A Learning Curve

Oh wow it’s been a while. I’ve been super busy in regards to school and whatnot. Speaking of which, I wanted to share my experiences regarding an activity that I recently participated in for my English class. Our class did a sort of informal class debate where we answered questions regarding the assigned text in the form of a short presentation but more rapid-fire and within a shorter amount of allotted time, I guess. It’s a bit hard to explain. We called it the Brawl.

Although the overall experience of watching other groups perform and execute their arguments, make funny tweets in accordance with what was being debated, and make funny noises as part of character was rather enjoyable, my own experience from the Brawl was not exactly something I would say was the highlight of my year. It was not only extremely difficult to make intertextual connections, but also there was a requirement to have the presentation entertaining and to make funny tweets to go along with it. I made quite a few funny tweets, but it got outshined by others.

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I am not a fan of informal debate. I like structure and organization and having a set agenda. I have to plan all the points I want to hit and all the points the opposition would hit. It was difficult for me because of time constraints and that it was a group effort and I had no control over what happened in the latter half.

My approach towards answering the questions for the debate was to think of something that I had already read before or had seen in an article somewhere. It was not difficult to figure out what I wanted to address, but there were too many questions to plan for and I didn’t know which one I would have to focus on. The biggest factor was that I needed to be on my toes and be able to improvise what I would have to refute instead of being able to have time in between and sit and gather and make a formal rebuttal. That’s not what I’ve been trained to do and it’s not what I excel in. In middle school I was assigned an improv class as one of my electives, but I never enjoyed it (people always make it out to be so great but the atmosphere of that class was way too hectic and suffocating for me) and I always was overwhelmed by the projects. I think this project did the same thing to me.

I have gathered from my peers who had the same class at a different time say that their class’s Brawl was very entertaining and engaging. Now in our classroom, activities are rarely engaging considering that there is a large rift between more ‘popular’ students and other students. This makes it very difficult for the class to interact as a whole.

There’s the awkward stage in the beginning of the year where nobody really knows each other or talks to each other if they were not friends previously. That same awkward atmosphere has followed my class through the entire year. IT IS JUNE!

What I can conclude from this is that the best results in these kinds of activities can be achieved by forming a stronger sense of community within a classroom. Overall I think that we were unable to perform at our maximum potential, but it was good to learn from.

In Retrospect

It has been about eight months since I first started writing on this blog and I think it is a good time to just discuss about a few of the things I have learned along the way and what could be done to improve upon the system I’m working with.

Firstly, I’d like to address that it has been greatly liberating to have some outlet for the things that I think about and there will be people that will actually read to and appreciate what I wrote. It is not only humbling, but also makes me realize that this allows for the potential to have more ideas, including, but not exclusive to, intersectional feminism and multiculturalism, spread to a wider demographic. This journey has helped me to learn how to articulate myself better because of what is more appealing to be seen. I feel as though it may be useful one day

I don’t know how to feel about my most popular post being a post about pop culture. There were still references to social consequences, but it was still a post about pop culture. I mean it’s understandable— it’s popular culture, but I don’t want that to be what I’m remembered by more people for. There are posts that I’ve written about more ‘serious’ topics, and I want those to be remembered by people. I want to be seen with greater potential at writing than just a tabloid. I want to be able to say that there are people who have learned about feminism, the stigma of mental illness, and the socioeconomic conditions of those that are systematically oppressed. I guess that’s something that people are just not that used to yet, but I think, eventually, we’ll get there.

If there’s something I would tell myself from the time that I started, it would be that there are a lot of important things that people are neglecting to discuss simply because they are far too comfortable with their own lives to think about how their way of living to understand others’ hardships, and discussing it aggressively would turn these people off to the idea. There is no conversation if there are too few people to understand the concept. I would take something obscure but important and translate it into something more people would connect to, make it personal, and make it something everybody would want to care about. I think that’s something I would say to someone who was trying to start a blog.

The ideas for my posts usually come from what I’m seeing in my own personal life compared to what is going on from what is portrayed online and in the news. I think it’s difficult to come up with ideas that are both appealing and serious, while being relevant and on topic. I don’t think this has been too difficult considering how much there is to balance within a singular post. The system I was using was to type up a post a week early, have someone proofread it, begin writing the next blog post, and then upload the other post . Having said that, no one person can determine the perfect balance of the things mentioned above and I think it would have been better to send to a small group of people, have them discuss, plan how to articulate the second post. It would have been easier to be posting on specific dates and times, but you know, time constraints.

Overall this has been a very enjoyable experience and I would like to thank the people who have come on this journey with me.

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You Get a FOOL. And YOU get a Fool. EVERYONE gets FOOOOLS

The ongoing drought in California will not get better unless there is a limit enforced on everyone living in the state. I am well aware of the fine that governor Jerry Brown has just passed, but that fine is not going to do a whole lot. I recognize that most of California’s industries require a lot of water to run through, but we have to remember that it has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is not a place that we want to deplete of its natural resources. America does not have a good record of not infringing on other nations’ sovereignty for its own benefits, and sometimes I wonder if that trend will continue once California has been depleted of all of the water within the state. I read somewhere that we only have a year of water left, (that is to exclude getting it pumped in from another resource), and that doesn’t sound like something I want to leave for the future generations.

This post discusses the issues that stem from from neglecting the needs of the earth and the effects of actions taken to minimize the dangers that stem from the drought.

A Cluster of Ideas

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As we’re all aware, California is experiencing an exceptional drought. So what exactly are our politicians doing to help prevent it? And what are we doing to help prevent it? Absolutely nothing worth talking about, because no matter what it is, it’s not helping the problem…just stalling it.

