Category Archives: general

new hobby

metal lamp

some of my readers are aware that i’ve taken up a new hobby recently (over the last year or so).  for those you of not aware, check out my flickr account to see attempts at photography.  i initially signed up for flickr simply to share photos from a trip to vegas, but i soon found that flickr would act as a gateway to my new favorite creative outlet.

i’ve always enjoyed taking pictures.  i got my first camera in middle school and always had it with me.  i documented the bulk of my middle school career, and much of high school (primarily church activities, concerts, etc. at that point).  in other words, taking pictures is not a new thing for me.

what is new is the photography part.  i’ve always wanted to be creative with my pictures, but have not really put much effort into always finding a good shot or even investing in quality equipment.  with the advent of digital photography, i’ve found a way to put more effort into it while doing something i love — playing on the ‘puter of course! 

after getting a photo published in a german cosmetics calendar, the most awesome man in my life bought me a new digital SLR for my birthday.  wow!  now i need to figure out how to use it.  so i signed up for a photography class!  w00t!  now i’m on my way.  in addition to the photography class, i’ve built a light box for taking photos of a variety of things and invested in a (el-cheapo) tripod.

can’t fight fire with fire.

i know it’s been several weeks since Iranian President Ahmadinejad visited Columbia University, but i have been too busy to fully write this post.  now i have a moment, and would like to share my thoughts on his visit and some things i’ve read “recently” (recently = a couple of weeks ago).

while i have mixed feelings about Ahmadinejad speaking at columbia, i don’t think that’s worth talking about. what is worth talking about is the result of him speaking at columbia.  everyone knew that he would push his religious agenda (like most religious-minded political leaders), but to introduce him as crudely as columbia’s president, lee bollinger, did was uncalled for.  i think Bollinger’s remarks, while true, were unnecessarily blunt.  tact is extremely important when dealing with the leader like Ahmadinejad (remember: strained relationship!). 

i agree with this article in the LA Times that concludes that Ahmadinejad got the points for showing up and taking a beating in a public forum.  i think we need to be careful about being so “in your face” about our stances, and learn that you can’t fight extremists with extremism.  it’s the same in kung fu.  you cannot fight a strong opponent with strength–whomever is bigger will win (whether right or wrong).  you must fight him by not being there when he strikes and using his strength against him.  sometimes, you have to do the opposite of what you’ve been socially trained to do.

something else the article points out is that this isn’t the first time columbia has had a controversial visitor at the college to speak.  nicholas butler, president of Columbia 1902-1944, invited hans luther, hitler’s ambassador to give a lecture.  that tidbit is fairly interesting piece of history.  i don’t think one can say that it’s right or wrong to invite a controversial leader to a college.  isn’t that part ofcollege?  presenting a variety of ideas and then discussing and evolving based on the results?

perhaps, but i think people lose site of that because they feel threatened.  if we were more confident in being open-minded about such visits, perhaps we could turn the results around as Ahmadinejad did.

dun pity me

randy pausch, a Carnegie Mellon professor, gives his last lesson on life.  his story is amazing and encouraging.  my favorite part of the article:

“What we’re not going to talk about today,” he continued, “is cancer, because I’ve spent a lot of time talking about that … and we’re not going to talk about things that are even more important, like my wife and [three preschool] kids, because I’m good, but I’m not good enough to talk about that without tearing up.”

What he was there to discuss was how to fulfill your childhood dreams, and the lessons he had learned on his life’s journey.

all the reasons to discriminate against me

i’m tall.
i’m a brunette.
i’m white.
i’m an american.
i have freckles.
i have blue eyes.
i’m pale.
i have short hair.
i have long hair.
i’m thin.
i’m a woman.
i’m young.
i’m old.
i’m a southerner.
i’m a westerner.
i’m a christian.
i’m a buddhist.
i’m agnostic.
i’m a moderate.
i’m a conservative.
i’m a liberal.
i’m single.
i’m taken.
i live with 2 men.
i drink.
i don’t smoke.
i’m straight.
i live in the ‘burbs.
i live in the city.
i live in the country.
i own a car.
i own a house.
i own land.
i don’t have a favorite color.
i have a college degree.
i don’t have a masters or phd.
i went to a private school.
i went to a public school.
i’m a programmer.
i’m smart.
i’m dumb.
i don’t wear makeup.
i dye my hair.
i go to bars.
i don’t go to church.
i meditate.
i practice yoga.
i practice kung fu.
i have a green thumb.
i’m not married but i live with my boyfriend.

this list was developed in my head on my commute home last night.  i was thinking about racism, and wondering if our society will ever be rid of it.  as my thoughts developed, i considered that even if we didn’t have race, there are many more things that people will hold against one another or even hate each other for.  so i started compiling a list of things that people have ever judged me for or discriminated against me because of them.  in no way is it comprehensive.  additionally, the opposite of many of those things could be the case because a lot of stuff is relative (old v. young, tall v. short, thin v. fat, etc.).  additionally, i use the word “discriminate” somewhat loosely.  here’s the merriam webster definition.

1 a: to mark or perceive the distinguishing or peculiar features of b: distinguish, differentiate

2: to distinguish by discerning or exposing differences; especially : to distinguish from another like objectintransitive verb

1 a: to make a distinction b: to use good judgment

2: to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit

people will always find things to discriminate against.  whether it’s your cultural background, where you were born, how you were raised, what your sexual orientation is, etc. most people are in an unspoken power struggle, and part of that (IMO) includes discriminating against people who don’t share the same beliefs or have the same attributes (even though we’re all unique people based on the variety of combinations of beliefs and attributes lol).  i think it’s possible to have a society without discrimination, but i think it’s highly unlikely because people have individual desires and feelings.

just some random thoughts that could use some hashing out.

not so pampered

dear charlie’s (my better half) sist0rz,

plz stop inviting me to pampered chef parties.  i can’t afford to buy a bunch of shit from you every 2 months nor do i feel the need to get guilted into buying a bunch of shit from you every 2 months (or more).

k thx.

love,
rach.

gratitude

i’m so happy with who i am right now.  i love where i am right now, as well.  i think that speaks strongly to the growth i’ve experienced in the past few weeks.  i’ve grown tremendously in my workout practice as my opportunities morph.  i’ve really enjoyed some serious private lessons, and as a result, experienced some growth by leaps and bounds i never thought i’d know.  the physical is translating directly to the philosophical. 🙂 wonderful.

so i am thankful. 

namaste.

eight things

so my friend, raj, has tagged me with one of those “eight things we didn’t know about you so you have to blog to us about them” posts.  in the spirit of fun, i’ll play along, but i can’t promise you didn’t already know these things.  this blog may be public, but the details of my simple life are not.

1. my ideal age is 6 years old.  some people wish they were 21 or 18 or 16 again.  personally, 6 was one of the best ages ever.  no worries.  no job.  just fun in the sun! 

2. i don’t drink soda anymore.  well, i have one on occasion, but i have pretty much eliminated soda from my diet.  it’s bad for you (even the diet stuff) on all levels.  i now drink coffee (only 1 cup a day unless on weekends), juice, water, and tea as my main beverages (in addition to alcohol, but i don’t include that as part of my “diet”).

3. i love astronomy.  while i haven’t taken time to explore it fully, i love reading and hearing about all things related to our universe.  i’m fascinated by all the things we do not know, and may never know (especially if people don’t realize the need to explore the universe).  slowly but surely, it will become a hobby.

4. i’ve lived in england.  i was very small, so i don’t remember much.  but i’ve got my passport to prove it!

5. i can’t give blood because of #4.  you can’t give blood if you lived in the UK “for 3 months or more from Jan 1 1980 – Dec 31 1996” (quote from american red cross blood donation guidelines).  apparently, the bacteria that causes mad cow can lay dormant and be transmitted via transfusions. 

6. i don’t have a favorite color.  i like all colors, and i get the in mood for certain colors at certain times.  but really, i don’t have one consistent favorite.

7. i can make curtains.  i consider myself fairly resourceful, and decently crafty.  plus, curtains really aren’t that difficult.  they just take time (which i don’t typically devote to making curtains lol).

8. i would really love to take up painting, particularly with acrylics and oils.  i loved painting in art classes when i was a kid (even up through high school), but never really pursued it.  i adore art, and would love to have another medium in which to express myself.

so there you have it.  somehow, i came up with a few things.  perhaps you learned something.  perhaps you didn’t.  either way, at least it’s a blog entry lol.