20 October 2009

Where's the love?

The older I get, the more I learn, the more vivid my adolescent delusions get.
It seems backwards, doesn't it?
Yet, everything I read, everything I learn, tells me the same thing:
1) Corporations and media rule our mind! They determine how we view the world, they control how we organize what we see. We're brainwashed by society.
2) Corporations and the media are controlled by wealthy heterosexual white males. Unless we conform to their expectations, we'll be happy in the context of our world. Yet, if we conform to what their ways, not only are we selling ourselves out, but we'll still be unhappy if our ascribed characteristics don't conform (heterosexual, white, male, attractive, physically able, etc.).
3) Yet the world is changing, and we are the change! Stay positive, keep looking forward, we'll change the world.

Maybe I'm still young,
but these beliefs these delusions - show no sign of changing.

Where's the Love? by the Black Eyed Peas:

What's wrong with the world, mama
People livin' like they ain't got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that'll bring you trauma
Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin'
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and the Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all, y'all

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love (love)

Where is the love (the love)
Where is the love (the love)
Where is the love
The love, the love

It just ain't the same, always unchanged
New days are strange, is the world insane
If love and peace is so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don't belong
Nations droppin' bombs
Chemical gasses fillin' lungs of little ones
With ongoin' sufferin' as the youth die young
So ask yourself is the lovin' really gone
So I could ask myself really what is goin' wrong
In this world that we livin' in people keep on givin'
Makin' wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin' each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin' on but the reason's undercover
The truth is kept secret (shh, shh), it's swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love
Where's the love, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the truth, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the love, y'all

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek


I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I'm gettin' older, y'all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin'
Selfishness got us followin' the wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema

Yo', whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
Instead in spreading love, we spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' under
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' down
There's no wonder why sometimes I'm feelin' under
Gotta keep my faith alive 'til love is found


Send "Where Is The Love? (Feat. Justin Timberlake)" Ringtone to your Cell

19 October 2009

Within our lifetime, and sooner than you could ever imagine...

Is it possible that we're on a brink of such a major change? That, within our lifetime, and sooner than you could ever imagine, cigarettes will be made illegal, and marijuana will be legalized?

Tobacco is the deadliest drug out there: "more than 400,000 Americans now die of tobacco-related illness per year, making it the leading cause of preventeable death in the US. More than 8 million Americans suffer from at least one serious illeness caused by smoking" (1).
However, unlike many much less deadly drugs, this one is legal!
Just this last month, FDA has received authority over tobacco, a huge change in tobacco regulation.
The first thing the FDA did was ban flavored cigarettes from the market (2).
Now that the FDA has control over such a deadly substance, will they dare keep it on the market for much longer?

Cities and states have begun legalizing medical and recreational marijuana.
Thirteen states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) have legalized medial marijuana (3).
Cities, such as Denver, have legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana (4)
In 2003, Seattle pioneered a "lowest priority" initiative, which makes possession of small amounts of marijuana the lowest priority of the police. Today, similar initiatives are found in Oakland, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica, California; as well as Columbia, Missouri; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; ...Missoula, Montana"; Hailey, Idaho; as well as my personal favorites, Boulder and Denver, Colorado ( 5, 6, 7).
Tobacco companies have caught on to the trend and have designated land, time, money, and have even created brand names and marketing campaigns for marijuana products (8).

Without a backup plan, making cigarettes illegal would create a huge dent in the economy. Powerful, wealthy corporations would instantly collapse. The FDA would never dare do that.
However, marijuana could be that backup plan. Tobacco companies would remain strong if marijuana was made legal. They'd be the first ones on the scene, and they are ready to take advantage of marijuana's inevitable legalization.

But what would that change entail?
Which would happen first, would tobacco be made illegal or would marijuana be legalized, or would that happen instantaneously?

Would marijuana sales be enough to keep tobacco companies on top? While the legalization of marijuana would eventually mean a collapse of smaller drug dealers, initially, those drug dealers might actually thrive, especially those that get their pot from sources within the country instead of smuggling them internationally. Pot smokers who never grew before might give it a try. Unlike tobacco, marijuana can be grown in someone's home or in someone's backyard. Additionally, marijuana would become big in the food industry, and perhaps even more popular in that form than as a smoked substance. Though the current structure of marijuana sales will definitely change, would it ever be handed over entirely to large corporations?

