I love things that make you think twice,Independent Coffee Shops, and being a piece of the global community. I have a strange affinity for Latin American culture, Nicaragua in particular. My day feels oddly unbalanced if it does not start with a downward facing dog. I have developed a newly found appreciation for punk shows and deeply enjoy the hidden sense of community among what I have experienced to be an amazing group of down-to-earth individuals. I enjoy the stride and sound of an authoritative click originating from 3+ inch heels. I think insight can be gained by thinking about any discipline philosophically. I am overwhelmed by the vast array of knowledge and wisdom I am engulfed in and disappointed I humanly cannot obtain it all. Though I remain enlightened and empowered by the realization of my own personal limitations. At any point I am up for a conversation entering the wee hours of the morning talking about the trials and tribulations of the globe or anything else under the sun. I tell people how it is because the world is already full of illusions. I still however remain baffled at my inability to remember the longitude and latitude of my keys, phone, or wallet at any point in time. Graciously open to new instruments including the most sacred sounds echoing from the human body, to the violin, or the Djembe despite my atrocious lack of rhythm. I do a hauntingly accurate impression of my 75-year-old off the boat Italian grandmother and enjoy authentic Italian cooking to raw fish wrapped in seaweed. The list goes on as I'm sure it does for most, but lastly I truly appreciate the uniqueness of each individual while seeing no matter how seemingly different we all are, we are all connected.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wider Angle Zoom

The reality remains unchanged, the only shift is the perspective and focus but it changes the whole picture.

 When a photographer snaps a photo they are showing you the world through their eyes. They are framing a small piece of the world in order to communicate a specific message by virtue of physical limitation. In order to communicate their perspective it is necessary for the photographer to focus attention on certain things and avoid attention to others. This is done in a strategic way to disseminate the intended meaning of the photographer to the observers. What the photographer fails to do is give you the entire picture, not physically speaking. The photographer makes a statement on what the photograph is intended for only, it is up to the observer to take into consideration the world that lies outside the photo. This is also what is done through the media, the media like the photographer strategically paints a certain picture to people in order to manipulate public opinion. Though only certain messages and meanings are communicated life is drastically more complex than what is communicated through these mediums. 

Engulfed in a tremendously pervasive media culture, though seemingly enigmatic actually remains to be more overt than at first glance. Public opinion is strategically shaped to manipulate public opinion to be complacent and ignorant of the bigger picture not represented in the consolidated chromatic pixelated box. There are activists that refuse to buy into this culture literally and figuratively. We are innovators, we think outside the box, we work within our constraints but also outside them, we are passionate, innovative, stubborn, and creative, just as our counterparts. We aim to create systemic change, we want to build a new framework, one that operates in the only way we will tolerate and that is a sound framework of justice. As injustice continues to plague our nation and our globe it is creating a growing group of frustrated resistant individuals. These individuals have seen the detriment that is growing from inaction and remaining static and they are coming up with innovative ways to counter this. With lack of resources compared to our corporate counterparts, the advantages of solidarity and organization must be emphasized. The utilization of non-physical resources need to be expended into the far-reaching abyss in order to take advantage of  skills that remain under utilized.

    Activists should be persistent while simultaneously cooperative until their goals are reached and never take no for an answer. In order to achieve more and remain in high spirits it is useful to remain optimistic about the potential embodied in all social activists. Personally as opposed to being a full-fledged shameless idealist I remain to be realistically idealistic. Being overly optimistic or too idealistic can leave people disappointed and when that optimism is imposed on us by others, it can leave individuals feeling betrayed and lied too in some cases. Activists should always speak from their hearts, because it is their hearts that led them to be activists, it should be the hearts of those they are trying to reach that spark an indescribable overwhelming passion towards action and social change. 

     The American government is often associated with buzz-words such as “freedom”, “democracy”, “patriotism”, the “American Dream”. These words are idealistic illusions fed to the American public to keep them from interfering with United States interests. To create a dependence through the yearning for protectionism in order to gain compliance and complacency among the American Public.  Most activists remain less than optimistic about the good intentions of our government overall. Instead of creating innovative alternatives to create social change with little government interference,another viable option could be the manipulation of the current conventional system and efforts to reformulate it. There are vast entities interconnected into a large systemic global framework that include political, economic, and social entities, these entities form a structure that is embedded into our society. Those who wish to engage in social change need to not only work to aid those suffering from the injustice created by these entities but they also have to work to prevent the occurrence of injustice altogether.

   In order to work against these injustices the goal of all social activists alike should be to aid those suffering from injustice while simultaneously working towards dismantling those that created the injustice from the get-go. Though there are many separations of different groups working for justice, ultimately the goal is to respect inherent human and environmental rights, and to create a more equal world. In working towards distinct goals it is important to not lose sight of the larger picture and goal which is equality and respect for inherent human rights. Working solely within the framework of those creating the oppressive environment will never solve global issues. It must be an innovative and strategic plan to deconstruct oppressive systems through the use of mechanisms that these systems remain unfamiliar with. To break down the disillusionment experienced by knowing and unknowing bystanders must be paired with consciousness of each individual's place in the global world. Though it is tempting to live in a world of individualistic blissful ignorance, inequality and oppression creates an inherent frustration within a human being. Outside individualistic thinking in an attempt to disempower and undermine the power of the people to organize, it is possible to create a network of solidarity through common goals.While embracing the differences among individuals and harnessing individual talents there can also be cooperation. One can remain an individual, while still being thought of as a piece of the puzzle in a larger global community where each individual is important, and it is the connection between those individuals that will create empowerment and the dismantling of unjust entities. 

   Unless purposeful, people perceive information from their own personal standpoint. This entails things that often involve group identification whether it be race, nationality, gender,age, or sexual orientation etc. This standpoint encompassing the latter convergent concepts is a huge factor in how information is received. Without learned critical thinking and awareness of possible bias and ethnocentrism this limits the wider picture that we are all capable of seeing. To expand one's perspective to incorporate other viewpoints that lay outside our own personal standpoint we see from a “wider angle zoom”. With this wider angle zoom we can get a far more clear and diverse picture of reality and way to experience the world.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Materialistic Generosity?

Racing hurriedly out my front door to my vehicle I swing open the door and take off down the street to pick up America's substitute for sleep, coffee. Arriving at the small Drive-Thru Starbucks it comes to my realization that everyone else had the same idea. Thanksgiving Day, I sit in the long Drive-Thru line composed of stress-filled, impatient, jet-lagged individuals, I can't help but fail to realize the irony in my jittery, high-strung, stressed out demeanor in route to yoga. Life happens fast, too fast to be anywhere but in the moment. We spend most of our lives not really living, not really being present. Our minds are in 1,000 different places simultaneously, many of us are never truly immersed in our surroundings, even as you read this, Are you truly consuming each word? Are you genuinely present right now? It takes an immense amount of inner strength to be in harmony with all that lays outside ourselves. Take a minute to feel the powerful connection of words, Each word is filled with emotion, perspective, and substance. Each word is manifested from a unique individual in an attempt to share a piece of themselves with you.
    As it remains easy to fall victim to the holiday hustle and bustle it is important to remember what really matters.It is the intangible whose value remains to be the deepest; the immeasurable warmth and beauty in those we surround ourselves with. Though I am far from tempted to partake in the circus about to occur at 12AM this evening, the incalculable presence of the newly transformed population of American Barbarians is undoubtedly expected. The holidays are not about standing in line for hours outside of Best Buy to purchase a fourth flat screen plasma TV, it's about what we can all share with those around us, sharing that cannot be attained by camping outside of the mall until the wee hours of the morning. Black Friday is no joke, I stand no higher than 5-feet tall and was literally injured by an overly ambitious middle-aged man who was under the false impression that I was eying his TV. It goes without saying that was the first and last time I embraced my curiosity of the Black Friday hype. Let all of us remember today's feelings of gratitude as we engage in tomorrow's increasingly perilous Black Friday shopping spree. So today it is important to remember what we are thankful for, and keep those feelings year-round.To carry that Gratitude with us always, and be truly appreciative of the beauty that surrounds us.

"As we express gratitude, we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." 
-John F Kennedy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Retreating slowly with overwhelming feelings of defeat through the chilly crisp November air a frail and exhausted mother continues down a menacing volatile New York City block lugging her feeble son and vast array of infant paraphernalia to the abhorrent quarters of the Martinique hotel. Walking briskly by a group of homeless huddled around a trash can seeking solace from the piercing icy air, all the while being panhandled aggressively, approached by a persistent drug dealer, and given a threatening once over by an unkempt streetwalker the mother lets out a sigh of relief as she reaches the hallway of her hotel fumbling for her keys among her material and mental disarray. Keeping a watchful eye and tight grip over her belongings fearful of becoming victim to yet another routine robbery the door finally gives and she scrambles into the meagerly inadequate hotel room overcome with a stench of rodent urine permeating the miniature space. Utterly drained from a jam-packed day of being shuffled around to various offices filling out copious piles of paperwork in hopes that she could solidify a living space of livelihood and human dignity for her and her sickly newborn baby boy, she plopped down on the rigidly uncomfortable worn mattress. After barely a moment of duration the mother is perplexed by the docile quiver of her newborn son, feeling paralyzed by her sons cries she tends to his whimpers with the warmth of a mothers embrace. Though the baby's cries temporarily subdued the mother remains perturbed as her mind races in a desperate attempt to brainstorm a way to aid the pangs of hunger overtaking her son. A sentence no human being would wish upon even their worst of enemies remains routine to a mother named Holly a resident of the Martinique Hotel in New York City. A scene as demoralizing, futile, and grim as the latter should not be a banal exhibition of human suffering characteristic of the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. What does the tolerance of such reprehensible abject poverty pervading a nation of affluence convey about our society? What does our silence disclose about the shift in our nations philosophy, a nation previously created through principles of freedom and liberty? Is America's lack of compassion our dirty little secret? With a social problem evolving into such a widespread issue plaguing such a prosperous nation it leads citizens to become skeptical of a societal structure that perpetuates such a morose reality. 

This week Social Justice League's 4th Annual Tent City is ongoing at Bridgewater State University, they are accepting donations please stop by around Bridgewater's campus behind the Rondileau Campus Center to support a homelessness simulation in solidarity with the above described grave predicament. Read about the initiative with the following link!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wrong Target?

Originally uploaded by dmr620

A group of concerned citizens looking to involve Americans in the political process, get to the core of what democracy should really be about. Action and involvement that should be sparked by its citizen's not by its corporate body. The act in this video with the best intentions of exposing Target's unjust involvement in the political process, but what are the participants really asking for? If everyone stopped shopping at Target what would then materialize? What about the just products that Target sells, what would become of those vendors? What would be the implications of cutting off all shopping at Target? Is the answer to attack companies individually? Or is it to reformulate injustice at its core? Address laws that are written and conducive to an unjust political, economic, and social climate? Have citizens resorted to their only power being to feed into the consumerism and materialism that has been the environment accepted and embraced by society? Why do I have to pay for my voice to hopefully be heard? Is my inherent right of freedom of expression and speech not enough to be loud and get people to listen? Evidently it isn't. But why is this? Should we accept this and try to exercise different ways to exhibit power, or can we try harder to attack injustice at it's core? We have the information, we have the inherent right written in our laws, but will anyone listen? Can we make them?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Alienating the Inalienable.

Originally uploaded by dmr620

The jurisdiction of individual states to exercise control over their local laws is important not only because of logistics but to uphold certain aspects of culture in each state. However there are basic laws that protect the fundamental liberties and freedom of all citizens alike regardless of what state. The laws of the constitution are constructed in such a way to protect these fundamental rights. If we cannot take advantage of the very structure of our legal system in a case where there is such an obvious discriminatory violation of human rights then why are they in place? Our constitution and laws protect the right for any citizen of the United States to freely exercise their right to marry. If we allow states to be able to decide whether or not gay marriage should or should not be allowed then this not only puts at risk the rights of gay individuals but the potential for risk of future groups being discriminated against. In our laws there are certain rights that have been constructed in a way to specify inalienable rights as a citizen and the right to marry included. Regardless of what state a gay citizen of the United States lives in they should be able to exercise the right to marry, Why should their right to live equal to any other citizen in a certain state be taken away simply because of their sexual orientation? Just like every citizen has the free right of speech they also have the right to marry, this is outlined in the constitution, just like states cannot individually take away the right to speech they should not be able to take away the right to marry.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Childhood Remix

   An oversimplification of the structure of United States society, oddly enough relatively accurate in retrospect. Ideas of the American Dream are glamorized in reality TV shows like American Idol and The Apprentice to give the illusion of America's favorite tale to tell of Rags to Riches. More often than not the class someone is born into allots them a selection of opportunities limited on one end and plentiful on the other. Rain may be an accurate character to choose for the bourgeois because they do impede the Spider's development but it is by nature, the bourgeois may more often than not be rich by luxury of inheritance and generational privilege and may know no other way except to flourish with the resources inherited. If only that waterspout was a ladder...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Newly Found Wealth

It is easy to see oneself as poor within the constraints of an ethnocentric existence. Fact is the United States isn't the only country in the world and despite the relative poverty that exists the material wealth of even the poorest in this country are unfathomable to many poor who reside just outside it's borders. This is a picture of the living situation of many who share this small living space on a Starbucks Coffee Farm in Nicaragua. As one of a group of students emerging from a loud tour bus filled with Ipods, Cell phones, laptops, and cameras the glares are intense and permeate throughout the humid Nicaraguan air, we were the first outside the community to experience life on this farm. When it becomes easy to complain about daily nuisances it is important to think of oneself as one piece of the global community and that one's ranking in the world is a lot higher than is often perceived.

  A website that really puts things into perspective is http://www.globalrichlist.com/ It allows a person to go to the website put in their annual income and it literally ranks how rich they are. Thinking with an annual income wavering well below 10,000 a year I'd come no where close to the top but was surprised to find out even despite a low relative income I still placed in the top 13.96% of the richest people in the world. The website then goes to describe what people spend their money on everyday, a DVD, a television, and what that amount of money can buy in other countries, in some cases that amount of money can literally buy livelihood. It is unnerving that an HD television can buy the livelihood and education of an entire community which can then be passed on for generations.

The future; implicitly immeasurable but explicitly, and monetarily dictated.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The United States is currently deciding whether or not to sign onto the Mine Ban Treaty. The Polus Center for Social and Economic Development works with landmine victims in different countries to offer services they would otherwise not have access to. It also helps victims to reintegrate into a normal lifestyle in which they can generate an income. Deans Beans and The Polus Center decided to collaborate and come up with a comprehensive solution. They decided to start a cafe and it is currently the only fully accessible handicapped cafe in Nicaragua, called the Ben Linder Cafe. Ben Linder was an American Activist, he was killed by the Contras (CIA trained and funded) in the midst of building a hydroelectric dam which would bring water and electricity to a rural village in Nicaragua. The profits of this Cafe in Ben Linder's name go to a prosthetic limb clinic not to far away called Walking Unidos. Ben Linder was also the first cafe in Latin America to roast its own coffee, the picture on the left is a picture taken when I went to Nicragua and is roaster donated by Dean Cycon from Deans Beans. There are many problems with landmines since the US Contra war and there are still landmine victims in need of assistance. If the use of landmines was not permitted to begin with people would not still be suffering from a war that ended years ago. Landmines are expensive to find and get rid of, more often than not if a country does not have the resources or political will to do so they will not attempt to remove them. Encourage President Obama to sign onto the Mine Ban! http://actnow-phr.org/campaign/obama_landmine_action
Polus Center Website on Landmines: http://www.poluscenter.org/international.html
Article in Fresh Cup Magazine on Cafe: http://www.deansbeans.com/coffee/in_the_news/detail.html?newsid=22

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kurt's Simple Lesson to Creative Writing

A lesson so eloquently and satirically summed up by Kurt Vonnegut in a nutshell describes many plots prevalent in literature . Though most literature behaves this way life often proves to be more complicated than his simple diagrams. When reality does follow the diagrams as he points out the literature following can turn out to be some sort of masterpiece. When a person's life experiences so closely follow that which can only normally be found in literature that is some sort of wonderful. Definitely an article or lesson worth reading.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Racial Profiling

Please click on the link and take less than a minute of your time to ensure that a great injustice does not happen on our soil. Please help to fight against Arizona 1070. Racial profiling being condoned in our laws is unacceptable and unjust.