May 25, 2007

More SF Docs.

To prep for the trip to the Bay, I checked out a number of docs on the area. I know I missed some good ones, but I have odd taste. So besides seeing Sucker Free City, which is not a doc, didn't make much sense to me, and was a poor example of a mid-era Spike Lee Joint (see here for my low-down), I saw these:

1. The Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Weird doc that traces a flock of parrots that's been living in SF for a while, including a dude who was sorta studying/living with/bonding with them. It was quirky, but 90 minutes of man and the birds got even me saying "save me." Still, at least I got to see more of the neighborhoods and understand them a little. Didn't see the flock when we were walking around though. Pity. They'd probably have shit on me anyway.

2. The Times of Harvey Milk. Really glad I saw this before going. I didn't know enough/anything about Harvey Milk, and he was pretty awesome. The film is 80s era, made not long after he was killed, and actually before his assassin killed himself (and the ultimate understanding that the dude, Mike White, wanted to kill a lot more people than the Mayor and Milk). Anyway - my favorite parts were seeing his victory celebrations, and hearing about how he stood up for language access for the Chinese community without asking Henry Der/Chinese Americans for Affirmative Action what he should do. That was pretty cool - wish the fuckers in councils around the country would do that now. It's LEP, stupid.

3. Piece by Piece. A doc on SF graffiti and street art. This was awesome. You must check this out. I think I even liked it more than Rize, which I really liked. I guess I missed this culture altogether, growing up in white suburban stupidity. But learning about some of the people, and better understanding what folks were doing - it just really spoke to me. The camera/doc style is uneven and shaky in the beginning (got motion sickness in the first 15 minutes) but it evens out. I really dug the respect people were giving to others, and the deaths that happened in the community were from stupid shit outside of the community. I was really touched by the way they all talked about Mike Dream - a Pinoy brother who seemed to have his shit together, and who integrated political messages into his work, and his relationships, before he was killed in Oakland in 2000.

I missed an event in SF in memory of him - which sucks. But it's good to know that there's a site that also tries to keep the memory alive. It's also really interesting how many Asian kids were involved in graffiti/street art - I think it makes a lot more sense now to me about how there are all these Fil-Am DJ crews - after watching Rize and now Piece by Piece, it seems like they were involved in hip hop culture all the way around, way back when. It's pretty amazing, and a story I didn't really know. I feel like that's one of the things that makes the West Coast really special - they were already around way early, so they were in on the foundation when shit was getting started, unlike the new people getting involved now. They helped to shape that foundational culture.

Anyway - film made me think about graffiti art in a lot of ways (not based on its actual content). Just the way that people are willing to take such risks and do crazy shit to create art, and art that will likely disappear in a day, a week, not much longer. But they do it anyway. And the tags that I wasn't a big fan of (everyone can appreciate something big and pretty) seem to make more sense in the context of the big stuff.

Yeah. I'm done with docs for a while. But check out Piece by Piece. Worth it.

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Organizing - School/IRL.

I really enjoyed the tail-end of my student days in college, feeling like I'd finally found a community amongst the student government and Asian American junkies. Looking back at those days, the student government stuff was probably the most "political" of the work, with identity-based conversations that would quickly be realized as basic taking up the bulk of my time in the Asian American spaces at school. More than 10 years later, and I'm again involved in student organizing, but this time I definitely feel more like I'm realizing the dream I had to be at the forefront of some kind of movement in undergrad. Here, I feel like with the wave of work that we're doing should be deeply related to the work that I want to do when I graduate, and also embraces some of the spirit of work that I'd learned and thought about while an undergrad in a state school. About documentation and development of a strategy. About accountability and building a student movement that will go beyond the semester, or even the year for its organizing schedule, calendar, and strategy. That we can break the cycle of stall tactics that the administration knows will eventually weather any student activation around issues, based on attrition because of short attention spans, graduation, and competing interests. But when you integrate alumni organizing in the mix, suddenly you're in a place where the graduations don't help the administration anymore, because now you have angry alum with money to donate, time to commit to a committee, and a stronger sense of purpose because of denied/thwarted efforts as a student. If the right elements are combined, the nature of movements take over.

But I do miss being around very active, radical Asian Americans. The legal profession leads people to take more "rational" or tempered paths. A friend once said that I would be entering a profession that is natively more conservative. I didn't know what to make of the comment when he made it, but I definitely feel it a lot more now, even at my law school, which is anything but conservative. it's just the way that you start to think about things - using a "rational" approach towards problem-solving, and even problem identification. "Choosing what battles to fight" seems like a theme that runs through a lot of this work. And I feel like the restrictions of the bar upon your ability to do what is in your conscience (as I've learned in my last couple of classes of ethics) is also a harsh reality that you have to face. Sanctions charges and possible disbarment seem like incredible disincentives for people thinking to engage in more direct action or anti-establishment work. Can you be "out" as an anarchist and a lawyer? Can you be anti-establishment and still practice law?

After all, the revolution will not be realized by some kind of Supreme Court epiphany. The nature of stare decisis, of precedent, of basing so much of our legal practice on English Common Law are all inherently conservative characteristics of our system. That doesn't mean that it isn't a good thing some of the time - consistency and fairness are important goals if the system is to build any faith in the people its meant to govern/reside over. But that doesn't mean that we should just accept it and the conservative/anti-revolutionary standards that it imposes upon us. Shouldn't we have some kind of choice of the system we live in and the definitions of justice that govern our everyday existence?

So as my thinking slowly evolves and breaks free from the middle class conservatism that comes naturally (no matter how often we call ourselves "liberals" or "progressives"), the question becomes, how much of this is about self-image and hype, and how much of this is about movement-building? Do we have to put ourselves and everything on the line all the time to be "real"? I don't know - as time goes on, you accumulate stuff - not material things, but obligations and hesitation, I guess. It's when you're young that you feel you have little to lose - and honestly, more of us should feel that way later on in life. Otherwise, none of this shit is going to change. But it's a leap to take.

WTF. This post started okay and turned into some kind of stupid therapy session. Over and out.

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May 24, 2007


I know, I've been M.I.A. for a while. A lot more to come soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the awesome weather. Provided you're getting it where you are like we're getting it here. Oh, and get off your computer. Winter isn't that far away, and you can watch those silly YouTube posts anytime.

Or track the ever-more-confusing twists and turns of the immigration debate as it winds its way as an ugly two-headed snake through our two-headed Congress. Will they ever be able to reconcile bills that are so fundamentally different? Let's hope so, and let's hope they don't sell our communities out in the process. For updates, see SAALT or AAJC.

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May 23, 2007


Why the hell haven't I checked out Soulfly before? I think the Nu-Metal aspects of the 2 or 3 tracks I heard really got on my nerves so I didn't try the albums out, but Max Cavalera was already a legend in his work with Sepultura, and after hearing just a few of the tracks from the later Soulfly albums, I think he's one of the best in the field at mixing a huge range of things into his music without it feeling forced. I usually feel like a shuffle in my iTunes would subject people listening to the range of things from reggae and dub to death metal and back through the bossa nova I love. But somehow, Calavera is able to do that within his songs and albums, and I have to tip my hat to him. If you like a lot of music and aggressive metal falls in there somewhere, check out Soulfly. Don't believe the negative hype - I have the first, fourth, and fifth albums (because the even the positive hype panned Primative and III). More details are not forthcoming, because I'm not a very good music critic, but I'm digging this stuff - I could write to it, and I'm certain driving to it will be fun.

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May 22, 2007

The Bay in Retrospect.

Well, I'm still processing, but it was a whirlwind of a trip last week. I think we were overly ambitious, but it was very very interesting to see the different people and communities that we did see, and it helped to put our own work, and the place of East Coast Asian American work, in context.

It also helped me to think about the importance of the work that's happening in South Asian communities in NYC, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, and DC. Because just having a large community in numbers (like the greater Bay area) doesn't mean that you have an actual community that's formed, and the activist culture of the East Coast has a different feeling (and urgency) to it.

