?

Log in

I see you...

Friday, May 18, 2007

11:34PM - Economist article about local and organic food

Good food? - Good food? Ethical food
1065 words
9 December 2006
The Economist
ECN
381
English
(c) The Economist Newspaper Limited, London 2006. All rights reserved

If you think you can make the planet better by clever shopping, think again. You might make it worse

“You don't have to wait for government to move... the really fantastic thing about Fairtrade is that you can go shopping!” So said a representative of the Fairtrade movement in a British newspaper this year. Similarly Marion Nestle, a nutritionist at New York University, argues that “when you choose organics, you are voting for a planet with fewer pesticides, richer soil and cleaner water supplies.”

The idea that shopping is the new politics is certainly seductive. Never mind the ballot box: vote with your supermarket trolley instead. Elections occur relatively rarely, but you probably go shopping several times a month, providing yourself with lots of opportunities to express your opinions. If you are worried about the environment, you might buy organic food; if you want to help poor farmers, you can do your bit by buying Fairtrade products; or you can express a dislike of evil multinational companies and rampant globalisation by buying only local produce. And the best bit is that shopping, unlike voting, is fun; so you can do good and enjoy yourself at the same time.

Sadly, it's not that easy. There are good reasons to doubt the claims made about three of the most popular varieties of “ethical” food: organic food, Fairtrade food and local food (see pages 81-83). People who want to make the world a better place cannot do so by shifting their shopping habits: transforming the planet requires duller disciplines, like politics.

Buy organic, destroy the rainforest

Organic food, which is grown without man-made pesticides and fertilisers, is generally assumed to be more environmentally friendly than conventional intensive farming, which is heavily reliant on chemical inputs. But it all depends what you mean by “environmentally friendly”. Farming is inherently bad for the environment: since humans took it up around 11,000 years ago, the result has been deforestation on a massive scale. But following the “green revolution” of the 1960s greater use of chemical fertiliser has tripled grain yields with very little increase in the area of land under cultivation. Organic methods, which rely on crop rotation, manure and compost in place of fertiliser, are far less intensive. So producing the world's current agricultural output organically would require several times as much land as is currently cultivated. There wouldn't be much room left for the rainforest.

Fairtrade food is designed to raise poor farmers' incomes. It is sold at a higher price than ordinary food, with a subsidy passed back to the farmer. But prices of agricultural commodities are low because of overproduction. By propping up the price, the Fairtrade system encourages farmers to produce more of these commodities rather than diversifying into other crops and so depresses prices—thus achieving, for most farmers, exactly the opposite of what the initiative is intended to do. And since only a small fraction of the mark-up on Fairtrade foods actually goes to the farmer—most goes to the retailer—the system gives rich consumers an inflated impression of their largesse and makes alleviating poverty seem too easy.

Surely the case for local food, produced as close as possible to the consumer in order to minimise “food miles” and, by extension, carbon emissions, is clear? Surprisingly, it is not. A study of Britain's food system found that nearly half of food-vehicle miles (ie, miles travelled by vehicles carrying food) were driven by cars going to and from the shops. Most people live closer to a supermarket than a farmer's market, so more local food could mean more food-vehicle miles. Moving food around in big, carefully packed lorries, as supermarkets do, may in fact be the most efficient way to transport the stuff.

What's more, once the energy used in production as well as transport is taken into account, local food may turn out to be even less green. Producing lamb in New Zealand and shipping it to Britain uses less energy than producing British lamb, because farming in New Zealand is less energy-intensive. And the local-food movement's aims, of course, contradict those of the Fairtrade movement, by discouraging rich-country consumers from buying poor-country produce. But since the local-food movement looks suspiciously like old-fashioned protectionism masquerading as concern for the environment, helping poor countries is presumably not the point.

Appetite for change

The aims of much of the ethical-food movement—to protect the environment, to encourage development and to redress the distortions in global trade—are admirable. The problems lie in the means, not the ends. No amount of Fairtrade coffee will eliminate poverty, and all the organic asparagus in the world will not save the planet. Some of the stuff sold under an ethical label may even leave the world in a worse state and its poor farmers poorer than they otherwise would be.