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An Attempt at Doing the Philanthropy Thing

I complain a lot, but I’ve never said that I have it worst, because I’m actually pretty grateful for a lot of the things I have. Complaining is really fun and all, but I think it’s time for me to bring attention to some major world issues that will take a long time to fix, and we should start now.

Let’s talk about the DPRK. I’m going to attempt to do this without getting nuked by the DPRK or Russia, which has heavily influenced them over the years, but this might be a bit hard. So the leaders of those two countries are pretty bad people. They’re allowing their people to live  in really poor conditions, and those people have been brainwashed into believing that the the leader possesses the utmost authority in the universe and are being worked to death to attempt to display to the outside world of something otherwise.

I mean I guess it’s kind of difficult to penetrate the barriers when we’re all afraid that they’ve been building killing machines and they’d probably shoot down anyone that they hadn’t thoroughly checked. And then there’s the groveling at the feet of the statues of deceased rulers…with guards behind you to make sure you are sad enough. That and the fact that at every ceremony the current leader is present, the crowd automatically has to wish a thousand years of prosperity and health to them.

Yeah North Korea is pretty bad. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to admit that I haven’t educated myself enough about the conditions in Russia to be able to tell you the extent of the horror that exists there currently. I could only tell you that all of the things that are mentioned above are about North Korea.

On top of that, their economy is also so awful. Most of us have heard about how Kim Jong-Un is a huge basketball fan, and how he had his country’s team play against the Harlem Globetrotters last year, but not very many people know how much government funding has been rumored to have gone into that. What’s that again? Oh yes. Government funding. Yeah it was about $579 million. Only that much money. It’s not like it could have gone into reconstruction of roads, infrastructure, and food services. Basketball is definitely more important.

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It came as a shock to the world when the video came out of Kim Jong-Un feeding his own uncle to a pack of 120 hungry dogs came out last year. If he was able to do that to his own family, it would be very hard to imagine all of the things he could think of doing to the people that are under his jurisdiction. Actually we don’t have to imagine when there’s a translation of a firsthand account out there to watch. It’s so terrible and cruel.

Yes, there is universal health care and coverage, but at what cost? And who actually knows what happens to patients since doctors have no competitive motivation. Capitalism has a ton of flaws, but at least there are at least a group of people who are motivated to do better than others in order to receive a higher salary or whatever. The health care ‘professionals’ in North Korea will receive the same salary as their peers regardless of how hard they have worked, and all I can say is that patients are probably not being treated for all the disorders they could potentially have.

In order to protect themselves from such persecution, there are plenty of people who have attempted to escape, and numerous amounts of those people have been shipped back and sentenced to die in a camp or harmed by the Chinese after they had already escaped. Yeonmi Park is one of the people who escaped unharmed herself, but was still heavily affected by the harm done to the people around her.

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It’s very important that we recognize the severity of the situation and, as an international community, attempt to resolve for better for these people. Take for instance, Emma Blackery.

Upon hearing a defector’s story, she has been educating herself with the history of North Korea and how the government affects its people and the nations which surround it. She describes this at the end of her haul video in which she discusses the books that she has bought about North Korean leaders.


Onto the second issue. The world is immensely corrupt in its needs to buy goods all the time and there’s always a constant demand for things and goods and a desire to display wealth with things. But where are all these things coming from? Slavery and sweatshops and child laborers. See most first world countries have discovered the inhumanity that lies within forcing children into the workforce in order to push a company into a major world exporter, but there are still others that haven’t quite gotten the memo.

I understand  that in a lot of places of privilege we often feel very removed from the origin of the things we use daily, but it’s important to remember that someone, somewhere had to make this thing, or someone had to build a machine to build this thing, or someone had to pick these fruit off a tree and another person had to carry it to a factory and then another person had to clean it up and make it presentable and then another person packaged it. Picture that last example in mass amounts. And now picture those people being children, and now that they are being beaten because they were unable to meet their daily quota. That’s the reality of far too many children on this world in this day and age.

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Warner Brothers Studio was one of the biggest offenders of this in their Harry Potter chocolate frog product. This was actually the first time I had heard about modern-day corruption in the food industry. Warner Brothers did this even though they had plenty of income to support farmers to grow cacao, but instead they chose the unscrupulous route and used chocolate from an unethical source. The Harry Potter Alliance created the “Show Us the Report” campaign and petition in order to involve more people in the effort to produce more ethical goods. And it worked. After years of campaigning it worked!!!!

What we can learn from this is that if there are enough people educated about the industry they buy consumer goods from, there will be number of those people who will be at least vaguely interested in supporting the rights of the people who labored for them. I’m going to give you a challenge. I want you to make a conscious effort for at least a day to only buy and consume fair trade goods. This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart because of the story. It was probably one of the first social justice movements that I actively tried to make myself a part of.

I know a lot of people reading this will be extremely skeptical and say that there is no reason to try to do this because there will be corruption at every corner we turn at and this is hypocritical, and to you, I say no. Lex Croucher once said in a video,

“It is not hypocritical to try your best. It’s not a hypocritical thing to strive to not make other people’s and animals’ lives worse in as many areas as you can.”

That’s something that I definitely agree with and encourage everyone to do. Try to only use ethical consumer goods for at least a day, and to talk more about it. The sooner this becomes a more popular topic, the sooner we can start rebuilding ethical values within economy, as an international community.

Bursting Your Ice and Breaking the Bubble

Wait that’s not how it goes.

Do you ever find yourself mishearing song lyrics, or is that just me?

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Oh okay it’s definitely not just me then (maybe it’s Patrick Stump’s fault, who knows).

Anyway, I recently learned that in a piece of art, whether it be a book, movie, painting, poem, or song, every single word or small detail is an important Continue reading