About Me

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Grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland. My time now is mostly spent getting better at being a person, refining my time management skills, trying to read normal people books and articles, and learning how to be a force for good.

T1D Life in full effect. 

I will never stop learning, nor will I stop working to make a difference for someone.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How is it that we know relationships are worth our time? Is it that we make a singular commitment, or is it that we make a collective agreement? When do we decide, in terms of what we will promise someone, that we are willing to commit more than just passing interest?

I think this comes back to the question of, "who am I?" The reason I say this, is that anytime I have ever wanted to know the answer to a similar question, I have only had to ask myself: what will I contribute to this situation? Who am I, and who do I want to be given my current choices? Seems simple, yeah? Maybe not as simple as we might have thought...

My guess is no one actually plans on having to define themselves. We expect a self-definition from everyone else, but when asked who we are: "I am who you see!" I believe that in order to thrive in a social environment, we must admit that we are all products of our cultural training, societal conditioning, and the experiences we have over the courses of our lives.

The only thing we have to count on, really, is that we know where we, as individual human beings, stand. There is no guarantee that anything anyone tells us is actually going to matter. And this is not a negative thing; I would argue, that knowing we cannot necessarily count on everyone is a truly clear and present reality that allows us to make our own decisions, and account for ourselves. Other than that, we need not be concerned with anything else. This may seem pessimistic, but it seems to me that if we want to depend on others, we only need to depend on their records. Records give us dependable statistics, and histories with which to compare present experiences. Records and histories do, in short, tell us what we might expect.

This is not to say that we cannot choose to take people at their word. Building trust requires a bit of faith, which is the most important chance we can take. As my closest friends and I have built our relationships, we have taken risks so that we have been able to depend on each other over time. This, I believe, is the key to sustaining valuable connections with people. It is the risks we take, and the dependability we find in each other, that makes all the difference in the world.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

From: http://unwinona.tumblr.com/post/30861660109/i-debated-whether-or-not-to-share-this-story

I debated whether or not to share this story.

And then I debated whether or not to put it on Tumblr…but I decided it was important.  Because in my own way, I can (unfortunately) point out exactly what is wrong with men when they don’t realize how hard it is to be a woman.  How we do not have equal opportunities and freedoms in everyday life.  How most men, even good caring men, have no clue what we go through on a daily basis just trying to live our lives.
So here goes.
I often ride the Metro when I commute from North Hollywood to Long Beach in order to save money.  I bring a book, pointedly wear a ring on my ring finger to imply I’m married (I’m not) and keep to myself.
Without fail, I am aggressively approached by men on at least half of these commutes.  The most common approach is to walk up to where I am sitting with body language that practically screams LEAVE ME ALONE and sit down next to me or as close to me as possible, when the train is not crowded and there are many empty rows.  Sometimes an overly friendly arm is draped over the railing behind me, or they attempt to lean in close to talk to me as if we are old friends.  Without fail, the man or boy in question will lean to close and ask me
What are you reading?
Is that a good book?
What’s that book about?