So what should the ethically minded consumer do? Things that are less fun than shopping, alas. Real change will require action by governments, in the form of a global carbon tax; reform of the world trade system; and the abolition of agricultural tariffs and subsidies, notably Europe's monstrous common agricultural policy, which coddles rich farmers and prices those in the poor world out of the European market. Proper free trade would be by far the best way to help poor farmers. Taxing carbon would price the cost of emissions into the price of goods, and retailers would then have an incentive to source locally if it saved energy. But these changes will come about only through difficult, international, political deals that the world's governments have so far failed to do.

The best thing about the spread of the ethical-food movement is that it offers grounds for hope. It sends a signal that there is an enormous appetite for change and widespread frustration that governments are not doing enough to preserve the environment, reform world trade or encourage development. Which suggests that, if politicians put these options on the political menu, people might support them. The idea of changing the world by voting with your trolley may be beguiling. But if consumers really want to make a difference, it is at the ballot box that they need to vote.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

9:35PM - 2006 in review

Year in Review
1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
Have a long term relationship, go on a business trip, buy expensive gifts for my mom, feel like an adult, sign a two year contract (find a full time job)
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't really make any. I also didn't make any thing year, but I will in the next post (a few weeks too late)
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully no.
5. What countries did you visit?
Spain, UK, France
6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
A feeling of efficience
7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 19 and 21- my meeting and first date with Andrew, my birthday, starting work, IFD, sell day, DC, fun day in nyc
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not screwing up what I have with Andrew
9. What was your biggest failure?
Taking care of myself
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing particularly memorable.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I like my starfish necklace...and my pointy nine west shoes
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Andrews
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed?
close friends
14. Where did most of your money go?
Food and fun.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Trip to Florida in early '07, trip to France, trip to the UK
16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
Franz Ferdinand stuff
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier/Sadder, Thinner/Fatter, Richer/Poorer?
Happier. Fatter. Richer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Had fun.Been responsible.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
wasted time.
22. Did you fall in love in 2003?
yes
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
nope.
24. What was the best book you read?
dunno
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Didn't really have one
26. What did you want and got?
A loving boyfriend
27. What did you want and not get?
A calmer family, a sense of being good at life
28. What were the best movies you saw for the first time this year?
Matchpoint
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were ya?
Hung out with the fam and Andrew the following day. 21.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
taking care of loose ends.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
Comfort
32. What kept you sane?
Andrew
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jon Stewart
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
none
35. Who did you miss?
nobody really
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Andrew. Though I technically met him earlier. Puja, Steve, Paige...though I sort of knew Puja before.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006:
Good things can only happen to you if you let them.

9:24PM - 2005 in review

So I had this quiz a few years back and then stopped doing it. Now that it's reappeared via Dasha's journal, guess I'll do it. It's sort of nice to go back and read these. Maybe I'll do 2005 retroactively...

Year in Review
1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?
I went abroad to Argentina, roamed around it in fact. I'm sure there was more, but I can't remember.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Probably kept a couple, failed on most. I don't think I made any that year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully no.
5. What countries did you visit?
Argentina, Chile, Uruguay
6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
A boyfriend
7. What dates from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Definitly many things about Argentina, more as events than dates.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Going abroad and coming back in one piece.
9. What was your biggest failure?
My academics.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing particularly memorable.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
My sheepskin coat.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Sangita, etc
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed?
close friends
14. Where did most of your money go?
The pits. Actually probably food and travel.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
study abroad
16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
Gasolina
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier/Sadder, Thinner/Fatter, Richer/Poorer?
Not sadder but more realistic. Same. Same.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Had fun.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
wasted time.
22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
no.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
nope.
24. What was the best book you read?
Amalia
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Juanes
26. What did you want and got?
went abroad
27. What did you want and not get?
happiness
28. What were the best movies you saw for the first time this year?
Cautiva
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were ya?
Don't remember. 20.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I tried.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2003?
Crap, I need mroe clothes.
32. What kept you sane?
Thinking of what was to come.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Umm…pass
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
foreign aid
35. Who did you miss?
My parents
36. Who was the best new person you met?
I technically knew Sangita before, but yea.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005:
Always be prepared to fend for yourself.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

1:41PM

I've decided that my career goal in life is to have a job I love and work half-time. Full time is too time-consuming. I'm too tired to do more than one or two things besides go to work which makes a full life exhausting. Not working would, I think, get boring after a while. Half time would be perfect. I'd feel productive, have a steady income (smaller, but still), have a sort of structure to my life and still have time to do what I want. Just thinking how much happier I would be working 11-3 instead of 9-5 makes me want it soooo bad.
Hey! Wishful thinking never hurt anyone...

Current mood: busy

Friday, May 20, 2005

1:06PM - musings

I've been thinking a lot about post-Penn but haven't really come up with anything. I'm not sure that I can actually submat, and more importantly I'm not sure that I really want to. It'll be harder to get a job afterwards 'cause I'd be competing with MBAs who already have real experience, plus do I really want to stay in Philly for another two years? Do I want to go to Penn Law? Damn grades and acceptance issues.

My brother made a good point the other day about the consulting industry being on its way out. The giants like McKinsey are becoming more arcane, they are no longer the innovators, boutique firms are taking over. Everything is getting saturated.

Was talking to my boss about graduate school earlier. She suggested I take a long hard look at Chicago for business. They also have a great law school, 6th. But also top rated as being chauvinistic in its practices. Do I want to move away from New York for yet more time? Yet, if I go to grad school right out of college I don't want to be financially pressured into having to live at home. If I was in a different city it wouldn’t be an issue. But I'd also be away from the city, away from my friends.

If I work for a few years first, what the hell am I going to do? I wish I knew. There is still a part of me that wants to be a book editor. Or a shrink.

Sorry. This email caught me in a weird mood. Soemthing about turning 20 tomorrow and the gloomy day. The rain's way worse from the 47th floor, the clouds seem like they are hanging right over my head. Gah. I know it'll work itself out. Eventually.

Friday, December 31, 2004

11:03PM

Year in Review
1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
Um..tried absynth. worked full time. traveled alone. can't think of anything else right now
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Kept some, tried with others, failed with a few. Probably
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully no.
5. What countries did you visit?
Spain
6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
Comfort
7. What dates from 2003 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
no specific dates but events and thoughts: finals week in the spring, my birthday, my first real job, barcelona, ari, etc.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Surviving it.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Being happy being me.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing particularly memorable.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
trip to spain
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Liz
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed?
close friends
14. Where did most of your money go?
The pits. Actually probably groceries and eating out.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Trip to Spain
16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
Any song by Interpol. Or Natalie Imbruglia
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier/Sadder, Thinner/Fatter, Richer/Poorer?
Not sadder but more realistic. Thinner. Richer. (I love that thin/fat is the only change from '03)
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Had fun.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
wasted time.
22. Did you fall in love in 2003?
no.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
nope.
24. What was the best book you read?
The Idiot
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Interpol
26. What did you want and got?
trip to spain, digicam from new years (or will get)
27. What did you want and not get?
happiness
28. What were the best movies you saw for the first time this year?
Angels in America
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were ya?
Realized some stuff. 19.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I tried.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2003?
Should I change?
32. What kept you sane?
Realizing that 'this too shall be over'
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Umm…pass
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
elections
35. Who did you miss?
Linc
36. Who was the best new person you met?
I'm going to go with Jonathan Riedel, just because today brought a valuable realization. Masha is the other one.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:
Things that you're capable of doing are not things you necesarily want or should do.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

9:17PM - oh no! it's Anna, updating!

Yeah, so I haven't updated in a while. Something I might do something about, at least until I go to Spain.

So I was on the train today, and I started wondering about New Year's resolutions. Figured I'd check in and see how I was doing.

1…take excellent care of myself. Sleep is good.

Yup. I've been getting sleep, eating healthier, exercizing and generally being nice to myself. Good job Anna! 5 stars.

2…give up junk food. Keep up my daily runs. That’s theoretically part of #1, but I think it merits another entry.

I do eat much less junk food. Substituted gym for runs. Still drink too much diet soda. 2.5 stars.

3…get cracking on that booklist of mine.

