Monday, December 28, 2009

celebration of a decade

This is a celebration blog of the past decade. Truly it has been one to remember.

2000/2001
Woooowhee! So this is grades 11/12 for me. Awesome year by the way, and a great start to my blog! This was one of the years I went to Stratford ON, and except for two classes, this is also the year I finished most of highschool! Whew. I loved this year... The apex of my highschool experience.

I started working part-time and tutoring more often. I spent time with friends and just plain old enjoyed highschool! PS> I'm the one with the rifle. Of course. *wink*

2002/2003
I graduated highschool and started working full time to save for university. When I first started working it was 2pm-10pm, then switched to 6am-2pm, spent a summer working 10pm-6am, and then back to 6am-2pm! This is the most wealthy I have ever been at one time, with no loans, no school, no bills, and no car! It was great!

I spent TONS of time with my second family, the El Dali family. These are my younger sisters and brothers! *grin* Mariam is gonna kill me for posting this! In the fall I also started school at SSU!

2004
Oh dear. My first years at SSU. What a time! Putting off papers, crashing laptops, late nights, crazy friends and one wild roommate. I'm amazed I'm alive! Summer of '04 is also when I first lived in Scotland for a year and met my THIRD family, the MacDonalds!

2005
My second year of school was pretty amazing too! I spent a LOT of time with Sam and Brie. Second term was the easiest of all my terms there by far, and I spent SO much time chillin' at the local pub...

At the end of the year I travelled to Southeast Asia. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand. I studied cultures, languages, and history. It was an amazing experience. I also had a LOT of fun!


2006.
After returning home from Asia I spent a few weeks chillin' at home and then moved back to Aberdeen and family three! I worked in the bar of the local Holiday Inn and had a blast. I rebonded with old friends and made new ones. Then, when my visa ran out, I went to Ireland for a few days!

Later that spring I met up with my classmates again and we travelled across western Europe. From campsite to campsite. Tenties forever Brie.
Then Brie, Chris, and I went to Scotland and we were all together!

2006/2007.
oh man. my final year at SSU. Such a fantastic time. Everything from new friends, close friends, apple picking, playing in rainstorms, HALO, Hallowe'en, birthday parties, and Claire visiting from Scotland. Woo! best ever!


2008.
To me. This is the year of Korea. for 15 months I lived and breathed Korea (literally). I may have gone with friends, but I also made many, many more while I was there. I love you all my Chingus!


Wait a minute! Claire was in Korea too! Hey, you're in my life in each year from 2004-2008. Sneaky!

I also went to Vietnam this year... and got my SCUBA license!


2009.

This is the year of boredom. 4 separate jobs. Monotony and depression. It is the most difficult year of the entire decade, although it is looking up here at the end. I have started school again, made amazing new friends (are you reading this Krista?), and have a job I enjoy. I didn't have a camera for most of this year, but I'll see what I can dredge up...


While the year hasn't ended with a fantastic bang, I've still got a smile on my face. Lets be honest, it was an amazing decade. Yay new year!



Sunday, November 15, 2009

ch-ch...ch-ch...changes!

Alright, so I've basically had a terrible last six months and I decided a little bit ago to rediscover myself. I've come a long way, made a lot of changes, and wanted an outward reminder to myself to be myself. So I cut off all my hair. WOOO!!!!!





Saturday, October 17, 2009

New places and faces

I realize I haven't blogged in a while, and the reason is that I've gone back to school. Finally. I'm taking Massage Therapy, at the International Academy of Massage, and so far I'm loving it. For my first semester (which I am half finished already). I have Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Nutrition, Terminology, Massage Techniques, Client Assessments, Business Skills, Law and Regulations, and Communication Skills. I'm in class from 8:30am to 5:30pm with a 45 minute lunch break, 10 minute breaks between classes, four days a week. That means, instead of 16 hours a week of classes (such as at SSU, where I got my B.A.), I am taking about 32 hours a week of classes, and I LOVE it. The stuff I'm learning has me enthralled, and I just can't get enough.

The only part that I don't like is that I have very little extra time. I tutor a fantastic family after school, and I work in a local cafe on weekends, so between these and studying, my social life and regular sleep patterns have pretty much been squeezed to the sidelines. I can't do without either though (tutoring pays for gas; waitressing pays for school), and really enjoy both (although I enjoy tutoring much more than the cafe), so I can't complain. At least I have a job!

Once I'm certified I can do so much for people! Did you know that I can help someone who has a problem as simple as constipation and stress, or as complex as Fibromyalgia or some Muscular Dystrophies? I will be learning more about actual muscles than most doctors. I've been learning about the bones, all the major connections, primary joints, grooves, ridges, notches, tendons, internal bits, processes, etc., and that's just in one class! I'm going to feel all full-up with knowledge soon!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Afghanistan I: the land of drugs and death


I've been doing some research on Afghanistan, its history, and its current status. It hasn't been a fun time, but it has been an enlightening one.


Afghanistan I: the land of drugs and death


The country of Afghanistan has a long history of internal warfare, as well as consistent invasion by neighbouring (or distant) countries. The geography and climate of Afghanistan has had a strong influence on its war-torn history, often acerbating social and political strife. It is landlocked with a climate that varies sharply throughout its different regions. Each area, from the lush, green pastures in the north, high mountain plateaus, and desolate, windy desert, has been exploited and misused to the determent of the entire country.

Afghanistan is non-coastal, located in southern Asia, and is situated to the east of Iran and both north and west of Pakistan. On the eastern side of the country Afghanistan also shares a very small border with China. The north is predominantly pastoral farmland, with fertile grassy plains, cultivated fields, and rolling hills. It also has central highlands, which are mountainous and dangerous, encompassing the heart, and majority, of the country. Further to the south is desert, dominated by dry winds and unforgiving, harsh weather.

In the north farmers grow wheat, rice, and cotton, while wandering shepherds graze their sheep and goats. Although this sounds like the idyllic homeland of Heidi, the area has all but forgotten peace. There has been severe drought, destroying crops and herds, and land mines are scattered throughout the region, severely restricting grazing flocks. In the past decade much of the farmland once used for wheat has been transformed and is now primarily used for poppy cultivation. The seeds are processed to make opium and heroin, and nintey-two percent of the world’s opium coming from Afghanistan’s northern region alone, the result is a lucrative drug-smuggling business for terrorists like the Taliban.

Afghanistan’s largest region is the central highlands, an area which has played a vital role in the history of the struggle for control of Afghanistan. This area includes a large portion of the Hindu Kush Mountains, a part of the Himalayas. These cover nearly two-thirds of the country, and are so rough and treacherous that their name roughly translates to mean the Killer of Hindus. The ranges are unforgiving and rough, prone to earthquakes and sudden weather changes. This desert-steppe area typically has snow and strong winds due to its high elevation. The deep valleys and high, ragged mountains are a perfect hiding place for anyone who does not wish to be found, as long as such a person knows how to survive in such a harsh climate.

The mostly barren and windswept area of Afghanistan is located in the desert of the southern plateau. This area is close to the borders of both Pakistan and Iran, and is extremely unwelcoming. It is where the Taliban has its strongest foothold, spreading across the desert into Pakistan. The south is mostly infertile desert, with only a few rivers snaking across it, allowing for some fertile soil.

Regardless of region, Afghanistan is a broken country. The climate and geographical conditions are acerbated by warfare, political instability, and bloodthirsty religious fervor. The strengths of each region have been exploited, whether by drug lords or terrorists or both, resulting in a country full of harsh weather, violence, and poverty.


Check out a video about life in Afghanistan here.
Check out my other sources here, here, here, and here.

Next: a (hopefully) brief history of Afghanistan.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

one day i rescued a shopping cart


one day i was walking to the store with a friend and saw this shopping cart. all the other carts were safely tucked into their little corrals, but this one was stranded; smack in the middle of a small lake-of-a-puddle. i was wearing heels, and it was november, but my friend and i decided it needed to be rescued. so i walked out to get it. while i was in the water the shopping cart and i hung out for a bit before heading back to safety. yes, the water was very, very cold, but it was fun.

i love these pictures. they feel very 'me'

Photo credit: topherseto
click the photo for a larger view


Monday, June 22, 2009

moving on...

For the last seven months I've been back in Canada, helping my parents out and trying to get my life a little more organized. Unfortunately, it's been a lot harder than I thought. I'm easily distracted by, well, pretty much everything. It started to seem like life was just happening and I was coasting along on cruise-control. Shitty job, stuck in the middle of nowhere, no money, very few friends close by (none particularly close), etc... I've been off my game for a (long) while, and I decided to really make an effort to figure a few things out. So, I spent a week with no facebook, no friends, (almost) no internet, no phone calls (except family), no books, no movies, and no tv.

It was a long week.

I spent as much time as possible actually concentrating on who I am and want to be, my relationships, what I believe, my goals, responsibilities, where I want to be in a year or two, my family, and my friends.

Granted, I still went to work and did all my other life-related things (I also went to a wedding on the weekend and spent time with relatives). In the end, it was totally worth it, and I'll probably make it an every-two-months habit (although maybe not for a week every time).

While I don't have everything figured out (who ever does?!), I feel a lot better about myself, my future, and my relationships. I have a more solid idea of what I want and who I am. I needed that, and for anyone out there who is curious, here are a few things I've figured out about myself:

I feel trapped in my parent's house, but I have told them that I will not stay longer than another year. They have that long to figure something out.

I feel useless and boring without money.

I eventually want to live within at least weekend visiting of my parents and sisters.

I want to make a community. get married. have children. have a job. keep learning. volunteer. get involved in projects. travel. not necessarily in that order.

I need a certain level of stability and I feel like I don't have that right now.

I want to save money to travel once and a while around Canada; maybe abroad when I'm more established and stable.

I want to make a community of friends here.

There's more, but I'm not going to share it online. It was a very difficult week. One in which I had to make some very hard choices and face some pretty tough self-criticism. It was worth it though.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Great Water Solutions...

Self-Healing Concrete

National Geographic

Its not quite as advanced as Terminator technology. But a new concrete that can heal its own wounds may soon bring futuristic protection to bridges and roads.


Um... so this is one of the coolest and most productive inventions I've seen (except cloaking technology... that beats all in coolness)! This concrete will make buildings, roads and bridges, SO much safer! Say goodbye to potholes!


Living at Sea

National Geographic

Championed by California-based competition sponsor the Seasteading Institute, the high-seas homesteading movement is all about creating tiny frontier lands "where those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test out their ideas," according to the institute's Web site.


Don't forget to click through all the pictures! I'd LOVE if one of these ideas could be invented! Woot!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

toxic waste's toxic waste


BBC

"It is the biggest toxic dumping scandal of the 21st century, the type of environmental vandalism that international treaties are supposed to prevent. A giant multinational is being sued in London's High Court by thousands of Africans who claim they were injured as a result of the waste that was illegally tipped on Ivory Coast's biggest city, Abidjan."


The biggest toxic waste scandal, and yet people are still sick, still dying, and yet Trafigura denies the waste is hazardous. They have not been charged, and a lot of the waste is still there. Makes you really confident in humanity, doesn't it?


Speaking of pollution...


BBC

"The province of Shanxi in central China is one of the most polluted places in the world and according to government officials, the rate of birth defects in this region is six times higher than the national average."

We often hear about how polluted China is... but are we really paying attention? When I lived in Korea there was a season called "Yellow Dust Season", when sand from the Gobi desert in China blew across to Korea. This is relatively normal, and wouldn't be that bad if it weren't for the fact that the dust blows through Chinese factory smoke stacks first, making it toxic. By the time it hits Korea it's a health hazard and people are warned not to go outside. The air turns yellow, literally. And yet, this is just the stuff picked up and dropped in Korea. This article shows what happens in China. It makes me want to boycott "made in China", although I'm sure there are severe economic repercussions to that too...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Things I fear

I have many fears, and most are illogical. Water, heights, and speed are the three major ones I have been fighting most of my life.

Water:
Water is my nemesis. It is my oldest and strongest fear, one which had been reinforced as an adult. When I was very young I took swimming lessons and failed 'yellow' because I refused to put my head under water. I was terrified of not being able to breath, and even splashing water on my face resulted in gasping fear. I later made it past 'red', but have always been a very weak swimmer, and to this day am afraid of swimming without holding my head up and out of the water. I still need to hold my nose when I jump in. After a bad scare a few years ago, I was afraid of even venturing into water past my shoulders.

Heights/high speed:
This is a childhood fear. When I was little my sisters and I used to go to a park near our house, and there was a twirling swing. Being the youngest and smallest, when my sister used to spin us around, she held my swing because it was the lightest and easiest with which to run in circles. When she released me, my swing would suddenly soar up higher than all the others until I could almost touch tree branches. In my little imagination I saw my swing breaking and me soaring across the park to my death. It terrified me. Eventually I started refusing to go in twirly swings, and never could enjoy normal swings without that twinge of fear and picture of the chain breaking and me sailing to my death.

The breakdown:
I was fine with avoiding these things until I went to Southeast Asia. While there I REALLY wanted to see the view from the bell tower of a church, however, that would involve climbing up a rope to the roof (no guard rails). The rope climbing was fun because it was in the tower, but once up there I was, literally, on the roof. Scary? YES. But the view was amazing, and I felt like a superhero once my shaky legs were on solid ground again. That was the point in time when I decided to overcome my fear of heights, a little bit at a time. From that I went climbing with Chris in Korea and even jumped on the glass floor of the CN Tower. After every one of these major accomplishments I felt amazing!

My fear of water was enhanced while traveling in the Philippines, and I decided that I could not let it cripple me or I would never enjoy water again. I forced myself to swim with a life jacket while in Malaysia (the water was dead calm). I braved choppy water in Europe (with the help of my friend Allieren and an inflated bed). I decided to face my fear head on. Chris and I decided to go on holiday in Vietnam, and while there we took an open water SCUBA course. I panicked while we practiced in the pool (when you have to go under the water and learn how to breath with the mask), but kept trying. I found that every time I had to go from the surface to underwater, I would freak out inside and have to just allow myself to panic-breath while I held myself face-down. Eventually my breathing would slow down and I would dive. Soon I started to really enjoy myself! Learning to dive showed me that I CAN enjoy being under water. So I decided to boogey-board. I had one paralyzing moment of complete and utter fear when I was under, breathed in some salt water and couldn't find the bottom with my feet, but after crying and shaking for a little bit once I found the surface (which was after the wave had passed) I went back in and enjoyed myself!

Now, I would say that, although I am still wary of heights, as long as I'm on the ground or in a building (no skydiving for me yet!), I'm not afraid. I can finally thoroughly enjoy myself in high-up places. I am still very cautious of choppy water/waves, but I KNOW that if I can calm down, I WILL enjoy myself and even forget my fear for a little while!

All of this is to say that fears don't have to stick with you. I have learned to love climbing to high places, looking out from the CN tower, SCUBA diving, boogey boarding, swimming, and riding on the back of a motorcycle. Six or seven years ago I would have loved none of those things. I still get scared and panic sometimes, but the feeling of accomplishment I have afterward is my driving force. I feel amazing. I feel strong, brave, and ... well... like a hero.

In closing, check out this video. Chris sent it to me and it reinforces how I feel about my fears.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

my mom

This past weekend was the easter holiday, a time of visiting family and over-eating. This weekend was a little different for my family. Saturday was my dad's birthday, so I invited the weekend-visiting family over for a casual dinner to celebrate. Just before everyone arrived, my mom fell while trying to open the porch sliding door. She was obviously in a lot of pain, especially her hip, but everyone arrived right then, so she asked for some pain killers (an indication that something really was wrong) and endured the pain through the evening. By nighttime she was too weak to go to the hospital, so my dad took her the next day to get x-rays. I decided to stay home and clean up the dishes a bit. At about 9:45 my dad called to tell me that she had broken her hip and was going to be sent to Ottawa for surgery. I made phone calls to tell the visiting family members, Rae, and my parent's church. When I went in to visit (and bring my dad some food) the doctors said she'd have to wait another day (Monday) for surgery. My dad took the day off yesterday, and they took her in at about noon and put screws and a plate in to her hip. She's in recovery now, and will most likely be in the hospital for a few weeks, although we're hoping she can be transferred to Almonte, which will be much closer and convenient. She will have to get physiotherapy, and will be on painkillers for a while yet.

I'll keep this blog updated if anything changes.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Credit Crisis for Dummies (no offense)

Alright, I got this from my friend Matt, and as a way of explaining the "credit crisis" it was pretty helpful. Let me know what you think, and if you have anything to either dispute, or add to it!


The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Acting in Afganistan

What’s new from the BBC?
Terrifying plight of Afghan actress

“Afghan actress Parwin Mushthal's passion for her job has exacted a heavy toll - resulting in the murder of her husband and forcing her to live in hiding with her two children.”

Mushtal first began acting in highschool, and now has been in more than 20 theatre productions, dozens of films, and has regular television appearances. Her face is well known in Afganistan, but in this country, such popularity can be dangerous. In fact, Mushtal hid her acting career from her husband’s family, and when they came to visit, made sure the television was used only to watch movies.

In a country where the influence of the Taleban is growing stronger, acting is often linked with immorality. Women who act are often accused of prostitution, threatened, and even abused. Mushtal received such threats, and often arrived to work only to find people waiting at the entrance, blocking her path, and telling her she shouldn’t be working. She received threatening phone calls and was abused walking in the streets. People began to recognize her, and once, walking home with her young son, a stranger on a bike violently punched her in the back as he passed. She fell to the ground and injured her leg so badly that she still has pain months later. She thought perhaps the abuse was directed at her due to her clothing, so she began dressing more modestly and began wearing a scarf over her head. It wasn’t until her husband began receiving phone calls asking why he allowed his wife to act that she realized what the problem was. By then, it was too late.

One night in December a man repeatedly called her husband, telling him to come out of the house. He refused. The next night he began calling again, and eventually her husband agreed to meet him. Mushtal became concerned when he didn’t return after dark, and at eight o’clock heard shooting. She was afraid the man would come into the house next, so she locked the door and waited all night. In the morning police found her husband’s body, shot numerous times.

Now Parwin Pashtal is in hiding, wearing a full-length burka so she can't be recognized. She lives in constant fear that someone will recognize her and come after her or her two children. Pashtal’s story is not an anomaly in Afganistan. The Taleban is gaining strength in many cities, and is openly critical of women in the workplace. The result is situations like Pashtal’s, where women are threatened, abused, and even forced into hiding.

I wish this story could end on a happier note, but it can't. I wish I could DO something. Thus far, all I am doing is writing notes reaching very, VERY few people. Spreading information is one thing, but I don't feel like I'm actually helping improve anything. I want to help things CHANGE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

headlines again

Exxon Valdez 20 Years Later

You guys remember the Valdex oil spill back in ’89? Well on March 23 an oil tanker stranded and leaked 11 million gallons of crude, making it the worst oil spill in US history. Clean up started immediately after the accident, and continued until 1994, when experts determined that the oil was naturally disintegrating rapidly, and that in a few years it would be completely gone. So, where are we 20 years later?

Not great.

Instead of disappearing, the oil breakdown in areas with irregular water flow has slowed, and according to recently completed research by the WWF, there are still 21,000 gallons of the toxic sludge coating Alaska’s shores and poisoning the wildlife. I’m not going to go into how much damage this spill caused (and is still causing, and will continue to cause), because it’s depressing. Hopefully
Australia fares better.


Water Is Not a Human Right

Access to clean water is NOT a human right, according to a the Istanbul Ministerial Statement, which was adopted by ministers and heads of delegations from more than 150 countries. They agreed that clean water is a human
need, but not a human right.

Anyone else think that’s bull****?!! I was
PISSED when I read this.

And get this, they published it to purposely coincide with the United Nations' World Water Day. How’s that for irony?


Pink Elephant?!

What’s the saying about a white elephant? Well, how about pink? In Botswana a wildlife cameraman managed to catch sight of a pink African elephant calf, which experts believe is most likely an albino. Unlike Asian elephants, who spend a lot of time in jungle areas, African elephants spend a lot of time in the open, unprotected from the burning sun. Although this baby albino has slim chances for survival, his sensitive skin making him particularly vulnerable to a variety of health problems, he seems to have already begun to adapt to his situation. He walks in the shade of his mother, and since the herd was found in an area with water and trees, hopefully the baby will learn to cake himself in mud or take refuge under available trees.

I figure the little guy’s gonna make it. Elephants are smart, and this one already seems to have figured out that the sun can hurt him. Let’s be honest, he’s also pretty cute.

Glaucoma Anybody?

Apparently the drug used to treat glaucoma makes eyelashes grow longer, thicker, and darker. Now it’s being used solely for that purpose. Yes. You can now apply chemicals and drugs to your eyelashes to make them more like Audrey Hepburn’s (which were fake). Can anyone think of a better use for medicinal research funds?


Alaska Volcano!
Great shots of the volcano in Alaska that blasted off this month!


Lion Whisperer?

Wow!

I bet this guy has trouble getting life insurance! Kevin Richardson is an animal behaviorist who plays with lions. He has developed such a relationship with the lions that he rolls around with both males and females. The females even let him pet new cubs, a miracle considering how protective lionesses are. I think he’s an
insaniac, but super cool.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sand Dancer: Peter Donnelly


Check this out!!

New Zealander Peter Donnelly is the Sand Dancer. He rides his bicycle to the beach immediately after the tide goes out, and using only a stick, a rake, and his imagination, creates astonishingly beautiful works of art in the sand. One of the most amazing things is, since he's on the ground, he can't really see what it looks like until it's finished.

This is unbelievable.


Watch CBS Videos Online

Here are some pictures of his work:




























Here is the original Sand Dancer; Honorable Mention Tribeca Film Festival 2007 , winner of best doc Foursite Film Fest USA 2006 and several int awards. Used with permission from Valerie Reid Director and Producer



Thursday, March 19, 2009

News! News! News!

Alrighty everyone, it's time for your new updates! I'm obsessed with information (namely news) and so thought I'd share some of this past week's interesting news.

Wow. Here's something that not enough people know. According to a ruling by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the UN's World Health Organisation, there is a high chance that night shifts increase the risk of developing cancer. In Denmark 40 women have won compensation after developing cancer from decades of night shifts.

The IARC studies and ranks cancer risks.
Category One risks are known carcinogens such as asbestos. Night working now sits just one rung below that: a probable cause of cancer.

One of the reports, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed a 36% greater risk of breast cancer for women who had worked night shifts for more than 30 years, compared with women who had never worked nights. This evidence supports the hypothesis that melatonin production may be impared by changing sleep patterns. Melatonin, in turn, has some beneficial effects in preventing some of the steps leading to cancer.

And if yet another risk of cancer doesn't get you quaking in your boots, night shifts have been blamed for an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, gastro-intestional problems, low birth-weight babies, and, for women, prolonged pregnancies.

All in all, this article interested me because I'd NEVER heard of such connections. If women are being compensated by a GOVERNMENT for their breast cancer due to working nights, I feel like there must be something to the risk.



Islands Disappear in India
Still think global warming is a "joke", "prank", or "unscientific"? Well, try telling the inhabitants of this island in India. Wait, make that ex-inhabitants. Some islands have completely submerged, while others are well on their way. People have become "environmental refugees" as houses and property are swallowed up by the sea and they are forced to move onto someone else's land. Space is limited and these people, as poor island dwellers, have nowhere else to go. The rate of erosion in India is 3.14 mm/year, where as the normal rate is 1.82 mm/year. So far there are no solutions offered (beyond crowding closer on the island and either starving or drowning).

Hippo Sweat Offers Key to Natural Sunscreen
OK, this is REALLY cool. Hippo sweat is red, and is structured at a microscopic level to scatter light. This means that those lovable giants can stand in the sun all day and not burn. Not only that, but scientists have discovered that hippo sweat is also antiseptic and insect repelling! So this summer make sure to visit the local zoo, wrestle with a hippo, and you can stay outside, bug free, all day! (Or you can wait for them to come out with a hippo sweat inspired product that won't smell, well, like hippo).

Sexy Marketing Aims to Boost Toilet Use
OK lets be honest, toilets ARE NOT sexy (well, for most of us anyway). In a lot of cultures talking about, or performing, bodily functions related to toilet use are either tabboo, or considered "dirty". This can be a problem when, according to National Geographic, "2.5 billion people worldwide don't have access to a clean, safe place to do their business." Add that to the reports that "80% of the developing world's illnesses are caused by unsafe water and inadequate sanitation" and you have a whopper of a problem. The solution? Make toilets sexy.
Yes, I agree. How on EARTH can a toilet be sexy? Well, some organizations have found a few ways.

In Kenya there are "toilet malls" where you can use a toilet, shower, get your shoes repaired, shop for food, and make a phone call. Celebrities all over Kenya have been called upon by an organization called Ecotact, to "sell" toilet malls. Famous Kenyan faces, like Miss Kenya and the vice president, have begun frequenting them in an attempt to make them more acceptable. Toilet malls have gained popularity by making a connection with status and privilege.

And then there is Cambodia, where the
Resource Development International Cambodia have made romantic karaoke videos about proper sanitation and hygiene, hand washing, bird flu, and sex slavery. They advertise that hand washing is beautiful and make the connection between hygiene and health. These are shown on national television!

Thanks to programs like these, the toilet has become a status symbol. "It's cool to have a toilet. Be the first person on your block to have one!" Although I balk at social programming like this, and resent the ideal behind the marketing scheme, it seems to have worked. Who is really surprised? It's been working on the "West" for decades!

This just goes to prove that anything is marketable, and that using social pressure can make anything sexy, even a toilet.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

going crazy

I strive to love, learn, and live as fully and completely as I can. Unfortunately, my actual life feels about as far from my potential as I am from the moon. I am twisting into tighter and tighter coils of self-absorbed insanity.

living at home

twist

jobless

twist

anti-social

twist

........

I
must
do
something.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Life as: Trial and Error

Bumps. Some are big and some are so small they barely slow you down. Sometimes I come across some bumps in the road that seem huge, and I have a habit of just sitting there, giving up, coming to the conclusion that I just can’t do anything about it.

I
hate that.

I’ve been spending a lot of time online, and have found a few things that have helped me face my bumps, so I’ve decided to post them in case they can help someone else.

These are some quotes from
Curt Rosengren. I have no idea who he is, I haven’t read his book, and he might actually be a terrible person (or a wonderful one). I love some of what he has to say though.

Our most challenging times are the times we need the support of others the most. Reaching out to others can plant a seed of connection that can grow over time and give you a stronger foundation for moving through challenges in the future as well.

Support is a two-way street. The more you focus on helping others, the more potential there is for that support to come back your direction. And it's not just support in challenging times. Helping others is a way to build relationships, and relationships open doors.
I love helping other people, and I generally encourage people to face their troubles; be bold; have confidence. Somehow, that hasn’t translated into myself. My confidence in myself, my life, and who I am has been shaken a few times lately so I’ve curled my tail close and stuck my nose in the sand.
When you successfully navigate a sea of obstacles, you gain first-hand experience that you really can deal with whatever comes your way. And when you feel confident that you can deal with challenges, you're more willing to take risks and pursue fulfillment in life.

I lived the mantra that “what is… is” but, as the movie “Australia” says, “what is isn’t necessarily what should be.” I have lost self confidence for a variety of reasons, but foremost is my own submissiveness to life’s rough side. In doing this I have lost some of my passion, the energy that comes from bringing more of ME into what I do, for life.

The solution: Find out what happened to the person in the pictures.
.