Sunday, December 27, 2009


"Real warriors do not think in terms of challenge, nor are their minds occupied with the battlefield or with past or future consequences. The warrior is completely one with bravery, one with that particular moment. He or she is fully concentrated in the moment because he knows the art of war. You are entirely skilled in your tactics; you do not refer to past events or develop your strength through thinking about future consequences and victory. You are fully aware at that moment, which automatically brings success in the challenge."
- Chogyam Trungpa (from here)
Too often do we let our experiences of the past or our expectations of the future impact our decisions in the present. yes, it is helpful to understand our past, and the role it has played in the flowing creation of who we are. Learn from mistakes, move past regrets, etc. But sometimes, diessecting our past, to understand every occurence, the why's of everything, can hold us back.

and that is what I have found most appreciative, so far, of Cornel West's autobiography Living and Loving Outloud.

West speaks about an intense rage he had growing within him as a child, and the bad decisions that came from it. He reveals how the rage has impacted him in many different ways, how the rage has drove him to be where he is today. But he never once discusses possible theories about why his rage is there, where his rage comes from, he doesn't even acknowledge the curiosity that I am sure he was struck by, about where this rage manifested itself from.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the perfect love song

the perfect love song. which isn't about a moment with him, or her. it's about the moment of revelation, of learning/understanding your own mess of complexities, and loving the confusion, and frustration that comes with trying to untangle ourselves. I'm really diggin' Macklemore's new direction, incorporating live instruments and straying away from what would be known as traditional hip hop with an emcee and DJ.

I look forward to the day, where Love is no longer a romanticized fabrication of this culture, of which I, also, fall victim to. But instead, Love becomes a bigger thing, about self, learning to love self and shining that self love to something bigger, something larger. as Cornel West says "Justice is what the language of love looks like in public." But how can we learn to love publicly if we can't love ourselves. We all got the blues.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

female artists are taking over.

I'm sorry, but is it just me, or does it seem like females have been taking over music. especially with Alicia's recent release of the Element of Freedom, with Janelle's release of her first album, the Ark Android, coming soon (hopefully, although i saw a release date of Dec 2010, and i really don't want to wait a whole year..) , and with Erykah's comback with the return of the Ankh.. I can't think of a single male artist that lives to the creative and imaginative artistry of these three ladies (and these are the only ladies that I can think of at the moment, I'm sure there are more than just these three that are doing big things..)

Janelle Monae, The Ark Android

finallyyyy suite 2 & 3 will be coming out in one, entire album entitled "The Ark Android," a self realisation album. Cindi, the android from the first suite, realizes her gift and calling to lead the androids to freedom. Janelle parallels this to ways that we can all learn what our "own superpowers" are and use these powers to transform our own communities. amazing. This is what music should be about. I just reeealllly hope the release date is sooner than december 2010, maybe the source of where I saw this december 2010 release date made a typo and they really meant January 2010... Actually when I first saw the release date of December 2010 for some reason I thought it was December 2009, and i got reeeallly excited but after doing google searches for about 30 min. and coming up with nothing, i looked at the date again and realized that I really saw December 2010. heart breaking.

Alicia Keys, the Element of Freedom

Honestly, when Alicia Keys came out with her first single before the album dropped, Doesn't Mean A Thing, I wasn't really feelin it. Doesn't Mean a thing had a pop-ish, main stream sound to it that I just wasn't really drawn to. however... after listening through her album I realized that Doesn't Mean a Thing was only the tip of an iceberg of what her album had to offer. She uses the universal theme of love to convey a message of freedom and self-love, she begins with the quote "And the Day come that the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud, was more painful than the risk it took to bloom, this is the Element of Freedom." Some favorites Love is Blind, Empire State of Mind II, Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart (the beat and instrumentals are amazing in this one) and of course her collaboration with Beyonce in Put it in a Love Song.

Erykah Badu: Amerykah

the sequel to Erykah Badu's 2006 New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War could be coming in 2010. New Amerykah Part Two: Return Of The Ankh. below Erykah Badu shares a little bit about the concept (source)

Erykah Badu Levitates from Creative Control on Vimeo.

anddd look who's back! =)

Corinne Bailey Rae "I'd Do It All Again"

Corinne Bailey Rae MySpace Music Videos

2010 will be a good year. happy holidays <3

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the noisettes

Precious Jones

After watching the trailer for Precious, the new Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry film based on the novel "Push" by Saphire, I decided to check out the book. Here's the trailer

The book, was not what I was expecting. I mean, I'm not even sure why I created such dinstinct expectations, but I was expecting for this book to be written in a style similar to how memoirs are written. But actually, this book was written completely from the perspective of Precious (who is the main character in the book). You meet Precious when she's 16, but memories keep revisiting her consistently bringing her back to ages 6, 7, 8, all the way to 12. At first this kind of caught me off guard, because everything is written in her perspective, just think about the way we think, and having that being translated into a novel. But then I realized it's impact, that because of how it's written you enter Precious' mind and share the journey with her. At one moment she's ranting angrily about her mother then memories of being raped by her father emerge themselves (major trigger warning btw I had trouble sleeping last night.) The way it's supposed to immitate the works of a mind just allows you to completely immerse yourself into her world. The book is called "Push," because throughout the whole book you can feel the different factors in her life that push Precious to keep on living, to keep on going.

