Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Power And Intention

There is no such thing as a five page paper. I have been working for 2 weeks, I have 4 quotes and six paragraphs and it is only three pages long. Every time I go to it I add a paragraph and try to branch off of the thesis in another way and add little details and clarification but it is just not breaking the three page barrier. Possibly there are not 5 pages of things to say about charity. My thesis is basically that charity is a front that lets people feel fulfilled without actually affecting social change, thus maintaining a power imbalance. If I can't convince someone in 2 1/3 pages maybe they are too stubborn to learn new perspectives.

Today I listened to a half hour conversation that contained under a minute of information.
Part A: Everything you see, percieve, or think, is just the mind trying to make itself heard. We don't need to be anything or ascribe meaning to anything. We don't actually have any needs once we go outside of the mind.
Part B: But even saying that and discussing this you are using the mind. It's all the mind.
(repeat, ad infinitum)
I tried to bring them back to something I could care about with "What he is calling the mind is what you would call the ego." and while it did shift the conversation for a few rounds:
Part A: The mind tries to make it complicated and say "look at me" but it's all very very simple. We don't need anything. Life is enough as it is.
Part B: But when you say that, "life is enough as is", that's a thought.
I was ultimately a failure.

If I am going to discuss philosophy it had better be the funny kind or my head starts to get so incredibly heavy I can't hold it up and my eyelids do as well.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Since I am on the upswing of my bipolarity I had an amazing, amazing day but technically one of my bike wheels got stolen. So I learned to hitchike! That is mein the biggest convertable truck ever! It is the kind with special big wheels. I didn't have time to talk myself into walking instead because someone picked me up as soon as I turned to face oncoming traffic. And I am going to do it again tommorow. And every day until something bad happens or I am ready to try again with my bicycle. I'm thinking of dragging it under the railroad bridge to keep it out of everyone's way while I wait for a change of heart. And since I am used to so much exercise now I have soooo much energy from not biking. Possibly 1/2 hour is not considered soooo much.

Maybe the person who stole my wheel will give it back if I make a little sign asking. Because if I saw a sign like that I would give it back right away!

When I do a thing I like to learn all about it, so I tried to learn about hitchhiking from online forums and found out I do not want to be a hitchiker.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I think I even look 19!

Today was a very odd birthday. I sort of knew it was my birthday because I spent the weekend doing birthday meals and shopping but I forgot that today was my exact birthday until this afternoon when I saw that there is a caramel apple making at Kresge on Tuesday Oct. 23. Because I already knew the day of the week.

I got mail presents. I really like mail presents. My best present this birthday is my camera because I love to take pictures! Except I think I may have taken pictures of everything there is to see in Santa Cruz. But the weather will change and I can do it again. And I am going to drop into a tightrope club thing tommorow so that might be photogenic. Unless drop ins aren't allowed. I read the policy but I think I am repressing it which I would only do if drop ins aren't allowed. My oddest present was a pair of gloves that feel very cold. It was a very hot day today so I put on my mysteriously cold gloves and they retained their cold for several minutes. I forget what that's called.

My worst present is that hamstring stretches make me dizzy/nauseous. Which is maybe not a present but today I learned hamstring stretching in Theater Arts and it was crazy! I think I have been progressively tightening them or something because I thought I might pass out. Normally I don't do things that are strenuous enough to make me pass out but I was not expecting it to hurt so I just started in, like how swinging your arm into a tree hurts more than punching a tree.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I really hate discussing racism because discussions never seem to come to a good conclusion. Today in Kresge Core was no exception but it was certainly different than what I am used to. Our teacher wanted us to discuss racism not as an external force but as part of daily life, even on campus. Our class split into groups of seven to discuss a 1988 essay on white priviledge. It said, basically, that in addition to the disadvantages minorities have, there are unfair advantages for white people, and we have to give them up to make any real strides toward equality. Not doing so perpetuates systemic racism. The advantages were things like failing without representing your whole race as failures, being able to speak without your race on trial,and combatting racism without negative consequences. It was not a very convincing essay.

In my group we first tore apart each of her arguments, then said that clearly the eightees were very different than today, then we criticized the author's ability to focus and be coherant. We ridiculed the concept that systems are designed for white people: One priviledge listed was being able to get your hair cut, and another was finding familiar food in the grocery store. "When was the last time you got your hair cut by a white person?" one of us asked. "Grocery stores don't have a 'white' section!" and we laughed. "I say, grocer, procure for me a pheasant, a measure of barley, and mincemeat pies, there's a good man." Then we talked about our own races. No one in my core class is black, but in my group we renounced our priviledge and guilt one by one. "I'm half Israeli" offered one boy, and then we all got into it. "Yeah, I'm actually Irish..." "I'm Asian, from Armenia." "I'm Asian from Russia." The tone of the discussion was very 'These mythical "white" people are apparently behaving very badly. If we see them, we must ask them to stop oppressing everyone.' The half Israeli boy said "You see, none of us are really white. It's an oversimplification. She just wants to make people feel bad." At this point I pointed out that I personally identify as white. I am not visibly the most German/Swedish girl in the world, with my brown hair and green eyes, but I thought that as the physically most northern/western European person in the room I should probably represent a little. It's also a little hard to claim my ethnic roots as I don't speak either language or celebrate the holidays or eat the food or plan to go to either country and I am at least 4th generation American on the most recently immigrated line and American Revolution descended through another line.

