Archive for the ‘ fashion and culture ’ Category

Happy Holidays!

News

Well well well. We meet again. My blog and I. Or rather, you (the reader) and I.

I am mostly alive and well. Break started last week, but it’s taken until now for me to recover. Even at this point I’m still amazingly exhausted but I am declaring myself fit so that I may return to being efficient.

I spent the last two weeks of the semester semi-ill from fatigue. 5 hours of sleep in 48 hours will do that to you. And that wasn’t from cramming. In fact, I did good. No cramming. A little for bio but not really. I am proud of myself.

My final grade was good but not quite what I’d hoped (not what I’d worked myself to pieces (literally) for). I am on the Dean’s list however. Next semester however, I will be victorious! 😀

The past 3 months have been more than intense. Pretty much on all fronts. I can’t think of an aspect of my life that has been low key. Granted that it’s been like this all year. This year has been rough.

“My roller coaster has the biggest ups and downs
But as long as it keeps going
it’s unbelievable.”

That said, I’m writing primarily to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.

Let’s keep our minds focused on how we can be a positive force. Each of us is a force. It’s up to us how we use our influence.


Musings


I posted a status on Facebook the other day. It said “If you complain about the hand you’re dealt, you probably don’t deserve to play the game.”

After I re-read it a bit later, it struck me strangely and I wanted to clarify.

First, it was NOT a political statement. Second I stand by it but in the introspective context. Each of us has a situation or a set of circumstances in which we exist. Some of these circumstances are within our control and some are not. We must optimize those variables which we can control and accept those that are constants. This said, we must understand the limitations of our circumstances and learn to thrive within those limitations.

This statement or idea is NOT a talking point for one person to use in being insensitive or judgmental towards another. We should be sensitive to the limitations of another’s situation and work together to ensure that we all can progress and thrive.

We are each other’s biggest resource. The community is a colossal force. A force to be reckoned with. We must remember this and press together, guided by the light of justice, equality, respect and tender care.

As we weave our selves (not just our monetary resources) together, respecting the privacy and entity of the individual, maintaining the boundaries of justice and equality and smoothing over our interactions with understanding and felicity we can move as one to maximize our own control of our environments. We, as we band together can ensure the success and freedom of all.

Happy Holidays.

Makeda

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Acting “Black” – an aspiration

I’d like to share a piece I wrote. I’m particularly posting this in honor of the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall this week. This is a first draft. It is actually part of an essay that I wrote for a scholarship application.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “acting black”? How would you describe what is meant by that term. How accurate, factual, is your description?
To those of you who are African-American, or any other “black”, how important is your heritage to you? How important is it that you have a correct perception of your heritage? How do you think our perception of our heritage shapes who we are? What effect does it have on the larger scale (how we interact with others, how others interact with us)?

Do you aspire to “act black”?

Food for thought.

Acting “Black”

I was born to a young couple, who, while they were not of remarkable economic status possessed a quality of person and well bred manner which they sought to instill in their children. They sought to foster our natural curiosity and train our minds in wholesome ways, giving us glimpses into the worlds of, nature, science, culture and art and encouraging us to explore the beckoning beyond. To this end, my parents decided to home-school us. They sought to surround us with positive social and cultural situations through church, youth groups, Pathfinders (similar to Boy scouts), and supported travel opportunities.

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. For me the “village” came most strongly into play at 12 when my family was introduced to the community Fab Lab program at a local tech center. (Fab Labs started as an MIT outreach project and are internationally connected, digital fabrication laboratories whose purpose is to give lay people access to high-end technology for innovation and personal problem solving – technology such as is typically found in well endowed research labs.) My “Fab Family” (the MIT folks involved in Fab Labs) guided and inspired me as I learned to use the tools in the lab and supported me as I went from a user to a contributor and eventually began developing curricula to teach young people math, science, engineering and technology in the Fab Labs.

If you accede our society’s oftentimes-arbitrary stereotypes, you might be surprised to learn that my family is African American. The “black” culture, as presented by mainstream media could be described by and abundance of crass, irresponsible behavior. It’s a culture of people who live for the most part in either poverty or extreme wealth, the wealth being derived from occupations that destroy society. The people are portrayed as violent, insolent, unproductive, under-educated, out of control. We are depicted as prioritizing appearances over substance and as having an aversion to upward movement and engaging in activities that would benefit those around us. We are portrayed as the party people who can sing, dance and play ball –and very little else.

This is portrayed as “the way to be”. They call it “acting black”. We have to “be hard”. Being well spoken is often considered a bad thing.

I am a person who knows better. I’ve seen both sides of the coin. My parents and grandparents have always told me about my heritage – that of the African-American Diaspora. The story of my people is the story of a people in harsh servitude, ground into the dust and yet alive. The story of the African-American is a story of a people dealt with in violence and heartlessness, which were able to respond with peace. Our story is the story of the men and woman who built the world’s greatest country. With their blood, sweat and tears they watered it’s fields. With hope in their hearts they longed for their “inalienable right(s) to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Even when it was illegal, they learned to read and write. Our leaders were the ones who did everything in their power to obtain an education – knowing that it was the golden key to success. They were the ones who, once they had achieved, reached back to lend a hand and help someone else up. They were the ones who braved brutality and injustice so that I could have a better chance. I know what it truly means to “act black”. It means to strive towards better, and to help your neighbor get there too.

I was born at the crossroads of these twain perceptions, and, like the wind and rain carve out the landscape, these cultural forces have helped carve me into the person I am today. I have been described as “with it”, “capable” “confident” and a “strong leader”. Why?
I’ve been able to make an informed decision, partly because I’ve seen both worlds. For a time, my family of six lived in a one-bedroom apartment with prostitutes, gangbangers, drug dealers and drunks on the next floor. The place where we currently live is rife with violence, ignorance and irresponsible behavior. I’ve made a conscious decision to dream and go higher instead of lower.

I want to be a consequential force for good, not just in my neighborhood – but also in the world. I am interested, inquisitive, and place a high value on my education. I see myself as a bridge, a helping hand, to those who will follow in the footsteps of our great African-American leaders, embrace our heritage, dream past what we don’t have, and cross over into the sun of a better life.



Just a few minutes ago, as I Googled “blogging software” – it hit me. I was reading one blogger’s take on a particular desktop publishing application when I realized “I’m a blogger”. I think this is the first time I’ve really “felt” like one. Hmmm…this is interesting. At any rate, as I now have two blogs with identical content (this one and the one hosted on my server [that one is still under aesthetic development but is online: mkqs.us/blog]) and numbers three and four in the making (not with identical content), I need a desktop publishing/blogging tool. I saw one for windows, but I need one for OSX. And it needs to be free (this is already costing me enough lol). What do you use? Experience is the best review tool. 🙂

What a day, what a day. This morning I went out to the park with my mom and dad… We walked/jogged/ran about 2 miles. (I’m not sure what kind of delusion I was under to suppose that I might be able to keep up with him…especially in my lack of shape.)
My mom is a runner and my dad is just an antelope. I am short, with short legs and I’ve only just started (again, in the last couple of weeks) going out and speed walking. I’m trying to build up to running – but I was there today. It actually went much better than I thought it would. I’ll just be the short antelope. (Lol). I did my couple hundred yard sprint that I like to do at the end and it hurt. I did finish it and then raced my mom in a hundred yard dash. Smh. Then we went home and went out to play basketball with the guys.
Needless to say, between that, the lab marathon this afternoon and the fact that I spent the vast majority of last night working on my website – I am exhausted.
I felt awesome today but I don’t even want to imagine how I’ll feel in the next couple days. :S I’m still going out in the morning. I will not be a victim of inertia (or fear of pain).

The lab was full today. This time mostly kids. We helped with the development and printing of 6 t-shirts (I’m pretty sure that’s a record). Here’s a t-shirt one of my girls made (she’s 7 or 8):
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Ambitionz

Harbingers of things to come

That is exactly what this post is. In the next couple of days I will be posting on how to make this t-shirt (or one better)(yep, this is the beginnings of my shirt :D)
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I will post on my textbooks (I now have all save one) and school related resources, my take on “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” (I finished it) and “The Color Purple” (the 1985 film). I need to read the book.

I’ll also post about a sketch comedy that could have been written by Monty Python but is un-funny because it’s real life American Politics.

Speaking of sketch comedy, an age old classic.
Enjoy 🙂

We had a really great time in the lab. Everybody is learning everything – hopefully they won’t need me soon. We worked on making t-shirts tonight.

Ambitionz

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.

I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the fact that my baby brother has hardly bothered to acknowledge my existence since he’s been gone. I talked to him once, but he’s talked to everyone else in my house multiple times since (so it seems). I’ve heard that he’s doing very well, for which I’m glad. It would be strange if he started missing me or home or anything like that. I would have to wonder what was wrong. Which part of him wasn’t my brother. Where I’d failed him as a sister. We are destined to intense wanderlust and a “no strings attached” attitude. As long as I leave that thought there and don’t dwell on the niceties supposedly due those who changed your diapers, I will be fine. (Hey, I called my mom when I was away.)

I really like the line “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it”. It probably does – or at least makes him sad. Sometimes I just notice how much there is to do in this world, to see and experience. So much to live. So many people to meet. So much to learn. It should be impossible to be bored. 🙂

I’m noticing how incredibly “chatty” I can be vs how very “observant” (an euphemism for quiet) I can be. Dear me. This realization comes after I was referred to as “the quiet one” at church today. I hope some of you got a good laugh out of that one. Seriously, there was nothing to say.