I bought the book just last night and just finished it (quick read) so I'm still trying to digest it. It'll be interesting to see how it gets translated into a feature film.

quick note

So in my previous entry about Ft. Hood, I feel like I Maybe jumped to conclusions myself before doing enough research. and I don't think I made it clear enough that what happened in Ft. Hood was a big tragedy and my heart does go out to all the families that lost a soldier in that tragedy as well as those who have survived it.

However, I think sometimes, when a tragedy of this size happens, we (like myself) can have a tendency to jump into exploring the why's of it, how could something like this happen? That's when you explore the intentions, thinking and rationale that has led the perpetrator to commit such heinous acts. Which is why I felt the previous post that had the comments made from DJ, the Exec. Director of the NAPAMHA which focused on mental health factors and environmental factors that are incredibly important consider, especially if we need to implement preventive measures to avoid another tragedy like this.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ft. Hood

The tragedy of Ft.Hood at this point remains fresh in news coverage. I am concerned about possible repercussions that might come up later, specifically directed towards certain communities. Below is an email I received from the director of the program I'm interning at, she forwarded an email from the executive director of the National Asian Pacific Islander Mental Health Association which makes important comments about what to keep in mind when thinking about Maj. Hasan's experience within the military, such as his mental health (which is a conversationg that is for the most part disregarded in the media) and the importance of not jumping to any conclusions:

The shooting last week at Ft. Hood raises again the very painful reminder of what happens when mental health problems are not properly addressed. There are other issues that will also be raised including the apparent harrassment Maj. Hasan experienced as a Muslim and the failure of those within the system to understand the magnitude of his conflict in engaging in a war of Muslims on Muslims. If this proves to be true, this would not be the first time that prejudices in the miliary have taken a serious toll. We offer our support to Secretary Shinseki who will hopefully find ways to address mental health issues and the impact of racism and other forms of oppression in the military.

As mental health advocates, clinicians and those interested in improving the mental health of our communities, NAAPIMHA continues to be concerned with how mental health issues are dealt with. The shooting at Ft. Hood will also inevitably draw comparisons with the tragedy at Virginia Tech, how we look at both Maj Hasan and Seung Hui Cho and the impact this has on our communities. A particular challenge is making sure this is not seen as "something Muslims do" just as it was critical for the Korean and Asian American community to not own the responsibiltiy of what happened at Virginia Tech, nor was it something that happens when you "let foreigners in". That having been said, we also cannot ignore the important role that culture, race, language, religious beliefs, immigration status, etc. play in defining who we are, how we think, how we behave and how the world interacts with us. Sometimes we do not have the choice to not own the problem because others are quick to generalize and lay the responsibility and "blame" on our shoulders. When these issues are not understood and themselves become the source of conflict, they become important variables that must be addressed.

Tragedies like these also add to the stigma surrounding mental health - people with mental health problems are seen as dangerous, making it even more difficult for people to seek services. In the case of Maj. Hasan, he was trained as a psychiatrist and from what little information that is available, was apparently a good clinician. This only complicates the picture and asks that this situation be handled with sensitivity and respect. Where do those who counsel others receive counsel themselves? The VA, like so many other systems, is known for its lack of sufficient mental health providers to handle the heavy caseload. This is a common problem found throughout the service delivery system but becomes even more critical because of the intense nature of dealing with PTSD and other war related traumas. This is also not unlike the situation we see within our community based organizations where refugee mental health workers must work over time because no one else is there to relieve them.

My guess is Ft. Hood will remain in the public eye for some time to come as did Virginia Tech. Hopefully it will not have the media frenzy that plagued the campus and made students and community members wary to talk to anybody. It is interesting to note that the killings at the immigration center in upstate Binghamton, NY in April was in the news for only a brief few days even though 14 people were killed. One conclusion that may be drawn from this is that the loss of immigrants is not as important as college students or soldiers. We as a country have also become immune to the daily killings of one person at a time and only pay attention when there is a mass killing. That in many ways is the real tragedy. The experts agree that it is not possible to predict who will become a mass killer but we do know that prevention does work. Hopefully we will find ways to prevent violence in the future.

We will continue to work with others in the mental health field in the next few days, weeks and months ahead. There are lessons learned from previous tragedies and we welcome your thoughts, your concerns and recommendations.


DJ Ida, PhD
Executive Director
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
1215 19th St. Suite A
Denver, CO 80202
720-939-6494 cell

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry Presents...

opens in Bellevue, WA November 20th 2009 at Lincoln

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

what I'm listening to now

I love fall. It's my absolute favorite time of the year.

So it's definitely been awhile. I definitely hope to be posting more often. There's been some high's and low's, maybe more low's than highs. But I guess it's all about perspective.

here's some music i've been rotating on my play list, not really new stuff though.

