quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
First off, in case you missed it, my last RL update is here in case you're curious as to how I'm doing. ^_^;

Also, one of my cousins recently opened up a jewelry shop on Etsy! I think some of you on my f-list would be interested, so if you'd like to support her (which would be awesome! :D) or just see the kind of work she's doing, feel free to check out her store. ;-)

Because I haven't done a linkdump in a while, it's another REALLY REALLY long one, so it's under a cut. Obviously I don't expect you to read all of it -- or any of it, for that matter -- but I've bolded the ones I recommend the most for your convenience. Enjoy!

Read more... )
quadruplify: Julian Minci (from Legend of the Galactic Heroes) sticking his tongue out in disgust ([LoGH] Julian - yuck)
First of all, thanks a lot to whoever sent me a valentine on [personal profile] tf_valentines! I wasn't expecting it at all, but I appreciate it all the same, and it made my day. XD All right, now on to today's links:

--The Hard Lessons of Oscar Pistorius  (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- on how the factors that make certain people wildly successful and accomplished in what they do end up hurting them, and why highly successful people do stupid and horrible things more often than the rest of us)
--How to read like a writer
--Azealia Banks and the Other "F" Word in 2013  (as someone who's frequently heard that word used as a homophobic slur against me and other people, it makes me sick that some people think it no longer has a homophobic meaning just because they say so)
--Toward a Black Jesse James  (on why mass murderers like Christopher Dorner don't deserve to be praised -- "I don't really know how anyone, with any sort of coherence, adopts Christopher Dorner as a symbol in the fight against police brutality, given how he brutalized those two human beings. I cannot understand, except to say that sometimes our own anger, our pain, becomes so blinding that we fail to see the pain of others. This is the seed of inhumanity, and inhumanity is the seed of the very police brutality which we all deplore.")
--California highway dig reveals four new whale species
--What Food Desert Maps Get Wrong About How People Eat  (on how trying to determine where "food deserts" are is more complicated than you'd think)
--Fibonacci Flim-Flam  (on how attempts to make science cool and popular can lead to harmful misinformation)
--Did This New Hampshire Woman Take Part in the Rwandan Genocide?  (on why bringing people to justice is messy, difficult, and leads to bad outcomes)
--Sex on Mars: A Dangerous Love Story
--This Bionic Hand Will Let an Amputee Feel Again
--The Internet's Kevin Bacon Effect: Any Web Page Can Be Accessed From Any Other in Just 19 Clicks
--The Obama Administration's 10-Year Plan to Map the Entire Human Brain
--Do Colors Look the Same For All of Us?
--The 5 Most Frequently Misused Proverbs
--5 Groundbreaking Firsts That Your History Books Lied About
--Male as the Neutral Default
--The Tesla/NY Times fight is a sideshow  (on the complications electric cars still face in order to be taken seriously)
--The Art of Infinite War, Ctd.: The Administration's Drone Campaign
--Why We'll Probably Never Build a Space Elevator  (;_;)
--Sony Files Patent to Make TV Ads Into Video Games  (this is actually pretty scary if you think about it D:)
--What Would Happen If the 2012 DA14 Asteroid Actually Hit Earth?
--It's Time For Hollywood to Make a Same-Sex Romantic Comedy
--Teach For America's hidden curriculum
--Maybe dogs really can talk!
--Coming out to my wife  (on rethinking traditionally-held ideas about marriage, monogamy, and cheating)
--White Girl Privilege and the Problem of Blaming All Men  (a.k.a. why "misandry 4 lyfe" jokes on Tumblr are bad and why you should feel bad for making them)


quadruplify: Gay pride parade participant, dressed as astronaut, holding sign that reads: "Gay Astronaut Association Members: 1" ([Other] LGBTQ+ - gay astronaut)
I need to go to bed somewhat early tonight, so I'll try to keep this short:

--Now that I've been off Tumblr for a while now, I've started to work my way through the backlog of movies I've been meaning to see for the longest time now. I don't have time to review each one, so I'll just list them:

Movies that were great:
Movies that sucked tremendously:

Guilty pleasures:
If you want me to explain why I classified these movies the way I did, feel free to ask me in the comments.

