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michaele

bloodline disses my hometown, and how i feel about it [12th April 2015|07:04 pm]
michaele
i've been watching the new netflix show bloodline, and i like it a lot. slow-burning family saga drama set in the keys, how could i not? a couple of episodes ago, one of the characters who owns a small marina is trying to convince the lady who owns the property next to the marina, not to sell to some developer because "do you really want this place to look like pompano beach?" i was pretty offended when i first heard it, my hometown so obviously castigated, but it seemed also so specific. who watching this show will know where pompano is and what it looks like? and is pompano really that bad now? i looked on google street view, and yes, yes it is that bad. the coquina walls along A1A torn down, the low-slung buildings housing diana's and frank's and the dunkin donuts, the oceanside plaza marker, all gone who knows how many years ago, and replaced by sterile cheap imitations of pseudo-deco/modern/contemporary storefronts and parking lots and an eyesore of a high-rise, and too-well-manicured medians and greenspace leading to the beach. pompano used to be an affordable haven, the remainders of a little agricultural fishing village in a sea of ft. lauderdale and lighthouse point and deerfield and hillsboro beach money and development and high-rises. i guess things change and the point of me thinking if only i had stayed and voted against these changes could i preserve the loveliness that i'd known and grown up with is of no use now, because it probably only would've been me voting against it, just me fighting for little pompano to stay little pompano so it wasn't some day the butt of some provincial joke on the new cable. i guess i'm mostly sad because i'll never be able to show ryan what it was when i was there, how beautiful and simple it was in its difference from the surrounding towns, a bastion of simple sea buoyed in a tide of encroaching development, and eventually unmoored by it. now what is pompano, an ugly joke because it has lost itself, and its identity, in trying to be, and look like, those bigger fish surrounding it. i'm just sad that when i show pompano to ryan, it will not be the pompano i love, but it will be the way of all south florida, i suppose.

in other things, i re-watched mad men again, and i heard this song in one of the episodes, and thought it one of the coolest things i've ever heard, way cooler than any velvet underground (in my opinion ;) )
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

first quarter, 2015 [7th April 2015|06:56 pm]
michaele
[Current Music |arcade fire | the suburbs]

my mom died almost five months ago and none of my ex-boyfriends cared. me wanting them to care is not the point here, more so that it just seems so odd that someone you know so intimately for however long you date doesn't say two words about anything when your mom dies. except for one in the middle of a mental health crisis himself who doesn't have the wherewithal to even notice your mom died, but is instead sending cryptic facebook messages that are slightly worrisome. another one just got his phd, and from facebook lurking is presumably going to work for boeing in seattle(?) and another one is mocking other people's (very real) strife in a way that was probably always the reason we were going to break up. those jokes at someone's, or a large group of someones', expense still aren't funny, and the fact that you keep making them, and can, and think there's nothing wrong with it, is precisely the problem! a little self-reflection/self-awareness never hurt! i don't mean to be harsh, but for heaven's sake, some people just need a good tongue-lashing sometimes to realize they are the problem.

i don't really want to talk about my mom dying. it was hard, but it gets less hard, but it still hurts, sometimes a lot, sometimes it's a wave crashing over my head suddenly in a parking lot on the way to my car and i feel like just going home, but i don't. i probably should, but i go to that home visit, or back to the office, or wherever it is i'm supposed to be. i just miss her a lot. feels good to be putting this stuff down on the metaphorical paper, though--i never realize how much i miss my lj and writing in it, until i return to it. just me, my computer (there have only been three, seeing me through different stages of the ol' lj--big boi emac, little white broken ibook, and now sleek macbook pro), and some music to block out everything else except whatever gets thrown up onto the proverbial page.

i started working at a non-profit in the area in december amidst graduating with my master's degree in social work form the university of michigan in december(!!!!!!!!! i have a master's degree!!!!!!!!!!!), in homeless services, and i really like it so far. a lot smaller caseload than when i was doing permanent supportive housing, which is nice, but somehow, still all of the case notes. all of the case notes! kind of a drag.

went to key west last weekend for my cousin's wedding, and i spent five hours in the miami airport on the way back, and i think i did not want to leave. cuban food for lunch and dinner, lots of spanish being spoken, sun and probably 75-80 degrees outside. i came back to michigan and i've been watching lots of csi: miami, reading americanah, not particularly having to do with florida, but just happening to be the book i bought at the miami airport, brought the time issue on cuba home--ryan keeps asking if i'm homesick, and i don't think i'm homesick per se, but just deeply, subconsciously, acknowledging that i would much prefer to be living in florida than michigan, though i will be consciously happy wherever i am with ryan, because i am not a person who gives up and sacrifices people for places (cough, cough, divorced dude i know who stayed in alaska). i enjoy michigan and the friends i've made here, i really like ann arbor, i like the adventure of having gotten out of florida, lived in far-off far-flung places, unlike so many people i know from high school, but florida is definitely home, where i'm most comfortable and don't feel so out of place, like a stranger in a foreign land making understanding of how people are different in different parts of the country. regionalism is apparently a real thing in america, and i suffer strongly from it.

btdub, americanah by chimamanda ngozi adichie is phenomenal. so funny and so interesting! i read the joys of motherhood, another book by a nigerian writer, buchi emecheta, in college, but it was very much a book about nigeria, and i found it to be a little stilted and formal, very far-away sounding, but still an interesting way to learn about igbo and yoruba culture. americanah is so interesting because it's about a nigerian girl and boy who emigrate to america and london respectively, and all that ensues when they encounter different cultures even of people who have the same color skin, but also it's a love story (wistful smiley face). given that i read the joys of motherhood in my post-colonial studies class, and reading americanah now, i wonder if it's being taught somewhere in america, and for what class: post-modern post-colonialism? modern fiction? so curious! jk, just found it on this syllabus this syllabus at unc-chapel hill (of course, freaking public ivy, pretty much).

