Tuesday, January 29, 2008
So I've been working as a temp for the past two weeks at a community based non-profit organization that serves at-risk children and their families. I've just been working down in the basement, cataloging and throwing all kinds of files, papers and journals into about 100 boxes to be put into storage. Its not a bad job for the time being, not a great one either, but thats not the point I'm trying to get across to you clowns.
As far back as I can remember whenever I have been in a situation in school or otherwise where I find myself eating in a cafeteria, there is always grumbling about how shitty or unsavory the food is. In high school, the food was indeed terrible so I won't even try to defend it. In college, everyone always loved to rag on the d.c. Despite the tasty spicy chick wraps, the mouthwatering breakfast sandwiches and dazzling array of beverages, this wonderful institution is always at the butt end of some lame joke. Perhaps because it was usually free, I didn't have many complaints and hate hearing anyone disparage the dc.
The same holds true for the lunch that is served in the dining room of where I am working. For lack of anything else to say, all of my co-workers nitpick about the food that is served at precisely high noon everyday of the week.
"Oh, the soup is too salty!"
"Ugh, those french fries look disgusting!"
"(some tasteless joke about the kielbasa that I have chosen to omit)"
To be fair, the food is not particularly good but it hardly deserves to be lambasted every lunch hour. I am usually starving by the time I emerge from a long morning of packing boxes and sneaking games of sudoku, so I'm always looking forward to the chow more than the next man or woman. Maybe I am blinded by the fact that i've only been there for 2 weeks as opposed to some of the lifers, my bright-eyed optimism or my underdeveloped taste buds.
I guess it has become natural to feel more comfortable criticizing something rather than praising it. It seems much easier to pick out the flaws in anything, from the local weather to a politician to the lunch spread, than it is to appreciate the inherent goodness in things.
In any case, let's enjoy that milk box or turkey sandwich people. At least its free.
(note: when I did a google image search for "cafeteria" to look for a good picture to put alongside this post, everything on the page turned to Spanish, confusing the English "Cafeteria" with the Spanish "Cafeteria". An understandable mistake by the good people at Google.)
Monday, January 14, 2008
-The NBA is chided for many things, no team ball, all isolation plays, the disappearance of the mid-range jumper in favor of the 3 or dunk, elevating the star above the team, etc... However one of the most blatant ways in which it distorts the game is the allowance by officials to let players take an extra step or two in order to make a spectacular move to the basket. Usually all-star level players are given the benefit of the doubt (ewing, lebron, wade, iverson, etc...) when they are doing their thing. But Dan Marjele at the top of the arc? come on.
-The Giants won their second straight playoff game yesterday. I watched the game at a local bar along with about 40 other ravenous Big Blue faithful. I'd say that there is nothing better in sports when your team advances in the playoffs/ tournament and you can start thinking about how just maybe they DO have enough to make it all the way. Winning a game as an underdog (which the Giants were yesterday) just makes it that much better. Being one of the final 3 teams remaining without an asterisk is a great feeling.
-I should have been surprised or shocked yesterday in the bar when chants were starting up in the second half of "TONY - (rhymes with Romo...)" and "Fuck you Dallas (rhymes with maggots)", but I honestly wasn't blown away that this sort of sentiment still might exist. There are obviously still people in our society who feel justified in using slurs referring to sexual orientation as insults towards opposing sports teams. As politically incorrect or shameful as this is in our society, in this type of sheltered setting among sports fans it was deemed acceptable. Even with the excitement of a great win against an arch-rival and a few rounds of beer under their belts, this type of ignorant behavior should not be tolerated or encouraged. The whole scene, along with the beer being sprayed all over the bar after the final horn sounded, was a surreal experience. Does the world of sports foster this resentment/ anger towards people of differing sexual orientations? Or is it just some close-minded, loud-mouthed individuals giving the rest of us sports fans a bad name?
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
So this past weekend I was up in New Hampshire volunteering for the Obama campaign before the Dem. primary on January 8, in which he ultimately ended up finishing in a close second. Jer and I went up because our friends Noland and Will were working for OFA in Manchester and Derry, respectively. Having never really done anything political, I didn't really know what to expect going in. It was a great experience, I got to see first hand how a campaign's 'ground team' works, dispatching volunteers door-to-door to canvas for Obama, putting up tons of signs along streets to increase visibility and calling every household in the greater area trying to raise support.
Anyways, after knocking on approximately 300 doors over the course of three days to see if people were interested in having a little Barack in their lives, I started thinking of the practice of going door-to-door. Specifically, I've been wondering how the Jehovah's Witnesses do it. Do they actually convince people to join them by doing this? How could they possibly be persuasive enough to get people to think "yeah...this all makes sense! I want to make this my life and start knocking on every door I see."
My limited experience in the door-to-door business didn't really inspire confidence in this method of spreading the word, whatever that word may be. One reason why it might work is because having someone willing to take their time to walk through the elements to your door to deliver some message is a fairly powerful indicator that this person believes strongly in what they are representing. Phone calls are a dime a dozen, emails are a nickel a dozen, but having another person who is willing to traverse entire neighborhoods signals that he/she really care about what they are trying to accomplish.
However, a big problem is that very few people want strangers approaching their doorstep and telling them how to think or behave. Of all the doors I knocked, about 50% were not home, 40% did not want to hear what I had to say, and the final 10% were actually willing to hold the door open and listen to my pitch for Obama and discuss the upcoming primary with me. New Hampshirites are bombarded with 'political stimulus' and have heard it all before. As you can imagine, having people knocking on your door, calling your house and filling your mailbox for weeks and months prior to an election/primary can get tired real fast. ( I also feel there it is a somewhat insulting notion that people need to be prodded in this way in order for them to vote. There is the assumption that individual citizens won't educate themselves about the candidates and the issues and won't necessarily go out to vote unless constantly reminded to.)
Overall, I felt like it was a worthwhile experience if just for that 10% of people I spoke with about the candidates, issues, and our underachieving government. It is obvious that people are tired of many aspects of our current system and want to see changes. The biggest part of any campaign is getting as many people out to the polls as possible, and it still seems the best way to do that is by meeting people face to face and impress upon them how important it is that they go out and vote.