Monday, October 31, 2005

Hi, have you signed the ONE declaration yet?

I got the pictures from Laura, so as promised, here's what happened at the U2 concert on Saturday. This is the four of us from Baylor who went, Laura, me, Anali, and Claire. We were so freakin excited to be there. You can't really tell, but the stage is RIGHT behind us.
Our job at the concert was to hang out at our designated location and try to get people to sign the ONE declaration. We were to stop them by asking, "hi, have you signed the ONE declaration yet?" I must have said that sentence at least 500 times. No joke. Typically, there were four different reponses I would get. 1) people saying yes, they have signed. I'm pretty sure some of them were lying to me, but whatever. 2) People who would say "no thanks" and walk right on past. I didn't blame them, that's probably how I would respond if someone came up to me with a clipboard. I'd think they wanted my money or something. 3) those who signed either right away or after I told them what it was about. and 4) those who would ask what it was for and I'd say something along the lines of "it's a campaign to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty" and they'd say no thanks and walk off. To these people I'd mutter "bastards!" under my breath. But not so anyone could hear me.

A couple time I accidently said "it's a campaign to fight global poverty and extreme AIDS, wait, no, extreme poverty and global AIDS!"

I was definitely profiling in regards to whom I was asking to sign. I'd go after groups of younger guys, guys who were overweight/not the most attractive, and when a middle aged couple would come I'd ask the woman. I had at least four couples stop and the man was not interested at all but the woman would stop and listen and then end up signing on herself and her husband. I realized however, that I shouldn't stereotype people. Quite a few times I'd ask people who I did not think would give me the time of day, but then they'd get really excited sign on, and then start asking about what else they could do.

Before the concert started, there was a stretch of time at the end when no one would sign. People kept walking off and I was doing a lot of the"bastards!" muttering. But then a group of guys came up to me, told me that they had already signed, but to "keep up the good work!" That made me feel so much better. See, some people DO care!

After the concert we went back to our posts to get more people to sign. This time it was easier because when explaining what the ONE campaign is about I could say things like "you know, it's what Bono was talking about there near the end!" And I'd get responses such as "Well, if Bono wants me to sign, I'll sign!" Yeah you will.

The actual concert was incredible. I don't think adjectives even exist that would adequately describe it. We got wrist bands that let us into the inner elipse, as in, we were about five feet from the band. And it was such a power trip to walk down to the inner elipse, past everyone else. We just showed the security guards our wrists, and we were in. So great. We got so many envious looks. And as we were walking to the inner elipse, the band was making their way to the stage and Bono definitely flashed us a peace sign! Well, it may not have been to US necessarily, but I like to think it was. It very well could have been.

Pictures from the concert, compliments of Laura

Adam, the bass player, who was pretty much right in front of us the entire time



Bono walking about five feet from where we were

The stage

The downfall to the concert is that I'm pretty sure nothing is ever going to be able to top this. At least no concert. I've been trying to come up with a concert that could possibly be even better, but nothing has come to mind. I mean, seriously, we were FIVE FEET from Bono!! Does it get any better??

Update

Here's an article about the pastor who died yesterday. I still can't believe it happened. I don't think anyone can.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

(Title goes here)

I can't concentrate.

I can't concentrate.

I have way too many thoughts running through my head.

I am still processing the concert from last night. More details about that once I get the pictures from Laura. It was incredible - beyond incredible. Songs are stuck in my head. And then I try to analyze the lyrics. I can't concentrate.

This morning a pastor at a local church was baptizing someone when a microphone fell into the baptisimal font. He was electrocuted and went into a coma. I heard that he died, but I don't really have any confirmation on that. The guy who was being baptized is fine, from what I've heard. What a freak accident. I mean, he was baptizing someone! I can't stop thinking about this. And I can't imagine being at the church when it happened. Many students from my school go to this church. I have a lot of friends who go there. I just....I just don't know...anything...

I should stop trying to do homework and go home.

I can't concentrate.

