Saturday, April 26, 2008
That is the number, in meters, that I hiked today in the Swiss Alps. :D Big smile and grin.
I left Wilhelmshaven, Germany yesterday and arrived in St. Gallen, Switzerland to stay with a very cool friend of a friend. He's a big mountain, outdoors guy from Canada who has had the joy of moving to Switzerland for work. He was awesome enough to take me out to the mountains today. We started our hike and actually summited the mountain. Not such a big deal for him but for me it was amazing. We hiked in the sun and the beautiful setting of the swiss Alps and it was beyond words. I will have photos soonish. Hopefully tonight. There was snow at the top and, even though my feet got wet, it was great. Absolutely great.
We ate lunch at the top and then caught the train down the mountain and came back to the house. I am thinking about taking a day trip or two while I'm in Switzerland before I head to Ireland. I am really excited about Ireland. I've been there twice and every time I go I feel like I've come home.
I went for the first time when I was 17 with my high school choir. I remember, I stepped off the plane and something slipped into my soul that felt right. I disregarded it somewhat because I figured I was starstruck by being out of the country for the first time. And then I went back with my friend Jen during an interesting period in my life and it happened again.
They say third time's a charm.
We went out last night in St. Gallen to some live music bars and hung out with some cool friends of my host and had a blast. We went to a club called The Barracco and heard an amazing, amazing group of singers and musicians. They ended with the most impassioned and beautiful rendition of Purple Rain I've ever heard. It was magic. :D
At the moment, i'm chillin' out before dinner listening to Counting Crows. Good stuff. I am going to try and get my pics uploaded and taken care of this evening.
Also-I haven't forgotten about my chapter 5. I had a bit of insight on the train over here from Germany to Switzerland so I'm going to try and condense that into some coherent thoughts and get it posted. It's going to be a busy next couple of days but I think I can manage. I just have to make the time hehe. (c:
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I get it now why people start having children at a young age.
So when they get out of prison for strangling them to death they still have time to start a real life.
They aren't even my kids....why do I care?
Not that anyone reads this anymore but I don't care...it gives me a place to vent.
I'm not saying anything new and I know this but where does it end? I get the happygoluckyigetpaidtoNOThavechildren child psychologists who say it's normal for children to test their boundaries...to look for ways around their choices....
ok. fine. then you littlemissiwouldNEVERraisemyvoicetoasweetinnocentchild come in here and deal with these insolent little walking hellspawn with mouths and get them realize that while I am generally a nice, normal person...who goes out of her way to get them to riding lessons, and drives them to school when they miss the bus, and sits for an hour braiding their hair and plays football (soccer) outside with them even when I don't feel like it or am trying to catch one of their colds that they constantly pass around....when you "if's and's and but's" me to death about going to bed or brushing your teeth or putting on your pajamas or any other number of things that I tell you to do nine times in a row I get angry.
hm...I wonder why.
I've tried taking away privileges....I get "what's so bad about that?" What's so bad about that? Oh wait and see. I can make your life a living hell...believe me. There will be yelling. And you will sit in your room and only come out for dinner if you're lucky.
I don't want to make empty threats and I don't plan on it.
Maybe I will switch tactics. They seem to react better when I get a little...pissed...as it were...this is only good for a few times though and then they get used to it or realize that I"m not as scary as I wish I was...so maybe I'll go for the disappointment route. I won't say anything. I'll just give them that look and make them think that they've fallen out of favor with me for the rest of their natural lives.
That would be good.
Anything to get some results. I try to do things the right way. Rules. Charts. Small ways of letting them know that I'm or the parents are proud of them...little exceptions when they do well or show maturity. Sometimes it works. Sometimes they run with it. Sometimes I slam the bedroom door.
I am human. The parents went upstairs to enjoy their evening and yes, while I know it's my job, occasionally it would be nice to have a little more than verbally expressed support. It's harder for two smart and clever kids to be smart and clever and cheeky when there are two adults standing there...one of them who happens to be their mother.
They made a clean escape tonight and I got to deal with them. It's fine. I like them, I know they both work hard. But when the kids are this way, they should stand there with me and help me if nothing else. Instead, I got, now listen up or it will be as Larissa says. Be good. Goodnight.
Damn straight it will be as I say. I'm the one they have to answer to when they come home after school tomorrow. I'm the one who decides if they get computer time, game boy rights, nintendo DS or play time. I'm the one who decides if we get to have a blow-off hour watching silly YouTube videos on my laptop before going to bed.
