28 December 2009
22 December 2009
i sent something in the mail and it got me excited
what of it new jersey
21 December 2009
turtle was missing for two days but i finally scooped her up and now butter won't stop cleaning her fur and hugging her. she was getting really lonely and depressed.
also i wrote a song on ukulele. also it finally snowed
28 November 2009
18 November 2009
"Islamophobic Warmongers Pied at NYU!
Tuesday, November 18, 7:15PM
NYU students disrupted a university event this evening featuring Robert Spencer from "Jihad Watch" and Elan Journo from the "Ayn Rand Institute for Individual Freedom." Students called out the panelists for their Islamophobic, warmongering hate-rhetoric, shouting and launching pies at the speakers. One student was detained, and several were escorted out of the building.
The event, entitled "The Jihad Still Threatens America," encouraged viscous Islamophobia and promoted aggressive military intervention in majority Muslim nations. Speaker Elan Journo actively promotes devastating attacks on Iran, claiming that "victory in World War II required flattening cities, firebombing factories, shops and homes, devastating vast tracts of Germany and Japan.... Victory today requires the same: smashing Iran's totalitarian regime and thus demoralizing the Islamist movement and its many supporters, so that they, too, abandon their cause as futile." Fear-mongering comments such as these promote the expansion of US imperialism, and contribute to the wave of anti-Muslim hate that is sweeping our nation.
The pieing came on the heels of an anti-hate sit-in hosted by the Islamic Center at NYU. The event was a response to NYU professor Tunku Varadarajan's recent article entitled "Going Muslim," a new term he has coined in the vein of "Going Postal" (article available here ).
While it is disturbing to see hate being expressed on such institutional levels on our campuses, the students' refusal to be silent is an inspiration to us all."
21 October 2009
best mom reaction ever:
"Oh My God!
Is that thing there for good?
Don't tell me.
Do you consider this to be a "life enhancing" move?
Should I get one too?
14 October 2009
Tom Hayden, radical 60's activist and founder of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Stanley Aronowitz, union organizer, radical scholar and author (The Jobless Future), and Cindy Milstein, anarchist organizer, writer and popular educator, will tackle the roles of capitalists power in the Obama administration and its relation to building anti-capitalist and left wing social movements.
Styled after the presidential debates, focused on issues rather than candidates, debate questions will be posed by a panel including David Harvey, Marxist social theorist and "Right to the City" organizer; Maria Svart, union organizer and chair of the NYC local of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA); and Josh MacPhee, artist, curator, activist, and part of the political art cooperative Justseeds.org. Esther Armah of WBAI's "Wake Up Call" will moderate.
Thursday, October 15
The Community Church of New York
40 E. 35th St. near Park Ave.
Subway: Take the 6 to 33rd St. (at Park Ave.)or B/D/F/R/Q/N/W to 34th St. (Herald Square)]
$FREE/donations welcome.Volunteers welcome.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For media inquiries, email email@example.com
Or go to http://www.leftforum.org/"
wanting to overcome the worst days. maybe i will see you there.
27 September 2009
meet butter and turtle, my new rat family
Melissa, Aiyana, and I make popcorn nearly every day and we've made a list of good "toppins", some of which include soy sauce, hot sauce, and cayenne + lime.
I hated my professor Jason Pine this week but we've since reconciled and now we're on ok terms.
THE SHMINISTIM TOUR. Israeli women speak their conscience:
"The Shministim Tour is a series of conversations between two young Israeli women who went to jail for following their consciences and Americans from all communities and political backgrounds. Maya Wind and Netta Mishlywill speak at universities, synagogues, and community centers about their personal journeys from high school to military prison; a path shared by dozens of young Shministim but wholly unique in each case. They will engage students, activists, supporters, and critics on both coasts and in between.
Sarah Lawrence College
Date: Thursday, October 1
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Titsworth Lecture Hall"
which'll allow me to be back in time for cheese club at 10pm here at purchase.
18 September 2009
"LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE AND BE HAPPY
This week, Jews began their 5770th year on this earth! Who would have believed this possible?
If anyone had told Abraham that his people would be around this long he probably would have been astounded.
Imagine, we did this without a single suicide bomber and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
We lasted this long despite 400 years as slaves in Egypt, 40 years of wandering in the desert.
The mighty Roman army who nailed us to ten thousand crosses; despite the best efforts of fervent Crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition, Hitler's third Reich, Stalin's gulags, Arab wars of annihilation and 100 years of hateful terrorism.
How did we Jews do it? We survived by concentrating our efforts on education, love of family, faith, hard work, helping one another and a passionate dedication to life no matter what evil befell us.
We hung in there in hope the rest of the world would one day overcome its hatreds, jealousies, violence and join us in a life of cooperation and mutual respect. We're not there yet, but we're still hopeful.
And when so many of us enter our places of worship, this is what we'll pray for with all the strength in our hearts.
Best wishes for a New Year filled with good health, happiness, laughter, success, joy, and kindness!
Joel, Francine, Aaron & Sarah "
Imagine, we did this without a single suicide bomber and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
Imagine, we did this without a single suicide bomber and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
Imagine, we did this without a single suicide bomber and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
happy new year
13 August 2009
Galen, CCL, and I went to a nude beach a few weeks ago. It was too weird for me.