Friday, October 28, 2005

My Siblings

I got a package in the mail today from my sister Betsy and it made me think about how lucky I am to have such wonderful siblings. My sisters and brother are great. I have two older sisters, a younger sister, and a younger brother. Yes, that puts me smack dab in the middle of five kids. Explains a lot, I know.

Melissa lives in Kansas, is married, and has two adorable boys. Shane and Logan. If my scanner was working, I'd scan in the new pictures of them I just got in the mail today from Betsy, but it's not so here is a picture of them from last Halloween. That's Shane as Harry Potter and Logan as Blue.


Melissa sends me cakes in the mail. And not just any type of cake, but red velvet cakes, my favorite! She sends them for my birthday and for finals. She also talks to me online when she's not busy at work and plays scrabble with me.

Betsy is married to Trent and they are in the process of moving from Detroit to Oregon but Trent is in New Orleans for his work and Betsy is in Kansas with Melissa and her family. Betsy is super competitive. We all are, but I think she and I are the worst. When she found out that Melissa was sending me cakes she got very upset. It went something like this "I can't believe Melissa is sending you cakes! How am I supposed to compete with that?? I can't believe she's doing that! Now i'm the bad sister who isn't sending cakes! I can't catch up now! It's too late! Just wait until Allie goes to school, she'll get LOTS of great care packages from me and i'll be her favorite! I can't believe she's sending you cakes!" She does send me stuff still, but she's given up on competing with Melissa because she doesn't believe she can top her. In today's package I got little snickers bars, cookies, candy corn, peeps pumpkins (i LOVE peeps!), a mini pumpkin, pictures of our nephews, and a card. Greeting cards are one of Betsy's passions. She sends me them all the time, for every occassion and for no occassion at all. Her cards are great.

Allie is a freshman at Michigan Tech this year and she's loving it. I needed to send her my graphing calculator in August because I don't need it anymore and she's studying engineering and she does. I waitied until she was at school to send it and made it into a care package. I included cookies, pixie sticks, wax bottles, and i don't remember what else. I timed it so she got it before classes even started. Which made it her first care package! Betsy found out and got mad at me. "I can't believe you sent allie a care package already! I had one ALL READY to go! Now mine won't be as good because it won't be her first!! " Did i mention that we are all extremely competitive? But see, our competitiveness is a good thing, it fuels care packages. Anyways, back to Allie. She calls me a lot to see how I'm doing and tell me what's going on up at her school. She's always in a good mood and is somehow able to time her calls right when I need a pick me up. I'm not sure how she does it. And I love the voice messages she leaves. They're always so cheerful.

Kyler - the only boy. Poor kid, he has four older sisters. He's a freshman in high school but I always think he's still 11. He's not. He's a good sport, seeing how we tortured him since he was the only boy and the youngest. He takes me fourwheeling when I'm home, sometimes twice a day. And he makes sure I don't die while we're on the trails. Last time we went he brought me to this area he found where wild blueberries were growing and we stopped at ate a bunch. He also talks to me online late at night when he should be sleeping but he's not.

Here's a picture of me with my siblings from last winter. Melissa isn't in it since they weren't able to come up last year for Christmas. For some reason, we all thought it would be a good idea to go fourwheeling in the snow. It was actually really fun, but incredibly cold!


So those are my siblings.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Golda and Claire go to the city Part III:Eating our way through New York

Some people go to New York for the shows, some for the museums, but for me and Claire, we go for the food. A good part of our days were usually spent walking around in search for a restaurant to eat at.

by the numbers:
5 - places we ate at on Saturday
3 - times we ate pizza
3 - people we ate with from Waco (not counting us)
2 - country-type places we ate at (Little Italy and Chinatown)
1 - time we accidently almost left without paying
1 - restaurant we ate at that is featured on a TV show (the restaurant from Seinfeld)
1 - new food I found that I don't like (anchovies)

We also made many new friends at all the restaurants we went to. While eating at our fifth stop of the day on Saturday, a Ben and Jerry's somewhere downtown where we had an insane amount of ice cream/cookies/chocolate, we met these two guys. We assumed that they were a grandfather and his 25ish year old grandson. They sat at our table because there wasn't really anywhere else for them to sit. Both of them seemed tired of the other's company by this point in the night and they sat in silence and ate their ice cream. They eventually made small talk with us about the city. They had walked around the perimeter of Central Park that day, and neither one seemed too enthused about that. I imagine that they walked around it in silence, just like they were eating their ice cream. As if they were forced to spend time together, but didn't know what to say to each other. They finished their ice cream rather quickly, said goodbye, and went on their silent way back to wherever they were headed.

