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acer_genus [userpic]

Sorata, surrounded by Beauty

December 24th, 2010 (10:13 pm)

(June 2010)
I´ve been here at the internado for a little over a week. Today was a big day. I went for a great hike and I had my first real interactions with the students here.

I hiked to the Gruta de San Pedro, about 11 km from Sorata. I spent about 5 hours hiking, and 1 hour in the cave. I got up nice and early, ate breakfast, picked up some water and cookies for snacks, and was on the road by 8 or 8 :15. I think I got there by 10 :45 or so, because I hustled and didnt stop and I was floating on the water in the cave by 11 am. The cave has the biggest cavbern I´ve ever been in. Though I guess I haven´t been in too many. It has a 300 to 350 meter long pond in it. Someone hauled in some paddleboats that you can rent for 5 Bs. Good fun.

I was the only persona round apart from the caretakers. I took some time to walk around the cave as well. The cave passage continues, but the electric lighting only extends to 480m inside the cave. There were lots of bats. I don´t know how the lighting or noise from visitors affects them, but I imagine it´s an important home for them.

Walking back, I passed 6 tourists on their way to the cave, in groups of 2. Around 1 pm. I noticed all the women working in San Pedro on the same field at once. Either the field is communal or everyone helps with each others´fields. Very nice. I noticed that the little kids were supervised by a man while the women worked. I also noticed that most of the buildings in the community enclosed the soccer field. Hmmm.

Illampu was in full glory as I walked back to Sorata. The clouds had cleared while I was in the cave.
The change in vegetation is really intesting. In Sorata, there are trees, shrubs, and flowing streams. By the time you reach the cave, there are cacti, few trees, and the streams are dry. It looks and feels much drier.

There was almost no traffic in the morning. Only 2 motorcycles passed me on my walk to the cave. By the afternoon, traffic had picked up, and there were mini-buses, camiones, and taxis traveling both directions on the road.

I also taught some of the boys how to play hearts last night. It isn´t a hard game, and they picked it up quickly.

The dynamics here at the internado are a little odd. No one really talks to me except Eucebio and Valeria, the little 4 year old. The students are a Little irrisponsible and must be scolded every few days about something. Mostly it´s about doing their homework and keeping their grades up. But it´s also about cleaning up after themselves, doing chores, and such. Typical teenagers I suppose.
The cook helper doesn´t know what to think of me. She never talks to me but looks at me with a kind of apprehensive disbelief.

I have no idea what the other kids think of me. I do know that I am not a good teacher of Enlish. Although I am not trained so what can one expect ?

There is a little dog named Tooki, or Tuki, or Tuky, who was very suspicious of me at first. There is also a very beautiful cat who patroles the diningroom for mice. There are 2 chickens with featherw on their heads that make them look like Moe Howard. And there is a flock of parakeets that make a racket. I like them.

There is a beautiful old foot-powered Singer sewing maching in the dining room.

Someone keeps unpluggingthe refrigerator with my food in it. Which is OK, because there is nothing in there that will spoil in 24 hours in there. I keep plugging it back in. Electricity is expensive here, and I don´t blame whoever it is for disconnecting it, but I offered to keep my food in the main fridge, and the cook said I could keep it in the other fridge. ???

I have spent at least 100 Bs. , a little over $14, on research and school supplies, and have spent hours researching and planning. I have given Ruben a summary of my research and thoughts about the possibility of a solar electric system on the roof here at the internado.

I have been eating 2 meals a day prepared by the cook, and I prepare breakfast by myself. Breakfast is usually an Omelet with chard, fruit, and rice or potatoes from the previous nights´dinner. I have been eating lots of yogurt since it is tangy and sweet.

I love papaya ! I also eat grapefruit and bananas. Here bananas are called Platanos. I don´t know what they call plantains here.

I showed the kids here my leatherman multitool, and they thought i twas pretty cool.

Did you know that when Metallica played in Guate, they charged 700-800 Quetzales for a ticket ? 800 Qz. Is 100 dollars. No-one but the Guatemalan upper class can afford those kinds of prices. Metallica hasn´t had any integrity for at least 15 years at this point.

