Tuesday, August 24

A Shout out to the Locals

As I sit here alone on the eve of the upcoming school year, I am trying to mentally prepare myself for what lies ahead of me. Term papers, tons of reading (in one class I have 10 required books plus 7 recommended readings, yikes!!!), not to mention seeing clients, research projects, and lots of grading are all in my very near future. Just thinking about it all makes me anxious. I also realized that I didn't accomplish my academic goals for the summer. I didn't read enough, write at all, and I still have no master's thesis topic. However, I don't feel that this summer was an entire waste.

This summer I worked as a telemarketer and it really was an eye opening experience. Although this was not my first experience as a telemarketer, it was the first time I really paid attention to what was going on around me. I met a lot of wonderful people and I just wanted to give a shout out to my coworkers. As a grad student, I really did not have much interaction with the "locals" in my new community. Though rarely discussed, there is a major disconnect between the University and the community at large. We do our community service projects and conduct our research, which is supposed to benefit our people, however more times than not we play right into the seperatist bullshit that we so passionately fight against. However, as I worked alongside those in the community, I was reminded of their humanity. Those who we consider "the locals" are our the mothers, fathers, grandmas, granpas, brothers, and sisters back home. Many of women that I met at my job remind me of my girlfriends back home. They have goals, hopes, and dreams just like we do. They work hard and get paid little and many times are treated less than humanely. And now I feel personally offended when I hear one of my colleagues criticize the people in this community because they could just as easily be criticizing my family and those in my own community.

The experience this summer has put me in my place. It reminded me that I not only am part of my community back home but I am also a part of the community here. We have a responsibility to treat the people that we encounter here with dignity and to give them the respect that they deserve.

Friday, August 20

a return is imminent

now that the summer is closing, i can return my attention to this space. funny how summer is the most hectic time for grad students, what with trying to make sure the rent is paid while your fellowship is on hiatus.

in any case, thanks to ian over at Different Kitchen for the shout - i always enjoy reading your stuff, man.

i'll close with just a couple of things that have been on my mind recently:

Black Student gets stomped out by White football players This story's a little old, but better late than never, seeing how little press it got on campus here. The funny thing is that they don't mention how badly the young brother got hurt - he got a couple of ribs cracked, lost a tooth, etc.

i'm catching up on my movies from the last twelve months - thanks, Family Video. Saw The Return of the King last night and could not disengage my critical faculties. Is this one of the greatest paeans to homoerotic male relationships in recent memory or what? i mean, i thought Sam was going to *expletive deleted* Frodo in a couple of scenes. This movie was SO focused on the covert love relationships between the men that it even reduced the women to non-entities. Arwen (Liv Tyler) had to give up her immortality to be with the man she loves? what kind of BS is that?

Apple has diluted my enthusiasm this summer. i've had to send my iBook in TWICE to replace the logic board (numbers 2 and 3 for those at home) and now it's acting up again. Customer Relations has promised me that if it dies again, i get a new iBook - but the catch is that it has to die first. So the fact that it's acting out doesn't count...pray for failure, y'all *laughing*

last - i'd like to put into print how much i love my firstborn child. Ryan has really been patient with his father as we negotiate his time with me. He sits up in the coffee shop with me as i return emails and write documentation, playing his GBA SP or reading books from the used bookstore down the street. he is such a great child - doesn't act out and is often funny and insightful. love you, baby boy!