Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Great Climate Debate and other stuff.

Ooooookay. So I think I jinxed my stinkbug winter companion. The next morning after writing my last post I found him kind of sprawled out on the carpet right in front of my mirror-- stone dead.

I decided not to take a picture.

He's still there, though, if you want to come by and pay your respects.

In other news, I have been busy with the classes I'm auditing. Spanish is rolling right along. Globalization Issues is a new perspective for me. I haven't taken many classes like this before, studying humanity rather than nature! But I find it fascinating and enlightening..as well as depressing. The general theme is: the big fat politicians of the good ol' US of A tricked almost the entire rest of the world (focusing, of course, on the 3rd world countries) to do our bidding under the guise of "progression and development" and we get all the riches, the power, the natural resources. Journalism is great, it's getting me thinking about all the nitty gritty of the legal aspects, ethics and how journalism is developing in these craaazy times! Finally, Swimming. It rocks. I really enjoy it and it's good to give my crackling knees a break. I officially can swim 3/4ths of a mile with hardly any breaks to catch my breath! I feel good about that :)

Oh, so here's something really fun and interesting I've been doing this week. I found an article through my hubpages site about how Al Gore messed up and said something about global warming that the opponents found to be untrue, so of course they are taking that to the bank and saying that global warming isn't real, it's all a joke. Well the frustrating thing was that the author and all of the people who commented on his article were all opposing global warming based on unjust things: not just what Gore said (who, last time I checked, wasn't a scientist) but also how the warmest January in record is reported in the same paper that displays articles screaming about another snowstorm slamming the eastern US...this is a perfect example of confusing climate data with weather reports. The author points to a couple that committed suicide and blamed it on global warming and he blames it on the government putting fear in our hearts...well, I read through his article and all of the comments made by people putting him up on a pedestal with his good information and points, and I felt crazy frustrated. I had to write a comment. A comment-turned essay. I will subject you to that now, mwahaha...

stacebird 3 days ago
You are all doing exactly what RTalloni said that we Believers in Climate Change are doing, swallowing the news that leans toward your 'preferred' reality "hook, line and sinker".
Also, where Petra mentions how "experts can't predict accurately tomorrow's weather, but they speculate about 40-50-60 years from now"..well there is a different between global temperature *trends* tracked (over long periods of time) to build a more reliable data base for comparison and means for prediction while the daily differences in the weather are so short term that there is, as of yet, no way to be completely sure from one day to another. Climate and weather are very different things.
And, the government isn't the one responsible for creating that "climate of fear" she speaks of, in fact they are only just recently (finally!) accepting the fact of climate change. Rather, the government has been very busy funding certain agencies and paying underpaid scientists the big bucks to deliver (manipulate?) the data that your side of the fence is so desperate to cling on to.
With global warming, the key is to not focus on what the media is spouting. No matter which way it may be skewed, what is being said it is not necessarily all truth. Both sides (mine and yours) have made some pretty misleading allegations. What is problematic is that the media is causing us to focus on the more recent changes in weather from year to year, much too short term. And I've often heard people (some from this very comment section included!) claiming that a huge snow discounts or record hot days in February supports this idea of climate change.
Instead of obsessing over the month to month or year to year changes in the weather, what everyone needs to focus on is the fact that we are pouring carbon dioxide into our atmosphere at a rates that far surpass anything that has ever been seen. This is the reason we are certain that global warming is real, CO2 directly increases atmospheric temperatures. CO2 is what is going to get us in trouble and we're increasing its load in the atmosphere daily at disgusting rates.
The idea of climate change is something the world has endured and survived for its entire existence. The clincher is that we are changing the climate at a rate that is 100,000 times faster than past fluctuations have ever done. So now how are we, much less the natural environment that relies on evolving over thousands and thousands of generations, expected to keep up?
I appreciate the opportunity to comment, particularly to be the first commenter on the opposite side of a very one-sided discussion. Please visit my hubpage as I intend to address this issue for the wider public in the near future.

So there you go...it's a little bit harsh at points, perhaps, but I was just really fired up. He wrote me back a doosie which I just finished the reply for tonight (yea, 2 pages long in Word). I'm going to wait to see where that one takes us in this debate, but I'll give you guys a more in-depth view once I let it brew for awhile and maybe produce some really interesting outcomes. It's all in good fun, he seems glad of the fact that I am joining in on the discussion, so, I'm gonna keep it up til I feel like I've well represented my view!