"Whale Song" for Modest Mouse from Bent Image Lab on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

500 days of summer

I really enjoyed 500 days of summer. It was definitely a fun, feel good movie. My father brought up a good point about this movie, that it reveals the story of one young boys fairy tale fantasy of romance. In this movie, traditional gender roles are reversed, the women is the care free, detached independent player in the "relationship," and the man is the one who falls for ideals about soul mates and sappy true love. Comparing this movie to other mainstream ones, you don't see these kinds of gender roles play out. So it's kind of cool, to see a mainstream movie where the male lead is putting his emotions out there like that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

rey ortega

- Grow- by Rey Ortega

finals have ended for summer school finally, while it didn't really end with a bang, except maybe the bang of my electricity going out at 12:10 AM while I was taking my online final...but nonetheless I am DONE! and will never be taking 16 credits during the summer ever again, unless I absolutely have to.

But now, I can definitely start tackling the long to do list that has been sitting at my desk for about a month and a half. Starting with paying my internet bill that was due today, but I forgot the answer to my security question to get into my online account... but anyway.

Rey Ortega.

Ortega had a featured artist profile in the August 09 edition of a magazine called Juxtapoz (

Below is what was featured with his profile and below is an excerpt from his profile.

"Even though I draw weird monsters and such, I feel like my works are deeply personal, even embarrasingly so. " - Rey Ortega

You can almost sense the level of vulnerability through such an imaginative character. I have a strong curiosity as it is, so I think his work really taps into my imagination as I begin to wonder about these characters and monsters he creates. the characters always seems to be captured at an intriguing level of embarassment, confusion and vulnerability. I suppose I can relate to those kinds of emotions pretty strongly.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland

stumbled on this from here

Tim Burton's : Alice in Wonderland (Teaser) from Vanspauwen Glenn on Vimeo.

I don't know how I feel about this dress almost falling off of alice tho, but nonethess it's something to look forward to!


Little Dragon - Twice


At work, when we close I usually slip in a CD of my own. When this song came on my co-worker froze in place, and said "I think I've heard this song before." after a few moments of silence he says "oooooh. when I was at neighbors[a night club] this song came on and about 6 guys in white underwear and big panda heads came out and danced a choreographed dance to this song. I felt like i was high."

man I wish I was there, that sounds tooo awesome.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

an ode to the solo life

Yeah I know, the cover of this book isn't the most appealing. A good friend convinced me to read it, but when she came by my work to drop the book off I almost changed my mind. But I think the author is just trying to reach out to a certain audience. But anyway, I'm usually not into "self help" books. When I'm feeling down or a bit uninspired I look for poetry, or biographies to lose myself in. But never straight up, quotes of inspiration. I always felt like those kinds of books are so fake, manipulative and hallmark-ish I guess. But I guess I judged before I even tried. This book, Kiss Me, I'm Single, an ode to the solo life by Amanda Ford, is amazing. The Author Amanda ford explores singlehood as a form of empowerment. She says that often times women get lost in their relationships, lose a sense of themselves and then the relationship fails, which leads to women blaming themselves, lowering self esteem and self confidence. What I like most about this book is that it doesn't go into theories of the why's of everything. It simply addresses the now, and what you can do for the now to live a more fulfilling life.

I've definitely have had my sour luck with men. I think it might be the environment that I've been meeting them, the club. Yes I know, I've been telling myself for over year that the club is NOT the place to meet a potential hubby, i mean not to say I'm out looking for one at this age. But still, everytime, when some drunk dude who probably won't remember what I look like, or who I am in the morning, is asking for my number, I tell myself why not, he could be interesting and maybe I'll learn a thing or two from him. And it's not that all men at clubs are sleeze balls, the two most sleeziest men I have ever met I did not meet at a club in seattle, one was a mutual friend, the other I met in a club in vegas. It's just, when you meet a guy in a club, and date them, it just seems like both ends are taking the dating relationship less seriously. And the circumstance underwhich you guys met is usually somewhat superficial, he was looking good in that plaid shirt so you scooped him out, or he thought you were looking good or whatever. Anyway, needless to stay I haven't had a serious BF since my ex highschool sweet heart, and that was a loooong time ago.

Anyway enough about my boring and non-existent love life. I really appreciated this book cause for the longest time I thought there was something seriously wrong with me, I have probably dated over 6 guys within the past year, and who knows how many within the year before that. They NEVER worked out. at the point of deciding to just be friends or whatever I'd be all bummed out, feeling rejected. But after a couple days I'd say, "man thank god, what was I thinking." It's the same old cycle. and I think I figured out my problem, I appreciate people, for who they are, but there's a difference from appreciating an individual and the beauty that carries with them, (we all have individual beauty) with simply having an honest and strong connection with someone, having good chemistry.

A good quote

"Love has nothing to do with another person. Love is a state of being. It is the way in which you interact with life. Make this your mantra 'Love has nothing to do with another person, but is the condition of my own heart.' "

and my heart has been cut and stomped on, for reasons unrelated to love. So I know what I need to do for the time being and stop losing myself in false idealizations of the potential soulmate.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

can you tell me how to get to Sesame Streeet

Pretty cool Jazz rendition of the Sesame Street theme song led by big band trumpeter Maynard Gerguson, I had no idea that Sesame street has been around this long, definitely one of my favorite TV shows growing up.

