Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Power of One: the one woman boycott

I have my causes, the things I care about, the things I'm not willing to put up with, the things I support. Then I have the things I will not support and the causes and things I boycott. It's the power of the one person boycott. (Bows head, outstretches right arm and raises hand into a fist)
I don't have many things I boycott, but I feel strongly about those that I have.

Wal-Mart. Truly, an evil empire. I refer to this evil empire as The Devil Store. I will not shop there; I do not support the evil empire in any way. Horrible, horrible store. Bad on the environment, treats their employees horribly, many of their employees are on welfare to subsudize their income, yet the CEO's of Wal-mart are some of the richest in the world. Boycott has been ongoing for over five years.

Blockbuster. In principle I just do not care for the store. However, several years ago they charged me repeatedly for late fees that I did not owe and claimed, repeatedly, that I did not return movies when I had. So, perhaps not completely justified, because it has more to do with bad training and store policies than anything else, I don't care. Boycott has been ongoing for over seven years.

A local grocery store chain: Has more to do with the fact that the pimple faced kids do not realize that we all have to work, we don't want to, working is not our favorite thing, but we like to have money, and "Hey, how are you?" is a rhetorical question. Boycott is off and on because unfortunately sometimes I do need to shop there, because, unfortunately I like food on Sundays. (My favorite grocery store is closed on Sundays.)

Ethanol gasoline:
It's a horrible, horrible, horrible policy. Ethanol sprawl, water run-off, downstream pollution, still uses petroleum; it is not a cheaper fuel. The only reason it is cheaper is because of tax subsidies. Tax breaks for the gas station owners and farmers. It actually costs more and takes more energy to produce one gallon of ethanol than it does to produce one gallon of regular gasoline. Boycott is brand new, about a week. I've thought about it since this past fall, finally my Jiminy Cricket got to me. Do I like paying more at the pump, no. But regular gasoline burns slower, lasts longer; so really, I'm saving money.

PBS: Okay, I do not boycott PBS. I love PBS. But, I did realize, just the other day, that I listen, watch, and throughly enjoy PBS and NPR, but I never give them money to stay on the air. They are public goods and I am a free-rider. I should stop that. The next telethon I've promised myself that I will give a donation. Just seems like the right thing to do.

So, those are a few of mine. Do you all have any one person boycotts?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Where I'm Going, Where I've Been

I think it is time for an update on this here thing called my life. A bullet-point list if you will, of all the wisdom, book-learning, wonderful, and self-fulfilling life experiences known as grad school. (Sarcasm and snarky comments may, can, and will be included) (but no preservatives or partially hydrated corn oil.) (There may be some additives.) (This post will only contain the truth.) (Or at least the truth as I see it.) (which is the only truth that matters.)
At times It may also appear in the form of the third person.

Apartment: Still hate it. It's amazing that with all the cleaning products on the market, Madison Avenue has not come up with one that can make a fifty-year old apartment smell or look clean after several hours of cleaning. Notify Johnson & Johnson that they need to add "New and Improved Cleaning Power" to all of their products.

Shade-o-riffic tree: Still willing it to die. The tree is stronger than the powers of my will and subconscious. Number of house plants claimed: 3.5 (one is still hanging on. I don't give it much hope. Two-three more weeks, tops. Notify Earl May.) I have learned that the powers of a tree are stronger than the powers of house plants which need and love photosynthesis.

State University Shuffle: What I refer to my walking pace and speed to and from school each day. Apparently the greater State University area does not have a snow removal, sand, and salt disbursement budget. Thus, everything is covered in snow and ice in various forms of melt, remelt, and shoe imprints; thus I am too terrified to actually pick-up my feet when walking, a shuffle will do just fine.

Parking tickets: I'm convinced I've paid enough in parking fines to at least cover my State University shuffle foot path each day, but apparently I am wrong about that. Bastards.

College aesthetic of beauty:
I never really understood why the 18-24 year-olds love the sweatpants and sweatshirts so much. Is it really that hard to put on a stylish top and cute but comfortable pair of pants? I've since learned that this fashion trend serves a purpose. That purpose is that it is breath-freezing-in-the throat cold outside and sweatpants and sweatshirts keep a person toasty and warm. Plus, since it is booger freezing cold outside and a toasty 72 degrees inside, divided by the body heat of 50 college student, added into the sweat that is created from wearing enough layers not to loose limbs and ears lobes, multiplied by the power of a 30 pound backpack, by the square-root of the energy it takes to walk up a flight of stairs, well, I will be a bit glowy by the time I get to class. Hence, the "sweat" in sweatshirts. So, the college beauty aesthetic actually serves a purpose. Who knew, college kids really are smart.

