Tuesday, March 31, 2009

a lesson learned

do not drink three shots of espresso in two hours without having a proper dinner beforehand.

my head is all loose. my concentration is all out of sorts (i should be typing up my lit review instead of blogging).

i'm contemplating joining twitter just to document how often i use the bathroom. take that, web 2.0!

on the plus side, i got a clark gable haircut today.

i wish i was april fooling you east coasters with this post, but it is still 11:27 on the west coast, sorry.

should i nap or get back to work? or finish dinner? maybe i should jump on my bed in shorts? nonono i've been doing that for the past two weeks. ...secretly.

a few nights ago i had a dream where i found a video camera with footage of the most confusing visual i have seen in years: people were picking balloons from a cornfield and floating upwards into a body of water. and they were all laughing. still haven't quite figured that one out.

is it summer yet?

is it april 10th yet?

michael... get back to work.


Monday, March 30, 2009

a 4.3

Earthquake Details
Magnitude 4.3

* Monday, March 30, 2009 at 17:40:29 UTC
* Monday, March 30, 2009 at 10:40:29 AM at epicenter

Location 37.285°N, 121.620°W
Depth 6.2 km (3.9 miles)

* 18 km (11 miles) N (7°) from Morgan Hill, CA
* 19 km (12 miles) E (91°) from Seven Trees, CA
* 20 km (13 miles) ESE (117°) from Alum Rock, CA
* 25 km (16 miles) ESE (104°) from San Jose City Hall, CA

i was sitting in bed and typing to sarah when my bed started shaking back and forth... along with everything else in my apartment.

here's the actual text:

me: sarah it's going to be tough to get out of the fun... o my god earthquake
o my god that was so weird
im so sorry sarah we just had an earthquake
sarah: holy shit
that's nuts
come home
me: everything was shaking. that was nutty
i just checked the online monitor that was from san jose
i have no idea what we were talking about


happy monday!

a rant from an accredited writer

Alasdair wrote about something that has been bugging me for years...even before Michael Moore came out with 'Sicko' because I've been 'sicko' since 2000.

it sucks.



Life: A medical condition

By Alasdair Cross
Producer, Medicalisation of Normality

Restless leg syndrome, social anxiety disorder, female sexual dysfunction, celebrity worship syndrome - it seems that a new illness is invented every week, covering every potential quirk in human behaviour.

Is the human condition becoming a medical condition?

Ten per cent of British children are regarded as having a clinically recognisable mental disorder, 34 million prescriptions for anti-depressants were written in the UK in 2007, while it is estimated that 10% of US children take Ritalin to combat behaviour problems.

Dr Tim Kendall, Joint Director of the National Collaboration Centre for Mental Health and a key government adviser is deeply concerned at what he sees as a medicalisation of a vast swathe of society.

He said: "I think there is an inherent danger from increasingly classifying people.

"If you look at the American Psychiatric Association 'bible', you'll see almost every piece of human behaviour can be classified as being in some way aberrant."

Dr Kendall sees dangers in a "tendency for new categories to be invented, often at the behest of drug companies looking for a new drug".

Medical historian, Dr Louise Foxcroft agrees, pointing to ill-defined conditions such as female sexual dysfunction and to the erectile hardness scale promoted by the producers of Viagra which she claims "is a creation of fear and anxiety".

It is certainly not a new phenomenon.

Historical ailments

Dr Foxcroft, author of 'Hot Flushes, Cold Science', has shelves of old medical textbooks stuffed with long-forgotten ailment.

Among them is hysteria, the symptoms of which could range from excessive masturbation to excessive novel reading and a tendency to wander.

Common treatments for hysterical women, and they were invariably women, included opium, the removal of the clitoris and incarceration.

Later, neurasthenia became the fashionable mental affliction, suffered by the likes of novelist, George Eliot and philosopher Immanuel Kant.

These over-worked intellectuals were offered the more convivial option of Priory-style rehab retreats to help ease their troubled minds.

Such ailments and the chance of treatment were once confined to the upper classes but that has changed in the past 20 years.

US advertising

In 1997 the US fully legalised the advertising of prescription medicines.

Since then television ad breaks and popular magazines have been packed with explicit claims for the effectiveness of anti-depressants, behaviour modifying drugs and pre-menstrual tension treatments.

Prescriptions for the most heavily-advertised drugs have risen significantly.

Could we see a similar effect in the UK?

Dr Kendall is concerned by current European Commission proposals that could loosen the blanket ban on the advertisement of prescription medicines to European consumers.

Do not expect Prozac ads before Coronation Street or a Ritalin sponsored X-Factor.

However, the proposed shift would allow adverts on medical websites and in relevant magazines.

Dr Richard Tiner of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry says that his members are completely opposed to 'direct to consumer advertising' on the American model.