constant surprises

I like the idea of understanding the events that happen in our lives as constant surprises.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I've never really been into fashion. But lately I've been appreciating fashion as a form of self expression. I've been following the Hellz Bellz blog lately. Hellz Bellz is an independent urban apparel brand (I don't know if that's the right label) for women. Their brand "reflects a woman deeper than the hyper-feminine stereotype. Hellz calls to all women to confront conformity, tear down boundaries and rewrite the rules." (Taken from their website) When reading about their capsule summer collection, this is what I cam across:

A concise yet bold collection, this limited 6 piece line extends Hellz’ ongoing graphic themes incorporating the idea of empowered defiant women that exude nothing but vicious confidence. Hellz Creative Director, Lanie Alabanza-Barcena expounds, “Inspiration for the graphics were drawn from familiar faces of fashion icons and iconic fashion brands who celebrate them.

fashion can mean much more than those shoes do not go with that top, but it can provide an outlet for self expression, creatively bending cultural boundaries and social norms.

Friday, July 24, 2009

for the love of boxing

The blog, for the love of boxing, was shared with me by a good friend. (Thanks Nick). Emily is a female amateur competative boxer, who stumbled upon the sport of boxing, but quickly began to experience the spiritual and philosophical journey's that came with boxing. I think it's a given, that boxing is a very male dominated sport, not to mention the ways a women boxer is living in contradiction to female standards of beauty and femininity, which is why I find her blog to be really interesting, particularly this entry where she discusses a little bit about her, "adventures," I guess, of being a female amateur competative boxer. She dives deeper in exploring her place as a female boxer by looking at the ways that she responds to other female boxer. Here's an interesting excerpt:

"I hear myself speak truth to wanting more women to take up boxing – to go for it, to give of themselves and take a risk, even professing I’d like to make a vocation of it. The outrage that it struggles to receive recognition as a real sport. I’m proud of to be amongst the advocates, making history just by doing what we do. And yet the judgments, the skeptical assessments of whether the desire to box is authentic seep out of me. I remember acting very protective toward anyone who didn’t take on training like their life depended on it – as if my own life depended on it. Part of me hates being a woman who will never just be a wall of lean muscle, a vessel without a cycle, an apparatus of pure function devoid of vulnerability. The so-called tough-girl charade exposes who I really am, it represents parts of me I am desperate to dissociate from. Honestly, I’ve often felt more threatened than heartened by the courage of other women trying something new."

Influenced by a good friend who boxes, I've actually thought about boxing myself. For self defense (boxing seems more appealing than a self defense class cause it seems that through boxing you strengthen your muscles in addition to learning how to throw a bad ass punch) but more importantly, for an outlet for pent up emotions and anger.

So a friend and I will be taking our first class this Sunday! :)....


Thursday, July 23, 2009



Sorry there has been a lack of postings for a week or two. Summer craziness has picked itself up a little bit these past couple of weeks, leaving me a bit distracted and unfocused.

However, this summer we are hoping to add more authors :) enhancing the richness of the blog. Hopefully Etheline will grace us with her reappearance soon too.... she is deeply missed.

Things will pick up soon, a blog is in the works, especially after finding out a good friend of mine is actually interning at TITS. ... hehe.

Hope the summer is serving everyone well!

Also, if anyone knows of someone who has survived sexual violence in any form, share this blog with them. One of the most beautiful thing someone who lives a life of tragedy can experience is an understanding of the cause of their sorrow. With sexual violence, because we live in a world that silences and isolates survivors, a survivors understanding of their own experience is usually painful and lonely. Sometimes healing can be done through hearing the stories of other survivors. In a survivor documents her journey with poems, and short passages. The reason I post that here is cause while I know this blog doesn't get much traffic, it still gets a little traffic, and you never really know.

Many of those that I love are survivors, and the scariest thing about this culture we live in is that it prevents survivors to bond together through their experiences, instead, while living in close proximity with one another they are isolated and separated by walls of shame, pain, guilt, and self-doubt. Therapy alone doesn't heal, it takes communites to dedicate themselves to social change, and we do need to reach a place where we care about the experiences of those around us, survivors or not.

and this spoken word poem below is by far my favorite I've ever seen performed, and I've seen her perform this one three times.

<3 olives.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

janelle monae

I must say I feel honored to be a part of the generation that Janelle Monae is from, well kind of I think she might be a little older. But I guess it's a commonality that I'd like to think we have....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

sincerely jane

I am counting down the days until Seattle's Music festival, Bumpershoot! Janelle Monae will be taking the stage on Monday!!! :)

Anyway, I always appreciate it when an artist shares the story behind the creation and meaning of their art, bringing it to life.

Below is an excerpt from an interview on NPR with Janelle Monae about the making of Sincerely Jane. (youtube of the song below)

it was a letter written to me from my mother, I had left Kansas, I grew up in one of the poorest county's in Kansas, at an early age I was exposed to those around me who had gone to really dark places in their lives because of drugs. One of the lines that I written "are we really living or just walking dead?" and that's just a question that i've asked myself and challenged people in my life to ask themselves too.

We wanted to make the french horn cry, because the letter was so touchy. when people actually listened to it, we wanted them to hear those french horns crying, the strings pleaing, and with my voice, I wanted to touch the corners of their heart for more.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Crips and Bloods, made in America

Last night, the "Break the Silence" folks, went to a documentary screening of Crips and Bloods, Made in America at the Langston Hughes performing arts center. This documentary received a lot of national attention. It's narrarated by Forest Whitaker and one of the producers of the film is Baron Davis, a former(?) NBA star who grew up in LA.