Heels, skirts, matching sets of fun and funky jewelry: Yeah. Those haven't been broken out in awhile. For any confusion, see the above.

Job: I do not have one. I do not want one. I do not want to look for one. I have never had this much free time. I will never have this much free time again. I have enjoyed it. I am enjoying it. I will enjoy it. PG, the no-job-having-girl, I am.

Brazil: My internship has been approved for the summer; I will be spending eight weeks in Salvador, Brazil working with impoverished women and children. Six weeks are for my internship, two weeks will be for me to travel around South America. The organization is totally grassroots. Totally grassroots is government code for, unpaid internship, which means I need to come up with a crap load of money in the next few months. However, I will be doing the kind of work I know I need to be doing, which is helping with health education, sex and HIV/AIDS education, as well as teaching the local children how to read and write. I will also be helping with the making and selling of jewelry to help provide funds for the community. Now, that's not what my actual internship will be. No, I need to do a bunch and a whole lotta research for the actual requirements, but I am hoping to have all non-fun research and writing stuff finished by the time June rolls around, that way I can have the time to do all of the other schtuff while I am in country.

Learning Portuguese: Um, well. I've bought the CD's. I've made flash cards. It's similar to Spanish. ..... Yeah, I'm pretty far from committing any words, let alone phrases, to memory. Maybe I can just put the flash cards on a ring and when somebody says something to me I can just flip through my cards. That seems productive not to mention a great way to make friends and spread the American love.

Drinking: I'm German. That means I'm good at it. I also practice often. The kids here haven't learned that drinking isn't a race and that no matter what, we will all get to the finish line. But, one day they will have this wisdom and they will go far.

Dating: Blech. Boys and guys are stupid, men are not stupid. However, there seems to be more boys and guys than men in this town. And let's be honest, I'm not over the last man. So, I am on a dating break.

Art: A girlfriend and I started a Sunday sewing circle. It's just the two of us, so I guess it is more of a sewing horizontal line, but still, the stitch and bitch is there.

Classes: Oh, yeah, the reason why I am here. Classes and professors are better than last semester, but I don't know how much that is really saying. Taking 10 credits of grad and 3 credits of undergrad (missing a micro-econ requirement) plus, I had the wisdom and foresight to ask if I could audit the dreaded and scary Public Finance class that I will take next spring (apparently one of two classes that most everyone has trouble with and also one of two classes which people fail on the comps) so, 16 credits it is. Did I mention I don't have a job? Other than my Quantitative Research class (a.k.a. stats, formulas, and all things math-like) I am enjoying the classes and should do fine. Hopefully once we move to the computer for the stats class it will become less stomach burning, and tear inducing.

So, even though I've never had this much free time, I'm just as busy as I've always been. So, sorry for the lack of posting, but I've been busy killing trees and reading about all things fascinating and dealing with human rights and public policy. Sure, maybe not the most exciting stuff, but the professors keep telling me that I will actually need to know this stuff cause apparently I will be tested on it. So, there you go.

I had a big emotional breakthrough on my decsion to be here (I know, sounds hokey, but truly, wow, changed everything.) So, after six months of doubt, I'm finally feeling good about being here. Sometimes it's good to say things outloud to friends. Sometimes they can come up with five seconds of wisdom that finally allows me to see all those trees in the forest.

Okay, so, what is new with all of you?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

You could use a laugh today

I was all prepared to write a sad little post tonight; then I remembered Mitch. Mitch Hedberg and how my guy friend and I went back and forth the other night quoting his lines. I then spent the last hour watching old clips of his. I am no longer sad.
Score one for Mitch.
I thought perhaps you could use a laugh as well.
Cause really, no matter what kind of day you are having when can we not use a laugh break?


We can always use a laugh break.

Enjoy: Hee-lar-e-ous

...and yes, I know I've shared before. Don't be persnikity, just enjoy.

Power of One: Gandhi

One man who gave his life for freedom and for peace.