Other than that - the weather was awesome (colder than expected), and the people were good to us. But San Francisco felt more white than the major East Coast cities. That was striking. Maybe we should have spent more time in the East Bay.

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May 15, 2007

i scoured the bookstore shelves
for the perfect guide to san fran
which only exists as a vision
like the images marco polo painted
in calvino's invisible cities

in book after book, pages
were missing or lost
the index had forgotten
kearny street workshop
somArts center, the i-hotel

instead i found jack kerouac
a dead beat's ghost lingering
in borders instead of city lights
where is wittman ah sing
when i need a dose of truth

to tell me i'm wrong
that anywhere else
but not in San Francisco
our histories here
are not so invisible

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May 13, 2007

*gasp* Almost... there.

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May 10, 2007

This is one of those ads that I mentioned. Still more than we get here.

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Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Check this out, folks. A show from Canada (can you imagine something like this in the U.S.?). It's not perfect, but it's a sit-com, and I'd rather laugh with these folks than Seinfeld or the Friends any day. First season comprised of 8 episodes, and all are available on YouTube. One thing of note: there's a group called Hire Immigrants that has interesting ads during a couple of the shows (I think the first episode and somewhere later on). The theme is "if Canada is a land of opportunity, why is an MBA/MS... etc, etc." It's a different kind of ad, still more than we have here (can you imagine how many different ads we can do, just with NY cab drivers?), but it raises other issues. I mean, the whole "good immigrant"/"bad immigrant" dynamic between folks with specialized skills and laborers: do we really want to reinforce the economic caste system that already exists in the communities (or can we find ways to disrupt it so that our own communities are not abusing co-ethnics who are just looking for a way to survive).

Anyway, check this out, send them a note of support, and let's see what the next season has to bring.

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May 9, 2007

What's a "diverse student"?

I got an email recently from our Career Development Office concerning "opportunities for diverse students this summer." It seems that I've heard this phrase a lot lately: "diverse students." It really gets under my skin. I mean, if you're talking about traditionally underrepresented communities, specific ethnicities/racial groups/sexual or gender identities, or whatever, isn't there a better way to put it than "diverse individuals." I mean, if a white guy and a white woman are in a group, that's "diverse" in a number of ways. If we have brown haired and blonde haired people from states around the nation, that's "diverse."

I feel like it's a ghettoization of the term "diversity" to represent visible minorities, and there's this weird tiptoeing around the fire, trying not to use certain phrases to alienate white, hetero students while *clearly* meaning a very specific group of students. Basically, this process will end up (as if it hasn't already) reducing concepts of "diversity" to race, gender, or sexual orientation without speaking to why there is special outreach to these groups. The resulting bad-taste-in-the-mouth syndrome is either tokenism, favoritism, or doubt about the merit of such outreach, depending on who you're talking to.

The lax approach towards language reflects, IMHO, something else. Diversity programs seem to value the faces more than the stories behind those faces, failing to recognize that true integration of different perspectives and groups would take other attributes into account - from family wealth to prior access to education and employment opportunities.

Clearly "diverse" should mean a lot more than it does, and it bothers me that while middle-class people of color are able to take advantage of opportunities that are opened up through "diversity" programs (not really at the expense of the white middle-class people who are the most vocal about these things), it's the working class and poor of this country - of any race or background - that are still left behind.

And it's their voices that are so sorely missed in the corporate board room, the policy-maker's advisory group, and even law school's diversity-based planning and decision-making. Window-dressing doesn't do anything, and if everyone, regardless of their "diversity" is still talking about the same firm jobs, the same damn sit-coms, and everything else, what difference has the program made?

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May 8, 2007

LAPD and May 1 Violence.

In case you needed any further confirmation, the LAPD remains fucked up. See this post on Los Anjalis for details around the May 1 immigrant rights demonstrations. Do we need any further proof that they just don't care? Can you imagine something like this happening at an anti-abortion or pro-gun demonstration? Crazy shit.

Do something. Contact the LAPD.

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May 7, 2007

The New Mutiny.

So I have had my own run-ins, albeit infrequent and minor, with some of the Sepia Mutiny crew. I used to read the site once in a while because I thought it was a good place to find interesting tidbits of news and pop culture, though the commentary was uneven, but I figured, heck - it's an Indian blog, what do you expect, and the design/elements were more polished than anything I'd put time into creating. But when they asserted biased viewpoints and tried to pass it off as legitimate "new media," or beat down on the few people who bothered to post opposing/thoughtful responses amongst the throngs of their echo chamber... well, it became clear that this was an Indian blog, egos were fragile, and it was nothing close to a community space that I wanted to be involved with.

So I just turned it off. Now, I only glance at the site when someone sends me a link - resorting to more primary sources of "actual news" as it were, and not feeling any loss for my decision. I mean, I might as well go to an uncle party if I wanted their points of view, and really, who the hell has the time to read so much triviality?

I had originally posted a site here that was launched to poke fun/attack/what have you some of the people involved with SM and other related sites. I was posting with the idea that I was just "sharing" the site. But a comment (still below) raised a number of good points that I'd not thought through while in my hast. Bottom line: regardless of the intent or impact of the site in question, it doesn't really matter - I don't want to be part of it, and I don't want to support it. I want to build - not attack/take things apart. We have too much work to do. So forgive me the transgression in judgment, and thank you to the anonymous commenter.

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From Monument to Masses; API Arts in San Fran.

I just clicked into the Manja: Asian American Arts Events list of events happening around town in San Francisco when we're there. There's a lot! I'm incredibly impressed. One of the events we actually missed, though, was a concert by From Monument to Masses on April 20. I decided to bite and see what they're about, and it ends up that they create instrumental soundscapes that are quite compelling, but not just for "suffocating artsiness of highbrow indie wankery." Check out this opening paragraph from their band bio:

"The work: to make revolution irresistible."
- Toni Cade Bambara

Revolutionary. While it's become increasingly difficult to refrain from rolling one's eyes whenever one hears the word, it's even harder not to use it when describing From Monument To Masses. This San Francisco area three-piece, founded in late 2000, is constantly pushing the boundaries of instrumental post-rock--combining layers of guitar loops, driving polyrhythm and breakbeats, and sampled sound into emotional, ever-changing song structures. FMTM's music has always moved away from the pop music standards of lead vocals, verse-chorus-bridge song structures, and radio-friendly song lengths. But there is a conscious limit to their instrumental experimentation...

Hell yeah. This is what I'm talking about. The music and smart samples speak volumes. I'm very impressed by the four tracks I heard through their myspace, and really hope they come out to the east coast soon. I'm just starting to tap the indie stuff that's all over the place - I guess I've been stuck in the mainstream quite a bit, but learning more about this work that people have been doing is really awesome. More music and groups to check out. But what hits me with their stuff is that they aren't afraid of the political message, without hitting you over the head with it lyrically. I've been vibing out to Explosions in the Sky a lot, but this sound captures the emotion without forgetting the context in which we're living. I can dig it.

Wow - just checking out the arts scene events listed on that site makes me wonder about my choice of coasts. Something else that we're going to miss is State of Bengal's record release party, a few performance showcases (including one by Denizen Kane a.k.a. Dennis Kim from I Was Born With Two Tongues), and a range of visual art openings. While I'm really excited to be out there, I may get antsy about what we're bringing on this coast. The diversity of genres and disciplines is what I imagined for the Bay, but it's a different thing to check out the actual list. Damn. We got a lot of work to do. Talking about movement, working for it is one thing, but it's the artists who will document the experience and move the hearts and minds of the people. Plus, straight-up activists are boring.

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May 6, 2007


I've been living a little more, blogging a little less.

But feeling the urge to write more, in a calm way that doesn't scream "do it right now!!" and make me feel like I'm slagging off on everything. So that's a positive thing. If only I could write in a way that wouldn't give me a headache, and yet still have the effectiveness of typing. But I've pulled out the good ol' composition book for my train rides once more. I'm anticipating (hopefully) a long train ride to work this summer, so that will be a good excuse to attempt some focused writing. So many interests and topics, so many shadows and light. So much to reflect on, without getting lost only in consideration. I have infinite admiration for people who can write in a concise period and then move on to the next thing. I'm not like that at all - I mean, if I think something is important enough to write and think about in any non-stream-of-consciousness way, the process is agonizing - almost working around the actual writing until I finally have to sit down and crank it out. That's how it is for me right now with this final paper that I have to slog through before I get to freedom on the other side.

Heck, even fun writing takes me a long time sometimes - that piece I wrote about I for India took me a very long time, because I was trying to delve deeper into my personal history, and to think more about the topic - but I didn't give myself the quiet time to do that thinking that I need. I guess it's a matter of compromise, and learning that at a certain point, just putting something together and getting it off your chest quickly is cathartic, and this act of writing, particularly in a blog, which is supposed to be two part entertainment (if at least for self) and one part reflection should come more easily. Ah whatever! Thanks for reading, y'all. I've been very thankful for the past week or so, getting through my semester's end frenzy with more grace than I've mustered over the past 3. The road back to community seems shorter than it did at the beginning of this trip, and my step grows lighter with each passing day.

On that note... more things I'm grateful for in May:

Long walks. Our lives have been hectic, and I've not walked as much as I used to. Our neighborhood offers small and large sights, and taking advantage of the scene and the company are part of what makes the weekends special, no matter how often I say that I don't want to live just for them. Rather than try to cram everything we have to do into those two precious days, stretching out a bit and spending some quiet time walking has been a new habit. And I'm starting to recognize faces along the way/ flower buds bloom mark time passing rather than our calendars, and it's all right.

Mangoes. Hell yeah - it's mango season again. I wasn't really a mango freak until I lived close enough to an Indian market (i.e. Jackson Heights) to get a box whenever I was nearby. There's nothing like a good mango to change your mood. My mom ends up buying a couple of extra boxes in Jersey City to give to her friends near home. I'm carrying that tradition on - they may not be from my own garden, but I want to give people mangoes. All food metaphors aside, gotta share them while they're good. And ain't nothing like a fresh mango shake on a warm day.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This sounds brutally banal, like one of those idiots who blogs on-and-on about how wonderful their lives, their yoga classes, and their "deep thoughts" about "community" are, but this is honest reflection. I love my community. I love that I have spaces where I feel comfortable, even though I didn't grow up there, and I don't try to front like I'm an insider. Chinatown is more like home because I feel comfortable there, just like Asian American arts spaces feel like places where I can relate to people. We all have friends and family, but being able to connect in this way really means something to me, spiritually. I know that we can imagine resonance with others in our lives, based in some part on what we hope this world to be, and that inner need for most of us to be able to relate to people takes over and distorts reality... but I don't think I'm imagining this connection. I feel peace. That grounded sense where the chaos of the moment fades to the order that lies beneath - the echoes of people whose lives were difficult before, and the struggles that people are fighting every day now. But if we can't celebrate that, if we can't see this as some great big canvas upon which the good and the bad are pieces of a whole, then our work will not matter, our efforts will be wasted, and their stories will be forgotten.

Connections. I've been extraordinarily blessed by the friendships I've made over the years. I meet incredible people who don't forget what friendship means or how to connect even when I'm often caught up in something in "life" that keeps me from being consistent for them. The possibility of drifting from people, especially when you don't see them regularly, is so great - in our lives, we take on new roles, meet new people, evolve in our thinking and relations (or don't). How we can keep our relationships dynamic and fresh really depends on how much we're willing to keep working at them, I guess.

I had a history teacher in my little town who gave me two things, among others. First, he'd hand out photocopied chapters from Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States to supplement our textbook reading - a wonderfully eye-opening thing for a high school teacher to do. But I didn't read any of them. I read Zinn in the weeks after I graduated from college, picking it up from the bookstore in Bard College where I worked as a resident/teaching assistant for a Bank Street program with high school seniors. It was an odd choice for summer reading, but it was perfect, and I remember pouring over the pages and realizing what I'd missed - it took me two graduations to get there. But the other thing he gave me was a thought about how he wanted his friendships to be - he would tell me that he had friends who he would see from his younger days, but all they would do is talk about the good ol' days. But they didn't have much else to discuss, and he wondered about how and when to cut off those friendships - if it's not growing with you - if you're not able to talk about your lives now, no matter how different you may have become, well, does the friendship still really exist? Or is it the corporal equivalent of pulling your yearbook off the shelf and flipping through the pages?

I have so far to travel along this path I've only gently begun in community-based work, and that's what excites me still. As soon as that excitement wanes, it's time to move on. But some of my dearest friends are from my life before I started this way, and I fear that they think more about my choices than I do - as if we can measure our worth and what we contribute by the jobs we hold, the roads we've traveled. The measure of a person must be what's in their hearts, and I know that I have friends who sometimes think that they've "sold out" or they aren't living the life they want to live. And I feel helpless sometimes, because I can't figure out the words to assure them that our roles are all important, and that it's okay if they feel like they are in a rut, or that folks have obligations that have led them to the paths they have had to take (if they don't enjoy them). More than anything, I just realize that with my deep engagement with work and now school, I sometimes falter in my connections, but I have been reminded time and again of how fortunate I am to have met so many of the people who make up my memories.

I only hope that physical proximity is not what we need to keep those vital and formative friendships dynamic and alive.

Anyway - this post has meandered quite a bit. Sorry for that - Sunday evening when you have a lot to do, but a heart and stomach full of good things - and this is what you get. Listening to Explosions in the Sky/Aphex Twin's ambient work gives me this hopeful, lifted feeling. So does some of the soul that I've been picking up from Oliver Wang's excellent Soul Sides music blog.

I promise I'll listen to some aggressive shit and remember how messed up the world out there is, and live back up to my rage moniker. After all, I'm not blogging from California, there's a lot of fucked up stuff going on, and this is not the time to bliss out. We have work to do.

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May 3, 2007

ADF: New Way New Life

I'm about a decade late on this, but damn. ADF isn't running away from community. Why don't we have groups like this in the US?

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May 2, 2007

A Greener Apple.

Damn. I just posted that question about Apple's enviro-policies yesterday, and today, Steve Jobs posts up this blog-like entry that outlines more of their actual policy (because apparently, no one really knew). I wonder if Jobs reads this blog. Did I push him over the brink? I didn't think this was a new campaign, so I don't know what gives, but I'm shocked at the coincidence. I wonder if the next step is a massive donation to the brown side trust... ;)

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May 1, 2007

I'm trying to get myself motivated for final season again. I can't believe there are people out there who actually enjoy going through this process. I'm so ready to get out of the exam/paper ratrace. I like thinking about the law, and I don't at all feel ready to get out there, but I'm tired of this system.

And I'm even getting a little tired of student organizing, what little I've been able to do while here. The most redeeming factor of my second year, in fact, has been the joy that I've received from my work with fellow students on issues of mutual concern that impact many of the graduates from my school who want to "do good" with their law degrees. The school has a growing reputation with incoming students, and perhaps even in the local area, for turning out innovative and committed students who want to do more community-based work, whether as their chosen career or as a pro bono gig. But it's not been wholly true to that end because it doesn't put as much oomph behind the programs that will support the work long-term. In other words, the infrastructure is somewhat weak - it's the students, the faculty, and the alum that keep people coming. But how long will that remain the case? So we've organized around this issue. And we've built momentum around this over the past year.

But how does this relate to my ultimate goals for career and personal mission? I mean, I'm not a college student anymore, having gone through this all a while ago, and I'm tired of the cycles of activism/cynicism/administrative roadblocks that make actual change difficult. Maybe I'm feeling that I haven't done the right things to keep the group of organizers I'm working with moving on their own, not because they need me as a leader, but because it's easy to identify one person as the responsible body. I wonder if I will have the tried and true problem of letting go when it comes to that. Designing/collaborating on the vision for something like this is one thing, but it's a very different thing to know how to keep the process open, and feel confident that the group, in some way, will continue and work to realize the key goals for which it was started to begin with... well, those are difficult things to balance without experience.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the work so far, and I really feel like it's given me the chance to experiment with my own leadership style and skills, and it's also given me space to reflect on what kind of organizations I want to build and be a part of. Consensus and decisions by committee are often reviled by people who have had bad experiences, or even people who aren't process oriented - but there's something to be said about a community of people making decisions for their community... and building community as they do it.

I think integrating the mundane/administrative work that comes with every organization with the group's substantive philosophy is a very important step towards building a more conscious group. It's not enough that we send out press releases about what we believe (or hold events on campus that are interesting and current topics). Why are we doing this work? And are we holding true to those ideals across the board in our daily work and orientation to that work?

It's the whole question of practicing what you preach, and sadly, people become little dictators when they start to get control of any process or group. I've seen it with informal groups (like an alumni group I'm struggling with right now) all the way up to the groups that you'd think would be more conscious of these issues of power. But people seem to grab for more when they should be thinking about how to share and open up the field more. Annoying and counterproductive. I'm sure I'll write more about this with a little more time.

Anyway, with all the other things going on out there, it's hard to see what the priorities in school can really mean. Shouldn't I be here focusing on developing the skills to do the best I can once I'm out of here? But on the other hand, doesn't organizing (and recognizing/realizing what your community is when you're a part of it) qualify as a skill worth learning? Then again, without the right guide, are you learning the right skills? Too many things to consider. But now that my hardest exam is over, I hope to engage these questions, as well as some of the nuttiness that I'm seeing in the national A/P/A scene, with more vigor. Lucky you.

Heck, I may throw in another fun video if I find one here and there.

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Microsoft vs. Apple (Marketing)

Because I'm on another YouTube kick (and I'll be writing for the rest of the day), I thought I'd share this. This is from a series of comparisons between the companies that aren't the most illustrative of the differences (which are really not very important, honestly). I think it's the battle of the style vs. function. And the feeling that some people have about counterculture. But Apple is not a counterculture tool - I think that Mac users may tend to be more creative, but not in their computing - it's in everything else that they use the computer (as a tool) to accomplish. And heck, I think it's about the software that people use to create - so let's talk about Pro Tools or Final Cut. I probably already lost people there. But that's the big issue, isn't it? It's more the gap between avid users and people who just use the computer with the bare minimum understanding of how it works or how to change it from what comes out of the box. Mac is liked by people because they don't have to tinker - PCs because you can tinker more, I guess (which I believe more and more). But Windows vs. Mac OS X is a different story.

But to me, I have to return to the question of founders and CEOs. I think this MS commercial, which stars the now CEO of MS, Steve Ballmer, shows us what kind of an image he puts out there. Steve Jobs is more slick, the cool uncle, I suppose.

But when it comes to founders - Jobs may like the sexy and innovative, but Gates has had the vision for the company (evil as we think it is). He's one of the few real decendants from the robber barons like Rockefeller, Carnegie, and JP Morgan. He's giving it away.

What is Jobs doing? Where's his philanthropy? Why isn't Apple donating computers to schools? Why isn't Apple making more of a specific impact? Why do Apple's investors have to push for them to move closer to Dell in green programs? Hell, the linked article states that Apple is in last place on the relevant Greenpeace list. Gore is on their board. What gives?

Anyway, enjoy the video. Maybe I'll send up another before I'm done today.

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Zune Balmer

This is one of my favorite things I've seen for a while. There's some back-story - Steve Ballmer is the crazy CEO of Microsoft who has gone out of his way to say things about Apple. Much reviled in the Apple community, he's also kind of an idiot. This "ad" was created from real footage of him at a Microsoft Developers presentation when he pranced around the stage screaming. It's a little unnerving to watch the real video, believe it or not (though you can still hear the vocal track in the background of this thing). But this is classic. More links to come, I'm sure.

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