Earlier that same night, we made friends with the serving staff at this little cafe nearby. We were sitting up at the counter so all the servers would come by and some would talk to us. I paid using my credit card and our server brought it back and started talking to me about my name. He tried to tell me that in his country, they use the name "Golda" as an endearing term. As in, he refers to his wife and his daughter as "my Golda." I asked him where he is from and he said Mexico. Hmm. I'm thinking he might be lying to me, seeing how I live in Texas and I feel like if this was true, I'd have heard about it by now. Then another server came by and told us that he refers to his wife as "osa" - female bear. He then went on to tell us all about marriage and how difficult it is. He was an interesting guy to say the least.

Overall, the food in New York (and Philadelphia) was wonderful. I must say, I'm a fan of their pizza. Although I think I like Chicago's better. It's a tough call.

--------------------------------------
Two days until U2!!!! Who's excited??

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Golda and Claire go to the City Part II: The Schools

Friday morning we woke up ridiculously early because we had at 11am meeting with the admissions lady at UPenn. We were going to take the train over to Philadelphia, but then found out about the Chinatown bus which was much cheaper. For $20, it picks you up in Chinatown in NYC and drops you off in Chinatown in Philly and as long as you keep your ticket stub, it will bring you back too. Somehow we found the bus, which was amazing seeing how we had no idea where to pick it up at, Chinatown isn't exactly small, and made it to Philadelphia by 10am. We then had to hail a cab because it was really cold and rainy to take us to UPenn. We knew that the social work building was near Wharton so we got dropped off there and wandered around the massive building before asking for directions. Once at the actual social work building we were still early so we sat and waited and met a very nice guy who is in the non-profit leadership/non-governmental leadership graduate program. He told us all about the school and the lack of guys and how to get free beer. We finally met with the admissions lady and she was very helpful as well. She told us all about the program and gave us lots of free stuff. I was pretty impressed with the program and the campus, at least from what i saw. When Claire and I were walking through campus after our meeting we saw these guys "rocking for the homeless." They were in recliners, in the rain, "rocking." And they were going to be doing it for 48 straight hours. They were raising money for the homeless in Philadelphia and they were shouting at everyone walking by to donate money. Yes, GUYS were doing this! At Baylor, it seems as it is mostly girls who do this sort of thing. We thought that boys being involved in doing something like this rocked, pun intended. The admissions lady had told us that the student body was pretty active in politics and activism type things. This was one of the most appealing parts of the school to me since the Baylor student body is pretty apathetic about everything.

We went to Temple later in the day, although we did not have an appointment. We were unable to schedule one so we just dropped in and happened to catch the admissions guy. He was very helpful and honest about their program and gave us a mini tour of the campus. Overall, I was not too impressed by it, at least not compared to UPenn. I did like that they seemed to be more focused on the students though. The way the guy was talking it appeared that the students get to make a lot of the decisions their education and I liked that.

Saturday morning we attended an information session at Columbia. There were about 20-25 prospective students there for it and it was great. They have a brand new social work building and it is amazing - 10 stories high, computer labs, breakout rooms, A LIBRARY, a multipurpose room, and so much more. I have never seen anything like it before that is solely for social work. It puts our little school in the parking garage to shame! Although we did just get a bike rack... Anyways, the information session was great and it answered a lot of my questions about the school. It was strange though because Claire and I were the youngest in the room and the only advance standing candidates so while everyone was older than us, we knew the most about social work. We were the only ones who got why it was funny that there were breakout rooms and role playing rooms.