--I've slowly started taking steps to take on more independence and responsibility and deal with my depression in more proactive ways; I've been driving on a more regular basis, I've been doing my own laundry, and on Sunday I cooked my own dinner. Spinach linguini with cooked bell peppers, celery, and scallions, to be exact. I still needed some guidance, of course, and I charred the vegetables a little bit, but other than that it came out perfectly. XD Obviously many people already do these things on a regular basis and take them for granted, but these are little victories I need to relish however I can. ^_^;

I've also been going to different places in the area we haven't been to before; the weekend before last my dad and I went to Books & Co., a small used bookstore in Hamden, and we were very impressed by it! Sadly, there aren't a lot of indie bookstores in our area, so it was good to find one by chance and support it however we could. Most of the books there are mainstream/literary fiction, and they also sell greeting cards and jewelry made by local artists. Oh yeah, all the books they sell are half off list price, so if you want a good deal....8D I couldn't resist buying a few books while I was there (Assia Djebar's Children of the New World, Yukio Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn, and Ntozake Shange's Betsy Brown), and they served a great chai latte at their café too.

And last weekend we checked out Redscroll Records in Wallingford, which also turned out to be pretty great. It's a small store that focuses on alternative/metal/hardcore/punk (they even sell zines there, which isn't too surprising to me since I know there are people out there who still make them, but still), and lots of vinyl if you're into that sort of thing (my dad ended up finding records he hadn't seen for 30-40 years), but there is something for just about everyone there. (Hey [personal profile] two_grey_rooms, it's better than Cutler's, trust me. XD) I ended up buying Soundtracks by Can and the Zol! EP from BLK JKS, as well as two used DVDs -- The Fall and Fargo, the latter of which I rewatched recently and was just as awesome as I remembered it to be.

--So the first two episodes of The Legend of Korra came out this weekend. And it was AMAZING. And AWESOME. And all those other adjectives I like to overuse when I really, really enjoy something. XD No spoilers, but this GIF just about sums it up:



Ugh why do we have to wait another month for the new episodes to come out D:

Seriously though, if you haven't seen this already, you should, even if you aren't familiar with A:tLA or its fandom. If you missed it when it was online this weekend, leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do. ;-)

(BTW, glad to see Community is back on the air too! Wasn't too impressed with last week's episode, but here's hoping this week's will be better.)

--Some links that I think might be of interest to some of you:
--And finally, a meme I ganked from [livejournal.com profile] iron_valkyrie:

Which kind of bender are you? )


quadruplify: Julian Minci (from Legend of the Galactic Heroes) sticking his tongue out in disgust ([LoGH] Julian - yuck)
1. So I'm sure many of you know about that video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony produced by the NGO Invisible Children that went viral a couple of days ago (if you don't know what I'm talking about, look up "Kony 2012" on YouTube). The video has become quite a big deal, generating a lot of buzz and publicity in a remarkably short amount of time; I've seen many people on LJ, Twitter, and Facebook talk about it, so I felt it was necessary to do a post about it, much like the 2009 protests in Iran and last year's "Arab Spring." I would make a big linkdump about it, complete with pertinent quotes, but I've been feeling too lazy and tired to do one up this time, and besides, many people have already beaten me to it:

--[livejournal.com profile] eska_rina has put together a great assortment of links and relevant quotes
--[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political has its big compendium of links here; of particular interest is The Guardian's liveblog of the fallout
--The conveniently titled "Reader's digest to Kony 2012"

I know it may seem like a ton of links to deal with, each attached to rather long reads, but I highly, highly recommend you skim them at the very least. The issues, criticisms, and commentary Invisible Children's campaign has raised can't be neatly summed up in a quick soundbite, and it's very important to read up on the issues before you decide to donate money or engage in activism -- not just on this particular issue, but on everything else as well.

