future with a journalist, they were awed that I was able to pay for the 475-sq.-ft. (45 sq m) apartment we lived in for six years. And that I was all sophisticated with my use of deodorant.

But it does mean that my lovely wife Cassandra grew up with different habits--habits that are now my habits. I'm a hippie by marriage.

I care about the environment as much as anyone else. If the environment wasn't looking where it was going and was about to get hit by a car, I'd yell, "Hey, environment, watch out!" I get weepy when I see a poorly rendered CGI polar bear drown. But unlike me, Cassandra was taught to spend more time actually caring than remembering that she is supposed to. We flush the toilet only when absolutely necessary, for instance. Which, in my unenlightened opinion, would mean every time we use it, especially since her being a child of hippies means we have to take a lot of vitamins and eat asparagus.

Now that we have a house with a backyard, Cassandra has decided we need a compost heap. Apparently she has very warm memories of her childhood compost. What these are I find hard to imagine. Sledding down the compost pile? Building compost castles? Making compost angels? Playing Batman, Robin and the Case of the Maggot-Ridden Tofu Pup?

At first our compost system consisted of a Tupperware container that I put eggshells and banana peels in. I was supposed to put a lot of other stuff in there too, but there was also stuff I was absolutely not supposed to put in, so I simplified it down to the things she would notice if I threw them away in the regular garbage.

When the Tupperware container disappeared, I was greatly relieved. This was foolish. A week later, Cassandra decorated our kitchen with a large green compost bin--which, I may point out, is clearly made of plastic--and told me to throw all kinds of stuff in there. This stuff would then sit in our kitchen. Rotting. I was starting to understand that there are reasons besides shunning deodorant that hippies smell bad.

Then the UPS guy delivered a coil of bamboo fencing so large I could barely lift it. This would demark the compost area in our yard. That way, we could enjoy rotting things both inside and outside our house. And denude a small part of Vietnamese jungle.

As far as I was concerned, we were replacing an environmentally superior system: I put food in the garbage disposal, it went out to the ocean, fish ate it, and I ate the fish and put the uneaten fish bits right back into the disposal--a perfect, waste-free circle of life. Cassandra didn't see it that way. She wanted the thrill of watching food decompose. I wondered if we could do something else for the planet instead: save trees by ordering fewer fashion magazines, protect cows by massively reducing our purchases of boots and handbags, conserve energy by not watching Gossip Girl. But the compost isn't going anywhere.

I realize our planet has limited resources and Chinese people want cars and all this is making our planet warmer for reasons I'm pretty sure I understood when I left the Al Gore movie and have no idea about now and am not nearly interested in enough to watch that Al Gore movie again. But I'm convinced that the environmental movement is less about making sure we humans can continue to do important things like fly and drive and spritz ourselves with cans of Evian and more of an excuse to advocate an anticonsumerist, antiglobalization, anti-good-smelling-kitchen agenda. People were living in communes, crocheting their own Rasta hats and conserving office electricity by not getting a job long before they knew it was preventing global warming. So don't pretend that some of this environmentalism isn't about pushing a lifestyle. Somewhere someone is arguing that carbon emissions are somehow reduced by jam bands.

I'm fine with Cassandra's new, cool Prius. Those curly fluorescent bulbs we have are great. And I do think we should replace our plants with cacti, only partly because they seem so much more badass than rosebushes. But I believe our messy oil age will be replaced by better technology, not by a planetary embrace of Luddism. Because really, what's easier--one smart dude figuring out how to run cars on sea monkeys, or convincing all of Asia to never try air-conditioning? Those people eat spicy food.


This article was reprinted without any permission whatsoever, but was originally published in Time Vol. 171 No. 13, for the week of March 31, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blue Skies

Things are possibly looking up.

I'm not going to talk about it until next week. I just wanted to say that things are looking up.

Oooooh! Suspense!Later, gators.

So Much to Say, So Much to Have Misinterpreted

So one fourth of the group has proposed that I leave the program. Really! It's like I don't even have to try to ruin lives and crush souls anymore! And good thing too, I just got my nails did.

I think it's so fascinating that because I have a different approach and feel comfortable sharing my opinions that I have, within a week, been painted as a traitor. Oh! And I was only at work for two days this week! Ten points!

Naturally, no one will give reasons for my leaving besides the fact that I should, for me. Right. When I said in a previous post that I wasn't leaving, I did mean it. I mean everything I write here (but you should also note the timestamps. Yes, these things are dated and time sensitive!) I would like to take this time to mention that I get frustrated, not suicidal. I asked the coordinators if they wanted me to leave, not if I could.

This is a blog for my senior thesis and my friends and family. That's it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am shocked that within a week I can go from okay to pure evil that is somehow worthy of pity. I guess we are nine afterall. Shit, I hear fourth grade is a real ass kicker! Even more than me! Yikes!

Look guys, I'm getting silly here, but that's how I deal with being such a fascist all the time. What I'm trying to say is: Tolerance. Perhaps we should take time today, and in our lives, to embrace tolerance.