Right before we went on the tour of the school, we ran into our friend Mary Beth! She just started her first year of grad school there and was in the student lounge area. We didn't know that she'd be there that day studying so it was a total surprise to see her. We talked for a few minutes before we had to get back to our tour, but we were able to meet her the next day for breakfast and pick her brain about Columbia.

I'v decided that I really like UPenn and Columbia, but not so much Temple. But I can't decide which I like better between the two. Good thing I have a while to decide. Plus, I have to see where I can actually get in. Minor detail.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Golda and Claire go to the city Part I: Hostility towards the Hostel

I've decided to divide our trip into several different posts otherwise there would either be one insanely long post about it or a shorter one, and I'd be leaving out so many things. As you can imagine, the two of us in New York/Philly was quite an adventure, especially our living quarters for the weekend.

We get to our Hostel, the Malibu Hotel, at about midnight on Thursday. It took us a while to get there from the airport, but we finally made it. We saw the little sign out front between all these restaurants and shops and climbed the stairs to the second story of this little run down building. The guy at the front desk was nice, but not friendly. He told us we'd have to pay in cash, which we did not have but there was an atm nearby. The security guard said that we could drop our stuff off first, then run and get the money. He led us up some dark, narrow stairs, to the fifth floor, down a dark, narrow hallway, which got more narrow as we went down, to our room. We dropped our stuff off, went back downstairs and outside to the atm across the street. Keep in mind it's midnight, we're in New York City, and we have no idea what's going on. And on top of that the hostel is kind of shady. We get some cash and start freaking out. Or actually, Claire freaks out some. She has a "heightened awareness" for dangerous situations since she's interning at the family abuse center in our town this year. She is in contact with people who have been raped/beat/had horrible things happen to them on a regular basis. So she freaks out, is convinced that we're going to die, and tries to call a friend of ours in the city to beg her to let us stay at her place. We can't stay there because she already has a visitor and her apartment is tiny and she has a somewhat mean/crazy roommate who says no. Finally we suck it up and go back to the Malibu.

Once back inside, it's much better. We see other hostel stayers and they all look like nice people. Not like people who will kill us during the night. We get back to our room, which we have to ourselves that night, and eat/drink the food and drinks that Anali gave us before we left. I had a "dirty Anali" aka, ginger ale and cranberry juice and Claire ate a lot of chocolate to calm down. Even though we calmed down some, Claire made us sleep with the lights on that first night.

The second we get back to the hostel at about midnight and there is someone sleeping in the bunk right next to mine. We try to be quiet and get ready for bed as quitely as possibly without turning on the lights. I'm getting my stuff out of the locker and I look to my right and see this man's eye glaring at me. Turns out there wasn't ONE person in there, but TWO. One on the top bunk and one on the bottom. I freaked out a little because I didn't realize there was someone in that bed and he didn't look very happy. I got my stuff and made a quick exit for the bathroom, which is where Claire was. That bathroom was also very shady. There were two little bathrooms for the entire floor and there was always a wait. The one bathroom that we usually ended up using had a piece of the door missing and the window was gone. There was also no outlets in them. Anyways, we got ready for bed, went back to the room, and fell asleep. Sometime around 6:30-7am another person came in, crawled into bed and went to sleep. The weird part about having roommates is that we never actually saw them. We were asleep when they were awake and awake when they were asleep. I never actually saw the person sleeping in the bed next to mine and he was there for two nights. And I'm kind of guessing that he is a he since I never really saw him.

The third night, and our last, as we're climbing the steps Claire exclaims "I love this hostel!" and she was serious. My, how her feelings changed in 48 short hours. The hostel was really cool in all actuality. We were pretty much the only Americans at the place. By that third night it was full of people from all over the world - no one was speaking English. It was great. We get to our room at about midnight again and there are three people asleep, and one of them is in Claire's bed. So she had to sleep that night in the bed above mine, which was already slept in by someone. During the night another person comes in so our room is to its capacity. And yet again, we never really see these people. So odd.

