Thursday, July 07, 2005

ogbuefi has a new home!!!

hey!
so, the greatest apologies to anyone and everyone who actually read this thing when it was regularly updated. i have been a bad, bad blogger. :(
but, there is hope and the outlook is looking good for my new blog, which can ostensibly be found here: http://ogbuefiblog.blogspot.com/
i really do hope you go and check it out. it will be totally different, (hopefully a lot better!) and will mostly be poetry and writings of mine. no more political rantings and random ramblings (though you will have to excuse any relapses on my part. :) )
so, it's been great, but hey, it's gonna get even better!

so, for my final post, i offer you a haiku:

this blog kinda sucked
my next one will be better
and more poetic (than this)

love and peace in the middle east,
ogbuefi stephi

Friday, May 27, 2005

resurrection

ok wow, so i haven't been a very good blogger as of recently. too busy studying and listening to some darn good music to keep up with this silly thing, which i suspect no one really reads anyway. but it's so nice to put ideas out there... i just couldn't stay away. :)

anyway... so i've decided i don't really like the format as it is... and i've been thinking about revamping it. making it really focused and more professional looking. not that it matters, because no one even reads it! but for my personal satisfaction and peace of mind, the blog will be changing really soon.

i want to make it more focused... less random rambling. more philosophical musings. and POETRY!!! stuff i'm writing/thinking about. that type of thing. and cool things i'd like to share.

look for it, it's coming!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

more community discourse

so, it took me longer to get to posting this than i thought it would. but, well, better late than never.
here's the rest of the dialogue between my friend ed (who, as of 5/5/05, has definitely left school and endeavored to join a commune) and me (who opposes the idea, simply because i believe a good education is the most basic requirement and necessary foundation for an informed and active citizen). enjoy it!

~o.s.


Ed,
Your email sparked something in my subconscious about what I want out of life. Although I won't go as far as to drop out of school and join a commune (I'm sadly not that brave), I certainly share your views on society.
However, I think that if you have a problem with the way things are working, you should strive to change them, not just remove yourself from the problem. Although it would be remarkable to experience this alternative way of life that a commune would seem to provide, I think that the rewards would only be temporary. The life you would live in a commune would only be rewarding because of its contrast with the life you lived in the mainstream. Does this make sense?
I just feel that it's the prevailing idea of what life should be that needs to be changed, and that won't happen if those who possess the energy and concern abandon the majority. Change needs to happen within the system to affect the system. Imagine that society as a whole is like an obstinate child. You can threaten punishment or offer him/her rewards if s/he will do what you say. But really the only way to inspire change (not just temporary change, but lasting change) is through internalization. Intrinsic motivation, as opposed to extrinsic motivation. Change from within, not from without.
But then, perhaps my knowledge regarding communes is just not as expansive as yours. But after all, this is just my opinion.
~Stephanie Lee


stephanie- i dont consider my dropping out as giving up on social justice issues, at all. like i said, there are very strong involved activist groups within these communes which work on "outside" problems, donate to charity, go to rallies and conferences and give lectures and hold workshops educating people on alternative forms of society. and each person dropping out weakens power structures that control society...you don't support corporations that exploit you, you dont use oil that fuels wars disguised as something else, and you pay little taxes to your government who prefers to spend most of it by dropping bombs on other countries that happen to have lots of oil. and i disagree with your point that "he life you would live in a commune would only be rewarding because of its contrast with the life you lived in the mainstream". studies have shown again and again that it's our personal relationships and jobs that determine our lasting happiness. communes offer both of these, and in great quantities. a close-knit, spiritual, friendly community in which you get to try out various kinds of work over your life, which is usually not seen as a chore by those on the commune. and i dont think that joining a commune is necessarily a brave act. im fleeing from a somewhat useless degree in a shaky job market and economy, the pressure of forced, institutionalized education, from the huge debt i'd have if i stuck with college... it's much less daunting for me to leave. what is so hard in making a 3-week visit, or stopping by for a 3-hour tour? these are welcoming and understanding people.
imagine Society as a rich greedy short-sighted white man who will stop at nothing to make a profit off of whatever he can until he can't breathe the air or drink the water anymore. Or until nuclear weapons are coming towards him and he hits the button as well. I think his corruption runs too deep, and he's too stuck in his ways, to try and change him; he knows that cash money is what he wants and that's what he'll get.And imagine the commune movement as a young child who is open-minded and considerate of the world around him, and just needs some support to grow and become a great force for change....Ed


Ed,
I understand your stance, and I most definitely respect it. I did not mean to imply that opting to live in a commune was a cop-out. I mean, recognizing the need for change and then acting on it (whether through detachment or engagement) is better than blindly, complacently accepting the temporary illusions proffered to us in society. I certainly didn't mean for you to feel that I thought you were "giving up on social justice issues." Rather, I feel that you are giving up on American society. And although I agree with many parts of your last email, I still consider this abandonment of society to be quite unfortunate. As Nathaniel elucidated, "People can and do live within society and make a positive change."I see the merits of your choice, however. As Justin's comment helped me realize, even individual actions, though miniscule and seemingly insignificant in relation to the larger whole, can make a world of difference.
Thanks for the discourse! It's been fun,
Stephanie Lee


ok steph...joining a commune doesn't mean "giving up on American society" or "abandoning" society. that would be more like moving to another country. rather it is a way to reform society. i consider it as living within society too...communes buy and sell commodities with the larger society, pay taxes, vote...you are very engaged, educating people about and promoting an alternative way of living, and working on all kinds of social justice issues... "working actively for reform" to put it in Nate's terms. i think i have already stated the influences i don't like in this life path I'm on right now, and have made it clear as to how I'm "working to change and counter those influences"... by not buying all types of shit i dont need thats being shoved in my face at every turn. by living in a way that makes sense, and is sustainable. by being a little candle out in the country and i hope few people interpreted/fabricated my sentiments as being hostile, disrespectful, or derogatory towards those that do choose to follow a more traditional or common way of living. i think Western is full of incredible people that really do care about the way we live, and who really will make a difference and accomplish great things, even in the throes of traditional society. i don't think it was implicit at all in my listservs that i think "those of us who choose to stay at Western and Miami are somehow less ethical or enlightened than you". and you are not necesarily "playing into the system" or being a "tool of the system" if you don't join a commune. you are even if you are on the commune; it's just easier to resist the societal pressures and requirements to consume all kinds of stuff. I'm aware that for some people, a commune is not really an option, for whatever reason. And i feel like there were responses that went uneducated as to what the term "intentional communities" can mean. this can be anything from a two families that choose to live in the same house, or a group that you go eat dinner with after work every day, or some type of co-housing group of people living near each other, or just a co-op setup. "commune" is more reserved for places such as Twin Oaks, where you pretty much live and work there all the time. so there is a whole mix of opportunities available. there are communities in urban areas just as much as there are rural communities. and many of the"commune", rural,m Twin Oaks type of communities do accept families. and, of course, people who want to do something "productive with their lives". in fact i would consider just about all community folk as doing just that. another website for the less commune-interested but sustainability-conscious folks: http://www.simplyliving.org/


ok Ed (and others to whom this may apply)...
I'm sorry if my emails offended you. I really didn't mean to attack your ideas or goals. I really respect you for actually taking action and for striving to instigate change. I think the idea of change, regardless of form, method, motive, whatever, is more appealing than blind acceptance. Obviously, societal ideals are flawed. And although I support your method of "'working to change and counter those influences'... by not buying all types of shit i dont need thats being shoved in my face at every turn," I will venture a guess that this type of action can be taken by anyone, anywhere. So, although a commune may make it easier for you to deny your consumer urges, it might not eliminate them entirely. And those who don't subscribe to the commune lifestyle aren't necessarily going to be blind, misinformed, compulsive consumers, completely lacking in self-control. I guessI echo Alex Dodwell's sentiment when he stated that he finds communes to be "too dependant of the mechanics of the same society they're trying to change."In the end, society can't be changed because the people will always be the same. Maybe this is a little grim, but aren't humans natural consumers? There's no way to avoid our consumer urges. Even in a commune, members will be consuming *something*. (In fact, I've heard that some communes actually use Mac computers,which are harmful to the environment. Lead, mercury and the like are released from mac's when they're disposed. See: http://www.computertakeback.com/bad_apple/bad_apple_biz.cfm)
Whether art, information, etc., everything traces back to something material that we must acquire. Even those things that transcend the material are found in something material. So, battling consumption now seems like a futile effort. But a battle that may nevertheless be incredibly rewarding.
Ed (and others), please don't take offense. It's just my opinion. Anyway, I thought you might like to know, Edward, that because of your insistence in defending the commune, I will at least attempt to visit one this summer or the next. After all, perhaps it will be a splendid, magical place...
~Stephanie Lee

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

community discourse

well, my friend ed has decided to drop out of school.
now, i admit, i am often tempted to abandon this wearisome, disappointing, fast-paced life to consumption and corruption and general sell-out-ness. i often feel i am doomed to a life of work and money hungriness. i fear that my life will eventually give way to time and maturity, that i will lose sight and loyalty to the child within me, the innocence of youth and the carefree spirit and candidness of the not-caring-about-anything-but-the-present mindset that seems to become lost to the throes of consumer society.
i wish i could abandon these fruitless pursuits and become a revolutionary, spewing romantic poetry about truth and love. or a hermit and live in the woods, gazing soulfully at the stars at night and listening to birdsong in the early morning glow of the sun. or a crazy hobo on the corner of the street, draped in rags and caked in my own filth, making everyone around me uncomfortable, but content in my individual inconformity...
anything but the corporate cog i feel we are all fated to become.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

communes and displeasure with society

so my friend ed sends the following email out on one of the school's listserves today...
thought it was cool, so i thought i would share it.

Consider a community, I'm dropping out
I am going to visiting several intentional communities this summer,
expecting to become a member at one and live there for at least a few
years, if not for the rest of my life. I have been interesting in
communities since my senior year of high school, and after reading
several books and innumerous websites, I am convinced that such
communities are the solution and alternative to an environmentally and
spiritually destructive, competitive and violent society.
But every time I say I'm going to live in a commune, or intentional
community, people get all of these weird ideas in their head about what
a commune is. If you know very little about the contemporary community
movement (and it's not a coincidence they're not taught in school), I
suggest you check out a short article...
http://www.ic.org/pnp/myths.html
There are many types of communities, yet the ones I'm most considering
are progressive, rural, spiritual but with few traditional religious
followers, feminist, "ecovillages" (very environmentally conscious),
technologically modern (with computers, email and the like), income and
resource-sharing...Many communes such as Twin Oaks began around 1970,
are very stable and pragmatically designed. And if you care about more
than just improving your life, these communes have strong progressive
activist groups...this is not necessarily an escape from being involved
in issues you care about. You will likely become more involved with a
strong support group and more leisure time.
I consider such community living as one of the most
environmentally-conscious, spiritually fulfilling,
anti-capitalist/anti-consumerist, non-competitive, healthy and sane
ways
of living. My view is that, despite those with the best intentions,
life
after college will likely be competitive, stressful, alienating, and it
will be difficult to live without buying more shit than you need,
wasting more gas and natural resources, etc., basically perpetuating
an
insanely corrupt government and corporate-controlled society. No, on a
commune you are not completely exempt from playing a role in this
business, but taxes and wasteful consumption are at a minimum. The
efficiency of such widespread sharing of labor and materials is hard to
attain elsewhere. And of course, the more people in communes, the
weaker
the "system".
Communes such as Twin Oaks (www.twinoaks.org)and Acorn
(www.ic.org/acorn
...where fellow Western dropout Hannah Farrin lives), the type I'm
most interested in, usually have either a day-tour option or a
three-week visitor period, where you live on the commune. It is an
evaluation...you see if you like it, they see if they like you. Even if
you're not interested on living there or unsure, but would like to
check
it out, you can still do the three-week tour. Most communes welcome
temporary visitors who aren't planning to join. I highly suggest a
commune visit as a summer activity.
OK I'm about done rambling I expect you're interested or not, or still
uninformed, in which case you should email or talk to me or check out
the links below.
http://thefec.org/ ...The Federation of Egalitarian Communities. A good
place to start. I'm looking at Acorn, East Wind, and Twin Oaks.
http://gen.ecovillage.org/index.html The Global Ecovillage Network.
Sort of a broader scope than the FEC communities. You can search for
specific states and regions for communities, such as "USA East".
http://www.ic.org/ Intentional Communities. The largest database of
worldwide communities
I suggest looking at these (using ic.org directory): Dreamtime, Acorn,
Dancing Rabbit, Earth Haven Eco-Village, East Wind Community, Twin
Oaks.
OK here I'm just going to paste a footer from a commune email...Good
luck, feel free to ask me questions or borrow my book on Twin Oaks, "Is
it Utopia Yet?"....
The Federation of Egalitarian Communities
(community values include income-sharing, non-violence)
http://www.thefec.org
The Fellowship for Intentional Community
(a wide variety of community styles and values)
http://www.ic.org
The International Communes Desk
(kibbutzim and other forms of cooperative living)
http://www.communa.org.il
Queer in Community
(The intentional communities network for lesbians,
gays, bisexuals, transgendereds,queers, faeries,
dykes, and the people who love us)
http://www.ic.org/qic
The Feminist EcoVillage Project
(communities which value feminism and sustainability)
http://www.ic.org/eco
Vegan in Community
("vegan's eye view" of community living)
http://www.ic.org/vegan
communitymade.com
(online store which sells products made by people who
live in community)
http://www.communitymade.com
Living Routes
(a program that offers college credit to visit eco-villages)
http://www.livingroutes.org

Friday, April 01, 2005

radiohead and britney spears? in collaboration? surely you jest!

well, much to my dismay (and surprise, actually), the pairing is not so bad. it's definitely one of the stranger ones to fathom, but hey, it seems that the result is not such a terrible thing.

new single, by radiohead with a little help from one mrs. britney spears federline:
"the king with shred legs"

look for it online!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

catharsis

i really need to write right now. this seems like a good enough outlet, so here we go...
i just got in a big over-the-phone fight with my parents. it's just so frustrating. i can't talk to them right now. usually when this happens i am just so wrought with guilt afterward that i call them up to apologize (i know right. who's the bigger person now? my parents would never even think to call me back to make up. they are so stubborn some times... and they fault me for my stubbornness. at least i don't pick petty fights!)
it was one of those nights that i am just so thankful the whole thing happened over the phone instead of face to face. i hate it. usually i would be so submissive and yield to their every little request or demand. not today. not that i'm proud. i'm actually quite unhappy and displeased with myself right now. but at least i didn't back down or relent this time.
so we argued about school. quite the common topic for scream fests in my family. asian parents will do that to you. and i'd like to think that for the most part it has helped me to become a very strong-willed and motivated person. for that i am thankful. but some times it just fills me with such intense self-loathing. i always come off as such an ass when i talk about grades around my friends. they give me all this crap because i keep talking about how i need to get a's and how a b isn't good enough.
well, i took my second com midterm today. and let me tell you... i think i bombed. "com shouldn't be hard," my mom says. i feel like she's right, but the way the tests are worded... oh man. i feel like the professor hasn't quite mastered the concept of using words to express ideas. he's not an intelligent man. and i'm not even being mean or vindictive. i'm not saying this out of spite. the man seriously doesn't know how to talk or write to communicate any sort of coherent idea. it's so frustrating to me, particularly since i am considering literature and linguistics as my focus area, with projected research project focusing on the psychology of language. i view words as a distillation of thought. i believe there's a perfect word for every thought and that there are definitely more effective means of communicating certain things than others. some words carry more meaningful weight and significance. other words are empty, hollow of meaning, used as filler. unnecessary.
so i get this shmuck's exam, and all of the questions are so emptily assembled with the most meaningless, random, poorly connected phrases just linked together. a lot of the chunks i recognize from readings and lectures, but it seems that he just spliced a bunch of his notes and pasted them together. it's not that the questions didn't make sense. it's that it took like five minutes to read and analyze each and every one to determine what exactly i thought he was asking!
the problem with me is i tend to over-think. i over-analyze sentences and syntactical structures. i can't help it. it's just the way i think. it's not that i'm dumb. i'm no frickin' genius, but i like to think my language skills are more advanced than most. so when i read these poorly written exams, i just feel drained and wasted. i could do fine if i could just write a summary of every idea. that might be more expedient even. because the way this is going, i'm going to fail and then have to go in to the retard's office and argue for every single point and point out where the exam confused me. it's really not my fault. anybody could have been confused out of their mind reading that thing.
i'm gonna have to school him in simple writing. and i think i'll start with seven types of ambiguity...