Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Elizabeth Warren and a renewed faith in the idea of government

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Elizabeth Warren Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Elizabeth Warren is amazing. She is the only person who could steer me away from Ron Paul at the moment. Ron Paul represents, for me, a nhilistic view of this country. I want it to fail, but while it fails I don't want the rich to all go out with golden parachutes. That's why I like Ron Paul -- he will continue this country on the path of destruction (along with every other candidate of a major party) while keeping the rich from getting the increasingly sparse amounts of wealth there is left to confiscate from the poor.

Then here comes Elizabeth Warren. She has renewed in me the idea of what the government is here for: it is all of us coming together to form a pact to take care of one another for all of our mutual benefit and the benefit of our children. Although I hold no hope for this vision she has presented above in America -- I hope to recreate what she has promoted here in the local government in whichever country I eventually settle. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Getting Out of America

ordered this book the other day:
ever since getting married I am starting to look more seriously into what I want out of this stage of my life. I think a life outside of America is quite high on my list. this books claims that 300,000 people per year are emigrating out of the US. We better get on it before the borders of desirable countries start to tighten up.

the solution of self-sufficiency

I came across this article today:

by my favorite feminist/self-sufficient/mother/farmer/blogger Sharon Astyk. She makes the argument here about all the ways individuals and even states and nations who are poor actually have a life that is more expensive. I just became aware of this fact when TAing for my SOC 101 class here as WSU I came across a statistic about the average cost of food in an inner city grocery store versus in a suburban Walmart -- food is consistently cheaper in the latter. This is among many ways in which it is much more expensive to be poor in this increasingly stratified world.

I like especially that she doesn't leave it at that. Yes, we're poor and the deck is stacked against us. She offers a working solution to this problem: self-sufficiency. Infrastructure and supermarket prices and job availability become a lot less impactful when we have some measure of self-sufficiency, or providing ourselves with our own material needs through practices such as farming or hunting, gathering, canning, sewing, etc.

On a related note, I spent a good deal of the morning reading through and looking into the best and least time-intensive ways to keep chickens, how to build a rocket stove, and how to reduce energy consumption for personal heating in the winter.

It all started when I saw this video -- heating an outdoor shower with the heat of a compost pile. Who needs to worry about electricity bills when we've got decaying compost that heats up to 160 degrees?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a new direction

I don't know why I ever started to write this blog. It is probably because I wanted a record of my travels -- where I went, for how long, what I thought about it. Yet, now my life is a lot more amorphous and part of what is keeping me from writing is that fact that I have so much to say, so many observations and thoughts and I don't know how to catch this journal up in a way that fits into neat little categories.

So, to overcome this block, I am going to list all of the things I wish I had written about and then move on from them. After that, this blog will take a new direction.

Fall 2010:
pumpkins, bike rides, halloween, uchicago

Winter 2010:
first eating contest, backyard fire, cooking, christmas, babysitting, snow month, art, gardening class at chicago botanic garden

winter 2010: organic farming in Wisconsin, chopping wood, killing/dressing/eating rabbit, hockey on a frozen lake

Spring 2011: Costa Rica, engagement, cloud forest, tropical paradise, monkeys, sloths, wildlife, volcanoes, soccer with children, new friends

Spring 2011: new growth, new garden

early summer 2011: New York, killing the "bu," Ithaca organic gardens/homes

summer 2011: gardening, wedding showers, bachelor(ette) parties, moving, saying goodbye

late summer 2011: driving across the country, badlands, idaho, washington, starting graduate school

Fall 2011: brett's wedding in boulder, pat's trip to yellowstone, washington apple picking, olympic, seattle, morris berman, thanksgiving in california, colin's music, new friends, old friends, the future

Winter 2011: our wedding, chicago, friends, family, love

along with all the usual themes: peak oil, climate change, environmental degradation, baby boomers, the suburbs, the industrial revolution, hunter gatherers, farming, philosophy.

So, since the nomadic period of my life that revolves around exploration has ended and the period of planning and settling has begun, this blog will now focus on materials which I am consuming daily that inform my choices of how/where/with whom to live my life. Before, the places I went informed and educated me. Now, it will be sources of information that are less experiential and more text-based that teach me, and this blog will be a place where I can keep a record of what I think of what I'm seeing in the world.

I think it's important to state here that I am still unsure of where I stand on the format of a blog anyway. Isn't it just the mouthpiece for a generation of narcissists? Isn't it a place where we see our own reflection and somehow that makes us feel we exist? I think it can be, in some cases.

Yet, I do think there are two reasons for blogs that are not (as) narcissistic. The first is for a personal journal, which would be private. It is just an electronic diary that is kept for your own purposes in which you can write any stupid shit you desire because your only audience is you.

The second is to write a blog that is somewhere between opinion and journalism. This can be public or private, but the main purpose is to display the world (or aspects of the world such as art or literature or news) through the lens of this particular writer. We all know that writing is good not just because of style, but because of content. We also all know that writers have biases. The purpose of this second non-narcissistic blog is to both keep track of one's own viewpoints on things that matter and to maybe inform a readership of certain aspects of reality through the eyes of the writer.

I hope to make this blog less and less personal and more the second kind of blog -- bearing in mind of course that the personal influences the public. It is hard to see the fine line drawn between these kinds of blogs and the sloppy, selfish trash that is put out by most people. I hope to keep conscious of this distinction and to try not to veer too far into the abyss of mirrors and self-indulgence. Here we go again.