ryan and i also went to grand rapids a couple of weekends ago for our friend katie's wedding, and got hooked on modelo cheladas, or poor man's bloody marys, as i like to call them. super good with a few drops of tabasco. just make sure you gently shake it before you pour.

i also miss my sisters and my dad! but i get to see the sisters in dc memorial day weekend in may, so super stoked about that, three whole days in dc with my sisters! will surely be a nice and much needed vacation. next weekend i'm going to new orleans because corey bought me a ticket to see sleater-kinney. i feel like this is like seeing sonic youth, except i'll probably like the music better. oh whatever, i just want to see carrie brownstein in the flesh, let's be real here. anyway, i miss corey and shelby, too, and sometimes just wish we were still in college so we could hang out and go to satchel's and not have to worry about going to the gym because we're getting chubby :( another reason i don't like michigan--winter weight :( but i might be leaving for st. louis anyway, soon, summer maybe, if i can find a job there--ryan will be starting law school at washington university in st. louis, and the more we talk about it, the more excited i am to go someplace else, and get the heck out of here, though i do want to go to mackinac island before we leave. i even told ryan that when i get to st. louis, i want us to get a dog because i will be lonely while he's studying 24/7 in law school. so, we'll see.

dinner time, now. adios!
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

summer book reviews [6th August 2014|11:59 pm]
michaele
[Current Music |new order | temptation]

public service announcement: as someone who's worked a lot with and for homeless adults and kids, please do not "donate" your trash. homeless people deserve new things just like you, and they do not want your "gently used" pens that have been sitting in your pen holder for years and now you want new ones but can't bear to throw these "perfectly good" ones away. they are not perfectly good, they have been sitting on your desk for years and now they are your cast-offs. if you want to donate something, but can't afford to buy anything new, just your time will do, then, thanks.

just finished reading a bunch of books that had been piled up in my nightstand. let's start with kitchen confidential first. good, sort of reminded me of julia child's my life in france, but way, way, way more sex and drugs and drug-related sadness that bourdain just matter-of-factly puts out there, and i like him for that. it's not casual, the way he relates these parts, there's definitely some gravity to his knowledge of the depths to which he sunk, but he does not make any bones about it, and approaches cooking, and the kitchen, the same way. i suppose if i'd read this when it came out, i would have felt a little more like i was on the cusp of something, but i've a feeling this book kicked off the celebrity-chef dillio (definitely got him his own show, at least) so it's sort of rote now. still a good and interesting look at bourdain's life and all of his secrets, if you want to know them. also, be forewarned: if you've watched a lot of no reservations or his new show, you will be reading the entire book in his voice, especially the ends of chapters, which sound exactly like the cadence of his parting words closing a scene on the show.

next was nickel and dimed by barbara ehrenreich, which i'd been meaning to read ever since i saw it on laura findlan's desk before she started at unc-chapel hill. ehrenreich mentions in a new afterword the fact that that summer unc-chapel hill made the book required reading for all incoming freshmen, and the controversy that ensued. i was unaware of the controversy, but obvi knew about it being required due to laura, so i thought that was a neat tie-in. the rest of the book was about as engaging as something so depressing and non-fiction could be. ehrenreich is a fabulous writer and i wish this book was required reading in my program. it was also pretty frustrating to know that so little has changed for the population she writes about during the ten years since the book was first published. ugh. but, this book will surely be my self-proclaimed bible as i forge my way in the world of social work.

then, ryan and i made a book club to read jonathan franzen's freedom. it was so, so good. sooooooooo much better than the corrections. i could not stand that book, or the characters, but freedom--freedom was different. same morally ambiguous characters, but somehow, you're still rooting for them at the end, instead of just rooting for the book to finally end. i loved the story, i loved how it was american and not in a jingoistic way, with settings in minnesota, dc, virginia, nyc, and characters ranging in age from teens to middle-aged adults. it was sprawling and intricate and emotionally charged, just how i like my summer novels to be. the sex scenes were a little weird though, some very awkward, some very elegantly described, and maybe that's the point, but when referencing said scenes using the same awkward words it pushes it a little bit past imparting the awkwardness of the characters into the author's own feelings about what he's writing, maybe? i don't know. in fiction class, we just said what we thought, and the professors never told us if we were technically wrong or technically right, why something sounded good or bad to us, so i have a very unconfident perception of my abilities to say why something is or is not working in a piece of writing, outside of grammar. i'm always looking for my next yiddish policeman's union for summer reading, and this one definitely exceeded expectations.

last night, i finished the circle by dave eggers. i bought it used hardcover off of amazon, and when it came, it totally had dave eggers' signature on the title page. thanks for the free autograph, used bookseller on amazon! the book was good, no YSKOV!, though, and seemed a little bit of a reach to make it an allegory for the information age's deleterious effects. it just didn't seem too fleshed out, like he was spending a whole lot of time on ensuring all the details were in place to make sure we got the point of the story, so the characters kind of took a back seat. interesting enough story, though. i love eggers' writing, and think he writes so beautifully, so it was just a little disappointing to come up short that way. but it was still definitely intriguing, and makes you want to keep reading to find out how it ends.

now, i'm finally embarking on friday night lights, the book, and so far i've gotten further than i had any of the other times i started it. ryan and i just watched the entire series, so maybe that helped to ignite my curiosity to see what else the book has to offer to my knowledge of the movie and series. i also started flannery o'connor's mystery and manners, but sometimes she writes so colloquially it seems archaic, so i put it down for a while. i'm in a finishing mood, though, and i have a lot of time now that i'm just in field, and done with classes for the summer, so i'll probably finish it while i have the time.