So there you go!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Writing Fool

So here's what I've been up to lately..my main objective, of course, is to write as much as possible but also get my name out there and get people reading my writing. I've been scouring the internet and have found two good sites where I've been able to contribute articles. The sites are completely made up of articles written by citizen journalists so I feel like I'm in league with everyone else. You can write about any topic you want and so I've had a good opportunity to just kind of play around. Here are the two stories I wrote on my hubpages site:



I was super excited to discover that other "hubbers" had commented on my writing not even an hour after I'd posted! It seems like this will be a great site to get to know freelance writers (some of the people who contribute are really quite accomplished!) and find out how they make their living solely on writing. Already I've had a couple offer some really great advice, not to mention the value of reading some of their articles on becoming a writer.

I also joined Suite101 which is similar but not as user friendly or aesthetically pleasing as HubPages. I did publish a story there too, though.


It's been fun just typing away, and checking out some really great resources as I go. In fact, I've been totally obsessing over it all, writing til 4:30 in the morning, spending hours and hours in starbucks on my computer, reading writer's digest on my free time between classes. Yea, I'm excited!

Now it's a matter of getting traffic to my stories, get people reading them, the more that read them, the higher the "score" or ranking so that your article has more chance of being seen if someone searches one of your keywords. For now, I'll keep everyone up to date via my own connections and see where this goes.

On another note, remember how bad the stinkbugs were last summer? I have one that has made my room his winter getaway. I don't have any idea what he must be eating, but he's been living here for months! The funny thing is, I think he's in love with me..no matter where he is in my room, he always is slowly making his way toward me, be he on the ceiling, in the closet, on my lampshade. He slowly walks toward me and I'm sitting there writing or reading in my bed when suddenly I feel him crawl onto my shoulder or he comes striding over the top of my knee. Right now he is crawling up the side of my computer screen...I seriously flicked him away three times in a row until finally I gave in. Well now he's off on some other adventure. I should probably go too. Until next time!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Hullo again. Okay so I haven't been as great at keeping up with this blog like I wanted to but I blame it on the fact that my classes really started kicking into gear, workwise, after posting the first one of this "series".

BUT I haven't not been writing. I'm actually pretty pleased because one of my classes is Intro to Journalism. My teacher advised anyone who wanted to be a journalist to start getting things published, ASAP, because that is what truly will make you look good to future employers: a portfolio. So, I joined the college newspaper...officially! I filled out the online application, sent it in, was "accepted" and attended my first official newspaper staff meeting, a-hohoho! Well, ignore that last little bit of bragging in the form of stupid obnoxious laughter because here's what my application looked like in the "prior experience" section..

1. High school newspaper-NONE
2. High school yearbook-NONE
3. High school news Website-NONE
4. High school broadcasting-NONE
5. College newspaper-Yours! Last month you published my review of a little park where you can walk around the pretty lake and see nature!! (..is there pity in your eyes?)
6. College yearbook-NONE
7. College news Website-NONE
8. College broadcasting-NONE

...they must've been pretty desperate...

Well, nonetheless, I'm on the paper! What's more, I get to use my own idea for my next article! I'm going to write about my travels to the spanish school in a small town in Nicaragua where I got a lesson in history that painted my entire view of that community. I was really taken aback by what I learned about this strong, beautiful, dedicated group of people. What did I learn? Well you're going to just have to wait til it's published!

So I'm starting to think that my adult life (assuming I ever become an adult..) as a writer (assuming I ever become a writer...) will consist of many hours in front of the computer (obviously), resulting in a frightening sight. See, when I look at a computer screen for more than an hour or so, my eyes become a disturbing shade of red. These shots of blood running across the whites of my eyes are there, not just for a couple hours but rather for a good 12 HOURS. I guess I just don't blink when I'm staring at the screen. So picture me in the future, working away in my dark, damp cave with eyes gleaming of blood. You might offer eye drops if you're brave enough to come close, or suggest a good night's rest, but these do nothing to combat the intrusion of bulging, bursting veins. Well, another reason to embrace my introvertedness!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where the heck to begin.

So this is the jump off point of my writing career. A career that is in the vague and distant future at the moment. Nonetheless, everything I've read about becoming a writer screams "practice constantly!", "write something every day!". Basically, hock one onto your computer screen and hope it's legible. So that's what I'm doing now, winding up for the pitch...

