November 26, 2009

Wear your love like heaven


I never knew what alizarian crimson was (from Donovan's song "Wear your love like heaven".) Now I do.

Lyrics:
Color in sky Prussian blue
Scarlet fleece changes hue
Crimson ball sinks from view

{Refrain}
Wear your love like heaven
Wear your love like
Wear your love like heaven
Wear your love like
Wear your love like heaven
Wear your love
Lord, kiss me once more, fill me with song
Allah, kiss me once more that I may, that I may
Wear my love like heaven
Wear my love like
Wear my love like heaven
Wear my love
La la, la la la, la la la, la la la

Color sky Havana lake
Color sky rose carmethene
Alizarian crimson

{Refrain}

Can I believe what I see
All I have wished for will be
All our race proud and free

{Refrain}

November 24, 2009

Zebra? Donkey w/ stripes


Gaza city's zoo lost 2 zebras recently. To save on costs, they decided to paint 2 white donkeys with stripes rather than spending money on buying more zebras. The kids don't seem to mind. No joke!
Video here.

November 21, 2009

Ugh, what a day.

So, it was Ben's 30th birthday yesterday, as well as our 10 yr anniversary, and to top it all off with wonderfulness, he and his 2 business partners (and good friends) had an interview with Y-Combinator (a preeminent start-up funding company). He woke up, was delighted by the Birthday Blog that his friends and myself made, had a lovely morning and even saw a rainbow.

Then, they entered their interview (10 minutes only! Not long to get your business idea across...), and were immediately reamed by one of the people who was interviewing them. Apparantly, no one could get a word in edgewise, he wasn't even making sense, and some of the interviewers apologized as they were all shaking hands on their way out. "Fail" is how Ben described the immediate sense of how it went. That evening their 'failure' was confirmed by an email explaining why they were not chosen (however, the points made in the email didn't even really have much to do with their idea. Which shouldn't be too surprising based on how little they were able to explain their idea in the interview). Oh well. Their REAL idea was supported over and over at all the networking meetings/parties they were going to that evening. So hopes and dreams weren't dashed, just weirdly thwarted for a few hours.

But as if that wasn't enough to dampen the birthday spirit, as they left one of the techie meetings, they found their rental car had been broken into. Three windows smashed! AND ALL THEIR STUFF STOLEN. Including their computers (hello! they do all their work from their computers. They're fucked!)

And, finally, they spent the night hugging the toiletbowl from some food poisoning. Sigh.

November 16, 2009

Yummers


Great meal with friends followed by a walk, orange spice tea and sweet potato pie. Good times.

November 12, 2009

Grad School Visits

Just returned home from a trek out west. First stop, visit my sister and her family, including new niece Phoenix.

Second stop, head to California to visit the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) and University of California, Santa Barbara Bren School of Environmental Science & Management (Bren). Here's how they stacked up. Wish I could do this in columns, that would be rad.

1. Both had murals of marine life.
Monterey

Santa Barbara


2. Both were located on the coast of beautiful California
Monterey

Santa Barbara


3. Both offer really excellent extracurricular speakers/lectures
MIIS

"The global scourge of armed violence: Can anything be done?"
Communication through Technology
"Nuclear Power: One Envirornmentalist's Perspective"
"Managing our oceans: Recent national and international incentive to conserve marine ecosystems"

Bren

No Impact Man (Film)
Michael Specter "Denialism-How irrational thinking hinders scientific progress, harms the planet, and threatens our lives"
Earth Days (Film)
Philippe Petit, Man on Wire (Film)


Okay, that was to satisfy your visual comparison desires. But seriously, how did they stack up? Let's just say, I'm super excited to go to either school. Impressions:

MIIS:
*Extremely international student body. Over 50 languages spoken amongst the <1000 students. What I like about this is the broader experience amongst teachers and peers. You become familiar with more points of view, thereby gaining greater ability to build bridges to actually make changes in the world.
*Students repeatedly said that they felt like they had always had a nebulous idea about the ideas that they wanted to mix together (ie business with social activism, or economics and environmentalism, etc), and finally these ideas came together to form something solid, leading to their dream job.
*Peace Corps and Fulbright scholars amongst the student body in large numbers. I have a feeling this will lend a similar atmostphere as the Gaines Fellowship did for me in undergrad,,,my favorite school situation so far, aside from Montessori elementary school.
*Professors are not pushed to publish papers constantly. They do publish, and well, but they are also congratualated for the hands-on work they do. I think this more hands-on mentorship will suit me well. I want to make sure I can be active in the field when I graduate. Seeing my mentors being active gives me strength and courage that I will be able to achieve that.
*Marine ecology/management is stronger here than most programs, where terrestrial environmental issues are the norm to study. With my background in sailing, I feel I have a particular bent and responsibility to steward the oceans.
*The degree is called "Masters in International Environmental Policy". When asked what is international about the program, the answer is that it can be as international (aka you can travel abroad) as much as you want to make it, but basically, the environmental problems facing us in this world are international problems. I like this broad view! The policy covered is not USA policy specific/centric.
*MIIS only offers Masters degrees. Which means that students don't compete with Ph. D. students or undergraduates for attention from their professors. From another point of view, the professors are there to help turn out capable professional (as opposed to academic) graduates.
*Despite the classes offered being cutting edge, the students (miraculously!) say they don't ever feel like guinea pigs as they learn. (This elicited a choked-up throat and a tear in my eye when I visited. I always felt like a guinea pig @ Tufts).
*The students say they learn something and then put it to practice (as opposed to learning something then being tested on it, then practicing it after they graduate in the workplace). Hence, employers that know about MIIS, say that the students from MIIS ALWAYS out perform students from other schools in their first few years in employment. I am ready to hit the ground running when I graduate, I'll've been in grad school for EVER. And the prospect of more projects over more exams is enormously exciting to me.
*The school's motto is "Be the change".

Bren:
*The location is mind-bogglingly beautiful. Like, you can't believe that place exists, let alone that there's a prospect of studying there for your choice program.
*Large, state university means that the availability of resources like arts/lectures runs deep. Similarly, the marine laboratory facility is located next door, should I find that I need to take classes there, or get myself embedded in that in any way.
*The program is very academically stringent. I am used to this, and given my recent history, I feel a bit shy from this way to go, but I also see the inherent strength of a program like this. I know that my personality and ideas can be really, shall we say, "creative" at times...and having a program like this might be grounding, and help to make me more versatile in a more cookie cutter world. Wow, that sounds really pejorative, but I mean it in a positive way. Like, I realize I have faults and this program might balance those traits to some degree.
*they offer GIS training. I have to check and see if MIIS offers that. (Global Infomation Systems. a mapping method)
*The student body seems very outdoorsy. I sat in on one class, and everyone looked like they were dressed to go on a hike. Two women from the environmental office at Patagonia lectured. It was rad.
*The school's motto is "Become the change". Which is very similar to MIIS's motto, but implies that you will be the change later than now. Semantics (o:
*The program I am looking at is the "Masters in Environmental Science and Management" which is recognized as one of the top schools in this arena. But there are only like 5 schools in this arena, and they're all top. So you can't really go wrong.


What I like about both programs is that they are more about management, policy, leading to positions in NGOs, government or consultancy positions rather than research positions. That's what separates these programs from MOST environmental/ecological programs. Basically, I want to finish school and help the environment through being active in the field. I appreciate the curiosity that drives research (have done plenty myself!), but I need/want a job that helps me see my progress on issues. I also don't really want to write grants my whole life.

I am leaning toward Monterey, but I thought Bren was going to have to REALLY knock my socks off to stand a chance of me wanting to go there instead. Impressively, I would love to go there too. Still leaning slightly toward MIIS, but applying to both, looking into more questions about both. Win-Win.

November 3, 2009

Ventriloquist Choir

I have had this window open in my browser for days, each time it makes me laugh til I cry, it's so ridiculous.