Sunday, November 28, 2010

When Harry met Sally reminds me of...

When Harry met Sally reminds me a little of the style of A lot like love. - Just Watched WHMS for the first time tonight. It was cute, but maybe not memorable...(to me) It was nice to see Billy Chrystal with hair though...?

This Thanksgiving break I went to watch several good movies, which I'll rank as follows:

-Burlesque: best- Christina Aguilera's voice,
-Tangled: best- still a simple, clean Disney fairy tale with kids as its target audience
-Love and Other Drugs. best- Hathaway's acting continues to improve.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two Kinds of Help

I remember growing up, I always wanted to help my dad, but was so eager, I would move two or even three steps ahead of my dad. What I then though was helpful, was in fact not. Time and time again I wrecked a project, by gluing something in the wrong place or ripping something. My dad, would get very angry, and I felt it was disproportionately so. After all I was only eager to help. For a long time, I was bitter about this, but now, I have a whole new outlook.

As I am older and have ongoing projects of all sorts, I find myself on the other end of this dilemma. I often find myself with people who are willing and eager to help but only in the way that they want to help, which unfortunately often is not helpful. As part of a party, and repeatedly on campaigns, there is a logic to the madness. What looks like chaos is actually very carefully, thought out strategy.

When people ask for help, it is because it is necessary, and it is so valuable to help in the way that moves the project or goal forward. Imagine a friend asks you for help with a moving project and you say yes, but I only want to sort stuff. Well, that may or may not be helpful, by the time you get there, everything might already be packed. What then?

All this to say, being helpful is good if it comes from the right place, without a huge price tag and demands. That kind of help is appreciated beyond belief. The other kind of help becomes very much an unappreciated burden.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Recent study found that Licensed drivers have no accidents.

Obviously if you've had as much as a fender bender and had to show your license and proof of insurance recently, you know the opening statement is false.

As I was reading Newsweek a few weeks ago, I stumbled across the following blurb on the National News page:

A Red Light for Undocumented Drivers in New Mexico
by Ryan Tracy

As recently as 2006, 10 states allowed immigrants to apply for a driver’s license without proving their legal residence. As border control has become a bigger political issue, however, that right has evaporated in all but three states: Utah, New Mexico, and Washington—which may soon be the last place where all drivers can get a regular license. Earlier this year Utah restricted all noncitizens to a special “driving privileges” card that can’t be used as identification. And in New Mexico, both gubernatorial candidates have said they would stop licensing drivers who can’t prove their legal status.

When the issue arose during the 2008 election, Barack Obama argued that licensing all drivers was a matter of highway safety (others opposed the idea on national-security grounds). But in the five states that have stopped licensing illegal immigrants for more than a year, there’s been no appreciable difference in the number of vehicle crashes, according to a NEWSWEEK review of state motor-vehicle data. If there are any reasons not to grant everyone the same access to roads, safety is not one of them.

Best case scenario, Ryan Tracy is an intern and not a real news reporter, or the editors at Newsweek took a mid-summer vacation. Both of these scenarios make this published news somewhat acceptable, but if neither one or both are not true, then what is Newsweek thinking, publishing arguments that are so uneducated?

The debate over licensing undocumented individuals, is so that in the future they can legally drive with a proof of verified identity and can get insurance so that- thinking of the greater good, grazing goat argument- we can all be safe and equally protected. In the scenario that there is an accident of a documented and an undocumented individual (/family) then the person at fault will still be able to be held responsible and there will be no injustice one way or the other. (As is the case now, among documented and licensed drivers).

What happens when individuals don't have a drivers licenses is that we are constantly a community at risk. Again, just like any other issue of regulating behavior of individuals in the community, just because we don't "legally allow it", doesn't mean it isn't going on and will continue, therefore, what can we do to maximize the benefit for all, and minimize the risk? In the case of an accident, because the consequences of a fender bender or large accident are far greater for an undocumented individual they can and sometimes flee the scene, which then leaves the licensed party, holding the bag. Conversely,when undocumented unlicensed individuals are not at fault, accidents, cannot be settled appropriately through insurance companies and so forth. Also unjust.

In California, Police Departments across the State as well many many elected officials understand and agree that licensing all those that can qualify for a drivers license regardless of legal status is a matter of public benefit and safety, however, our actor Governor, among others refuse to understand the merit of these arguments. Maybe they too are reading Newsweek?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival & (why I don't do it)

The season of this festival is upon us. My first tip off - rain clouds I saw on my walk back home about an hour ago. There are also flyers on merchant's windows and the very cover of the SB Independent has a caricature of Sandra Bullock (my fav nominee for an Academy Award in the category of Actress in a Leading Role).

The SBIFF as is written everywhere- you get used to it after a few years of being in this town- is now celebrating its 25 years and is one of those things that are very much a Santa Barbara tradition. (If you take into account that I'm 25, I could very well, say it's existed, all my life.) Much like Fiesta, it's one of those things that reminds you "oh, it must be the beginning of February, or the first weekend of August." Locals either love it, or hate it, and with the best interest of the city in mind, it is fantastic for tourism.