I personally find myself agreeing with the backlash against IC's campaign, and while I think #Kony2012 has good intentions, it has not been thought out very well. The campaign appears to ignore much of the context of the conflict in Uganda, such as how Kony and the LRA became prominent, the circumstances in which (and reasons why) it happened, and the legacy of European colonialism and imperialism that ultimately led such a situation to come about in the first place. The campaign also paints a picture of Uganda that is overly simplistic and reductive; it plays into the common media narrative of Africa being a place of nothing but war, starvation, and poverty, and that only Americans/the West/white people can "save" Africans from this predicament. Not only is this narrative rooted in the same kinds of ideas that led European powers to colonize Africa in the first place, but it's also extremely inaccurate, given that a variety of peoples and cultures exist on the continent, that there are already many organizations on the ground in areas affected by the LRA run by Africans themselves doing the work IC claims to be doing, and that many Africans -- some of whom have been directly affected by Kony's violence -- take issue with the campaign and suggest better ways of going about it. The fact that the campaign's promoters don't appear to be listening to the voices of Africans themselves, especially those of the people they're purporting to stand for, shows how paternalistic it really is, and how it's nothing more than "Kony is evil, he used child soldiers, he must be brought to justice." Obviously Kony is evil and needs to be brought to justice, but if you think about the "nuts and bolts" of how to do it, and the consequences it might bring, then you realize just how good intentions aren't enough.

Obviously these criticisms shouldn't be an excuse to dismiss #Kony2012 as an exercise in feel-good activism targeting American college students; human rights violations are an affront to all of humanity, and we shouldn't stand by and let them happen. But creating change isn't nearly as glamorous as the video makes it out to be, and context (and the nuances, complexities, and frustrations that come with it) matters. If something seems too black-and-white, it probably is. It pays to do your research and come up with your own conclusions, and this is no exception.

*********************************************************************************************

Onto other things:

2. This is the best modern-day retelling of a fairy tale you'll see this week, hands down:



3. I don't post fic recs that often on here, but I found a great LoGH fic worth checking out: Inheritance. Cross-dressing!young!Reuenthal fic that's not crack and is actually pretty well-written? YESPLZ. :D

4. A continuation of the seven-questions meme from the last post, this time from [livejournal.com profile] iron_valkyrie :

Read more... )


So.......

Feb. 12th, 2011 12:22 am
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
.........how 'bout dem Egyptians?

Guys, this is all really, really, REALLY exciting stuff, it's just.......OMG I don't have the words. Seriously. XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD I've been rather excited ever since I heard the news of Mubarak's resignation, and right now I'm just really proud of the protesters for toppling their oppressive government peacefully after 18 days! I was beginning to suspect Mubarak would hold on to power until September or beyond that, or that he would really dig in and start killing protesters on a wide scale, but thankfully that didn't happen. And now that the military is in control for now, I hope the protesters will hold them accountable so that a true democracy can be formed like they've been fighting for. Anyway, here's a quick linkdump since I haven't done one in a while, and since a lot of these sum up my feelings about today:

[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political has their latest liveblog/party post here; there are plenty of snarky and hilarious comments originally from Twitter posted by [livejournal.com profile] akuma_river which are really well-worth reading. (And in case you're curious, here's the liveblog before the latest one, with links to good sources and previous liveblogs.)

More links under the cut... )

********************************************************************************************

..........I just finished my first week of the last semester of classes. I'm going to hold judgment about the classes right now, but I will say a few things about them:

* I think I'm really going to enjoy my African Politics class; the professor is pretty funny and engaging (and from Madagascar), it doesn't look like there will be heavy amounts of work, and right now we're reading Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, which is absolutely AMAZING -- yeah, it's about Belgium's colonization of the Congo and all the oppression and exploitation and evil that came from that, but it's a really good read that I've had a hard time putting down.

* Social Movements will probably be the toughest class for me this semester; the two big things we have to do for that are 1) involvement in an organizing project outside of college, and 2) a 5,000-word paper (that's about 16-17 double-spaced pages). The paper is already stressing me out -- I mean, it's doable, but it's still one of the longer ones I've had to do, and that's going to be a pain in the ass to write (though not as much as last year's 25-page monstrosity). Plus, the class only meets once a week on Wednesday nights, which is bad because I have three classes before that during the day, so by the time this class starts I'm already pretty drained. I really think it's going to be a great class, mind, and I have high hopes for it (not least of which because Bill McKibben is teaching it), but I'm beginning to have my doubts. One of the things we're going to be doing all semester is reading Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters, about the early days of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, which is turning out to be excellent so far.