As payment for an 80GB ipod that my brother doesn't want anymore, he made me write this (soon-to-be) wikipedia article on our iguana Frisky. For those of you who don't know, I have a 13-year-old green iguana. My brother and I have been fabricating his life story since I was 8 years old. Aaron will be editing this a bit, but as it stands:
"Frisky Smellings Iguana was born from an imported egg originating in Venezuela, or perhaps Peru (these early origins are based mostly on speculation since the documentation was lost in the diaspora) and brought to Westwood, NJ to Petland Discounts on June 1, 1996. This prized specimen of an egg hatched into a glorious green iguana, biologically female but male-gendered.
An 8-year-old girl was picking out a companion for her birthday present with her mother, and it was her mother’s choosing that Frisky came to be a friend, residing in Closter, NJ. Her mother had severe allergies to fur and feathers so reptiles were the only feasible option. The little girl did not mind. At first, the young girl chose a larger iguana, but her mother insisted that a smaller lizard would be better suited for their home (not realizing an iguana’s capacity to grow). The smaller reptile was who we now know as Frisky.
While waiting in the checkout line, Frisky jumped out of the little girls hands onto a woman purchasing dog biscuits, and insisted he be named “Speedy”. Her mother suggested that she pick a better vocabulary word, and thus, “Frisky” was chosen.
Frisky was born into brotherhood with Iggy, a sagely male iguana living with the family before Frisky moved in. Iggy died too young (cause of death unknown). Frisky has 4 pets; a family of two males and two females who maintain food and clean-up daily waste deposits. Sadly, one of them left to live his dream of becoming Japanese.
In 1998 Frisky was effectively potty-trained. This was the same year he began his studies at Noah’s Arc Day Care through College and Extremities, a world class institution of education geared towards non-humans of all shapes, sizes, genders, creeds, ethnicities, religion, family, genus, and species. In addition to the general college preparatory studies, Noah’s Arc also offers schools of Business, Law, Medicine, and conservatories of Arts, Film, Music, and Theater. Frisky and Iggy began in Miss Mimi’s pre-school course, studying the complexities of neuroscience and astrophysics. Frisky was always a bit behind, however, favoring licking freshly paw/finger-painted art projects, eating glue, and staring at the walls in bewilderment.
The little girl always stood up for Frisky’s intelligence, however, but on one Tuesday afternoon in 1999, Frisky confused Miss Mimi for a piece of wrapper-slice Kraft American single cheese and devoured her whole, despite the fact that Miss Mimi was not cheese, but rather a blue whale.
Iggy’s post-mortem times led to Cornelius Australian Bearded Deagon to join the family’s residence in Closter. Cornelius spent his few years eating crickets and mealworms silly to the point of causing his own early death.
Another pivotal moment in Frisky’s youth was the emergence of the 1979 O’Reilly gang at Noah’s Arc, fast-forwarded via a time machine created by Frisky’s later adopted younger brother, EggHead Australian Bearded Dragon-Zelnik. EggHead was wise beyond his years, a Ren Höek or “The Brain” (Animaniacs), or Stephen Hawking (but not disabled), if you will, who consistently bullied Frisky but was brilliant in that mad-scientist-sort-of-way. The O’Reilly Gang consisted of 6 blue-bottomed orangatangs who would tease Frisky at Noah’s Arc, repeatedly forcing “Awful Waffles” ala Salute Your Shorts and even once acted out a scene of “A Christmas Story” and made Frisky lick a pole in the middle of the winter. They had no mercy for his cold-blooded species-status. EggHead, the good brother he was, always stood up for Frisky and fended off the O’Reilly gang as best as he could.
During EggHead's late genius days approaching Y2K, he and Frisky constructed a uniquely impenetrable bomb shelter beneath the basement of the family's home in NJ. The shelter not only protected against standard nuclear attacks, but also against biological warfare and even pesky neighbors who would attempt solace by knocking on the door (EggHead designed the shelter to be completely soundproof). Inside, the walls were lined with assorted fish tanks, slip and slides, warmed heat lamps and heating pads, a sense of daytime created through artificial flourescent lights, a world class kitchen stocked with assorted organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables, a cricket and mealworm pantry, and a giant pool (chlorine free, as not to irritate the scales).
One day, unfortunately, Frisky was playing around with the world-class kitchen located inside the shelter and somehow created the large hadron corrider that ultimately destroyed all remains of the glorious bomb shelter. Apparently, it was only indestructable from the outside in, not the other way around. There were no deaths or injuries in the process, aside from a few measly goldfish that imploded upon contact.
EggHead and Frisky had many adventures, but unfortunately EggHead passed away some years later due to kidney failure. The family mourned his death.
A few years later, the mother realized her allergies were no more and the family adopted Frisky’s arch nemesis to this day: Paris Poodle. Paris is a 65 pound brown standard poodle with an appetite for destruction who wants nothing more then to chow down on iguana with a side of a brillo-pad-underwear-rice pilaf.
Before Paris entered the picture, the family’s home was Frisky’s domain. He would spend long afternoons finding the best secret places to hide, be it in the hamper or inside Dad’s fold-out couch (he hid for 3 days! That sneaky guy!). Once Paris arrived, Frisky was forced to stay in his habitat aside from supervised trips behind closed doors, avoiding Paris. One day Frisky somehow found his way out of his habitat. Mom came home and saw blood on the floor, no Frisky to be found and thought the worst had happened. Instead, she found Frisky basking in the sun in Dad’s office (on top of the fold-out couch) and Paris with a bloody nose. Frisky had successfully defended himself.
