Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Call me frugal or call me unemployed (both of which are appropriate), but when I browsed your website and found that your ipod armbands cost $29 plus shipping, I decided that I could make my own. It's not that 30 dollars is such an unreasonable price--though it seems a bit high, considering it is constructed of small amounts of velcro, elastic and synthetic material--it's just that I realized that I have the appropriate tools and skills to make my own. I might add, as well, that being unemployed, I try to keep unnecessary spending rather controlled, and 30 dollars is 30 dollars. Besides, I was able to personalize my case and create it from bright, dyed cloth my father purchased on a trip to Africa after graduating from college.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that you can sell your products and be a successful, growing company, even in such a dark economic climate through which we currently traipse. Granted, you can probably make these nice profit margins because most of your factories are overseas and you employ people in countries where a much lower wage is acceptable and even appreciated. Such are the ways of globalization, and the effects are both complicated and daunting. Luckily for our consumer society, however, we can buy such products--electronics, toys, kitchenware--for a very affordable price, speaking, of course, in strictly economic terms. How could we ever afford to buy all the products we own, if they were manufactured in our own country, with our own minimum wage requirements, age restrictions and a safety regulations? Quite simply, would have to pay a higher price. Or you would have a smaller profit margin. Maybe even both.
Although, perhaps a few more of the approximately 10% of our country's unemployed would have jobs--consequently causing an increase in the unemployment of those in other countries, of course, where the current factories exist, where small farmers in Cambodia have sold their farms, moved to the city and work in your factories, trying to earn enough to feed their growing children and pay for school books, nevermind ipods. As I've mentioned, complicated and daunting, and I digress.
I simply wanted to express that, though you have not--on this occasion--managed to sell me your product, I'm sure your business will continue to thrive due to your resourcefulness and the nearly worldwide demand for your products.
full-time job seeker and domestic artist extraordinaire
p.s. Should your company find itself lacking in the Promotional Department, please don't hesitate to call, I am confident that I fully meet all qualifications and feel very strongly about customer satisfaction of consumer shit.
p.p.s. I must here recognize my own hypocritical tendencies as I go out on a jog sporting my ipod nano (though with home-made armband...), adidas running shoes and Northface polar fleece. There is something to be said for quality products and I am as guilty as the next person as a consumer whore. Do you think I should go live in a hut in the mountains eating only berries and fish so that I can live guilt-free of passively affecting my brothers and sisters across the globe, not to mention negatively impacting the environment with nearly every step I take? It could be argued that though I would not be doing much external harm, I would also not be doing much good, and as an anti-societal extremist wrote on his death bed alone in the Alaskan wilderness, "Happiness only real when shared."
O tempora o mores
Monday, November 29, 2010
Me: uncle!! happy cumpleaños! and that you complete many más! jaja en serio, I hope it was/is a great day. un beso enorme! y llama si haces algún viaje por los Estados Pega'os ... ;)
Jose: Joder aunt, I never pensé que alguien de los Estaos Pegaos pudiera entregar el trabajo del kk-master in September!!! Eres la cane tía!!!!
Bueno y gracias, cada año younger, hahaha! Tengo que ir a Hawaii en 2011 pero no sé si debo parar en NM por el cultural shock, jajaja! Bueno save a frisbie para mí just in caso. Besos!!! Graná te miss you!
oh, and I le miss Graná, tb. *sigh*
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Here I am, sitting in my adolescent bedroom, on my dead grandmother’s bed and staring at my Granada poster on the opposite wall. “lo que tú quieras” it brags of Granada, “whatever you want.” And it’s true, I think. Unless you want a huge capital city with big streets and high rise buildings, in which case, like my poor Eurasian friend who just can’t get enough noise and light and bustle, you’ll be disappointed from time to time. But other than that, you can have it all, just about. Mountains and beach nearby, sunshine, fruit, natural and architectural beauty that overwhelms you so completely sometimes that you have to purposefully step in some dog shit on the street just to remind yourself you’re actually living in a real place, not a seducing, mystical tale of Shahrazhad told on a cool dusk somewhere in a forsaken desert, incense burning and glinting, piercing stars above.
It’s got tiny, cobbled streets, strung with brightly-dyed scarves, or stinky leather purses, gypsy pants, flowing skirts, postcards, curly-tipped elf shoes or shiny, decorated tin earrings, big enough to turn even the palest of girls into a gypsy for a day, clinking her way down the stones and into a tea shop. Teas from more places than you could visit in a lifetime, flavoured cachimba, hookah, and flaky, honeyed, almond sweets from Turkey or Morocco or maybe both.
It’s got discotecas and tapas bars that can’t possibly make enough profit to buy that second house in the country because they give you, with each drink you order, a little side, for free, which is how the thousands of Erasmus students survive their crazy study-abroad year in the city, since none of them know how to cook—or care—it’s their rumspringa, time away from home and responsibilities to explore the world and do it all. It’s got tiny, cramped, bare, smoky, cement-walled dungeons and brightly-lit, glamorous, theater-turned-clubs; it’s all what you’re looking for, and what you want to pay for.
It’s got music, everything from B.B. King to K-os to Argentinean tango to the passionate, striking and somewhat intimidating flamenco, born in the caves of old Granada, to the gypsies before they started wearing knock-off Chuck Taylor’s and blue jeans.
But I digress. I left behind those things, the picturesque city with white-washed houses and tiled roofs. Left behind the mighty Arab fortress, the Christian Cathedral, the cobblestones and my terrace view of the Sierra Nevadas, covered in snow so completely for most of the year that it looks as if you should be in the Arctic circle, until you look over the rail and see the lemons and decorative oranges hardening on the upper branches of the trees.
Left behind my sarcastic German friends; my handsome, pot-smoking Spanish friends; my adorable, wanna-be bohemian artist flatmate; my climbing crew; my slightly posh, philosophical, equestrian-loving Georgian friend; my Greek, Romanian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Brazilian, US American friends—all united by our utter shock and disgust in the lack of organization of our master’s program; my Slovak, Argentinean, Gringo, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, British, Irish, Slovenian Frisbee friends and tournaments on the Canarian beaches and green Dutch fields.
I also left behind the worst hairstyles that Europe has seen for a long time, and the U.S. has ever seen. You thought mullets and mustaches were bad? Try combining those with dreadlocks and bleaching. On only selected parts of the head. Left behind smoke-filled rooms that turned me into an abuela—a grandmother—while I was there, not wanting to go out because I hated those suffocating rooms and not being able to sleep with myself unless I stripped on the balcony, leaving my clothes there till morning (or the later part of it) and drowsily lighting the butane water heater so that I could shower before finally collapsing into bed. As luck would have it, of course, they’re making a no-smoking-in-public-places law effective at the New Year. Again. It didn’t work the first time, but it sounds like it just might this time. Also left behind non-existent customer service and stupid, inefficient lines and countless bureaucratic visits to the police station in an attempt to make myself legal, replace my stolen ID, renew my visa, etc.
I left all this, and I returned to a drier, emptier mountainous land with mesquite and cattle instead of olives and pigs. I returned to high plains and pine forests, with Native American designs present in every artistic endeavor instead of Arabic. Returned to turquoise and silver, and the bluest, cleanest sky since Pangaea.
I returned, because it was time. Because my visa expired 3 days later and I had finished my studies and couldn’t renew my measly, stipend “job” at the high school more than once. Because I wanted to stop seeing my niece and nephew grow only in photos, talk to my parents on skype, and communicate with my siblings via Facebook. I needed to get a “real” job and start earning enough to at least pay my student loans, starting a while ago, ending in a decade. It was time for the prodigal daughter to end her wanderings and come home. But home is really only where I sleep, or everywhere all at once: every place I’ve ever loved. There is a song about a girl who keeps tattoos for all the places she had lived. I’ve designed every one of them, but never painted them on my skin; they already exist underneath.
So here I am, sitting on my T-shirt quilt, a memory-box in itself of a whole other life, looking at my Granada poster and coming to terms with my next phase of life. Let me not prevaricate: I miss all of those things, and try not to look at too many pictures in a row because I always start to cry. I skype, gchat and Facebook stalk my friends from across the ocean. I’m envious and bitter and occasionally entertain thoughts of returning on a one-way ticket only to realize that I don’t want to teach English all my life and that if I can fall so desperately in love with a place and the people I met in two years, it can happen again here. I’ll meet crazy, beautiful, intelligent people in my new city. I’ll adventure to the mountains, find a good Thai restaurant, and eat prickly-pear jelly on my toast. And in a couple hundred-mile drive I can visit my sister. Or my brother. Or my parents. I can get loaded up with green chili and garden tomatoes every time I come home, learn how to can fruit, make a cajón, fix cars. I can read naked on the roof and no one could ever see or care. I will fall in love again. I’ll design some more tattoos. Because in the desert, just like in Granada, lo que tú quieras.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
How to enjoy a hot meal* when you're on the road:
*Requires that you make yourself a green-chili quesadilla and wrap it in tin-foil before actually heading out...
So you're on the road...maybe gettin' a little hungry.
Step 1: find a nice place to pull over, preferably one with a nice view.
Step 2: Pop that hood (or bonnet, if you're British) and put your tin-foil wrapped quesadilla on the hot engine!
Step 3: When it's all nice and warm, preferably with the cheese re-melted, you can take it off, and collect the rest of your healthy, balanced lunch. (It should be noted that monster cookies are definitely healthly and balanced: oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate...) I chose the disc-plate, a popular one amongst young, ultimate-playing travelers:
Step 4: enjoy your delicious lunch!
Side (end?) note: that is the VLA in the background. Pretty cool, if you ask me, even if the name is incredibly un-creative.