Monday, August 16, 2010

Distracted Media: Islamaphobia versus important stories

{image source: uzairm, NASA}

Really, this fiasco surrounding the Islamic community center two blocks from ground zero is completely absurd, but I figure I would officially put my claim to the "endorsing it" camp. There are a million other places to get a play-by-play of all the hatred flowing around surrounding Park51 and, I guess since it matters?, the is-Obama-a-Muslim debate, which of course matters.

Instead, I'll focus this little post on the tragedy occurring in Pakistan right now.

  • 20% of the country is flooded.
  • 5-6 million are displaced.
  • 20 million affected, 6 million children.
  • 2.7 million in need of life-saving medical attention
Ways to help:
More photos:

For more cheeriness, UN Dispatch's top five most ignored humanitarian crises.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In defense of: The Jonas Brothers

I've been sitting on this post for a while (it's been sitting in my drafts for a couple weeks) and this topic has been running in my head for quite a bit longer than that. I figure since I haven't posted in a while, I figure I will just throw caution to the wind.

The first in my "In Defense Of" series, I will try to explain my undeniable love for, of all things,The Jonas Brothers and most things they touch.

I hate the term "guilty pleasure", because as the wise John Mayer once said "I don't believe in guilty pleasures, I believe in pleasure". He might be talking about prostitutes, I'm not sure. The point stands that if you like it, you shouldn't feel pressured to feel like you shouldn't. If that makes sense.

This is my relationship with the JoBros since I'm a little bit older than their normal demographic, and, I hate to use this phrase, but cool (because I don't really know what cool is - but most of my music is described as indie, another term I hate to use, but describes what I need for now). I've never seen an episode (or even a clip) of Jersey Shore, I don't have the taste for trashy reality tv. It doesn't make me feel better about myself (as my friends and reviewers have mentioned for watching such entertainment).

But I do have an affinity for saccharine sweet, hooky pop music at the right time. Summer is usually my peak of such notes, this one is no exception. Yes, they're a little bit hokey, but that's part of the fun. And I like to think they don't take themselves seriously.

This would't really be a problem if I didn't have so many opinions about these boys and their endeavors that I have no one to share with. But I think it's easier for me to deal with this group in particular (I also enjoy the occasional country-pop no-longer teen, but don't have the same fondness for her character - and constantly pick at the grammar and structure of her songs) because I feel they do all this with a little wink the to side. Sometimes I will listen to a song and burst out laughing (often...). I feel I'm laughing with them and not at them, but who knows. My delusions save my feelings of guilt from becoming too powerful. Maybe I think they're more self-aware of themselves than they are, or maybe not.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to prove with typing this out, this has just been something on my mind often. How I do have reasons for enjoying music aimed at audiences half my age; it's hooky, they write their own music, they haven't folded their personal values (as far as we know), they're hilarious, adorable and growing more and more attractive (thank goodness they have left behind the long-straighten-their-hair days), and have better style than most kids. They strike me as genuine, which is hard-to-come by in this fast-paced, self-edited world we live in.

I will probably never see them live as much as I find them to be great entertainers and would love to see it, something about the price and the thousands of screaming tweenage girls repels me, but they make me happy and I shouldn't feel guilty of that.

Reading list: July/August 2010

First. Happy Belated 49th Birthday to my President.

Second. A little relief in the overturning of proposition 8 in California for now. Longer thoughts later. (A little bit from me here.)

And third, my pile of books and other readings:
From left to right. You Shall Know Our Velocity by David Eggers. I'm almost done with this one and it's brilliant, as Eggers is to me. A fictional travel memoir about two lost boys in their twenties. Pretty great.

The Mars Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. This is not your light and fluffy read, though it is short (268 pages, big font and small pages). Series of vingettes (are they that?) during the time Earth starts expeditions to Mars. As Ray says, it's not really a sci-fi novel, it's a human novel that takes place on another planet.

Livability by Jon Raymond. Short stories about middle-class living in America to cleanse the palate.

So, I call myself a geek, but I'm not a comic book reader, as much as I've wanted to be. I'm starting now. I did read a few Scott Pilgrim graphic novels a couple summers ago, and soon I will start with Watchmen.

I don't know why this photo is vertical like this because the file certainly is not. I like fashion magazines. Pictured are Vanity Fairs and Elles and a New Yorker. I also enjoy Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Lucky, The Atlantic, etc.

Now it's bedtime because I have to wake up in eight hours to get to work. (I was able to get my work study job a few weeks early!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Thoughts: Living an external life

Let me just say first, that since using Chrome on my lovely little netbook for five months (let's call him Quintin - Quinn for short), it's been hard getting back to Firefox. I now use Chrome on my bigger laptop (Herbert, I think - Herbie for short) most of the time, and sometimes use Firefox. When I do use Firefox, I realize that I miss it, but really, Chrome is faster. Sigh. And thus ends my #firstworldproblem of the day.

I was reading an article from the New York Times ("I Tweet Therefore I Am" by Peggy Orenstein) that at first I disregarded, but have been pondering for a few days. Her take that she was so focused on writing the best tweet, or to distilling her everyday activities into concise, shareable sentences, that she was losing some part of living. Me, I try not to tweet too many "personal" notations - I try not to narrate my life on my twitter and share other things, but I'm also on many other "social networks" that I deliberately edit my interests and myself accordingly. I feel too edited now.

I saw someone mention on Tumblr that the thing they like most about John Mayer is that he's honest. And it's true. He says things you don't agree with - he seems to have the most mish-mash of interests - but he's honest about them. I have a hard time with that sometimes. I will turn off my audio scrobbler if I am listening to an artist deemed uncool for various reasons for a long amount of time. This whole judgmental atmosphere disheartens me, but I buy into it too. Vicious cycle. Being me feels harder now than a few years ago for some reason.

I should just throw caution to the wind and let the judgments fall as they will.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day life: Fun in Portland-town

I am terribly irregular when it comes to posting. This is why my life is contained in lists most of the year. I did go to Portland this weekend to visit some friends and my favorite city.

The first stop was to the Bridgeport Ale House on Hawthorne. I got the porter, yum!

We stopped to smell the roses on the way to renting some movies at...

Movie Madness! Where you can find fun movie memorabilia collected by the owner. We rented the fourth season of Doctor Who for my friend Abby and her parents' marathon of the new series, and The Brothers Bloom with Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, and Rachel Weiss. Loved the movie, disappointed in the end, sort of. I put my own theory to the ending that I love.

The next night we went to Movie in the Park and watched Pretty in Pink. Here's the pink Voodoo Donuts' truck!

Afterwards, we dropped by the Pied Cow for some warm drinks and conversation trying to do a British accent. We did manage to go through almost the entire conversation bumbling through sounding slightly-British, but would drop it when we talked to the waitress.

Two less-personalized posts to be up this week. Summer reading, and SHOES!

find what you want