A new adopted sister arrived about two years later: a runt of a standard poodle, Lady Peach, cream-colored, ditzy, but loving. Fortunately, Lady Peach simply doesn’t care about Frisky at all, which suggests a sad detachment on an emotional level but safety from bodily harm from Frisky’s point of view.
Frisky, Lady Peach, Paris, and the family continue to live somewhat peacefully today in New Jersey. Frisky still attends Noah’s Arc (his learning struggles make graduation a challenge to look towards, but he still works hard eating bananas and getting watered daily like a plant before school by a water spritzer)."
This was taken in January 2008 when I went to visit Aaron in Japan (he lives there and is never coming home). I think this accurately represents us.
09 August 2009
2. I may have a stress fracture/tendinitis/something is definitely wrong with my foot.
3. I'm a cheese pusha' at the Iron Tomato in White Plains now, but I work too much.
4. One of the Jonas Brothers died last week.
22 June 2009
6pm: All bands play subway-themed songs together in train car as we ride through Queens towards Flushing Meadows
7pm: Arrive @ World’s Fair Grounds // begin round robin.
also caitlin christian-lamb will be in attendance which makes me the happiest camper forever
15 June 2009
- jungle-themed room in Boulder City, Nevada complete with hot tub, mirrored ceiling, circular bed, fake plants, Neil and I jumping on the bed forever
- drinking out of mason jars at a diner in Boulder City the next morning while we all were wearing Mimi from the Drew Carry show t-shirts
- our show at Guilty Pleasures in Bloomington, Indiana with Math the Band and the most amazing vegan tacos I've ever tasted
- that time when Neil threw a mini-eclair ("This tastes like dragon ejaculate") out of a moving car window into the other car, hitting Jesse Meredith in the face while he was driving!
- that time when Mike Shissler tried to sneak into the hotel pool after we checked out and didn't have a key, wearing only my tiny scooby doo boxers that originally belonged to an ex-boyfriend, gold sneakers, and sunglasses, sneaking up into the smallest window ever above a door, turning bright red, only to find that the door wouldn't open from the inside and had to sneak his way up again.
- Then we found a button that simply unlocked the door.
- driving on the most beautiful part of i-80 ever in Kansas, going 100 mph
- driving down route 1 on the edge of north america in California for 3 hours
- Owen coming to our Oakland show and getting silly with me
- BBQ with new friends in Oakland, only to go to the swankiest cemetary ever complete with palm trees and too much moonlight. Then we drove up a mountain and shot off fireworks illegally
- 10 people in tiny motel rooms
- playing for record execs in a swanky hotel in San Diego, running around to other parties, having a "board meeting" in the Fontana Records suite to explain the future of the music industry, open bars, free pistachios, listening to music on a $65,000 record player, and finishing the night in a hot tub
The bad stuff:
- When half of our group got mistakened for meth-dealers in Boulder City, had to have their hands on the hood of a cop car and get their car illegally searched while the other half enjoyed the jungle-themed room and hot tub
- Pretty much everything about Las Vegas
- When people decided not to go to The Price Is Right even though it would have been awesome
- Not going to the Grand Canyon because it was dark out
- breaking veg for biscuits and gravy, only to feel terrible for hours later
- not playing shows on the way back
- not getting back in time to play with Andrew WK at the cake shop
- hitting my head way too hard at City Museum
- getting a speeding ticket for going 100 mph on i-80 in kansas
- how it is basically impossible to travel with 10 people and expect people to be on the same page with almost anything
- doing that much driving in 2 weeks in two tiny sedans
but it was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
28 May 2009
Last night Galen, Helen, and I went to a secret show for Deer Tick and a girl with gold leggings and ugg-like boots was doing the Elaine dance the whole time in front of us. Then Ian and Julian handed out sparklers for everyone and a Hannah Montana pinata set the mood (it was the owner's birthday). On the subway ride there and back we told scary stories about The Bloody Hook or The Woman With The Ribbon Attaching Her Head To Her Neck or The Dead Girl Sitting Between Two Men On The Subway.
terror pigeon on myspace (it's pretty silly to listen to the mp3s though; it makes more sense live)
25 May 2009
A well-known activist—an anarchic, revolutionary activist—is accused of spying on other activists for the FBI. The strangest thing about the rumor is, it's true. How Brandon Darby transformed from cop-hater to federal witness. Plus, a story by Etgar Keret, about a boy who betrays his people with a pair of shoes." - thisamericanlife.org
The day I got to New Orleans, Brandon Darby gave me a book about control units/solitary confinements in prisons. I didn't know much about him, but this news was still somewhat bizarre to me considering his supposed stance back in 2007.
23 May 2009
Riding the A train on the way home this morning
She told me that at Peter Tunney's recent opening she saw Jesse Camp, in the flesh, slightly older and less strung out seeming.
I might meet up with Alana soon and take a little trip.
13 May 2009
Siobhan and I made carrot cake cupcakes from the box today. I felt really sorry for myself because I have to pay so much money to the city of Yonkers for speeding four months ago.
