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A San Francisco resident, I devote my time to experiments in the kitchen, volunteering, cinema and live music, and teaching. I love art as I do activism.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Back in Action

It's been quite some time since my last post here. Much has happened.

Moved to San Francisco. Have actually been here for more than a year now.

Am now in a long-term relationship with a wonderful fellow named Jonathan.

That's two years and then some.

Am unemployed.

This is because of a career change. I'm working to become an educator! Teaching kids in a non-classroom setting to immerse them in cinema studies, media literacy, and art appreciation. I've been doing this for a few months through internships and volunteerships, and am loving it.


Much has changed since that last post, just below.

I plan on being back here with greater frequency. The kids I teach have definitely had a hand in bringing me back to my writing. I miss it, and look forward to making it a routine in my life once again.


See you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2012, part one

My spine is the tuning fork to some lilting vibrations, and those vibrations are an enhanced and reified sense of anticipation for the general election now that it's more than certain we'll be seeing an Obama vs. Romney ballot this November. Maybe far less than most, but I'd become weary of the primary/caucus GOP race, and though I have strong reservations about the kind of man Romney is (a shrewd businessman, a manager), just the smallest sigh of relief left my lips as I considered the worse situation the nation would be in if a fearmonger like Santorum had unimaginably and impossibly won/stolen the three primaries on Tuesday. So while I find Romney's approach to America (read: as another capital enterprise) and his lack of conviction on issues key to me and mine powerfully dissatisfying, I can at least appreciate his grasp of the ideological landscape and his place within it and his strong verbal skills. I look forward to witnessing spars between him and Obama in the coming months. I look forward to Romney sharpening Obama's pacifistic relationship with the shaky, maybe panicky Israel, and I look forward to Obama fleshing out his plan of nuclear disarmament to the public alongside plans for firmer relations with Putin and Russia. I'd like to see Obama waving the flag on his Obamacare in defiance of, but respectfully of course, the Supreme Court justices. And I'd like to see Romney defend Paul Ryan's proposed budget.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quick Take: The Changing Role of Africa in Global Politics

It's easy to call the state of continental Africa a mess. There have even been headlines and front-page articles discussing the idea of "giving up on Africa," and that phrase itself has left the lips of friends and acquaintances of mine, spoken casually even. Of course, the implications of such a view are deep and enormously complicated, but sidestepping the logistics of what giving up on an entire portion of the world's people would entail, what remains at the root is a sentiment built upon two truths.

The first is a notion that the non-African world, mostly the West but also China, is essential and inextricably tied to the campaign of "uplifting" Africa's capital and cultural contributions and development, and that despite its intentions is finding mounting difficulty in doing so. This campaign is fueled by several ultimate goals stretching from that of the altruistic (human rights, economic and political independence) to that of self-interest (channeling the wealth of African resources for corporate gain, politicizing regions of Africa in the never-ending culture wars between, say, America and China). Both ends and every shade in between exists in the various ways America, Europe and China has acted upon the people and their factioned civil groups, and it is difficult to discern how these corporate, government and other institutional forces have met their goals and whether or not those goals are shared by the peoples themselves (after all, and like everywhere else on the planet, different groups of different people have contradictory views of an ideal society). But for the purpose of this Quick Take, which may receive amplified attention at a later date for a later post, it is impractical to apply a gaze more critical than this. At any rate, this first notion leads strikingly to the next latent view held in the phrase we're considering...

Which is that, in all of this, to "give up" on Africa in the sense we as laypeople not engaged in African policy think means to disengage from the selection of interferences we have had on their entire system through colonialism and in the modern forms of colonialism, of which there are many. A history of imperialistic expansion by the West into Africa, and by China in more recent times following similar patterns, installed a presence by each of them that has never diminished, to bolster each's respective economies, that in one way or another has affected and impeded the development of African countries on their own terms. And for development to occur on their own terms is problematic for those with investments there. An emergence of Africa based on their longstanding traditions of kinship formation, political structuring, and sociological posturing, like the emergence of the Middle East, in the global economy as well as in global politics, presents to the West and to China an alternative to our understood ways of conducting business and transforming natural resources into capital and individual wealth, and by virtue of our still-active hand in their development has only cost us. This is, in the end, absolutely undeniable and virtually impossible to stop. The only way we can lessen or stop the leaking of our investments is to keep our curious and overprotective hands from their transforming, and burgeoning, population and economies. Enabling their own development of infrastructure, allowing them to utilize communications technologies towards advancing political and civil solidarity (not homogeneity, which is a pitfall for any nation), and halting the grabs by corporations of their natural resources for exportation are ways to "give up" on Africa that will not only help their development, but help provide greater equity between people all over the globe.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