Reading different books. no stars. :-(

4…read biographies.

Again, bad. no stars. :-(

5…learn more French.

Err. Je ne sais pas. pas de estrelle. (is that how you say star?)

6…have a MUCH higher GPA than first term.

Oh ho ho. Yeah, NO! 3.4 fall and, surprise surprise 3.4 spring. more As though. Still no stars.

7…be nicer to people even if I don’t like them.

Yes, I have been. Not sure why I ever decided to do this, but I have been nicer than my bitchy self. 5 Stars. Way to go Anna.

8…get cracking on my list of new things to do.

Yup, went horseback riding. 4 Stars.

9…organize myself better financially.

I'm a little better but still no angel. 2 stars.

10…NOT become a smoker.

Quit when it became a habit. Go me. NOT going back. 5 stars!

11…be a more discriminating shopper and build up my wardrobe where necessary.

I've been pretty damn good about this. At least on the former. Haven't gotten around to the latter. 3.5 stars.

12…figure out how to use all the special features on all the electronics I own: cell phone, Palm Pilot, etc.

Nope, never did. no stars.

13…talk to L.?--> Decided against it. Some things just aren't worth the time or the heartache.

So, let us see totals. 13 doesn't count as it had a question mark to begin with, so out of a possible total of 60 stars I got 27. Mmm. Weak. Gotta get crackin.

Current mood: creative

Saturday, May 1, 2004

10:31AM - the world as we know it is speeding to an end

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/01/arts/01DINO.html

A dinosaur themepark that proves the bible right....?

Sunday, April 18, 2004

3:42AM - Spling

I am so tired, exhausted even but yet i do not go to bed. I just got back from Erica's...god its late. The weekend (it being Spring Fling, that means starting Wednesday) began badly: Dave's lung collapsed. However common it apparently is, still damn scary. As a reaction to seeing him in the hospital and white as a sheet we proceeded to Jordans were apple martinis made the world a slightly better place. Got back late, had two papers and an application due Thursday. So I got up at 8 (thought the alarm was set for before 6) and did one. Went to class. Did the other. Went to more class.

Then it was thursday night and the Huntsman class of 2008 descended on us. My prefrosh (not Leo, the one I didn't know) was cool so after dinner people on the floor went to Kappa Alpha, I took my prefrosh to Andy's where we pregamed and proceeded to Alpha Epsilon Pi. We danced there for a while, and it was weird because she (my prefrosh) was dancing with a guy I know exclusively from class and seeing Andrew at a frat was plain odd. Then we went to the PennyLoafers house and chilled there. Then met up with people at KA. Danced a lot. Then I took the prefrosh home 'cause I wanted 'em awake for the presentations next day.

Woke up, did the whole responsible hand-in marketing thing, went to the quad where we enjoyed the sunshine and the drinks. Got very happy. Got dinner and watched Kill Bill 1 where those of us that had seen it before promptly passed out. Woke up. Pregamed at Dianas. Went to Sigma Alpha Epsilong then to Jordans. Went to Pike. Then a bunch of other places but nothing special. Came back and slept.

When we woke up to a sunny and even more beautiful day the roommate and I felt the urge to shop. So we did. We bought tickets for Kill Bill 2 and shopped till the showtime. Met up with a bunch of people. Saw the movie. Came back and got dinner. Went to the Fling carnival. I met up with Erica and Jill and we went back to Erica's for sangria, mojitos and cosmos. Hung out, relaxed, watched some Sex and the City. And then it was three. So Jill, Lindsey and I made our way back and now here I am, Fling is over and I'm happily exhausted.

That was really an events summary journal. wow. I'm too tired to think. summary was easy. mmm. BEEED

Current mood: exhausted

Thursday, April 15, 2004

9:47AM - reality is not my friend

Last night was the first, albeit unofficial, night of Spring Fling. Classes forgotten, a chunk of the university partied.

What did I do? I went to the hospital to visit David. His lung collapsed. Just like that. Randomly.

So now, I'm sitting here, trying to write the spanish essay I should have written last night and thinking, life sucks.