We remembered this guy in our art class from Marymount Manhattan College. The class simply existed to fill an arts general education requirement, focusing on basic painting and drawing aspects, culminating in a final self-portrait project. A balding, hip, nearly-middled aged man named Craig taught us about chiaroscuro and had us recreate “Old Masters” works, wherein Siobhan inadvertently created a pop-art looking piece emulating cherubs in clouds. One day when looking through a book belonging to Craig I discovered a photo of him receiving some herbal, incense, spiritual cleansing, and something provoked me to take it, to show Siobhan, to keep it forever. Siobhan has it somewhere now.
Our self portrait project turned out to be an interesting experiment, especially since our class was random and felt someone depersonalized. This Japanese student who spoke little to no English whatsoever managed to get by through out the semester speaking very little. He arrived that evening with an oil painting from the perspective of a tiny astronaut on Mars, looking out into the distance, gazing towards Earth. Lots of stars dotted the sky. Earth was tiny and distant; the astronaut was alone.
Our first reaction was that perhaps our classmate truly saw himself as this tiny astronaut, giving new meaning to a self portrait.
It turned out that he simply misunderstood the assignment (he did not see himself as a tiny, lonely, astronaut), but we never really figured out what he actually thought he had to prepare for class that day.
The Junta de Buen Gobierno in Morelia demanded the immediate release of eight political prisoners held in El Amate prison on charges invented by authorities. The prisoners, from San Sebastian Bachajon, include seven adherents to the Otra Campaña and one member of the Zapatista movement. Meanwhile, the state government is stepping up its media campaign against the detainees, particularly on the government-controlled television channel 10. Reporters referred to a "dangerous" band of "assailants" who were formally charged on Friday by state authorities. While these cases have gained national and international notoriety, they are not unique.
The Junta de Buen Gobierno claims state-sponsored paramilitaries aligned with the PRI and local security forces are waging a virtual war against Zapatista communities and supporters. The struggle is centered in the Agua Azul region where PRI-affiliated businesses and paramilitaries are trying to establish "eco-tourism" facilities, often at the expense of traditional landowners. The state is planning construction of a major highway through the area, something that is opposed by Zapatistas and the Otra Campaña in large part because it would displace hundreds of families."--MSN
also, i got a twitter (because the internet is never enough)
04 May 2009
I've been asked by the Vice President, Robin Kaufman, to ask you not to visit campus for at least a week after returning from Mexico. Since Mexico City is still largely closed this week, and since the incubation period can be up to a week, the campus wants to make sure that you are in good health before having you on campus. I hope you understand. Hope all is well,
It is necessary to mention that there are more confirmed cases in New York City (population: 8 million people) then in Mexico City (population: 22 million people).
Marlena and I working on our zine. An electronic version will be available in a few weeks.
22 April 2009
Pig friend at Kathryn and Delia's house. By the time I have gotten around to post this photo, he has probably been made into carnitas.
Unlike the Zapatistas, the Panchos are not autonomous, but they demand government funding and public programs because they believe they have been deprived of these basic aspects because of their class status, among other things. We recently met with two women from a group called HIJOS. HIJOS is about bringing together the sons and daughters of disappeared people (desaparecidos) (an okay translation of their page here)
I have enjoyed such joys as having to allot at least an hour and a half to get anywhere on public transportation here and intense pollution. But really I like Mexico City. We went to La Casa Azul de Frida Kahlo where she and Diego had lived and I saw lots of their work in person. But some of the most interesting parts was seeing letters from Einstein to Diego, their book collections, their kitchen, and Frida's transformed corsets. The kitchen had tall ceilings and beautiful tiles, intricately painted ceramic dishes and bowls, yellow painted wooden tables, chairs, and cabinets. Frida collected these religious cards which basically were painted anonomously for practical purposes and had different religious texts written. It was clear that she drew some influence from these, particularly with some of her pieces involving bedrooms. She had revamped her corsets with pieces of mirror encrusted within the plaster and paint. They were beautiful.
Diego Rivera and his hairless dog
Sugar Skull stencil in Mexico City
Claudia and crystallized pumpkin and other weird, not-quite-appetizing treats at an indoor market here in DF.
A photo of a photo taken at the camera store back in Tlaxcala of two young girls superimposed with Jesus.
This is fucked up
02 April 2009
"Chickens sold at a market in Gaza Strip. The Israeli siege and attacks on Gaza have forced the cost of chickens to skyrocket in the Gaza Strip, 24 March. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages) " (relevant because I eat so much meat lately)
My host mom checks the temperature of my arroz con leche by touching the surface with a teaspoon, pouring that bit on the back of her hand, and finally tasting it. She does this seemingly without thinking, and it usually leads to always having not-quite hot enough but cared for hot foods and beverages.
Speaking of food I am going to stop eating meat when we go to live in the community in Mexico City next week. I also believe that I am going to maintain veganism until Cheese Club starts up again in September. I try to avoid pork products but there have been times where the chorizo just looks too good. Toluca de Guadalupe consumes enough pig to make my Rabbi blush and I keep thinking of CCL's descriptions of swine feasting on half dead soldiers within battle annals.
Sunday was our fiesta del campo which celebrated...the weekend! All the families went into this woodsy, desert place and basically set up a party in the middle of the road with music blasting from pick-up trucks. All the families helped prepare delicious grilled meats and hot tortillas, cactus salads, rice, and different chilis and salsas. We danced a bit, but not very much because our bellies were too full.