* I'm going to have a ton of reading this semester. Between that and the essays I have to write (the 5,000-worder mentioned above, the 12-page term paper for my Japanese lit class, and various other essays), it's going to take up all the free time I'm going to have these next couple of months. And I'm not exaggerating all that much when I say that. D: Even when I find out what assignments I can afford to skim or skip, it's still going to be quite a bit. And I have to do work for VIP, search for jobs and internships, and take care of myself on top of it all, and I just......don't know how I'm going to do all that. Some people are lucky enough to have the ability to juggle all these things and more at once with relative ease, and I'm most definitely not. ;___; I don't know how often I'll be on AIM, guys, though I'll see what I can do.

And because a.) of all the stuff that went down in Egypt today, and b.) I have no classes on Fridays, I ended up doing absolutely none of the reading I planned to do today. Which wouldn't be so bad, except I have to read 100+ pages of Tocqueville for my Politics of Virtual Realities class by Monday, and that's going to be a pain to get through. Bleh. :PPP

Anyway, some other things that happened this week:

1) It's official: an A in my Korean culture class. \OO/

2) I helped table for VIP at the student activities fair on Thursday, which was a disappointment as only four people signed up. (Meanwhile the club next to us, Mchaka [a Swahili-chanting running group], got a shitload of new names on their list, despite not having anyone actually at the table. WTF. O_o;) But we're planning on doing quite a bit this semester, so hopefully that'll work out, unlike last semester when all our plans fell through. ._.

3)
Following the breakout success of last year’s Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Art of the Animated Series, Dark Horse is proud to collaborate with Nickelodeon on a comprehensive publishing program built around this beloved and exciting Emmy-winning animated series! The first installment of this new series will be released on Free Comic Book Day, May 7, with two introductory short stories — including the unpublished tale “Relics” and the iconic Dirty Is Only Skin Deep... This free comic will be packaged with Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars in a special flip-book comic, available only at your local comic book shop.

Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Lost Adventures will be released TK. This all-new 240-page comic book contains over 70 pages of never-before-seen material in addition to long-out-of-print comics previously published in Nickelodeon Magazine. With 26 stories set in Airbender continuity and created by a host of top-notch talent, many of whom worked on the original animated series, this is an essential addition to any fan’s bookshelf. [source]


SO. EXCITED. 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

The bad news is that I'm not sure how I'll be able to get the Free Comic Book Day comics, considering a.) I go to college in the middle of nowhere Vermont, b.) I don't have easy access to transportation out of town, and c.) it's during finals week. But I'll try to see what I can do, because I need these books bad, as a good way to tide me over until Legend of Korra drops. ^_^;

That's about it right now, so I'll leave you with this meme....

The Social Networking Friending Meme!!


......and this video:





Egypt #3

Feb. 2nd, 2011 08:11 pm
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
The situation in Egypt seems to have taken a turn for the worse; after yesterday's peaceful "million man march" on Tahrir Square in Cairo, pro-government counter-protesters have come out of the woodwork begun clashing with the anti-Mubarak protesters who have been on the streets for the past week. Because the attacks appear to be coordinated and tend to be coming from plainclothes police and security officers, and it's very likely that Mubarak's government has planned the recent violence; as a result, three people are confirmed dead and at least 1500 others have been injured. Meanwhile, Mubarak has promised electoral reform and to step down when his term ends in September, despite continued calls for his immediate resignation. The only good that seems to have come out of today is that anti-Mubarak protesters have re-taken Tahrir Square (though this might not last for long), and the Internet in Egypt has been turned back on.

[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political has their latest live-blog here, though the one before that has an exhaustive list of liveblogs, Twitter accounts, articles, and other resources; because I won't try to replicate that here, go to those links first for the latest information. I've also been retweeting some good bits of info on my own Twitter (to all my Twitter followers: sorry about all the spam XD).