Julian's missing fling because his grandmother passed away and he's flying home; David's in the hospital hooked up to a wall and I find myself wholly unprepared to finish my work, go to class and meet the prefrosh who are coming tonight. The weather's picked up, and with it my mood but goddammit, like the end of the semester's not shitty enough?
I wish I could fix it all. Fix David, bring back Julian's grandmother, whatever. Grr, reality is NOT my friend.

Well, since Dave's in the hospital and Julian's on a plane to Florida, neither can edit my spanish essay for me. I guess I should go do a good job. Sigh.
Sh. Listen. Yup. THat's the sound of the world's smallest violin crying at my problems.

Current mood: discontent

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

2:25PM

I'm sitting in my room, at my desk, looking around me and wondering what's wrong with me. I have great friends a great school but i'm in a terrible mood. The weather isn't helping, it's rainy and icky and generally unfun.

Spring Fling is in days, which will be amazing. The weather is supposed to clear up, which means a lot a lot of fun. THere's got to be a reason it's referred to as the biggest party on the East Coast.Hmm.

My desk is a mess. I need to put away the papers and I need to do the work for the entire time between wednesday and like tuesday of next week. Fling and work are not a plausible combination. Class will have to happen but even that is sketchy. I cannot believe I only have a week and a half left. Three more econ lectures, three more spanish classes, one more marketing, one more management. I don't feel done. I don't feel ready to be taking finals. I'm not ready to not be a freshman anymore. This is all happenning to fast. I've been so busy burying my head in the sand that I am not at all equipped to be doing anything that reminds me about the real world. About the fact aht I don't have a job. About the fact that collee is notas safe a haven as I thought. That this term will bring down, not up my GPA. I'm looking at Bs and B+ across the board except maybe, if i'm lucky, econ. Sigh. I should be getting into my energizer bunny work mode. Instead I have a cold, the weather sucks, I'm in a retarded mood and I'm not having fun anymore.

No thats wrong. I have fun. I love my friends. I will have an amazing weekend. But i need to will myself to work. How?

I've woken up. I've smelled the coffee. But i'm still waiting for the caffeine to kick in. (i still have that mug, dash)

Sigh.

Work work work meetings meetings meetings so that I can put books away wednesday night and no look at them again till Sunday night. It's a plan. It will happen. It has to.

Work Work Work!!!!

Current mood: determined

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

12:57AM - time

Oh my god, today is April 6. As in exactly a month and two days before May 8th.
What's May 8th, you ask? Only the official end of my first year in college, Penn's moveout day.

In a month I will have finished a quarter of my college education; I will be a year older and I'm not sure how much wiser.
Oh my god there's so much I need to do.

I need to decide once and for all when I want to go to Barcelona. I had originally planned to take a specific course which meant being there from the beginning to the end of a month so August seemed like a good idea but now i'm not and I dont know what I want to do. Sign up for August and just hope that I can find some job till then? Or do I want to go for July splitting my summer up? That way I could maybe leave early and meet up with some friends who are going to be in Europe. THat'd be fun...but expensive. Back to the fact that I don't have a job. Sigh.

I need to find a job. A LOT harder than it seems. sigh. fuck being overqualified for basic things and too young for interesting jobs. fuck it all.

I need to start planning for finals. My first and one of the more studying intensive finals is April 29- as in 3 weeks from now. Argh!!

My econ profesor just had her baby. Congratulations Gwen Eudey. Apparently we are getting one of her friends from the FED to teach us the rest of the material. Should be interesting.

Soooo much work left. At least I've Spring Fling to look forward to. Ended up talking to a few friends here recetnly and realized a lot of things about myself and about them. I need to get out more, I decided. Too bad I don't like drinking.

Today, while walking through Bennett Hall, I saw a poster advertising beginner Yiddish as a class. That would be awesome. BUt i'm already taking 6 classes. And one of them purely for myself. Can I really make myself drop a concentration class and take it? I wonder if they offer I during spring term. Sigh.

Posted mostly because thinking was getting hard.
I need to look for jobs and plane tickets.
I need to see Leslie and get my check from Huntsman.
I need to go to the bank.
I need to make good on my commitments to extra curriculars.
I need to do homework.
I need to need to need to.

I hate to do lists.