i guess that's about it. surprise nearly consecutive post! probably haven't done that since college! facebook sometimes is just too much. i thought the psa might be too abrasive for fb, hence it's inclusion here. here is where i have the real intellectual debates, or would like to anyway. fb is so frivolous, though i feel it should also be a forum for good discussion, but no, it's just reddit lite, which is annoying. if i wanted to see all the memes and videos, i would just go on reddit. give me something real! something that you are actually thinking! not just your reaction to some stupid video that someone else made or a meme that is totally encapsulating how you're feeling today. the lack of range of the expression of emotions is scaring me. sad cat face. everyone should read the circle. i know i just basically said it was mediocre, but seriously, it's basically about fb and google, and if you don't want to happen what you think will happen, the you should read this cautionary tale. okay, i'm done for now. maybe i shouldn't listen to new order when i'm writing on my lj. but they usually make me happy!

i've already decided that instead of getting a third tattoo for my thirtieth birthday, that i will be going to see the new pornographers with neko case and pains of being pure at heart in cleveland, in november, happy early birthday to me. i'm going to drive down, hopefully go to the rock and roll hall of fame museum, check in to a hotel near the venue, go to the show, buy an np shirt and maybe neko and np's new cds, crash at the hotel and drive the not-too-shabby three hours back on sunday. i could go see np in detroit, but neko and pains of being pure at heart won't be there, and seriously, what is the point of that. i also could go to see the full bill in milwaukee or chicago, but chicago be craycray, and milwaukee is seven hours away, and they're both across a time zone that does not favor michiganders on the return trip. so cleveland it is!!! i just looked up the venue and michael symon has a restaurant like, right across the street, so hello birthday dinner! cleveland does rock! (still haven't made it to roast in the book cadillac, but one day . . . one day). anywhoodles, don't completely rule out the tattoo, this is all just for now.

til next time.
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

january to august, 2014 [4th August 2014|08:36 pm]
michaele
[Current Music |til tuesday | voices carry]

so, corey got married in january in new orleans. most ridonculous wedding i have ever been to, hands down. first of all, new orleans. secondly, grammy award-winning brass band at the reception. thirdly, wedding and reception take place at bride and groom's friend's auction gallery. corey looked gorge, of course, in a 30s-ish cream dress that might have just been a long sleeveless top and skirt, and gardenias in her hair. i read one of the blessings and just generally felt more emotion and the dawning of realization about the monumental occasion that is getting married and what exactly that means, than i've ever felt at any other wedding. they had a bit of a traditional jewish ceremony, where they hadn't seen eachother for the entire week prior to the wedding night, and then at the venue, after greeting their guests separately, david came over to corey and veiled her. quite extraordinary in its symbolism and just how much it translated to some feeling deep within me about how corey was physically, mentally, spiritually going from her parents' family to this person, david, to create a new family. very, very moving. and then, yeah, an awesome party where rebirth brass band played hava nagila, and then jammed for about half an hour. i haven't even been to that many weddings of friends, but sorry, no one's topping this one.

then, i went to hawai'i in march and it was spectacular. here are a few pictures:

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inside the diamondhead crater

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diamondhead lighthouse from the top of diamondhead

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waimea bay on the north shore, aka, now i know where the quiksilver logo came from

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waimea bay

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mountains from kualoa regional park

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snorkeling at hanauma bay nature preserve

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diamondhead from kuhio beach in waikiki

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makapu'u beach from the lookout

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makapu'u beach


sometime since january, i also realized that the governor of michigan's son was in one of my classes, and actually did his field placement at the place where i'm doing mine, a semester before me. also, this girl who won jeopardy was in one of my classes, too. and a bunch of football players, including quarterback devin gardner, were in one of my classes, too. social work is for famous people!

a couple months ago, i also went to a community meeting on homelessness in washtenaw county for my field placement, and they had a line of community members who wanted to ask questions of the panel. so this old guy gets up to the mic, and i'm thinking, okay, i've seen these guys before in gainesville, the old hippies who never left, with their tibetan caps on and long ponytail, talking about the government military-industrial complex, but the older lady next to me whispers to me, do you know who that is? and i said no. she says, that's allen haber, he started students for a democratic society. and i was floored and absolutely ashamed of myself for totally judging this book by its cover. the guy i thought had smoked too much pot back in the day and got trapped in a college town turns out to be the effing founder of SDS! and the reason i know SDS is because when i was little i was a super nerd and took it upon myself to read every single one of my mom's old doonesbury books, the ones that were released in installments, loving every panel even if i didn't quite grasp what they all meant, and i think mark slackmeyer had something to do with SDS, and here i was in the same room with the dude that started SDS! ann arbor's pretty cool that way, like it's a bedrock of transformative ideas or something ;)

went contra dancing in april at the pittsfield grange here in ann arbor. several cool things about this: the pittsfield grange is an old building that was used by farmers back in the day as a meeting place to do non-religious stuff, like have social gatherings (like dances), or political meetings, or town meetings, etc. granges existed in many farm or rural communities, and the pittsfield grange is sill used today for such purposes, though i highly doubt that any of the older regulars at the contra dances now are or were farmers anymore. i sort of knew about contra dancing from charles, the guy who ran counterpoise, the journal where i interned in college. he used to do folk dancing a lot, and when we went to DC for the ALA conference, made plans to go folk dancing with a group he knew up there, even, so big, big folk dancer, that guy. i always thought it was kind of for old people, since charles was pretty old when i knew him, and yes, when we went, there were more old people than young, but there were a good number of young people, and it turned out to be quite strenuous dancing indeed. not only do you have to follow the directions of the caller (and the old people were getting kind of testy with us new people, too, for not knowing what we were doing, and/or doing it badly) but then, the dance moves are so intricate and fast-paced that you have to memorize how to do it very quickly and keep doing it for three or four rounds. but seriously, it was soooooooooooo fun, like going to the atlantic but actually being productive. you know you're getting old when you'd rather dance for productive purposes than for the dark and drink and groovy music. organized dancing for exercise is probs for shizzle the best way to exercise.

on memorial day weekend, ryan and i drove to toronto to visit my dad who was working up there. pretty sweet trip, although the irony was not lost on me that we were going out of the country for one of the most american holidays. we went through port huron, over the blue water bridge, instead of going through the detroit tunnel or over the very scary ambassador bridge, mostly because traffic at the detroit border is pretty crazy. once you cross over the blue water bridge, though, it pretty much still looks like michigan because you're in sarnia, a town not unlike flint, detroit and benton harbor in its shrinking industry and population. when you cross the border out of detroit, on the other hand, you go right into windsor, which looks pretty nice from the detroit side, and gets a lot of tourism for the lower drinking age and casinos. from port huron it was about three hours to toronto, and we drove through hamilton and the greenbelt, also called the golden horsehoe for its stretch around lake ontario from niagara, through hamilton, to toronto (fun fact: this region is part of the great lakes megalopolis!). very pretty countryside, but very, very stinky of cow poo for miles. we tried very hard to go to a jays game, but those canadians apparently love their baseball. we did get to the CN tower, all the way to the top (courtesy of dad), and walked around toronto a lot. saw the university of toronto, which looked very english, and the ontario college of art and design which has a pretty crazy, and very arty, building. we walked through the fashion district (learned that toronto has a fashion district), the financial district, a legitimate and literal chinatown, probably on par if not more so than new york's chinatown, the entertainment district and cityplace, where we were staying. across the street from the condo my dad was renting was canoe landing park, which i just discovered was designed by douglas coupland, the dude who wrote generation x, and happens to be from canada! on our last full day in toronto, dad was working all day, so we decided to just walk around and bar hop. we found this really nice bar with this awesome bartender who made me this incerdibly tasty drink, but i haven't the foggiest idea now what the name of the place or the drink was (bar name:marben; thanks, google maps!). he did give us a tip on kensington market, so we headed in that direction, but wandered aimlessly into chinatown and u of toronto instead, and by this time we had to go to the bathroom really, really badly, so we walked back through the financial district in the general direction of the condo, and found a hospital, where despite my protestations of not wanting to smell the inside of a hospital, but being quite desperate at this point to use a loo, any loo, we went and found one inside without being too conspicuous. we found the ubiquitous irish pub in every city, too, and by that time had walked quite enough, but hadn't yet done everything, so we made a final stop in canadianness at the state-owned liquor store, which appears to just go by the acronym lcbo, or liquor control board of ontario. entering the lcbo felt very much like that scene in slc punk! where they have to drive to wyoming to get beer. everything in toronto was pretty expensive, but toronto itself was nice and extremely walkable. lots of little neighborhoods with lots to do and pretty much something for everyone.

july 4th weekend we went to oshkosh, wisconsin to visit greg. bowersox is always dying to see everyone all at once, so he planned to fly up, so i figured it'd be as good a time as any to drive over to wisconsin and see some of my friends, finally. oshkosh is kind of milwaukee lite, a very small town with lots and lots of bars (it is wisconsin), but it was really cool to just hang out with greg and bowersox. we played disc golf, and i lost my disc in some pretty nasty standing water that i just was like whatever, i don't see anything in there that could bite me, so i just waded in and got my disc. i was still cleaning the dirt out from under my toenails last week. unbeknownst to me, oshkosh is on lake winnebago, a very large, but not great lakes large, and pretty lake, that apparently greg walked across in the winter for some charity bar crawl that sounded utterly ridiculous and like something only people in wisconsin or minnesota would do. we walked around the lake on the 4th, some festival going on, basically an excuse to eat gigantic snow cones and marvel at how very many bikers and other tattooed people there are in wisconsin. bowersox was dying to rent a sailboat and go out on the lake, but there were no rented sailboats to be had, so he was pretty disappointed about that. i realized that most of the time greg and i hang out with bowersox, we're always saying no to things he wants to do mostly because we just can't keep up with his boundless energy. on the way to wal-mart to get food on the 4th, there were a lot of people mowing their lawns, a lot of women, actually, and i think we were listening to an old green day song, and for some reason as i looked out the window onto a bright midwestern day in a small town in the heartland listening to some old quintessential 90s music, i felt more american than i probably ever had in my life. i can't quite put my finger on why, but it's probably due to all of those adjectives. for how i felt, it seemed like i could have been living the lyrics to a mellencamp song right then, about our generation, and while green day is no mellencamp, i think they about sum up the state of american youth in the 90s and who we've grown up to be in this country today.

that about sums up what's been going on since my last twice-yearly post. i'd like to post more frequently, but with all the school work and field and work-study, i don't much feel like jibber-jabbering on the internet most days. but i've always liked sending my thoughts out into the ether, so maybe if i just make it a point to do it a little more frequently, it wouldn't seem like quite such an endeavor as it does when i wait so long.

until next time.
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

for ryan, always doing his best [10th February 2014|01:09 am]
michaele
[Current Music |neko case | star witness]

i made the mistake of reading old lj posts the other night, so the last few days were rough, catapulting back and forth between being glad i'm not 23, or 25, and grieving that i'm not. i read those old posts and think of all the fun i used to have and the people i had such fun with and where i had that fun, and when you go down that path you start rehashing the past, digging up things you probably purposely buried. i put some of the past in a cubbyhole in my mind and a few nights ago that cubbyhole's door fell off and i had to contend with all of the stuff now lying on the floor. so i guess i dealt with it the way i deal with things now, thinking long and hard about it, maybe rationalizing away a bit too much, but it's better than the way i would've handled it 5 or 7 years ago, blabbing on the internet, so reckless with my emotions and other people's feelings. suffice it to say that i have been bitter for a long time about things that i feel i was blamed for, when i'm pretty sure i was just letting someone off the hook for feelings they wouldn't admit they had. whatevsies, person probably doesn't even care anymore, and that's pretty much how it should be, except that i just feel like it wasn't a good ending, couldn't be when you suspect someone's not being honest with you or themselves. i've been mixing up this bitterness and sense of betrayal for the hurt that i really felt, i guess, though i know it was me, too, hastily trying to put it all behind me, so i could move on without being disloyal. i think that's what it mostly was—i didn't feel, frankly, i don't think i ever felt that person was particularly loyal to me. nice presents and pretty songs don't make up much for the persistent and abundantly evident belief that one could find someone prettier and smarter. i don't mean to be unfair, but we're all adults here, and i'm finally making peace with this. and then i found ryan mcavoy! hands down best boyfriend ever. we might be poor and preoccupied with school right now, but a boy has never taken such good care of me, been such a good sounding board and equal in a relationship, and intensely loyal—i have never once had to wonder when he might make up his mind about me. how lovely to be so safe and secure in a relationship. we may not do all of the things that i used to do in my halcyon early twenties, but it's okay, because i know we have time, still, to do those things, that whatever we want to do and wherever we want to go, we'll go and do, together. onward we do fly. and that's about as golden as you're going to get on this lj, baby.

