It's been a difficult year.
Today is December 26th, 2011. I am well into finishing up Hannukah, my resignation is looming and the New Year is only a few days away. Honestly, I can't wait. This last year did provide me with a choice few wonderful things but in the end it is time to say goodbye. I wait in anticipation to be able to leave behind all the bad decisions, people and memories of 2011. They say we are living in the end times and that the world might end next year. All I know is that, it might not be so bad. Let's see what 2012 is going to throw my way. I'm ready.

And thanks for all the learning experiences. 



We use them like curses
Cut away the gauze
Make you Think

Scream at
Your face
Shatter that facade

Don't smile at me
With your plastic eyes

Your bubblegum countenance
Is like dried cum stains
You say nothing

Despite incessant chatter
Driving Us mad
Like the buzzing of flies

We use our Words
To break your System
Hack this

Our curses fly
Straight arrows
Bleed you dry


The Semite in Anti-Semitism

[Ed. note: I find it very fascinating that almost all spell-check programs, including the Microsoft package, do not recognize "Anti-Semitism" as a word. Think about that.]

I admittedly hijacked the conversation in the comments section on a Racialicious blogpost entitled "Racial Fractures and the Occupy Movement", but every time this particular subject arises I feel compelled to say something. The commenter wrote this: 

"Antisemitism as being under the umbrella of racism defines Jewish people as being a Jewish race.  One can be racially White, Asian, Latino, Native, and/or Black, and also Jewish.  Anti-Jeiwsh sentiments, actions, and negatively impacting behavior in general should included too, but I don't think it is appropriate to generalize it to race.  That would be a major oversight.  Also, the term "Semite" refers to many different people, or which those who identify as Jewish are included.  By using that term, did you mean to highlight oppression of Jewish people in the United States, Middle Eastern and/or Arabic people in the United States, or specifically all of the groups under the definition of the term "Semite"?

I'm using the definition from wikipedia, so I am open to discussion to continue disambiguating this term."
[...cont. edit]

My response to his comment is as follows:
"Dear Gregory, 

As a Sephardic-Jewish linguist and activist, I have to contest what you wrote. The word “Anti-Semitism” and the word Semite have historically been used to refer to anti-Jewish bias and Jewish people for countless years both as a racial/ethnic group and a religious minority.

The use of “Semite” in the linguistic sense of the word can and does refer to Hebrew, Arabic and Geez-speaking (among others) groups of people but does not refer to an ethnic group outside of Jewish people. The Wikipedia article you referred to actually points out this explicitly by informing us that the term was coined in the 19th century in Germany and roughly translates from German as “Jew-hateness” or the hating of Jewish people. 

There are many arguments for including other ethnic groups in the term Semite, but the word anti-Semitism continues to refer to the hatred or bias against Jewish people and personally I believe that using it as an umbrella term does disservice to the awareness of anti-Semitic actions against Jewish people. I would also just like to point out that the last two FBI hate crime index reports have listed Jewish people as one of the consistently attacked group in the religious tract (above Muslims even after 2001). 

Perhaps it is contradictory of me to end on this note but this is not the time to be watering-down terminology and discussing terminological problems. We need to be fighting racism in all its form, not being distracted by pedagogy.  
Thank you."

I am honestly not sure what else to say on the subject. I just find comments like his quite contradictory and also troubling. It is troubling to me that people want to gloss-over the problem of anti-Semitism as something of the past...it is still a problem here in this country! It's racism! Racism is still a problem too.


Occupy This!

I love freedom, and the media is attacking freedom.

Don’t talk to the media, that’s what it all boils down to. I have been watching the how the media has been presenting the Occupy Portland movement and issues and at this point, on the eve of the eviction from the two downtown parks, I believe I can safely say that the media is not on our side. One only has to look at the tone of the stories from outlets such as the Oregonian, KATU and KGW. These agencies highlight drug overdoses; criminal backgrounds, assaults and a thinly-linked Molotov cocktail, rather than focusing on the fact that these brave folks are, in fact, democracy in action. Why isn’t the media talking about the camp’s library, the fact that the kitchen has only servers with food-handlers cards, that there is a General Assembly and that the movement does not condone violence. It seems that the media has an agenda (of course) and that agenda is counter-revolutionary, pro-capitalist and anti-democracy.  

