Sunday, December 19, 2010


Goodbye Blogger, Hello Tumblr.

It's been real.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No, you are not being green by purchasing that bag. You are being an idiot.

This is going to come off as one of those times where I sound arrogant, egotistical, and self righteous. Usually I try to restrict these traits, but this is too important to be humble over. Best case scenario - I make a lot of people mad, and they start to think about what I'm talking about. Worst case scenario - Apathy.

I had my last biology lab today, and our topic was on ecosystems, human impact on climate systems, the environment, and every other topic that you would expect to be coupled in there. Let me get this strait - there is a hell of a lot that I still want to learn. I'm a sophomore political science student who has only a basic knowledge of the science behind all of that, but I'd think that I'm at least well educated enough to differentiate between making a difference and making myself feel like I'm making a difference. In class we had a discussion about the most important issues regarding climate change, and how we can help to fix this issues. Alright, good start. Going around the room, we had people shout out things like "global warming", "climate change", and "desertification". All valid points. What I lament, however, is that no one seemed to buy into the theory that I proposed - that the basis of ALL of these problems is rampant population growth and overpopulation. This was met with little response, and we continued on our way. Fine by me, it's just a class. But then things started to concern me. We started talking about the ways that we can help the environment and pitch in to do "our part", and I finally all but lost it. Why? The responses that came from people were beyond concerning. Buy organic. Go green. Ride a bike. Buy a hybrid car. Use reusable grocery bags. We're dooming ourselves by keeping this attitude.

Wait, what?

At my last college I wrote a thesis about the dangers of greenwashing. Wikipedia (yes I'm citing it, deal with it. If you want to call me out for that then you aren't getting the bigger picture) defines this as "The deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company's policies of products (such as goods and services) are environmentally friendly." To learn more about it, check out this article In order to better understand the issue I'm going to expand my interpretation of Greenwashing to include the marketing of products that actually do benefit the environment as well, because both practices lead to the same effect. You are being lied to. The new global craze of "green" may be the nail in the coffin if we don't stop it. Why? Think about it for a second. Everyone wants to help - I believe that at heart, people are generally good willed and want to try to help when they can. The extent to how much help we can provide, however, is debatable. We seek instant gratification for everything we do. We want to see the results of our work, because lets face it: What's the point of working for something without a definitive income?
Anyway, corporations latched onto the green fad and ran with it. Boy was that a smart decision. Believe me - the bottom goal of these companies is to make profit. Anyway who believes otherwise is wrong. This is because the goal of any firm is profit maximization. In fact, a corporation is legally obligated to maximize profits wherever possible; to do otherwise would essentially short change investors and shareholders of profits, which would in turn cause the corporation to lose support possible fail. But first, before I continue -

To every person that has every said "down with corporations!" - do you know what a corporation is? Here's a cheat sheet to basic business that I learned while in micro economics.

Firm: A business organization that employs resources to produce goods or services for profit. A firm normally owns and operates at least one “plant” or facility in order to produce.

Proprietorship: A business owned by one individual who makes the business decisions, receives all the profits, and is legally responsible for the debts of the firm.

Partnership: A business owned by tow or more joint owners, or partners, who share the responsibilities and the profits of the firm and are individually liable for tall the debts of the partnership.

Corporation:A legal entity that may conduct business in its own name just as an individual does; the owners of a corporation, called shareholders, own shares of the firm's profits and enjoy the protection of limited liability.

Corporations themselves are not some evil, corrupt entity. The people that run them might be, but the very structure of a corporation is not at fault. Simply put, the corporation exists be maximize profit, and this is what it is required to do. All of the talk you hear about corporate corruption is a result of owners trying to maximize profit and cut costs by immoral and illegal means. That's another part of economics that people forget. When we say maximize profit, we mean so in the legal sense. In this day in age it may be more profitable for companies to cut back on these back alley shortcuts, but that's a different story.


As I was saying, businesses were smart enough to pick up on the green fad, and I commend them for this. Any of us would have done that in their position - so says rational man theory. It's a smart move to, because it's obviously working for them. Sadly. it's not working for the environment. Consumers leave these stores with their green products thinking that they've made a difference. This, held relative to NOTHING ELSE, is good. But nothing is relative. In a larger context this becomes a problem because that gratification that people crave is fulfilled. People leave with the feeling that they've done their part for the earth, and that is exactly what businesses want them to feel. This is a huge problem because a lot of the concern for the earth stops there. We've somehow fallen under the false belief that if "we all do a few small things" then we will be able to make a difference. Those who believe this tend to underestimate how drastically fucked the entire planet is. As of now at least. Behold - graphs!

Tip of the iceberg.

These are things that nobody wants to hear. Going green, even as an entire country, will certainly lesson our impact, but our impact will still be massive beyond all comprehension. It just would happen to be slightly less massive. My point here is that society has the wrong idea about how to change things. Making a change here or there won't stop this. We should still do these things because they are right, and because we care for posterity (oh how I miss my Environmental Ethics class right now). Ultimately though, society itself needs to change.

What sort of change is needed is well beyond me. Seriously, how the hell would I know? Luckily, that's beyond my point. To assert a "solution" so all of this would be arrogant and egotistical, even more me. There is something, however, that I do know very well: Every revolution, whether political, cultural, social, or religious, started off with the spread of information. Our most difficult adversary is fear of information and the everyday ignorance that we currently face. There's no point in trying to find the solutions when a majority of the world's population doesn't understand the problems. I know in my heart that we have within us the capacity to combat misinformation. Perhaps I should retract my previous statement saying that it's useless for everyone to do their part. Perhaps everyone needs to do their part, but their part is to make every possible effort to educate themselves about what is happening. Before action can be taken we should work to come to a specific understanding. Go out and find this information: It's out there, waiting. Books. Documentaries. Observation. Discussion. The earth is begging for us to break out of our stupor. The phrase goes "ignorance is bliss", but it is at last time to find a different kind of bliss. Don't take anything told to you for granted. Fight Ignorance. Question Authority. Embrace Equality. To do your part is to question everything you've ever known, and to learn about these problems individually and independently. Where we go from there is uncertain, but perhaps the information we will soon learn will show us the way.

Summery: Don't be an idiot, go read books on climate change/population growth and educate yourself.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What the BCS game means to me.

I've seen an awful lot of insult and generally rude comments flying since Uconn clinched the Big East and the BCS bid with the victory over USF Saturday night. First of all, I would tell those people to read this article (not that anyone reads this blog anyway, nevermind people who are jumping at the chance to talk trash about my university),0,1224266.column?page=1&track=rss.
I think the last few sentences sum up what all of us here at Uconn have been thinking.

If UConn goes to the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma as originally thought, that will bring the no-humidity mocking. There will be so much dry humor at the Huskies' expense. So have it, North and South, East and West. But hear this much: These Huskies and a state that has come to believe in them know the real story."

I understand that we have an 8-4 record. I understand that we aren't BCS ranked. Yeah, we had a few embarrassing losses in the beginning of the year, the loss of a starting string quarterback, and numerous other set backs. Apparently, that's all that matters for most people out there. Nobody seems mention how we fought our way through a one game season, winning five strait games that included some incredible victories against Pitt and West Virginia. Nobody seems to mention the unfathomable amount of work that Edsall and the players put into this season. It might not matter to other people, but it matters to everyone here at Uconn, and everyone that has ever supported the team.

Look at me. Two years ago I completely hated sports. Until I joined marching band I had no clue how football actually worked. Now I'm practically addicted. I'm sure a huge part of that comes from being in UCMB (yet another reason to join marching band!), but regardless - I now know what it's like to be emotionally invested in a game. All I've been reading is talk of how we are going to get utterly destroyed, and I'm almost laughing. We've played pretty damn well as underdogs before. No one can really how this game will turn out. All I now is that when it comes down to determination and drive, Uconn can't be beat.

On another note - reason #32 why you should join UCMB: Paid vacation (er.. I mean bowl trip) to Arizona for five days. Five star hotel with suites. Getting to attend the most significant Uconn football game in history, all without paying a cent. I couldn't be more excited. I won't have a voice for a week after I return, but it'll be worth it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An incomplete checklist (A

Upcoming plans/things I want to accomplish

- Train harder then I've ever trained in my entire life. Tough Mudder is on May 8th. The team has already been created, so there's no going back now.
- Finish Infinite Jest. This will be the 5th time I've started it, since I usually get derailed around page 300 or so.
- Gain some momentum on the music projects I've been working on. I've got lots of raw material/rough recordings, but that doesn't really get me anywhere.
- Backpack. A lot
- Try and finish out a few of the short stories that I've made progress on this semester.
- Keep living life as it's been so far. This last semester has been the best four months of my life, and things are only going to get better.

Probably going to come out with a long winded entry later on, about end of the semester/general thoughts/WE ARE GOING TO A BCS BOWL type things. Yup. That is all.

(Edit.) I've been listening to The Forecast a lot lately.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snowboarding Season

Mt. Snow is open. Snowboarding season has begun.
I've been waiting for this. Anyone that knows me knows how much I love snowboarding season. In the eight years I've been riding I've never found anything as exhilarating and liberating as snowboarding. For those of you that don't ski or ride - you really should pick it up. For those that do - you know exactly what I'm talking about. Hitting that first run right off the lift after waiting three months is unlike anything else. Over the past year I've gotten to experience seeing Dave Matthews Band live, watch everyone rush the field after we beat West Virginia, and play in front of 109,000 people at the University of Michigan. Those were all awesome experiences, but nothing compares to being able to carve your own way down the mountain. When you're boarding you are completely free from everything. Free from worry, free from judgment, free from all concern. It's important to be aware of the world and it's happenings, but sometimes it's critical to let go of everything. Consider it "self work" if you must. Call it anything, but to me, it's something that keeps me grounded. When I ride I find my own way down the mountain. My line is unique, my turns our mine, and I'm free to move however I want. No one can hear me yelling to myself; my voice quickly dissipates in the winds that singe my face. No one can judge me; I ride faster than anyone who would waste their breath with unconstructive insults. The world is within my grasp. From the top I see more life than most people experience in a month, and that moment is indisputably mine. I love everything about life, and it's moments like those that give me reason to continue living optimistically. Moments where we feel as alive as we'll ever be. Moments where nothing can stop us. This is why I snowboard. It's an artform, an expression of life; my own personal zen. It's been too long, and I can't wait to get back.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Late Night Conversations

Track Listing
  1. "Seating Subject to Availability" - 3:54
  2. "These Lights" - 2:49
  3. "Helping Hands" - 2:34
  4. "Fade In, Fade Out" - 2:29
  5. "Whiskey's Dead You're Next" - 3:50
  6. "Late Night Conversations" - 4:09
  7. "APR" - 3:32
  8. "Exorcise Demons" - 6:20
  9. "Sleep Tight Tonight" - 6:03
  10. "Losing Signal" - 2:3
I found this band+album while I was randomly browsing through the untouched albums that are sitting on my hard drive, waiting to be listened to. The Forecast consists of Shannon Burns on Bass/Vocals, Dustin Addis on Guitar/Vocals, Tony Peck on Drums, and Matt Webb on Guitar Vocals. You know what that means: Three Part Harmonies! The Forecast has pretty much everything you'd want out of a talented but common emo indie-rock group - catchy lyrics, a strong female singer, two and three part harmonies, and a lot of vocal emotion. You can sort of already get a vibe as to what they are about from just hearing how they sound, but the lyrics really spell things out.

I got this feeling I can't shake
So I'll call you, for the hundredth time
Just asking for a reply.

We'll fight the good fight, the good fight.
Waiting up
For the phone to ring off the hook.
I've waited so long to hear
Goodnight until sunrise.

I know - not exactly the most eloquent writing, but I didn't get into this band for their lyrics. It's simple, but it's real. This band now is what Dashboard Confessional was to me for my junior year of high school - that guilty pleasure band you listen to over and over again while hoping for a return text at 12:30 in the morning. "Seating Subject to Availability" and "APR" are two other standout songs that sold me on this album, but what it really comes down to is the entire feel that the album gives off. It's something to listen to when you want to "feel" rather the "appreciate" what you are listen to, if that make any sense. Trust me - listen to the track "Late Night Conversations" and it'll make perfect sense.

Oh, and I made travel pep band at Uconn. Baller. Now I need to figure out some new goals to set for myself. Life is good.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Phase I complete

It's not quite the end of the first semester, but for all terms and purposes it might as well be, academics aside.

In short, I've accomplished just about everything I wanted to do. This semester was all about a second start, a chance to redirect where my college career is going and to get myself integrated into a new school. After spending the entirety of last year learning about what type of person I am, I spent this semester learning about what kind of person I am at Uconn. Things, as they say, are good. Eight months ago I made a list of all the clubs, activities, etc that I wanted to at uconn and it essentially consisted of UCMB, Pep band, SSDP, UCOC, Honors Program, and Uconn short films club. With the exception of Pep Band (find out about audition results next week), I'm pretty will involved with all of these, which is exactly where I wanted to be.

So where to from here? Next semester is all about moving outward. I'm still working out, still working to make new friends and make a name for myself here, but my "efforts" are going to start heading in a more outward direction. I want to spend more time working with community service organizations, more time developing leadership skills, pretty much just spending more time helping people in general. I'm incredibly fortunate for getting to have a second chance at uconn, and I can barely begin to express how happy I am here. It's time to start paying it forward - not to anyone or any group in particular, but to my community in general. One phase of college has ended (the start, you might say), and another beginning. Above all else I've learned that you should take every opportunity, make every connection, and always find a reason to try something new. Never make excuses to get out of something that you might enjoy, just because you are afraid that it might be different or that it's new. You never known how things will end up.

Heading home for the first time since August 15th - will be sure to write again. But for now, it's time for some Uconn basketball.