This message brought to you by the letter A.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Million Dollar Question.

I am not liked. This is not something new. I have experienced the harsh words and judgment of others before. The thing is, before my antagonists were just in my English class, or a friend of a friend, or some other easily-ignorable person. This time, the people who love to loathe me are my coworkers, co-livers, co-lifers. We all spend our time in the GOT with only each other, and when one person (read: me) feels comfortable expressing a differing opinion, they are suddenly transformed into a defector who is hell bent on crushing the beautiful thing the group has built.

Just call me Hulk.

I have tried to allow the GOT to retain its structure and 'prestige' by not voicing every single concern/comment/question within the group. I have been frustrated, yes, but I have also attempted to take some sort of healthy approach to this experience. Looking back at past posts you can see that I do not only rant about my experience, but rather explain that perhaps are the lessons I am going to learn differ from those intended. I continue to believe that what I'm going to take away from this experience is a deeper understanding of the "closed-minded liberal" and "over-zealous activist." When I attempt to dispel these characterizations, I am only met with further proof that they are true to this case.

I have asked the coordinators of the program if they want me to leave. I have volunteered to do work outside the GOT for the remainder of the program. But, in my defense, I have never tried to convince other students to join my "side" and share my opinions. I have never voiced these opinions in the classroom. I have never done anything to keep other GOT members from having their own experience, whether positive or negative. Please remember this, because I'm only the "problem" that you make me. I am staying, and I am here to learn. Hopefully you are too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I added pictures to my Flickr account, so if you're more of a visual learner, click that little slideshow to the right! There are pictures of me dressed as a tree, adorable sea otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and, uh, other stuff that I can't remember! Check it out! Now! Go!

I've Run Away

I really needed to get out of San Francisco, Greenpeace, everything. I've been having such a hard time expressing myself and feeling understood/validated, and so I hopped a train and ran away to my grandma's house. I did this about two months ago when my grandpa died too, and it's amazingly therapeutic. My mom is here too, so I have double the support system. It's also nice to have people to talk to about my concerns/issues who don't have any pre-conceived notions or agendas. I just need to talk. To sleep. To think.

I'm learning so much more about interpersonal relationships during this semester than I am about activism. I think these lessons are much harder to learn, but I still believe they are beneficial. Plus, these inadvertent lessons are in the context of activism, so I guess it's all intertwined.

I'm at Panera right now working on stuff for my credit back at school. It's strangely satisfying to complete concrete tasks for actual, tangible credit. In an admittedly age-inappropriate way, I miss organized education. It's so easy to organize my life when I have a set structure and tasks and a plan. I miss knowing what's coming up, what's going to happen. I never know explicitly what I'm doing within the GOT until I'm in the midst of doing it, which really makes my brain jelloid. This is because I am actually 35 years old. I did warn you that my musings are age inappropriate though.

In personal news, I chopped off my hair (again). Everyone in the office keeps asking me if it feels weird, but, as old buds know, my grow-out was the weird phase, not the chopped-off part. What I'm trying to say is, I feel like me again. Hair-wise at least. We'll see when I can return to my planned to a T life ... I'm thinking May.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ending a Lot of Things.

Today is the fifth anniversary of the war, and in San Francisco there are a lot of events going on in protest. Our GOT group was assigned to participate in a snake march through downtown, which we were to organize ourselves and participate in as a group not from Greenpeace, but rather just in support of the protest as a whole.

And yeah, I did say assigned.

I was kind of confused about this action, but I went along with it because I saw it as a job that I was asked to do. I'm not saying that I begrudgingly did something I didn't want to, or that I'm a blind follower, or anything like that. Because the way I see it is that there was never a choice. I was asked to do something, and I was going to do it. I could go into all the reasons why I think this was not an appropriate task to ask of us, or my personal political beliefs, but I think that today, and most days in liberal America, are basically a deluge of people's political opinions.

So this morning I'm getting up and ready to go, when I'm approached about my ability to walk down the street, because I might get uncomfortable and freak out and ruin it for everyone. See, we made a pact as a group to all leave if one person felt uncomfortable, and I guess that person was destined to be me. Yes, I am a survivor of sexual assault. Yes, I do often feel uncomfortable in crowded, public situations. BUT, that is what anti-anxiety medication is for! (joke, ish.) Plus, I'll have you know that I never really feel safe or comfortable. That's just part of my life though, like how some people have allergies or are nearsighted. I deal with it every day, and the fact that I can live a normal life is testament to my ability to "test my comfort levels" and do my job.

Anyway, I'm not at the march today. I'm at home. Because I'm apparently not strong enough to take a stand or support my group. Honestly? The fact that I'm still here is proof that I'm strong enough to deal with all kinds of bullshit from all kinds of people. So please don't tell me that I need to stretch my comfort zone, because I'm stretched so thin I feel like I'm going to snap at any moment.