Our freedoms are under attack. We live in a country where hate speech is protected as "free speech" but our truly free speech isn't free. This must end. We must not be scared into complacency by the media. 

I urge you to continue to support the Occupy movement and the brave citizens demonstrating here in Portland. Don’t support the police, don’t support the media. KATU isn’t “On Your Side”. They’re on the side of money and fascism. Support your fellow citizens. Support freedom.



There is a book I am in love with, you may know it as "Afterdark". It's a novel by Haruki Murakami. I picked up a Galician copy of it in Madrid called "Tras do solpor". The feelings the book stirred up in me are those of a powerful deep nostalgia. The book takes place in Tokyo, and as the title suggests, after dark. There are various scenes at cafes, restaurants and hotel rooms. These scenes remind me of Japan, living in the now and being a night person. It's a beautiful remembrance. In Japanese one says "懐かしい" /na-tsu-ka-shi-i/. There is an entire world of feeling in that small-syllabicated word.

Despite being disseminated to me through the filter of a language I hardly speak, those feelings remain and I fondly look forward to the novel every time I decide to reread it. I am curious about reading it in English or Spanish but at the same time I am nervous that if I do, the novel will be rendered un-magical to me and the beauty it first presented will evaporate. It's a risk that may be unfounded but why should I risk it? I can always continue to enjoy it in Galician.


Under the Table (a Tale of S. W. B.)

I don’t like screaming the r word, I really don’t. I like giving people the benefit of the doubt, I swear! I don’t want to be seen as the Cassandra that is cursed so that no one listens to her warnings.  I understand that people get tired of talking about it…but that’s complacency you know. It is just an excuse for complacency.

Anyway, I was downtown last afternoon, more specifically in the Pearl District (see: Gentrification Vs. Development) waiting for an interview at an art college when I decided to kill some time while I waited by going into Sur La Table. This place is a hoity-toity kitchenware store right across from Powell’s books, catering mostly to upper-echelon foodies and culinary hobbyists. They even have cooking classes.  There only other location in the area is in Lake Oswego.  Should have been my first warning, right? Mistake No.1.
Whatever. I’m dumb like that.

I walked in and was immediately but passively accosted by the phenomenon I (not so) fondly refer to as “Shopping While Black”, or SWB. This is related to the phenomenon known as Driving While Black. Basically, when one walks into a “finer” shopping establishment and does not fit the nice-rich-White- lady/gentleman stereotype, one is subject to this phenomenon. It can manifest as employees following you around the store, being overeager to direct you to a particular section of the store (clearance, for instance), positioning themselves between you and the exit or even telling you that they don’t carry “those kinds of items here.” Yeah, I’ve heard that before too. 

So at Sur La Table, the second I walk in, a blonde NWL comes right up to me to ask if I can be helped with anything. Normally I just say no, but this time I asked about frying pans (Mistake No. 2) and she directed me to said section, and explicitly pointed out the two-for-one deal. As if. She hovers a bit, till finally I kindly and passively let her know that I’m just browsing and she can fuck of somewhere else. I’ve already been subjected to two examples of SWB, but then I notice immediately that she wanders away to the end of the display case-created “hall” where she positions herself in the way of main exit, pretending not to be watching me. Right. Like I don’t know what she’s doing. Loss prevention my ass.

At this point I am pissed off and definitely not going to buy their overpriced Scandinavian cookware. I walk around from the pans, wipe my hands on a few baking trays out of spite and then continue around to the main exit so as to not walk by this NWL. She, of course, pops out from her completely obvious station as Guarder Against the Poor in Our Store (did that make you chuckle?) and wishes me a nice day.