There are many writers committed to sharing the events, the galas, the tributes, the films and interactions with the writers, producers, directors, casts, etc. One of the ones that I often read is Craig Smith who mentioned that "There's an awful lot of media interest in the Film Fest. I waited 30 minutes in line in the lobby of the Hotel Santa Barbara yesterday afternoon to pick up my press pass. Also in line, Scott Steepleton of the News-Press, Julie Ramos of KTYD, Joe Gehl of KEYT and former KEYT reporter Michelle Cole."

I, however, am not going to be blogging, or reporting about the Film Fest, but rather explaining why I've never been able to "get into it."

I have not yet been able to find the best way to decide which movies to watch. I don't seem to have enough attention span to read all of the blurbs about the films (which depending on which website/resource you read- may or may not include what time and when the film is playing-oh and where.)

Unlike regular films- mainstream media- where you get to watch previews and decide in roughly 30-50 sec whether or not you have interest in a movie, with the film fest you must do a lot of "work" shall we call it to pursue things that might be of interest to you. Of course, this excludes 2 kinds people, those whose leisure budgets allow for obtaining Platinum Passes ($1,655), & Cinema Passes ($605), or those that are very spontaneous, who will get up, walk on State, and say, "let's go into the next movie that's showing at a nearby theater." I fall in neither category. I like to plan things, carefully, my time (and money) is valuable to me, so I will carefully choose how I spend both.

Being a member of Generation Y, I believe technology is something that is inherent as not only someone who wants to get the word out, but as a preferred means of communication. So if I could make a suggestion which could likely not be welcomed due to costs, and time required by the SBIFF, it would be to splice all the previews of the films together into one hour long ad for the SBIFF and have it circulating on youtube a week or two before opening night. I remember several years ago, reading a particular Baby Blues comic where Zoe, the small child tells her dad at the movie theater, "that was great, I laughed, I cried, I had a great time" and her dad turns and looks at her and say, "Z, that was only the previews." How many of us, wouldn't love having good previews for the film fest?

Now, please note despite contrary evidence, I'm not being a downer on the film fest. Every year, I get excited, when those around me get excited for the SBIFF. (I am a fan of a lively Santa Barbara- though not of crowds). I have been impressed at the efficiency with which this festival is put together, marketed, and with the top stars, directors that come every year! Hats off to those that make this come together. Still, every year, I read, a total of 3-5 random descriptions of films, if I'm fortunate enough to find one I might have an interest in, then I attempt to match it up with a schedule and usually if by chance, I'm available, I'll have to call, or search online for the price of admission- by which time, I'm probably done looking it up & probably not attending. This will happen at the beginning of the fest, and sometimes in the middle of it, when I hear or read exciting reviews. This year, I started doing it, when I decided to stop and write about it, and see if anyone else goes through this odd ritual...

There is, however, one thing that I have enjoyed the past couple of years, and has slightly helped me out in this confusion and that is the Fund for Santa Barbara's Social Justice Awards. The reception itself is fantastic, but more importantly, this year, I noticed that their webpage contains the title, brief, brief summary of the film and the times that they are playing and location! Already going into it, I know that they are about some sort of social justice issue which means, there is a high likelihood that it would grab my attention. From those, it is far easier for me to find a film to attend. Perhaps a festival categorical guide by genre would be useful to those as dumbfounded by the task of finding which movies to watch.

For the local Santa Barbarans who are big SBIFF fans, have fun, stay dry. I will be kept up to date by many of you and the fascinating writers we have in our community, and patiently awaiting the day that figuring out how to "do the Film Fest" is far easier, and enjoyable.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's keeping me busy & how do I find more to do?

When people ask me what's keeping me busy these days, I often have so many thoughts come to mind at the same time, that all I can manage to say is, "uh, hmm, nothing".

If you've heard me say that, it is definitely not true, I just can't quite figure out what to share first. Somehow many projects keep me busy and new goals and tasks so, I figured I'd write about them so as to share some good info (and in a way organize myself).

I currently am on the board of the Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee a non-partisan political action committee dedicated to furthering gender equality and feminist values through political and social action, and education. The Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee endorses the candidacies of women and men who actively support our goals and promote a feminist agenda. The Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee works on behalf of women to achieve political Access, Voice and Power.The organization has recently sponsored Joyce Dudley for District Attorney and Susan Jordan for the 35th State Assembly district seat, and have endorsed Janet Wolf for re-election as 2nd District Supervisor.

I plan to become more involved in a volunteer capacity in the short term future with Joyce Dudley's campaign for DA where she faces a difficult primary competition. I first met Joyce when she was my professor at the Santa Barbara College of Law, later she was one of the first supporters of my bid for Santa Barbara city council- I have endorsed and have known personally to be passionate about her work and most importantly the people she serves. In the 33rd State Assembly district, I am endorsing and strongly supporting my long time friend, Hilda Zacarias, who is an accomplished woman. She is tenacious, stong-willed and will be a great asset to the State Assembly. In the 24th Congressional District, I have endorsed and will be helping my friend, Tim Allison, who has an uphill battle for the seat, but is committed and understands the value of grassroots campaigning.