Last week we went to Huamantla and surprisingly went to a puppet museum where we learned about puppets from around the world! Some were as old as 700 AD. Besides that and a few visits to some stunning churches, the past two weeks have been really packed with meetings that are testing my Spanish listening. The other day we met with the local representatives of all the CNUC chapters in Tlaxcala. It was a "good Spanish day" where I both understood and spoke quite a bit. Gustavo, the representative from our town (who also taught me how to dance to Cumbia) said, "Machismo es una enfermedad". Yesterday we met with the widows of ex-Bracero workers and ex-Braceros themselves, and today we met with trabajadoras sexuales (sex workers) who have organized themselves with the help of CNUC.
Our group is trying to organize an independent reading group to focus on strategy in the context of some of the things we are learning, and some of the things we want to learn. Unfortunately our weeks have only gotten busier and somehow we ended up watching The Little Mermaid in Spanish yesterday.
There has been a huge amount of anamosity towards protestors and demonstrations in Israel and there is still quite a bit going on in Greece.
Israel using excessive force against protesters
Israeli authorities ban Palestinian Cultural Festival
Also, a neo-nazi group in NJ tried to have a meeting in a library in Clifton and it got broke it up. Read about it here.
Marlena also sent me this interesting piece about what it means to have a Jewish identity that includes an Arab identity, written by an Iraqi-Israeli woman. It is somewhat nuanced towards a push for coexistance as a strategy for peace:
Reflections By An Arab Jew
18 March 2009
Oventic ended with the International Women's Day celebration. Indigenous and non-indigenous women from all over Mexico and internationals alike came to the caracol for the conference. We watched as women played all sorts of sports while men were in charge of cooking, cleaning, and childcare. I had left the day before the political speeches and other events, but I was pleasantly surprised to run into Gracie Janove who is also traveling in Mexico. I introduced her to my group and it turns out she knew one of the kids from middle school. ¡que weird!
I went to Oaxaca City and Mazunte this past week for spring break. Some highlights included discovering a new type of coconut that's green on the outside, swimming in too-big waves in the Pacific Ocean, eating tacos on the street in Oaxaca City, and discovering a dead spotted fish on the shore in Mazunte with mammalian-looking teeth: hard and defined, looking nothing like you'd expect on a fish. It seemed more like the teeth of a beaver, really. All week I ate tons of fresh fruit and fish, left with only a mild sunburn on my back, but an alarming amount of mosquito bites. I have so many bites that it's somewhat unsettling. I feel ok though, so I don't think I'm at risk for any sort of insect-born illness.
Once we got to Toluca de Guadalupe here in Tlaxcala, we introduced ourselves and were welcomed with a delicious meal of hot rice, shrimp soup (complete with shrimp heads with tiny beaty eyes) and pineapple juice. I was assigned my family and toured around the neighborhood with Lourdes and one of the other cousins who's name escapes me. After our walk I sat down to watch Anaconda with the family and ate a bag of cheetos con chili which was basically prepacked cheetos with hot sauce moistening each one, all slimy-like. Although the texture was so snot-like, I decided I liked these pre-soggied cheetos and ate the whole bag, not realizing Elena would soon offer me more food. I had a huge jelly-filled pastry with tea before retiring to my new room with hopes of writing my homework for the week.
Every day the women in the community prepare a huge, amazing lunch. Yesterday we had this soup made of tiny bits of spaghetti, zuccini, carrot, brocolli, tiny little k'nishes on the side, and whole pieces of chicken cooked in a salty, spicy tomato sauce. Handmade tortillas and limeade were served on the side. Host family situations is making me nervous, but I can rely on the fact that my Spanish is so bad that awkward conversation is inevitable, right?
Today we went to a worker´s center and learned about braceros. Most of us had an unusually difficult time understand the accent of the video, but the men there were super friendly and I look forward to learning more. Afterwards, Hannah and I went to the art museum here in Tlaxcala and saw some super early Frida Kahlo works. It was really cool to stumble upon such beautiful art in person.
01 March 2009
Joakim holding one of the little chicks at Oventic (except he looks like he might be trying to love it to death instead)
This week we visited San Pedro Polhó, an autonomous municipality and refugee center for those affected by PRI and paramilitary threats. The community is near Acteal, where the massacre in 1997 occurred killing 45 people, including many women and children, who were members of the pacifist group Las Abejas (“The Bees”). The massacre was the climax of tension between the Zapatistas and paramilitaries. We hiked up a small mountain and at the summit we saw Acteal.
This is our last week in Oventic. This weekend is International Women's Day and there is a huge festival here. Women are invited to take part in all sorts of activities and programs while men are invited to clean, watch children, and cook.
I've also thought quite a bit about my senior project and I think I may analyze the reception of Palestinian solidarity movements and Zionist organizations on college campuses from an anthropological perspective. Within the past two days, this became more of a reality especially when we arrived in San Cristobal yesterday. I was walking around, buying some groceries, passing the usual “SOLIDARIDAD” graffiti with stencils of a face covered by a keffiyeh (the traditional scarf worn in many Arab communities), with “solidarity” presumably written in Arabic underneath. Then, I saw “[Star of David] = [Swastika]” spray painted right near the pharmacy. My rationale dictates that I consider the recent occupation in Palestine to be wrong. I am constantly reading articles and having conversations with people about the meaning of land, of history. I can say I am confident in my own beliefs, but when I see that on the side of the building, my identity is completely threatened. I cannot help but feel angry, but it's not as easy to explain with the word “anger”. I am angry because those sort of messages only reflect violence and hatred, which are counterintuitive in the process of creating peace.