This was an incredibly informing and beautifully moving documentary. It begins with exploring the ways that the legacy of slavery in this country kind of provided a historical context for the role racism plays in gang violence. Then it provides a long timeline of gangs in LA, the rise and fall of gang violence and different factors that contributed to the rise and fall (civil rights movement, neighborhood ordinances that contributed to racial segregation that kept people of color in ghettos, lack of resources for extra curricular activities for the youth in these communitites, etc.) It definitely explored police brutality, and how when a group of people are continually being treated like they are worthless by those that are supposed to protect your community, a message becomes instilled in your mind about your own worth, and you then become "an instrument of your own oppression." (There was a really awesome quote someone they interviewed had said about that, but I can't remember it, just the last part which i quoted)

Overall I really appreciated the documentary, and I feel like as a community member, we are fed by the media images and perceptions of what gang violence is. Often simplifying this issue as something isolated, something that's happening now, disconnected from the past, sensationalizing the issue that the youth are "out of control and violent." etc. The more who see this documentary the better.

However, there is definitely an entire conversation missing from this documentary, an issue that the documentary completely over looked, which was kind of a disappointment. The documentary was definitely from a male perspective, with out acknowledging the different ways that gang violence might impact women and young girls in these communities. While I understand that gang violence for males and females is an entirely different experience, and so to focus on the male perspective in some way can make sense, but this should at least be acknowledged , and it wasn't, which made it seem like when discussing gang violence it would be expected for there to be a focus on the male perspective, making the female perspective invisible, forgotten and ultimately unimportant.

Through the documentary they interview current/former crips and bloods (who are all men except for a 5 sec comment by a young women who was a former gang member), asking all sorts of questions about their experiences. One question asks about their home life and there is definitely a pattern of a single mother home, and feelings of being un loved by her. One interviewee mentioned watching his father "beat the shit" out of his mother... then it moves onto the experiences of the mothers who lost their sons, not really exploring the violence that might be prevalent in their lives. Or the violence in the lives of the young girls who live in these communities, and how the male gang members perpetuate violence onto the young females in their communitites through sexualized violence like domestic violence or rape. And how many of these young single mothers are survivors of this kind of violence and how might it affect the home environment where they raise their sons, only continuing a cycle of violence.

Anyway, I think youtube's site is down, but when it's up and working again I'll post a trailer of the film or something.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mos Def - Quiet Dog

From his most recently released album "The Ecstatic"

Theophilus London...

SABALI (GREYXSAGE) Live at Webster Hall from Theophilus London on Vimeo.

Please come to Seattle ... or Portland or Vancouver..

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

the model minority myth

Nicholas D. Kristof. Well known for his Sunday OP-ED Column in the NY times where he usually writes about a social and/or economic problem in third world countries. He has focused a lot on the sex trafficking industry I think he's actually pretty well known for bringing national attention to the sex trafficking industry through his blog. I think Hilary Clinton even used Kristof's blog for something... I tried looking for it. But there's a research paper that's waiting to be researched.. so maybe I'll insert some links after I have a little more time to look around...

Oh and his blog is featured as one of our links on the side. I read his blog a lot in the winter just cause we were working on the conference so I was kind of more engaged in issues about sex trafficking. Well for one of my research papers I'm actually going to focus on the sex trafficking industry, so I thought a starting point would be to check out Nicholas Kristof's blog, especially since I haven't checked out his blog in awhile... so I was a bit caught off guard when reading this in his most recent entry.

My Sunday column looks at three groups that have been unusually successful in the United States — Asian Americans, Jews and West Indians. Read the column, but in a nutshell it argues that they have succeeded in part because of an emphasis on diligence and education.

I think it's obvious what I was kind of surprised by, so of course, before I jumped to any conclusions with the hopes that Kristof and all the work he does in third world countries he would be a little bit aware of the ways the model minority myth actually functions as a stereotype which places a lot of limitations on asian americans. why does kristof racialize asian americans but for the other groups of people discussed, they are identified with their ethnic identities... but anyway, so I clicked on the link to his Sunday column.. and was, ...disappointed. Maybe it was cause based on the excerpt above I sort of made up my mind about what his sunday column was going to be like, so I was unable to read it in an unbiased manner. However, I guess I'll lay it down about what I think about it and then you can make up your mind yourself.

Firstly, I get the purpose of his Sunday Column (I think), it seems like he wants to reiterate the idea that education is the solution to a lot of our societal problems both here in the U.S. and in third world countries. So he gives examples of three groups of people that have made it in the U.S., especially, he emphasizes, due to their cultural focus on education (with no mention about economic advantages). Overall though I feel like the entire article carries a bunch of implications about who the article is targeted to (minorities who aren't making it.) There is a strong focus on behaviorial factors that might have been culturally influenced, although these "behaviors" are the reasons why these groups have made it. I mean I think it's especially interesting that there is no mention of the economic factors that play into some of the successes of these groups. I will offer some quotes that show this:

One large study followed a group of Chinese-Americans who initially did slightly worse on the verbal portion of I.Q. tests than other Americans and the same on math portions. But beginning in grade school, the Chinese outperformed their peers, apparently because they worked harder.