I am sick to death of parents who don't want to take responsibility for their kids. These parents are not necessarily included in this rant but I'm on the topic so why the hell not.
If you don't want to deal with kids-and I mean deal with them on every level, in every shape and form they come in-don't have them. Use a condom. Use birthcontrol. Exercise abstinence. Do whatever it is you can dream up to do that makes it so you won't procreate. There has to be a foundation in place before you drag kids into the picture. So your five year, own my own business and make plenty of money plan fell through after you had your first kid? Tough shit. You still have a kid. And you still have to step and do their homework with them....I don't care if you're tired and hungry and it takes you three hours...do it. Get over yourself and do it. Get down on their level, work with them 'til they get it. I don't care what your favorite subject was in class or if you never needed help.
Newsflash: Just because you share the same genes doesn't mean you're the same person.
Iconic and Parenting Magazine Role Model Children are fairytales. They don't actually exist-- unless they are medicated or in a wax museum.
Dealing with your kids doesn't mean shoving them on a babysitter or in front of the TV all the time. Barney wasn't hired to become your stay at home so I can go out shopping mom.
Sorry to break it to you.
What really kills me about this is that sometimes I think I care more than the parents. I care about actually getting through to them and figuring out what makes them tick and what scares them and what hurts them and what makes them laugh so I can access them. Because if I can access them I can teach them and if I can teach them then I can help them. If I can't teach them I am nothing more than a dancing monkey sent to entertain them.
I get it now why people start having children early...so they can remember, while their kids are growing up, what it was like to be a kid themselves so that maybe, just maybe they will have a little more flexibility and willingness to learn not just about their kids but with their kids when it comes to life.
Kids may never remember all the good things we do for them but they will suffer for all the good things we don't do.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I am going to Estonia in August for an artist residence. I applied. They let me in. I'm excited. :D
W00t. Now I have to figure out a way to do some fundraising for the trip. It's a 2 week thing where I get to go live on a farm in the Estonian countryside and make art. Sounds perfect to me.
I also got a few other things organized....which always makes me happy. I got my ticket bought, roundtrip from London to USA to London...I come home on May 12th and leave on July 14th. Crazy busy in between but it's all good. And, I finalized plans to go to Switzerland. This is good as well. I'm hoping for some good weather so I can go hiking and then off to Ireland. :D
I wanted to share. (c:
I've been driving myself crazy lately-everything I look at or do is somehow tinged by my novel. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Is this normal?
Monday, April 14, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
It was a great, great day. and I"m being entirely serious.
How can these two things be indicative of a good day? When you put them in the context of this: I was caught up in writing and editing (other work. I'm not cheating on the challenge. I have a second project going hehe) and processing and thinking about Beyond the Seven Seas. I have direction.
I blame Tim. :D Thank you. (c:
Friday, April 11, 2008
Now I just have to get my butt in gear and get some more notes and reference photos...oh how I love thee...done so when I hit the states at some point again or the next artist residence, or both, I can figure out what I am going to do. I have some cool ideas but we'll see what pans out to be any good.
It is amazing to me how creating visual art and written work are so tightly linked. I know, I know, before I get blasted for making it sound like I don't consider writing art, I do. Of course I do. But they are different mediums and yet so completely alike. Reference photos are the notes, spots of color, interesting shadows, shapes, textures are the characters that we exploit, drag out of their shells, push until they no longer resemble what we thought they were about. Simplify and tweak until they start to talk about something that really matters to us....etc. etc. I could digress.
It's all a matter of perspective...which sounds like the perfect intro into a blog that I've been meaning to get down since I read Lisa's blog a bit ago about her perspective on Russia, Russians, the Cold War and the such.
So-here's my perspective on this and what it feels like for me to be a 20 something caught in this centuries angsty gray area.
I have been traveling since October 30th, 2007. I packed my bags, sold my car, dumped my things at friend's houses, my dad's, drove my car to Colorado for a final time to leave things with my mom....came back to a townhouse that I really liked, a relationship, my favorite jazz club, my friends, my martial arts class that I am addicted to...and then I got on a plane and flew to Adana, Turkey. I started in Turkey because I wanted to spend some time living with my dad's side of the family. I also wanted to improve my Turkish-which has a long ways to go-I got what I wanted. I had a great two months. I had some time to gain some interesting perspective.
I am an animated talker. I am a big talker. I have lots of opinions on everything that occasionally should just be kept to myself...knowing this, I threw myself into a culture and situation where I wouldn't be able to say much of anything. I got a taste of what it's like to learn to listen. I got a taste of what it's like to really have to actually THINK before I say something. Not that I really changed all that much truth be told...but it did change my perspective on things and myself how I perceive things and how we communicate. I also got a hard dose of perspective on American culture.
I am not, in general, an advocate of the way we handle most things in America. But, I can now say that after being in other countries, experiencing their medical systems, their economical systems, getting to know business owners and families and artists, I get what the draw to America is all about. I also feel a sense of gratitude I didn't have before for where I was born. Not that I'm going to go patriotic, agree with the ridiculous mess we've created in Iraq, vote Republican and march around singing the praises of my country. I still think there's a load of bullshit. I just have a better appreciation for what else is there.
Ok, this being said...my travels took me from Turkey to Budapest to Germany. I have had the wonderful experience living with a German family for some time. The man of family is a very intelligent former home designer and construction company owner who happens to know a lot...and I mean a LOT about history. I love history. This leads to some great conversations. He gives me a hard time because I really make him work through any language barrier that may exist because I ask hard questions.
For example...I asked him why he thought, as my link to Germany, Germany's response to something like 9/11 would have been, why it happened and what he thinks America should have done about it.
There was a pause. We got up and started more hot water for coffee. I put my hair in a pony tail and readjusted myself in my chair and we both settled in for a long talk. Luckily for me, he seems to enjoy talking and arguing about this stuff and I love to learn about it so...yeah....
Lisa's post-to jump back to the wavering thread that is tenuously this post together-was discussing the Gulf War a bit, the Berlin wall...things that happened when I was at the youngest 7 and the oldest...well...present day- if you consider the Iraq War is just a big, nasty extension of the Gulf War (in some perspectives at least)...
This is a really weird realization for me. I remember hearing about the Berlin wall in November of 1989. I remember hearing about Sadaam Hussein Thwackers from Ed Sardella on 9 news in Colorado during the Gulf War. Names like Schwarzkopf, Powell, etc. all ring bells in my head. I can tell you what they did...I remember the colors of the camouflage jackets I would see on TV as a kid when they would interview soldiers.
Through all of this, however, I don't ever remember feeling anything. Not that I was or am emotionally insensitive, I just didn't care at the time. I was a kid. I had no real grasp on what the impact or the history was behind what was going on in front of me. I didn't really get a sense for that until recently, to be honest. Part of it is because America has a really bad habit of not teaching its kids about what it's done wrong in the past. I've never once been offered a class that discusses the finer points of the Gulf War and the socio, economic and cultural impact it had or would lead to in regards to America and the Muslim and Middle Eastern faith.
I'd heard the name Ayatollah Comini...spelling...but I couldn't have told you who he was until last week when my resident Germany born, history buff friend sat down and explained all of it to me. Who he was, what he had to do with Sadaam Hussein, etc. etc.
Please, Mr. Germany-teach me about the bits of my countries history that are less palatable. And it wasn't America bashing-what he told me about had very little emotional overtone. He is a rather stoic and pragmatic/practical person...and he wasn't trying to prove anything. He was trying to factually answer my questions. He did so quite well I think.
It's not like I couldn't have Wikipedia'd...yes I made that a verb...some of this stuff prior to arriving in Germany or gone to the library and read books about it...it's just that while there is always plenty of media there is very little content and, by fault of my own lack of mental prowess occasionally, things get muddled unless I have someone there to whom I can ask questions.
I asked a lot of questions to Alex. He gave me a lot of answers. I gained a new perspective on some of the things that I already knew about America's past by hearing from the mouth and mind of someone who didn't grow up engorged and swollen on my media and my concepts of reality and I also gained a new perspective on my childhood. Of my place in my country's young history.
In today's world people everywhere are being told and taught and coerced into disliking anyone who covers their head, looks like, talks like or blinks like they might be part of the Muslim faith. This is exactly like, from what I could glean out of Lisa's post, what happened between America and Russia during the Cold War and all that yucky stuff. People were told to hate an entire race and culture of people because of the actions of a few. And...here's the real bitch about all of this....when I sat down with Alex and had him tell me the story and the backstory of the times leading up to the Gulf War I realized that we really are on a loop. History repeats itself. It's a cliche but I've never heard one truer. It is disgusting how many times people can manage to reinvent the wheels of hate and prejudice and fear.
This is not a plea for everyone to be nicer to each other. This is also not a statement on how unfair or unjust the world behaves.