Is society ready for such a change? Anti-drug crusaders remain strong, and, despite the popularity of marijuana reform, many Americans remain opposed to its legalization and use, especially for recreational purposes.

Additionally, marijuana is a much different drug from tobacco. Even though cigarette use has recently dropped significantly, it still remains a big part of some aspects of American culture. What will happen to groups of co-workers from all walks of life smoking outside their place of work? How about other types of tobacco use, such as cigars and cigar bars and sheesha and hookah bars? It would be used at different times, in different places, by different people. It will be used more like alcohol than like tobacco, though not exactly like either.

What would the legal age for marijuana consumption, possession, and purchase be? Most places that've legalized marijuana or with lowest priority laws define adult consumption as 21, and that's likely to be the minimum age if marijuana is legalized. Tobacco is the drug that become legal when you turn 18, so, if tobacco is made illegal, no new substance will be permitted until you turn 21. If marijuana is legalized, it's likely to be less available to underage users, similar to how alcohol is difficult to come by in highschool. However, unlike alcohol, marijuana can be grown at home, and can even spread like a weed, so it would probably be more available underage than alcohol is now. How would teenagers react to such a change? Would consumption of more dangerous, illegal drugs go up because those drugs will be easier to find?

Where would we be allowed to smoke pot? Would there be designated pot smoking areas? How about the laws that now concern cigarette smoking in public places? Would pot bars open up, and what would it's culture be like?

Would legalizing marijuana open up the way for legalizing other drugs?

We just might find out within our lifetime, and sooner than we could ever imagine.

(1) FDA authority over tobacco: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/fda/
(2) Ban on flavored cigarettes: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/health/policy/23fda.html
(3) States that legalized medical marijuana: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3391
(4) Denver legalized marijuana: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-11-03-pot_x.htm
Lowest priority laws (5) in Maine with a list of cities where it's in effect: http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/463/maine_marijuana_lowest_law_enforcement_priority_initiatives (6) in Denver with more cities listed: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/07/denver-voters-set-lowest-priority-for-cops-pot/?scp=1-b&sq=denver+and+marijuana&st=nyt (7) in Boulder: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_13450163
(8) Tobacco companies and marijuana: http://www.drugwatch.org/Tobacco_Marijuana_Media.htm (scroll down to "The Tobacco-Marijuana Link")

18 October 2009


Music can capture our hearts in a way nothing else can. Somewhere out there in the world, there's a perfect song for every mood, a perfect tune for any thought, a perfect melody for every tear and smile. Mixtapes capture those perfect songs and put them together. They capture the vast spectrum of emotion that we feel in any given situation; they collect moments and memories; they gather bits and pieces of a single powerful feeling. They're always there for you, there for when you need it.

Someday, one of these playlists will turn into a mixtape
for someone I love.

17 October 2009

San Francisco

I miss the San Francisco shoreline. I miss the waters crashing against the rocks, the heavy smell of ocean air, the cold breezes chilling me to the bones. I miss standing by the shore, listening to the soothing sound, feeling safe and free. I miss the love that's always in the air. I miss the dreams that live among the hills, dreams of the past and the future, dreams that are coming true now in the greatest city of them all. I miss Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, and Golden Gate Park. I miss the city that touched me once, the sea that leaned close and whispered sweetly in my ear. "You don't know me well," it said, "but you're welcome back anytime. I haven't known you long," it added, "but you'll always be mine."

Someday, I will return to the bay.

National Equality March

Last weekend, I went to Washington DC to participate in the National Equality March (Evidence Pic). It was such an amazing trip and a great opportunity.

Going to DC over the weekend wasn't easy. The trip was 30 hours one way. We left Friday afternoon after we decorated our vans. On Sunday at about 2AM we arrived at our hotel. We woke up early Sunday morning, ate breakfast, took the metro to DC, and marched. That afternoon, we left for Colorado. At about 2AM Tuesday morning, we finally arrived. It was a long and tiring trip, but it was definitely worth it.