I didn’t even look at her. Bitch.

Normally I get over occurrences of SWB after a few hours and a few cigarettes. I woke up however, a day later, still pissed off. I ranted on the phone to my mother about it, who has resigned herself already to the fact that this isn’t ever going to change. She suggested dressing up super nice and just trying to interact with the same employee to teach her a lesson. I, in turn, wanted to call up rant at the manager, lie and say that I was a relative of Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) because, 1) being half-Jewish I decided that we were related and 2) that she would never support Sur La Table again after I related this experience to her. 

In the end, this being untrue and probably unhelpful to my blood pressure and karmic state, I decided to just give them a nasty YELP review and write this blog.
The End.


Dear Francis

Today is smells like Japan. I remembered that smell as it struck me all a sudden on my walk to the train station. I wanted to go back to Japan. Maybe it smells like Japan because I was in that place when Grandma Emmy died. I had walked for hours and hours around the old part of Tokyo, pausing at the myriad of Shinto shrines that were sprinkled amongst the tiny streets. I was remembering her, and saying my goodbyes. Maybe today it smells like Japan because you’re dead now too. 

It was so beautiful and yet so sad. It was like a sound of dusk when you look out over the world with the sun disappearing and you feel so alone. I know that you’re not alone.  I have to hope that you’re not alone.

Earlier today I was at my desk just doing some menial paperwork before the office opened when that truth hit me. It was ridiculous. I haven’t cried in ages, and I thought that after that one year there would be no more tears left to cry.  I bawled and wailed a little bit. Embarrassed by my emotions and fearful someone in the office would find me this way. I was choked with emotion and it was frightening. I guess I needed to say goodbye.

So here it is, in my own way.
Good-bye Francis.
May G-d keep you.



Gentrification vs. "Development"

There is nothing that makes my blood boil more than gentrification.
Today on my lunch break, I was listening to a conversation my coworkers were having about the Alberta neighborhood. One of the managers lives near there. He called it the 'hood. Now, Alberta has been gentrified out of the ass since the late 90s with upper-middle class (over)educated, 30-something White couples moving in, buying houses and displacing what has been a historically Black neighborhood since the Vanport flooding in the 40s. Now I am all for everyone living together...I mean we're supposed to be a pluralistic society, no?

HOWEVER. This isn't integration. This is just pushing people out of their neighborhoods into crappier areas with less resources and infrastructure. This is especially problematic if you consider how segregated Portland is already. According to census information in Multnomah county, people of color (and working class Whites) are clustered in communities past 82nd Ave where there is a much lower economic level and many families living in bad conditions. The neighborhoods out there suck, basically. It's more dangerous too.

At one point during the conversation, another coworker said rather blithely "I went to that [Alberta] area as a child a few times and its just so developed now." She was implying that all the new White-owned businesses and new condos were improving the neighborhood, that it was more "fun". (Sidebar: Now I like this particular coworker, but she is naive. The worst part is she's a POC like me, but the Whitest one I ever met.)

Anyway...back to the issue. You call it development, I call it gentrification.
Just Say NO!



eyes mist over in plastic ways 
and meanings what does this mean 
you are mean-spirited 
weak of spirt 
mine screaming inside 
while you smile 
false mouth 
false eyes 
plastic idols 
je ne comprendre pas. 
je te déteste! 
c'est vraiment, 
you are not and so 
this is why 
the fascists must die. 


No seré yo.

A veces vivo en el precipicio, a punto de morir. Siento que estoy moriéndome, lentamente. Desahogándome. O sea que quiero suicidarme. No es que quiero suicidarme, es que...el sentido es asi. No tengo suficiente palabras para decirte eso. Entonces yo vivo en secreto, trabajando como nada me joda. Mis colegas no saben y tu tampoco. Que voy a hacer? Que seré yo? No seré yo. O quizás voy a ser algo diferente.


