Sunday, June 22, 2008

On Vacation


In two hours from now, we'll be hitting the road. The German, VanGoghGirl, YankeeGrrl (my cousin who is a couple of years older than my daughter), and I are headed to DisneyWorld for a week for our first family vacation. This will be the first time VanGoghGirl and I have gone; The German and YankeeGrrl have both been before but we've never gone together as a family.

Ten hours on the road will give us plenty of time to talk and watch movies and play Punch-Bug in the rental car. We decided to leave Mrs. Bugglesworth at home and we'll be riding in a tricked out Cadillac instead.




St Christopher's Prayer:

O Lord, we humbly ask you to give Your Almighty protection to all travelers.
Accept our fervent and sincere prayers that through Your great power and unfaltering spirit, those who travel may reach their destination safe and sound.

Grant Your divine guidance and infinite wisdom to all who operate automobiles, trains, planes and boats. Inspire them with due sense of duty and knowledge and help them guide those entrusted in their care to complete their travel safely.

We thank You, Oh Lord, for Your great mercy and unending love to all mankind and for extending Your arm of protection to all travelers.

Amen

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Viva la CyberPunk

We first met as students in the Gifted and Talented program at our middle school. Like almost all gifted kids, we were both voracious readers. He was the first person to ever turn me on to cyberpunk. It really resonated with me. The dystopic existence, the integration of technology that ultimately leaves us more isolated than ever before...all of it fit in with the era that he and I were born into.

My father was a computer programmer back when I was a small child. We had a shed attached to our house and that is where he spent many of his hours after work. I still remember the Tandy Green Screen and the Commodore 64 that he kept back there. I don't ever recall a time beyond my toddler years when my father didn't have at least two computers set up wherever he lived. We were the first people in our social circle to have a PC. I remember when people from our congregation would visit and they'd scrunch together in that tiny shed to see the games that my dad on his computer.

When I was a kid, I went to a pretty fancy schmancy elementary school where all of the children went to computer lab once a week. Every Friday we'd each sit at a desk and play the little Cookie Monster math games that my dad had created and installed on the computers.

I've basically grown up with computers. I remember the way my father was seen as anti-social and geeky. He's always been obsessed with logic. I suppose that's why computers appealed to him so much. He didn't have to be friendly to make them work. He didn't have to go through the often pointless "niceties" that most humans require in order to interact with them effectively. I think he passed that on to me, in some way.

For months now, ever since the Anonymous raid on a couple of feminist blogs, I've been thinking about why it is that I don't feel as threatened by Anonymous as some folks do. I think it's because I see them as an extension of the Cyberpunk generation that began in the 1980s. What we see today is a lot like the beginning of the dystopia that sci-fi writers wrote about back then.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama and his Bi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic Identity

My family is quite excited to have a biracial person receiving so much attention in the media because it's made people talk about multi-racial/multi-ethnic identity issues a lot more than I've ever seen before.

Perhaps, the kids in my family will be able to grow up in a world where it's a little bit easier to identify themselves as multi-racial without having their identities questioned. His life also provides an excellent example of something that I think is quite controversial in people of color communities. That is, whether families like his (where everyone but the child is white) can raise children who are people of color who are comfortable with who they are and don't exhibit any significant problems finding community within people of color communities. I can't tell you how tired I am of the tragic mulatta/mulatto stereotypes.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Leanna Elizalde, a student with cancer, isn't being allowed to walk the stage at High School Graduation

I can't write a whole lot about this right now but I HAD to say something. This is just too ridiculous. A few months ago, a high school senior named Leanna Elizalde was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma called Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath cancer. She had to interrupt her average teenaged life and suddenly deal with a series of surgeries and chemotherapy. Because of this, she fell behind in a few classes. The fact that she even decided to try and keep going even while dealing with cancer speaks volumes about how important graduating really was to her.

Despite the cancer, she managed to catch up on all of her classes except for one--an english class, which she plans on taking over the summer. Leanna and her mother Lupe asked the school board to allow her to walk the stage with her classmates. Where I live, this wouldn't have even required special permission. It's not as if allowing her to walk across the stage means the school system has to award her a real diploma. All they do at high school graduations is hand the kids a rolled up piece of blank paper; they get their real diploma later on.

Anyway, it seems that after being pressured, the cold-hearted principal has decided to allow Leanna to sit with the students but still won't allow her to walk the stage with her peers. If you have some time on your hands, feel free to give the school a call and voice your view.

Principal Evelia Genera
21 N. West Street Woodland, CA 95695

Email: Egenera@wjusd.org
Phone: (530) 662-4678 ext. 274
Fax: (530)-662-7464

Also, the school system is keeping track of all the calls it receives on this matter. You can voice your support for Leanna walking the stage by calling the central office at:

530-662-0201


White Female Clinton Supporters and People of Color

Ever since I saw the way that white female Clinton supporters behaved after the Democrat's had their Rule Committee meeting, I've been doing a lot of thinking about La Chola's comments before she closed down her old blog. I wish I had it to look at right now but I came away from it with the feeling that she'd reached the conclusion that feminism, as defined by white Western feminists, doesn't just fail to address the needs of women of color. It actually works to oppress us.