The next morning we're packing up to leave and as Claire takes out her bag full of the food from Anali she notices its all chewed up. Yes, some sort of rodent was in our room and ate through the bag. Ahh, gotta love the hostel. We freaked out a little, threw the bag away, continued packing as quietly as possible, checked out at the "front desk" checked our luggage with the security guard and went out for our final day in the city. Came back later in the afternoon to get our stuff and say one final goodbye to our living quarters. We'll miss you Malibu Hotel, you'll always be dear to us as you were our first hostel experience.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"You can't start a fire without a spark"


It's official, Bruce Springsteen Greatest Hits is the soundtrack of the first chapter of my thesis. I listened to it in its entirety at least three times yesterday while working. I can't help it, once I get on these music kicks, it's all over. Last Christmas break it was Maroon 5, over the summer it was Cat Stevens, and now it's Bruce Springsteen.

I'm sure that for the rest of my life, every time I heard "Dancing in the Dark" or "Glory Days," I will think of sitting in my study carrel in the library frantically typing about the living wage. Just like everytime I hear "Ride Wit Me" I'm taken back to American History class junior year and whenever the bells play "For the Beauty of the Earth" during my internship I remember sitting at the piano in the garage when I was eight, practicing that song over and over.

I'm down to the editing portion for this chapter. Which is good, seeing how it's due tomorrow by 5pm. I also have to type up the bibliography, but that shouldn't take too long. I'm doing an analysis of successful living wage campaigns at colleges and universities and am looking at Baylor's and what's happening here. But this first chapter is just on the living wage in general and is really boring. I'm excited to actually get into the college stuff. I'm convinced that that part will be much more fun as far as the researching and writing goes. At least, that's what I've been telling myself as I've been making my way through this first chapter. I have to motivate myself somehow.

Speaking of motivation - the light at the end of the tunnel - Thursday, after this whole thesis nonsense is over, at least until the second chapter is due in December, I'm going to NYC and Philadelphia!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

"I looooove Damon's"

"Yes, but Damon's HATES you!" - a coworker to me after I was sarcastically expressing my love for our workplace.

I've been working at Damon's for about four months now, and it's been alright for the most part. But now football season has started. Gone are the boring slow days when we'd stand around and talk. Now we're running our butts off trying to keep everyone happy. Why oh why are football games so long? People stay in the restaurant FOREVER! I'm on a break right now. I went in at noon, worked till about 6:30 and my boss will be calling me between 8-9 for me to come back in for the post game rush. Have I mentioned that I love Damon's?

Yesterday at work I was discussing the 1 John 3 Campaign with one of the hosts. She also goes to Baylor so we had a good talk. She's always come off on more of the conservative side when it comes down to things like what we're doing with the campaign, but she really thinks that this is something that needs to be done at our school. That took me by surprise and I answered a bunch of questions she had about it. Then I showed her the book I had just bought, and happened to still be in my backpack.





I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday with the intention of buying:


and



Instead, i walked out with the first book,, Mountains Beyond Mountains, and



Oh the irony of spending $50 on books about the poor. This is where all my tips are going - books and cds. And I'm not sure why I bought all these, knowing full well that I will not have the time to read them until Christmas break most likely.

Anyways, I showed the book to my friend and she got very excited and started reading the back - once again, very unexpected. I guess this is a lesson for me. I shouldn't make up my minds about people prematurely.

I had a very opposite interaction with another worker last night. He's a server also, about 40, and very, very conservative and set in his way. He likes to debate politics with me every once in a while. He overheard me telling someone else about my trip to Austin and started going off about the budget and why there are cuts being made to Medicaid and Food Stamps and why it's alright. And why it's okay to give back $70 billion dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest in the country because "after all, they pay about 70% of the taxes anyways." When he starts going off like that it's hard for me to keep my cool. Usually I get snappy back and make a smart remark.

Later on that night one of the bussers asked me about my ONE bracelet and the same server was in the room when i was telling him about it and made a comment along the lines of "why should we have to help people around the world?" AHHH!! He frustrates me so much sometimes. A bit later he stops me and tells me that because of the way economics work, there has to be rich people and poor people, there just has to be. I told him that maybe so, but there doesn't need to be the great inequality that there is. And then I may have started ranting (me, rant?? what??) about how since the late 1960's inequality has grown and how that sucks, blah blah blah. He got mad at me, yelled, and I took off to put up the dishes I was holding.