It is just an observation about the realization that we are on a perpetual hamster wheel. That we will continue to do the same things over and over again. If it isn't Russia it's Persia. If it's not there, then who knows, maybe it'll be China or India only the tables will be turned and my culture may get a sense of what it has done.
America is the perfect example of Newton's Law of Inertia. I am waiting to see what will be the first thing to step in and disrupt our inertia. People can argue that 9/11 was our stop. It was a speedbump. And I'm not suggesting that we have some Big Bad Wolf waiting for us around the corner and that we should all run for cover or start saying our Hail Mary's to avoid the apocalyptic fall of the American Empire...I'm just saying that a force bigger than 9/11 is going to have to happen eventually to slow America down. This could be a positive force as easily as it could be a negative force. We'll see which cards get played first.
All of this knowledge, insight, research, realization and processing makes for a heavy handbag to carry around on a daily basis. That's the best way I can think to express what it's like to be in this middle age of things where some of the really big stuff i.e. WWI, WWII and all those other wars that don't need their full titles to be recognized is well out of my range of existence but where some of the other big stuff, or stuff that is still having it's growth spurt did happen in my lifetime. And they will all have lasting impressions on the planet. And, I'm part of an age that has easy access to knowledge, resources, data...the Internet may be a vast ocean only about an inch deep but it is a dense inch. While it's impossible for most of Americans to experience the same degree of separation that previous generations had from their "enemy" or different cultures, or whatever in this day and age it is increasingly easy for us to pull the wool over our heads. Surround ourselves with things that assuage our fear. Remind ourselves that none of what is currently going on over there has anything to do with our Raison D'etra and simply move on.
Along with this handbag comes the responsibility or sense of responsibility to do something. Anything to improve or contribute in a well-intended manner to the situations at hand. Some choose to enlist in the military. Some join Green Peace. Some think out loud on Blogger. Some go and blow up buildings or people or cars or convoys because they think that it will actually accomplish something. Misguided and motivated have become the mantras and warning signs for my culture and the unfolding time line.
I want to find my response. My reaction to all of this. I want to stop feeling guilty when I tell people I am from America because of the looks I get from others. It's not hate or fear or anger. It's the look you give a small baby when they've gone and smeared the third jar of bright orange baby food all over themselves and the wall and the dog. And then in the process of cleaning up the mess they go and smash the crystal vase over their brother's head and then sit crying in the middle of the broken glass because they know they've done something wrong.
Not that there isn't something to be said for having a rough childhood....which is how I feel about the decision making that has gone on in my governmental system recently in America. We are young in comparison to the rest of the world. There are lots of things we haven't learned and we are acting the part of the cocky teenager by thinking that we know everything. Then again, at this point, we have wedged ourselves between more rocks and hard places than I can think of lame metaphors to describe. The resounding question in my head as I listen to the news and read the papers-foreign and American alike-is "What are we supposed to do now?" Not cynically or sarcastically...but a calm desperation that makes my insides hurt when I think about the state that things are in or are working towards.
America is not very good at admitting or teaching it's people about what it doesn't know how to do. It can't admit that there are problems to begin with in a lot of ways I don't think.
That makes me angry. Ignorance is not an excuse, no matter how many different costumes you make it try on.
There are more things I could say about this...things that I would like to say but am currently not in the right mind-set to phrase coherently.
I am going to bed. To anyone I have offended or upset, please-leave me a mature comment expressing yourself. I care what your thoughts are though I can't promise I will make any amendments to the post.
Communication is all we have left. Use it.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
To speak of what lies beyond the seven seas is to speak about losing. It is a space reserved for those who have been removed. It is a womb for all that is yet to be born. It is the
I live in a state of gray. Which I've said before. But it makes it hard to do what I know I can/want/really wish I was clever enough to do...which is write a decent anything. Hehe. I'm kevetching (is there a correct spelling for that, cause I don't know it if there is).
To be honest, I spend more time thinking about my story than writing it. I do this with most things. I need to be a better War General and just throw my troops into the attack head on. Problem is, I sit down and it's like I turn into a Arty from Geek Love. No arms, no fingers to speak of, horribly critical attitude. Though he was much better written than I am. At least he had a sense of purpose.
And I keep getting caught up in research, which is something I really, really like to do. More so than any sane human I would venture. And I'm addicted to links. If I can click it and have it take me somewhere more interesting, I'm on it.
Tim, from the DC, likened writing this stuff to giving birth to glass. I agree. I might as well pull out my synapses one by one, bang them together, call in the dendrites and throw them all in the blender and hit go. Maybe I'd come up with something.