i'm knocking on the doors of your hummer, hummer

I'm obsessed with this woman, her music, and this song in particular:

her sound is a hodgepodge of experimental pop, free jazz, and R&B flavored with ukelele and looped drums, and of course her distinctive voice. I described it to a coworker as "Nina Simone providing vocals for a Kevin Barnes production, with a worldview somewhere between M.I.A. and Peaches." I think that's a pretty bingo way of describing it. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quick Take: The De-Valuation of Animal Life

The relationship between the modern human species and the rest of the animal kingdom is an odd one. We as a collective, at once, regard the lives of animals (and animal souls) both with disdain and bafflement. Eat them, love them, want to protect them, debate the necessities of doing so; few people have an all-encompassing view towards the whole of the animal kingdom and even fewer act upon those determinations. The human mind has normatively been framed around the dispensability of any given animal, no matter its purpose or role. As a potential or actual food source, kill one and it becomes your meal and it's no problem, another one exists elsewhere. Entire food empires have been built around the idea that among certain animals, cattle or chickens or pigs, there is homogeneity. The fact that you can get a burger at any McDonald's anywhere and it'll taste the same as the last one, or the first one, you had says this is so, and distorts the view of an evolutionarily-built plurality of species, replacing it with an industrially-powered manufacturing metaphor. The terms 'bred' or 'breeding' have all but replaced 'birth' when referring to the ignition of animal life. Shamu dies, and another orca is assigned to its place.

What sits at the root of this, I think, are the choices we make as adults towards providing children with animals as companions, pets, or prizes. That last one is an odd word choice, but I selected it because it is the end of fair season in California and in the last few months I've seen more pictures of people holding plastic bags filled with fish - prizes for successfully throwing balls into glass containers or squirting water into a miniaturized target most securely - than I ever have in people's homes still living. Dogs are known as man's best friend, but I've never found it common at all for children to be allowed to adopt dogs or cats as pets until they've reached the age of six or seven. For most children, the hamster or goldfish is the first pet, and almost never regarded later as the dearest. That fish populations have never been common knowledge nor viewed as one with the potential for threat of extinction, and that hamsters and all other rodents are viewed as an overpopulated and possibly incestuous bunch has everything to do with our views and therefore regards towards animal life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quick Take: The Capitalistic Mind

I'm not a stout socialist, nor would I say I'm out-and-out against capitalism, but I have an issue with the impact that this corporate-structured, profit-driven, American Dream-fueled economy has had on the minds and perspectives on young (emphasis duly noted), entrepreneurial people in this country. Meritocracy, that is, the creative and practical approach to one's services or products, as applied to the design of a business, is now so overwhelmed by the need and desire to earn visibility and thus profit that, inevitably, the entrepreneur or producer compromises the integrity of either the product/service or his approach to marketing it to potential consumers. That essential dialogue between the value of the business and the potential or actual consumer on a personal level of interest is usurped and replaced by a megaphone-like glutting of visual and auditory avenues (via advertisements) towards simply grabbing as many people to take note by tangential, and consequently unrelated, means. It is the salesman selling the product more actively than the product can sell itself.

Note that this is not an attack, per se, on capitalism itself, but an aside about what I perceive to be a psychological effect of our sociological traditions in America.

Monday, August 8, 2011

the world is so curiously large

the streets of sf
are lined with red roses
and mad hatters
tell their stories
of the occupational landscape
over cups of java from a man
named Phil or a merwoman
who works for the Red Queen