on #occupywallstreet

Nothing about New Zealand today. Just some feelings I have about current events.

This was originally a comment I posted on my friend’s post regarding the Occupy Wall Street protests, so, no caps. Haha.

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i have mixed feelings about the wall street protest. i can definitely get behind the motive but any good protest has a specific demand in mind.

what’s this one’s demand? “quit being douches?” fuck, even if i were the likely nonexistent wall street exec who was moved by what was going on outside, i’d be like, “they are so right. i’ve been unethical about my decisions.” and then do what, precisely? make whatever changes are in my power that my demonstrably fucked-up moral compass decides are better for the firm? resign, leaving such matters in the hands of others who may or may not be similarly sympathetic?

i’m not saying that people shouldn’t try to make a change simply because there’s a low chance of it succeeding. i’m just saying, those who feel strongly about this should get their act together and do something more practical–educating the voting public not involved in this movement, recommending actual legislation, or hell, even having a unified and specific demand from their targets on wall street (maybe even having a more specific target than “wall street…” at least then, one firm would lose some face and perhaps a few shareholders would feel like dumping their shares)–and less emotional than this vent-fest.

don’t get me wrong, i highly respect the people doing this. they’re doing something, and they’re doing something big, and actually quite well-organized, and it’s getting a fuckton of attention, which is actually great. BUT it is a damn shame that an alliance of people this huge and well-organized and (particularly at the organizational level) well-educated can’t come up with something better than to vent on location about something as abstract as “corporate greed.”

***

As this guy (CNN) points out in an article sympathetic with the protests, “…the product of the decentralized networked-era culture, it is less about victory than sustainability. It is not about one-pointedness, but inclusion and groping toward consensus.”

What part of that doesn’t sound like a huge waste of time?

What use is a consensus on an abstract grievance? It’s more or less a consensus among Americans that homicide is “bad.” This, of course, includes people on both sides of the abortion debate. But pro-lifers believe abortion is homicide. Pro-choicers don’t. Similarly, just about everybody can agree that Wall Street execs fucked shit up for the economy. But that means different things to the person who took out a loan the bank knew he could never pay back, vs. the wealthy trader who found herself out of a job because her financial institution collapsed under the weight of its scandals, vs. the guy who has to pay a bit more for milk than he did five years ago, vs. the family who just plain can’t afford anything anymore. You expect these people to come to a consensus less obvious and more helpful than “The sub-prime lending crisis made things shitty for us?” At least that’s common ground. But that’s all you have when you make consensus such a priority. Common ground, and nothing to use it for.

It’s less about victory than sustainability? Then what precisely are the protesters trying to accomplish here?

We have to ask ourselves, in an ideal world, what would happen as a result of our efforts? Then, how distant is that ideal from reality? Then, how do we close that gap?

There are two approaches to that last question:

1. Step up our game. Obvious.
2. Take the “ideal world” itself and move it closer to concrete reality.

And how do we do #2? Set concrete goals for our efforts. We should be able to paint a logical, direct line from what we’re doing and what we want it to accomplish–not just aim our efforts in the general direction of what we want.

“Make the world a better place” is a lofty, abstract goal, and won’t alone lead you to actually getting shit done.

“End world hunger” is a bit better. But not much. What will you get done in pursuit of this?

“Increase the quality of nutrition in the school-provided lunches in Chicago area public schools.” Now we’re getting somewhere. Now we can talk about, “How?”

This is true in everything we try to do. The more specific our goal, the better our chances of accomplishing it.

If you make a workout/diet plan for a month with the goal of “getting fit,” you may or may not get there. You’ll go to the gym, doing all sorts of exercises that are all probably good for you, but some of which may have more or less of an impact on “getting fit” in different ways than others. You’ll eat “healthy,” but you should be doing that anyway.

But if you do this with the goal of “decreasing my resting heart rate by 10bpm,” you will prioritize gym exercises that will increase your cardiovascular health, as opposed to, say, muscle gain. You will eat healthy as you always should, but perhaps focus on foods that prioritize your heart health over others (“My eyes are fine; I can buy fewer carrots, but I’ll buy more bananas”). In short, you’ll get that shit done.

Occupy Wall Street needs this kind of specific goal. A specific demand for a specific Wall Street target to do a specific something. OCW has in fact accomplished great feats in attracting attention. Now, imagine if this powerful movement set specific goals for its impassioned members, focusing its efforts on one specific grievance after another, knocking them out until all of the sudden, their abstract ideal of the destruction of corporate greed is that much closer to reality. That’d be powerful shit, man.

Peace,
Nic

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the natural confectionery

Sweet Jesus.

To what unearthly power did the owners of The Natural Confectionery pray to make such delicious gummy treats?

I'll gladly pay tribute to the same for an unlimited supply.

In other news, my friends and I took a little trip to the beach over the past weekend. (No photos; I left my camera at my flat.) It was a pleasant time, despite the rapidly advancing tide. One of my friends, Logan, and I wrestled on the beach. He beat me by submission, but it was a close one. Being that he played football in high school and has a good 40 or so pounds on me, I didn’t feel too bad about it. Apparently I bruised his hip, so there’s that.

Logan and I had previously worked on this li’l film together. We submitted it for the Victoria University of Wellington One Minute Movie Massive, where we were finalists.

My friends and I will be embarking on another trip soon. I’m not entirely clear on what we’re doing/where we’re going, but it’s New Zealand. It’ll be foreign enough to hold my attention.

Peace,
Nic

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hot damn

It’s been a while.

And it’ll be a bit longer, before I’ve finished compiling all the shit for an entry on my spring break. Which was awesome.

This blog, young as it is, has already been valuable in helping me remember a lot of things…

I don’t want to forget what I’ve done here, and there are more memories than those I’ve uploaded onto Facebook photo albums. I want to remember it all.

So you’ll be hearing from me more frequently soon.

Peace,
Nic

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powers

Been a while since I updated. Been too busy New Zealanding it up.

So what do I do for my first blog post in almost a month? Talk about my experiences in this exciting and beautiful foreign land? Describe the landscape, the people, the smells?

Fuck no, I muse about a conversation I had with my sister five minutes ago.

(Twenty years ago this conversation across the world would have been a big deal. There’s that at least.)

It boils down to this: certain super powers, if I had them, would lead me to be a hero. Flight is one. Super strength. The ability to heal others.

But there are just as many (if not more) powers that I know for a fact would accomplish nothing less than making me the biggest asshole on the face of the planet.

Foremost among these would be teleportation. Oh man. The douchery that would ensue.

I would steal shit, impress girls, maybe even banish a guy or two to the Sahara for looking at me funny. Generally be an extremely unsavory but highly enviable young man.

The universe was wise not to grant me the gift of teleportation.

I find it kind of odd that teleporters in comics and movies and such tend to be heroes and not villains (presuming teleportation is their primary power). I think that’s part of the reason why I liked X-Men: First Class so much. It featured a villainous teleporter who knew full well what a real mofo with that kind of ability is capable of.

He just looks like he'd teleport you into the air to drop you to your death. spoiler alert btw

The caveat to this is that if you could teleport everywhere, you would get FAT.

Weigh your options. Walk to the third floor, or teleport? You think you’d have willpower. But you’re wrong.

too sexy to be a real teleporter

I guess this does mean you could teleport to the gym, though. One of my more common excuses for not going to the gym on a given day is that it’s too damn cold out. That wouldn’t be an excuse for long with teleportation.

Alternatively, we could assume that teleporting burns calories. I mean, that makes at least as much sense as teleporting in the first place. So why the fuck not.

As for why I wouldn’t be as much of a dick if I had, say, super strength, it’s simply because I think it’d be a lot more likely for a douchebag with super strength to get shot at an early age. I don’t want to get shot.

There’s that.

If you reeeaally want a New Zealand photo, here it is.

Friend named Ben walking up Mount Victoria

Fuck it, here’s another.

Chimpanzees at the Wellington Zoo

Peace,
Nic

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hella lost

I got lost a shit ton today, but some good things happened as a result…

Got lost on the way to meet my friends for a little hike. Found a nice cup of coffee as a result.

Arrived at the meeting place too late; my friends thought I wasn’t coming and had already left. But the meeting place was Te Papa, a free national museum that is amazing. Spent a while there meandering and realizing that New Zealand is even cooler than I thought.

also a FUCKTON weirder

Left, and started going home.

Got lost.

Found a martial arts supply store. Couldn’t shell out for something on the spot, but it’s good to know it’s there. Left.
Got lost again.

Stumbled upon a supermarket. Figured I may as well do my week’s grocery shopping. Did that. Left to go home.

This is across the street from said supermarket. It's a more interesting picture than the one I took of a supermarket.

Got lost yet again.

Asked a Korean shop owner for advice on getting back home… it took me a while to realize she thought I didn’t understand Korean. When I told her she could explain in Korean, she scolded me like an auntie for letting her struggle in English and proceeded to be absurdly helpful. She saw I was carrying several heavy bags of groceries and got me bigger bags to consolidate them in and sent me on the way. It was a pretty cool interaction.

Fortunately, with her advice I got back alright. But man, what a way to spend the first half of a day.

It was raining the whole time, but it’s still beautiful.

Peace,
Nic

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land of the something something cloud

Holy shit on a hot tin shit

I’m here in New Zealand.

Been here for the better part of a week, absorbing all of this NZ-ness into my pores and releasing it into my bloodstream for warmth in this cold-ass apartment (or “flat” as they say BUT THEY ARE WRONG), because I forgot it would be winter in the southern hemisphere when choosing places to study abroad this summer/fall.

Do I regret it?

THE FUCK NO

THE WHOLE COUNTRY LOOKS LIKE THIS EVERYWHERE

It’s a good place, this country, full of fairly polite people who are not racist. And I’ve got a washer/dryer right in my suite. So we can go ahead and call this a paradise, right?

largely unrelated to the text

The details will come later. For now I am concerned with preserving my limited internet usage and with getting a drink of that world-famous pristine New Zealand water.

fortified with glowstick juice!

Peace,
Nic

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