I feel connected to the Middle East in a way that the struggles from both perspectives resonate within me in a consuming manner. The Magen David (Star of David) is not simply a symbol for the “politicized” conception of Israel, projecting feelings of colonization, but of the Jewish people on the whole (the synecdochic Israel). But at the same time I still find myself pretty confused with how I can focus all these feelings into a year long thesis. We will see.
Disengaging with Zionism (Issa Mikel, The Electronic Intifada, 13 September 2005)
Articles about Antisemitism Vs. Critiques of Israel from Jews Against the Occupation here.
21 February 2009
"The occupiers, including both undergraduates and graduate students, issued a list of demands, including: open accounting of the NYU operating budget and investments; university recognition of GSOC, the graduate student employees union; a socially responsible finance committee composed entirely of students, with full control of NYU's investments; re-imposition of a recently lifted ban on Coca-Cola products, as a protest against Coke's complicity in the murder of Colombian trade unionists; tuition stabilization; and public access to NYU's Bobst Library.
The students are also asking NYU to divest from war profiteers--in particular, companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In addition, the occupiers are asking for 13 annual scholarships for Palestinian students and donation of excess school supplies to the Islamic University of Gaza." - read more here: The fight to take back NYU (socialistworker.org)
The Purchase Independent is getting shittier with every issue. I try to stay somewhat connected to school but all I'm reading is about how there are different students from different places at Purchase and a whole section about Panther sports news. Also despite budget hikes, the school is going to be spending $53,000 for an online news service sponsored by the journalism department that no one will read.
Post-high school secondary learning is no different then high school, reproducing hegemony, keeping us all in check. I think even though I feel detached from everything in NY it's in a unified way. Everything I read and do here somehow reminds me of things at home.
I finished the weaving part of my project this week. I just have to attach a strap of sorts. I think it will become a sweet fanny pack. I want to take a weaving class when I get back to NY. come weave with me!
Yesterday we ended the week with a tortilla making workshop. Pedro said the first step to making perfect tortillas is to dance first, so we did that. I had enough guacamole and fresh corn tortillas to feed a small family. Today at the market, 5 avocados cost 8 pesos, or about $0.54.
LA RESTENCIA ES FÉRTIL (stolen, Oventic)
photo from the Mayan Medicine Museum last week. we were posing in a sweat lodge.
speaking of the museum, they had a whole section about childbirth. taken from an e-mail to a friend: "the way they see birth is very different then in western societies. the woman hugs the man and is squatting on her knees because it is the most natural position in terms of alleviating back pain. i liked the idea of the hugging of the partner for physical and emotional support."
13 February 2009
Dan walked past one of the new chicks the other day and on his way back he saw it squished with its guts hanging out of it's butt, so we think someone stepped on him. In the amount of time it took him to tell us, the little bugger was discarded somehow by one of the compañeras.
This week at Oventic some of us planned our vacation weeks. I will be in Oaxaca City for a few days starting 3/7 and then end the week in Mazunte on the southern coast of the state of Oaxaca. Claudia, Hannah, Nick, and I will swim in the clear water and go harpoon fishing. It'll be great, and after that we're going to Tlaxcala for the next few weeks of our semester.
I learned how to do a simple stitch with a backstrap weave this week. It felt like lanyard for grownups. I hope to finish the bag before we leave Oventic. It's really a pleasantly repetitive process once I got over the difficulty of learning the steps as they were told to me in Spanish.
We went to an autonomous municipality yesterday called Magdelena de la Paz and I've decided that the word “autonomous” is just as elusive as a collective or co-op in the US. It seems like they're autonomy exists in the way that they are collectively reject any involvement from the government because of the lack of rights and respect Mexican bureaucracy grants them. This reminded me of our class earlier in the week.
My notes read,
“* - but how do we change? Not by modifying current system, but 1. by rebuilding alternatives to capitalism at community levels and 2. fighting exploitation through cooperation at local levels
in Zapatismo: the state loses relevance, therefore loses power”.
Autonomous communities are the first steps towards this.
At Magdalena de la Paz, we visited a weaving cooperative, a metal shop, and a tiny schoolroom. I bought a small patch of a burgundy flower with one coral leaf embroidered onto it that probably took a lot of time and patience, yet it only cost the equivalent of less than $2.
Today we hiked one of the smaller mountains overlooking the caracol of Oventic and sang “...and the green grass grows all around...” and learned about how infertile the land is and how houses with red roofs are part of some government project that gives them out (yet barely anything else...). The skies were clear and somehow even at the top I heard a rooster crow.
I'm back in San Cristobal for the weekend and guzzled soymilk on the street when we discovered it at some natural foods store. Before today I was reconstituting powder with water and simple syrup.
PS: I met another Sara(h) Louise this week. She was staying at Oventic for their language school program and had recently worked on this documentary, Crude Independence, about oil drilling in North Dakota:
"...through revealing interviews and breathtaking imagery of the northern plains, Crude Independence is a rumination on the future of small town America—a tale of change at the hands of the global energy market and Americas unyielding thirst for oil"
Read The Velveteen Rabbit with illustrations here.
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
07 February 2009
stolen from Sadie
I'm in Oventic, a Zapatista community, for the next few weeks. we came back to the house for the weekend but I think I'll be staying at Oventic for the next two or three weekends. next weekend there is a festival on Valentine's Day, but apparently it's not for Valentine's Day. i'm glad it's not. The next weekend I'll be learning how to make my own boots at the zapateria.