Like I promised, here is a picture of my new Moleskine planner:
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I’m excited about using it. I’m taking control of my life! (or something inspirational like that)


LAB UPDATE:
Yes, it has been a long time coming. I have an exciting picture for you all:
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Yes, Neil (Dr. Gershenfeld) visited our new lab! So does that grant us a new level of officialness? At any rate, Eli is teaching us Blender so he has been/will be back a couple times. We’re teaching all of our board members how to use the software and machines.
This Sunday, during our open lab time we’ll be teaching basic design using Inkscape. You can put the designs on t-shirts or whatever you’d like.

Here is a design I created for a t-shirt. I cut it out in vinyl to make the silk screen. I’ll post pictures of the t-shirt when I’m done.
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Ambitionz

My Glass Slippers

My friend sent me this cute little quote today. It reads as follows: “Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life.”

My life is changing so – I guess it’s time for a new pair of show-stoppingly gorgeous, perfectly beautiful, goddesses-in-their-own-right shoes to help out.
Pour La Victoire baby 🙂

PLV

I thought about it a few seconds longer and changed my mind. My glass slippers look more like this:

This change in my life is all about hard work. It’s about carrying myself well, getting where I need to go, getting done what I need to get done. It’s about discipline, focus, training. It’s about being flexible, getting a grip and staying in motion.
My glass slippers are supportive, and durable. They’ll keep me protected and mobile. If I were to loose one somehow (dancing?), it’ll have a micro chip in it so they’ll know it’s mine. 🙂

I’m immensely thankful. My fever broke today after 5 days (4 with high temperatures and 2 with even higher sustained temperatures). I no longer feel like a dragon of sorts and am not having very thin (relating to the mental barriers between real life and other life) dreams about Narnia like lands. I’m perfectly fine. The last time something similar happened, I didn’t get out unscathed. But that was when I was little.

I was a little bit warm/weak this morning but by the time I finished the latest order of stuff for the lab, I was almost normal. This ordering process did happen to include a time intensive (I won’t tell you just how much time I speak of) and at best, traumatic journey throughout the mazes of DigiKey in the search for a “red 5 mm led” (yes, I dare you to search it. Do it. Go to digikey.com and search it.). DigiKey is on of my favorite sites ever – because it has everything, which, in this case, worked decidedly against me. I learned a bit about LEDs however and I’m sure it helped me regain strength of some kind 🙂

I bought a Moleskine planner today. I’ll post pictures when it arrives.

Ambitionz

“Let’s make getting stoned sound chivalrous”

Today I’ve been blessed with a little more energy, more mobility, increased strength and clearer brain function. among other things. 🙂 Yay! I’m getting better.
I am able to remember the so-called “no-brainers” we so often take for granted and that I have been having so much difficulty with over the past few days (e.g. my computer password or lab related topics).
I can sit up now and stay up with out being exhausted and can walk better. My strength is coming back.
Overall, I’m starting to feel better.

I haven’t heard much about anything happening outside my room lately but I will eventually look up what happened on the 1st of August. I did hear that my grandfather’s check was late.

This add for one of these high-end, high performance eye-wear brands depicts characters as being stone drunk and hungover and then equates this with being “dead tired” and still holding on. There’s a difference between drunk and tired. Or maybe they were trying to make getting stoned sound chivalrous.

I don’t have enough energy to finish collating any other thoughts right now, but I will leave you with this:

It’s a clip from this nature show that I saw many years ago and my brothers just reminded me of tonight. It’s cute. Enjoy 🙂

Ambitionz

Mosquito Ladies, Summer Reading, Murdoch and the BPS

My summer reading for Wentworth came today. 🙂 They assigned the Pulitzer Prize winner The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
So far, I find the narrative style to be a bit brash, and the entirety of the first 7 pages (chapter 1) discuss a superstitious curse and how powerful and unavoidable it is. I’ve also started to wonder if epithets aren’t just a tad bit overused (and I’ve only been reading for less than 5 minutes). So far they aren’t as widely used as in A Million Little Pieces. I’m hoping for a great underlying structure and relevant points. I always feel a bit jaded when reading fiction as there are so many great stories that actually happened, but this one looks promising.
So far, so good. Here it is 🙂
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My first Moleskine notebook. (No, I’m not sure what all the hype is over Moleskines but I got this one because I heard that they are good notebooks, it was on sale and I needed another pocket note receptacle. I love it so far.)

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This is one of my other, self assigned summer readings (along with Campbell’s Biology, physics, chemistry, some literature, inventory lists and a yet unknown Calculus book).
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The Boston Public Schools is planning to relocate two high schools. As the daughter of a Hyde Park BPS teacher, I disagree with this move (for reasons I don’t currently have the time to discuss). Click here to read the article

Today, I went to the clinic so my physician could sign some papers for school. The “mosquito ladies” took some of my blood 😦 I miss it.

Why is this Murdoch story dominating the news? The fact that you control the news does NOT make you news! And the whistle-blower is dead? Who could have predicted that? With much power comes much corruption.

The nice folks from Wentworth reopened the English test and called me, saying that I could take it any time in the next few days. It’s done 🙂

Ambitionz
Day 21
69 Dayz to go

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