Saturday, November 08, 2008

Out of Place

I am currently doing what might best be described as career change shopping. I don't know what I want to do, but I have this vague feeling that it's not what I'm currently doing. I was looking up OR and related fields, and came across Financial Engineering. So I went to an info session for the Financial Engineering program at Berkley. The lady who was giving the info session talked a whole bunch of stuff. Along the way she was trying to make the point that the students tend to be well rounded ... and even pleasant,
"If someone is going to spend more time than their wife and their kids with you, they are going to want you to be a certain way."
I doubt she was trying to imply that their female alumnae tend to be gay.

A few years ago, right out of college, this wouldn't have bothered me. Yesterday it made me take a glance around the room to confirm I was the only female in the room.

And boy, did I find the other participants ... irritating. Maybe MFE is not for me :)

So, how long before the US elects a female (who's not named Palin) to be President?

Friday, November 07, 2008


Heh :) I for one am still checking out my usual, left leaning blogs obsessively.

Although, I must admit, politics just isn't as much 'fun' when it's not dressed in Prada.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Grey's Anatomy

"In Ethiopia they eat stew on spongy, sour bread. That's not for everybody", said Baily, who's kinda my favorite character on the show.

She was talking about trying out new things, and in that specific case, about lesbian sex.

Umm. Okkk.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Palin’s (Inadvertent) Contribution to Feminism

 "Republicans have taken over the word 'feminist'  ... and left its content behind.”          

I start off with a quote on US election 2008 from an appalled feminist whose name I don’t recall at the moment , and Google's not cooperating. I agree with her. So it it may sound like an oxymoron but I also happen to think  the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, has left a few marks on feminism. Note that I state it in past tense because I don’t expect she’ll have any relevant contributions in the future. 

Here’s what I think Palin has done (or done onto her).

 Yardstick of Success

 Conventional wisdom had it that if you’re female, you’d to be much better than your male counterparts to hold the same position in the work place.  A while back another feminist had said that the struggle of feminism in the United Sates had shifted from giving qualified women equal opportunity as men, to letting mediocre women have the same opportunities as mediocre men. 

Well, here it is folks! A woman who out-mediocres all her male counterparts actually managed to get nominated to a VP position. Feminism may now go back to being defined as ‘equality between the sexes’, this time in support of men

 Gender Bias (or Lack thereof)

 The theory was that women would vote for women. Regardless. That was what they said about Hillary Clinton. That was what they thought would also be true about Sarah Palin. 

I was very upset during the primaries, and despite some of Hillary’s awkward moments (like the imaginary shooting incident), I was a dedicated supporter because I thought the media and men around me were unduly critical of her. The more they told me I was for her simply because I was female, the more I defended her. 

The bottom line was that Clinton and Obama had almost the same policies. It shouldn’t have been shocking to support one or the other. However, it was acceptable to mock a female for supporting a female candidate while almost nobody would dare to openly argue that a black person was only voting for Obama simply because he or she was black. So Hillary took the one sided flack. And. It. Got. On. My. Nerves. She was dismissed her as ‘Bill’s wife’. She was called ‘catty’ for defending her positions, etc.

Enter Palin.

In the beginning people were actually excited about Palin, probably including left leaning women who were rubbed a little raw by Hillary's mistreatment. Personally I was pissed off from the get go. The news headlines on the day of the nomination accross the board, including B-fu**ing-BC, read something like, 'McCain picks female for Vice President'. It was evident from day one that 'who' wasn't the quiestion, 'what' was. And when we finally dug up 'who', it was some ex-beauty pageant religious bimbo, whose bimboness was evident even before she started describing the view from her house. That, to me as a female, was so offensive.

Anyway, the moment Palin opened her mouth and started spewing nonsense unto Couric, women rejected her at a higher rate than men. Feminism can check this in it’s to-do list: women’s movement has matured enough to reject BS when it sees it, regardless of the packaging geneder. If Palin hadn't come by, Clinton's near nomination would forever have been tainted with  irrational women-for-women vote. I think we can now safely say that women don't just want to symbolically break the symbolic glass ceiling. They want to break the symbolic glass ceiling with substance. 

Thank you, women across America. Thank you. 

So now, this begs the question: has black people’s movement in the US matured enough to rejecta a bullshiteous black candidates?  Barack Obama has over 90% of the black vote, and the media keeps saying the black vote is going to carry Obama through. Give me a break.  The black population is only 12% of the US, so chill the fuck out. And there is no question thatn an overwhelming majority of black poeple in the US would benefit from Obama's policies, so it's hardly surprising they're pro a Democratic candidate. After all Bill Clinton was known as the first black president.  

So my question, I don't think, has ever been answered ... and one day it will have to be, in affirmative. 