Tonight my friend Nick and I made a perfect vegan dinner. we made a ton of chili with zuccini, tomato, green bell pepper, dried chili peppers, whole cumin seeds, garlic, onion, lime, beans...i think that's it. we also made stovetop biscuits because the oven doesn't work and they were super dense and amazing. we made "buttermilk" out of soymilk powder, water, and vinegar. the best part was seeing Tom, our professor, enjoying our creations.
at Oventic we spend two days discussing the readings for the week and two days in Spanish class. this is one of the few times in college that i actually feel i am really getting something out of all this, although this week's readings about political economy of neoliberalism are making me a bit crazy.
some of my challenges is that most of the discussions and seminars about zapatismo and indigenous rights are in spanish, and my spanish is not at a good enough level that i can really benefit from more complex discussions. these exist outside of class time, as sort of supplements. I find my interest in the culture here somehow stifled because of my language barrier. it'll get better here though, as I keep mentioning...
Things in Mexico are really inexpensive and it makes me feel weird.
One of the best parts about this week was meeting with some of the girls from the secondary school and discussing the "Ley revolucionaria de mujeres" (the link will go to the google translation which is pretty ok, I think):
"En su justa lucha por la liberación de nuestro pueblo, el EZLN incorpora a las mujeres en la lucha revolucionaria sin importar su raza, credo, color o filiación política, con el único requisito de hacer suyas las demandas del pueblo explotado y su compromiso a cumplir y hacer cumplir las leyes y reglamentos de la revolución. Además, tomando en cuenta la situación de la mujer trabajadora en México, se incorporan sus justas demandas de igualdad y justicia en la siguiente LEY REVOLUCIONARIA DE MUJERES"
Neoliberalism & Mexico Solidarity Network
"Neoliberalism is the dominant economic, social and political model of our time - the latest phase of capitalism. In the neoliberal era, western-style representative governments have largely abandoned their (at least theoretical) roles as representatives of and mediators among a range of social actors. Joachim Hirsch refers to the 'national competitive state' in which government represents the interests of capital at the expense of popular sectors of society."
31 January 2009
this week I had to write about my "world view" which was super frustrating and reminded me how exactly one year ago I had to do the same thing in performance art class with Neil. It felt self-serving and stressful even then. I talked about the sanctity of human life and animal life, the culture of fear, blah blah. One girl talked a bit about panopticons and how the current system seems to skew how people should be perceived, either as subjects, or worse, as objects.
A panopticon is a type of prison where those "in charge" are able to watch all the inmates from the center. Then, one of my classmates mentioned that maybe it wasn't just one authoritative unit that keeps people in check through surveillance, but that everyone watches each other.
I have had "la turista" for days on and off, meaning my stomach hates me and refuses to digest food properly. Maybe one drop of Mexican water somehow got into my system, I don't know. The differences in temperature throughout the day or even within a 10 minute drive are so bizarre. It's pleasant and warm here in the center of town, but back in Unitierra, I was freezing all the time.
Sam told me today that he had Jesse Camp's phone number for years and carried out elaborate prank calling. Maybe if I could talk to Jesse Camp my "turista" would be cured.
[4:02:42 PM] Aaron says: You would like Japanese pro wrestling bc they wear masks like Mexican wresting but even crazier...
contribution from my brother Aaron who lives in Japan:
26 January 2009
(photo stolen from Sadie...I have not taken pictures yet). This is Unitierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas. I will be here for one week, then spend the next 5 weeks in Oventic (also in Chiapas). We eat meals on hot pink painted tables and drink pineapple tea in the morning. I found out I'm going to be graded like a Hampshire student, meaning evaluations and not actual grades. Since school has made me crazy this is great news. I don't have much to say except it's freezing here at night and in the mornings and the women wear the most beautiful clothing with string woven in their braids.
My Spanish is so rusty it's embarrassing but it'll get better. There are lots of stray dogs here with huge feet and they are a bit too friendly. All I want to do is pet them. So far the worst part about Mexico is having to use bottled water for everything. "Maybe I'll gain weight but I'll just drink a cup of water before I go home...flush it all out" - Marlena. The best part of today was finding out why everyone is here and then taking a break for hot sweet braided bread fresh out the oven and sweet coffee.
news on our beloved Jesse Camp from miss atiya:
"oh joneses: it was almost as though you knew my love for him
oh joneses: hahah i didn't even care about him really, until i bumped into him at a bar
oh joneses: i heard him talking behind me, and i automatically knew it was him
oh joneses: he looks sooo crazy
oh joneses: also he's a giant "
18 January 2009
series of events:
- Talks of memorable roadkill, deer hitting, and other sad animal experiences
- I knock over a glass of water at Zanaro's when we were trying to class it up
- A large waiter slips and falls even the glass is cleaned up
- Where are my roommates?
- Coincidental txt from C.Christian-Lamb: "We just hit a deer". Her car is in bad shape.
- Two women start straddling each other and making out in the middle of the restaurant. One has the sickest tribal tramp stamp that covers the lower 5 inches of her back from hip to hip.
- They tell one waiter to tell their waiter that they'll be back, they are just going to use the bathroom for a little while...presumably together
- A loud ass slap occurs behind me and Asher as the two women pass
- Asher peaks his head into the bathroom, then I go in to see what's going on
- The women are kickin' it in the far left stall. I hear sexy-talk that's so crude it's straight up out of a porno.