I´ve been filling my water bottle with boiled tap water. In La Paz it´s a little harder bacause I don´t always have access to a stove, so I pay 4 or 5 Bs for a 2L of water. Here in Sorata it´s defiinitly 5 Bs. One L of yogurt is 10 Bs. There are 7 Bs. to the dollar.

There are 19 students at the internado. 6 or 7 girls, and 12 or 13 boys. I´m not sure entirely who is a student and who isn´t. The majority are in secondary, which is like high school. The rest, maybe 2/5, are in primary, which is like elementary and middle schools.

The internado used to be a hostel, the Hostel Sorata. The sign is still up 5 years after becoming an internado. I think Eucibio said that the sign is a good reference for deliveries and visitors. After 5 years, they are finally making a sign for the internado.

Still having weird constipation issues. I left my Metamucil in Xela. I´ll try to buy some when I get back to La Paz. Actually, there is a pharmacy here. I havent´checked it.

acer_genus [userpic]

(no subject)

November 16th, 2009 (06:01 am)

Hey doods. what's up? just checking this thing. Haven't been journaling at all lately.

acer_genus [userpic]

A Meditation on “American Psycho”

August 1st, 2009 (09:48 am)
Tags:

I am not a child of the 80’s.  I was born in 1977, and turned 13 early in 1990, so perhaps my identity matured in the 1990’s.  But, growing up, I lived in fringe suburban Connecticut; my family did not have cable, my parents did not listen to pop music, and they did not watch contemporary movies.  My mother listened to classical music and only watched movies from the 30’s to the 50’s.  I often wish I were a teenager in the late 70’s to see Joy Division in concert, or go to a Minor Threat show in the early 80’s.  My first impressions of New York City are from visiting my relatives in Queens, taking my first Subway ride with my father and Uncle Frank to the Brooklyn Bridge. The cars were noisy as hell and covered with graffiti.  I was present at the street fairs celebrating the Statue of Liberty’s 100th birthday. 

I just saw American Psycho.  An amazing movie.  It’s about a Wall Street manager, younger than me, who goes loony.  By the end, you don’t know what’s really going on—What is reality and what is not. 

The 80’s were a reaction to the destruction of the hope for humanity that was nurtured during the 60’s.  The 60’s started with the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and ended with the overthrow of Salvador Allende, the president of Chile, in 1971.  The Cuban Revolution was a joyful revolution, one that the United States opposed vehemently, thereby belying the true nature of the American State.  The coup in Chile was supported by the United States and led to great suffering, political murders, and political kidnappings in Chile. 

The United States government supported assassinations and actively sought to destroy the hope that was building around the world, but especially in the United States, where those in power, the politicians and executives, were afraid that all this revolutionary spirit would end their way of life.  COINTELPRO, other clandestine domestic surveillance and terrorist programs, and the maturation of public relations served to destroy this hope. 

Eventually the hope died, and the MEANING of life was forgotten.  The 80’s, which many consider to have started with the killing of John Lennon or the election of Ronald Reagan, were a manifestation of the madness that followed.  What happens when you lose hope or meaning?  The people of the United States went mad.  Some people, like my parents, rejected this culture for one of isolation and nostalgia.  Others turned to punk, drugs, or money. 

American Psycho is about the insanity that pervaded American Culture during the 80’s. 
The Wall Street workers have nothing on their minds except ego, money, and ultimately, power over others and revenge.  This is perfectly illustrated by Patrick’s obsession with looks, and by the amazing Business Card Scene.  I capitalize this because it is so important.  Yes, important!  The executives have an ad hoc competition of business cards.  To the viewer, they are almost all identical, except for one card, which we can see has a slightly different paper texture.  But the trivial details that differ are mutated into a hierarchy: who is better than who, and, more importantly, who is wealthier, more impressive, and powerful than the others. 

The movie succeeds as a simple Thriller as well.  What suspense!  Patrick’s shy, naïve, sympathetic secretary Jean, is seduced by Patrick’s power and looks, and comes over to his apartment to have drinks.  We know that Patrick has killed before and that he is insane, but Jean is blind to this.  I found myself exhorting Jean to Leave! Leave!  Don’t be seduced!  Get out! Before he kills you!  She is saved by a phone call from Patrick’s fiancé, and Patrick, in a rare moment of self-awareness, warns Jean that if she stays, bad things might happen to her.  Does this scene lend some humanity to Patrick?  Make him slightly more sympathetic? 

Another favorite scene of mine is toward the end of the movie.  Patrick and his corporate pals are in a café, watching Ronald Reagan make a speech on television.  One of them actually calls Reagan out as a liar, asks if any of his friends are fooled.  Patrick responds, “who cares?” –the perfect response of a man whose ideals have been destroyed—destroyed by the disappointment of the 60’s. 

Since then, the United States has been split.  Indeed, the world has been split.  Into those who care and who want to live out ideals, and those apologists for capitalism, the destruction it causes, and the madness of the post 60’s world. 

Where I went to college, greater ideals were palpable.  Maybe 80 percent of the student had some strong ideals they believed in.  Some were Palestinians who wanted to free their people; some were young feminists who wanted to end rape and our culture that encourages it; some, including me, were environmentalists who wanted big companies and governments to stop destroying forests, mountains, grasslands, and coastal wetlands from over logging, extracting fossil fuels, or sucking up the water supply. 

But I went to a small, liberal arts college.  Since then, I have had the opportunity to observe a larger university in the University at Albany.  It’s a huge party school.  Many people only care about getting a hot job after graduation.  I was castigated after posting a new article about corporations on campus on a website; one woman wrote back that she had ideals and all, but she was going to school to get a diploma so she could get a job.  

It’s not wrong for people to want things they may need like housing and food and such, but no one needs 80,000 dollars a year.  It is very possible to live, in the US, on 10, 000 or less. 

The problem is that our entire society is structured so it is really difficult to do so.  Lots of people in the 60’s realized this, and began the work needed to change this, but, yes you got it, they were steamrolled by the government and especially the rich corporations.  How on earth can a wealthy executive keep his standard of living and pay off the stockholders if no-one is buying? 

There is still a strong culture of apathy in the universities of the United States today, and in the young professionals they have trained that.  In the place of ideals and dreams, greed, lust for power, or subservience develop. 

American Psycho exemplifies all this. 

acer_genus [userpic]

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July 27th, 2009 (06:05 am)

so glad im go4ng home 2 albany

acer_genus [userpic]

(no subject)

March 31st, 2009 (09:41 pm)

Well we're not going to talk about the difference between assertive and aggressive cuz they're the same damn thing (if you don't like someone, they're aggressive; if you like 'em, they're assertive).  You just stick your foot in the door. 
Disclaimer: alot of this anger is about women and other men and introversion and life and relationships and I don't expect women to understand what I'm talking about.  Sorry if this is sexist,  I'm just really pissed off right now, because there are an awful lot of stupid people and douchebags in the world. 

I've been told I'm too slow my whole fucking life.  I've been told I'm not assertive enough my whole fucking life.  I don't get it.  I'm attractive, smart, interesting, amusing if you pay attention, and a pretty fucking awesome guy.  Is the whole world full of idiots?  What the fuck is the big problem? 

acer_genus [userpic]

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March 15th, 2009 (05:52 pm)

Basement show in rensselaer

acer_genus [userpic]

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March 15th, 2009 (01:37 pm)

Bike polo

acer_genus [userpic]

(no subject)

February 27th, 2009 (09:42 pm)

Friday.

Good Day at work.  Except we had to clean the truck at the end of the day, which sucked.  I got yelled at.  Who cares.

Almost fell asleep driving home.  napped in Wal-Mart parking lot.

ate Free School pizza, then went to Troy Night Out. ran into Mariah and her cute friend Courtney.  Kat made fun of me all night.  Jerk!  haha.

Went to bed.

acer_genus [userpic]

(no subject)

February 22nd, 2009 (07:36 pm)

new apartment.

job is better.

must journal more. 

acer_genus [userpic]

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December 1st, 2008 (04:15 pm)

note to self: never travel on the mass pike between 495 and 84 the sunday after thxgiving.

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