Thursday, June 30, 2011

(bird)Brain Washed

        I'm sitting on my patio right now watching this mother bird feed her chick and thinking how nice animals have it; they don't have to deal with the societal dramas that we face in the human race.


        I just finished watching this documentary called Independent Intervention on Netflix, which aimed to reveal the deep rooted presence of the media in global culture. News media are supposed to deliver accurate, unbiased descriptions to citizens worldwide. But they are a corporation. 80% of the media are now controlled by 5 major companies, a significant drop from 1983, when 50 companies owned media stations. What does this mean? It means that we're being brainwashed. Not for our own good, and not for the good of our government. It's all about cash-flow, shocking the viewer, and keeping people tuned in so that stations receive high ratings---adequate vantage points be damned.

        In Iraq, journalists can join up with the military so that they can see events close up, but they must first sign a contract and become 'embedded.' This agreement limits what they can see and what they can say, thus limiting what we see and hear. Unembedded journalists struggle in the trenches; many are harmed or killed overseas because the government and military don't go the extra mile to ensure their safety. But these are the men and women we want to survive- these are the people who are willing to show us the heartwrenching realities of war (shown in the movie I just watched).

        As voters, as global citizens, and as people, we need to be exposed to truthful stories of war, of the economy, of oil drilling, of natural disasters. We need to be exposed to images taken by independent media groups, not ones from CNN, MSNBC or any corporation driven station. We need to support journalists, papers and websites that support real, information that has not been sanitized to please the pockets of those who pay for airtime on the nightly news.

Stair Stepper (pt 2)

Continuation of a June 26 post: [Part 1]


          To say that 12 years of school can be put on one staircase would not be entirely accurate. For, within that time we make many little leaps. We leap from the dependence of our parents around age 10 or 11. At this time, we’re suddenly expected to feed ourselves and stay home on our own. We leap into the greater social world in high school. Society trusts us to operate cars, be hired into paid positions, and vote. Our hands aren’t glued to the railing, which moves at the same pace as the self-climbing steps (keep in mind, we stand on an escalator, not a stationary staircase). We are expected to rely less on that guard as time progresses, for eventually we’re on a stairwell with no glass protection around it, no railing to cling to. Nothing but years of airspace to fall into surrounds us in our adult years. Therefore, we must gain our independence early on, when safety nets still exist, to ensure our readiness. 

            As one might imagine, all of these stair-machines can generate a lot of stress in society. When you look at the steps your peers accomplish, at the ground your parents cover, at the levels your idols have succeeded, you feel pressured to walk faster, to climb harder. But when do your calves give in? When have you reached your
final height? Is it even possible to reach the top? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This post is about the future.

The future exists in those who believe in the power of their dreams. -Eleanor Roosevelt
Essentially: Our hopes and desires will be answered if we pay close attention to them. With ambition, we can shape our future.
 The future is called "perhaps," which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the important thing is not to allow that to scare you. -Tennessee Williams
In other words: Who the heck knows? It's not something to fear.
"Que Sera" by Wax Tailor, sampled from "Whatever Will Be, Will Be" sung by Doris Day
As for the future, just let it be. Live for today. Believe in the future. There's something coming, and when it does, we will greet it.

 We can fear it. We can pray for a better tomorrow. We can try to predict it. We can sit and let it wash over us like waves tickling our toes; we can sit and let our days slip by. We can plan, but when we do that, we risk disappointment and failure. Many men and women wiser than I have spoken profoundly about the future, its depth and its ambiguity. To me, the future seems much like a cake without a recipe: you put in the ingredients, the elements that will likely react. Then you add heat, work and effort. After accomplishing all this, you let it bake. You watch with fingers crossed and hope that your creation will rise to a delectable finish. If we're lucky, the future will be a beautiful pastry, a collaborative work of art, for all to enjoy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stair Stepper (pt 1)


More times than not, we are convinced that we aren’t doing enough. We constantly compare ourselves to those above us, and even to those on our same social or professional tier. We wonder why Joey in the next cubicle seems to make more sales, or why Angelina stars in more lead roles. Why does Susie get more phone numbers, or Stephen more athletic awards?
We ask ourselves all of these questions in vain, because life is an escalator. We climb constantly in an attempt to reach the levels of those higher than we, forgetting that those we try to catch up with are often moving too. The climb is constant. It’s perpetual. But beyond that, it's individual. To each his own revolving staircase! We will find no metal grate to receive us at the top. Instead, we must jump when we reach the end of our belt. We have to take a leap from solid ground we’ve been climbing, and pray to God that we land safely on that next moving step. To make the process harder, we must keep running, lest we fall behind the other stair steppers, our competitors.
            We see this leap at the end of very specific periods in our lives. (Think of the coined term ‘stepping-stone.’) Take, for instance, Kindergarten. A child spends each of the 2,000 or so days leading up to the first day of school learning the basic skills of life, eating and walking and engaging in short conversation. Parents teach their kids to tie their shoes, to say please and thank you and not to slurp juice boxes. A child’s brain absorbs these tidbits and compartmentalizes them daily. But they don’t remain on the “table-manners step” for long, for more challenges wait just ahead, and the belt is running out. When a child turns 5, his parents must drop his tiny hands and watch him leap onto their next set of stairs: school and education. 