- The manager asks our table if they were "gettin' it on" in the bathroom. I confirm.
- He confronts them.
- Accusations of judgment based on sexual preferences. "No one would care if it were a straight couple!". Some serious 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock eye rolling...
Today I drove Galen to the airport today because she's studying in Spain while I'm in Mexico. We ate perfect bagels and I went for the bold choice of olive cream cheese.
Also, my 12-year-old green iguana Frisky made his on-screen debut the other day and conquered the mountains of clothing in my time capsule of a room. What a trooper.
Dress your baby like a realistic, limbless slice of pizza, complete with a chef's hat here.
12 January 2009
Welcome to my blog! I decided maybe this wasn't such a bad idea, and that one-time somewhat famous MTV Wanna Be A VJ (1998) winner Jesse Camp (born Josiah Jesse Holden Camp III...) was something like a humanoid chupacabra. Chupacabras are legendary cryptids that suck the blood of goats and are popular in Mexican and Puerto Rican myth.
I just came back from Israel and I will be studying social movements in Mexico next semester in San Cristobal, Oventic, Tlaxcala, Juarez, and Mexico City. I promise future postings will be shorter.
A few bits from a longer reaction:
"Most of my trip focused on helping an Ethiopian Jewish community in Netanya, just north of Tel Aviv, working on “schpackling” and painting exteriors of apartment buildings in a low-income neighborhood and doing art projects with the cutest children in the world at their youth center. My Hebrew is very limited, so when the kids would ask if I knew Tupac or Chris Brown, I knew enough to say “Ken....sababa!” (Yes....cool!). I drew them lizards and tied balloons, but mostly stayed quiet. It didn't really matter that we couldn't understand each other, I still felt connected to the Ethiopian youth in the way I helped them sculpt doves out of clay or make frogs out of cardboard.
Just like so many other Jews of the world, Ethiopians immigrated to Israel through the Law of Return, which allows Jewish people to attain citizenship and make their lives in the holy land. My trip was comprised of about 40 students from schools around NY including CUNY & SUNY schools, Columbia, and NYU. We represented a mixed demographic of Jewish and cultural identities, spanning from secular Jews to the more Orthodox. The trip was based in the concept of “tzedek” (justice) and “tikkun olam” (repairing the world). We also spent time at a food and clothing shelter in Karmiel near the Sea of Galilee and visited a Druze community in Beit Jan. I could tell you about painting in the cold or sifting through piles of old shoes, but it would not mean much without context.
If no one told me that there was a situation happening in Gaza, I would not have known. Northern Israel reminds me of The Sound of Music; it's rolling hills fall into neat rows of farmland, the sea sparkles, the sun always seems to be shining. I was incredibly fortunate to experience these places, but it meant more that I was helping people through a Jewish lens, no matter who the people were. The clothing shelter in Beit Jan supports those in need regardless of religious, racial, or cultural identity. Jewish values teach us to be compassionate, and Israel's obligations as described in their Proclamation of Independence state that “...it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions...We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land...”.
Israel's own proclamation allows us to question and think critically about the recent events within Israel and Palestine. The most vital lesson any of us can grasp, regardless of our own opinions on the conflict, is what it means to have compassion for others. I firmly believe that context controls the reception of our empathy, or even how we define an enemy. History sets the framework, showing the link between me and the Ethiopians in Netanya, but also how Islam and Judaism both have legitimate roots in the same land.
I love the land of Israel, but my love is not limited to my Jewish connectivity with the people and history. It is impossible for me to perceive Israel simply as the Jewish state. I value the integration of cultures: tasting Arab pastries, Yemenite cuisine, admiring the way Arabic, Hebrew, and English each have their own presence, lingering in the air like the spice of the perfect falafel, remaining on my lips even after the last bite."
"The image of the enemy is a moral and political burden because you are negotiating with someone whom only yesterday you called an oppressor, a murderer or a terrorist. You promised your followers that this person would be severely punished as a reward for the oppression they had lived through. Your followers, meanwhile, are telling you justice requires punishment. They ask: 'How can you negotiate and talk to a person who is responsible for all the disasters of our people?'...I am negotiating because I have chosen the logic of peace and abandoned the logic of war. This means my enemy of yesterday must become my partner. He may still be my opponent but he is an opponent within peace, not within war."
-- Adam Michnik, Polish activist
Avi Shlaim: How Israel Brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe
“Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim served in the Israeli army and has never questioned the state's legitimacy. But its merciless assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions”
“Notes for Peace is a non-profit organization that aims to bring Jewish and Arab youth together through music and art education initiatives in order to promote tolerance, understanding, and mutual respect.”
“The Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF) for Peace, Reconciliation and Tolerance...[promoting] reconciliation -- as an alternative to fear, hatred and revenge...'it won’t be over until we talk'.”
B'tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
Combatants For Peace: “We are a group of Israeli and Palestinian individuals who were actively involved in the cycle of violence in our area. The Israelis served as combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinians were involved in acts of violence in the name of Palestinian liberation. Only by joining forces will we be able to end the cycle of violence”
Youtube video about Ethiopian immigration and Cafe Shachor Chazak (Strong Black Coffee), an Ethiopian Jewish rap group based out of Netanya: