Wednesday, June 25, 2008

for the love of money

So while I'm splashing around in the playground that is Corporate America I like to listen to Pandora -- especially the Outkast station. I strongly urge you to try it out. Every station I've created (Alicia Keys, Kirk Franklin, Estelle, James Morrison, Stan Getz, and Outkast I think are all of them) has been fantastic but it's like Outkast fools the algorithms or whatever is used by the Music Genome Project. Yesterday it went off on an R&B tangent and today it was suddenly hard rap from 1996-1998 and two days ago I think it turned into house music. It's a good way to get exposed to some music you never heard before -- and it saves iPod Jr.'s battery power.

Speaking of amazing new electronics, check out my new baby:I walk into work the other day, all geeked about my new phone which, for the record, is a very classy "wine-red." I haven't had a colorful phone since the era of Nokias that got out of hand with the face plates. I whip it out for my coworkers so they can ooh and awe and the first thing I hear is, " got a maroon phone?!" I go around all day "hookin em horns," all proud because I'm the youngest in the office and still in school, holding my own, and my silly behind has to sit there defending my color choice to my Aggie colleagues. Ain't that bout a.... but it's really sleek and cute, and I knew it was time for a change when the other night in the club I flip open my phone to text and my friend, who has to be 3 years younger, has the nerve to say, "Oh no girl, we have got to do better." Why does she need a Blackberry? Just to check her Facebook!?

True story: The other night I went to a Class of 1998 high school reunion at The Ivy Lounge. I didn't go to that high school, grow up in that city, know anyone who did, or graduate anywhere near 1998. With that said we had a good time and more importantly they played a lot of fantastic music from 1998. Do you know what a good year that was to graduate high school!? That was the hey day of Puff Daddy, Biggie, Mase, Usher, not to mention every great Texan rapper to ever lay something on wax. That was the first stop of several that evening and at the end of the night I finally admitted Dallas' legitimacy as a city. It's nowhere near the level of Space City, but it's tolerable when you have good company.

A few things you can read to expand your horizons today:

-- An article from a UT faculty member about the importance of bouncing back in the face of hardship as a key to thriving as opposed to simply surviving. Outstanding.

Then there's the gold medal level of resilience, which Steinhardt refers to as "stepping up." This is when you do whatever it takes to meet a challenge and in the process you advance to an even higher level of functioning and wellbeing. You are thriving rather than just surviving.

"When we talk about resilient people," says Steinhardt, "we refer to 'the three C's.' These individuals see challenge as an opportunity, not occasion for fight or flight. They have a strong value system and are genuinely committed to the people in their lives and to the activities in which they're involved.

"And, finally, they have a sense of control and believe they have the power to influence things and make things better—they don't feel like victims and lack initiative. A resilient person is like a tree that's branches are flexible and bend with the wind rather than crack and break under pressure."

-- Does Obama back ethanol? I think it's tragic it takes our big country forever to get the wheels in motion for fossil fuel alternatives and when we finally do we're all "Doh! We use corn for food too?" Rising food prices, apocalyptic flooding in the bread basket, crazy subsidies, and government guidelines for the amount of corn that has to go towards ethanol's enough to make you want to splurge on a hydrogen car.

-- My faithful readers will know I've been keeping an eye on the election in Zimbabwe. Last time we tuned in Tsvangirai had more than likely won the election by a slight majority. Since then Mugabe, the incumbent candidate, and his supporters have been persecuting and terrorizing all supporters of the opposition. Tsvangirai has had to flee the country during this time and finally the world has started to take notice as the run off election approaches. There's a lot of international pressure for Mugabe to stop the terrorism but does Mugabe really care if he's not a knight anymore in the eyes of British? Or if America is recognizing the election? Or if Mandela says he doesn't like him? In a similar vein I'm reading a GREAT book called "What is the What" by Dave Eggers. It's the story of a Sudanese refugee and his journey as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It's an easy read and so horrific and terrific at the same time that I have a hard time deciding if I'm too overwhelmed to continue reading it. Here's an excerpt to whet you palate:

With one hand still gripping the handle of the gun, he now puts his hand to my chest. "Why don't you sit your ass down and watch how it's done?"

I take two steps backward and sit on the couch, also a gift from the church. An apple-faced white woman wearing a tie-dyed shirt brought it the day Achor Achor and I moved in. She apologized that it hadn't preceded our arrival. The people from the church were often apologizing.

I stare up at Powder and I know who he brings to mind. The soldier, an Ethiopian and a woman, shot two of my companions and almost killed me. She had the same wild light in her eyes, and she first posed as our savior. We were fleeing Ethiopia, chased by hundreds of Ethiopian soldiers shooting at us, the River Gilo full of our blood, and out of the high grasses she appeared. Come to me, children! I am your mother! Come to me! She was only a face in the grey grass, her hands outstretched, and I hesitated. Two of the boys I was running with, boys I had found on the bank of the bloody river, they both went to her. And when they drew close enough, she lifted an automatic rifle and shot through the chests and stomachs of the boys. They fell in front of me and I turned and ran. Come back! she continued. Come to your mother!

....and by request - Happy Birthday Biggie! :


Reggie said...

Dave Eggers! He used to write for the San Francisco Weekly. I'm trying to get a fellowship there (or at one of the other Village Voice publications *fingers crossed*). If you haven't read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (you probably have), it's been officially recommended to you.
I watched a documentary over Christmas break that followed Lost Boys who were sponsored to come to America. It was depressing because a lot of them ended up falling by the wayside, getting caught up in our society's many distractions instead of actually going to school and getting their lives back on track. I'll have to pick up What is the What. I've been letting work get in the way of my reading...

BIG JESSE aka Biggie said...

Thanks Bestfriend