Dr Kendall, an adviser to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, said: "It's far better that independent bodies like NICE provide the evidence, turned into plain English for patients.

"I'd far rather that's what patients got than so-called information provided by a pharmaceutical company."

If the proposals become law then, as in the US, we can expect to see even more new conditions and new drugs to treat them, new ways not to be 'normal'.


like this poor girl, I've been taking these pills for almost ten years. i am finally getting help from a different hospital who has basically told me, "you can absolutely feel normal with crohn's disease. that is possible. also, you've been taking pills that have been improved over two years ago. you don't have to take so many pills anymore. in fact, we're going to cut your pills in half."

i looooooove california.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a record

i ran for an hour and forty-five minutes today. i just didn't seem to get tired.

i was wearing shorts and smiling like an idiot the entire time.

it just so happens that i am feeling quite healthy this week. there's also a looming weekend getaway to los angeles that i am really looking forward to.

i think im going on a photo hunt tomorrow.

ill keep you posted.

im off to a cafe for knowledge consumption and flashcard production.

spring break!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

a russian professor's prediction

MOSCOW -- For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media.

In recent weeks, he's been interviewed as much as twice a day about his predictions. "It's a record," says Prof. Panarin. "But I think the attention is going to grow even stronger."

Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.

But it's his bleak forecast for the U.S. that is music to the ears of the Kremlin, which in recent years has blamed Washington for everything from instability in the Middle East to the global financial crisis. Mr. Panarin's views also fit neatly with the Kremlin's narrative that Russia is returning to its rightful place on the world stage after the weakness of the 1990s, when many feared that the country would go economically and politically bankrupt and break into separate territories.

A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Mr. Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.

"There's a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur," he says. "One could rejoice in that process," he adds, poker-faced. "But if we're talking reasonably, it's not the best scenario -- for Russia." Though Russia would become more powerful on the global stage, he says, its economy would suffer because it currently depends heavily on the dollar and on trade with the U.S.

Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces -- with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

In addition to increasing coverage in state media, which are tightly controlled by the Kremlin, Mr. Panarin's ideas are now being widely discussed among local experts. He presented his theory at a recent roundtable discussion at the Foreign Ministry. The country's top international relations school has hosted him as a keynote speaker. During an appearance on the state TV channel Rossiya, the station cut between his comments and TV footage of lines at soup kitchens and crowds of homeless people in the U.S. The professor has also been featured on the Kremlin's English-language propaganda channel, Russia Today.

Mr. Panarin's apocalyptic vision "reflects a very pronounced degree of anti-Americanism in Russia today," says Vladimir Pozner, a prominent TV journalist in Russia. "It's much stronger than it was in the Soviet Union."

Mr. Pozner and other Russian commentators and experts on the U.S. dismiss Mr. Panarin's predictions. "Crazy ideas are not usually discussed by serious people," says Sergei Rogov, director of the government-run Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, who thinks Mr. Panarin's theories don't hold water.

Mr. Panarin's résumé includes many years in the Soviet KGB, an experience shared by other top Russian officials. His office, in downtown Moscow, shows his national pride, with pennants on the wall bearing the emblem of the FSB, the KGB's successor agency. It is also full of statuettes of eagles; a double-headed eagle was the symbol of czarist Russia.

The professor says he began his career in the KGB in 1976. In post-Soviet Russia, he got a doctorate in political science, studied U.S. economics, and worked for FAPSI, then the Russian equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency. He says he did strategy forecasts for then-President Boris Yeltsin, adding that the details are "classified."

In September 1998, he attended a conference in Linz, Austria, devoted to information warfare, the use of data to get an edge over a rival. It was there, in front of 400 fellow delegates, that he first presented his theory about the collapse of the U.S. in 2010.

"When I pushed the button on my computer and the map of the United States disintegrated, hundreds of people cried out in surprise," he remembers. He says most in the audience were skeptical. "They didn't believe me."

At the end of the presentation, he says many delegates asked him to autograph copies of the map showing a dismembered U.S.

He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.

California will form the nucleus of what he calls "The Californian Republic," and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of "The Texas Republic," a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an "Atlantic America" that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls "The Central North American Republic." Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.

"It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time." A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. "It's not there for no reason," he says with a sly grin.

Interest in his forecast revived this fall when he published an article in Izvestia, one of Russia's biggest national dailies. In it, he reiterated his theory, called U.S. foreign debt "a pyramid scheme," and predicted China and Russia would usurp Washington's role as a global financial regulator.

Americans hope President-elect Barack Obama "can work miracles," he wrote. "But when spring comes, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

The article prompted a question about the White House's reaction to Prof. Panarin's forecast at a December news conference. "I'll have to decline to comment," spokeswoman Dana Perino said amid much laughter.