Current mood: anxious

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

11:32PM

I've been bad: not writing here, not keeping in touch with people I care about, just bad. I wish I could say that on top of my list of priorities is sitting down and writing nice long letters to all my friends, but I can't. Hovering above that on my to-do list is my financial aid stuff (nevermind that I should have done it three weeks ago) and schoolwork and applying for a summer job. But really, what the hell kind of friend am I that I can't make time to email Joel (I know it's my turn sweetie, I will, I promise) or call Andrew and Kat neither of whom I've seen in a while. I miss my friends but I can't really complain because I've done nothing about it.

Today was nice, I woke up, had some time to myself, saw Dasha. We had a pleasant Zen Palate lunch since Veg City, the regular haunt was closed for renovations. (Did I mention that I don't like change? Yeah)
We saw "The Dreamers" which I wanted to do for a while, ever since I read the Times article about it. It was good, the soundtrack even better.

It's weird how natural it was to spend time with her. (yeah you, you bum :-)) We talked and laughed and mocked each other just as we did for the past half a decade. Good God, I'm getting old-- I mean, I can legitimately use a decade as a measurement of my life. Gack. Anyway, we had grown apart senior year but were still able to have plenty to talk about and just feel relaxed. It's nice to know that going to college didn't change absolutely everything.
~~~~

I bitch and moan about change and I've admitted time and time again that I hate it. But at the same time, logic and good sense force me to admit the good that is taken for granted when complaining about the bad. Sure, the past year, more or less exactly actually, brought a lot of change- a lot of change that was particularly upsetting and life-changing for me. But at the same time, I have never felt so bettered by any one period of time as I have by this one year. One day I just want to sit down and start enumerating all the lessons I learned, and all the proof that I found for the ones instilled in me years ago. Sure, I can now discuss at length the managerial structure of GM or capitalist theory or the history of Spain during the 1960s, but these facts and bits of knowledge that the past term and a half have brought me don't begin to compete with the amount of light that I've shed on myself.

Ok, that just makes no sense and I'm rambling because I am tired. I don't even really know why I started this entry. Probably because my livejournal looked lonely to me.

Yeah, sorry everyone that actually read this jumble of words and thoughts and nonsense, I'll try to seek coherency next time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

4:36PM - the world is a match

The world-- our lives, etc.-- is like a giant match. There's the traditional way of holding a match once you've lit it: somewhat tilted but more or less horizontal. Now, as anyone who's ever played with matches will know, if you turn the match vertically so that the fire is on the uppermost end, it will soon go out; if the fire is at the bottom, it will quickly expand, go up the match burning up the match and eventually your fingers.
How much change is too much change?

Sunday, February 1, 2004

4:28PM - Weekends

I have never had a truly productive weekend. There've been good ones and bad ones but as far as school work goes, I have never ever had a really productive one. I've more or less given up on ever having one.

This weekend was nice and relaxing, which is odd because while I've been scrupulous about getting plenty of sleep during the week so that I don't fall into the Stuy trap of exhaustion, I didn't sleep all that much this weekend.
Thursday was great. I only have one class on Fridays which is OPIM lecture which means no work. Basically just relaxed, hanging out with my roommate and then Liz. Then we had ourselves a little party in Tom's room complete with a guitar playing good music, a hooka for fun and pretty smell and the guys were drinking beer. It was good, mostly clean fun and I loved it. Most of the people there were going to be living with me next year, so I've something to look forward to.
Saw Kill Bill on Friday with Ken. I don't know, I didn't find it gory or disturbing or mindblowing. Sure, I was entertained but overall unimpressed. Hung out some more, went to my room instead of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, because I was tired, it was cold and I didn't care to get plastered. Went back to my room with full intentions of going to bed but ended up reading Ryan's "memoir" thingies. Marriage seems to agree with him.
Saturday was some sleep, and cleaning. Most of the day was spent bringing my clothes and books to order and cleaning in general. I started stat homework but ended up watching the Italian Job and Pirates of the Carribean both of which we stole out of Julian's room. Fell asleep late but happy and relaxed.