This serves the double purpose of getting my attention and trapping me in a conversation.  If I stop reading the book I enjoy to talk to you, random stranger, you hit on me or just stay way too close to me.  If I tell you to leave me alone, you get mad at me.  Because I somehow, as a woman, owe you conversation.
Tonight when I boarded the train in Long Beach at 10:30pm, it started up right away.  I was not on the train more than three minutes before three boys who looked eighteen sat in the row behind me and leaned over the seats into my personal space, close enough to breathe on me.  The one with his arm draped over onto the back of my seat asked me—surprise— “what are you reading?”  I went through my usual routine.  I told them loudly and firmly that I wanted to be left alone to read my book.  They got angry.  I was told “Why are you going to be like that?  I just wanted to talk!”  His friends start laughing at me and they don’t move, telling me come on! and why are you gonna be like that? until I tell them to leave me the fuck alone, stand up, and move to the front of the car near the three other people on the train, a couple and a business man in a suit.  They spend the next two stops shouting at me from the back of the car, alternating between trying to sound flirtatious and making fun of me, shouting “I bet she’s reading Stephanie Meyer!  I bet she’s reading Twilight or some shit!  You reading Twilight or some shit?”
They exit the train at the next stop, and I’m relieved.  The train is going out of service at the next station, so we all exit to board a new train to Los Angeles.  As we board, the business man steps aside to let me go through the door first and asks me if those guys were bothering me.  I say yes, that it happens all the time, and he tells he’ll beat them up for me if they come back.  He is a nice person who talks to me like I’m a human being instead of a walking pair of tits, and I make a mental note:  This is how a real man talks to a woman on a train.
The business man and the couple exit our new Blue Line train an exit or so later, and I think my night is ending on a good note.  A seemingly normal man enters the train with his bicycle.  At this point I am three rows from the front of the car, another man was sitting near the back of the car, and the rest of the car is empty.  Bicycle Man walks halfway down the row, and settles into the seat directly opposite me.  Perfect, I think.  Twice in one night.
It’s not the first time I’ve been bothered multiple times.  As such, I’m still amped from the teenagers on the first train.  So when this man leans across the aisle into my personal space and asks me, yes, what are you reading, I assertively but calmly tell him to please leave me alone, I am reading.  The man stands up, moving to the front and muttering angrily over his shoulder that it isn’t his fault I’m pretty.
Yes.  Exactly that.  I am the bad person in this situation because somehow this is all my fault.  I started this by being attractive.  I am making a mental note to bitch about this to my friends later.  I go so far as to write it down so I know I’m remembering it properly.
It is at this exact moment I realize Bicycle Man is not taking it well.  The seemingly annoying but normal man a moment before is now talking to himself, becoming agitated.  In my years of being bothered by total strangers, I have learned how to hold a book and seem to be reading while taking in everything around me.  He is glaring at me, and says out loud in an angry baby talk voice “PLEASELEAVEMEALONEI’MREADING.  PLEASE LEAVE ME ALOOOONE.”
Then he’s up out of his seat and things go from bad to worse.  He begins pacing back and forth in front of his bike, alternating between screaming something about his mother being dead and calling me a slut, a hoe, a bitch.  I am frozen in place.  There is one other person in the car, and I’m not sure if trying to change seats will draw more attention to me or less. I trust my instincts and show no fear, doing my best to appear to be calmly reading my book, never once looking up to acknowledge the abuse he’s hurling at me.  There are four stops left until we reach the main downtown station where there are lights and security officers.  Those four stops are virtually abandoned, and I have no guarantee that leaving to wait for another train won’t motivate him to leave the train as well, leaving us potentially alone at a metro station platform just outside of Compton.  I’m frozen in place, trying to plan what I’m going to do if he decides to take all this rage directly to me.  I’m ready to kick him, scream, make enough noise that he panics and flees.
At this point he’s punching the walls and doors of the train, screaming at me.  He stares me full in the face and screams
This went on for two stops.  No one came to see what was happening.  The man in the last row was as frozen as I was.  I’m not angry he didn’t come to my defense.  He was smaller, older, and frailer-looking than I was.  Again, I was worried if I got up, I would be turning my back on him to walk down the aisle.  In the state he was in, I had no guarantee it wouldn’t get physical, and I had more physical strength with my back to the window and feet in kicking position where I was.  If he had chosen to assault me, I would only be making it easier for him by standing up and putting myself directly in his path.  On and on, over and over, he screamed at me, screamed at his dead mother, screamed at me again.
The moment we reached the downtown station, I was out the door and down the stairs.  I still had to catch a connecting train to North Hollywood, and made sure there was no sign of Bicycle Man before I entered the car.  That’s when I finally starting shaking, and almost threw up.  By the time I exited the Red Line and reached my car I could barely breathe and my heart was pounding out of my chest.  Even now, in my own home, my hands are still shaking and for some reason the stress has made my back muscles feel cold and numb.  From all the tension, I can only assume.  I can’t eat anything, I still feel like I’m going to vomit, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t cried so much, so hard I still have the headache.
So when people (men) want to talk about “legitimate” forms of assault, tell girls they should be nice to strangers and give men the benefit of a doubt, tell them to consider it a compliment, tell them to ignore the bad behavior of men, I want them to be forced to feel, for even one minute, what it feels like to have so much verbal hatred and physical intimidation thrown at them for nothing more than being female and not wanting to share.
I just wanted to read my book.
It’s not my fault I’m pretty.

