Tuesday, January 27, 2009

a tragedy

this is the situation at hand-

nancy cartwright, the voice of bart simpson, is using his voice to promote a scientologic-less event in which she will be speaking.

i smell a lawsuit.

like everyone else in my generation, i grew up with the simpsons. i loved the simpsons. i still do. they jump-started my smart-ass mouth before i could explain what sarcasm even meant. over the years, their faces have landed on more and more ridiculous, crappy merchandise which simply goes to mr. murdoch, his minions and fox news. this misuse of an iconic character will probably tip the scale and create some lawsuits. i sure hope this doesnt lead to the end of bart simpson. we've already seen what happens when a person's religious beliefs got in the way of smart entertainment (isaac hayes and chef's departure from south park).

i guess what im trying to say is...ay carumba

a goatee

im trying to grow facial hair and fashion a goatee. ... but im not that serious.

by the way, i love how that guy justin is just lounging by this secluded pond with his thoughts (and goatee). i also love how that other guy can't seem to hide his "slack-jawed yokel" southern drawl. low budget commercial. unnecessary product. amazing results.

clearly my hunt for an amusing commercial means i need to get back to school. rest easy friends because i start school today.

tomorrow morning i have a meeting with a board member of the alice b toklas democratic society.

updates will follow

love and loyalty

Friday, January 23, 2009

a breakthrough

what i've done here in the past week is irrelevant to what has just happened today:

"A major step forward in the controversial practice of stem cell research occurred today as the FDA approved a leading bio tech company, Geron Crop, to conduct experiments on up to 10 patients with spinal chord injuries. The historic decision marks a reversal of ethics-driven policy restricting the study and medical application of embryonic stem cells; critics complain it destroys human life. Its proponents, however, look forward to capitalizing on the untapped potential of stem cells to regenerate vital tissue and organs: "This is the dawn of a new era in medical therapeutics," said the CEO of Geron. He stressed that the medical benefit of the practice "goes beyond what pills and scalpels can ever do."

growing up in a modern, western society when all problems were solved with pills, scalpels and needles (still going through it now, by the way) always made me wonder how truly "modern" this system has been. hearing about a potential for a medical revolution makes someone who has spent the past decade at the pharmacy hopeful for a better system of medical practice.

all i did this week, in case you were wondering, was
-crappy job interview
-rent documentaries on politics, media consumption and squeezing every penny from the sf library
-spend every day attempting to contact the hospital back east to get prescriptions refilled, ironically
-decorate the apartment
-prepare meals from my new vegetarian cookbook
-rekindle old friendships

not nearly as magnificent as the stem cell thing, but almost

o, and by the way:

"The unemployment rate in the state of California hit 9.3% in December—up from 8.4% in November. The jobless rate is now the highest in 15 years. "The new data reflected lackluster holiday sales, continued home value declines and a heightened tempo of layoffs at companies across all sectors of the economy," the Los Angeles Times reports."

i should have went to france

love and loyalty

Monday, January 19, 2009

a scam

today i went on a job interview. it was my first in a long time, so you could imagine how excited i was. i had called a response to an ad on the internet for the human rights campaign. knowing that it was an organization i respected, i had hoped to learn more about what kind of help the campaign needed...and what kind of employment i could possibly gain.

unfortunately, the promises made to me on the telephone were completely fabricated.

at the beginning, the interviewer notified me that they were looking for solicitors to go from door to door asking for money for the human rights campaign. i had let him know that, given my experience and current studies, i was looking for something a little more challenging and higher ranking.

well, he said that we could talk it over and that i should come downtown to visit him for an interview. all sorts of alarms went off at this point. it sounded like the same kind of phone conversation i went on with a similar job back in new jersey.

turns out i was right.

the Fund for Public Interest, or PIRG, trains their recruiters to try and get as many recent graduates to come to their offices for a heavily rehearsed and scripted interview, letting them know that they will work from one to ten five days a week and make roughly 400-600 dollars a week, depending on how many people they get to sign up and donate funds.

here's how it went with me, keep in mind that a close friend of mine worked with this company in 2008 and taught me the tricks of the trade.

there were other people my age in attendance, just as fresh-faced but nowhere nearly professionally dressed as myself. we were all briefed on the pay, the hours and how "progressive" they were. all the other guys seemed to be ready to sell themselves for 400 bucks a week. i was ready to high-tail it out of there.