Here is what I like to draw in when I think of that vague and distant future: I'm a freelance writer, I've published enough "quality" work that I can work remotely and contribute to a variety of interesting (to me) magazines, websites, magazine-websites...yes. So there I am, tapping away for a period of time each day while occasionally stopping to look out my huge window at a beautiful, mountainous view, framed by trees that make up the forest in which my rustic little home is nestled..

Now, how hard does it really have to be so hard to reach that point? I want to revel in the introverted character that is me and live a lifestyle appropriate to it. I still plan to be within biking distance to various indulgences-some sort of local cafe with an abundance of rich desserts and good coffee, a natural food store, a gym (to follow the desserts with). I just don't want to always have to be somewhere, to have a dress code, to compete to be the best..whatever.

In this vision of my future that I'm making here, I don't plan on spending money on anything that is unnecessary (except for the indulgences..). I am not a materialistic person by any means-a year after buying my first car, and brand new at that, I gave it to my brother. My lifestyle should be fairly simple, not too expensive. But does that mean I'd be able to support it, with the wages of a freelance writer?

Well for now, I'm pointing myself toward graduate school. I have it in my mind that if I'm able to say "I have a graduate degree in Journalism" that it will mean the powers that be (or, that is, the editors..) will desire whatever it is that I have to contribute and will pay me with gusto. That's how it works, right?

In the journalism books and online articles I've been pouring over lately, I've gotten the inkling that freelance writing is kind of the starting point for those who are building up their portfolio so that they can become editors. I don't want to claw my way up that high. I'm content to stay around the bottom, if I can. Not that freelancing is really the bottom, but rather, if one wants to make a stable income, they need to either become best pals with some great magazines to have a guaranteed in as a contributing writer or they integrate some other income sources into their career, like (gag) teaching or consulting.

I think there is hope, though! See, I'm writing, this is me right now working to better my future, each word.... ..every...single......l..e..t..t..e..r.....I'm practicing!! So you practice too, if you're on this track as well and together we will make ourselves better and better, one day after another.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Connecting the Dots

Hello again my dear reader buds! Sorry for the long absence, it's been a bumpy but overall great road! I have been feeling sad for leaving this blog dormant but I will tell you why I did it.

I was not particularly comfortable seeing the posts I'd filled it with on my Peace Corps adventures in Guatemala. This is due to the fact that I ended my time in Peace Corps after about four and a half months down there.

I don't for a second regret the experiences I was so fortunate to be a part of. I also don't regret leaving.

After three months of cultural, language, and job training, I was placed in the site where I was to spend the next two years. Nothing about the amount of time I'd be away from states or the fact that I had to live a lifestyle very different from that in the US had anything to do with my leaving. I relished the opportunity to live abroad, take bucket baths, kill a chicken for dinner, and sleep with all manner of insect and who knows what else crawling around my room. In these aspects, I make the perfect candidate to gleefully lead the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer. What I hadn't anticipated was that which went on inside my head. Feelings of inadequacy, not smart enough, strong enough, outgoing enough, innovative enough, just plain old not good enough. These are feelings that I've battled for many years now. Feelings that bring me down to depths that I can't see a way out of.

Depression is a well known disease in my family. Many of us have been and are struggling with it. No matter where I go, I can't seem to escape it. I couldn't escape it, not even in another country. So there I sat, disbelief filling my entire being as I hung up the phone after having talked to the Peace Corps nurse about how horrible I was feeling. Such an awful, familiar feeling.

From there I left my site to take the long bus ride to Antigua where I met with the therapist at the Peace Corps office. After telling her about the past and current me, together we decided that going back to the states was the best option. There I would have easy access to all that I would need to help get me out of that hole.

So suddenly Guatemala faded off behind me and I'd returned to the states.

Connecting the dots between that point and this one now, I would say that there was a good deal of therapy involved, in both person and pill form. I've been living with my parents (ahh, just another fun and humiliating thing to share with all the world, all you readers!) and have been auditing classes as my local community college. Between classes and unemployed loser-dom, I've managed to make a few side excursions. North Carolina, New York, Nicaragua, Florida..you get one guess on which was my favorite!

So life is plugging along and now I'm taking a new route. Zig-zagging through life is nothing new, but it is certainly something I have really enjoyed. And continue to. Not knowing where I'll be a year from now..hell, six months from now!

Um, the dots are getting closer, right? Well I'm in classes until May and by the end of March I hope to know which (if any) grad school wants to take me as an aspiring writer/journalist. So there, dots connected. Now I just have to fatten up the line between them in posts to come...

Thanks for listening..er, reading.