This is me again, y'all. I think it's safe to say that everything we say, think, and maintain as 'normal' matters. To everyone, not just someone. The more we (people who both identify and are identified as male) allow for our gender to be categorized as consistently aggressive out of 'necessity', the more we lose out on the opportunities to be good allies. F**k yeah.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Where the GOP is going wrong

I have an idea that I think might give the Republicans some traction this election year.

Since the going assumption is that taxes are evil, and we all know that the IRS collects taxes, it is therefore the logical next step that GOP leaders should plan to disband the IRS. "This seems crazy Nick," you might say. But wait, there's more.

After disbanding the IRS, we could transition some of the former IRS agents into the FBI. Since we won't need as many of them, we could lay off most of them, and reinvigorate the job market with a lot of former and well-qualified IRS staff. Then, we could move the day-to-day operations of the IRS to an offshore site, in a country that wouldn't require us to pay IRS workers living wages or fair benefit packages.

As we redesign the tax code, we could implement the strategy of making tax payments rely on the honor system, since we know wealthy people always pay their fair share, and low and middle-income earners are always trying to screw the rich out of their hard-earned wealth. The new workers just joining the FBI could focus on tracing the millions of low and middle-income individuals and families who 'should' be paying taxes, and let the wealthy keep their hard-earned dollars, while reinstating debtor's prison. This would allow for the GOP to advocate the jailing of poor people, and the freedom of wealthy people.

I think this should give the GOP a leg up in a political race that has seen fit to demonize the GOP's insistence that the wealthy need more freedom, and still allow for the GOP to lead the charge against the selfish masses. Without the constraints of so much federal money going towards a uniquely un-American federal office, think of all the things that money could buy: new yachts for wealthy political donors, fancy dinners for political donors, high-end chastity belts for prominent and important pro-life legislators; this could go on, but I'm sure you agree that the possibilities are endless.

In this time of economic despair, it is very important for our GOP to appear resolute. We must give hope back to the people of this country, and this means displaying the wealth we have at our fingertips so that the people have something to shoot for. A shiny, beautiful example of what freedom can buy. And freedom from the IRS is something I think any good GOP supporter should demand. We must take our country back.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sexuality Education

In a post on Alternet, the methodologies of human sexuality educators is explored. I tend to agree with the author, in that demanding reflexivity is useful and most often beneficial, but demanding full disclosure is not so much. You can read the article here and I'd love to see what my readers (if there are very many) have to say.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Marijuana, the Law, and Reality

Been throwing around some ideas recently, but here's one I think may resonate with some folks. The continual movement to support the legalization of marijuana has been modestly successful in some places within the US, but not at the level of really being significantly meaningful. Here's some info in case you have a conversation with anyone about it:

The National Institutes of Health (http://www.nida.nih.gov/
infofacts/marijuana.html) which is the federal government's public health organizations, have concluded that as of today, we know that the carcinogens in most readily available marijuana are quite harmful to developing brains and bodies, yet do not have the same detrimental effects in adults when not used habitually. Further, the addictive properties have been found to be fundamentally behavioral in nature. In adult users of marijuana, about 9% become addicted. All the interventions available are behavioral in nature, and enjoy a very high success rate of curing those addicted.

A number of studies conducted by the NIH, funded/published by Addiction (a medical/social science journal), the National Academy Press, the American Journal of Public Health, and Aids Treatment News have all provided scientific evidence supporting legalization, at least in medicine. The evidence strongly suggests that tobacco, or alcohol, pose far more serious physical health risks than marijuana, especially given the direct links to cancer and death that marijuana specifically prevents.

Take it to the streets: if Marijuana were completely legal especially at the federal level, with age restrictions similar to alcohol and tobacco use, street-level dealers would immediately become recognized businesspeople. The dangers associated with marijuana dealing as a deviant form of employment would practically disappear.

So there's some stuff and junk for you. Enjoy your life, and if you smoke...I ain't trippin.