in other, less overwrought news, i heard the greatest story i've heard so far in graduate school, recently, from dr. philip deloria, LSA Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at U-M:

in the 1970s, dr. philip deloria, dakota sioux, was in middle school, and lived one school bus stop away from the lummi reservation outside bellingham, washington, his father a professor at a local college. dr. deloria said in the mornings, the bus got progressively whiter as the bus went from the reservation stop to town, but in the afternoons, the bus belonged to the lummi kids, as the white kids got off one by one. he said not living on the reservation made it easy for people to think he was white, too. so one day, a high schooler from the res, jimmy, i think dr. deloria said his name was—this tall, long-haired, angry kid everyone knew—grabbed dr. deloria's head and smashed his face into the bus window. jimmy said, "look! that's indian land! you stole that land! custer died for your sins, man!" for whatever reason, and probably because dr. deloria looked like all of the other white kids, jimmy had no idea that dr. deloria's dad was in fact vine deloria, jr., dakota sioux, and author of, yes, that very book, custer died for your sins: an indian manifesto. i know i'm not doing this story justice—the way dr. deloria told it was so vivid and charismatic i felt like i was on that bus with him, but needless to say, dr. deloria said irony came early to him as a kid.

a while ago i got my car stuck in some snow and right on a patch of ice, parallel parking near campus. i knew when i left the car, that i was probably going to have to figure out how to get it out, but i figured a miracle would happen and i'd magically coast out of the parking spot upon my return. haha. some girl in a bimmer suv was trying to parallel park behind me when i showed up at my car, and i tried, in vain, to move my car for her, but it just kept treading snow. some super nice undergrad kid took pity on me when he heard my tires spinning and looked over at me panicky trying to go anywhere. i got out and sort of half-heartedly called to him, "how the devil do i get me car out of the snow!?" he came over to the car and said if i scraped some of the snow out of in front of the tires, it should help the tires get some traction, and then he'd be able to push me out. so, i got down and cleared some more snow, and he pushed some, and it wasn't working, so he told me to put it in reverse and then drive again. we did this a couple of times, with him clearing snow intermittently, and finally, he pushed the car, i gave it a little gas and it moved! i had just sold one of my textbooks for the heartbreakingly sad price of eight bucks, so as soon as i was back on the road, i put the car in park, jumped out and said, "you are a saint, man! here," and i thrust the five from my textbook at him. he just laughed and said, "oh no, i'm okay." i said, "are you sure?" and he said, "yeah" and i thanked him again and he turned and walked down the street. the kid was adorbs! kind of looked like this kid. for some reason, i felt like he was from new york or something, somewhere equally cold to have done this before, with the hip street style, slim jeans and pierced ears, but i did not detect an accent. maybe chi-town, then.

ryan and i spent two weeks in san diego at christmas, with his dad and step-mom. they live in this awesome little neighborhood, normal heights, that i was totally enamored of by the end of the trip. on one of our last days, mr. mcavoy and mari took us to this bar they'd been wanting to check out since it had been taken over by someone new. all the time i've been reading gq, i've wanted to go to a bar like the ones they're always writing about, with the bartenders that know their shit and wear newsboy caps, and so it was at the sycamore den, but better! the guy was just wearing a t-shirt and the cap, instead of that super-affected button-down and banker's visor with a freaking monocle or something, because this is socal! chill! so they also played jimmy eat world's clarity all the way through on repeat! aside from the bar, ry and i went to sea world, and though we weren't too enthused to be there since we had just watched blackfish, it was super nice of the mcavoys to get us tickets, especially since i've never been to any sea world, ever. better than that though, were the tickets they got us for a whale-watching trip. i saw so many whales! and dolphins! and not just the water coming out of the whale's blowhole, but their flukes slapping the water, too! it was pretty amazing. got to spend some time with my dad and the lancasters, too, which was awesome since it was christmas and all. and the mcavoys took us out for dinner almost every night, a veritable tasting tour of san diego with crazee burger in north park, blind lady ale house in normal heights and ponce's mexican restaurant in kensington. much to ryan's chagrin, we never did make it to in-n-out, and now i'm just curious as all get out to know what it tastes like. san diego was lovely, though, replete with an irish christmas party and lovely walks in the impossibly temperate climate of southern california. for all of the attention LA gets, someone needs to bestow the much more affordable, less abhorrently superficial virtues of the greater san diego area on would-be visitors to socal. plus, blink 182's from there, so i will always, always love that place. the mcavoys' home was so lovely, too, original wood floors from the building of it in the 1920s, a stately tudor overlooking the canyon, out to qualcomm, with a courtyard in the front, the front door open to the breeze, and jack, their hundred-pound dog passed out on the front door mat in the sun. so relaxing, and exactly what i needed to get away from school and the dismal and unrelenting winter we've been having here.

anywhoodles, it was good to put some words on internet paper again, here, though it was to the detriment of all of the reading i was supposed to be doing. and lest anyone read this and think terrible thoughts of the beginning, i don't mean to offend. this is just the way i sort through things, the good and the bad, and i mean no ill will. all is well in michaele-land, and i hope all is well in all of your lands, too.
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

SW560 Policy Advocacy Assignment! [4th December 2013|04:05 am]
michaele
Hello, my loyal lj readers! As you are well aware, I am currently a student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Michigan. This semester, I am enrolled in SW560 - Introduction to Community Organization, Management and Policy/Evaluation Practice with Dr. Shane Brady. Our assignment was to do, in real time, advocacy on a policy both relevant to social work and interesting to us. I chose the gender wage gap and jumped at the chance to utilize my favorite new media platform, the blog (in my case, just my lil' old lj here), to complete the assignment. Without further ado, and as promised, I present to you my policy advocacy assignment. Thanks for reading!



