Friday, October 1, 2010

Project : Booked

If there's one thing during my life that I've had no shortage of it, it would definitely be leisure time. So it is my goal from now on to find something productive to do with my time. The summer of my laziness has just about run its course and it's time to find something to do with myself when I'm not making money or going to school. There's plenty of people that would say for a person my age that's a perfectly reasonable amount of responsibility, but in my case I have a lot of ground to make up. Most people my age have had far more experiences and I intend to get out into the world and make something of myself. And it will start just around the corner.

I have always wanted to become a volunteer, I just never had that push to go out and do it. I'm sure that if I had started doing something meaningful with my free time long ago I would be a much different person, but I'm done with regrets (or so I tell myself). Being an active volunteer for a few choice organizations I think will help me towards my goal, which I will be calling "Project : Booked". You know when people call you and ask what your plans are for the weekend and most of the time (if you're anything like me) you have nothing to offer, and your most common response is "I have no plans, what's up?" Well, I don't want to have to say that anymore because let's be honest we rarely do anything really great with our weekends that we don't plan ahead of time. Very rare is the spontaneous activity really worth anything at all. When someone calls me I want to have something to say, not because I want to feel important but rather because I want to be doing something, anything.

At first glance my reasoning for being a volunteer might sound superficial and lame, and it probably is. I want to fill my free time doing something productive that helps somebody else, because most of my life I've done nothing productive for the most selfish of reasons but I suppose even volunteering is selfish in some sense of the word. I would like one day to be able to say that I made some small difference in making another persons life a little more bearable, because the world is really terrible for most people. I guess there's a factor of guilt that goes into this as well. I grew up better than most and while my family wasn't rich, I'm at an age now where I can appreciate the value of currency and be aware of the kinds of situations the majority of the people on this planet face on a daily basis. I can honestly say now, that I had no idea how good I would have it when I was complaining my world was a terrible place. I really didn't know the half of it, and yes I know the statement is self-evident for anyone that reaches the age of reason, it doesn't make it any less true. Truth is sustained only by our ability to repeat it.

My goal is to be a better person by making other lives a little better, but it is not the only thing I intend to do. There is a larger plan at work here, and I intend to put it into action one step at a time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You wouldn't only use your left hand when fixing a sink, would you?

My goal going into writing this blog had nothing to do with keeping a coherent theme or pushing any kind of agenda. Mostly what I wanted to was to write every day and keep my brain working in some fashion. My classes right now don't really require me to write papers. They don't even provide much of an intellectual challenge, but such is the curse of taking the fun classes before the requirements. However in my vigor to keep writing and given the nature of the "blogosphere", which is a lame word anyway, I wonder what exactly people look for in original content. I see a lot of blogs around that do recap type posting, maybe it's pictures, videos or reviews and while those are cool that set-up doesn't really seem to suit my style.

When it comes to writing I like to keep things mixed up as much as possible, perhaps because I don't have much to say about any one thing in any great depth. Optimistically I'd like to believe that it's due my innate desire to cover as much ground academically as I feasibly can. In essence my problems with writing are the same ones I have academically. I am spastic. A short attention span may be at fault here but generally my interest in a given subject runs it's course before I feel the need to mix it up with something new and generally unrelated. Having said that, maybe what I have to say in these posts isn't of any particular relevance and as much as it would be a great job title, I don't think I have the drive to become a great "writer". I do hope though that when the readers browse my blog (for whatever reason) they can find a shred of commonality with my situations and beliefs. I post what I think not because I want other people to know what how I view a situation, but because I want to find others that agree or at the very least have some sort of counterargument.

While no one is special as our parents would have had us believe, I tend to think that I am part of an underrepresented sect of the modern society. I can honestly say that I'm in the middle of the spectrum whether it be socially or politically. Not because I can't make up my mind due to indifference or ignorance, I simply don't believe that either extreme has everything "right". There are things from every point of view that I can identify with and as such I suppose that I can't be loud about too much. It's easy to take a hard stance when you lean so far in one direction, especially when you're leaning in to yell in my face.

That's where the title of this blog comes in to play, and in a fit of cleverness I rarely have, it actually fits into what I seek to accomplish here. For people like me, the ones that can't accept one doctrine of thinking, things will that happen will always be different and I can't imagine a world in which my view becomes the status quo. So for now, what I get out this world will always vary in relation to which extreme gets to play in the big white house and I'll always get a little of what I want but never the whole cigar.

Such is life, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

United, the people, will find the earth depleted.

I was listening to an interview today with Chomsky that got me thinking about organized labor. While they do have their faults, which I will not go into here, they fundamentally (if not ideally) represent the interests of the common working person. Now given that nice little mission statement, I would assume that as a general rule the people in charge of these unions would be interested in long-term well being of their constituent members. People want to live a long, productive life in which they improve the lifestyle of themselves and family. Having said this, what happens eventually when there is no world to support them? This leads me to the fundamental question : Are labor unions genuinely concerned with the enviornment?

Taken straight from the AFL/CIO website : We march for a clean environment, so no child is ever forced to decide between drinking the water or breathing the air and staying healthy.

I'm curious as to what impact if any they are actually having on the movement towards a sustainable planet. Given that many of the most powerful labor unions represent industries that have a vested interest in the contiunation of the current unsustainable paradigm, I wonder how genuine their interest is in say, alternative fuels. The amount of power these organizations wield is surely enough to influence the industries in some way. I wish they would use it to slowly change the way industry works from the inside. Who would side with industry if unions took a firm stance on large energy companies begin to invest capital in renewable energy (thus creating more jobs and more union members)?

Perhaps I overestimate how much power these organizations have. The government certaintly isn't going to just create these industries out of thin air. Though I suppose with any great movement the people must want the change, and cutting pollution and dumping capital into a new industry (especially when the current one is so profitable) isn't the best for the bottom line. Somewhere along the way someone with power is going to have stand for this, and I just hope its the people working in these industries who eventually change the way they function. Novel notion, I know.

Monday, September 27, 2010

[citation required]

I've been following a variety of different blogs and news sites for a while now, and there is something that really bothers me especially in the "Wiki-age" (I don't know if that's coined yet, but I'll take credit for it). People often talk about stories they heard or things they were talking about with their friends, and while I appreciate the addition of these anecdotes to the overall discourse, I find it disturbing that people so often fail to cite any resources. Even a cursory glance through the various online encyclopedias would be enough for me to lend a small amount of credibility to what a person means to say. Instead, I predominately see that people will, online or in personal conversation, mention a news report they heard from wherever in order to lend themselves credibility in a given topic. Now, while I have been guilty of this in the past I usually save these "heard it on the radio" situations for times when I want to start a conversation or change the subject. Very rarely will I use them as a source to back up a point in a debate (or heated argument for that matter).

Whether in print or in person, I think the whole idea of good conversation regarding any matters of fact or politics would be better served if people would simply keep their mouths shut when they don't have any real cogent evidence to back up what they're saying. We can aruge theory, strategy or ethics until the sun comes up but when we think we can interject some unvarifiable content into the conversation we begin to stray away from what I believe to be honest discourse. Its not as though I believe these people or liars, rather that I simply can't trust their interpretation of the data they were presented, the slant which was put on it or the way they are choosing to convey it to me. There's a lot lost in the process of hearing, understanding, and relating for it to be of any importance to a decent exchange.

So in short, no one cares about that thing you heard on NPR which makes your side of the argument the correct one. And no, I don't believe your statistics, or theirs for that matter.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I understand some people or events are seen to be culturally relevant and people are interested, however when the very act of producing a film not only draws attention to a subject, but propagates a behavior or person which the film itself seems to slander, I'm baffled. I'm sure the irony of making a film about the "meteoric" rise of a (here I will leave her name unmentioned) hotel socialite using the media to further herself as a brand name, is not lost on anyone.

This film provides a sickening profile of a person who I personally detest, and an alarming look into the interests of the modern American consumer culture. This woman has brand recognition that I'm sure large corporations would kill to have. How did this happen? I just watched a movie that seemed to be after the answer to that question, and yet I feel as though I was not given a good or at least satisfying answer. Can it simply be that the public is so vapid and misguided in regard to the idols they choose to worship, that anyone that has sex on camera and releases a clothing line can be a multimillionaire? I suppose that would be the simplest answer, but something just doesn't add up. Where is the money coming from? Who pays these men to stalk the celebrity to take pictures of their new child? More importantly, what exactly are they trying to sell us (besides magazines) that seems to create these huge revenue streams?

People like her are simply a face, which a brand buys because people know what she looks like. But what interests me more than phenomenon of celebrity culture, are the people that participate in it. You know, "normal people". Who are they? What do they look like? Do they admire this fake cast of characters because they believe one day they will be like them? I just don't understand it, and frankly I think its part of a larger problem in this country that will ultimately be the death of the rational citizen. The more people are trained through constant media bombardment to pay the most attention to appearance, manner of speech and a good smile rather than the content of their words, the faster this republic will be destroyed.

I suppose what I mean to say is that people like her are destroying the minds of rational people by distracting them from whats important by highlighting the fact they will always be better, richer and prettier than those who they seek to distract. It's one of the most insulting things I've ever seen and sometimes I wonder if the people who actually participate are aware they're subject of a cosmic joke.