Alrighty...in typical fashion I'm writing about not being able to write. I am such a verbal thinker. I don't even like therapists and I'm always finding myself needing to just "talk it out". Which sucks because no one cares about this as much as I do. This is a given and something that I will have to get used to. Knight in shining armor aside, I don't think I'd want someone to be as obsessive about my stuff as I am. I would run away from them. Hm..
What is that about the things we don't like in ourselves are the things we criticize in others?
So-I'm going to go resign myself to working on the family portrait sketch that I am doing at the moment for my side project, finish taking my notes and write down anything that comes to me. I have some mediocre dialogue at the moment, though I think everyone sounds the same. I bought a new book, albeit it was Paulo Cohelo, so I'm not going to learn anything about writing diverse characters (All of his books have the exact same person as their protagonist I think. He's a bit too in love with love.) but it was the only book in English that wasn't some stupid romance novel or trash thriller.
And, I promise, by the time all the rest of the world is awake, I'll have something posted for chapter three. I even promise to keep my self loathing and internal criticisms to myself. (c:
Happy writing to all of you with fingers.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
So yeah...it will be here tomorrow. I am close to at least having a completed thought on paper-regardless of whether or not it's relevant is another issue all together.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
It was bound to happen. Sooner or later, I was due to go Andy Rooney on you poor readers and vent about the tech habits that drive me crazy. My goal here is not just to wax cantankerous, but to tell you straight out: Don't do any of these things.
Print everything under the sun. You want to print out a recipe or article and automatically hit the Print button. Then you go to the printer and discover that you needed only 1 page of the 4 that printed. Restrain yourself from automatically printing stuff from the Web. What typically happens is that you print it out and put it in a folder to languish until you do your spring file cleaning and just throw it out anyway. Most of the time you didn't need a printed copy to begin with. And if you do need to print, preview it first and print only the pages you need.
Throw out your iPod or cell phone the minute a new one comes out. People are most wasteful with these two categories of device. Unless your phone or MP3 player is completely broken, don't throw it out. You will not be shunned by society if your device is a generation or two behind. If your identity is that tied to your gadgets, you need to go sit down on a park bench and take serious inventory of yourself.
For more eco-friendly technology coverage, go to PCMag.com's Green Tech page!
Buy your kids cheap electronic crap. Think twice before getting your kids everything that blips, beeps, zips around the living room via remote control, or plays games. Imagine yourself taking it home from the store, unpackaging it, putting it on the floor, and stomping it to pieces--because that's how it will end up very soon. You are teaching your small kids to be ignorant overconsumers who pay no attention to quality. Buy cheap and buy often is the lesson you are imparting. Not to mention the plastic, packaging, and batteries that end up in landfill.
Leave your computer on day and night. I've heard the arguments. People hate the lag time every morning waiting for their PCs to start up. Don't just sit there and watch the Windows status bar go back and forth, go make some coffee or do some sit-ups or something. Yes, time is precious. But how much TV do you watch per day? If you're the average American, about 4 hours. Are you really telling me you can't shave 2 minutes off your TV watching or pointless Web surfing regimen to save a few kilowatt hours?
Throw away or recycle perfectly usable devices. Recycling is good, but if the device still works, donate it. Do you throw away good food? Furniture in good condition? There may not be starving kids in China that will die if you don't eat your peas, but there are plenty of kids in underfunded schools who could use your Pentium II system, and women in domestic abuse shelters who depend on donated cell phones.
Okay, sermon over. I'm done channeling Andy Rooney. Hey, how did my eyebrows get so bushy?
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
I am reading the news at the moment and I keep noticing that "they" (the mighty powers that be...and or the Associated Press) keep posting news articles with headlines like "Global Warming blamed for..." blah blah blah.
I am a firm believer and advocate in Global Warming. A tree hugger through and through.
But please...oh please...do *not* make it sound like Global Warming is a person being convicted of a crime.
First Name: Global
Last Name: Warming
Crime: Breaking the Ice Shelf
Seriously. Global warming is a direct result of carelessness. It is not something that can shoulder responsibility. We, however, can (I know...who'd've thunk it!). So perhaps a more accurate headline would read:
Humans Excessive Use of Energy Blamed for Broken Ice Shelf....
I'm not saying that every human in the world is to blame or that we all need to live in the dark and revert back to the times of prehistory but we really need to start putting the responsibility where it belongs...not handing it off in typical fashion to a concept or cause.
All hail the wisdom of George Carlin all that time ago for kevetching about a War on Drugs. This is our war on a concept.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.