50 years ago, in 1963, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) was passed by the United States Congress. Back then, women working full-time year-round made 59 cents to every dollar earned by their male counterpart. Today, women working full-time year-round still make less than men⎯77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. That's a little over $11,000.00 a year in median earnings lost by women to unequal pay. And when a woman retires after 40 years in the workforce full-time, that's a little over $443,000.00 she could have had for retirement. Some highlights from the awesome infographic below: If women's pay rose today, this very day, to meet men's pay, the poverty rate of single mothers would drop by 50%. On that same day, the poverty rate of dual-income families would also drop, by 25%. Not only is equal pay good for women and their families, it's good for the country, too. Less poverty means less need for public assistance benefits. And, if women's pay were equal to men's, the United States' Gross Domestic Product would increase by 9%, or $1.3 billion, the equivalent to twice collecting revenue from the state of Texas.

Equal_Education_Unequal_Pay


While the Equal Pay Act leaves some room for improvement (come on, only an 18 cent increase in pay for women since 1963!?), at least it, and the protections it offered, existed. That is, until 2007, when the Supreme Court upheld an appellate ruling overturning the favorable verdict in a pay discrimination case. Lilly Ledbetter managed a Goodyear plant in Alabama, and after nineteen years at the plant, received an anonymous note that she was being paid thousands of dollars less than the other male managers at the plant. Goodyear's policies forbade employees to discuss their pay together, so Lilly had never known about the pay discrimination happening to her. Lilly filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the case went to trial. Lilly won, with the jury awarding her $3.3 million in damages on top of the back-pay due her. But when Goodyear appealed, her favorable ruling was overturned. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the appellate ruling was upheld: because Lilly had not filed her claim within the required 180 days from the first unequal paycheck, she had no standing. This case almost-singlehandedly turned the clock back those 50 years, leaving room for employers to carry on their covert pay discrimination and disregarding all of the protections put in place by not only the Equal Pay Act, but also the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well. In a rare move, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg read her dissenting opinion from the bench, urging Congress to rectify the Supreme Court's decision.

Congress listened, and in 2009, newly-elected President Barack Obama signed his first piece of legislation⎯the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In addition to restoring prior legal protections for anti-discrimination cases, the Lilly Ledbetter Act also institutes the resetting of the 180-day window to file a claim after each discriminatory paycheck, not just from the original decision to discriminate. It's a sad state of affairs when there's a law already on the books, and then a blatantly misguided decision is made, virtually nullifying the original law so that a new law has to be created and passed just to restore the old law. All this is to say that while the Lilly Ledbetter Act was a victory, there is, as with the Equal Pay Act, still room for improvement. Enter the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) is supported by the National Women's Law Center (NCLC), the National Organization for Women (NOW), Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) and the ACLU, as well as Lilly Ledbetter herself!



The PFA is intended to make the Equal Pay Act stronger in several ways. Here are the highlights, but check out this fact sheet from the National Women's Law Center for more detail. If enacted, the PFA would allow for plaintiffs to be awarded compensatory and punitive damages, rather than just the back-pay and liquidated damages allowed now. The PFA would also allow for EPA lawsuits to move forward as class-action suits, enabling everyone harmed by the discrimination to access relief. The PFA would also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with coworkers, something that Lilly Ledbetter herself was forbidden to do by Goodyear. Currently, under the EPA, if employers are found to be paying women less than men for the same work, they can claim that it is based on a "factor other than sex." The PFA would also close this loophole by requiring evidence that the difference in pay is actually caused by something other than sex, and that it is tied to business necessity.

To support the Paycheck Fairness Act yourself, the National Women's Law Center has this handy feature on their website, helping you send a message straight to your Congressperson on the importance of passing the PFA. Right now, the bill is stuck in a Senate committee, so your message could be the voice needed to push it forward!

While the PFA would do much along the way to alleviating the current problem of the gender wage gap, much broader policy measures are needed, as well. In the National Women's Law Center's Executive Summary of their report, "50 Years and Counting: The Unfinished Business of Achieving Fair Pay," the NWLC suggests bridging women's entry into higher-paying male-dominated fields by removing barriers and enforcing anti-discrimination laws, and raising the minimum wage and minimum tipped wage. In the U.S. today, two-thirds of workers receiving minimum wage or less are women. Raising the minimum wage across the genders would narrow the wage gap, as employers paying the most money would likely not raise pay, while the most minimum and tipped wage-earning workers⎯women⎯would see their pay go up. Check out this fact sheet from the NWLC for more details on how raising the minimum wage would help close the gender wage gap.

There's no easy form letter for these last solutions, but that doesn't mean you can't still write your Congressperson and let them know that in order to have any hope of actually eliminating the gender wage gap, broader social policies need to be enacted that would set the bar higher than just keeping wage discrimination at bay. 23 cents isn't that far to go! As a woman about to re-enter the workforce, I don't think I can afford not to see equal pay for equal work in my lifetime. Let's make this a reality, people!