Here's a list of some of the best articles and analysis I've come across over the past couple of days. There's a lot this time, so recommended readings are in bold:

Other liveblogs I've been following:
Al Jazeera: Tuesday 2/1 || Wednesday 2/2 || Thursday 2/3
The Lede @ New York Times
Mother Jones
Mondoweiss

Cut for length... )

As always, feel free to link to this page to "boost the signal," and also if I missed anything you'd like to see in this list, let me know in the comments (especially if they're from non-mainstream or non-Western sources). Hope these posts haven't been too annoying for y'all. ;-)

Egypt #2

Jan. 31st, 2011 12:01 am
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
Here's an update to the Egypt linkdump from two nights ago. Sorry to spam your f-lists/access lists with this, but this is kinda Really Fucking Important™.

Liveblogs:
[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political : #3 || #4  (the best place to start, as it has some of the best comments and commentary)
Al Jazeera: Saturday 1/29 || Sunday 1/30 || Monday 1/31
Mother Jones (scroll to the bottom [before the comments section] for the latest)
The Lede @ The New York Times
The Guardian (UK)
Other liveblogs, plus video feeds

Al Jazeera:
Egypt front page

BBC:
El Baradei tells crowd "change coming"
Anxious waiting game as standoff continues
Tension rises as jets buzz Tehrir Square in Cairo
Hillary Clinton urges "orderly transition"
Profile: Mohammed El Baradei
Can Mubarak survive the revolt?
Tough questions if revolution succeeds

Foreign Policy:
Pharaoh's End: A roundtable
The Worst of Both Worlds
Five questions about Egypt
President Obama, here is your "game changer"
Unmasking Mubarak's "chaos"
Democracy is not all that different....
Obama's handling Egypt pretty well (h/t [livejournal.com profile] mcollinknight , and an article I agree with 100%)

Guardian:
Egyptians form makeshift militias to stop looters
Editorial: Mubarak's dictatorship must end now
Voices of the Egyptian rebellion
"We've waited for this revolution for years"

New York Times:
Opposition rallies to El Baradei as military reinforces in Cairo

Independent (UK):
Robert Fisk: Death throes of a dictatorship

The Nation:
Live from the Egyptian Revolution

The Globe and Mail (Canada):
Egypt's new vice-president has been crown-prince-in-waiting for years
Enough!  Why thousands of young Arabs have taken to the streets in protest

Kansas City Star:
Why has Egypt's army not confronted protesters?

Huffington Post:
A complete guide to the 2011 revolution

Associated Press:
Iraqis watch Egypt unrest with sense of irony

Center for a New American Security:
Egypt: A humble request  (another necessary punch to the gut for Western observers)

Los Angeles Times:
White House quietly preparing for a post-Mubarak Egypt

UNCUT:
Egypt's Twitter-less revolution

Mondoweiss:
The Egyptian revolution threatens an American-imposed order of Arabophobia and false choices  (h/t [livejournal.com profile] mcollinknight -- highly recommended reading)

Canonical.org:
Why Egypt's popular rebellion is the greatest historical event in a decade, and how Barack Obama missed the boat  (I don't agree with this person's assessment of the American response to the crisis in Egypt, but this provides a good background to what's going on, and has some good arguments against the pro-Obama Foreign Policy article I linked above)

As always, feel free to link to this page if you want, and please leave interesting articles and other links related to Egypt and protests throughout the Arab world (especially from non-mainstream and non-Western sources) in the comments.  ;-)

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
So as many of you probably know already, Egypt has recently erupted with a slew of anti-government protests that has left president Hosni Mubarak and his party's grip on power tenuous at best, and could mean big changes to the political makeup and stability of the region as a result (not to mention U.S. foreign policy and America's place in the world).  Inspired by the protests in Tunisia, the protesters managed to gain enough power to nearly topple their government in the space of four days, which is really fucking remarkable -- and considering what this may mean, it's a Big Fucking Deal™ (even if Joe Biden himself wouldn't use that term to describe this situation, sadly enough).

[Before I go any further, I need to make a disclaimer: I've tried to follow this as closely as I could seeing as it is history in the making (especially since things really got interesting today), but this isn't Iran in 2009 when I had a ton of time on my hands -- I had an exam today, I need to pack to go home tomorrow and I haven't done that yet, I'm pressed for time, my computer is being unreasonably slow, and I'm perpetually exhausted.  So this is going to be pretty limited, and I haven't read all the articles just yet, but I'll plan on it this weekend when I get more time.  (And if you must know: I think I did good on my exam, and I got an A+ on my journal entries, so other than current events and my rushing around to get things done, life is good right now.  XD)]

Anyway, here's the linkdump:

EGYPT
Al Jazeera's main page on the Egypt crisis  (includes live video)
Al Jazeera: "Analysis: Upheaval in Egypt"
Al Jazeera: "Profile: Hosni Mubarak"
Hossam el-Hamalawy: "We Don't Expect Any Help From America, Just to Leave Us Alone"
Mondoweiss: "Egypt is burning and most Western pundits have no idea why"
New York Times Liveblog
New York Times: "Mubarak Vows Cabinet Shift by Defends Deploying Army As Revolt Sweeps Egypt"
New York Times: "Al Jazeera Covers Protests Despite Hurdles"
NPR Liveblog
NPR: "Egypt President Asks Cabinet to Resign Amidst Protests"
Guardian Liveblog
BBC: "Mubarak Sacks Cabinet and Defends Security Role"
BBC: "Analysis: Why Egypt Matters"
BBC: "As it happened: Egypt unrest on Friday"
BBC: "Egypt's security and armed forces: The deciding factor"
BBC: "Obama's caution on Egypt is winning him no friends"  (and yet, at this stage, there really isn't much else he can do)
Washington Post main article on the Egypt crisis
Washington Post: "U.S. to review aid to Egypt"
David Frum: "John Kerry Calls For Elections in Egypt"
Foreign Policy: "The New Arab World Order"
Foreign Policy: "Washington eyes a fateful day in Egypt"
The Atlantic: "After Tunisia: Obama's Impossible Dilemma in Egypt"
zuky: "Third World Protest as US Spectator Sport"  (definitely a punch to the gut, but something worth reading anyway)
Huffington Post: "Graph Visualizes Egypt's Internet Blackout"
Enduring America liveblog
Wikipedia article

In terms of Twitters to follow, @SultanAlQassemi and @bencnn are probably the two best English-language ones to follow; you could also follow mine if you wish, as I'll try to retweet some of the best bits of info I can get.  I've also been reblogging Egypt-related stuff on Tumblr, though they also have their own stream of Egypt-related posts[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political put together a live post as well (though it seems to be inactive right now), as well as a news round-up from earlier in the day.  As always, Andrew Sullivan's blog is linking some of the best commentary, but since apparently Sullivan himself is on leave it might not be as good of a source for that as when he covered the situation in Iran.

ELSEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Al Jazeera's main page on Tunisia
Tunisia -- Ben Ali allies dropped from cabinet
New York Times: "Seizing a Moment, Al Jazeera Galvanizes Arab Frustration"
Washington Post: "As Protests Swell From Yemen to Egypt, Middle East Faces Uncertainty"
Iranian.com: "Tunis Not Tehran: Why Tunisians succeeded by Iranians faltered"
The National (UAE): "Thousands protest in Jordan for third week"
New York Times: "Protests Unsettle Jordan While Most Other Neighbors Stay Calm"
New York Times: "Waves of Unrest Spread to Yemen, Shaking a Region"
Washington Post: "Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, Yemenis join in anti-government protests"
Wikipedia articles: Tunisia // Yemen // Algeria // Arab world in general

I'll try to add more links within the next 24 hours or so, so check back to this page for updates.  Also, if you have any other interesting links about current events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, please feel free to share them (especially if they're from non-mainstream media sources).  You're also free to share and link to this page as often as you wish, if you want to boost the signal.  ;-)


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
Before I begin this entry, I just wanted to say a few words about the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, AZ yesterday. This is an absolutely unspeakable tragedy, and I'm sure I'd be in agreement with many Americans when I say that this has really disturbed me in a lot of ways -- and yet, I can't say I'm all that surprised it happened, given that Sarah Palin's PAC created a graphic that put a gun's crosshairs on Giffords' district and used "don't retreat, reload" rhetoric when describing her and some of her colleagues. That, and other such speech and commentary from various people on the right, have contributed to a political climate in which it somehow becomes acceptable to attack and kill politicians, public servants, and public figures just because they don't share your opinions and beliefs. No matter how directly connected recent vitriol and violent rhetoric from the right-wing was to this act of terrorism, it all still helped contribute to a political climate where such an event can occur, and where the idea that a public official or figure is not actually a human being with a family and a set of friends and a life like us, but is merely a thing that represents an (entirely fictional) enemy and a number of a district that "needs" to be won, has become prevalent. And today, six people are dead because of this climate and these ideas, including staffer Gabe Zimmerman, federal judge John Roll, and Christina Taylor Greene, a nine-year-old girl who was on her school's student council.

Of course, the right-wing in this country is so steeped in ideological purity and self-righteousness that they won't apologize and own up for their words, and take responsibility for the fact that they had a hand in this because their words actually mean something. Which means I'm very afraid that the next time this happens, it won't merely be an attempted assassination.

Anyway, my thoughts go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her friends and family, and and the friends and families of all those who were killed or injured in Tucson today; I wish all the best for them. (And here are comments from Keith Olbermann and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, both of which are more eloquent than I ever could be [even though I'm not a fan of Olbermann's false equivalency and hypocrisy here].)

UPDATE: Giffords is apparently "doing well," given the circumstances.

*************************************************************************

I'd also like to mention what's going on in Southern Sudan right now: the current vote on whether or not to secede from the rest of Sudan (New York Times article; Al-Jazeera article).  My thoughts are also going out to the people of Southern Sudan right now, in the hopes that no matter the outcome of the referendum, that the process is as peaceful and free of irregularities as possible.

*************************************************************************

This has been a rather......interesting first week of 2011, and of J-term. Though I gotta say, I haven't been following my main New Year's quasi-goal/"resolution" so far -- I mean, I've been trying, but it's still a problem. Many people call this time of year "Yay-Term," but I haven't been feeling many "yays" about it so far. :(

My class is on Korean language, literature, and film, and despite the fact that I find a lot of what we're talking about so far to be very interesting, I'm having a hard time being all that enthusiastic about the class in general. For one thing, it's hard to do a good introduction to those subjects when the class is only four weeks long and it meets three times a week for 2-3 hours each time. Plus, it meets in the afternoon, which means that given my sleeping habits, I'll have a hard time getting up early enough to be sufficiently awake for class. :PPP It's also apparent that most of the people there are upperclassmen who are only taking this class because the classes they wanted to get into got filled up too quickly (sophomores and freshmen get first dibs on J-term classes), and even though the professor is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable (she grew up and spent a good portion of her life in South Korea [even though she's not Korean herself], and has done a lot of research on Korean literature), it's quite obvious she doesn't have much experience in the classroom, given she's often disorganized and not the most engaging lecturer. Lastly, we didn't do all that much this past week; there's only so much you can do with teaching the Korean alphabet and other random bits of information about the language and how it works in that amount of time, and considering we're not actually learning the language in this course, it was hard to take what we were doing all that seriously (especially since I already know the Korean alphabet, from when I took an informal Korean class run by students back in freshman and sophomore years). And now the work is going to pick up a little, which will take a while getting used to. Still, I'm sticking with it because it's a fascinating topic I know little about, and other than the things I just mentioned I've been enjoying it so far. (I kinda want to write about some of the things we've learned in class thus far -- and what I've learned through research done on my own as a result of that [mostly through Wikipedia, lol XD] -- but I don't really have the time or energy right now. Let's just say that now I really want to learn Korean -- in addition to all the other languages I want to learn -- and more about its history and culture as well. Great. ^_^;)