then came the individual interviews.

the way it goes is they first sit you down, small talk and immediately ask you about what to say when someone at the door you're canvassing appears to be interested in your cause. before he gets the chance to do that, i let him know that we spoke on the phone about other business opportunities within the organization and that a friend of mine has worked for this company and done his exact job for a long time.

his reply, "o that's cool. i was only hired in decemeber, so i probably wouldn't know your friend."

december. that's right. last month. the thing about this organization is that there is a very high turnover because kids get tired of working with little promise of a better position down the line. they also learn that, because the company jumps from cause to cause, the canvasser merely raises money for the organization and spreads the money out to a multitude of whatever it deems most important. you may consider yourself "progressive" and fighting the good fight by working for them, but chances are they money you've raised is going towards some other program.

i say, "well to be honest, i'd probably wind up saying whatever it is that the script says. look, i can tell you that i can throw in personal testimony and something off the top of my head, but c'mon, you and i both know that it's best for anyone with this job to just stick to the script. you're conducting this interview based on a script right now."

his reply, "uhhh, ok."

i then try to tell him about the phone conversation i had with him on friday about the potential to work with the human rights campaign in other fields. i also said i would even look into working with PIRG in the advocacy and field-staff sector.

his robotic response was along the lines of "well we're only the canvassing office. we don't communicate with the other offices."

i started to get heated.

"then why was i told on the telephone that i was able to get more information about working with other parts of the company?"

"im sorry things didn't work out today."

interview over

on the plus side, it was really nice outside today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

a bad return to city life

for those of you who know me, you know i have a pretty vast musical catalog. from time to time, a genre comes around and i am swept away and require its presence frequently.

motown fits into that category.

when some friends had promised me a night of motown and greaser haircuts, i was gung ho and ready to have a good time.

then i found out where it was happening.

underground sf is a place for pretentious, know-nothing "hipsters" to parade around in their seemingly identical outfits that are all ironic in similar contexts. they go to a selection of places where they know everyone, drink to music marketed specifically towards them so they can still think they're individuals and always look like they're having a miserable time because smiling is too "low brow" or because society "did them wrong" or something equally as irritating.

so as you can see, i had my doubts about my night of motown. it's conveniently located less than two blocks away, so i invite everyone to meet up at my place for an easy commute and a serious collection of motown prior to our pilgrimage.

before we head out, i think to myself, "i really hope i don't walk in and i hear frickin' britney."

i basically screwed myself over because i walk in and guess who the dj was spinning?

frickin' britney.

so i wait around and watch the drinks get poured when finally the motown begins. unfortunately, dj kill-the-mood or whatever his name was played this incredibly awful remix where everything was drum and bass with familiar vocals from motown classics. awful. just awful. since it was my first night out, i didn't want my shattered hopes for a good time read across my face, so i danced when no one else was dancing to try and enjoy the music dj break-my-spirit was killing.

i did, however, meet some very interesting attendees who were equally as disappointed. they let me know where to go for jazz, motown and even for some bingo and lounge music. a minor victory after a rough, rough battle.

during the point of the night when everyone just stands outside and judges one another over tobacco and drunken nonsense, a guy in a fringed, navajo-looking jacket comes over to our group and starts complaining about israel.

"seriously, they should just get over the holocaust. what they are doing is so wrong." blah blah blah. awful.

first of all, when i am out dancing and trying to forget my troubles to motown, or anything for that matter, i am not going to bring up a war of 100 years to a conversation with a bunch of strangers. c'mon man, what a buzzkill! second, taking a side on something you clearly have little knowledge of leads me to believe that you don't understand how complicated this war has been. you're a moron dressed like a maulnourished, native-american enthusiast ballerina with the voice of pinnochio and the prejudiced attitude of someone living in a bubble. do you really think we want to talk to you about your disbelief in the koran (one of my friends from last night was muslim), how the bible is the word of truth (don't even get me started) or how you hate jewish people?

i kept my mouth shut, literally bit my tongue and finally just walked home and laughed about the evening i just had with the boys.

i think it got me itching to get a job and go back to school. thank goodness something good came out of it. plus, it gave me an excuse to slick my hair back and wear my dad's old golf shoes.

love and loyalty

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a return

i'm back in california. 40 degree difference in temperature. i am nowhere near unpacked. mixed feelings, to say the least.

the month off was great.

back to reality.

i recently picked up a copy of the san francisco guardian. the issue? "the hard times handbook." encouraging

today is part two of unpacking and getting my life back in order aka laundry, groceries, shower, nightstand purchasing (the side of the road...i'm penny-less)

fun fun fun!

o o o so now that i have my camera chord i can put photos up again. nice, right?

church just came into my room... it's time to cuddle

love and loyalty

Monday, January 5, 2009

a funeral

from the UK Guardian:

Harold Pinter was buried yesterday afternoon before a small gathering of family and friends at Kensal Green cemetery in London. And, if the half-hour ceremony conducted around the graveside had a deeply moving, faintly Shakespearean and entirely secular quality to it, it was because Pinter himself had wished it that way.

As recently as last August, he had sat down with his wife, Antonia Fraser, and selected the readings he wanted for his funeral.

Since the chosen pieces dealt with memory, mortality, passion, politics and cricket, they not only reflected Pinter's abiding concerns: they also showed his extraordinary capacity, even in death, to make his presence manifest.

What was especially impressive was the capacity of the readers, both actors and family members, to allow the emotion to flow directly through the words.

Michael Gambon, sombre and heavy-coated, read no fewer than four pieces. One was a speech he nightly delivers on stage in No Man's Land, in which Hirst pays tribute to the emotion trapped in photo albums and asks us to "tender the dead, as you would yourself be tendered, now, in what you would describe as your life".

Gambon also ended the readings with a Pinter poem, Death, that breaks through the bureaucratic formalities associated with mortality and finally asks: "Did you kiss the dead body."

The resonance of those words lingered in the chill air, prompting Tom Stoppard to remark, after we had filed past the grave: "You could cut the grief with a knife."

But, for all the palpable sadness, the ceremony reminded us all of the breadth of Pinter's personality. His step-granddaughter, Stella Powell-Jones, read beautifully a love poem dedicated to Antonia Fraser, It Is Here, recalling the coup de foudre at Pinter's first meeting with his future wife.

Matthew Burton, actor and director, read Pinter's favourite cricket poem, Francis Thompson's At Lord's, in which the run-stealers eternally flicker to and fro.

And Penelope Wilton delivered with impeccable gravitas the lines from TS Eliot's Little Gidding ending: "So, while the light falls/On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel,/History is now and England."

Apart from the fact that we were in the open air, rather than an Eliotesque chapel, the lines perfectly captured the deep Englishness of the occasion.

Afterwards, over drinks at Pinter's Holland Park home, his old friends, including Edna O'Brien, Ronald Harwood, Henry Woolf and Michael Colgan, reminisced warmly about the man himself. Everyone recalled, in graphic detail, their last encounter with Pinter.

Someone, I forget who, even suggested that when a plane flew over the ceremony temporarily drowning the words, they could well imagine Pinter wanting to rise from his grave to silence the unwanted intrusion.

But the last words should belong to Antonia Fraser who ended the simple ceremony by advancing to the grave and, gazing down at the coffin through her tears, quoted Horatio's words of Hamlet: "Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

It seemed a fitting, Shakespearean farewell to a great playwright.

farewell, dear friend

Friday, January 2, 2009

a year started properly

new year's actually went like this-

dinner for two at frog and the peach in new brunswick, followed with a freezing cold dash to our hotel room at the hyatt to uncork a bottle of champagne as the big ball hit the big building on television.


if i said i'd go to one party/event/anything, i'd be disappointing everyone else at their respective locations of celebratory activities. so this year i spent it with one and ran into some friends on the fly. it was perfect.

2009 is in my favor. i spent the 1st (aka recovery day) with family and games and conversation and billy bob thorton and chinese buffet.


today i opened up an email from my group communications seminar

"... I just finished reading your paper. I found it an insightful analysis of bedrock, pragmatic politics and the work that still needs to be done to truly bring justice to the issue. The disparity between the prohibitive Obama vote in California and the Yes on 8 majority is a revealing political phenomenon which begs for added analysis and understanding of the electorate.

I'm happy to award you an "A" for your good work. Your piece on 12 Angry Men was also excellent.

I should be officially posting grades for our seminar tomorrow.

I wish you every success in the graduate program, and please feel free to drop by my office, even for a chat."

sigh of relief.

one down. one to go.

thank you, 2009... now don't screw me over we have a long way to go