Long Hair

Yup. Long hair. Look at Clinton, Pelosi, Albright, Rice, Thatcher … any powerful woman (ok, pictures of Cleopatra don’t count). Either short hair is the trademark for women above 40 (umm, not! Now look at Michelle Obama, Cindy McCain, etc), or they all suffer from a touch of the Lady Macbeth syndrome.  Political women have deliberately taken out the feminine in them to be taken seriously in the public eye. Since none of them ever dared to try long hair, nobody used to know if it’d affect them. 

Enter Palin.  And her weird coiffure. 

I think we can safely say that nobody gives a damn. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

White people's sport

I could hear his music as he came up the bend - he had a blasting boombox. I was on my way to re-chalk. I grabbed my chalk bag , dipped my fingers in and when I looked up he was there. I rubbed my hands together and looked at him intently. He was a bit different than I expected. A bit older. He was in his fifties or sixties. He stood about a meter from the beginning of my route. For a split second I looked around my surroundings. There were still bikers passing by every few seconds, a runner every minute or so, and one of those police golf-carts about a 100 meters downhill. I didn't feel unsafe at all. I kept looking at him.

"I am harmless!", he said.

"Eh ... I'm sorry?"

"I am harmless. I am a good guy. You're going to climb this right?"


"Go on. I won't be in your way." He pointed ahead and said something about the police. I imagine that they were watching us.

I tried to smile. "I know."

Actually, he was in my way. I could start but I could land where he was. I walked over to him and started anyway, making sure I didn't slip. He kept talking over the blasting boombox.

"Is this your first time here?"




"You've never been to the park? then you must be from out of town."

"No, I'm from here. I just haven't been here before." I meant the actual location, not even the park but from where I was hanging, I wasn't about to explain.

He looked at me for a while longer, changing the radio station erratically. Then he yelled more.

"This is white people's sport, you know? Black folk don't do this."

I cracked up and let go.


"This is white peoples' sport. I see them all over this thing all the time. "

"Aha. " I went back to my chalk bag.

"White people sport! White people sport. I gotta talk to the police."

Then suddenly, leaving aside a nicely made out trail, he made a dash through the bushes and started running to the police golf cart down below. For a while the boombox was quiet. and I went back to my route. Part way through my traverse the music came back. Eventually when I looked back he was slowly walking away from the police cart, tweaking his radio stations once again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Surely, it must be that lesbian school ...

Ever since this Obama fever started, emails have trickled into my mailbox from various friends and relatives telling me I should contribute, vote for 'change', i.e. Obama. I was obviously more interested in who sent me the email than what they sent me. One curious thing to note about who's been sending me these emails has been that it has all come from black men. My friends who are female and black are still rooting all for Clinton.

Anyway, I ignored one email after another ... until today. Just yesterday night against all odds Hillary Clinton pulled through in OH, TX and RI. Then this morning I received more Obamaganda. Come on! So I hit reply, added a list of all the men that've sent me vote-obama messages, and replied:

Thanks, but no thanks, Obamacans. You're on this list because at some point you've littered my mailbox with Obamaganda :)

A long time ago I heard Bill Clinton say in an interview that Democrats win when people think. I thought it was obnoxious but oh, so funny. Fast forward to last night : Billary won in TX and OH b/c the people were forced to think ... beyond the great speeches and your kinda spams that've been going around, people stopped to think about what each candidate had to say ... which at the end of the day is pretty much the same thing presented differently.

Now, I can confidently say that I like black men more than any of you (yeah, fight me on this one) ... but I can't see the one in question to be anything other than a man who makes good speeches and has sub-par take on issues on which he agrees (considering his age, some may say "copied from") with Billary.

I think Obama's OK. I just think Billary's better at everything other than making speeches. As you may already know, i don't won a TV and reading his speeches just doesn't do the trick for me.

Now, my office mate just pointed out this morning that a candidate's grasp on issues has no bearing on how good a president s/he will be -- or else the US would be in a lot worse situation than it is now under Bush. Touche. But I can't be asked like a candidate for the same reason (however minute the degree) that I dislike Bush. And I'm not about to buy a TV so i can be 'inspired' and down with 'cool' gang.

People say Obama will bring "national reconciliation". Dude, if you can get NY and TX to vote for you, you've got "national reconciliation".

In conclusion, this is not to tell you to stop spamming me. I like Obama ... I just thought I'd spam back for a change :)

If anybody feels like contributing towards Hilary's campaign, here's the link :
Then I started getting some awesome responses. The first one said,

Oh sharrup; I knew they did some shit to you at the lesbian college you went to

I wonder if the fact that Hilary Clinton also went to one of those 'lesbian colleges' brings a sour taste to the table. (But wait, isn't the though of 'lesbian colleges' a cool thing in mainstream, straight American society, including black men?)