Fast forward to today. He comes into work and asks me how i'm doing and I say, "I've been better, but I've been worse so overall I'm alright I guess. How are you?" He replies "well, let's see, there's a republican president in office and both the house and senate are controlled by the republicans so I'm good!" As I continued walking through the drink station I said "yes, but debt is up and the president's rankings are down!" And once again I made myself scarce.

Have I mentioned that I loooove Damon's?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Austin or bust

Yesterday, Laura, Claire, Mallory, Jon, and I piled into Mallory's car and made the trip down to Austin to lobby Kay Baily Hutchinson. We decided to go on this trip last week after a conference call with Jim Wallis of Call to Renewal and Sojourners. In a nutshell, the senate is supposed to be voting on the budget reconciliation within the next couple of weeks and they are proposing budget cuts to programs such as Medicaid and Food Stamps. They're saying that since we're fighting two wars and are rebuilding the gulf after the hurricane, there isn't enough money to go around and cuts must be made. However, they are also proposing to give tax cuts to the wealthy - totally about $70 billion. But the cuts they're trying to make to Medicaid and food stamps total $35 billion. That doesn't add up or make any sense.

Before we actually got to the Senator's office we met up with Seth at a barbecue restaurant and ate lunch with him. He's the ONE Campaign Fellow for our region and works in Austin. We got to talk with him about what he's been up to and tell him more about the 1 John 3 Campaign we're working on here at Baylor. We also pestered him yet again about getting us into the U2 concerts here in Texas since he gets to work at them. I wish I had his job.

After lunch we walked over to the federal building and met up with Lew. He's the Bread for the World guy for our region and we met him last year at a letter writing workshop he did here in Waco. Plus he and Seth were both at the conference in DC that we all went to last summer. Ahh, good times on capital hill. Anyways, we met up with Lew, the "grandfather" of the group as someone said later. He brought us a camera and said that he checked and that we could use it. He also asked us what we were going to say in our meeting and gave us a few pointers before he left us on our own.

We actually met with an aide, not Kay Bailey. He was a talker and kept getting off topic, but I think Jon did a good job of "holding him to focus." I think the meeting went fairly well, considering we're talking to republicans who are most likely set in their ways about the budget already. But we were able to get our points across and say why we thought that Medicaid and Food Stamps shouldn't be cut. Because seriously, why make these cuts but then turn around and give people who are already filthy rich more money back? That is ridiculous.

After the meeting with the aide, he showed us around the office, which used to be LBJ's place when he was president and would come back to Texas. It was still decorated the same so everything was avocado green and basically really ugly. We left the office, walked back to the car, said good bye to Seth, and made the trip back up to good ole Waco, which according to the aide is a "growing metropolis." Yeah, riiiight. Keep on thinking that, buddy.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Welcome

Well, I decided that it was time to start up one of these. I guess I just got tired of being over there at Xanga. Not really sure why though.

Today I was ranting to Claire about a letter to the editor in the Lariat. I've been ranting a lot lately - about stuff pertaining to the 1 John 3 Campaign, about the School of Social Work, about economics majors, etc. It has consumed my past two days basically. Anyways, I'm ranting to Claire and apologize for ranting and she says something along the lines of "yeah, you've been ranting a lot lately. And just think, tonight you'll be raving!" We're having a School of Social Work "rave" tonight. Basically it's a mixer so that everyone can meet each other because no one knows anyone except those in their classes. But since we called it a "rave" it's cool and people will come. We're having bowls of white mints out, aka ecstasy. And two of the profs are drawing tattoos on people with sharpies and we're having a cupcake walk because what's a rave without a cupcake walk?? It's going to rock. So back to the story, Claire says that tonight I'll be raving and I say "you're right! Hey! From Ranter to Raver: One Girl's Story! That should be the title of my autobiography!" Now I have to do something worth while of writing an autobiography about. And I need to stop ranting and start raving. I think I have the first part down.

More to come about our trip to Austin today...