The march itself was so amazing! It felt so good to be in such an amazing place surrounded by so many amazing people fighting for something that's so important! The official count was 200,000 to 250,000, though the media keeps saying "tens of thousands". The signs, chants, and people impressed me and blew my mind. The speakers were beautiful and touching. Just being in the amazing city of Washington DC was a great experience. I have so much hope for this country. Soon, it will be our chance to shine. The rights we deserve will be ours. There is hope.

08 October 2009

You're gay ...

Some girls in my hall wrote "You're gay if you don't listen to Coldplay" on their door. Naturally, this pissed me off, and I intended to erase just the word "gay" whenever I had the chance. It's the next day, and someone already did just that. It's nice to know that people care :)

06 October 2009


I've been thinking about her a lot lately. In between breaths she'll suddenly surprise me, I'll hear her sweet, sweet voice deep inside my mind and I'll tear up a little. I miss her. It's been too long, and it will be longer still. I wonder what life would be like if I had never met her. I can't imagine it being much different than it is now, only that my heart would be hung up on a different kind of loneliness, the kind of loneliness that happens when all desire has faded away and there's no one to dream of. I'm waiting for a kind distraction, but that could take months. It could be years before I kiss someone I like. I'm in no hurry. Until then, she is first on my mind. Until then, I love her. I will always miss her.

AIDS Quilt.

Today was an amazing day. I spent most of the day outside, handing out condoms and lube by the AIDS Quilt display in Norlin Quad. The Quilt is so touching! We have 25 12x12 blocks on campus this week. Each block contains 8 6x3 panels representing an AIDS victim. That's the size of a typical grave. Friends and family of AIDS victims make these beautiful panels to represent the lives of their loved ones. It's very touching and beautiful. Check out their website to find out more. Just Google AIDS Quilt.

05 October 2009

Oh, life.

I'm on top of the world right now, but coming down fast. The free fall: that's the best part. But, you know, until you reach the bottom, you never know if it was worth it. I do believe, in fact, that this ride is much like those free-fall water slides. I've been on many, and my favorite, by far, is the one in Blizzard Beach, Disney World, Florida (right). I was there seventh or eighth grade, I believe. You get on that slide, and when you look down it's terrifying, and you think you'll never be able to do it, your instinct tells you "don't do it, you will die". But you go for it anyways. Hedonistic Calculus. It's worth it. It'll be fun. And there you go, zipping down, your breathing stops, adrenaline rushes through your blood. And, at the bottom, you somehow smoothly slow down, and you're glad you did it.

Good things that happened today:
- There's a speaker in my sociology class on Wednesday. Why is that good news? Well, that means our test is delayed one day. It'll be on Wednesday. You know what that means? I'm ditching school on Monday. I am going to the National Equality March in Washington DC this weekend. WOW!
- Linguistics was canceled. Only I didn't know. I went anyways, and it turned out my teacher decided to do optional office hours instead. We have to talk to him about our term paper before midterms, so the fact that I was already there prompted me to stay and to do it. Well, I sat around for an hour, never getting to my turn, but I finished reading Slaughterhouse Five and thought about my paper. Lucky for me, he had office hours for an hour after that, too, so I talked to him then. I'm doing my paper on politically correct speech and euphemisms in the news media. I will focus on the terms "African American" vs the term "black" and the words describing intersex individuals and disorders throughout the years. My midterm is on Wednesday.
- Last week I turned in my first college paper. It was for philosophy and about the genetic fallacy. I wrote it all the day before. Outlined it in the morning, wrote it up before bed. Four pages double spaced doesn't even count as a paper. Well, my TA e-mailed me, asking me if she can show my paper in class because it's the best she graded yet. I aced my first college paper! My midterm for that class is Tuesday.
- I studied a lot today. Studying can actually be kind of fun. I have a lot coming up, but I think I can handle it.

Meeting with my adviser tomorrow.
AIDS Quilt tomorrow.
Gender midterm Friday.
National Equality March Friday through Monday.
Philosophy midterm Tuesday.
Sociology test Wednesday.
Linguistics midterm Wednesday.