We were upsetting our poor teacher with our insistence that we were a multicultural, racism free group. She couldn't actually tell us "No matter where your parents are from you are white kids and people treat you the best and that is wrong and you must change it.", but that is what she implied. "For homework, create a list of the priviledges you have because of age, finances, gender, race, or orientation."

I know that people give me slack that not everyone gets, because I am nice, and young, and sort of pretty. But that doesn't make bandaids or hair salons racist. Honestly, walking around that campus I feel like I'm on the safe side of the power binary. It's a 40 year old state school, not a 200 year old private school, but I still feel it. The way the people who work the dining hall don't speak very much English, the trees and library and the views and the courtyards and the art gallery, the way students ignore all of the people with hands-on jobs except the bus drivers... There is a class issue, if not a concrete racial one. Outside my Core class there were men cutting branches with power tools, and because we absolutely must have silence for our important analysis and high level thinking in our mandatory freshman Core class we were joking and complaining about the noise. "I'm sorry, but it's driving me crazy!" said one girl. "Anyone have a bb gun?" joked our professor.


Today I followed the railroad tracks near my house instead of the road, because the road is very narrow and surrounded by toxic plants that I used to fall into before I decided I would rather be possibly hit by a car than certainly covered in weeping sores. Since it rained yesterday the low parts of the path were muddy and I got mud on one of my feet. The path was very nice and the toxic things were mostly far away. It was quiet and I saw a horse! At one point I had to take my bike over a little railroad bridge and it was fun but scary. It was fun because the gaps between ties were only a little smaller than my foot so I had to be careful and I could see the river, but it was scary when I had to get my bike off of the tracks and didn't realize how steep the concrete bank was. I was walking my bike at that point and it started sliding over and since I had my groceries and books in its crate it was very heavy. Eventually the tracks ended but I could still hear the road and see the path, so I carried on quite far, and biked up a steep paved road that I eventually had to walk up. It was a mile long paved road for just one house!
The house was big though, with chain link fencing and solar panels.

I turned and biked back the way I came and asked the first people I saw, a family with a horse and dogs, which way would take me to the main road. They were so nice! The mom of them sent the son of them on with me to show me the path. He was adorable, showing off like everyone does but not with the subtlety older teens have. "Look, a banana slug!" I said. The santa cruz ones are big and bright! "Have you ever licked one?" he asked. Of course, he has. He also explained that he could fight a mountain lion statue with his pocketknife (it was a really good statue!) and has been electrocuted and when we encountered fallen trees that I took my bike under slowly with some twisting, he said "I'm gonna have to bring a chainsaw up here." I don't know why but I bragged a little bit as well.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


So on Monday I fell off my bike- actually my bike and I fell, I didn't come off of it- and got poison oak on my hands, and then I touched my eyelid, chin, neck, cheeks, and applied lip gloss with my fingers before washing my hands. I was trying not to do that and didn't realize I had until I started growing a terrible rash. I suspect that rather than touching almost my entire face before washing my hands I moronically touched my contaminated jeans after washing my hands, thus spreading the urishiol oil everywhere.

The internet says urishiol reactions take between 1 and 2 weeks to heal, or possibly as many as five weeks, and can have giant pustules and blistering and can get worse on repetition. This is the third time this year I have exposed myself to urishiol (or fourth because there was one time this summer I didn't do anything out of the ordinary and still got swollen itchy lips), and about the 10th time in my life, between mangoes and summers at camp and I think this is the worst I have had. Still no pustules or blisters, thank God, but talking hurts and I am all itchy and I look terrible because I am holding my face immobile in a sort of droopy sad way.

I am hoping to get over this before my second Macy's interview ("No, it's not contagious! Even the pus is not contagious, I read it online! I got it from touching poison oak, and even though this has happened to me 4 times in the last year, it will not happen again! And I could totally sell makeup even though right now I can't wear it or even talk! And I am still cuter than some of the employees here! And nine out of ten people in general! Excuse me while I curl into a shaking ball to keep from scratching off my own face.") and hopefully over the worst of it before class on Monday.

My new goal is to never do this again ever, which I am accomplishing by staying on the paths at school, and on the pavement where available, and staying on the road when biking (even though cars come so close to me on the tiny roads out here when two drivers are coming in opposite directions! It is so scary!) and possibly buying things to counter urishiol and carrying them everywhere.

Because I consider myself above average in intelligence and also common sense, I do not believe that I keep doing this accidentally. I think there is something about looking and feeling ghastly that my subconscious craves. I sort of like going through my day without moving from reflective surface to reflective surface, and the quality of my interactions with other people is different, in kind of a good way. Because technically I feel better than people I look better than, and worse than people I look worse than, and so when I meet people who look ordinary I am maybe disinterested or watching myself in their glasses and sometimes I feel proud that I am willing to talk to them. And when I am deformed, like right now, I feel kind of grateful that ordinary people are nice to me, instead of entitled to it.

Not sure I can post that, even to a blog no one knows about or has ever read, but I think I need a less painful uglification. I could get glasses again, but those hurt my nose and ears and get stuff on them and I can't see anything that isn't straight ahead of me, which most people apparently don't mind but I normally have the world's best peripheral vision so it drives me crazy. Also my ears are different heights (I am really not as pretty as I delusionally think I am), so there's that. Hm. I could just get Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is what Uma Thurman had. (although most people are much prettier than her, so I don't know why everyone thinks she has BDD and not just low self esteem) I could just try not being a terrible, judgmental person but I don't really know where to start.