For Prof. Panarin, Ms. Perino's response was significant. "The way the answer was phrased was an indication that my views are being listened to very carefully," he says.

The professor says he's convinced that people are taking his theory more seriously. People like him have forecast similar cataclysms before, he says, and been right. He cites French political scientist Emmanuel Todd. Mr. Todd is famous for having rightly forecast the demise of the Soviet Union -- 15 years beforehand. "When he forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1976, people laughed at him," says Prof. Panarin.



Friday, March 20, 2009

a promise to myself

i will have a good spring break. i will do my homework and bounce back.

my friends took me out last night, sat me down and told me to get over it and go out.

that's exactly what i am going to do.

that, and listen to really happy music while jumping around my apartment in shorts

animal collective. their latest stuff is nothing like their earlier work, but artists should always move forward.

very beach boys 2.0

are you jumping in your shorts yet?

from down under - empire of the sun. i've been addicted for months

passion pit's "sleepyhead"

wavves' "so bored"

of course, more el guincho - his second album is pushing on two years and i just cant get over it

this one just never goes out of style... and it sounds really good when the volume is up

in short (ha!) the equation will go like this:
warm weather + good friends + happy music + wearing shorts + jumping = spring break

Thursday, March 19, 2009

a much needed break

after tonight's class, i won't be back for two weeks.

spring break is upon us.

grad school spring break means that you just have more time to do more intense work. it's really not much of a break in that respect.

it's just two less trips across the city with the eccentrics and drunks. the eccentrics are when i make my way to class. when i make my way to the city, all of the kids on campus are already drunk and looking to paint the down red (or with their vomit- whichever they can get a hold of first). just last week i was stuck with an entire train filled with drunkards swinging from the rafters and shouting obnoxious chants. i think it was the drunk girl in the tiara and pink dress' birthday. i was elbowed four times. at one point, the train had come to a complete halt and the driver refused to move. he opened the doors, and out of nowhere comes two squad vans. the kids (roughly 30 or so, i lost count because they kept swerving) were all arrested. tiara and pink dress birthday girl started puking on a tree. happy birthday.

i will miss them the most.

i'm off to another four hour lecture.

i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.
i will pay attention.

a "are you kidding me!?" moment

i went to the gastroenterologist - finally - at ucsf and was told that the 20 pills i currently take (and have taken since i was 14) can easily be reduced to 12. she wrote me three new prescriptions and handed them to me.

i nearly cried.

it took six months for robert wood johnson (supposedly the leading specialists in crohn's disease in new jersey) to get their act together and transfer me to this doctor, and i gotta say it was absolutely worth the wait.

ive been taking 20 pills (that don't really make me feel any better) and nothing changed.

i feel at ease.

maybe, in the future, i can even feel... dare i say it - healthy?

fingers crossed.

love and loyalty

...ok so maybe i did cry a little.

a little behind

so this week was a bit... complicated.

i got a little behind in my studies because all i could do was stare at the ceiling or my computer screen.

my room looks like it did before i knew what cleaning meant (you know, around three years ago).

my head still kind of hurts and i could only work for two hours today. a bit of an improvement.

i will get better.

love and loyalty

a money saver

When It Comes To Shampoo, Less Is More

by Allison Aubrey

Americans love to shampoo. We lather up an average of 4.59 times a week, twice as much as Italians and Spaniards, according to shampoo-maker Procter & Gamble.

But that's way too often, say hair stylists and dermatologists. Daily washing, they say, strips the hair of beneficial oil (called sebum) and can damage our locks.

Shampoo Is Big Business

The current trend of frequent shampoos may have started on May 10, 1908, when the New York Times published a column advising women that it was OK to wash their hair every two weeks. At that time, once a month was the norm.

Decades later, TV marketing campaigns began to convince us that daily washing was the thing to do. A 1970s Faberge ad for Farrah Fawcett shampoo is one example.

"All you have to do is watch her running in slow motion on a beach with her hair flopping gracefully in the wind," says Steve Meltzer, a former ad executive. The idea was, "Wash your hair with this stuff, and you, too, can be like Farrah Fawcett," Meltzer says.

Madison Avenue sold people on the idea that they could shampoo their way back to beauty.

Ads also convinced us that daily hair washing is healthy. Remember the Breck girls? Or how about Christie Brinkley's body-building for hair ad with Prell?

Skipping Shampoos Is, Well, Un-American

Americans took easily to the idea that we should shampoo frequently. And lots of us find it disgusting to shampoo any less than once a day. Take some fitness-conscious college students from Georgetown University, for example. When I told them about the old-time advice to wash once a month, they almost gagged.

"That is way too little hair shampooing," laughs Jane Caudell-Feagan.

"If I don't shower every day, my hair gets greasy, so I think it's completely heinous," says her friend Ashley Carlini. After a workout, they say, it would be disgusting not to wash your hair.