Unos días atrás...

No sé que hacer, cuando peleas conmigo así. No sé que decirte cuando pareces hipócrita. ¿Qué va? ¿Todo es mi culpa entonces? No es justo. No lo entiendo. Mejor que decir que, a veces, no te entiendo. Sigo amándote, sí. 


A court hearing

"I just had a court hearing today...for a DUI." "They dismissed it." He said, with a sheepish but happy smile.

I gritted my teeth and murmured, "Well, that's good." 
I wanted to say that they should have cut his hands off instead.


Another Portlandia Episode (Or, a Review Of Buffalo Exchange)

I gotta get this shit off my chest y'all...

I have lived in Portland for most of my adult life and used to enjoy hanging about downtown before it became clean and Powells decided not to provide internet service. One of my fav haunts was Buffalo Exchange, which has a plethora of used "hip" clothes.Yesterday I returned after a hiatus of a downtown-avoiding habit to browse around and look for some new head-wraps (also minding my own damn business, thank-you-very-much. The guy at the door (who I recognize as a Japanese-girl groupie from PSU) greets me and the person who walks in with me. About 5 minutes later as I'm looking at this awesome vintage shoulder bag (You know, schoolbook-style with brass clasps etc) this guy comes up to me and snottily states "I need to check your drink in, we have a no drink policy on the floor."

Please. Now I have been going here for over 7 years and no one has ever told me that bullshit before. Furthermore after I ask him to repeat himself and some random White girl (who doesn't work there wtf? Mind your OWN damn business) of to the side says, "Drink. Your drink."  So I just reply that no, I'm fine and that I'll just leave. Stupid bitches. Now I do not consider myself a connoisseur of fashion, but this kid cannot dress. On top of that he was rude, and probably lying. And I have other informed opinions about him as well. Apparently he is also a cocaine addict. I don't want to know how he got the job. I've heard many rumours about the employees at that particular location so just decide for yourself. You'll know him when you see him. Go check it out.

I have no idea why this happened. I could postulate, but why fucking bother.


The News is Bad For Your Health

Damn it. My blood pressure is rising! I know that it is probably in the interest of my mental health and well-being to stop reading the news in the morning when I am opening at work, but I can't seem to help it. It's a little ritual I afford myself to be in the know since I don't have cable or Internet at home. I try to read a variety of sources, both local, national, international and non-English. The local ones get to me the most because I tend to read the comment sections. I really, really need to stop doing that!

Anyway, one of the big stories of this week is the proposed ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) facility to be opened in downtown Portland, near the university and OHSU. First off, let me just say, if you are a POC like me, don't read the damn comment sections about this news article. The point is though, the news is bad for your health. Everyone has an opinion about news articles, and many of them are nasty when it comes to immigration. Racists. Yeah, that's the word of the day...and don't try to call it something else.

I am definitely not for this facility to be opened up, because I am pro-immigrant and pro-America (the ICE is contrary to American beliefs and ideals!) but also because it will change the face of Portland. What happened to the Portland I moved to years ago? Yeah, there's a lot of racial problems here, little racial diversity...but for the most part we all got along. I feel that the opening of an ICE facility will further damage this city. We're supposed to be "progressive" here, so why are all these local anti-immigrant (racists) folks on the net applauding the idea of an ICE facility in Portland to round up "illegals"?

Where is my blood pressure medication!?


Is Your Speech Really Free?

It disturbs me deeply that I live in a country where hate speech (racist, homophobic, sexist etc.) is protected under a "Constitution" as "free speech" and yet decrying a corrupt politician or inhumane corporations is considered, legally, a criminal action.


Slam this (My Bliss)

Who the fuck am I?

I don’t know who I am anymore, this pale ugly stranger
Beady eyes inflamed with a fire nothing can quench
My thirst is eternal like the g-ddamn sun that
Doesn’t boil my fallow skin to beautiful brown like
Days past with seagulls, pelicans and tropical terns flying LOW the planes, the planes are getting closer everyday driving me mad like a horsefly ramming itself against unyielding greasy glass SHATTERING all over the wall after I throw the bottle in a fit of childish yet adult frenzy, FRIENDS where are you other than slipping away and I can’t remember how your voice sounds anymore its been so long yet only as if it were yesterday why haven’t you called I changed my number make a fucking effort because I am worth a damn

I am worth a damn so why do I leave them to rape me everyday?

I am losing my face speaking without accents not speaking in tongues you can understand, you sientes lo que digo? my people where are my people you are NOT my people who the fuck are my people? My people wouldn’t rape me, hate me, snub me, and cut me down to size WHAT the hell is this hi how are you HOW can I transfer your CALL my mother to explain but I can’t speak she don’t get it anymore ANYWAY my throat is caught in they dicks as they…      
Again and again and again.

Again when, when will I be beautiful inside? He reminds me to live instead of die.
I’ve been dying since I turned fifteen, turning green and rotting away from the soul but this boy he gave me my goal to be alive to stay afloat because g-d knows its easier to choke.

So choke on this.            
Choke on my bliss.
I am worth a damn.

How can I help you today?


A small pleasure

A few weeks ago near the end of July, I had a great interaction over text-message with a complete stranger. It's little moments like these that really make my day and give back a modicum of my faith in humankind.

The conversation goes as follows:
-"I don't know if you'll get this but would like to give you a chance to see sarah before she goes. My place sun /731-2pm or come for informal lunch on mon 8/1?"
-"Is this megan?"
-"Sorry. It's savannah. Is this heather?"
-"No sorry you have the wrong number. I am a dude."
-"Sorry. Have a good weekend!"
-"No worries! You too!"
-"Thanks :)"


Super-powers would probably actually suck

Have you ever had one of those days when you wished you had super-powers? Mine would either be telekinesis or control over elements. Lindsey and I already joke that we can see into other people's souls. Not that it's really a joke though...we can. The problem with these hypothetical super-powers is that we, as partial and emotional beings would be unable to control them. I know that myself especially. How many times have we wished as children (and even adults) that we had the ability to magickally destroy, change or affect something?

This also comes at a time when I've begun to read Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead again. It's one of those books that makes White people sick. No wonder it wasn't as wildly popular as her first book, Ceremony. (In fact it was highly criticized. I wonder how many of her original readers were White? But that's another story...) Silko describes the main character's meeting with a Yupik (Eskimo) woman who can create electromagnetic energy surges to bring planes down with sheer will. Wouldn't that be awesome/dangerous? When reading this section, it made me a little excited but also a little sick.

I know that if I could, I would retaliate against those people with bad souls who try to hurt others. I would probably get carried away. I find that within myself are the seeds of destruction sometimes. However I try to remember that within that destruction comes rebirth.

Besides, if we were meant to have such incredible powers we would have already evolved with them. Or whatever.

If you could have any 'super-power', what would it be? Would you be able to control it/yourself?

(photo copywrited to Comics Alliance - thanks y'all!)


Porklandia Fuck-off Day

I am just scared that this is life now. That it is always going to be this way.
I hate my job, let's be honest. It's not the actual work persay I'm not as arrogant as to complain about that. It's my coworkers sometimes, bureaucracy most of the time, but mostly this unshakeable idea that this is gonna be as good as it gets. Working some brainless front desk gig with no benefits and I sure as hell won't see any Medicare or Social Security...if I even live that long. It's hard to be positive in these times. I have damn Bachelors Degree! That was supposed to mean something!

I want to get out of this country. This morning, on my way to work, a guy ran right into be because he was trying to get on the train in time. He shoved me. Fucking shoved me. Not even out of the way, just directly in the chest. Not even an "excuse me".Today is definitely an I-Hate-Portland day. We live in a country (and me in a city) that overworks us to death so that we shove people out of the way in an effort to succeed at arriving. Arriving to what? Another crappy low-paid job with no benefits. We've been brainwashed to think we've got it good as our government continues to take away our money, our rights, our lives.

What will be left?


A song for us.

"Who are you to say that?"

Who the fuck am I?

I am the words people are afraid to say.
I am the song in the wind.
I am the rage in our hearts.
I am la voix que ouvre les yeux.
I am the bullet that cannot be stopped.
I am breaking glass.
I am tears in the eyes of children.
Je suis tout ce qui a été victime d'intimidation.

So, dix-moi.
Who the fuck are you?


Racism-induced Exhaustion

I wasn't sure how long the men had been on the train, to be honest. I don't usually pay attention when I am on my way home from work. At some point I had started a short conversation with the two Brazilians nearby mostly because I never get to speak Portuguese in Portland.

Later on I was talking on my phone to a friend, in Spanish, relating to her my day and the neatness of running into Portuguese-speakers on the commute home. As the train pulled into the last stop, my stop, I put my phone away and as I approached the exit heard the loud end of a conversation about how "we should just close the borders and then tell them all to shut up."

My knee-jerk reaction was rage, of course. Those men weren't looking directly at me when they said it...but you know that feeling you get when everyone is talking about you but they're not actually acknowledging your presence nearby? They probably didn't think I even understood English...and I'm not even Mexican. At all. The shocking part was their appearance...they all seemed rather innocuous...for older White men. People are ugly when they think you're not paying attention or that you don't understand what they're saying.

So when my friends or acquaintances (mostly the White ones) whine at me about how they don't understand why these horrible racist things happen to me or around me and that  I "must be hanging out in the wrong areas" or with the "wrong people," I smile now, thinly. I don't have anything to say anymore. I'm too damn tired of experiencing it,  pointing it out, and "discussing" it.

 I just want to know who the hell you're all hanging out with.


Portlandia Yoga Episode

I thought it would be chuckle-worthy to share a little Portlandia moment with all y'all.

As a member of 24 hour fitness, I am apparently able to avail myself of free classes ranging from step aerobics to yoga. So, last Wednesday after a shitty day at work I met my boyfriend downtown and it happened to be yoga class day. I attended the class for only 30 minutes in an attempt to stretch and soothe my back which I have overstrained at work. I left, speaking with a nice elderly woman who left the class at the same time I did.

I proceded to go swimming for a bit, soak in the hot tub and then shower. On my way out I wait in the lobby area texting my boyfriend to let him know I was going home. I see the yoga teacher doing some kind of work-hours related stuff on the computers by the main entrance. One of the class members walks by and thanks her for a great class. I then say "Oh you're the yoga teacher?" "Sorry I couldn't stay for the whole class. It was nice for my back though." She then acidly states that "If you're going to come we ask that you stay for the whole session, are no more than ten minutes late and if you absolutely must leave early you must pose by the door and preform (some Ayurvedic word) before you leave."

I was so shocked at her verbal attack that I actually laughed incredulously during it and at the end of her diatribe in the same breath she smiles and says "I hope you have a wonderful night, okay?" My surprise turned to appall and I snarkily told her in French to go fuck herself as she turned around and walked out. The best part was another employee witnesses the entire thing and doesn't say a word.

It is a free yoga class. Yoga bitches like you are a dime a dozen, sweetie. Especially in Portland. Learn some aplomb! It almost ruined my nice evening at the gym except for my quick retort. Go me!


Anti-Semitism is Live and Well

'Kay, I'm outing myself as Jewish.
Ironically...tonight is Shabbat, our Jewish holy day. I just finished reading an article by  Melvin Martin, a Sioux Native from the Midwest, about anti-Semitism in North Dakota. He talked about a local mom-and-pop type operation that had been selling Nazi-era memorabilia and souvenirs...including ZYKLON B! (In case you didn't know...that is what they gassed Jews with in the chambres)

Martin also spoke to the fact that anti-Semitism is alive and well. This couple had been selling shit for seven years! He also mentioned the rampant White supremacists in the area.

What really struck me is, this man, with virtually no ties to our community (the Jewish one, I mean), wrote an article decrying the hateful people who wish us dead. It's one of those "we're all in this together" kind of deals that really warms my heart.

Most of the time I am afraid people have forgotten WWII and what Hitler's government tried to do to us...especially with all the modern Israel problems (don't get me started on liberal anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Israeli sentiments).  I think it does a grand disservice to EVERYONE that racism and anti-Semitism is a thing of the past.

I am very thankful that Mr. Martin has noticed that there is plenty anti-Semitic racism still alive and well in this country. Some say even racism at it's most basic is a thing of the past, what with Obama in power and all...that's just not true.

Anyway, thank you Sir. The Jewish community applauds you.


Army of Love

Do you know who Kerli Kõiv is?
You should.

I don't usually write or even think about pop artists very often. Most of what I listen to is rap en español or lo-fi, metal etc. I was drawn to Kerli originally by her aesthetic which she refers to as "Bubblegoth", and due to all the Farscape I had been watching lately I was hooked.

Her music was catchy, had a message for once, and was relatively unknown. What really endeared her to me however, was her personal website (http://iamamoonchild.net). She has a bloggish thing called 3 questions 3 answers and the latest included this from a fan: "Hey kerli my life’s a mess and I feel like I can Get some really good advice from you,so if you can take your time and answer me id appteciate it ^_^ I’m a gay fourteen y/o and I come from a Christian family and I heard that since I’m gay I’m going to hell."

Here is Kerli's response: "No baby. You’re not going to hell. You can love whoever you want. There is nothing wrong with you at all. We’re all going to heaven. This right here kinda is heaven too, if we choose to see it<3"

That really got to me. It was touching. I believe that this is the kind of things that artists should be doing. People look up to them and admire them. The fact that Kerli took the time to respond to this person, a fan, whom she doesn't know, but reached out to her in a time of need, is truly amazing to me. In this day and age, it seems like famous people hardly give a thought to others. Kerli proved me wrong and I have been a fan of her since.

Bravo, Kerli.


Do you have Genovese Syndrome?

I was reading an article on my local paper about a woman who, during an episode related to a medical condition, fell onto the light-rail train tracks right as a train was approaching. According to witnesses and a security tape, it took over 20 seconds for anyone to respond and only one person actually jumped down to help her. Having witnessed many instances of this social disease and having been a victim of it myself, I have finally encountered a name for it: Genovese syndrome or "the bystander effect."

To put it simply, Genovese syndrome is the socio-psychological phenomenon when bystanders offer no help to people in a crisis situation. This is mostly exhibited by ignoring victims and according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, over 68% of violent physical assaults are witnessed by bystanders who take no action.

How hard is it to at least call 911? It was too hard for THIRTY-EIGHT of Kitty Genovese's (for the phenomenon was named) neighbors to call the police or offer assistance to the young woman who was sexually assaulted, stabbed and killed on the street in front of her apartment complex in 1964.

I remember two summers ago, I was taking the streetcar home from work. I was distracted, talking on my cellphone, in Spanish (I only mention this because it is relevant to what happened next), when I bumped into a man as I was trying to press the stop request button. The next thing I know is this man has me by the neck, with my back up to the wall of the vehicle and he is snarling all sorts of racist (anti-Latino) and homophobic remarks at me, lecturing me that I need to learn some "respect". To my horror, no one did anything. People just stared. Not even the streetcar operator had the stones to do anything. I had been assaulted and humiliated in public. I think the worst part of the whole incident was when the police department told me later on that there was nothing they could do.

Now I have a personal vendetta on public indifference. I think it is disgusting that people will not step in for their fellow citizens when something obviously illegal, life-threatening or offensive is occurring. It should be our duty as members of society to help those in immediate need.


On friendship

In high school, my mother always used to tell me that if you could count the amount of good friends you had in your life on one hand, then you were doing just fine. I tried to always take this to heart, especially when I was feeling wronged or hurt by people I perceived to be my friends.

Over time I have learned that people are very insincere, especially here on the West Coast where I have chosen to live. I miss the genuineness of the South. I don’t understand people here; I don’t understand people that don’t follow through.

I haven’t spoken to my ‘best friend’ in over two months. I am okay.  I have Anna, Sam, Azadeh and my wonderful Max. So I’m going to keep smiling, keep it moving…because I don’t need you.

Did you count that mami? Four fingers, four friends. 


Hey you

I thank G-d every day that you are in my life.

Todavía estoy buscando las ciertas palabras pa decírtelo. Pronto un día vendrá y te escribiré un poema contándote todo eso. Ya sé que ningunas de mis palabras son suficientes pero es que...
solo tengo esa boca. 


Just a Bad Day

Yesterday feels like a hundred years ago at this point, after all the beers and cigarettes I consumed since I left work. Have you ever had one of those days at work when you just want to gouge your brain out of your skull, or throw a brick at one of your clients? That has been my week, so far.

Estoy pensando en dejar del trabajo porque los clientes alli son demasiado. Completely demasiado. I thought I was dealing with it well, just letting all the drama and bullshit slide off my back but today broke the pinche back of this camello.

I hate those situations (in life, in general) that you have no control of but then some hijo de puta comes along and blames you for the aforementioned extenuating circumstances. It's NOT MY FAULT. Don't kill the fucking messenger.

Perhaps my declaration of pending resignation to my supervisor was a bit premature and histrionic. Now that I'm calm, it seems like something I can get over with by way of more cigarettes and some sandalwood oil. Ojalá.


Sorry man, my karma ran over your dogma

Do you ever want to clobber that motherfucker in your past life that left you with shitty karma? Why should the Universe punish us for something we didn't do? Past lives are past, done, the end. Laissez-moi tranquille! I mean, technically I didn't do it. I'm not going to say what it is that I think I'm karmically suffering from because it's just too typical. Especially since I'm blogging from Portland. So I guess it will just be my secret for now.

But thanks dude! Not.


Understanding In a Car Crash

Sometimes when I am alone, walking through the city and I arrive at a cross walk, I imagine what my body would sound like if a car came speeding through the intersection and collided with me. Would it crunch? Would it squish? Would I be unable to hear anything because I’d die on impact?

I’m not suicidal; I don’t know why I think like that. I know that if anyone reads this they will probably be a little disturbed…but well that’s what a blog is for right? Confessions?


Quote of the Day

"I just wonder how many people never get the one they wanted, but end up with the one they're supposed to be with."

--from Fried Green Tomatoes


Japan Tragedy

My response to the Japanese tsunami/quake tragedy has been that of shock, mostly. Sifting through the photos online, some bring me to tears. I feel so helpless. I have already confirmed that all my friends in Japan are safe but that doesn't really placate my soul much. I think that the majority of the worlds responses to the disaster has proven that we are still hanging on to our humanity.

I have already decided I am going to do something about it. Either I will be traveling to the island nation in the coming months to volunteer my interpreting and medical training skills to the relief and rebuilding effort or I will be donating a large sum (think the price of a ticket to Narita) to the Japanese Red Cross Society (http://www.jrc.or.jp). If you have any ideas about what else I could do or would like to join me, please leave a comment below.

Sadly, the trolls come of of the woodwork as with any large news story. That has been bothering me. I can't believe some people's response to the horror. AFLAC recently dismissed Gilbert Gottfried over his tasteless tsunami joke and Racialicious recently posted a watchdog site about ignorant internet trolls here. Some people have been calling it "karma for Pearl Harbor". Disgusting. Fortunately the love being show to the Japanese people at this hour is overwhelming the less savory responses.

Querido Japón, rezamos por ti.