Today was great. Woke up at 9, met Erica at 10 and we went to the Rodin museum which is so darling and beautiful, it's gates and hedges covered in white snow- gorgeous. Had excellent brunch Center City, talked our hearts out and window shopped. It was perfect. Maybe because Erica and I are so similar, but different at the same time, maybe because it's been so long since I've done anything like that, but I loved every moment. I was back by four happy and sort of ready to work.

THe weekend is over, exams start next week as well applications for TAing positions and summer grants. Time to sink into my chair and stay there for hours, working and finishing all that needs to be done.
Other things of note are that I finally have my own credit card, a VISA. THe limit on it is only $600 dollars but I dont really care since I dont intend to spend much on it, though I couldn't resist charging the shirt I bought at H&M today on it to christen it. I got myself a little expense book to improve my money system. Other than that, time to go do some work.

Current mood: happy

Monday, January 5, 2004

12:05AM - life without sleep and sleep without life

How did I and my friends survive high school? I mean really, how did I manage to stay alive and still do decently in school and not getting seriously ill considering how little sleep I was getting???
It was all a game, a challenge to have a normal day having had very little sleep. And I wasn't even the worst in my acquaintance. I knew people who pulled all-nighters on a regular basis and generally had very little respect for their bodies. God! Why?

Today was Sunday and since I'm home, I did my habitual Sunday night bit of TV watching. 9:00 Sex and the City. 10:00 Queer As Folk. By the time it was all over it was 11, I took a shower, brushed my teeth and wandered over to my computer. There is little that distinguishes tonight from any other Sunday night from senior year. Typically, I'd try to do some schoolwork, talk to my friends. On a good night, I'd be in bed by midnight, on a night that I had a lot of work or a friend that needed to talk, it could be much later. I never had a term at Stuy that class didn't start at 8 am, which meant that 7am was oversleeping for me.

Six hours on average, plus two nights on the weekends that I could sleep later, but only on weekends that I wasn't at a debate tournament. Those meant even less sleep than a school night. God! The amount of sleep-debt that Stuy cost me are unthinkable.
Yet, it couldn't have been that bad. I mean, after all, I did fairly well in school, got my high score on the SATs, got into an Ivy League school. So what's a little sleep?

It's odd. When I was in high school, people were often telling me that I needed to sleep more- my parents, the few of my friends that were on familiar terms with their pillows- and the attitude always angered me. Well, not my parents, because they are my parents, but my friends. I was furious with Joel and Dasha for being self-important assholes. Joel never cared as much as others about grades, but then again, he did well because of his talent and the luck that we all had but didn't know about. Dasha seemed ... I don't even know... cocksure that she didn't need all the stress of not sleeping; and maybe she didn't. But I remember getting a higher grade than Joel from Scotti, certainly not because I was any better than him, and I knew that Mr. Scotti simply rewarded me for the hours that I had clearly put into my blueprints and designs. I would never be as good at math as joel, nor could I rival some of his other talents, but I was happy, because those meaningless little numbers meant, somehow, that I was right and that those nights of caffeine pills were worth it.
Sure, I wished that I could sleep more, but it was an accepted evil and what mattered was not success with as little of it as possible, but as much success as was possible with it.

Then high school ended. I got my score, my average, my big envelope. I'd had enough.

Penn is hard. It's not an inherently difficult school, but the courses I take, combined with who I am make for difficulty for me. I will be the first to admit that better time management, less procrastination and more of pure drive would give me an easier time and better results- but hey, I'm not exception.
Staying up late is not a problem, partially because I no longer wake up at 6 am, partially because I generally get enough sleep. On those occasional nights that I find myself in the library till the wee hours, it never ceases to amaze me to find my floor wide awake when I drag myself back to the dorm.
Sure, sometimes they are studying, but more often than not, these kids revel in not getting enough sleep. I remember sitting in Ryan's room at 5:30 am and he'd be getting started on a 12 page japanese history paper that was due by noon that day. Why???
Why are kids having stay-awake contests with each other?
And am I missing out to have had that phase four years before my peers?

What kind of life do these kids have? Is it that different from mine?

I rest, take naps when I had to stay up late, spend time reading for pleasure and go to bed at quasi-reasonable hours.
Am I turning into that self-important asshole I saw my best friends as in high school?
Or am I just growing up and learning to take care of myself?


Frankly, I no longer care. On the handful of occasions that I needed to pull sick hours at college I'd done it, but I felt like shit. I never noticed in Stuy, but that was probably because I was already under-rested so it wasn't much of a change. But going on next to no sleep having had plenty feels awful.
I never want to do that to myself again.
Which brings into question my going to law school or being a young lawyer, but right now, I'm going to do what I finally learned to do: SLEEP.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Wow, that's an entry full of rambling. I sincerely apologize.

Current mood: amused

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

11:38PM

My friend Jen sent me this little quiz. I don't like quizes, but this one I filled out anyway.

Year in Review
1. What did you do in 2003 that you'd never done before?
I went rock-climbing, saw a baseball game, hiked a mountain and canoed. Oh, and started college which involved some trying of new things.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I made progress on a bunch. Just wrote ‘em up.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully no.
5. What countries did you visit?
Netherlands. Belgium.
6. What would you like to have in 2004 that you lacked in 2003?
Fulfillment.
7. What dates from 2003 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 26-29. Emory. June 15th. Senior Prom. June 24th and 26th. Graduation/last day. August 28th. Move in day.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Surviving it.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Certain relationships with a few people.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing particularly memorable.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A term at Penn? My prom dress? Natalie Imbruglia CD?
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Basha and Steph
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed?
Too long of a list.
14. Where did most of your money go?
The pits. Actually probably food.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Starting college.
16. What song will always remind you of 2003?
That really annoying one that they played at Prom.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier/Sadder, Thinner/Fatter, Richer/Poorer?
Not sadder but more realistic. Fatter, I think. Richer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Been healthy and happy.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Drank. Smoked.
22. Did you fall in love in 2003?
I’m not sure.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Not hate, per se.
24. What was the best book you read?
The Fountainhead
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Natalie Imbruglia
26. What did you want and got?
Far too much
27. What did you want and not get?
Ditto
28. What were the best movies you saw for the first time this year?
Good Will Hunting
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were ya?
Grew up. 18.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I grew up.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2003?
Comfort.
32. What kept you sane?
Growing up.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Umm…pass
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The war in Iraq.
35. Who did you miss?
My grandfather.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Hmm…I met a lot of good people…and a lot of bad ones. I’ll stick with Erica just ‘cause I’m looking at the card she sent me.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2003:
I’m not infallible. In fact, I’m rarely right.

11:20PM

Year 2004 Resolutions

I HEREBY RESOLVE TO…

1…take excellent care of myself. Sleep is good.

2…give up junk food. Keep up my daily runs. That’s theoretically part of #1, but I think it merits another entry.

3…get cracking on that booklist of mine.

4…read biographies.

5…learn more French.

6…have a MUCH higher GPA than first term.

7…be nicer to people even if I don’t like them.

8…get cracking on my list of new things to do.

9…organize myself better financially.

10…NOT become a smoker.

11…be a more discriminating shopper and build up my wardrobe where necessary.

12…figure out how to use all the special features on all the electronics I own: cell phone, Palm Pilot, etc.

13…talk to L.?

7:07PM - still undecided as to what I think

Carrie
You're Most Like Carrie! You are a balance between
all your friends, incorporating both cynicism
and optimism into the group. You're uniqe, and
never want to betray that about yourself. You
will never stop looking for answers, but you
don't let that get in the way of living life.
You know when to reserved, and when to be
daring. Most of all, you're fun and
charasmatic!


What 'Sex and the City' Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, December 26, 2003

5:10PM - Ok, I take it back...

Yeah, so the heading should be self-explanatory, but anyway.

I tried switching to Xanga, because, really, it would be far more convenient for me to do so. But I just don't like it.

The user interfaces aren't nearly as nice as LJ's and in general, screw Xanga.
I have my little account so that I can check what my friends have written, but I'm going to stick to LJ. I rarely post FriendsOnly, everything is either public or private so those who care can check my LJ regardless.

So I leave the evil one, yes Dasha, and return to my friendly LJ.

Navigate: (Previous 20 entries)