A common thread among these three groups may be an emphasis on diligence or education, perhaps linked in part to an immigrant drive.

Among West Indians, the crucial factors for success seem twofold: the classic diligence and hard work associated with immigrants, and intact families. The upshot is higher family incomes and fathers more involved in child-rearing.

and on a quick side note, I dont really understand why in the beginning of the column, and in his little blog entry about the column, he uses "asian americans" as an identfier when he's actually strictly talking about Chinese Americans. I mean, when discussing Asian Americans, Chinese Americans are the only ethnic group he cites in his article. How did Asian Americans become Chinese Americans? where as the west indians and jews remain west indians and jews throughout the article??... I know being "politically correct" can get annoying and pointless, but I think language matter. I think Kristof's slip of using Asian Americans when he really meant Chinese Americans, or East Asians contributes to the stereotype that Asian Americans in the U.S. are of a similar experience. He is somewhat on point in talking about China's history in confucianism, a lot of East Asian countries share this history, but definitely not all asian countries.. I actually don't know that much about Asian history though..

But I mean aside with the issue of language and stereotyping, Kristof definitely picked three minority groups to focus on, but that is not how he frames his article. He simply states:

In the mosaic of America, three groups that have been unusually successful...

So he just says, three groups, but the three groups are minorities, well I mean it's arguable about whether or not Jews are minorities, maybe more so 2 of the three groups are racial minorities. Just cause there is a focus on racial minorities, as the reader, I can't help but assume that there are some implications with that. I mean why not cite why white people are successful. Kristof says that Asians take up 20% of the student population at Harvard, who's the 80%, white people probably...

There's just a harmful stereotype that perpetuates cycles of poverty within communities of color, which is the whole work hard ethic thing which blames those in poverty for their problems. This overlooks a lot of factors that can play into one's life, esp. societal factors. So in reading this article, besides the obvious problems with the ways he used the "asian americans" when he's really just talking about "chinese americans,"... I'm just worried about the reeeeaaalllly subtle implications this article suggests about ppl of color who haven't made it, and still aren't making it. .....

Anyway, I'm just creating tangents. The main point is, Nicholas Kristof should stick with issues of the third world.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

day dreaming

Lupe Fiasco feat. Jill Scott- Day dream, this was the song that started a very long and committed relationship for me with both artists, Lupe Fiasco and Jill Scott. Lupe Fiasco is definitely by far one of my favorite hip hop artist. Since then my music taste has broadened a little bit and shifted, but these two remain classics in my itunes alongside alicia keys, gnarls barkley, erykah badu, cunninlynguists (regrettably), India Arie, John Legend, etc. I know I was a little late in the game with discovering these two, but this was the song that stole my heart.

Favorite Verse:

"And now hold up your chain slow motion through the flames
Now cue the smoke machines and the simulated rain
But not too loud 'cause the baby's sleepin
I wonder if it knows what the world is keepin
Up both sleeves while he lay there dreamin
Me and my robot tip-toe 'round creepin"

I love this performance, just how Lupe brings in the live orchestra, electric guitar, keys, and the instrument that makes the "ding" noise.. and Jill Scott's vocals are amazing too. she has amazing control on her voice.. this is what got me hooked on her. I'm sad I missed her at the paramount last year, hopefully she'll return to Seattle.

and the video is crazzyy. I really feel like music videos tell a lot about the artist, because it really shows how the artist chooses to visualize their music.

Here are some other crazy cool music videos:

Janelle Monae - Many Moons
(this has been posted in our side bar for awhile.. haha)

Lauryn Hill - Everything is Everything

okay that's all i can post for now... too many you tube users are now disabling embedding on their you tube videos.

music that never get's old.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Korean Pop Star Featured on BET? is this a break through?

So today on 106 and Park, SE7EN's new "smash hit" with Lil Kim "Girls" was featured. Se7en is a south korean internationally known pop star. I don't really know much about him, but initially in hearing BET introduce the video I was kind of taken by surprise, not sure if I heard right when they said "south korean pop star." especially since Asian Americans don't have much visibility in the mainstream music industry.

however, after watching the video, and listening to the song I had feelings of uncertainty about how I feel about an Asian American popstar emerging into the mainstream music industry. In his new single, "girls," he refers to girls as accessories, literally.

Trying to make you my accessory/ All Girls are necessary

I Mean there's more to the lyrics too, but I just don't feel like getting into it right now. And of course in the video he's surrounded by the prototype video girl. Soo I'm thinking this music video pretty much looks exactly like any typical mainstreamed MTV/BET/VHI R&B music video. But in referencing an older post, there are problems with the ways many of our most popular artists of color have been bamboozled into the mainstream music industry only to further perpetuate stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, essentially affecting our own understandings of gender identity.
This video is no different. I hope for Asian Americans to continue to become visible in the media through various outlets. But I'm not sure if visibility means being bamboozled by the industry is better or worse then being invisible.

oh and look, in April, a lucky girl can win a date with Se7en, and get the opportunity to "Accessorize" him.. ...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nneka Live

Madcon - Dandelion


In Wales, A teenager that was placed with a family by a social service agency raped and sexually molested two of their children. The teenagers background of sexual molestation was not revealed to the family prior or during the placement.

