Thursday, December 14, 2006

Did he just say that?

Yes, yes he did. He is 8 years old and he just asked me if I was going to Google his mother.

I work at an elementary school for kids with ADHD and related behavior and learning problems, including Autism. One of our 3rd graders has been complaining to his teacher of a stomach ache this morning. Complaints of ailments are not uncommon among our kids who often try to get out of their responsibilities by feigning illness. But, for this particular student, complaints are out of the ordinary, so we call his mother. She asks us to pull him from the classroom and call her back so that she can talk to him. We bring him into the office and he stands in front of my desk waiting as we find his mother's cell phone number. I'm opening up the contact information file on my computer and he says to me, "Are you going to Google her?"

I was in the middle of one of those moments where you become paralyzed by the "Did he just say that?" shock. I look at his teacher and he looks back at me, jaws dropped. Then I say, to the student, "That's a really good idea of how to find out about something you don't know about. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm actually just opening a file where I already have your mom's cell phone number stored from when she gave it to me in case we needed to call her for something like this."

End of Story

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thanks CNN!

For the touching story of a "simple man," I thank you, CNN. ECK!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Deporten a La Migra

Wow! I cannot believe the online response to the breaking news of the ICE multi-state raid of meat packing plants across the Mid and Southwest. I was going to wait to post until I had a more developed argument, but I have to get something about this on Technorati that is not racist and not in support of the raids (the two worst ones were these, top on the search results for "ICE" & "raid" & "meat", Act Georgia and Texas Freds). And then there's Google's (former) headline news article from the Des Moines Register. The article isn't bad, but the comments sure are.

Not having a developed argument, I decided to go with a inciting title, "Deporten a La Migra," which basically translates into "Deport ICE." I decided to Google "la migra" and was appalled by what came up as the top results, the Urban Dictionary entry and The American Resistance Foundation Store. Unbelievable! Next, I Google "deporten a la migra" and got this from Liberation Ink. Nice!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Do Comedy Central's news shows perpetuate racist stereotypes?

Last night I watched The Daily Show and The Colbert Report at their 8 and 8:30 pm re-air times. As always, I took their commentary as sarcastic, but I wondered whether the rest of their audience did so . . . The commercials that played during the shows made me think that the individuals in Comedy Central's audience probably aren't all considering such shows to be satire. Among the commercials were one of Chevy's "This is Our Country" commercials. This particular commercial was less controversial than those which used images of the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina. This commercial used a ranch fence as a timeline for American history, the camera continuously panned left to right, through chronological eras of white ranchers with their Chevy trucks. Another commercial was for Comedy Central's Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

But it wasn't the commercials alone that made me think that the spoof news shows may do more to perpetuate racist stereotypes than to undercut them. It was the way that Stewart and Colbert portrayed the stereotypes and way the audience laughed at them. The stereotypes were mainly of Middle Eastern people, Israelis, Palestinians, Iraqis, Lebanese, and 'general Arabs.' The comics seemed more to be making fun of the people than the stereotypes and the audience seemed to be going along with it, it really disturbed me. Again tonight I watched the re-runs of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. This time there were less segments which employed Arab stereotypes for laughs, the stereotypes focused on the US political system, and they were funny, I enjoyed them. Maybe I'm too sensitive, or maybe the shows are racist, what do you think?

Monday, November 27, 2006

AAA Blog Post on HASTAC

I've just made my first blog post to HASTAC:Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, a sponsored project of the University of Southern California Annenberg Center for Communication. You can view it here. It's (kinda) a review of 4 AAA panels on the intersection of ethnography, digital information technology and the digital information technology industry. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

News Coverage

The EU -Africa Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development took place last week, November 22-23. I check Google News headlines daily because, for whatever reason, I think (or rather used to think) that it was relatively un-biased and represented the "most important," "need to know" stories, but over the past week I noticed nothing on this conference, which seems like a pretty big deal. Rather, I learned of the conference by way of allAfrica, where it made the front page on November 24th, right under the stories about Rwanda's decision to cut ties with France (more recent story). I wondered, what's up with Google? Have they become just like every other cotton candy news source? So, I Googled "Google News biased" (ironic? maybe), and found this from the USC (that's the University of Southern California, not South Carolina; it has been argued that the University of South Carolina is the original USC because it was established 75 years earlier than the University of Southern California, however I argue that the University of Southern California is the real USC because it aquired the web domain before South Carolina) Annenberg Center for Communication Online Journalism Review. Turns out that Google's algorithms are causing the bias. In trying to be un-biased by using algorithms, Google News is actually perpetuating a bias in news. Hmmm... I guess I'll have to look somewhere else for my news, maybe allAfrica. But wait, what's this? allAfrica is biased? Yup, from my Google search of "Google News biased," I found this, "It's not all Africa @" Can good news be found anywhere?

Last night I happened across a television channel, LinkTV, while scanning the tube for something to dull my mind for a bit, to take a break from staring at my computer screen and writing. Scrolling through the channels, I stopped at what looked like a music video, a group of black men singing into the camera. I stopped because rather than being set in the streets of New York, LA, St. Louis, Atlanta, etc, the setting looked like a West African village. I was confused. My first thought was that this was some sort of statement being made by a US hip hop/rap group, deliberately choosing, or creating, an "African" setting, but then I realized the men were not singing in English, I couldn't even recognize the language in which they were singing. By now I had figured out that this was a music video coming out of, that is produced in, Africa, but I was still confused because I couldn't figure out what place it had on the television set in my boyfriend's apartment in Irvine (Orange County), California; he doesn't subscribe to any special networks or packages, just the basic cable that all graduate student residents get with their rent. By this point my boyfriend was also glued to the tv, we kept asking each other, "What is this?" not because we didn't know what it was, but because we didn't know what it was doing in our living room without our solicitation of it. It turned out to be a video from Senegal. We watched a few others, another from Senegal, and one (or two?) from Mali, before a bumper popped up declaring the channel we were watching as, "LinkTV: Television Without Borders." We both expected a commercial and got up to leave the room, but no commercial came, instead an announcement, next up was a program that profiled Chinese restaurants across the world, this installment would be on Turkey
(the country), we sat back down and watched the whole thing all the way through, uninterupted, it was wonderful.

The bumper popped up again, we opened our laptops and googled "LinkTV." There we found out that LinkTV is a channel available via satellite (Wikipedia claims that it reaches 1 in 4 homes in the US), never runs commercials, and is funded by individual and organizational donations. We also found and watched, MOSAIC:World news from the Middle East. The first segment was on the recent increase of violence in Iraq. The tone was similar to that of BBC or CNN, and the segments began as would any FOX or CBS local or national news program, reporting the statistics, how many dead, where, who, by whom, but the video clips were much more extended, and showed more violence, more suffering, more women and children, less men with guns, and something I have never seen on the major network or cable news shows, refugees.

Back to the EU-Africa Conference and allAfrica . . . after reading the articles listed under the Conference headline on allAfrica, the only one I found to be intriguing was this one, "Senegal: 'Mankind is Like This - One Wants to Get Ahead'", which wasn't even directly related to the conference. I liked this article because it addressed migration on a personal level, telling the story of a man trying to migrate from Senegal to the Canary Islands. The story and the man addressed migration as a cultural practice, the other articles took the same, tired stance on Africa, migration, aid and development, even the conference notes did not mention the cultural significance of migration, rather contextualizing it in terms of aid and development from Europe and the US.

Like this blog post, African migration is a process, an activity (as you can probably tell, I really like this concept of activity), that should be analyzed by standing back and looking at the whole picture, while taking the time to zoom into particular practices. This approach produces the potential to recognize grand patterns and contextualize them appropriately, and conversely to recognize specific cases and pattern and contextualize them appropriately. Until then, such conferences and programs on migration, development, aid, etc will continue to target the symptoms, and then only to eradicate or alleviate, rather than accommodate them, not the causes of such "problems."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Voyage to the Library: Day 1

Sometimes I can't think of good titles for my posts, especially when they aren't about any one thing or don't have a general theme, so I will use this 'voyage log' style in these cases.

I went to the library to pick up a book. As I walked in, I noticed a sign in the middle of the lobby which stated something like this, "Help us pick out new furniture! Please stop by the 3rd Floor, test sample furniture, and complete a survey." I'm generally pretty lazy, so I wouldn't have stopped by the 3rd floor just to test out the furniture, but it just so happened that the book I wanted was on the 3rd floor. As I stepped off the elevator (I told you I was lazy. Those of you who go or went to UC Irvine or are otherwise familiar with it's Main [Langson] Library will especially appreciate this as you know on which floor you must enter the library. Hint: It's the 2nd.), I noticed the sample furniture, one chair and one small couch. I also noticed that the survey deposit box was completely open and there was no one around who was paying any attention to the test area. So, what did I do? Well, I'm an Anthropologist, so I read the surveys. There were only about 5 and I wondered if that was all that had been completed or if the box is emptied daily. Glancing at each survey before actually reading it, I noticed that all of the respondents had left comments in the optional "Comments:" section. I again wondered how many people had completed the survey and who these people were. The surveys showed that they were all students - one was also a library staff member - but did not indicate which school or department they were affiliated with or whether they were undergraduate or graduate students. If I were conducting the survey, I would have liked to gather this information, because I think it would have demonstrated how different populations of students think differently about public, library, work, study space.

That the surveys all had optional comments left on them led me to figure that the respondents, regardless of field and level of study, were generally people like me, people who like to please, people who feel compelled to do their civic duty, people who like to vote, people who believe in democracy, people who really believe that their actions, input, and voice matter and can make a difference, or at least believe that going through the motions of such is a just cause. Even if I hadn't known that the respondents were all students, I would have figured as much by their informal, yet argumentative tone. All of the comments were arguments, not strong, well constructed arguments (one simple said, "The couch is better"), but still they were arguments not observations. Of those arguments some were in favor of the couch, some the chair, some considered their opinion alone, while others considered how others might feel about the furniture (one said, "How about some chairs for lefties?" in reference to the swivel board on the right side of chair), some relied purely on structural functional analysis (how the size, shape, materials, etc of the furniture would effect its use), while one was primarily concerned with the damaging social implications the couch would have over the chair, that respondent argued that because the couch had no table surface and was made to seat more than one person it would discourage working and studying and encourage talking and would become a "magnet for laughter" (the same respondent demanded for "more single desks with outlets!" which was not even one of the sample furniture choices).

These comments about sample furniture gave me a glimpse into how people conceptualize the library space. The respondent who seemed irritated at the idea of talking in the library was particularly interesting. The library makes it explicitly clear, through signage throughout the building and on their website, that there are designated "quiet floors" where silence must be preserved, but the other floors are fair game for reasonable discussion. I have experienced scowls, shushes, and even outright shut ups for conversing with colleagues on non quiet floors. I usually say, "I'm sorry to bother you, but quiet floors are the 4th and Basement." The silencers usually looked pissed and go back to their work, I've never had anyone engage in dialogue with me over the issue or leave for another floor. I think I'm right because of library policy and they think they're right because of their conceptualization of library space, too bad their wrong! j/k. Anyway, I'd just like to conclude this segment by saying that not only did I perform data analysis, but also participant observation. I tested the furniture and took the survey. I didn't argue for either one, but for something that's more ergonomically suited to writing or working on a laptop, those stupid swivel table things always cause you to hunch over which causes, at least for me, muscular and skeletal problems in my shoulders, neck, back, hips, and legs. I went to the chiropractor my first year of university because I could actually see that my hips were uneven. She prescribed a nightly regimen of stretches to undo the damage I was suffering from hunching over my lecture hall swivel tables all day. Damn academia.

I also thought of two other anthropologically interesting things while I was at the library. The first has to do with Jaded, a student run magazine at UCI that is, I believe, the best publication at UCI. I don't know much of anything about the history of the magazine, but I do know that I first noticed it lying around the Arts area and many of the staff were Arts people, which I believe helped contribute to its original and continued success in getting read, or at least noticed, in the Arts area and then across campus, the design, layout, artwork, and photography are always high quality and eye catching. Anyway, today I found the most recent copy of Jaded on the table with the furniture surveys (actually, I browsed the mag while I tested the furniture), and I am still very happy with it. I really have nothing more to say about Jaded except that it ties into my first "anthropological interesting thing" because it was an article in a previous issue of Jaded that cited a study which found that automated check out stands (like those at Albertson's and Home Depot) are actually not faster than cashier stands. This ties into my "Voyage to the Library" because the library has an automated book check out stand. I use it when I have a lot of books and don't want to feel like I'm holding up other people who may be in line to request something of the library service desk employee that cannot be provided by a machine. But today, I was the only one in the lobby and I only had one book. I eyed the machine and the 2 employees at the service desk, one employee caught me surveying my choices. I then walked up to the desk and reached out my arm with my book saying, "I'd like this book please." The employee who hadn't caught me eyeing the machine, eyed the machine himself, then said, "You like to check this out?" I said, "Yes" and handed him my library card. As he was running my card and book through his machine, I said, "I use the machine [motioning head toward machine] when I have a lot of books or there are other people in line, but I felt weird walking over there today, like I would be indicating that I'd rather interact with a machine than with real people, that I'd choose a machine over you two." They laughed, the employee handed me my book and said, "Have a nice day." I said, "You too."

My next "anthropologically interesting thing" relates to my first segment about conceptualizations of public spaces, and that "thing" is this: Bikes are now prohibited on Ring Road, the circular walkway that encompasses the UCI campus. I always conceptualized Ring Road as a public space that should be free of bikes between the first and last ten minutes of every hour from 8 to 5 pm because there are so many pedestrians trying to get to class that it is just not safe, let alone not courteous, for a biker to come barrelling through a herd of people. There is still and has always been a less walked yet parallel path to Ring Road. It is in the park, only yards away from and easily accessible to Ring Road, and for many bikers the park path is preferred to Ring Road for the very fact that there are so many pedestrians on Ring Road. But now, University policy, made known through signage, states that there may be no bikes on Ring Road. I think this is a good thing, because now my conceptualization of Ring Road as a public space where bikes should not (for the most part) be allowed, have been made legitimate. And, just as a point out to shushers in the library that there are legitimate quiet and non quiet areas, I may now point out to bikers that there are legitimate biking and non biking areas, oh yeah, that's power! Again, j/k.

The last point I want to address in this oh so long post which probably serves no purpose other than to postpone my writing of personal statements for graduate applications (I call this practice "constructive procrastination" and share it with nearly every other blogger out there) is this: being without my cell phone places me in a liminal stage. When I either forget, which is not often at all, lose, which is even less often, or temporarily misplace, which happens most often but still not frequently, my cell phone, I feel completely liberated and shackled all at once. I feel liberated because I know that if my cell phone rings I won't be compelled to answer it because I won't even know it is ringing and I feel shackled because I know that if my cell phone rings I won't be able to answer it because I won't even know it is ringing. I am so tied to my cell phone that without it I am disoriented. I go to check the time, I can't find my cell phone, and I stumble for a moment trying to decide how to go about this task, "Look for a clock. No clock in sight. Where might there be a clock? Oh yes, there is a clock on that building. Is it too far to walk? Might there be a closer clock? Should I ask someone for the time? . . ." Or, I want to alert my boyfriend that I will be back later than I told him when I left and I can't, I do not have my cell phone, "What do I do? How am I going to tell him? Is my laptop in my car? I could send him an instant message or email. No, my laptop is at home with my phone. What do I do? Is there a payphone around here? Do I have change? What does it cost to make a call? This is too much for me to handle. I need to get home to my cell phone as quickly as possible." If that isn't a liminal stage, I don't know what is.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Review: The 105th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association

This was my first and hopefully not my last experience visiting and presenting at "The Triple As." I was happy to have presented early in the week as this left me relaxed to enjoy the rest of the conference. My favorite panel was “Exploring Activity as Culture, Community, and Identity” because it addressed issues relevant to my interests and presented new ways for thinking about old things; it is exactly the kind of anthropology that inspires and excites me. The papers in the panel would make a great reader for a mid-level, major and non-major, undergraduate course in Anthropology. That is not to say that they are not theoretically complex and worthy of more advanced consideration, however they have a certain mass appeal that makes them perfect for getting students inspired, excited, and generally interested in Anthropology and anthropological thinking (approaching things from the mindset of an anthropologist). I especially enjoyed the comments made by discussant Bradd Shore.

Dr. Shore used a term he coined "activity fetishism" in his response to the papers on topics such as Capoeira, Irish Folk Music, Ballroom and Salsa Dancing, and Tae Kwon Doe. In the Fall 2003 Newsletter from the Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life (MARIAL), Shore elaborates on Max Weber's "Protestant ethic",

"In contemporary America, this old work ethic is still with us. However, in the context of middle-class consumer culture, it has become difficult to distinguish work from consumption activities. Work as a moral virtue has morphed into obsession with activities as status markers, much as if they were consumer items."

This "obsession with activities" is essentially the "activity fetishism" to which Shore refered in his discussion and which I find particularly relevant to my own research on the contemporary western practice of body piercing as well as my interest in, and proposed research on social networking websites. I haven't formulated any sort of argument relating activity fetishism to my work, but the gears are turning, expect to see a post about it shortly.

Although I found the conference as a whole to be very rewarding, I'd have to say, subject wise, I got the most out of the Exploring Activity panel. I also enjoyed the panel titled, "Anthropology at the Crossroads of Digital Society," Mike Wesch and Shelly Errington's panel on digital ethnography, Ken Anderson's panel on anthropology at Intel, Adam Fish's panel titled, "Cultures of Production in Film and Television," and of course, all the SVA presentations and films. The conference also went logistically well, with only a few minor (unimportant) issues:

1) No scheduled nap time. As one of my colleagues pointed out during an especially drowsy moment one afternoon, most of the world has some form of mid-day rest time (ex: siesta), yet the AAA, which of all organizations should be most "culturally sensitive," schedules panels straight through the day, from 8 am to 9 pm. Luckily there were several coffee shops inside, connected to, or very close by the convention center, and we were able to drug ourselves awake every morning and keep ourselves going every afternoon.

2) How about a workshop on "How to dance at contemporary western social events?" I'm joking, everyone was having a good time at the dance and that's all that matters, right?

3) Why can't Anthropologists clean up after themselves? I understand setting down a coffee cup or water bottle, forgetting about it, and walking away, but blatantly leaving trash on tables, chairs, and the floor . . . what's up with that?! I witnessed multiple instances, especially with the food served at the conference, of people getting up from their table and leaving their trash. This was not a table service situation, but a common area for people to eat, work, and talk, and it was not being taken care of by those who were sharing it, rather the conference center staff would routinely come by to clean up after those who couldn't clean up after themselves, it was quite a shame.

4) I love the Bay Area and I was born in San Jose . . . but it is so damn expensive!

All in all, the conference was good, I enjoyed myself, and it sure beat actually working!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Visual Research Conference Day 2

Today (technically yesterday) marked the end of the Visual Research Conference. We saw some great stuff from Kate Hennessy, Guido Carlo Pigliasco and 3 of Peter Biella’s students from his Visual Anthropology class at San Francisco State University, including Dom Brassey. The conference ended at 2 pm. I stuck around for the 8:15 (African, Fijan, Italian, etc. time [I think that’s some kind of Anthropologist joke. I don’t quite it get since it seems to apply to such a broad spectrum of regions, nations, ethnicities, but I guess it refers to starting later than scheduled]) screening of Dick Werbner’s “Shade Seekers and The Mixer” and didn’t leave the Convention Center until 10, but I’m glad I did because the film was great and we got to talk to Dick about it.

I had lunch at an Indian restaurant where I got a “Naan: Spicy Lamb.” It was naan stuffed with spicy lamb, like a calzone, and served with some sauce for dipping. It was delicious and unexpected. I love the Bay Area. Not that there aren’t great places to eat and shop and generally “be” in Southern California, I’m just nostalgic about everything up here. I have a completely idealized view of Bay Area. Today I rode public transportation, Light Rail, for the first time since my visit to Holland in March. It was clean, quick, and cheap (as in free, though I paid [$3.50], my ticket wasn’t checked. I actually paid for 2 tickets because I didn’t know they were only good for 2 hours from the time of purchase not the entire day, oh well).

Aside from the food, my lunch was also very interesting because of my company. I feel a little uneasy about writing this here because of issues of informed consent. I don’t think my lunch date was informed, so I’m just going to give this to you as an anecdote, take from it what you will. I went to lunch with an undergraduate graphic design student from Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah. I knew this going into lunch, I also knew that he came to the AAA Conference for the Society for Visual Anthropology’s Film and Video Festival to conduct research for his thesis project. He is interested in how people create biographies and collect, analyze, and archive objects and information in different cultures. He didn’t really have any idea what Anthropology was before registering for the conference, he just thought that the film festival would give him some insight into his thesis topic. Sitting at lunch, talking about how he even came across the conference and film festival in the first place, I was squirming to ask him, “So, are you Mormon?” He said yes. I asked if he went on a mission. He said yes. I asked where. He said Taiwan. We talked about that. It was very interesting. He was carrying around a nearly falling apart copy of Collier and Collier’s “Visual Anthropology” that he bought at a used bookstore in New York for $5. Nice guy, very interesting. When I said, “I don’t think me lunch date was informed,” I mean that I didn’t think he knew enough about Anthropology to know that, with me being an Anthropologist and him such an interesting subject, our conversation was inevitably a sort of field work. And, that’s why I’m not going to say anything more about that.

Again, long wake, short sleep. PEACE!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Visual Research Conference Day 1

After some bad accident-related traffic on Hwy 17, I made it to the Convention Center just 15 minutes after 9 am. Presentations had not yet started, so that worked out well for me. Jonathan Marion gave his presentation on Salsa Dancing, then I gave mine on body piercing. I got good reviews, including a wonderful complement from Richard Werbner, "Brilliant photography." Had a good lunch: -$8, good dinner: -$22, got my car from the parking garage: -$18, and gave a ride to a new friend:+$9. That puts me $9 over my $30 departmental per diem. Ha! Yeah . . . I'm brown bagging it tomorrow, but it's alright because my Grandma Dottie will be making it, and everything she makes is good. [Note: My Grandma Dottie is not dead. She is also not really my grandmother, just a really nice lady who has taken care of me since I was 2 years old.] I've gotta get to bed, have another early and long day tomorrow. PEACE!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I Vote for a New Sticker

I voted last Tuesday. I got my sticker and wore it on my shirt until I changed into my pjs. Then I stuck it on my laptop, covering the ergonomic warning label because I don't like to be reminded that I'm going to get carpal tunnel syndrome from typing so much. As I've been busy preparing for the presentation I will be giving at the 105th Annual American Anthropological Association Meeting as part of the Society for Visual Anthropology's Visual Research Conference, I've had a lot of time to sit and stare at my sticker while I try to think of something brilliant to say. I'm not sure I've thought of anything brilliant but I have noticed that the depiction of the flag waving in the wind is really bad, the proportion is all off. Since I don't have a digital camera to quickly take and post a pic of my sticker, I grabbed these via Google:

I think that if unfurled at that scale, the flag would be too long and skinny. My boyfriend disagrees with me. He reasons that the government wouldn’t produce a bajillion stickers without spending at least a quarter million on the design. Ludicrous! The government went to war without reason, why not make stickers without design?! My boyfriend’s Canadian, he can’t be trusted or taken seriously, he doesn’t understand such American affairs, which actually puts him in the same position as most Americans, including me, I am worthless when it comes to explaining to him how Bush became our president, I don’t get it either. Anyway, my boyfriend and I have decided that the image should be scanned into a 3D modeling program, unfurled, and analyzed for proportional accuracy. I’m writing the grant to get this done. Until then, let us ponder this question: Why is it acceptable for adults to wear stickers on election day?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Diedrich's and Dying Grandmothers

Since I heard that Starbucks will be taking over Diedrich's in December I've been making an effort to go to Diedrich's (specifically the one at UCI) as much as possible. For the past few weeks I've been studying there 2 of the 5 nights of the work week and I stop in for my soy lattes (small, not tall, made with original soy, not syrupy vanilla-flavored soy, at no extra cost, not 40 cents extra) on the weekends. Tonight, while I was driving home, tired, I got the same feeling I had driving away from visiting my grandmothers on their deathbeds. It wasn't exactly the same. Losing Diedrich's is not taking the same emotional toll on me as did losing my grandmothers, but the driving away from what you know is one of your last visits feeling is the same.

My grandmothers, both on my mom's side and my dad's side, progressed in sickness to their deaths quite quickly. That is, they didn't die suddenly or unexpectedly, but once they and we, my family, realized they were too sick to continue living, they died within days. We visited my dad's mother at my aunt's house every other day from when we had that realization until she passed about 5 days later. My mom's mother was living with my parents up until the day she passed, the same day she requested to go to the hospice. The only comparison I draw between the passing of my grandmothers and the end of Diedrich's is the feeling that came in those moments when I was leaving my grandmother on her deathbed and the realization that that was the last time or one of the very last times I would ever see my grandmother.

The feeling wouldn't be so interesting if I didn't contextualize it. Why is it that I don't get that feeling everytime I leave my brother and sisters, my boyfriend, my work? It could be the last time I ever see those people and places, but the probablity is much lower, and I think I would go around feeling pretty shitty if I was always afraid of loss.

On a lighter note . . . I am moving my blog from Google Pages to Blogger because I don't want to wait around to see if Google adds blogging tools. Here's a link to the old stuff and from now on you can find me here.