Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Fantastically Large Hair

Hello Boys and Girls.

I just arrived home from a quick holiday in Seattle to visit one of my love's Liam and his mom and dad are pretty cool too. Liam is two and half. He has blonde blonde hair and q huge smile and is constantly laughing, so obviously we really hit it off. Like most two year olds he can't say my name and reinvented it as ka-né. I can live with that.

I know I haven't rambled to you in a while, but my life has been pretty busy over the past several weeks. I realized that I drink whiskey more than white wine spritzers these days. I love my new hair color, Lucy red. I will be buying a car really soon. And I will soon be relocating (yes again) to Baton Rouge for 3 months and then New Orleans for a long long while.

As I was checking out at Trader Joe's with my dinner. Mac and cheese, cranberry sauce and a bottle of Woodford, the TJ dude asked, "you have really big hair, don't you?" "yes. It's big." "I love big hair." A much better come on then the other night as I was leaving a pizza place down the street and some guy approached me with "hey, you want to smoke some weed?" Not quite my style unfortunately. Commenting on my big laugh is stale, but the big hair was pretty fantastic.

I'm reading this great new book called Whatever It Takes. It's about the Harlem's Children Zone started by Geoff Canada. A South Bronx native who grew up poor but with a looming draft to Vietnam found a way to attend Bowdin College in Maine where he participated in a racial justice movement on campus to increase the tiny African American student body beyond 75. The story chronicles his efforts to change the story of black boys and girls growing up in Harlem. Realizing that in order to give any child a chance to succeed we need to restructure the society in which they are born, starting with making sure soon to be parents read and sing to their unborn child. It's a great book so far.

I'm also reading a book by Robert Putnam called Better Together. Putnam wrote Bowling Alone about the American trend to step away from community into a more solitude life. Better Together goes through stories of communities coming together to fight against injustices. It's a great book for anyone interested in understanding what community organizers do. And for community organizers who need some good reminders.

And a little reminder that just because you are recycling your old electronics doesn't mean you are actually doing anything to protect the environment. Hint: Don't buy crap you don't need, like iPads. Seriously. That's ridiculous. The coffee shop I frequent uses an iPad as their register where they email your receipt to you. Ridiculous.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Gumbo: Old blogs and Don't Pay Any Attention To Me

whoa, as I was discovering those 5 fancy dresses I never ever wear anywhere, I also discovered this . . . 2007 - 2008 Renee.

It's as hilarious as me strutting around in that still tagged black little thing and cranberry Manolo's. I may have just convinced myself that Manolo's, a jean jacket, and a plum A-line skirt is what I need to wear to the next happy hour I attend.

But at 27, evidently I was advocating for "just as non-violent direct action can change the world, travel and art can change your life. So what are you waiting for? Head out on the road and visit a couple museums while you're out there".

Oh my goodness. Really, Renee 2007?

So, I may have not changed at all. I kind of still think travel and art can change your life. It's a nasty habit I'm not prepared to overcome.

Renee Claire

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday Gumbo: Gulf

Good Morning!

It's in the 60's today in Oakland, bright and sunny with a slight chill. I'm cozily wrapped up in a blanket on the couch catching up on the news from yesterday. I love these days!

Oil Spill Commission: Yesterday was the first day of a two day hearing by the Oil Spill Commission. Johanna at Gulf Restoration Network wrote a fantastic blog about it. You can listen to day two here. But learn from my actions from yesterday, don't listen to it editing a report. Not helpful. PBS news has a good segment on yesterday's findings.

The main finding . . . no instance was found that someone or three people made a calculated decision of money over safety. That sounds soooo familiar. Oh right, its the same thing communities being poisoned by polluting facilities are told when they realize they are being poisoned by the polluting facility in their community. Another thing that is important to know is that the commission wasn't given subpoena orders. They weren't allowed to look at classified information that any party didn't just provide to them. I bet that is comforting to those 11 families and millions of people impacted by the 87 days of leaking oil into their lifesource. None of the three companies involved were even legally required to participate, contribute fully or partially in the investigation.

Chickens: My Aunt Opal and Uncle Harvey recently started raising chickens. They are kind of adorable. The chickens and the aunt and uncle.

Prop 23 and Why We Must Beat Climate Change at the State Level: On the ballot in California last week was Prop 23. A proposition funded by Texas oil companies to stop those crazy Californians from continuing to create an alternative energy economy. A lot of environmentalists are providing their assessment of why this measure was beaten when the climate bill in DC was eviscerated by oil lobbyists earlier this year. NRDC says . . . Grist provides one of the best assessments I've seen yet. It really goes into detail about why we aren't going to win in Washington until we win in California and New York and Florida and Kansas and etc.

I'm starting to feel like maybe I'm not the crazy one that has been saying all along that spending all that money in Copenhagen and Washington DC is a big fucking waste and the other side knows it. We are wasting valuable resources participating in these fruitless fights when we could be investing in iconic projects on the ground and training the workforce and passing local incentive policies to create the market we want ourselves. Maybe I'm not the insane one, maybe all those groups that refuse to learn the lessons of failure are the crazy ones.

Time for the next project . . .


And for those of you who remember 1998.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Let's Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow

And just when I needed someone to explain the past fourteen months to me, I found these little words today.

"Let's make better mistakes tomorrow. Let's scratch our heads and give up and wake up and try it again. Let's fail at digging the well the first three times to get it right the fourth. Let's build faster horses, and then strap rocket ships onto them. Let's start a company, let's watch it fail, and then let's start another one. Let's be the boss. Let's take the boss down. Let's order too much of something just to see where our limits are. Let's take a chance precisely because it might fail. Let's take the hard way out. let's go to the moon. Fuck it; let's go to the moon again. Let's quit our jobs. Let's work at being better at what we do by fucking up faster , not less. let's fuck up really fast. Let's wrestle sharks, fight monsters, and disagree with the board. lets borrow so much money it becomes someone else's problem. Let's start a 10 hour drive by announcing "I'm not into you anymore" Let's dump everything out of the garage onto the sidewalk and build something really cool in that space. Let's start out to build a better mousetrap, and halfway there lets decide to jump on the mice's team. Let's bet on a longshot. Let's buy her a drink. Let's start baking bread in our cubicle. Let's try bringing fresh water to distant villages precisely because we have no idea how to do it. Let's pool our money. Let's take their money. Let's solve that hard problem. You know that one that keeps you up at night? Let's tackle that bastard. let it kick our ass a few times, and then finally get it right. Let's find out what's at the bottom of the ocean. Let's tame the Kraken. Let's just fucking tell people we've read Infinite Jest and move on. Let's forgive our parents. Let's do something with the god damned planet. Let's rent an electric generator and open a food cart that sells nothing but frosted PopTarts, but makes a lot of fucking noise. Let's have a breakthrough. Let's have a breakdown. Let's agree that bruises fade, bones heal, hearts mend, and that tomorrow we're right back on that horse and that this time, THIS TIME! we've at least got a rocket strapped to its back."

It was only fourteen months ago that I quit my job, broke up with a very lovely boyfriend, put everything into storage, and bought a one way ticket to another country without confirmation of a job and no savings. Since then I've lived in eleven different houses in two countries and three states, signed five job contracts, traveled nine countries, drove across the United States in a Uhaul, danced until the sun rose, had my heart broken, and broke a couple hearts myself.

I'm a teeny bit tired.

Renee Claire