On the BBC you'll find how apologetic the council of social services is, and they are taking necessary discplinary actions. That's pretty much what takes up the entire article

I'm more curious about how the hell this even happened. Possibly more details about whether or not it's protocol to reveal a teenagers background when being placed, and if so, what happened in this specific situation? What are the factors that influenced the social workers to either 1) not tell the family about the teenagers sexual abuse history, and yes he has one (2) forget to tell the family about the teenagers sexual abuse history, or (3) why they even thought of placing a teenager who has been charged molesting multiple children in a family with two young children.

Sexual violence is a serious thing, and its pervasiveness will affect entire communities.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

artist watch: Theophilus London

sick remix of Solange's Sandcastle (bad quality, sorry)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

wearable porn.

so, the porn industry has many many problems that creates and perpetuates violence against women. So how about wearable porn then? a t-shirt that not only sells sexualized images of nude women, but literally objectifies women in these images... literal objectification, not the concept of objectification that we might see on a societal level, but actual literal objectification where the nude bodies of women are turned into objects, such as "dead weight" or "platter"...(See below) and we all know what that the violent sexual objectification of women leads to.

AND these t shirts come in women sizes too.
and here's their "about me" description from their website:

Two In The Shirt is a fresh new company with a focus on bringing tastefully provocative clothing to the forefront of fashion. The name 'Two In the Shirt' is derived from the acronym T.I.T.S., which is quite fitting considering the nature of the clothing itself.

T.I.T.S. merchandise consists of men's and women's apparel printed with original designs. Each design showcases classy prints of nude or nearly nude women.

"Like a training bra, support T.I.T.S."

I love how they try to stay as neutral as possibly, as if they are completely unaware of the types of images they have on these t shirts, and they don't really give any reason to the purpose of the brand. and they claim their images to be classy... ("showcase classy prints of nude or nearly nude women.") ????

so why does it matter? i mean who actually is aware of the existence of TITS? right?? well besides the fact they have 3250 friends on myspace and a myspace picture album of people wearing their shit... they have also collaborated with karmaloop (whom I will never buy clothes from ever again) on a T shirt... and T-Pain has been spotted sportin their shit.

indie fashion seems as its growing but I feel like I'm seeing a trend of having images of nude or nearly nude women on Tees.... I don't know much about fashion, but I hope to explore more into that. I mean sitting at home from your computer browsing through fashion blogs and online stores, it's hard differentiate between what are actual trends and what might just be trying to be trendy, I mean you can market anything as you'd like online right? But this is really, scary to be honest, the idea of indie fashion trends totally supporting and perpetuating larger societal ills, a little ironic isn't it?

<3 Olives

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Burger King, Square Butts

Burger King Commercial for their new Burger King Kids special.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What the hell?

Just thought I'd share some pictures of some manequins in a bridal store here in Puebla Mexico... I'm not really sure what to think.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

blame it on the al-al-al-al-alcohol

so it's been a minute since we've posted anything. There are a lot of things going on though, lots of "postable" material, including a review on the superhero movie rave Watchmen which I have a lot to say about.. and Afghan's new law that requires Shiite women to sleep with their husband on demand, etc...and a friend notified me of a recent tyra episode where they explore the pressures of boob and ass enhancements for women that often come from their boyfriends.

But what this blog is about is Jamie Fox's recent (Well maybe not recent) song about taking advantage of women when they're drunk (Blame it on the alcohol). As a women, it's happened to me, it's happened to all of us. And to hear about it in a song is disgusting. Unfamiliar with the song? well I've provided some excerpts from the song that, I think, really speak to the point Jamie Fox is trying to get across.

Ay she say she usually don´t

But I know that she front

Cause shawty know what she want

But she don´t wanna seem like she's easyyy

I ain´t sayin what ya wont do

But you know we probably gon do

What you been feeninn deep insiiiide

don´t liiiiee noww

Girl what you drinking?

Go on let it sink in

Here for the weekend thinkin we can

See where we can be if we press fast forward

Just one more round if you´re down I pouring

Fill another cup up

Feelin on yo butt what?

You don´t even care now

Girl I kno you feel good

Just like you look

Couple more shots you open up like a book

I ain´t trippin (cause ima read ya)

Shawty I ain´t trippin (I jus wanna please ya)

This song, and video, is problematic. It further engrains the idea that women are dispensable to a man as he pleases. Just give her a couple of drinks, get her feeling "loose," even if she shows disinterest to you, she actually wants you, she really does, she just doesn't want to appear easy, but of course, regardless of how she's acting, as a man you're convinced, actually, your ego convinces you that deep inside she wants, this justifies your actions, giving you permission to take advantage, like touch her ass, which to your surprise she didn't even notice. (refer to lyrics)

This just continues to perpetuate the idea that a man has entitlement to a women's body, sexually objectifying her. But what's new with club hits right?

<3 olives

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

and we are BACK

So it's been awhile since we've made a post. A lot has happened, school related. But now that we are wrapping up the winter quarter (I am now currently in the Library working on a research paper that I started on Sunday, but was given half the quarter to work on. It was due at 2:00 PM but my professor gave me an extension... yet I still find some way to do something other than work on this damn much for second chances) anyway now that we are wrapping up the winter quarter, you will be seeing more blog posts. :) Etheline is going to Mexico, so hopefuly she will be able to reccount some of her experiences on here.

Anyway, I was inspired to post after reading the most recent posting from Angry Asian Man.

Lori Phanachone, a Laotian high school senior at Storm Lake high school, born and raised in the states, has a 3.9 GPA, ranks seven in her class of 119 and has been offered numerous college scholarships has been asked to take a language tests for all ELL/ESL (English Language Learner or English Second Language) Students simply because on her school registration she indicated that English was not her first language. She has never been in an ELL or ESL course.

English is not my first language either, mandarin was. But while growing up in American (white) public schools, I just lost interest in maintaining my mandarin and now I can only speak broken mandarin. So broken to the point an older chinese women told me that my chinese was bad. anyway...

As angryasianman points out, engligh not being the first language spoken in the household is common for second generation asian americans.

But I found this story to be incredibly inspiring to hear about a young asian american girl who knows her rights and is speaking out for them.

Go Lori!!

To Support Lori:

Paul Tedesco, Storm Lake School District Superintendent:
Teresa Coenen, Storm Lake High School Principal:

Sunday, February 1, 2009


The documentary, "Price of Pleasure" which deconstructs the the porn industry, is available online to watch for FREE. A phenomenal and much needed documentary that I discovered on THIS blog that everyone should look through! they have some good stuff on there!!!

Some favorite quotes from the film...
"Pornography, that which we call a fanstasy in the porn industry is then what we experience in the real world."
From a team of lawyers who work for "sanctuary for families", an organization that legally advocates for DV survivors and their children: " in 70% of the cases involving sexual abuse, pornography is involved."
"The pornographers want you to think after you're done watching porn, you can just zip up your pants, then zip that part of your brain away to proceed with your life, but it doesn't work like that, that part of your brain leaks into every aspect of your life. Porn infiltrates into your consciousness unwantingly."

the film also brought up an incredibly important case, In 2002, Ashcroft vs. Freespeech ammended the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 (which banned child pornography) to allow the simulation of child pornography. So basically visually convincing the audience that a 40 year old man is fucking a 9 year old girl while she's enjoying it is perfectly fine as long as in "real life" its just an 18year old girl who looks 9.

It's an incredibly powerful film.

"Pornography takes violence against women and sexualizes it, when you sexualize violence against women you render the violence invisible."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

oh, and check this out!
I should have posted a month ago, but Olives' posts were so cool that I took it easy for awhile. Anyway, I'm back now to write about what's been on my mind lately.

Today I read in the news that the Pope has decided to lift the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, a holocaust denier. Well, a holocaust half-denier I guess, who believes that "two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers." The article doesn't make it clear exactly why he was excommunicated and is now being reinstated, but I get the sense neither one has to do with his beliefs regarding the holocaust. Of course commentators and spokespeople from Israel have already spoken out about the damage this will do to the Catholic church's relationship with Israel and the Jewish community. So, um, why did the church do this? I don't fucking know. But if we don't start respecting each other soon (not just Catholics and Jews, but everyone) what is going to happen? Hundreds and hundreds of kids died in Gaza this month. But actually, 5,000 kids die of preventable diseases every day. We're in a really weird place and beyond even caring about each other or loving each other, we don't even respect one another's lives. And how do we heal from that?

There is another interesting news story today. 700 immigrants held in detention on the Italian island, Lampedusa have escaped and are holding a protest chanting "Freedom" and "Help us!" They were in a detention center built for 850 that is currently holding 1,800 people. It is so overcrowded that detaineed were being forced to sleep outside in the cold at night. The island is in between Africa and Italy and gets a lot of immigrants from Somalia and Eritrea fleeing wars and poverty. They used to allow the immigrants to go to mainland Italy, but have now stopped that program despite the fact that this tiny island got nearly 40,000 immigrants coming to its shores in 2008. Luckily local residents are opposing the building of a new facility that they worry would be more like a prison. Anyway, best luck to the escaped detainees! Freedom!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Girl Effect

"70% of the world's out of school children are girls."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Years!

Good-bye 2008! As we welcome the New Year I attempted to give our page a fresh new look but failed miserably. I don't know why the banner isn't positioned where it's supposed to be. Maybe it's just too big? Hopefully when Etheline returns from her travels and begins to blog again she won't be too upset that in an attempt to make our page look less "plain," it now just looks... I don't even know how to explain it. Hopefully it'll look a littler better by the end of the day but I doubt it.

So, to make up for our blog's lack of "freshness" for the new year I will post something fresh and cool. When I first heard Solange's music it didn't really stick with me too much, but her music videos are something else. Her music videos, well at least the two of them that I've seen, are visually incredibly creative crossing lines of imagination with bold and bright colors.

I feel like it’s always interesting to see how an artist chooses to visualize their music in their music videos. For example lots of main stream hip hop artists don't have much of a creative stretch beyond half naked girls shaking their booty around, so it's refreshing to see something different.

Sandcastle Disco - Solange

"I Decided" Official Music Video - Solange