Monday, December 29, 2008

One Step Closer to finding out if Fifty Amandas could defeat a Gorilla

Fox Reality Channel is officially the most frivilous channel on TV. With such hits as My Bare Lady, an attempt to find the next bug porn star, and Solitary 3.0, the show locking people in rooms to see who is the last to go crazy. Once again, one of those seeing a 700 pound person naked. It hurts to watch but you know it will hurt worse to know you had the chance to see that and didn't take it. Anyway, my focus is on Fox's newest show, Man vs. Beast. This show has dedicated itself to being on the cutting edge of interspecies competition. On the first episode(and only episode, I might add) there was an eating competition, a tug-a-war, a sprinting race, an obstacle course, and finally pulling race. The eating contest was between Takeru Kobayashi, hot dog eating champion, and yes, an alaskan brown bear. Next, the tug-a-war event, pitting a sumo wrestler against a large, female orangutan. The 100 yard dash included olympic sprinter, Shawn Crawford, a zebra, and a giraffe. The Obstacle course was a dignified competition between a navy seal and a chimpanzee.

Lastly and what I am most interested in was the pulling event, otherwise known as the duel in the deseret, between, get ready for it, forty-four little people and the competitor to their left, an asian elephant. The competitors were gathered together to pull a DC-10. The party which pulled the aircraft over the finish line first was the winner. My first thought when I saw all the little people harnessed behind the airplane was of a debate my friend Amanda came up with. I believe it was that 50 Amandas could defeat an African Lowland Gorilla in hand to hand combat. Now, I should first clarify that Amanda is small, but by no means a little person. Watching this competition opened up what I had thought was a closed book. Right before the race began the announcer declared his bias for the elephant. I thought that to be a bit controversial. As the intense competition began it was a tough start for the little people but momentum was on their side. They needed determination to win and anyone could see it in their eyes. "Look at these little people pull," announces the host and that is about when I lost it. When I say, "lost it," I mean the feeling that I was in a sane world and not caught up in the delusions of a fever-dream. Though I did "lose it" when the host actually said, "forty-four little people are going toe-to-toe with an asian elephant." The results, beast wins. I'm sorry little people you lost the race, oh and forty years of work to earn respect for little people everywhere.

My question is, does this mean Amanda would lose to a gorilla?
What I am certain of is that I will never look at the olympics or sporting competition the same. Oh you earned eight gold medals in swimming. Try outswimming this dolphin. What you won grecco-roman wrestling? Try some hand to hand with this polar bear. I am actually getting an idea for a new Man vs. Beast event. It is imspired by this poster.

A dead hang between man and kitten. I think I know who would win this one.

P.S. I found a list of possible techniques for forty two midgets fighting a lion which I find pretty applicable to an amanda vs. gorilla fight.

1. The “Dogpile” Technique

Whenever you’re coordinating a horde of fighters, the Dogpile is a quick, easy, go-to technique. It doesn’t take a lot of preparation or coordination, and it’s a great way to utilize your strength in numbers and at least buy some time to formulate a newer, better plan than “get inside of his mouth and attack from the inside”.
However, if you’re fighting one of the toughest land predators on earth, and that predator happens to be a cat, the dogpile is only a temporary solution. You’re going to have to utilize another technique.

2. The “Play-Dead-To-Human-Net-Trap” Technique

Han Solo and Chewbacca were caught in an Ewok net trap. Arnold Schwarzenegger almost caught Predator in a net trap. Also, playing “dead” got me out of P.E. class at least a dozen times as a kid. It seems logical that combining the two techniques would prove effective against the King of the Beasts. 42 midget wrestlers lying “dead” on the floor would just confuse the big cat. Then when he gets into position, the army springs on him from below! It’s perfect! Look at the exclamation point over the lion’s head in the illustration above. That means he’s surprised!

3. The “Single-File” Technique

I understand your doubt about this one. It seems like the only thing these midgets should be fighting is their way to the back of the line. There’s more to this technique than meets the eye, though. Because the lion is fighting one easy opponent at a time, his adrenaline won’t be able to take over. And adrenaline, as we all know, is a lion’s greatest weapon (behind huge teeth, vicious claws, and incredible strength). When fighting, each midget in the line should be aiming directly for teeth and claws with the one or two hits that he’s going to get in before the lion tears him to bits. Sure, the lion will work his way through the first thirty fighters pretty easily, but maybe by fighter 31, his teeth will start to hurt a little bit…just maybe.

4. The “Bungee” Technique

Bungee cords are great. They’re everything that we love about rope and everything that we love about elastic rolled into one. It seems only natural to use bungee cords as a secret weapon in a lion fight. It increases mobility and distracts and confuses the opponent. Lions aren’t used to fighting enemies from above, and if I remember correctly, cats hate things that are dangling on strings, right?

5. The “Vultron” Technique

Sure, and African Lion can work it’s way through 42 midgets in 12 minutes. But what if those midgets formed themselves into one super-sized fighter? The most promising technique for 42 midgets fighting a vicious African Lion stems from the bowels of history. It’s written on our money, it’s etched in our hearts, and we remember it from Vultron, too: E Pluribus Unum: “From Many, One”. Obviously whenever a number of small things combine into one large thing to fight, lightning is conjured (see image above), and that can be used a weapon in a crunch, too. Plus, even if the lion still wins, you’ll be able to say (without lying this time) that you saw a gang of midgets form into a giant and fight a lion. How cool is that?

Thanks to the blog for that last section about lion wrestling. I know I enjoyed it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Important Discoveries of 2008

The inevitable capping of years approaches with the impending date Jan. 1, 2009. As I look through the slipstream of memories I have decided that I want to draw baseless conclusions. I have learned that I am the type of person that makes definitive statements concerning issues and then alter them down the line. I have discovered that I can be condencending and rude. I have found that it is hard for me to let go of disappointment, resentment, and food. I really like animal collective in a live show and will go out of my way to see them live.

The Worst concert I saw this year was by a new band I love called the Fleet Foxes. They were just really boring. They play beautiful music but were boring nonetheless.

My favorite new artist is a last minute find called Son Lux.

Though Bon Iver did come close in being the best discovery of 2008.

My Favorite movie I saw was a cartoon about a post-apocalyptic Jerry Herman loving robot.

The Best Play a saw was a tie between a Tryptich piece of theater about three souls stuck in a terminus and a remake of a Noel Coward movie called "Brief Encounters."

I found that traveling as I get older is getting to be a little more inconvenient. I am more grumpy than I want to be and less willing to admit it to myself I can't change that. I can't read. Enough said. Well I can't seem to stop from involunteraliy falling asleep or focus my mind in one cognative direction. Reading to me is like hurding the mental kittens of synapses I have in my face.
Next Year I plan on taking a more direct approach to the discovery of art, music, and literature. I want to focus on one playwright or an anthology of a well established musician, maybe look up an influential underground artist, or try "reading" books in the form on sound waves eminating from my eye-pod. If anyone has any ideas or good suggestions let me know. Otherwise I hope all had a Happy Holidays(I'm not afraid to say Christmas or Chanukah) and wish you a wonderful New Years.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two of the most important events to happen to me this semester

A While back I was introduced to what I can only assume is elementary school sack lunch as packed by a heavenly mother. This dissension of ambrosia came in the form of a chocolate brownie sliced in two with peanut butter spread between the two slices. Well I came home to Alpine for thanksgiving break and was taken to a hot new bakery in American Fork. It was called Flour Girls and Dough Boys. Anyway I went in skeptical and what did I find? A Deseret sandwich I could never refuse. What did Flour Girls and Dough Boys find? A customer for Life.
Secondly, I was given the oppurtunity to film a commercial in November. It was suppose to be released a couple of weeks ago but thanks to drunken frat initiation and girls getting hit by Utah State buses it was held back from being released so when people were asked, "Why not apply for Utah State?" There immediate answer wouldn't be, "Because I don't feel like being hit by a bus or dying of alcohol poisoning." So my "commercial" is now finally released via youtube. My question, Is this my fifteen minutes of fame? Because I felt like that happened when I was in the opening ceremonies and the olympic slide music video. Well enjoy, I am in three portions of the commercial. Funny thing is I'm not so sure I'm a fan of... Well never you mind.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

thanks 1

I am loving this website. Each day they put out a strip of Garfield without Garfield. John is musing to himself and it is either an existential exercise in learning to live with yourself or an example of insanity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Three Reasons I hate to say I love...

So I have been recently trying out my new iphone's you tube application. I have found something new about me. I have to say I love Beyonce. I know I like a song if I find myself injecting lyrics into conversations in a snarky, sarcastic way. The three Reasons I hate to say I love Beyonce (beside the incredible rhyme scheme I just came up with) are presented here in You Tube form:

If not for the infectious beat and electronic trill, I simply love the dance. I don't know why but I can't stop thinking about it.

Ok, this is like watching Paris Hilton's my new BFF. You want to look away because it's just so bewildering but something keeps you looking into the jaws of the beast.

Lastly, this is a video the original choreography was based on and is remarkably similar to what Beyonce works with. I just love the afros, Bob Fosse, and the thought of Beyonce as a plumper white lady.


For all those still watching this is a great video music mash. For some reason it makes me think of Whitney.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Cooking Renaissance?

Hi Everyone!! I am loving cooking these days. Today I made trail mix. It has dried apricots, dried cranberries, almonds, pecans, oats, and honey. I coated the nuts and oats with honey and then cooked it for about 15 minutes. Then I let them cool. After cooling I mixed another table spoon of honey and mixed in the fruit. It's all in my effort to be a skinnier J-heff.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Attempts at Tasty Thursday-Pumpkin Edition

I decided to try my hand at cooking, something I hadn't made before, pumpkin Ravioli. Here are the pictures. Yeah, I said bam a lot just to make the food seem more fancy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Little Feelings on Prop 8

It was interesting to listen to both poles of the issue concerning Proposition 8. In the end though I was disappointed in the decision to simplify vilification of one section, the Mormons, of the group that supported yes on eight. There were multiple religious groups that spoke out politically. When will attention be called to their bigotry? It concerns me that no mention of this showing a bias in editing of information concerning other groups that supported Proposition 8. And makes me wonder if the Gay Community hasn't fallen into the same attitude that you so vehemently protest. Would the protesting of the LDS church be received in the same way if the dissenters of Prop 8 protested the African American, Hispanic, or Elderly community that mostly voted for the ban on same sex marriage. I think within that context it would not be as widely accepted.
When I first heard that the ban on gay marriage I was surprised and disappointed. I was disgusted that people would go so far as to fast that the state amendment would pass. I hated that some people were told to pay their tithing to the vote yes on Prop 8 campaign. I was disappointed that people spent time in call centers trying to "educate" voters on this issue. It didn't seem congruous to a church which once practiced plural marriage. How could it be so vocal about the holiness of a union of just one man and one woman when it abdicated the sanctity of having multiple wives? Yet when put in a certain context I can understand the protesting and politicizing of the Mormon church on this issue.
This is obviously a moral issue and I don't mean to discount that but I am viewing this from a legal angle understanding the morals believed by the LDS Church and not questioning it to eliminate controversy. I think that churches, including the LDS church are concerned that the acceptance of gay marriage would create a law which would force their religious institutions to preform same-sex marriages. In this way I find it appropriate for a religion to become involved in government. If an amendment can potentially alter the way a religion is practice then by all means fight to protect what you believe in. This is what our country was founded for (Well, that, and to harvest ridiculous amounts of natural resources). I believe that everyone should have the choice to practice as they wish. This is the complication in these types of decisions. What we should focus on is discussing how we can extend this constitutional right and still respect peoples right to practice religion according to their own dictates. If other churches choose to marry gay couples then great, but an amendment should be more explicit in this regard stating explicitly that all churched needn't honor same sex marriage within their own religion but that Gay couples can have the civil freedom of same sex couples marrying.
Last Week was a big step towards a dialog between the gay community in SLC and the church. They are right that there does need to be a separation of church and state and that is on both sides. The state can not force religions to alter its practices and churches should not seek to legislate its moral agenda.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

15 minutes of fame once a year

it's that time of year again were my greasy head causes a severe glare on the few that tune into kued for the annual veterans day concert. Which I am told is a banking holiday. Can my favorite economist confirm or deny this rumor? Anyway, if you feel so include you can tune in on channel 7 and view my ugly mug. It is between 7 pm and 8 pm.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election results

With the election predicted I am glad to say it is over but know the day after an election is the beginning of the next election. John McCain was gracious in his speech and Barack Obama was surprisingly somber in his acceptance. And alas, my hip hop activist is without a room in the white house and believe it or not she is with child. Jesse Jackson's none the less. Why do you think he was weeping at the acceptance speech of Obama, because his baby mama ain't going to get benefits now! He is going to have to get his broke self some money to pay for that baby. With this moment in history I chose to post my smatterings on campaign theater I wrote for a comm class. If you want Whitney, you can stop reading here.

Stretching Definitions and Branding Minds

Every four years the United States completes its ritual of electing the nation’s leader. However within those four years we are always looking forward to the next election predicting what the future will bring in the form of the “most powerful person in the world.” It all seems to be part of being American. We are always searching for something better. It is within this frame that I hope to look at language within the “campaign theatre.” More specifically I would like to look at the role of language in branding a candidate and also identify abstraction as lies.
I had a dream. It was about the ubiquitous Sarah Palin. Now, I will be sparse in my detailing of this account but the basic premise of the dream was that Sarah Palin was trapped in a cabin with John McCain’s campaign team. She could do nothing but read prepared statements in front of a camera and the rest of the time she could do nothing. Now, this dream may not be reality, let me stress may. After, I began to think of John McCain’s campaign in the context of brand management. A key concept behind brand management is to increase the product's intrinsic value to the customer. From a pure strategy position McCain chose Palin as a way of solidifying his brand as a maverick. By choosing Palin, a women, he was seen as a person who made non-traditional choices.
It is with the principles of brand management that political campaigns go to the news looking for what matters most to gain "momentum." Candidate’s base their campaigns on words that increase their value in the eyes of voters such as: “hero,” “maverick,” “change,” or “hope.” While candidates seek to improve their value they will also brand their opponent with words that devalue them in the minds of voters, such as “Muslim,” “liberal,” “old,” or “status quo.” It is an interesting game because it takes the news away from why voters chose a candidate to who is voting for whom. This then informs how others should vote based on the popularity of a canidate or brand.
In this way politicians and media have become kissing cousins. News is deemed important only if it politicized. I interpret that to mean the news tells us what is important by making it political. So people in the media are looking less to the public for opinion and are rather defining opinion for the public and hoping we adapt to their message. Presently we have seen stories that deal with popularity polls. So candidates rather than focusing on solidifying their policies are focused on how they can get their popularity higher. Causing them to make vague promises and exuberant speeches were they say what they think the public wants to hear. You know, the equivalent of a high school student government election, where students are promised pizza in the cafeteria and a longer lunch period. Welcome to our National Student Body Presidential Election.
It is on this note I introduce the use of abstraction as a political tool. Abstractions are terms that are generic enough that they can be perceived to mean many different things. For example, the words, “agent of change,” was thrown around quite often during this election season. Agent of change in the crudest sense can mean a person who is going to change things. But what does change mean. To me it may mean alteration of health policy while to another it may mean someone who will give me change so I can buy a coke from the vending machine. My point, politicians use abstraction to get voters on the band wagon. Yet, it seems to me that it these promises are deliberately misleading. Politicians lie in a way that would have you believe they intend their words to mean one thing when their intentions are not what they portrayed. They overextend the meaning of their words to catch as many votes as possible but somehow after they are voted into office they alter their message, it becomes more defined, and invariably doesn’t mean what the voter took it to mean. For example, we simplify issues of controversy like abortion. A candidate will say I am against abortion. This is not clear though as to what the candidate defines as abortion. Is it all right to get an abortion in rare cases or does s/he desire abortion to be banned in all cases. Because of abstraction we miss out on those intricate details that may lead us to vote another way. This misleading is rampant in campaigning.
The Use of language to manipulate has been a long standing tradition in politics. I hope I have made some appropriate connections with the specifics I have chosen. However, I believe that eliminating some of these tactics in the long run would benefit the process of campaigning. Abstraction and branding are only two in a vast array of techniques used to mislead voters. Hopefully with this knowledge we can get down to what is important in a candidate.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Would you date me?

I did what nate, laura, Tom and Whitney did but waited a couple of days to do it so I wouldn't look like such a follower. Here are my results:

Your dating personality profile:

Liberal - Politics matters to you, and you aren't afraid to share your left-leaning views. You would never be caught voting for a conservative candidate.
Stylish - You do not lack for fashion sense. Style matters. You wouldn't want to be seen with someone who doesn't care about her appearance.
Athletic - Physical fitness is one of your priorities. You find the time to work athletic pursuits into your schedule. You enjoy being active.
Your Top Ten Traits

1. Liberal
2. Stylish
3. Athletic
4. Adventurous
5. Outgoing
6. Big-Hearted
7. Intellectual
8. Wealthy/Ambitious
9. Sensual
10. Practical
Your date match profile:

Intellectual - You seek out intelligence. Idle chit-chat is not what you are after. You prefer your date who can stimulate your mind.
Practical - You are drawn to people who are sensible and smart. Flashy, materialistic people turn you off. You appreciate the simpler side of living.
Adventurous - You are looking for someone who is willing to try new things and experience life to its fullest. You need a companion who encourages you to take risks and do exciting things.
Your Top Ten Match Traits

1. Intellectual
2. Practical
3. Adventurous
4. Stylish
5. Athletic
6. Traditional
7. Conservative
8. Shy
9. Big-Hearted
10. Wealthy/Ambitious

Take the Dating Profile Quiz at Would I Date You

Would you date me? Even though I am pretty sure number 1 and 2 and 3 are lies. Who knows.a

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Agents of Change

I am not going to lie I am frustrated about the candidates for president this time around, big surprise there. I kind of hate the cognitive dissonance of the rhetoric of Obama saying he is about change and unity when his campaign has been nothing but status quo. And John McCain is just plain crazy but don't get me wrong he is an American hero. I thought I would be forced to write in the Reverend Al Sharpton again. Yet something told me to research further, so after looking around I found Nadar's old stomping grounds, the green party. ME being an environmental studies major it only feels natural, natural like dipping fries in a frosty natural. After reading these bios I realized I had found my candidate. Thank you green party for letting me feel alright with whom I vote for.

McKinney and Clemente BIOs
Friday, 10 October 2008 03:13
*Cynthia Ann McKinney*

Since being elected in 1992 as the first African-American Congresswoman from Georgia, Cynthia Ann McKinney has gained national and international renown as a tireless advocate for human rights, voting rights and holding government accountable. McKinney's voting record reflects her philosophy that government should serve to provide uplift to local communities and the dignity of the human spirit. This means promoting the rights of seniors, students, the disabled, minorities, veterans and workers. She is known as a passionate, intelligent, charismatic and effective member of the House of Representatives and of the Democratic Party.

Cynthia McKinney's political career can be traced to 1986, when she won 40% of bicycle graphic the popular vote when her father, state representative Billy McKinney, submitted her name as a write-in candidate for a Georgia state house district, despite the fact that she lived in Jamaica at the time. Two years later she ran for the seat herself and won, thus making the McKinneys the first father-daughter duo to serve simultaneously in the Georgia House. During her two terms, McKinney gained national attention for her determined struggle for a fair and just reapportionment plan in Georgia. As soon as she was elected to represent Georgia's Eleventh District in Congress in 1992, the District was challenged by 5 voters and the case went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court dismantled the 11th District, which at that time was Georgia's second poorest District. Despite the Supreme Court decision, McKinney maintained that the decision violated the Voting Rights Act.

Where the Eleventh district had stretched from Atlanta to Savannah, McKinney found herself representing Georgia's Fourth district, which is one of the most ethnically diverse districts in the southeastern United States. The district comprises parts of DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties, two of the most dynamic and populous counties in the fifteen-county metropolitan Atlanta area. South DeKalb County is home to one of the most affluent African-American communities in the country. Likewise, Gwinnett County has consistently ranked among the top five fastest growing counties in the country.

Upon entering Congress in 1993, Representative McKinney was quickly recognized as a leader by her freshman colleagues when she served as Secretary of her freshman class, as the first freshman to head the Women's Caucus Task Force on Children, Youth and as Families, as Democratic Caucus Whip for southeastern Region 8. She later served as Vice President of the Democratic sophomore class. She would be rewarded for her service with appointments to the powerful and prestigious Armed Services Committee and the International Relations Committee, where she served as a Ranking Member on its International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee. In this capacity, McKinney sponsored the Arms Transfer Code of Conduct, aimed at preventing the sale of US weapons to dictators, which passed the House in June of 1997.

As a former member of the International Relations Committee /international_relations_democratic, McKinney took a leading role in promoting stronger diplomatic ties with African Nations. She was asked by President Clinton to attend a presidential inauguration in Liberia, and high-level talks to open diplomatic ties with the new Democratic Republic of Congo. McKinney also worked to build stronger economic ties between the United States and Africa, and specifically assisted a number of Georgia-based companies in this endeavor.

After ten years of service, Congresswoman McKinney lost her seat in 2002 thanks to a concerted effort by Republicans to organize voters to "cross over" and vote against her in the Democratic Primaries. Her experience as the target of such an orchestrated campaign has been documented in a film titled "American Blackout," directed by Ian Inaba. This film, which won an award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival in Utah, features McKinney's career as a Congresswoman and deals with the historical suppression of black voters in the United States. McKinney made a stunning comeback in 2004, a year in which Republicans took firm control of both Chambers of Congress and the White House, when she was elected once again to represent Georgia's Fourth District.

Upon returning to Congress, McKinney brought ten years of experience with her, but was denied her seniority status and her seat on the International Relations Committee has not kept her from taking on challenging and controversial issues. On the first anniversary of the release of the 9/11 Commission Report, McKinney presided at a Congressional Briefing where dozens of experts and family members of 9/11 victims gave nine hours of testimony critiquing the Report's errors, omissions, and recommendations. Further testimony on 9/11 was heard at the Congressional Black Caucus' annual legislative weekend in September 2005, where McKinney also organized a brain trust panel dealing with political attacks on black musicians, including the MK-ULTRA and COINTELPRO programs conducted by the FBI from the 1950s to the 1970s. McKinney has introduced a bill demanding the release of records pertaining to the life and death of musician and rap artist Tupac Shakur. This piece of legislation is modeled after another bill introduced by McKinney, the Martin Luther King Records Act, which would release all files currently locked up until 2038 pertaining to the life and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, McKinney spoke out against the inadequate government response. A long-time environmental advocate, McKinney introduced a bill to be a comprehensive environmental clean-up plan to deal with the toxic aftermath of the hurricane. Another bill introduced by McKinney would deny funding to the Gretna Police for one year for turning away desperate survivors in the aftermath of the hurricane. McKinney has cosponsored numerous bills seeking relief for the hurricane survivors, and has consistently spoken out on behalf of the survivors, demanding that their urgent needs be addressed. She participated in the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, traveling with the Committee on a delegation to the Gulf Coast in January 2006. McKinney's 70-page supplemental report was the only report by a Democrat to be included in A Failure of Initiative, the Select Committee's Final Report. McKinney currently serves on the Katrina Task Force organized by the Democratic Caucus.

She previously sat on both the Armed Services Committee and the Budget Committee, and throughout her six terms in Congress has been a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and has worked closely with the Hispanic Caucus and the newly formed Tri-Caucus. In addition to advocating and legislating for civil rights and the environment, McKinney has been a champion of veterans affairs, co-sponsoring legislation to beef up veterans' health care, and to grant work opportunity credits to employers who hire veterans. McKinney introduced a resolution to reaffirm the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act that protects the distinction between civilian and military policing. She has supported calls for a planned and orderly withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on March 17, 1955, Cynthia currently lives in south DeKalb County. She earned a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California in 1978 and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Cynthia was accepted into Berkeley's Ph.D. program and hopes to graduate from that institution one day. In 1984, Cynthia worked as a Diplomatic Fellow at Spelman College in Atlanta. She also taught Political Science at Clark Atlanta University and later at Agnes Scott College, a women's college in Decatur, Georgia. Before being elected to Congress, Cynthia served on the board of the HIV Health Services Planning Council of Metro Atlanta from 1991-92.

Cynthia is the daughter of veteran Georgia State Representative Billy McKinney and Leola McKinney, a nurse of forty years at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. Cynthia McKinney is the proud mother of Coy.

*Rosa Alicia Clemente*
Rosa Clemente is a community organizer, journalist and Hip-Hop activist. Born and raised in the South Bronx she is a graduate of the University of Albany and Cornell University. A much sought after commentator, political activist, community organize and independent reporter, Rosa has been delivering workshops, presentations and
commentary for over ten years.

Chuck D says "When you need a dynamic, stylish women to get your campaign going or to get your organization excited about activism, Rosa is the person you are looking for, she speaks from the heart with truth, fire and passion. She is one of this generations' most important political voices and community organizers."

Rosa's academic work has been dedicated to researching national liberation struggles inside the United States, with a specific focus on the Young Lords Party and the Black Liberation Army. While a student at SUNY Albany, she was President of the Albany State University Black Alliance (ASUBA) and Director of Multicultural Affairs for the Student Association. At Cornell she was a founding member of La Voz Boriken, a social/political organization dedicated to supporting Puerto Rican political prisoners and the independence of Puerto Rico.

Rosa has written for Clamor Magazine, The Ave. magazine, The Black World Today, The Final Call and numerous websites. She has been the subject of articles in the Village Voice, The New York Times, Urban Latino and The Source magazines. She has appeared on CNN, C-Span, Democracy Now and Street Soldiers. In 2001, she was a youth representative at the United Nations World Conference against Xenophobia, Racism and Related Intolerance in South Africa and in 2002 was named by Red Eye Magazine as one of the top 50 Hip Hop Activists to look out for. In 1995, she developed Know Thy Self Productions, a full service speakers bureau, production company and media consulting service. Seeing a need for young people of color to be heard and taken seriously she began presenting workshops and lectures at colleges, universities, high schools, and prisons. In the past ten years she has presented at over 200 colleges, conferences and community centers on topics such as; African-American and Latino/a Intercultural Relations; Hip-Hop Activism; The History of the Young Lords Party; and Women, Feminism and Hip Hop. KTSP now includes an expanded college speakers bureau which has produced three major Hip Hop activism tours, "Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win" with M1 of dead prez and Fred Hampton Jr.; "The ACLU College Freedom Tour" with dead prez, DJ Kuttin Kandi, Mystic and comedian Dave Chapelle; and the "Speak Truth to Power" Tour a collaborative tour of award winning youth activists.

In 2003, Rosa helped formed and coordinate the first ever National Hip Hop Political Convention that drew over 3000 activists who came together to create and implement a national political agenda for the Hip-Hop generation. 10 days after Hurricane Katrina ravaged parts of the south, Rosa traveled to the areas as an independent journalist and her on the ground reports were reported on independent radio stations all over the world, including Air America, NPR, Pacifica Radio, Democracy Now, Indy media, Hard Knock Radio and many more independent and mainstream media outlets. Davey D, prominent hip hop historian and founder of the largest Hip Hop website:, says about Rosa...

"Hip Hop activist Rosa Clemente is one of the few 'non-mainstream journalist allowed into New Orleans where the flood waters and damage has occurred. She brings to us a heart-wrenching eye opening account of what's really going on... She talks about the smell of death in the air and how things are much worse then we could ever imagine." Rosa has recently been named as the Executive Director of the Hip Hop Caucus. In 2008 she will join other Hip Hop activists and community organizers on the 2008 Rap Sessions tour, and has recently created the Latina Women's Political Network.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 12 October 2008 20:19 )

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Nebulous definition of "blog"

So I'm sitting here doing what any good college student does, avoiding doing homework by updating facebook and my blog. Two nouns that have so saturated my life that I'm not sure facebook and blogspot haven't ever not been a part of my life, you know kind of like family matters. I mean can anyone convince me that humans didn't ever not have family matters or Ipods for that matter.
I am suppose to be working on my take home exam for stats but, instead I am analyzing the reasons to blog. Is a blog a sort of public diary or is it an account of a certain self you wont everyone to see? Though there are implicit assumptions in that last statement. Like right now I want people to see I am a nerd because I can use big words in context. But sometimes, in high school, I played the dumb kid because I thought people liked that. Yet, were those attributes characteristic I fabricate and completely false or are they intricate parts of my personality I choose to exploit for certain characteristics? Who knows, the very fact that I'm analyzing this is making me queasy.
Why? Perceived, imaginary, or real audience, you ask. Because I have a ridiculous obsession of the new MTV hit show, "Paris Hilton, My new BFF." I want to break up with myself. ON the latest episode of PFF (Here to and forever the acronym referring to this parasitic show) little Onch, the asian lady boy was kicked off for being fake. This is a man that messes around with gender in every way possible. At the "future friends of Paris council," Onch was placed before the clymitee and asked if he was real. He then in a surrealistic bit of performance art took off his make up for Paris to show that from now on he would be himself. Onch then went on the explain that he was real that with one girl it brought out his "bubbly and cute" side, and with another he was a "bad-ass." To which Paris said, "Sounds like you have a problem." AT this I wanted to vomit, just like little Onch vomited on the previous episode because he couldn't ride roller coasters. I wanted to vomit because I agreed with Paris Hilton, the woman who has given our generation social syphilis. I agreed with her, and I was ashamed. It's kind of like discovering ones nakedness I imagine.
Anyway, I thought about Lady Boy Onch and realized that we talked about this theory in Speech last week. Every person alters there presentation of self based on their audience. Maybe inside of each and every one of us is a LBO. I think of my friends and what I alter about myself around them. Wait, wait what am I saying. This is MTV. I am not learning life lessons from MTV. End of discussion.
HELP END MY ADDICTION TO PFF(I even considered doing the next season so I can become Paris' best friend forever, because we know forever is relative)
Anyway, is my blog me or what I want others to see me as. In a way yes and no because I have a severe case of asperger's and don't really know what is socially acceptable but based on my stereotypes I attempt to present my skewed version of reality that I think is cool to others. You know, like Paris Hilton.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

She needs to lose 30 lbs. or gain 60 lbs. There is no place in between in Television.

I love the thirty rock and have for so some time. The last week my ISP was not able to handle high content websites. The Second season of Thirty Rock came out on DVD in the last two weeks. Thanks to my $8.99 a month Netflix account I can watch unlimited amounts of movies and TV for free. This may be the death of the minute social life I have latched onto. My ISP works and now I am able to enjoy the comedy of erudite Tina Fey. God bless MILF Island and god bless office wives. I love Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, and Tina Fey. I feel good now that that confession is off my chest. Is this what moving to Ohio is like?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Grandma Posts

Growing up my Grandmother was always the sweet old lady that lived in the tough part of Salt Lake City, collected yogurt cups, and was ferociously devoted to her religion. When I was about 6 she decided to serve her church as a missionary. This meant that she would go around attempting to bring people to her church. She was sent to Virginia by her church. One thing I remember is going to family events and listening to my aunts and uncles talk and laugh about the stories she sent from Virginia. They would tell me about this woman that my Grandma was sharing an apartment with (as a missionary of her church you were paired up with a member of the same sex for the duration) and how she just couldn’t get along with her. I remember them laughing about how cantankerous this woman made my Grandma. These stories were repeated even after my Grandma passed away. A Decade later, I now understand how these stories of my odd couple like grandma’s relationship with her missionary companion helped impart familial values.
Reflecting on it more, I can see that these stories were a way to communicate the importance of individuality, venting, and religious devotion. As I performed the same service, as a missionary for the same church, like my Grandma once did, I see how the values have transferred to me. At times I was paired up with people who had difficult personalities. Then I remembered laughing at my crazy grandmother and her missionary friend. She was willing to put up with an “insufferable” woman just to do what she felt her religion required of her. That value transferred to me and I told myself I was willing to as well. Even now, I look at my extended family now I can see that value currently reflected in the way they live. I would write home about how I couldn’t stand the person I was living with. I knew it was okay to vent to my parents because they were probably at home laughing about how I couldn’t get along with my friend and about what fights we had that week, just like they laughed at Grandmother back then. Most importantly I remembered that while my aunts and uncles did laugh at my Grandma for her quirkiness, it was a loving thing and not out of humiliation. From their way of communicating these incidents I was able to understand that it was OK to be me. They would love me even if I was quirky.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Opening Night

I finally feel like blogging again. These last couple of days I have felt overwhelmed by all that I have going on including: 18 credits of school, a large part in a theater production, two part-time jobs, an intense inner life, and no social life. But now the show has opened and I feel a lot of stress leaving my body. Or could it just be Regina Spektors voice (sorry Whit!), she kind of relaxes me.
I am starting to adjust to Logan. Last night, I even made an effort to be social. I went Laundry Basket Sledding down this large hill outside our apartment. When I stepped into the basket I realized I couldn't completely fit so I let my feet hang out the front and pushed off. I started to move and closed my eyes and screamed. I felt the wind in my hair and opened my eyes, and found that the wind was blowing my hair not my motion down the hill for that had stopped and who knows how long I was closing my eyes and screaming like an idiot. When I had found I stopped I was immediately taken back to a place of shame! I was in a black bathing suit sliding down the blue slide only to find myself stopped. Yes, I was the fat kid stuck on the slide. In an attempt to get better speed I turned my self around and began to push myself with my feet. That worked better, I wasn't the fat kid stuck on the slide, I was the smart fat kid who got stuck on the slide but realized he needed to be innovative and figured out how to get himself down.
Last night after the show there was a talk back about the play and what it means. It was a fascinating discussion about communication, propaganda, and projection. I love theater, let me rephrase, I love good theater (OK I'll be honest I love laughing at bad theater also) because in it is so much about life. Something that really struck me about the talk back was about how passionately people felt towards certain things that I had portrayed on stage. Some of the assertions people had about my characters motives on stage were right on while others were wild inferences. Theater is what one brings to it I've decided.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Do you ever wonder is there is a moment in life that turns the axes of everything. One moment you are determined to be a meat packer in Duluth the next you find yourself applying for a master's program emphasizing in Dom Deluise Studies or Palin-tology(a cute title I saw on Time this week). I am looking back at my life, always a sign of maybe just a teensy bit of "the blues" as they are so called, and wondering when those great moments of change could have occurred. Was it the time Taylor Kaelin called me "twinkle-toes" while I was batting at a little league game in Burgess Park or the time I was talking to Jenny Webster in the 200 hall of Lone Peak and she asked me if other people found me intimidating. Perhaps, a major life change happened as I strolled the Streets of New York with me friend Trevor Wright only to find myself walking into the point of a finger belonging to a homeless man who said, "you are a very, wait," and moved his device of projectile implication to Trevor's face,"you are a very attractive man." I'll never know but somehow out of all the events that have happened I can vividly remember these moments because the created some doubt in self-perception and perhaps caused hyper-focus on things that don't matter. What I find so humorous about these events is that if I went back to those with whom they happened (minus Trevor) they would probably not even remember them. Yet, in the static space between my temples I can recreate them. Bizarre what sticks with us.

Friday, September 12, 2008

blogging while bleeding

in desperation for cash I have gone back to blood letting twice a week. Apparently my blood is magical and allows people to heal if used. For my service I am compensated $30. Yes, another scheme by a corperation to squeeze the life out of desperate and poor students. What makes this entry unique is that I am actually giving the golden serium as I type. Yes this is how dedicated I am to the art of blog. Attached to my left forarm as some surgical tube with a needle at the end, inserted into my elbow pit. If you have never given plaa before you might cringe but really it is semi-comfortable. Actually the most painful things are the movies they force us to watch. Today Is an Owen Wilson film festival, and not his good ones. Sometimes you got forgive actors for doing movies just for money.
I've decided writing on a blog from a PDA is time consuming. I think I'm done.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fat and Sassy

State Per capita income(2007) Rank in US (’07) Pct. of US avg. (’07) Pct. change
Montana $32,458 41 84 +5.4
Alabama $32,404 42 84 +4.9
New Mexico $31,474 43 82 +5.2
Idaho $31,197 44 81 +4.3
Utah $31,189 45 81 +6.1
Kentucky $31,111 46 81 +4.6
S. Carolina $31,013 47 80 +4.2
Arkansas $30,060 48 78 +5.6
W. Virginia $29,537 49 76 +4.7
Mississippi $28,845 50 74 +6.7

As I sat through my Natural Resources Economics and Policy class I was bored, almost petrified that I would never find another thing excitable in life. My teacher was showing a power point presentation, otherwise known as the bane of a modern college students learning experience. When on the screen I was shown a slide which showed states which had the lowest per capita income in 2007. I was surprised first to see that Utah was in the lower 10 than I took a closer look and saw that the list for low income was similar to another 10 state list. Food for thought. Pun absolutely intended!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Favorite Drug Themed Movies

Meth Ad from around 1999-2001

Heroin Ad from around 1998

Pee Speaks the truth

A Puppet show which seems to be the result of a drug induced hallucination

My Favorite Cha-Cha Q & A's


What if I'm in love with cha-cha, and not absractly but a literal love that can only be fulfilled by physical means?

Well, since ChaCha give you all you need by cellular phone, just put your phone and vibrate and...well we love you too!

Visit Source Website

View info about your guide Ruth C.


What was life before cha-cha like?

Why worry about the past... it is behind us.

Visit Source Website

View info about your guide Peg Z.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What to Blog?

I am in the northern highlands of Utah again. Though this time, I am not so depressed to be here (and then came the cold). I have been struggling actually to get to classes. I went to each one on Monday and Tuesday and I just kept asking myself what am I doing studying this if I find it so boring. I guess my Dad would say I need to adjust my attitude. Yet, I have had ingrained in my mind since the age of "Rookie of the Year," and "Blank Check," that man was meant to pursue what he loves. Granted, those cautionary tales eventually taught that it was silly to follow your dreams because you'd be more happy like you are. But, like most movie goers, I forget the message but love the jokes and way cool music. Perhaps these were movies funded by the Bourgeoisie to keep those pesky middle class kids in the income class they belong. "Dreams only lead to wanting what you had before," said Warren Buffet to the son of a school teacher. He then pats me on my head and sends me off to my future 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house on a quarter acre where my first wife, two-five years younger then I, and two children (rounded of course) will live until I have my mid life crisis and marry my daughter's best friend after she has graduated from college.
Wow was that bleak. I love learning but I think it perhaps hard for me to come back from perceived freedom to a structured schedule of learning. Perhaps the key to success is saying to myself, "I don't need to be here but I choose to be here. I learn because I want to." Who knows?
Today I Cha-Cha'd for the first time. What was the opening question? Is there anything wrong with thinning hair? My first response: There is nothing wrong with thinning hair, some scientist believe it to be a genetic defect. Yes, there is nothing wrong with genetic defects apparently. Maybe they are using the Webster's definition of defect because from Oxford I came to understand defect as a pejorative.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Once again in London. Hopefully the weather won't be as devastating as last Sunday. Poor Felecia (a classmate), nearly got hypothermia though, I don't know how sorry I feel for her. She had the opportunity to purchase a poncho but refused with the remark, "But I love the rain!" I asked her if she didn't want to be seen in a poncho because they were hideous but she quickly said she really did love the rain. Well after one hour and forty five minutes standing on ones feet in frigid rain ones fondness for precipitation can easily sway. She shivered and hurried us to the train station to go home. Yet I found that my windbreaker, was just that, and not a rain breaker. I was eager to get out of the rain too. I have just resigned myself to the fact that on vacation I will be wet whether it's hot or cold. You see, I was just as drenched after a day of walking around Venice.
Today I hope to see some plays but to be honest I am waiting on money. Also I have looked at the TimeOut this week and am compelled to see no plays. This is unusual because I usually have a list of must sees when I come. Maybe this is a bad time for London Theatre. Yet, I will probably end up seeing something at the National Theater. They have tickets for students that cost £10. They release them on hour before the show. Umm, I just checked my watch and that is in 20 minutes. So I am off.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Rain in the Globe

Lately I have been very scatter brained. We are six days away from performance and I am still struggling with memorization. I am attempting to dissect the cause of the synapes breakdown and as of yet haven't descovered it. I often get frustrated that my brain doesn't work the way I want it to but I am starting to think that intelligent people don't fight with their brains but work with them, or maybe it's the insane people that don't fight their brain. Well insanity and intelligents are pretty much interchangable.
The womb expulsion day has once again happaned and we have survived 7 years since the end of the world day. To celebrate we went into London and saw some shows. The first was a Noel Coward inspired piece of nostalgia based on the film Brief Encounters. Brief Encounter's follows the inception and imminent termination of a middle class 1930's british affair. Pretty tame stuff in our day but it is a classic and has a fantastic soundtrack of Rachmoninoff's moody piano concerto's. I thoroughly recomend the film for that purpose. Perhaps I will make it a thursday night feature. Anyway, the stage production was magical. To begin with we were in the front row and the actors playing the doomed couple sat right next to us as if it were a cinema back in the 30's. They sat politely and talked. Then suddenly the lights dimmed and a film began. THen the action began, the woman explained she couldn't go on decieving her family. There was a fight and then something magical. On the screen was a living room with an older gentleman calling Laura. He did it many times until the actor left the man and cliumbed on stage and with one last hesitation climbing into the screen. The next shot was of her with the man who had been calling her name. He hugged her and was so glad she had come back. IN the audience the man remained. He watched with sorrow as he sat back down. It was a poigniant moment. The film then began at the beginning of their relationship and I wondered if this movie and play we were going to watch was really the movie in this mans mind. Was he doomed to repeat these images in his head forever? ANyway that was only one magical moment. It was inventive and heartbreaking. It reminded me so much of why I love theater. Later I was given a bun by an actor. I consider it my birthday present though I am sure everyone that sits in my seat gets this prize.
Next we rushed to see a play at the glob theater on the banks of the thames. Thanks to a monsoon though we didn't stay for long.
Thanks to everyone who thought of me. I hope that I get to see you soon.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Swaddled in eight pounds of chocolate and clothes

There is a new type of smuggling occuring on low cost airlines throughout europe. Many know that these airlines severly limit the amount of baggage and wieght one is allowed to carry on. Myself being terrible with metric wieghts always find myself scrambling to lighten the load. This new type of practice is wieght smuggling. Yes friends I was eight pounds over in Italy. My solution, wear about 8 layers of clothes. This of course is easier for the larger man. Yet with this normal precaution I was still overwieght, the bag not me. I quickly remembered the milka bars I was transporting. I slipped one into my cargo pocket and realized how inconspicious it was. 15 milka bars later I was on my way and the airline non the wiser.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The days of nether region

Highlights of the last three days includes seeing a man being taken down by the police for being drunk. I use ˝taken down˝ seeing as how i was more of a passing out motion then police grabbing the man. I've bought dozens of Milka bars, bags of Softis, and lastly copati, which are ˝indoor shoes.˝ The chagral moments have been the heat which is causing severe friction in areas where fat touches one another. So far I've had a rash in my left armpit, on my arm where my watch is, and the last is past my perimiter and the safety kids taught me that I'm not to share that with anyone but I can tell them my number, my telephone number. Every night in the hostel I come home and just sit with my legs apart and curse my thighs. The people in the hostle are most likely offended but at this point in the trip I am far beyond caring if people think that.
So I have been on Elder watch since I arrived and I've only seen them once and wasn't able to ask them to let me in the new chapel. I want to see inside the new and only permanent LDS church in slovenia. They built it upon the rock, not on peter. But to no avail. Otherwise I have just been hanging out and detoxing from the theater group I have been with. Such negative energy do I feel whenever I was some of them. I need hits of seratonin when ever those people are around.

Things I miss about the States:

Not feeling like I was the largest man in the country
Earning Money
Best Buy Tuesday
My Family
Foriegn Film Thursday with Friends
Things being a resonable price

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There is no place like home that's why I suggest you live everywhere

I often sit and listen to the mundane thoughts that go through my, I don't really have a choice. Last night I was having a terrible time breaching the fortress that is the Slovene border. Unfortunately, the train I was planning on taking from Venice to Ljubljana was sold out. I was a little surprised because Ljubljana isn't exactly what most people are looking for in their European experience. Turns out the trains final destination was not Slovenija but Hungary, Budapest (home of the baby arm incident) to be more precise, which based on lack of train tickets must be wildly popular (but only after the fiersome five visited ealier this year, did the divided city achieve such fame, I'm sure).
So I decide to go to Trieste, as it is 23 KM from Koper, which seems to be the only other way to sneak in. I figured I could catch a bus in Trieste and then grab a train to Ljubljana. If I don't I am stuck waiting in Venice until the next night anyway so I asked myself what could it hurt.
I just realized that Tom took this train the day I nearly went ballistic because I missed my plane to Klagenfurt. I had to pay (but really my Mother) an extra $100 dollars to fly into Salzburg, 8 hours after my scheduled flight. Poor Tom had no communication from me because I was without money seeing as how Ryan air had shot me with a bullet I paid for. Tom got in around 2 am and I was suppose to meet him so we could go to the hostel. Instead, I walked like a drone around Ljuljana until I saw through clear glass St. Thom the saint of blogs. That was one of those days I was told to go home early because I looked like...well you get the point (mlos). I should add that the reason I was late for my flight to Klaggenfurt was because my Flight into London was an hour late and I waited an additional 45 minutes for my bags to be unloaded from the plane. In my mind I pictured a little Slovenian running around the landing strips inorder to prevent and landings and then moving on to the baggage compartment to cast a disappearing spell on my luggage, Slovenians descend from the Leperchaun linage of Ireland.
So now I am sitting in Trieste, which happens to be one of my favorite cities, so any excuse to go is fine by me. I get there and realize that there isn't a bus until 6 AM the next morning. It's at this moment I solidify my belief that I am not the Victor Frankel of my generation. Perhaps I am his antithesis. I started to get these feelings of desperation and lonliness. I was stuck in Italy with no place to go, no place to stay, and no razor blade to call my own. I wondered why I travel alone, why I am always alone, why I worry that I don't feel as close to people as I would like. You know those moments of cheesiness that you assume will lead to a paradigm shift but are quickly forgotten about after you've gotten what you wanted. Twenty minutes of moping later, I decide this is a blessing because A)there is no way I'm going to find a place to sleep tonight which meansB) I don't have to pay for a place to sleep tonight. Ahhh, the joys of being homeless. I gently lay my bag down (as my mother would be offend if I treated her bag with disrespect). I unzip the lockings lips of the bag, the container of my only possessions at present and grab a sweater to use as a pillow. The transition is complete, I am officially a hobo. It is more simple than one assumes. To seal the deal tomorrow, I will jump onto a moving train, and then playsoulful tunes on my harmonica for hours telling people I used to give water to the elephants at the circus until everyone was killed in a freak tight rope fire.
The time is 11 PM and I decide to set my alarms for 6 AM. I am off to REMless bliss.
At about 1:15 I am tapped and told something that didn't fully register. I had enough sense to mutter ˝no comprehendo.˝ Which I am pretty sure is spanish but the guy got the message. He started to speak in English asking me all this questions. In my mind I thought, ˝Oh, great its my first day as a hobbo and I'm already being arrested for loitering. The nice Italian Police Man asked me where I was going, what time I planned on leaving, and if I had documentation. I had the suspision that he thought I was drunk. I don't blame him. He then tomld me that I couldn't sleep in that part of the train station and they moved me to a halway where I and 3 other people slept. I wondered who these people were, why there were no bars in this prison, and who would rape me first. I was so tired I had no time to worry about my safety but, as a precaution I strapped my bag around a pole connected to the floor. Mind you it was just a strap and I'm pretty sure it could have been stolen just as easily. At about 5:40, when I could sleep no longer because the sweat left from the previous day was turning into a rash around my groin, I found that the minimus security prison I was taken to was in serious need of gaurds. The jail break was quick.
As I arrive at the bus station, I change clothes, for fear pictures already are circulating Italy demanding my capture and also inorder to prevent more heat rash. I stepped onto a bus driving me to freedom, Koper, we are driving and I see a sign that states we had entered Slovenia, and my heart rang with pride I had learned a lesson, that any problem can be solved by sleeping on it. I then took a bus to Ljubljana, this was the slow bus but it was beautiful. It went through mountains and forests. As we descended into Ljubjana most my anxiety had disapeared and I remembered why I fought so hard to get here. I arrived and immediately went to the center of the town. As I sat below the statue of Preseren(Slovene hero and national anthem composure(which incidently and appropriately is also a drinking song)), this sense of familiarty overwhelmed me, In the morning sun I see people I had tried talking to before in this very spot, I see people I never had the courage to talk to, and I see people whom I couldn't have talked to, because they usually only conversed, with themsleves. Relief fills my soul and I am OK. I think I love Ljubljana so much because it feels like my home when I can't go to my other one. And I am the type of person that needs one of those.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Coming from England to Italy must be similar to going from Lincoln, Nebraska to New Orleans. It is a beautiful steaming mug decorated with ornate religious symbols which all spell out "God is our number one Dad!!" I am hoping to include more pictures and videos on this blog but have run into technological roadblocks of tron size proportions. All the computers at internet cafes seem to be 4 years old and without SD card readers. I guess you don't come to Europe for the overwhelming advances in computer science (big shout out to N-Shels).
Also a new goal is trying to be more positive about this trip because if Eleanor Roosevelt taught me one thing it was that only I can make myself feel inferior, oh and she did teach me that Lesbians can be the president of the United States by marrying a politician and giving him polio.
Well off to a Art Historians wet dream, the Uffizi.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Inneptitude and Latitude of the crazy one

Wow, I think my experiences so far in England have proven to me that hindsight is really some chubby 5 year old boy sticking his tongue out at you and giving you the bird. I only say this because of the sour taste of disregarded intuition. Yes as I was getting myself involved with yet another study abroad I had the distinct thought that perhaps it wouldn't be a good idea to go however, my desire to get away prevailed over that pesky thought. Well after 5 days of lackadaisical organization and whip-induced acting I can say never ignore your old Intuition. I am so sick of being here that I feel like running away and finding the nearest flight home. Yet I have been to China and Ghana and have pleasant enough times. Even there when times got bad I never wanted to leave. Perhaps it is the nature of my study. We are doing about 7 hours of "class" a day and then required to do homework outside of class. This would be fine except the class is only 3 credits. I am just venting and no one likes this so I will describe with absurdity what is going on. Two days ago we went into London. To get there early for National Tickets we woke up at 5:40 AM. The only reason I am awake at this time normally is to save the nation from bad music. At about 6 we trecked over to the train station which is a good 3 miles from where we stay. On the way there our chaperone told us to go right with the pretext that it would save us walking time. 10 minutes later we were in a location 50 feet from were we had been told to turn right to save time. I would excuse the lack of directional orientation except it had happened many times during the first couple of days and this was like the 15th time she had been to Northampton. Secondly, I was expecting a phone call from a friend that lives in London and I told our chaperon that someone would be calling. Well I was a bit disappointed that on the day that we went into town I never heard from my friend. The next day we were trying to get in touch with a local actor in our production and the chaperon could not figure out how to see if he had called so I called the voice mail line and found one new message and whose voice should I hear but my London friend. After I hung up I said, "my friend called on the eighteenth (which was two days ago)." The Chaperone's response, "Yes, but did Simon leave a message." I was so infuriated with her cultural and for that matter emotional Lag. Thirdly I live with the top competitor for most bizarre and mundane inquirer. I promise I haven't heard such inane questions in my life. It's always ,"Where are we? When can we go above ground? Who am I? WHy is the sky blue? Are you going to kill yourself with a gun or this passing car? Which is more annoying my voice or my complete lack of knowledge of proxemics." You know things like that. Fourthly, I have real issue when people take extreme latitudes with my time. I understand that we haven't much time before our one performance but I hate not being told a start and stop time to rehearsals and being told 12 hours before hand that we are having a rehearsal. The lack of organization is killing me.
On a final note, I am starting the P with Mr. Horton. That man is evil. Only a sadist could construct a work-out so intense and long lasting. I believe plyometrics won this bout. I don't really have a schedule and there are like twelve different work outs so I'm kind of just trying them all. Moral of story my legs want to hurt me after all I did to them.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Shoe Capital of England

I had just completed my trail of tears when a little one hung his window from the first floor of the Abbington Guest House run by a Ms. Spence. The spout, known as my forehead, was on rain and my clothes soaked. "What are you looking for?" hurled down the young lad. "The blanket infected with smallpox, please," I screamed in my mind but ended up muttering, "someone to check me in."
"Someone to Check me in."
"Have you checked 127?"
I felt like I was boarding at an old school European establishment. I rang the bell at 127 and no one answered. "I stand at the door and Knock...I Stand at the door," Kept running through my brain. "Yeah they'll be sorry they didn't let the both of us in," I threatened cognitively then returned to my previous resting spot.
"Any Luck?" Asked the mini-face on the first floor.
"No," I answered.
"Did you go through the glass doors and knock on the next door?"
What was this kid, a senate inquiry council? "Yes, I did!!"
In a window three houses down I saw the familiar face of a classmate and he asked, "What are you doing?" I wanted to tell him I was waiting for Godot but it seemed existentially superior in tone, and that is not how I roll. I wonder how I must have looked holding the metal handle that was once used to pull my suitcase. This piece had broken off oh...about a mile ago on the "smooth" streets of Northampton. My clothes were soaked in sweat from the self-assured short journey from the train station to the B & B that ended up being 2 and a half miles in total. I must have looked pathetic dragging one bag while pushing the other broken in front of me saying various words that my mother has told me I can no longer type on this blog.because on my mournful sojourn an elderly gentleman took my bag and told me I was "struggling" in a most euphemistic tone. Oh well I suppose we all need help from our friends be they close or a random old man in England. He started pushing my bag and then asking my inflammatory questions about US policy (You know the typical European-American conversation). Then he started walking me in a direction away from the way I intended to go. Silently I followed but anxiety filled my gut. Who was this elderly Pakistani holding my suitcase leading me to a strange place. I began to picture a canvas bag over my face and my feet in water while I was being connected to a battery. About five times I almost grabbed my bag and told him this was my cross to bear, and mine alone. I would have sold Bush out just so long as I could live. Then we stopped at a corner and he asked me if I knew the rest of the way. He must have felt my fear. I said yes and began to march forward. I almost felt like crawling into the nearby park and finding a nice patch of trees and preparing myself to die. But I didn't, I continued remembering the proud heritage my pioneer ancestors. Pioneer Children sang as they walked, and walked, and walked. Funny enough that song mentions nothing about heat rash on their ever-rubbing thighs. Abington street was about a 1/2 mile from the attempted terrorist incident.
My classmate let me in and I entered my shangra-la. The place is wonderful. When I saw my begrudged Teacher she sayed, "Oh I sent you an email telling you to take a taxi. I sent it this morning was that to late." I told her no but inside I wanted go all french revolution on her Marie Antionette comment.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Melty Plastic People Making Fires

I have done it, I have done it. I made it to my destination without making a weepy phone call begging my parents for money. It helps when you don't miss your airplane and don't pay $100 dollars to get there.
Friends and Family I am staying in the one year calm of Belfast. Of course I refer to the age old religious riff of Cathi-s and Prote-s. As I type, there is a group of drunken Irishmen (that turned out to not be a cliche) bellowing out old military hymns about the bodies of catholics burning or something pleasantly similar to that motif. I saw one year calm because last year marks the incident of faith-based voilence. I guess you could call it Daddy-issues on a grander scale. "My God's better than your God."
"No my God is way better than your God."
"Oh yeah my God can clear an entire island of snakes."
"Oh yeah, my God can create printing and make literature available to people in any walk of life."
"You can't read."
"Well neither can you."
"Your Mom."
"Your Pa."
"I'm going to kill one of your leaders."
"Well I'm going to blow-up your children."
"I hate my Father..."
"I hate my priest too..."
With that slight detour concluded I will now explain how I was kicked for my God-given talent of snoring at, what I presume is, an illegal decibel. I went to sleep and attempted to plug in my CPAP machine otherwise known as the fighter pilot get-up. Well the piece of sleep saving device would not start. I tried for several seconds and it just wouldn't work. I want to bed offering a silent prayer to both the Protestant and Catholic God, not knowing which one worked at my current local, and asked that I wouldn't snore too loud, because I knew asking to not snore was a miracle too large to ask. I was awoken when a man kicked at my bed and told me know one could sleep because of my "racket." I told him I was sorry but that I couldn't get my machine to work. He told me to sleep on my side. I said fine but knew in my heart this jack-ass would probably kick on my bed. I called him a jack-ass because only moments before did he say I was F@cking ridiculous. This is when I prayed to both God's to give me the patience to not end the year of religious peace. I fell asleep. I again was woken by someone kicking me and verbally abusing me. This was turning into my worst hostel experience ever. I said I was sorry and tried to stay up so he could fall asleep before me. Again the familiar kick, it was at this point I started intentionally snoring. I blocked airways and slept on my stomach and even cupped my hand over my mouth to amplify my lung seizures. In my mind I thought if I can't sleep neither can you. He woke me up again, and again. Finally I moved into the hallway and slept on the floor. At about, 7 AM I woke back up and went into the room. He was just getting up so I thought what is the worst thing I could. It was snore as he packs up to leave. I gave him the best send off I could offer. I hope that he is punished by both Gods.
Today is the day before marching day. They celebrate by lighting a fire larger than Cuddles house. I will report more later.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Riegn of Terror

I think my post about Lehi yesterday must have angered the Lehi God's because the caused my stomach to be expunged. This morning I was required to wake up at the ungodly time of 6 A.M. (Don't laugh Tom). As everyone should know I am very selfish with my sleeping time. It's as precious to me as neo-conservative attorney to Karl Rove. Needless to say, yet I continue to type, I slept in as late as possible. My goal was to roll off the left side and slip into my ACUs, as I was required once again to defend this country from musical terrorism (in the key of E I might add), and drive to the civil engineering disaster that is Saratoga Springs, then turn left and straight until mourning. Well I did wake up, I rolled(because that's how I do), I slipped but I didn't account for the terrorist counter attack. Confused? So was I. In the U.S. Army's infinite wisdom they have decided to switch the Army's headgear going from a stunning and slimming camouflage field cap to a unpatriotic french beret (though I fear reprocutions for being critical of the military's fashion sense). When we got them I was dismayed.
This was about the time that the Bush camp had decided France was an "enemy combatant." As I put it on I wondered if the army would change its official terminology from beret to freedom cap. I often wondered what it would cost the military to reprint field manuals and paperwork that once described how to wear the beret into how to post the freedom cap on a soldier's head.
I promise you I left it in the computer room. Yet I searched and searched but to no avail. It was at this moment I understood how directly terrorism did affect us for I no that the theft of my freedom attack was direct attack on the United States by the axes of evilness. I have preliminary suspects which may or may not include members of the Lackawanna Six, who I'm convinced have relocated to Alpine, Ut to destroy freedom (fries, dip sandwiches, and caps). So thanks to terrorism I was twenty minutes late leaving home.
Before I left I realized that I didn't have time for breakfast so I grabbed my herbal supplements and a bottle of water (sorry Rocky!). I slammed down the pills and I was on my way.
It wasn't too long into my drive that I learned I needed to make an extreme paradigm shift in pilling taking. It was probably not a good idea taking pills on an empty stomach. Not being one for scatological humor, lets just say I pulled a Herbert Walker. So as I am driving I feel this intense displeasure in what is often described as the pit of my stomach. I was like this is OK, it will pass and I continue to drive on. Seconds later I realized the fatal mistake. At this point I may have thrown up a little in my mouth. Relieved that I was able to contain the material, disgusted that I had just tasted detritus, I continued to drive. It was at this point that the gastric geyser blew. Unsafely I continued to drive and open the door just in time to have "it" spill on the road. Fortunately, no one was behind me. Continuing to drive I evaluated myself, as I am often told to do in disaster scenarios. Isn't the acronym RICE?. I felt better, so it was pedal to the metal. Bad idea. I was once again driving with my head hanging out the doorway. I imagined how odd it would appear to a person looking out their living room window, just pulling open the curtains to reveal the beginning of a beautiful day, but rather than that splendor saw a US soldier puking out of a moving vehicle. It was at this moment I recognized the true complexity of a terrorist attack. These enemy combatants I was attacked by did not only want me to be late they wanted American citizens to lose faith in their military force (even if they only are musicians) by seeing them at their weakest points like puking up water out of a moving vehicle. Not wanting to show the terrorist they had won I never deterred nor stopped my vehicle. I continued to drive not only to make to my gig on time but to show the impregnability of the American spirit. I felt like a hero refusing to let terrorism slow down this American soldier.
Other Highlight was Kieth, Assistant Manager, bragging to Mitch Mallory and I that he "pretty much had a 4.o," and that Brigham Young's nursing program would be foolish to not accept him.