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On the value of wasting time

September 13, 2008

I seem to have wasted a beautiful Saturday.  But sometimes the frittering away of moments is precisely what is needed.  Everyone I know is so busy.  It’s always one thing and then the next and the next and the next, barely without pause.  Lately I find myself wondering what life is like outside of this modern worky-social-always doing- lifestyle.  Isn’t this a form of lifestyle, a collective choice to have full agendas, to have big careers and aspirations, online calendars and plots?

I tend to like this busyness, as long as I can have days like this without feeling guilty or as though I’ve laid waste to several hours that ordinarily could have been put to better use.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

These things are on my mind, I suppose, because I sense that my life is going to become more busy and full of things in a couple weeks when I start my graduate school program at OSU.  I’m commuting a couple days a week to Corvallis while continuing to work two part time jobs in pursuit of my master’s in public health, which is a two year program.  These last few weeks, I feel, need to be used wisely.  They need to be filled with novels, lollygagging around, sleeping in, trying to make things from rarely-used cookbooks, wine, friends, and all manner of fun and wasteful moments.

Yep.

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It’s been a long time…

September 11, 2008

Since I’ve been in a mood this bad.

I seem to be a victim of identity theft and fraud.  And believe me, it sucks.  I’m dealing with it though, and working to press charges.

See ya.

I love Powell’s books.

September 10, 2008

Of course I love Powell’s.  It’s redundant for me to say so here, but I’ll say it anyway: Powell’s Books is an awesome place.  It’s part of what makes Portland the best city.

Last night I saw Slavoj Zizek speak at the downtown location.  Powell’s brought him to Portland purportedly to speak about and read from his recent book Violence, but he didn’t read from or directly address his book.  Instead, he talked for almost 2 hours about ideology.  It was fantastic.  I won’t try to describe it here, because I’m feeling lazy tonight (really).  My friend said he was lovely.  It’s true.

Powell’s is also hosting a reading from Paul Auster, another great writer, next Saturday on the 20th.  I’m reading his New York Trilogy now.

Anyway, thanks Powell’s, for making life better.

Day of the African Child – June 14

June 9, 2008

Click on the image to see the full poster for this event.

The Day of the African Child was established by the African Union to remember the thousands of school children who marched on June 16, 1976 in Soweto, South Africa to protest the inferior quality of their education and apartheid policies of the South African government. During the march, hundreds of young boys and girls were shot down. The Day of the African Child honors the memory of those killed and the courage of all the young boys and girls who marched that day. It also draws attention to the plight of African children today. Please join the Harambee Centre at the World Forestry Center to honor the Day of the African Child.

A seagoing gulag – US Navy prison ships

June 9, 2008

In the current edition (June 13, 2008, p. 5) of The Week, here’s this unsurprising yet horrifying news:

A human-rights organization this week accused the U.S. of operating a network of prison ships on which terrorism suspects are held incommunicado and abused. Reprieve, a British human-rights advocacy group, based its accusations on a report pieced together from Pentagon disclosures, testimony from released prisoners, and European governmental sources. The report alleges that as many as 17 Navy ships are being used as “floating prisons,” and that some prisoners have been handed over to Arab and African governments known to torture prisoners. “they choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of media and lawyers,” said Reprieve legal director Clive Stafford Smith. The U.S. Navy denied its ships were being used as “detention facilities,” but acknowledged that some prisoners were held on ships for “a few days” at the beginning of their confinement.

More news about this here, of course from British media; there seems to be little interest from US media outlets.

An amphibious assault vehicle leaves the USS Peleliu, which was used to detain prisoners, according to the human rights group Reprieve. Photograph: Zack Baddor/AP

A site of bliss

June 2, 2008

Blogging serves me at times to procrastinate. Got stuff to do? Deadlines to make? A paper or article to finish? Suddenly, you feel compelled to write a blog entry. It needs to be written! The other things can wait! There’s an audience out there that needs you!

Well, I know you don’t need me, but apparently I need you, Dear Reader. Not only do you give me a life in a sphere outside of myself (by this I mean your pretty little head, not the Internets), but you provide me with a legitimate means to continue to avoid finishing up my chores. Thank you so much. And for this service, I will leave you with a lovely few words from Roland Barthes, from The Pleasure of the Text:

If I read this sentence, this story, or this word with pleasure, it is because they were written with pleasure (such pleasure does not contradict the writer’s complaints). But the opposite? Does writing in pleasure guarantee–guarantee me, the writer–the reader’s pleasure? Not at all. I must seek out this reader (must “cruise” him) without knowing where he is. A site of bliss is then created. It is not the reader’s “person” that is necessary to me, it is this site: the possibility of a dialectics of desire, of an unpredictability of bliss: the bets are not placed, there can still be a game. (1975, 4)

That was good.

Now, back to my duties.

Donors Resource.org: Connecting donations with local organizations

May 28, 2008

DonorsResource.org is a local nonprofit with a virtual warehouse that connects nonprofit organizations with donations. Check out this great program:

DonorsResource.org is the brainchild of our parent organization, Sisters of the Community (SOC), a 501(c)(3) organization created to distribute goods to families in need. SOC faced the same problem as many nonprofit organizations: countless calls from generous individuals wanting to donate items but not knowing how to find the best nonprofit to receive their gifts.

After distributing over 20,000 household items to community families, SOC realized the need for an online solution that allows the end user to easily find nonprofit organizations in a variety of ways—items needed by organization, the cause supported, name, or zip code in either Oregon and SW Washington.

DonorsResource.org offers a centralized, online connection service between donors and organizations in need of items and resources. You can think of DonorsResource.org as a virtual SOC—simply a better, more effective means of fulfilling our original mission.

To enroll your organization, click here. If you have things to give, click here. DonorsResource will track your donation for you and send you a tax receipt letter at the end of the year. So easy!