And, just in case you didn't see the video I used to lure people on Facebook into reading this post, I'll just go ahead and put it right here for your viewing edification:



And, just in case you want to know, here's where I got most of this information, too:

NWLC's My Wage Gap site
How the Wage Gap Hurts Women and Families
NWLC FAQ About the Wage Gap
NWLC Fact Sheet: The Wage Gap Over Time
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

(this must be growing up) [21st November 2013|12:37 am]
michaele
[Current Music |Cherry Tree | 10,000 Maniacs]

man, i just re-read some of my very early lj posts. i am so unbelievably glad i got that out of my system. how did i function, being that emo and relationship-inept? i would just like to take this moment to acknowledge how awesome it is to be in a relationship as an adult and not have all of those overly-dramatic tormenting feelings. ew. now i'm really embarrassed. but whatevsies, it made me who i am now. glad i'm not the 23 year-old girl in my class this evening, breaking up with her bf tonight, though.
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

the perils of plagiarization [19th November 2013|12:09 am]
michaele
[Current Music |Vengeance Is Sleeping - Neko Case]

i'm supposed to be writing a 12-page paper on policy responses to poverty in the 1930s and 60s, and instead of complaining to the world via facebook about it, i turn to you, old friend, lj. don't worry, you're getting revived soon, i just okayed using you to complete a policy advocacy assignment for a different class. i know, right?! i actually get to write, on my lj, for a grade. i love social work grad school. surely they do not have this level of freedom and integration of new media at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, but maybe they do at the Ford School of Public Policy. they seem a bit stodgy, but they're position on the spectrum i would say is between SSW and Ross, so it could go either way.

so, now that i've lined up this lj assignment i've started thinking about who reads this thing, because recently, i've been getting weird anonymous comments about people reading it occasionally and liking it and wanting to write on it themselves. first of all, i'm like, hey, do you know this is like my online diary? why would i want someone else's thoughts on here? just so you know. then second of all, i am definitely not going to say anything to you when you leave anonymous comments, you spamhackers. so then i started thinking, since this thing is not set to private and all comments are enabled, what if someone is plagiarizing the hell out of me, like somewhere someone is just reading this and somehow publishing it and making money off of my words. disturbing but, i'm just realizing, i don't really care, because i'm not ever going to try and take any of this stuff and submit it for a grade (except for this upcoming assignment), which is the only case where i'd be worried that it's already published (not because other people are making money off of stuff i wrote--i'm a nerd, so i care about my grades and also access to free public content), because then i would get in trouble for plagiarizing myself by unknowingly plagiarizing someone else who plagiarized me. yeah, okay, so cool. turns out i don't care if those spamhackers appropriate everything i write, i'm not letting them write for me, anyway.

living alone is cool, but not very awesome. it's brought about the sharp stinging realization that i don't have any friends in michigan. bummer. like for realsies, i have a few really good friends from my old job, but i don't ever see them because they live kind of far and school is a timesuck. i guess if i want to hang out with the friends i do have, i should probably quit my bitching and make plans to do so. the most awesome part about living alone though is that i can listen to music really loud at weird times, which comes in handy when you're feeling all mopey and like the only person who understands you in the world is neko case, even though she's just reminding you of other places that you feel like you liked or were better in. ryan did lend me his dad's original bose speakers though, so i'm really jonesing to get my record player and records up here. is it safe to ship a record player if it's all packaged professionally? i really hope so. it would make me a lot less lonely. plus, ryan's mom gave me all of her old records, too. i didn't keep all of them, some were water-damaged, some i had no musical interest in, but dude, i now have clapton's slowhand and bowie's changes! just longing to be listened to!--"a poetry spoken silently between me and the stereo" as against me! so eloquently put it. i'm going home for thanksgiving, so i guess that'll be my mission. also, when does home stop meaning the place where you're from and start meaning where you currently reside? to be discussed at a later date . . . i think i'd like to re-read amy hempel, so i'll pull that out and bring it back with me, too.

better get back to this blasted paper (sometimes i like to sound like my grandaddy). auf wiedersehen, ya'll.
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

sons and daughters [5th October 2013|01:04 am]
michaele
[Current Music |the decemberists | sons and daughters]

i should be doing a lot of homework right now, but instead i'm listening to the decemberists. i've never liked the decemberists because i think colin meloy's voice just sounds so hollow and tinny and emotionless, but i've also been tearing through the ninth season of the office (free $100 itunes card with the purchase of an expensive new laptop!), and in what i've read was a widely panned episode, "the farm," all the schrutes (or scrutes, if you're abby) gather 'round on dead aunt shirley's porch and folkjam "sons and daughters." when they were singing it, i thought it might be a decemberists song, and sure enough, they played the decemberists version at the end of the episode, but in the moment that i saw all of the schrutes playing along and singing, i thought, what a perfectly schrute-like song, so putting the decemebrists in the context of being the schrute family house band, i think i may rather like some of their more ornate elegiac anthems, rather than the soft, simple stuff i heard in college (with the possible exception of "red right ankle," which i've always loved since i heard a girl i interned at counterpoise with play it one day at charles' house before she left for her guitar lesson). "sons and daughters" specifically, feels and sounds kind of like the perfect song to soundtrack the last season of the office, too. lots of harmony, grand, sweeping orchestration. i have five more episodes to go, but i miss it already. i don't know why i stopped watching, it's still hilarious; darryl falling onto the christmas party table was about as classic as "the injury" or michael driving into lake scranton.

classes i'm taking:

Human Differences, Social Relationships, Well-Being, & Change Through the Life Course (biopsychosocial stuff; i feel like i just learned most of this stuff because i just had to read an entire book on human bio for social workers for a test i had to take because i didn't meet the biological determinants of human behavior class requirement prior to enrolling--which i passed!)
Organizational, Community and Societal Structures and Processes (lots of theory that i have a lot of trouble extrapolating from for the papers)
Interpersonal Practice with Individuals, Families and Small Groups (lots of role-plays)
Introduction to Social Welfare Policy and Services (my favorite class! i love learning about and discussing public policy!)
Introduction to Community Organization, Management and Policy/Evaluation Practice (community organizing! or, how to be president of the united states)
Practice Seminar in Child Maltreatment: Assessment and Treatment (sad stuff; what everyone thinks of when they hear the words "social work")

hey, now i'm listening to the new pornographers' twin cinema and the song that was on that university of phoenix commercial a couple of years ago is playing right now. that single commercial, and only that one commercial, and its use of this song, made university of phoenix look cooler than any other school, and the coolest it'll probably ever look itself, but too bad the school itself is a rip-off :(

i really like ann arbor. it's like a little bit bigger version of gville, but north, and with a stupid stadium. seriously, michigan stadium is terrible. because it is the biggest stadium in the country and the third largest stadium in the world, it is a terrible experience for the actual crowd. ryan and i went to see the game against toledo--toledo, mind you--and we were jammed in like sardines in bleacher seats. it's also a bowl, so even though you can, remarkably, see the players on the field, you feel completely and utterly removed from the game. i get the weekly athletic emails about the games and i think they include the capacity of away-game stadiums as some sort of subtle booya to the opponent. i don't know if anyone's told the university of michigan athletic department this, but stadium capacity doesn't really count for anything, especially if it doesn't add anything to your home-field advantage. take it from a gator, yo. even ryan admits that florida field is a way better experience for the game-goer.

i guess this is as good an introduction to life in ann arbor as any, for now. i seriously have to do homework now. gotta get a lot of it done before 7 pm tomorrow, when the gators play arkansas. ryan hooked me up with his dad's old bose stereo speakers and a tuner, so it is going to sound amazing. night ya'll.
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

mud hens [16th June 2013|12:51 am]
michaele
work is kind of terrible in that i have absolutely no time, or the will to do anything other than veg out when i get home, or on the weekends, but that is about to change when i go back to school in september!!!!!!!!!!! i'll be starting the master's of social work program at the university of michigan and am totally, totally psyched. a year and a half and hopefully, i'll have a freaking master's degree. whoa. so, sorry about not updating very much here. blame it on the hour of case notes i bring home at least three times a week, and the fact that my beloved but charmingly decrepit ibook finally bit the dust maybe six months ago? yep, one day it just went blue-screen on me, and then i started messing with it, from different advice on the internet, and got it to go into program code mode, and that was the last time i touched it. hopefully i didn't eff it up too bad to get everythig off of it and on to a new computer when i get one.

anyway, the reason for this post is mostly to talk about two things: telegraph avenue and the toledo mud hens. i'm reading telegraph right now, and while it's an extremely good read, by one of the best fiction writers of the present era, michael chabon (see: the amazing kavalier and clay, the final solution, the yiddish policeman's union), it is also remarkably a story i have read before that was also remarkably way better done by the original writer. there are marked differences, i'll grant it that, but i just can't shake the feeling that chabon read jonathan lethem's the fortress of solitude and said, "hey! i want to write this story, too!" they even both use the san francisco area as a setting, though fortress covers nyc, too. i just feel like somehow, lethem conjured up the pain of the nostalgia and memories, and fleshed out the characters better, and that chabon is just doing some clever writing, dropping all these references in a way that suggests that he doesn't really know these things to be true or in his heart himself, but rather, just did some very, very thorough and excellent research on the cultish subjects at hand. nonetheless, like i said, it's still a very good story, a very entertaining read, one i've enjoyed in that awesome can't-put-it-down summer read sort of way. but it was written way better, by someone else, ten years ago. :(

next, the toledo mud hens! just got tickets for a game next saturday against the pawtucket red sox, whom ryan has actually seen play in pawtucket (his dad's from boston). super excited to hang out in toledo next weekend and possibly get some watermelon beer (you better find the place that sells it, ryan!).

also, because i literally just talked to ryan about this, i'll go ahead and share with ya'll that we went to see mud tonight and it was the best movie i've seen in a really, really long time. it reminded me a lot of the dangerous lives of altar boys, but left me way, way more satisfied at the depths to which it plunders the human heart and condition. i guess altar boys kind of leaves you with the view of the kids, just being confused as shit and not fully understanding how deep life can cut you (i've always felt like altar boys just grazed the surface, but of what, i haven't the foggiest idea), so maybe it's on purpose that i felt that way, a purposeful tactic of the narrative. anyway, it didn't serve altar boys too well, especially when you compare it to a movie like mud, though i'm not sure there is going to ever be anything like mud because it was just that exceptional. mud was beautiful and somehow, during the movie, i felt myself thinking, "this is quite emotional, but it's going to a place in me beyond crying, a place where i feel like i am witnessing the world being revealed to me through this kid's eyes." the kid who plays ellis, and freakng matthew mcconaughy????!!! matthew mcconaughy???@!!! if he isn't nominated for an oscar for this, he will have been robbed at gunpoint, pretty much, because i never even knew this guy could act. and never has his drawl, lilt, accent ever sounded so natural and not smarmy, like it just melts right in with the lucero on the soundtrack and the arkansas rivers it runs through. beautiful, just, beautiful. see it. (also, just found out, via the instant magical mysteries of the internet, that the witer/director of mud is the brother of ben nichols from lucero, and cites mark twain as an influence, which is funny since one review of mud called it huckleberry finn meets stand by me. incidentally, there was a specific scene in the movie where michael shannon's character is sitting in his trailer with all of these punk band flyers on the wall, and i thought distinctly that that seemed like a similar relation to music that the lead singer from lucero might have, being all country and southern, but still punk. turns out i was on to something! i bet jeff drew some inspiration for shannon's character from his brother!)

for now, though, i have to work tomorrow, on a sunday :( rotating sundays, but i'll probably take the monday after the mud hens game off. yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah buddy!
Linkeverybody put your best suit or dress on

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