[Part 2] 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Plums

So, I'm a little too burnt out to write at the moment. It's Saturday night, and I just got in from working a double shift. Sometimes work provides funny anecdotes or tales about people who do ridiculous things, but today went pretty smoothly-- no exciting drama to report. Sorry, memory lane time.
 The restaurant I worked in tonight is situated on a hill above a river. Back in elementary school, my friend Andrea and I would swim down at that spot. We'd ask my mom to bring us there when she worked, so that we could spend the afternoon exploring the rocks, and snacking on french fries when we grew tired.
There's a large patio, part of the restaurant, where customers sit (often to the chagrin of the waitstaff, who don't like carrying heavy pounds of dishes, topped off with odoriferous sauces and meats down a flight of stairs). Andrea and I figured that if we were to scream for help, it might frighten the diners. So instead, we developed a code-word that we would call to one another when we drifted too far. (Plums was the key word, for no reason that I can recall) One time I lost my footing and yelled plums frantically as I was swept downstream, toward piles and piles of rocks. Andrea handed me a huge branch and saved me from my grim, watery fate.
 Most of our childhood adventures turned out that way; we never had an adventure that lacked a code-word, a cry of help, and some sort of dramatic, epic reunion after a near-death experience. My shifts tonight were not quite like the delightful memories of my youth, although they happened within 30 yards of one another. Instead of code-words, I have a time-key code. Cries of help often mean that I've dropped something (usually glassware) And dramatic epic, reunions are what I have with my bed when I get home, especially after an 11 work day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Writer's Block


What do you write when you don’t know what to do with a blank page? Do you make up a story about a fairytale princess, whom a prince pursues endearingly in a far away land? Do you generate rhymes, simple and quick, hoping that the beat might stick? Do you describe the drear of your daily life, the conversations you held, the jitter that your coffee gave you this afternoon? Or do you just let the words flow out like honey, melting across that blank page, filling it with knowledge?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Road Trips

Right now I'm planning out college visits. I'm excited for two reasons; one, because I can't wait to go to college, and two, because I love traveling in the car. You learn so much passing through different towns, reading maps, and researching places to eat, stay and visit.
My mom, brother and I are currently planning a trek across the country to the fabulous Southern California. I'm psyched. The idea of sunshine, warm weather and Los Angeles couldn't be more appealing. I'm all about the adventure, unlike my mom who grows disoriented at the thought of the major high-ways and traffic congestion...and smog.

Our trip isn't until August, but as we all know, the weeks fly by. So we're starting early in an attempt to block out the no-go neighborhoods and to make sure we don't end up staying someplace called "Happy Camp Canyon Park" or a hotel located next to a large, all-night running freight train, like the last time we visited California. We haven't had the best luck traveling in the past, so our hope is that if we put more planning in, we'll come out with better results... I guess we'll see.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cutting Cords

Last summer, I  entered the New York airport and searched for my gate, smiling and toting my luggage behind me as I bounced onto my aircraft, headed off to spend a month studying in England. I sat in the airport happy as could be, ready for some new strange adventure. When I sat in Heathrow four weeks later, however, I felt nothing but emptiness. I knew that I was leaving incredible friends, a lovely Brazilian boy, and a beautifully antique city; I had no clue when I'd see their faces or hold their hands again. My eyes flooded with tears, and I stared at my tiny Go-phone as the screen read balance empty...I couldn't make my last phone calls to say 'good-bye.' Little did I know, this would not be my last time riding on the roller-coaster of travel-related emotions.

Today my mom and I drove Laura to the airport, so she could fly home to Romania after spending 9 months with us. We stood in the Boston airport, hundreds of other travelers wandering by us, and said our good-byes. In that moment, we were three of thousands of people around the world who say grief-stricken farewells on a daily basis. Think of all the security gates, train platforms, boat docks, curb-sides with cabs pulled up where lovers, friends and family kiss good-bye. It's depressing, really, because no one likes that final wave. No one likes the feeling of anxiety and emptiness that sinks in when you realize that someone who has been a major part of your life has boarded a plane headed to Eastern Europe.

So why, then, do we continue to get attached to other people, if we know that leaving them will hurt?
Being a person who has said her share of goodbyes and badbyes before, I have come to this: We can't be with the ones we love all the time. It wouldn't be possible for Laura to move onto my bedroom floor (where she fell asleep last night playing the same Tracy Chapman song on replay, because it made her appropriately sad), or for me to stay in England with the new people I met last year. It would be safer for us to not tie our friends deeply into the strings of our hearts, because then, when they inevitably left, we wouldn't feel the cords as they were cut.

However, a badbye is actually a good one. The more it hurts, and the more missing one does, the stronger the affection. Weak bonds don't take energy to break. True friendships are those that leave us misty eyed on the train or plane or on the freeway driving home.
In order to make those connections, we need to jump right into our relationships (although according to Laura, she and I have only been friends since January. She takes a bit longer to decide whether or not a person is worthy of the title than I do, I guess...) We waste time when we take our time to test waters. Every day we have the opportunity to make memories with the ones we love, so that when the time comes to board the plane, we have something solid to hold onto. Sometimes the earth beneath just isn't enough to keep us grounded.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Morning

I don't typically oppose mornings.
In fact, I used to love them. I used to think that 5am was a magical time.
The world was misty, covered in a snoozy haze of pinks and greys.
The grass held drops of dew, in tiny spheres. I thought they were fairy eggs.
5am used to have a sense of coolness to it that couldn't be felt any other time of day,
because life was just rising, waking from sleep.

The magic's faded, I believe.
Now...morning means don't talk to me. I just want coffee.  Hot, steaming coffee.
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