Speaking of languages, I had my first Persian workshop last week as well. It was originally supposed to be on Monday, but our teacher, a freshman who I'm 99% sure is from Iran, apparently didn't know that anyone had actually signed up for the class because the people in charge of J-term workshops never got around to notifying her that fact, which led to all of us sitting around for a half-hour on Monday evening twiddling our thumbs. Yay. :PPP So she rescheduled the first meeting for Thursday evening, and that went pretty well. There's only so much we can learn in weekly one-hour classes (unless we decide to go twice a week or something), but there's only six of us in the workshop (including a political science professor!), so that helps. The only problem I have with it so far is that we're not learning the Persian alphabet; our teacher told us that it would take too much time to learn because it's quite complicated, which is fair enough -- except that she's also given us textbooks to use so that we can reinforce what we've learned in class and teach ourselves Persian on our own time, which would be great if those textbooks actually had some romanizations instead of making you read Persian script from the get-go. So yeah, learning the Persian alphabet is kind of a necessity if any of us wants to stick with it, in addition to making sure you're pronouncing the words correctly. There is an audio CD that goes with the textbook that the teacher didn't get for us because of a lack of funds, but it costs $50; fortunately, one of the other students has the CD, so I'm hoping he'll rip it for us so that we don't have to spend the money. XD In any case, I've really been liking the workshop so far, and I can't wait for class tomorrow!

The other big thing that happened this week was the Night Kite Revival poetry slam on Thursday evening. I first heard about it just last Monday; I wasn't at all familiar with the poets in the group, though I was thinking of going anyway because a.) I'm really starting to love slam poetry, and b.) some student poets, including a couple I know personally, were going to be performing as well, and I wasn't going to pass up a chance to see them. Then I noticed that they were bringing in Taylor Mali as a special guest. And I was like, "HOLY SHIT OMG YES I'M SO GOING NOW :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD" For those of you who don't know, he's the one who wrote "What Teachers Make" and a whole host of other awesome poems; I was familiar with his work for some time, so I definitely didn't want to miss this. And lemme tell ya, I had an excellent time! Mali and the student poets were absolutely brilliant; even though Mali didn't perform "What Teachers Make" (probably because it's so ubiquitous by now, and because it comes from a poetry collection from 2002 that he really doesn't like anymore), he and the students were magnetic, charismatic, impressive, thought-provoking, and all-around awesome. I admit I wasn't as taken by the Night Kite poets -- Buddy Wakefield, Anis Mojgani, and Derrick Brown -- but they were still absolutely hilarious; they had a wonderful dynamic on stage, and it was great when they made it so that you couldn't always tell when their poems began and ended. I'm pretty sure I laughed more times that one night than I have in quite a while, so that's gotta count for something. Here, here's some photos of the event -- human pyramids, shirtless poets, bagpipes, and off-the-wall-ness galore. Probably one of the best events I've gone to here in my four years of college, if not the best event. 8D

If you're interested, here are some videos of some of the poets performing:

Taylor Mali, "Miracle Workers"
Taylor Mali, "Like Lily Like Wilson"
Taylor Mali, "The The Impotence of Proofreading"
Taylor Mali, "Depression Too Is a Type of Fire"
Buddy Wakefield, "Hurling Crowbirds at Mockingbars"
Anis Mojgani, "Come Closer"
Anis Mojgani, "Shake the Dust"
Derrick Brown, "Cotton In the Air"
Derrick Brown, "Meat Loaf"

Other than all that, the radio show, gaming club, and anime club went rather well, and I spent most of the rest of the week being lazy and not knowing what to do with myself, completely unmotivated to do any work or anything else I've been wanting to do this J-term. :/ Hopefully, next week will be better for that. In the meantime, I shall go to dinner and then try to do all the work I've been putting off this weekend -- if only I can gather the energy and clarity of mind to do so. :3

In My Past Life I Was...




Profile

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
quadruplify

June 2016

S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
121314151617 18
19202122232425
2627282930  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 21st, 2017 05:00 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios