talkingsoup: (squee!)





Oct. 6th, 2008 07:11 pm
talkingsoup: (shigure likes his caffeine)
Well, it's that time of year again.

It's the time for my annual sinus infection. Which means pure, unadulterated misery and knocking back tea like it's candy.

Much as I hate the Health Center, I'll probably have to visit them tomorrow to get my hands on some amoxicillin. And maybe some klonapin if I can manage it.

Meanwhile, on my way home today something very odd occurred to me. And maybe I'm stupid for not noticing this before, but oh well.

So, the Constitution gives us the freedom of assembly, right? It's right there in the first amendment.

But we need written permission in order to demonstrate, protest or gather for a political cause.

So we're allowed freedom of assembly, but only so long as the government says we can?

Woah thar. Something's not quite right here...

ETA: An unusual thing I've noticed about myself--when I get sick, I act a bit like I do when I get drunk.

That is, I start singing a lot and talking to myself.

Who knew?


Sep. 22nd, 2008 04:37 pm
talkingsoup: (stay out of camberwick green)

Everyone who knows me well knows I'm a chocoholic. I love the stuff. Me and about 75% of the population of women in this country, really. I've been hearing over the years of some of the issues with chocolate--mostly that the plants are running out and the genetic strain for natural chocolate is fading because they so rarely replant the beans.

This is one I hadn't heard, though.

The majority of chocolate (I don't know the exact percentage) consumed in the First World is produced in West Africa, specifically Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. Which is odd enough when you consider that cacao is originally from South America. The rest of the chocolate does indeed come from South America and Indonesia. But the West African chocolate is the focus here.


Because the cacao plantations in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire utilize child slaves to harvest and refine the chocolate.

I won't go into the details of what exactly happens to these kids. You've all hopefully paid attention in your American history classes and know what slavery was like in North America in the 17-1800's. So you have an idea.

Now. I didn't know this until my professor brought it up today in class (we're on Marxism). It bothered me so much that I decided to go home and research it. And yes, the child slavery is a true fact. There have even been lists generated of which companies actually utilize slave-grown chocolate and which don't.

The following are the companies that use slave-labor, know they're doing it, and don't care:

Hershey's--no surprise here. They even have a non-disclosure policy that says they can't reveal where their chocolate comes from.
Lindt--this includes Ghirardelli.
Kraft--includes Toblerone.

A couple of these companies, particularly Ghirardelli and Lindt, also utilize cacao from South America. You can usually tell because it will say so on the bar--from Ecuador, usually. This chocolate has a much lower likelihood of slavery, but of course that doesn't rule out exploitation.

The following companies are known to not use slavery, though for a few the issue of fair trade still looms:

Green and Black's--owned by Cadbury, but the company itself is both fair trade and doesn't use slavery.
Ithaca Art Bars--for you folks in the area.
Rapunzel--a brand I've never heard of.
Newman's Own--they've always been good about organic and such, and the chocolate is slave-free, but it's technically not fair trade.
Endangered Species--also in a good cause. Completely fair trade and slave-free
Cloud Nine--another company I've never heard of.
Dagoba Organic--fulfills all three.
Equal Exchange--does what it says on the tin.

There are a couple of companies where there's not enough information to tell what they're doing. Vosges is one of these companies (they're the producers of things like the Red Fire Bar and stuff). They have a page on their website about fair trade and child labor, but the thing is wishy-washy. They do seem committed to other things, particularly women's issues, so there's a good chance that they're doing alright, but they even state on their website that there's no way for them to confirm that their cacao is fair trade and slave-free--or rather, they just don't go to the lengths needed to confirm it.

So, what does this mean exactly? Well, if you're eating a Snickers, Milky Way, Reese's cup, M&Ms, or Lindor truffle right now, it's pretty damn likely that the cacao used to make the chocolate was picked, processed and refined by an eight-year-old slave in Cote d'Ivoire.

Well, I can tell you right now, this is a blow to me. Not only because it means the majority of the chocolate I eat is produced by slaves, but also because the companies have been doing this for years and have made no effort to stop.


As of today, I'm adding Hershey's, Mars, Cadbury, Nestle, Lindt, Godiva, See's and Kraft to my list of companies to boycott. There's only one exception--where Lindt and Ghirardelli are concerned, I'll still be willing to buy their chocolate if I see on the label that it's from South America.

Other than that, this is a complete boycott, not just of their chocolate bars but of their other chocolate products as well. Brownies, cake mixes and so on.

Which means Green and Black's, Newman's Own and Vosges for me from now on.

The only other companies on my boycott list are Coca-Cola and sub-companies (including Vitamin Water) and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is obvious, but Coca-Cola has a rather lengthy explanation for it that I won't go into now.

I'm also going to make more of an effort in general to buy things that are fair trade because it's just a good idea.

And as a last note, this isn't meant to pressure anyone. It's just something to think about. Also, if anyone wants links to my sources, leave a comment and I'll link you.
talkingsoup: (i hate everyone)
I have problems expressing myself sometimes when it comes to things that really mean something to me. So I'm going to try and be as concise as I can and not let this degrade into a rant.

I found out today that my Global Conflict and Terrorism professor, a woman I highly admire and whose class is one of the best I have ever taken in my entire school career, has been under personal attack by other professors in the Sociology department. Apparently this has gone on for years, and has degraded to personal attacks on herself, her politics and her family. Worse than that even, apparently last year when she applied for tenure, some of these people actually sabotaged her file and circulated rumors about her, which effectively shot down her attempts to get tenure. And further, this year has apparently been worse than ever, as even people who were on her side before have started attacking her as well.

The reason I decided to pursue a major in Sociology was because I fell in love with the field after Soc 101. It seemed so open-minded, so broad and multi-faceted--Sociology looks at the way that people and societies interact, and how everything connects and works together or against each other. It looks at the roots of the world's problems--global conflicts, politics, racism, inequality and so on--and at ways to try and solve them.

And now, here I am, finding out that in the very department of the field I fell in love with is using discriminatory, political and racist tactics to attack a woman on a personal level. Why? For no discernible reason other than the fact that certain high-level faculty members simply dislike her. And certain others, students included, dislike her grading system (she refuses to place major stress on grades, and I guess that's outside the comfort zone of some students).

My professor is teaching us things no one else has the courage to teach us. She tells us the truth. We learn about places and people the rest of the world chooses to ignore. It infuriates me that this woman, who really, truly cares about teaching her students, has been suffering like this for years. And apparently any time a student tries to speak up, they're just ignored.

I don't know what I can do, but I'm going to do something. A club, maybe. This kind of things happens too often in this country and around the world; people who dare to tell the truth are attacked and defamed. What we need is a Truth-Speaker Anti-Defamation League.

And also, maybe I should just drop out of the Soc major, and my my reasons explicitly known. I've been upset for awhile with the fact that I need to take such specific and stupid classes for the major.

At any rate, I'm not going to fucking sit down anymore.

Wow, World

Oct. 24th, 2007 06:43 pm
talkingsoup: (dwayne and frank)
First of all I want to thank everyone who gave their sympathy when Shadow died. It means a lot to me. Especially Julie who got me flowers XOMGSQUEE I love that girl! It's easier now, but it's still weird and hurts to think that he's gone.


Anyway. So obviously there's been a lot of news the past week or so. Some good, some bad, some just LOL.

Like, I dunno, Dumbledore being GAY?

Muah-hahahaha! Oh man, can't you just feel the fundies' heads exploding?

I wish she'd put it in the book, though. I don't understand all these people who are saying "oh it's such an advancement for children's literature," because no, it's not, not unless you come right out and say it in the text. It's not enough to state it after the last book has come out--in fact, it's cheap.

But it's still fun news, lol.

Lots of less fun news, though. So, most people by now have heard about this Jena 6 issue. But I think that Jena 6 and all the publicity it's been getting has been a catalyst for something a lot bigger. Stuff like this is starting to crop up all over the country. Even in Ithaca.

Anyone who lives here--well, anyone who goes to college here, anyway--would tell you how crazy that is, because Ithaca is supposed to be this bastion of liberalness and equality and awesomeness in an area that's got an incredible reputation for racism and bigotry. But, nope. Turns out that Ithaca is no better than the little rural towns around it.

Pretty much what's been going on is, recently (within the last year that is) this high school girl was on the bus to school and was being harassed. Now, the girl was black and her harassers were white boys, I think. I guess it got to be enough of a disturbance that the bus driver, in an amazing display of racial equality, decided to put the girl--the victim--off the bus. That pretty much blew things up, and now there's an incredible degree of racial tensions in the Ithaca High School. It's gotten to the point that people are hanging nooses above black teacher's classrooms, and people who have friends across ethnic lines are no longer allowed to sit with those friends at lunch. There's a constant rumor circulating that there's going to be a school shooting.

It's been pretty amazing though, because the high schoolers rose up in response to all this bullshit and led a major protest against the whole thing. The school board has been dragging their feet and generally not helping at all, so lately people have been rallying at school board meetings on the subject to try and wake people up (the most recent one was last night). Ithaca townies and students/professors from the colleges have gotten involved too.

I haven't heard specifics, but I guess this is happening across the nation. I'm kind of worried for Foothill. Over the four years I was there you could just feel things getting progressively worse, with the administration cracking down, with fights happening more often, with divisions cropping up between races and most notably the burning down of one of the portable buildings, and also with the general lack of things for teenagers in Pleasanton to do. I really, really think that something awful is going to happen in Pleasanton in the next few years. Hell, if tensions are heating up across the nation, we could have a serious incident pretty soon.

The good that's coming out of this, though, like with the high schoolers in Ithaca, people are starting to become aware of the egregious inequalities and racism still present in this country. I guess people thought that those things had gone away with Civil Rights. Noooo, darlings. We've got a lot of work to do.

Oh, and meanwhile, California is burning to a crisp. Apparently because some jackass freakshow thought it would be a good idea to light some dead grass on fire. Whoever you are, you little shit, I hope you burn in your own fire for this. People are dying, homes are being destroyed, pets are being lost, and this little fuck obviously doesn't care.

The fires are nowhere near my house, so I'm not worried about my family or anything, but still. How can someone knowingly cause a natural disaster? How do you live with yourself?


And in the rest of the world, well, they're still killing monks in Burma, though of course we'll never know about exactly what's going on since they freaking cut off the Internet in the country. Any figures that come out will come from independent journalists or from the country itself, the latter of which certainly can't be trusted. Oh, and people are blowing themselves up in Pakistan again, and racial tensions are flaring in Turkey to the point that some people are considering invading Iraq. Hoo-boy.

So, general chaos, mayhem, death, doom, destruction. What else is new?

Well, at least the Red Sox have come back to the Series. Game 1 tonight. Haven't had much else to cheer about lately, so I'm excited.

Oh, and I'm rolling again on Mot. To the degree that I think I'll have it done before the end of the year. *crosses fingers*

And I have some new characters to introduce you to, eventually.
talkingsoup: (i hate everyone)

No, seriously, WHUT?

The gist: Warner Bros. exec, the Esteemed Robinov, said that the company would no longer produce movies with female leads. Citing a few recent movies with female leads that happened to bomb.

Cause, yanno, movies bombing. 'S never happened before. Movies bombing with male leads? Nope, never. It's the wimmins fault, yanno.

Hay, guess wat, WB?

The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions? Troy? Alexander? Superman Returns? The innumerable, unnameable, unmentionable punch-drunk comedies?

And, guess wat, guess wat! It's not just yoos guys!

Gigli? Original Sin? Unleashed? Unbreakable? The Village? The Planet of the Apes remake? Rollerball? The War of the Worlds remake? Hostel 1 and 2?

Nor are terrible movies a recent invention! Sorry, WB, ya don't own the patent on that one!

Waterworld? This Island Earth? Xanadu? Plan 9 From Outer Space and everything else by ol' Ed Wood? Howard the Duck? Caveman?

And let's not forget that yoos guys have produced blockbusters with strong female characters before!

Remember White Oleander? North Country? No? Anyone?


Now. Anyone taken statistics? I haven't. You don't need to have to notice the trend going on here.

The problem? Logic.

"Dur, three movies with females leads dun badly. Must be cause...cause dere are dem, dem wimmins in dem leadin' roles, an' stuff!"

When there is evidence of WB-produced movies that have failed, evidence of recent non-WB movies that have failed, evidence of OLD movies that have failed, and evidence of SUCCESSFUL movies with FEMALE leads.

Philosophy 101. This claim is not only invalid, it is also inductive.

Therefore this claim is illogical.

Therefore this claim is made of PHAIL. EPIC PHAIL.

Which means that the Esteemed Robinov and his cronies and, well, the entire company, is made of EPIC FAIL.

So, thank you, your Esteemed Sir, for proving your own idiocy. I hereby boycott all future movies produced by you or your company in the future. You have alienated your entire female audience. Congratulations.

We do not need you. You do not represent us. You do not speak for us. May a thousand talented women strip off their high heels and stab you with them, then string you up with their own nylons, so they can walk home in comfortable flats and not ever have to worry about runs again.
talkingsoup: (after all this time)
I've been really crappy at updating this lately, but yes, I'm still alive.

Woo, sinus infection! Ah, this always happens at least once a year, but it doesn't make it any more fun. Woke up a few mornings ago just like "oh my god I'm drowning -fhggakhhggghkksnerk-*" I know what this is all about by now so I went to the health center right after class, and despite waiting for an hour and a half it wasn't as awful an experience as I thought it would be. Got some Amoxicillin and now I'm feeling better. Though I didn't sleep much two nights ago. Not. Fun.

We have mice. Like, an infestation. No, I'm kidding, but we do have mice--two of them, in a cage. One is brown and the other is white with a black patch over his eye. The brown one's name is Malcom Reynolds. The white one's name is Hoban Washburn, or Wash for short. This is because they have a little spaceship in their cage upon which we have written "Serenity." Wash is excitable, friendly, and likes sweets. Mal is somewhat antisocial, cautious, and likes to hide his food, which is mostly health food.

I swear, they are Mal and Wash in...mouse form.

Plus they are tiny and fuzzy and cute and thus far have remained undiscovered by said RA peoples.

Though we did have an adventure last week, I think. Mal got away from me and ended up under the couch. We spent awhile trying to catch him and finally just lifted the couch up, but Mal is not one to be held down by The Man (or Woman) and actually squeezed under the door and ran out into the stairwell. Well, as one who has owned mice before, I figured hope was pretty much lost by then, but we chased him. He was on the edge of the balcony part of the staircase and we were chasing him along the edge, but then I got distracted when the door across the hall opened and a kid started walking out. Mal decided death would be better than capture by The Woman and threw himself off the stairs, landing two sections down. I ran all the way down and managed to catch him and scoop him up just as the kid drew level with me. It was like something out of a college comedy movie. And let me tell you right now, catching a mouse barehanded is no easy feat. Mal was returned to his cage where I'm sure he told Wash all about his adventure and has since not attempted escape.

I'm gonna get started on the next chapter of my fic since it's been awhile. I also need to write two things for Fiction II, one of which is due tomorrow. Dear God I'm starting to hate that class. I think I mentioned already that it's taught by a teacher I'm not really fond of, but more than that--she's one of the many writing teachers 'round these parts who is all like "oh, haha, genre, it's not really writing. It's all cheap and pulpy. It must all be literateur and meta if it's going to be legit!" To which Julie and I say a big FUCK YOU. We're both gonna write nothing but genre stuff for that class. So fucking there, bitch.

Grants and Proposals is picking up speed as we hear from more and more promising projects (the ones I'm looking at so far are this local alt ed school which teaches diversity education and wants to get funding for a trip to Guatemala, one involving EcoFashion, and of course the SPCA one which involves a spay/neuter program (desperately needed!)). We get assigned our groups over the weekend and have to have make our choice on which project to tackle by Friday. After that we leap off the boat and then it's sink or swim. Man.

Going to a thing at Cornell tomorrow for my Terrorism class--a talk by a woman who is a Palestinian and is working on the peace movement. Should be awesome.

ASIC has been awesome. We've been watching Death Note which leaves nothing to be desired (L, I want to have your babies!) and the second part of Jubei-chan which is as insane as the first part. But this one has a tiny little chibi-guy who

I've heard tell that we'll be watching Ouran later in the semester too. Yes!

So far we've been maintaining a shopping/cooking schedule in the apartment and it's been working! I cook on Wednesdays. I've gotta work on my time management where that's concerned, but so far my recipes have worked (just made carrot-ginger-pear soup and pots de creme which is XOMG awesome). Woo. And Kate continues to be AWESOME by making AWESOME food. She also won our Iron Chef two Fridays or so ago.

Julie has successfully completed both Kingdom Hearts I and II and now understands my love of the Organization members. And the awesome tragedy that is Axel and Roxas's relationship, whether or not you think it's just friendship or what have you (I must confess myself a shipper, but y'all knew that. I think...).

Avatar starts Friday, Heroes the following Monday, and House the Tuesday after. Hells ya.

Oh, and. The latest Naruto chapter? WHUT? WHUT? Revelations liek woah??


Jul. 3rd, 2007 02:01 am
talkingsoup: (lms)
I'm sorry, what?

I've never liked that presidents get the power to pardon convicts. It's the stupidest presidential power. Who the fuck dreamed that one up? Didn't they think that just maybe, presidents would be pardoning their buddies, even when their buddies fucking deserve the jail time? This man fucking leaked information about a CIA operative, putting the operative and their family in jeopardy. I remember it was for some bullshit reason too.

And what? 2 and 1/2 years is excessive? Are you fucking kidding me?

I can think of only one time that Bush has done right for this country, and that was the way he stepped up right after 9/11. But that was six years ago now and he hasn't done a single goddamn good thing since. It's gotten to the point that it's just ridiculous. We're gonna look back on this age years from now and be all, "What the FUCK were we thinking, electing that son of a bitch?"

Why the fuck haven't we impeached him? We impeach Clinton for dropping his pants for some intern, but we give Bush a free ride when he starts wars left and right, fucks up life for the lower classes and for immigrants, fucks up our national standing, and acts like an arrogant, egotistical, hypocritical ass all the time? The man isn't even a legitimate Christian, so why the hell are all these Far-Right fire and brimstone fuckers still backing him up?

Wake the fuck up, America, before this man fucking blows us back into the Stone Age.



Where the hell did that spark of anger come from, anyway?

Whatever. Your 2 AM political fury, brought to you by this hairy hippie.
talkingsoup: (gaara)
Sooooooooo, yeah. I should be working, but it's been a bit weird the past few days so I thought I'd take a two minute break.

First of all, why have I heard so little about this?

The video's pretty horrible so be warned.

Basically, this Middle Eastern student was sitting in the UCLA 24 hour library when the police made rounds checking everyone's idea. I guess this is normal. In any case, he didn't have his on him, so they asked him to leave. He got upset, but agreed to leave, and got his stuff together as the cops went outside. Apparently then they came back in and started trying to drag him out, despite the fact that he was cooperating. So they tasered him.


A crowd had formed by the time they tasered him a second time and they yelled at him over and over to stand up, but--hm--several thousand volts running through your body--hm--I imagine, yanno, standing up would be pretty fucking difficult. They ended up tasing him at least five times, and other students who tried to intervene were also threatened. The cops were actually threatening people who even just asked for names and badge numbers. The kid actually ended up on the ground and they kept right on tasing him.

And I don't know the whole story, but it sounds like UCLA covered it up? In any case, I'd heard nothing about it until someone brought it up in Persuasive Argument. The only reason people seem to know about it is because it's on YouTube.


I actually saw this video twice. Our professor seems to be missing again, as he had his first unforseen absence today, by which I mean there was no pink slip on the door saying class had been cancelled. So we sat in there for the legal ten minutes (or whatever) and one kid actually pulled up the video on YouTube, since not everyone had seen it.

It's stuff like this which makes it hard for me to like cops, which I feel bad about, because I've met some cops and the ones I've met aren't all that bad. It's the few (or, let's face it, not so few) assholes out there who show up in public that give them a bad name. Rather like the Far Right fundies who give the entire Christian religion a bad name.

I've noticed, however, that the main difference between fundies of any sort and leftists are that leftists tend to have a sense of humor. Whereas I don't think it's physically possible for people like Fred Phelps or Jerry Falwell to laugh. Ever. At anything. It's probably a sin or something.

I say this because in Queer Studies today we talked about the Right backlash to organization and mobilization of gay rights groups in the 70's onward, and we watched this relatively famous anti-gay, 20 minute propaganda film from 1993, featuring three doctorly types and two "ex-gays" called "The Gay Agenda." Pretty much it just talks about how gays are all sex, that they shouldn't have minority status, that they're sick people, and that they're child molestors. You know, the usual. But seeing it from our standpoint--I mean, we're a freaking Queer Studies class--it was hilarious. You couldn't help but laugh at it, because their arguments are so pathetically invalid, so outdated, and so obviously biased and just plain ridiculous. Ironically enough, apparently one of the "ex-gays" in the video "reverted" a few years later. "Whoot, I'm cured! Oh, wait, no..." I noticed all the people talking in it were white, middle-class, middle-aged types. And they didn't once mention lesbians. Apparently there's no such thing.

So take it to heart--a sense of humor is what keeps you from being an ignorant dickhead.

Ahhh, I've just been in a kind of up and down mood the past few days. The end of the semester and the advent of finals is finally starting to hit me. I have four papers to write, one that has to all be in German, though at least for that I know what I'm gonna write about. I'm actually not entirely sure what's happening at this point with Persusasive Argument--every other time he's missed a class he's moved due dates back. This time is kind of unique, both in that it's the last paper, it's finals time, and it was an unexpected absence. No one seems to know where he is. It kind of worries me. I have a thing for Fiction I'm working on that I'm sort of iffy about. Queer Studies is the mother, two four-page essays, which shouldn't be too hard, but still. I have my poetry final finished (15 pages of poems...yipes) and Psych is just gonna be a cumulative test.

In other news, I have a job to look forward to when I get back to Cali, and hopefully a job to look forward to next semester. And a $167 check is headed my way due to Health Center incompetency. At least this time it benefits me (they charged me twice for fugging expensive meds).

Meh. Busy, tired, generally gehh.


talkingsoup: (Default)

April 2011



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