Archive for the ‘ opinion ’ 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

Come on Irene…(sung to the tune of Come On Eileen)

Are you ready for a hurricane? My brother is – he’s charging his camera. 🙂
So this post is powered by Qumana (spelled right this time).
Life has been exciting lately. I made this:
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Now little kids can be "electrical engineers"! 😀
And there are other things to be happy about. We had positive meeting with an influential community member about expanding our operation (helping set up another lab).

Orientation starts Thursday. I’m participating in IMPACT!, the Women’s Mentor-ship program, NSBE and SWE…and if they have a program for commuter students I’ll probably take advantage of that.

It is going to be a challenge to keep up with everything, but I’ve decided that I’m not dropping the labs (particularly the TIE Project). I have a shortlist of things that stay and that particular activity made the cut. I’d also like to keep Pathfinders. We shall see how this works out.
I’m going to start (in the next couple of months, fundraising to attend Fab8 in New Zealand. Wanna help? 🙂

It’s going to be quite a weekend. Hurricane, Carnival and all (yes, this is carnival weekend here in Boston).
Since the Governor has all ready declared a state of emergency and everybody is pulling in huge numbers of personnel etc, we joke that if even a tree is so much as swayed by the winds, the National Guardsmen will be there to steady it.

Ambitionz

Ecto – Because Bleezer Doesn’t Like Me

This post (if it even reaches the web) was written using Ecto. I tried Bleezer (a free desktop publishing tool) but couldn’t figure out the correct port for my self hosted WordPress blog (why do I need a port??).
Anyway, now I can write offline (without writing in MS Word or whatever) and post it directly. Or, if you think about it – I’ve just found another way to use up space on my already full hard drive. 🙂 Maybe the upside will be that my post increase in quality and thoughtfulness…hmm.
I stopped by the lab today after most everyone had gone. The kids that were there and had been there yesterday asked me why I hadn’t come in. Our group was able to hold down the fort – so hopefully we are well on our way to making my instruction optional. 🙂
I tried something in class the other day (a new teaching technique) that worked really well. I think I’m getting better at this. I’m excited.
All of my books are on their way (finally) :). I sent back that $100+ pamphlet that they called a textbook and got a used one for $80… -_-

Orientation starts in a week…hmm. Am I ready for this? Of course that’s a senseless question seeing that wether I’m ready or not – life keeps coming. To that point I’m realizing more and more that my schedule is my life line. I’m already off right now so this post must end.
We’ve gotten between 35 and 50 kids through the lab in the past 3 weeks. Now the staff are interested. They want to make shirts. We’re going to plan a staff night. 🙂
A Russian supply rocket, headed to the ISS crashed today. It didn’t even get into orbit. I think we should try a space shuttle. Of course NASA says that, even in light of the difficulty that the Russians are having with getting into space – we don’t need the shuttles.
I shook my head and laughed.
Ambitionz

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

If I could write a letter to Corrie Ten Boom

I don’t have that much to write this evening. No, I have not forgotten about the post that I promised (t-shirt tutorial, my BHAG, etc).

I’m starting to realize just how audacious some of my goals are. Some of my short term goals that is. Just how impossible – at least according to conventional wisdom. I shy briefly, but keep going. Maybe it can’t be done – but I won’t say so until I’ve tried.

I’m still struggling with my website. I want it to include a wiki and blog. Right now it includes nada.
Church was inspirational. The thought for today is dream big and praise Him in advance. God is good – all the time. All the time – God is good.
My French-speaking friend laughed at my accidental declaration regarding my species. (See yesterday’s post.)

Tonight you will get a rough draft of an essay that I wrote last month.
I hope you enjoy it.


If I could write a letter to a particular character or person, I would write to Corrie Ten Boom.

Corrie Ten Boom was born to a Dutch family in 1892. The Ten Booms were fine watchmakers and lived in Harlem. In the 1940s, Corrie and her family found themselves in the throes of World War 2. When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, the Christian Ten Booms felt it was their duty and calling to aid, assist and shelter the oppressed. Corrie, ever a woman of action, earned the title “ringleader” of the local Dutch opposition.

Finally infiltrated by a double agent, the Ten Booms were arrested by the Nazis and thrown in prison. The Jews that they had sheltered escaped unharmed. The Ten Booms were not so lucky. After brutal imprisonment and slavery in some of the most dreaded concentration camps, only Corrie survived.

When she was accidentally released from the Ravensbruck concentration camp near the end of the war, Corrie went home to continue the work her family had died for: the work of ministering to those in need. With what she described as “God’s love” in her heart, she forgave her tormentors, built a rehabilitation center for victims, and traveled extensively, sharing her miraculous story of hope and forgiveness with thousands. In addition, she wrote many books, in which she chronicled her experiences and urged fellow survivors to lay off the chains of bitterness and hatred with which, she claimed, their captors still chained them.

I “met” Corrie Ten Boom when I was just six years old. I still remember picking up a thick, worn book sporting the title “The Hiding Place”. As I began to read, I was captivated. I would read this book from beginning to end at least five times over the next several years.

I was moved by her suffering and heroism, I was surprised by her resilience and forgiveness. I cried as I read about a time when she met, shook hands with and forgave one of her former concentration camp guards.
I was quiet – almost reverent as I walked through her home in Harlem, when I entered her tiny room and stepped inside the tiny closet of a hiding place which she had used to save lives.

Throughout my life, I’ve come to admire and appreciate her as a heroine of the truest nature. A woman who overcome her humanity, and accomplished something super human.

I sometimes compare myself with her. I have never gone through anything even remotely as horrific as the victims of World War 2. How is it that I allow myself the liberty to NOT forgive?

If I could write Corrie Ten Boom a letter, it would read as follows:

“Dear Ms. Ten Boom,

You know nothing of me. I am just a young girl from Boston, Massachusetts in the United States.

You have inspired me in ways I’m sure you never thought your book would inspire such a young mind. At six, you, through The Hiding Place, sewed the precious seed of forgiveness that is still growing in my heart. I only wish to one day have the true strength that you have exemplified. The strength to forgive while not condoning. The strength to move on through your pain to bless others – even the ones who have done you such terrible injustice.

I’d like to ask you: How did you survive such horrors with your heart intact? How were you willing to even be willing to forgive your cruel captors? And how were you able to encourage others to do the same?

Sincerely,
Someone you touched”


Ambitionz

Je ne suis pas un poisson…

Je ne suis pas un poisson. It is true. I am not a fish. Good evening, Captain Obvious here. No, that was not what I was trying to tell my brother. I was actually trying to say something more relevant.

I’m learning French – and I’m like a baby all over again. I’m pointing to things and saying their names. Un ballon. Un téléphone. Une pomme. Un garçon. Je suis une femme. And their colors…L’herbe est vert. Les chats sont noirs. Un Tee-shirt. Un tee-shir est juane. La lune est blanche.
(Feel free to correct my mistakes.)

But I’m excited. I’m learning Françias! Even if I do declare once in a while that “Je ne suis pas un poisson – o un chat, une pomme…” or whatever other silly phrases may become of my learning.

I’m a guest “facilitator” for the young adult Sabbath school in the morning, so I’d best get some sleep so I can polish up my lesson in the morning. I’ll be up early. 9:15…I don’t know if I can remember the last time I was at church that early. Well, tomorrow will be the day. We’re talking about the Psalms as a model of worship in the Bible.

I speed-ed up the formation of several gray hairs today trying to set up my domain and hosting and install WordPress and map the domains to where I want them to go…and several other related tasks. All of the aforementioned tasks should have been easy(ier) but I’m terribly out of practice.
-_-

Stayed with my morning scheduled today. Not so much my evening schedule. Lol. It is the weekend – I am forgiven (I hope?). 🙂

Ambitionz

Workin’ it

According to my schedule (which we discussed yesterday), I have 2 minutes to write and publish this post (beings typing and stock market-like speeds). For those of you whose schedules allow, there is a GOP primary debate happening now on Fox. You should go watch it and tell me how it goes/what was said. 🙂 Thanks a ton!

Oops – two minutes is up and I’ve hardly written anything.

I worked with a lovely group of young ladies at the Y today. One of the girls is planning to make a “hater” themed t-shirt. Lol.
The steel-guitar-string induced pain in my fingertips seems to have plateaued. I played for an hour today with no measurable increase in discomfort. Yay! 🙂

New websites to check out:

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