Eco-Conscious 'No-'Poo' Movement

Given our cultural propensity to lather up frequently, it may be shocking that in some eco-conscious circles of society, some people are giving up shampoo.

"There's a lot of people doing this no-shampoo movement," says 20-something blogger Jeanne Haegele. She writes a blog called LifeLessPlastic.

In an attempt to buy fewer items with plastic packaging, Haegele recently went three months without using any shampoo. Instead, she washed her hair with baking soda twice a week and conditioned it with a vinegar rinse.

She says her hair didn't smell, and her friends were very supportive. "Maybe they were secretly wondering why I smelled like a jar of pickles," she says jokingly.

She ended the no-'poo experiment after developing a bad case of dandruff, but Haegele says she might try it again.

She recalls the biggest surprise was that her hair didn't get very greasy. For now, she's using shampoo bars a few times a week.

Dermatologist Recommends Shampooing Less

Experts say Haegele's observations are not flaky. As she washed less, her sebaceous glands began producing less sebum oil.

"If you wash your hair every day, you're removing the sebum," explains Michelle Hanjani, a dermatologist at Columbia University. "Then the oil glands compensate by producing more oil," she says.

She recommends that patients wash their hair no more than two or three times a week.

There's also a lot of variation among hair types. African-Americans and people with curly hair can go even longer between washes compared to folks with straight hair.

So, it seems, less is more. And maybe our grandmothers were on to something after all.


so i thought i was being economical by using a bar that lasts six months. now, if i were to use it every other day, i would be able to use one tiny shampoo bar for a whole year. i just started using it yesterday, so i guess im using the blog as a way to gauge just how long the bar lasts under this new regimen.

looks appetizing, yes?

it's made of nettle, rosemary, tea tree and peppermint. somehow that combination equals clean hair.

it only cost me eight bucks. eight dollars to clean my head for a year? sounds like a good deal.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

a small example of procrastination

so this spring break will feature plenty of documentation - i've got some spare time on my hands, all of a sudden.

in the next two days, however, i will be glued to this damn computer. grad school is hard.

so are break ups.

Monday, March 16, 2009

a warning

"Beware the Ides of March"

march has always been an awful month for me, especially in the middle of the month.

this march has been no exception.

a farewell

church jumped into our kitchen window brittle, frantic and sickly when i was still sleeping on the floor.

we nursed it back to life and welcomed it into the family.

don't we look adorable? it actually really liked to be held like that.

we taught it to purr.

i could always count on it to be at the foot of my bed when i woke up in the morning. it could always count on me to kick it in the face when i woke up from a nightmare.

we got along very well.

it would greet me at the top of the stairs whenever i got home.

it was great.

last week, the original owner came asking for his long lost cat.

farewell, church

a visit

as more and more friends have made their way through san francisco, i am slowly understanding how to be a proper tour guide.

most important rule- know your clientele. jillian, a friend of many years, was making her way from portland to her mother's place in colorado.

(when i moved to san francisco, i had three bags in my hand. she was able to bring a wagon full of "essentials," including the rocking horse packed on top of her car)

she tends to favor a taste in counter-culture and poke fun at societal inconsistencies, flavors we both have in common which led to a budding friendship way back from our undergrad course in current events scholarship. we were the snarky duo that laughed at our fellow students' ignorant observations. ... the good ol' days.

with that in mind, i took her to the one neighborhood that was sure to satisfy - the haight. plenty of galleries and shops devoted to recycled clothing, music, art and culture galore.

we spent a good ten minutes staring at buttons.

after a few good laughs, we made our way to another reason why we got along so well - diners. jillian and i spent the majority of our friendship in new jersey diners. again - the good 'ol days.

on our way over, she had a brief encounter with a san franciscan protestor. a stupid protest.. to each his own.

(that's a jerusalem t-shirt, but the way. i somehow forgot that i was wearing my woody allen t-shirt, otherwise i would have been in the picture myself.

after dining, of course there was another signature part of san francisco culture that i'm happy they got to experience : the protest.

i love this photo

it was on our way back to my apartment, so we marched and shouted slogans for equal rights.

at the end of the protest, across the street from my apartment, jillian had a thought. thankfully, i was filming


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a message

sorry i haven't been keeping you all up to date on the past week or so, grad school has worn me down. that and crohn's disease. my intestines have been hurting lately. not much activity. ill be posting some photos ive taken in the near future.

for now, i will leave you with a video that always inspires me to go to the grocery market.

i'm going to go pray to my soy-chicken sandwich and hope to see a smiling buddha.

love and loyalty

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

a commercial

i've worked with equality california on several protests and on lobby day as my latest endeavor. today, they have displayed this commercial on their website.

a bit intense, but whatever it takes, i guess