Looking at the way Clinton supporters have been bellowing about how they'll vote for McCain if Clinton isn't appointed the Democratic nominee, I just couldn't recall ever seeing anything like it before. These aren't people like me who don't believe that voting is the best way to enact radical change. These are people who support the system we have for electing representatives. It's so much hypocrisy! They supported the system when it seemed as if it would result in their candidate winning the nomination but now that it has used its rules in a way that is not to Clinton's advantage, they are crying foul.

If someone wants to vote for McCain because they think he'd make a great representative for them, then that's understandable. However, how can anyone who has spent the last year talking about how people should vote for Clinton if they care about reproductive justice, LGBT rights, female representation in government, now turn around and say they are voting for McCain? Do they really believe that McCain will represent their interests more than Obama will? Apparently so. What does that mean?

To me, it means that what they are really interested in, what's most important to them, is having someone WHITE as President. Oh sure, they'd prefer to have a white woman than to have a white man but they are completely willing to toss aside all of those issues like reproductive justice and LGBT rights if that's what they need to do to make sure that a white person is representing them.

Hey, I think it's pretty neat that the first person of color has been made the nominee of one of the two main political parties. I'm happy for those Obama supporters who have wanted this so bad. I think that it will go a long way towards teaching children of color to try and reach any goal, regardless of whether someone that looks like them has ever accomplished it before. I can say all of this despite the fact that I'm not an Obama supporter. I don't have the sort of candidate that I think would represent me and my interests but I can still acknowledge the significance of Obama's nomination. Why is it that these white female Clinton supporters can't bring themselves to recognize this momentous event and be happy for the people of color who have never had the chance to vote in the general election for someone who shares the experience of being a person of color?

These white Democrats get to vote for white folks all of the time and when they have some white candidate that they are supporting, I have yet to see even one of them suggest that it would make sense for people of color to vote for a Republican simply because the Democrat doesn't look like us. In those instances, it's all about the issues: "Vote for someone who will be more likely to help the welfare moms and the girls who need abortions! Vote for the party that believes in Affirmative Action!" You hear it over and over again--never mind the fact that these are issues that most often benefit white people and not us. I guess that's just a coincidence though, right? Well, anyway, do they ever say that we should vote for whatever black candidate that the Republican party might put out in front of us for some election? Nope!

We're supposed to think that it's all about the issues. That's the only thing that supposedly matters, but look at what happens now that the shoe is on the other foot. Who are these Clinton supporters choosing? The guy who shares that which is really most important to them--their race. Lord knows I'd like to see even one of these white Western feminist Clinton supporters explain how McCain is going to protect Roe v. Wade and LGBT rights, but it's not going to happen. They won't even try. White privilege means they don't have to explain why they'd ignore the issues and vote white instead.

It's really sad just how deep the rift between white Western feminism and people of color truly reaches.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Deep Blue Funk

A year ago, my uncle committed suicide. I've been really depressed thinking about it. Knowing that the anniversary of that date was coming really made it hard for me to resist my tendency to withdraw from the world. I don't like for people to see me when I'm depressed. I don't know. I feel like I have this obligation to be perpetually happy and, when I can't be, I feel really guilty which, you know, doesn't exactly help lift the depression at all.

Top 100 Banned Books Meme

Via Belledame22:

This is a list of the top 110 banned books. I think this would make a great reading list for VanGoghGirl.

Anyway, bold the ones you've read completely and italicize the one's you've read at least some of. It seems I have lots of classics to catch up on. Why James and the Giant Peach is on here baffles me, by the way? Well, now that I mention it, that peach did kinda look like a giant...oh never mind!

#1 The Bible
#2 Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
#3 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
#4 The Koran
#5 Arabian Nights
#6 Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
#7 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
#8 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
#9 Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
#10 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
#11 Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
#12 Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
#13 Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
#14 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
#15 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
#16 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
#17 Dracula by Bram Stoker
#18 Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
#19 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
#20 Essays by Michel de Montaigne
#21 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
#22 History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
#23 Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
#24 Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
#25 Ulysses by James Joyce
#26 Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
#27 Animal Farm by George Orwell
#28 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
#29 Candide by Voltaire
#30 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
#31 Analects by Confucius
#32 Dubliners by James Joyce
#33 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
#34 Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
#35 Red and the Black by Stendhal
#36 Capital by Karl Marx
#37 Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
#38 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
#39 Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
#40 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
#41 Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
#42 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
#43 Jungle by Upton Sinclair
#44 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
#45 Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
#46 Lord of the Flies by William Golding
#47 Diary by Samuel Pepys
#48 Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
#49 Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
#50 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
#51 Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
#52 Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
#53 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
#54 Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
#55 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
#56 Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
#57 Color Purple by Alice Walker
#58 Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
#59 Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
#60 Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison
#61 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
#62 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
#63 East of Eden by John Steinbeck
#64 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
#65 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
#66 Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#67 Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
#68 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
#69 The Talmud
#70 Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#71 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
#72 Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
#73 American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
#74 Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
#75 A Separate Peace by John Knowles
#76 Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
#77 Red Pony by John Steinbeck
#78 Popol Vuh
#79 Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
#80 Satyricon by Petronius
#81 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
#82 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
#83 Black Boy by Richard Wright
#84 Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
#85 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
#86 Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
#87 Metaphysics by Aristotle
#88 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
#89 Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
#90 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
#91 Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
#92 Sanctuary by William Faulkner
#93 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
#94 Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
#95 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
#96 Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
#97 General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
#98 Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
#99 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
#100 Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
#101 Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
#102 Émile by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#103 Nana by Émile Zola
#104 Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
#105 Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
#106 Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
#107 Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
#108 Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
#109 Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
#110 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes