Sunday, June 3, 2012

First Day in Paris

I finally got to Paris. This morning, the groggy and confused husk of a person I was, landed at the Charles De Gaulle airport. I suffered through the mess that masqueraded as a Passport checking line and found my way to the CIEE greeting party.

The rest of the day consisted of an impromptu tour of the neighborhood I'm staying in, a guided walking tour of the first and fourth arrondissements, and getting acquainted with the program. As I walked around, it was hard for me to accept that after so long, I eventually got here. Paris is completely overwhelming, yet in the most pleasant way possible. Since I need to take a reflective course in the fall on this experience, I will be blogging to keep track of my reactions.

Here are some pictures.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I've been playing this song all damn day. Nostalgia over video games I played as a child, ftw.

Happy New Year!

Happy new years! I find myself shocked to see we've reached the year 2012.

It isn't that I'm unaware of how calendars work. Instead, I'm shocked at what this year will bring. I'm suppose to spend this upcoming semester in Paris, my 21st birthday, and I'll start my senior year in college. There is also the messy unknown of the presidential election here in the US, but I figure that is a conversation for another day.

Most of all, I feel like this is my final full year before entering the 'real world'; before completely inheriting all the freedoms and responsibilities entrenched in it. And that utterly frightens me. Sure there is the excitement that comes from thinking about starting a career or getting my first apartment, but then I start thinking about how a career means and actual job or about how an apartment means bills the likes of which I've never had to deal with before.

And then we have the big question I appear to enjoy torturing myself with: will what I do be important? Of course it doesn't have to be, but I sure as hell would like it to be. I fully blame college for this desire - the more I learned, the more I saw the sea of anxiety that seems to engulf the world. I don't want to enter the working world, only to simply forget about all of it. Yet this is what the 'real world' seems to consist of - graduate college and work so that you're able to sustain yourself. Not much room for anything else.

I suppose that I'm getting ahead of myself. But hey, its fun to think about these kinds of things.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Day With Google+

Do we really need another social media website?

Google apparently thinks so with their recent release of Google+.

I got my hands on an invite yesterday evening (through contacts on facebook, interestingly enough) and so far I'm quite ambivalent about it.

First of all, I enjoy the interface. It is clear and simple. Add to that the concept of circles (basically user-created groupings of your friends), and you have a recipe for something that might actually work. I loved organizing my hip and trendy contacts (all four of them) into categories. I've had issues on Facebook attempting to figure out how to hide particular posts from certain people, so this is just wonderful.

Another interesting aspect is Sparks, a feature through which Google recommends personalized content for any given interest. So a Spark called 'cycling' should provide information largely related to just that.

One extra bonus for me was the fact that it nicely integrated with previously googlized elements of my life, without feeling invasive (I'm looking at you, Buzz).

By far the largest negative was the fact that no one I knew was on. I'm aware of the fact that we're right now in a closed, invite-only test run, but damn it I need critical mass. Looking at my stream right now (Google+'s newsfeed), the last four posts have been from me... And there are only five posts total. Being connected to four people is boring and sadly, most of my Facebook friends are not early adaptors.

Which leads me to a previous ill-fated voyage of Google's infamously known as the Wave. Part of my problem with the Wave was that no one of importance in my life used the damn thing for more than a week or two. Add to that, we simply didn't know what to do with it. I really hope Google doesn't keep this recent endeavor in its crib for too long. If they do, it may very well suffer the same fate Wave did.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Year of the Black Republican?

As 2010 is being dubbed as another 'Year of the Black Republican', I think it's time for me to re-evaluate my feelings towards this rather small demographic of black folks.

Let me be honest: black republicans aren’t my favorite bunch of black folks in the world. I do have a habit of viewing them with in a snide manner. However, I’m not completely sure I can run them through the mud like their more liberal counterparts do.

I do think that there is currently an opportunity for black republicans within the tea party and the Republican Party at large. The Tea Party, who have been branded – rightfully or not – with the label ‘racist’, are logically in the market for some black folks. Looking for recognition, it makes sense for politically minded black republicans to want to align themselves with the movement and their campaign. Yet, at what cost? I can’t fathom being positioned as a means for much limited ‘racial inclusion’ is really worth the support of any group, but then again I’m not a politician. It wouldn’t surprise me if many of the black republicans recruited end up being miniatures Michael Steele replicas. It would truly be a sense of poetic justice, but it would also make me even more frustrated than I already am.

There is one aspect to black republicans that I find interesting. They provide a necessary kick to Democrats, who seem to have taken the black vote for granted for too long. As much as I may be liberal, I don’t care for considered as a vote that’s already in the bag. I’ve often heard people in my community say that they are only remembered ‘around election time’, and as far as I’m concerned, they are correct. Should the Republicans gain ground in black communities – most likely those with well-to-do blacks. I don’t foresee people who live in places that rank lower on the economic scale jumping ship – hopefully the Democrats become more accountable and active in regards to their black constituents.