Another response said,
It looks like we have a traitor in the family... Remember the last time we had the supreme court instead of the people decide who was going to lead this nation we ended up with Bush, the man you loath. You are advocating the same scenario here where Hillary is trying to pull out a win by disenfranchising voters.
BTW, any democrat can win NY in the general election... look 4 years ago a man named John Kerry won NY land slide but lost the general election to W. At least it would have sounded better if you mentioned Ohio. But we all know McCain has no chance in Ohio because he is so pro NAFTA.

Come on ... join the enlighten and support the man that is ready to transform the nation. Bill Clinton already built the bridge to the 21st century. We don't want another bridge back to the 20th century.
Again LOL to the traitor. I find it amusing that the person who wrote this is an engineer and still wrote the second paragraph. I think I'm going to write back and ask, 'If you did a great job 10 years ago of say, building a bridge, you want your future jobs to be given to another person especially because you did a great job 10 years ago?'

I think Hilary & Obama should eventually run a joint ticket. They've divided the Democratic party straight down the middle line, and it is in their hands to bring the party, the country back together. As this country stands at the edge of a recession, one of my officemates pointed out, imagine Hilary as the president, Obama as vice president and Bill Clinton as a 'first man'(?). Is that a power house, or is that a power house?

The question is who'll be on top.

To quote an alumnae t-shirt slogan from my 'lesbian college', it's all about 'a century of women on top'.

I also remember a bumper sticker on somebody's dorm door that had a picture of the white house with the following written under it:
Yeah, maybe that 'lesbian school' has made me into a feminist of sort (actually i'd rather be identified in the anti-feminist feminist camp, which my brothers like to refer to as "feminazi" ... which is really, ridiculous ....anti-feminist feminism is actively pro-men, but whatever.) If this is what it's made me, I'm happy with it.

p.s. My new favorite blog : Stuff White People Like . Hilarious, and apparently on point, at least for left leaning east/west coast Americans! The only disturbing thing about it is that I'm guilty of most,

coffee, film festivals (if i could get to them), farmer's markets, organic food (but only coz i was used to organic stuff growing up, i don't pay shitloads for it), diversity (or else i'd not be here), making you bad about going outside (coz i need company), having black friends (well, like i've a choice), hating parents (defunct habit), awareness (for survival, not poke fun at the unaware as such ... though that's a good side benefit), traveling (training for deportation & consequences), being and expert on your culture (yeah, i tell Americans what their culture's like ... so what? they don't know. ref : awareness), having two last names (actually, i've more than 2, ayat, qim ayatoches?), david sedaris, Manhattan, marathons (don't do them .. but talk of them), not having tv, 80s night, snowboarding, breakfast places, netflix, apple products (if i could afford more than my ipod), indie music, sushi, plays, public radio, Asian fusion food, whole foods, being the only white person around (i mean the only black person around ... does that count still?), study abroad, gentrification (i.e. Harlem), threatening to move to Canada (ref earlier comment about deportation), multilingual children (yeah, my kid'll speak Amharic too and that's that), modern furniture (any furniture, at this point), the idea of soccer, graduate school

p.p.s So I'm kinda like a white female. This may be awfully convenient ammunition for those who cant understand why I like Hilary.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

21st Century Realized

Ok, so a picture is worth a thousand words. And a video is worth so many more, which is specially convenient as I'm not putting much effort into utilizing words in this blog these days.

I was reading NemoZen (?) and came across this post about why the WII remote is so much cooler than it is in the context society uses it today.

YouTube led to more YouTube and I ended up here, which's ... pretty darn amazing!

Also at : Foldable Displays .

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hippos vs. Cheetahs

I am at 1:59 of this video as I post this ... but it came from a friend who always sends me links that'd make spamming worthy if only I had the right motivations. So I post this, and I trust you'll learn & enjoy:

This grab-you-by-the-throat speech by Ghanaian economist George Ayittey unleashes an almost breathtaking torrent of controlled anger toward corrupt leaders and the complacency that allows them to thrive. These "Hippos" (lazy, slow, ornery) have ruined postcolonial Africa, he says. Why, then, does he remain optimistic? Because of the young, agile "Cheetah Generation," a "new breed of Africans" taking their futures into their own hands.
[I am at 4:08 now ... I think I should share another link from the same friend]

Hearts of Darkness

Please, avoid becoming a fufu-head!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Something about Clinton ...

These days Americans have two hobbies -- (American) football and hating Hilary Clinton.

I don't get it, although years ago i ... kinda did it myself. It was while I was in college and Hilary was the First Lady(ok, let me take this opportunity to say that this first lady/gentleman(?) business in a democratic society is a very, very dumb idea. You can't not want royalty and want it, too). At the time I was defending Bill Clinton saying that what made him into the liar that he became were the puritanical questions he was being asked regarding a matter that didn't concern the public ... the way some evidence may be inadmissible in court if obtained through illegal means ... So he cheated; let his wife deal with it.

Also, I thought, of course he's a manipulative first class liar -- that's how he functions so well as an American president. And to top that he's a lawyer by training! Why were people slapping his wrist for the very skill he's been using to bring the Palestinians and Israelis to the same table? Mind you ... I didn't absolutely adore the guy, especially because he'd a tendency to distract the media from his personal life by bombing random locations in Africa.

One day I was talking to a girl named Carol in my house and I mentioned that I didn't care much for Hilary Clinton. It turned out Carol had interned with Hilary the summer before and she asked me why I didn't like Hilary. When it came down to it, I had no tangible reason other than the fact that even back then, America didn't like liking Hilary. The sentiment was contagious and apparently I'd caught some of it. So what's wrong with her? She was unlike any other First Lady who'd preceded her. Her education equaled that of any man around her. She had a successful career until she paused it to actively promote husband's career. Hell, she'd to change her maiden name to Clinton to appear like a 'normal' American wife so Bill Clinton could win his elections. Some criticized her marriage saying that it was more like a partnership:
To some, her marriage looked like a merger. Former candidate Michael Dukakis only read about Swedish land- use planning in his spare time; the Clintons talk about similarly dense topics with friends over dinner in the huge kitchen in the statehouse.
Well, I am sorry for Dukakis that whoever he's married to likes talking about the best sale in town, or how their last croak pot burned the food on one side, but for a married couple to take interest in the same things is hardly a point to be shamed about.

Carol calmly refuted each one of my (lack) of arguments. Since then I've been sold on Hilary.

Last week when Hilary lost in Iowa and supposedly had that breakdown moment, my co-worder who's never hesitated to express his distaste for Hilary Clinton retorted, 'I would never vote for a President who cries in public, male or female'. Over the course of the day I had convinced him that he was just hater. Yup, a hater. He'll take whatever Hilary does and give it a negative twist.
In this case he'd been complaining that she was too calculated and couldn't be trusted, and now, when she supposedly had an emotional moment, he struck her down for exactly the opposite reason he'd struck her before. Finally he said that she'd probably faked it. I continue with my argument that once again, he'll take anything about Hilary and dislike he for it. For that one instance, I had him admit that he was, perhaps subconsciously, looking for ways to explain her behavior unfavorably.

I think Barack Obama's alright. Hey, anybody that gets enough Ethiopians (on an average day politically apathetic people, unless it comes to demonstrating in DC) to actively support him, organize fund raising events, etc, gets my attention. If I were American I would consider voting for him. Consider is the key word. He surely got the dreamy catch lines ... the kind of lines I would have embraced when I was in college, I would love to embrace now, but alas, I've grown too cynical. Still, I wouldn't go as far as Bill Clinton to call Obama's campaign , 'the biggest fairy tale' i've ever heard (but ... there's something positive to be said about Bill Clinton for making that statement in reaction to his wife's first 'loss' at the polls.)

B Obama's weakness point for me is every time I hear Michelle Obama speak I can't help but think that I would definitely vote for her. The woman's on fire ... I wouldn't be surprised if she writes her husband's speeches.

So yeah, basically I think less of Obama, the man, because he has a stellar wife .. whereas I think people should not dismiss Hilary Clinton because she's a stellar (or scumbag, depending who you talk to) husband. You ask how than am I different from all the people who dismiss Hilary for the wrong reasons? Coz I'm not going with the popular crowd, that's why! I'm an independent hater ... yup, yup.

But seriously, I think Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have the same take on many issues so picking one over the other on that isn't much help . So she's shown signs of changing her mind over the years. Good for her, and America! Shouldn't a leader in a democratic state be molded by the desire of the people, unlike G W Bush who marched to America to into a disaster called Iraq and insisted on keeping it in the same disaster in the name of 'strong leadership'? Yes, it would have suited me better if she'd been against the war from the start, but at least she's learned from it. And while we're the topic of voting, missing important votes because one's out campaigning don't impress me at all, Mr Obama.

The fact that Obama's black has no play in my world. He's as much black, as I am, as she's female, as I am. Besides, voting for a person for their color or gender is as bad as voting for a person because they hold similar 'values'. To me what Hilary has that even her husband didn't have to deal with is this hobby of Ameirca that likes disliking her. To me, enduring so many years of being in and out of public life and scrutiny, being humiliated by her husbands affair, putting her carrier on a back burner for her spouse's sake ... and surviving all that to become a New York senator shows strength worth every respect.

Much love to Obama, but so much more love to Hilary.

I probably should read this over again, but am about to be de-stuck from Salt Lake City airport.