One of my biggest goals this year, as co-chair of Santa Barbara County Young Democrats is to focus on growing the membership and expanding to groups we have never reached before and engaging new activists & creating new leadership of young individuals county-wide. We are interested in building a good not only voting bloc but active bloc in elections, voter reg and general community participation. Among other projects and fun endeavors, we are holding a joint fundraiser to benefit the three Santa Barbara area Young Democrats chapters on March 13 from 3-5pm (If you want to attend or sponsor this event, let me know ;0)

I am also president of the Eastside Optimists Club, a regional club of Optimist International
their Mission is: "By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids." Last year we worked hard to plan and coordinate the Milpas Holiday Parade, which, unfortunately was canceled due to rain. This season we have a basketball hoops competition, and an essay contest in the planning stages, to provide opportunities at scholarships for youth in the Eastside in Santa Barbara.

Within a week I will be starting the Self- Employment Training, a14 week course at Women's Economic Ventures and I am greatly looking forward to it. This SET is for entrepreneurial lessons on everything that is necessary to starting a business and throughout the 14 weeks, participants work on a business plan to have completed by the end of the course. Of course, if you know me, you know I have a project in mind- (more to come...hint: The Digital Inclusion)

For fun, I am training for the LA Marathon which is on March 21st. This will be my second marathon, and I have already completed 4 of the 11 training weeks that were scheduled. I am updating my progress daily on The marathon begins at Dodger stadium and ends at Santa Monica Boulevard. I am greatly anticipating this race.

What prompted this blog, was a reminder email from an automated website ( that let me log into a long unpublished and forgotten project, that at the time I was very excited about; The Progressive Slate For whatever reason I didn't find the best way to get this started, I think perhaps because the courage campaign (among others was doing such a good job) of keeping progressives informed, but, I think my vision was something simple- less blogging and more unvarnished info. (i.e. I would like to find as a middle class hardworking parent w/out time for research, who are the "Designated Progressive candidates" in my district). I would like to take this up again, but I don't think that I have the time to devote to it.

There are many projects, events and ideas that grab my attention on a daily basis, but I can't do it all. I am very committed to certain causes and if an action is necessary to instigate or further immigration reform, to maintain "choice" or to repeal prop 8, or ensure same-sex marriage, I would take the necessary time to work on specific campaigns. Beyond such items, I find that my best place at this time is to match interested people to the best possible groups for action. So if any of these projects, you are curious to discuss, drop me a line, and I'll try to connect you with the right people in our community so that you too can get involved.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

First decade of the new millenium- completed

Wow suddenly, just like that the first decade of this millennium is over. (or close enough to it).

Because my academic studies were in Political Science which is heavily based on history, I have a fascination with time as it moves forward. Both in our lives as individuals and as part of a whole, it is important to acknowledge the time passed and the time remaining. I recently remembered that when this decade first began, I was a Sophomore at Dos Pueblos High School. How about you?

One exercise that I began in 2005 with our college group at the church was to write down Hopeful Resolutions for the year, these are not the regular new years resolutions but a slightly deeper reflection, and to have at the center these ideas of Hope: Accept Love, Play More, Forgive, Give Thanks.

The 4 Lists to create or pages to fill consist of the following topics:
10 Things I learned in (2009)
10 Things I am grateful for
10 Things I intend to create in my Life in (2010)
5 Things I wand to do in the next 5 years.

While I don't always have consistency in many trivial things, for some reason writing these down in the same marble memo notebook is important and it takes me pretty much all of December to reflect upon. It is fascinating to see lessons you learned year ago, or what you have in fact intended to create and created! One thing I have found is that sometimes things don't happen on your terms and in your timeline, but they do happen and what you intended to create in a certain year might take a little more work, but it will happen. If you are so inclined, I recommend you try it.

Lastly, I'd like to share a video that is now a decade old, but is also exciting to see how far we have come (and in ways, how far we have yet to go)

All the best for this new year-2010!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You're included in the plan just not in the planning ;)

This past Thursday I did something spontaneous- while many people have a spontaneous lifestyle- many, like myself don't (often) do things that are not carefully planned, thoroughly thought out and meticulously executed. I am for the lack of a better shape, fairly squared, and like to be confident in knowing all the details of a plan, so when the boy I'm seeing made a plan to meet up with his best friend and his girlfriend from 4-7pm I went along. Little did I know then that we were going to run behind schedule by a few hours and there was more to be done, such as great conversations, and a 10pm drive to Venice Beach for dinner to meet up with another of their friends.

The idea was a spontaneous one I thought, but since I am currently unemployed, and had only one morning commitment, I went along. (Had this happened on most other days, I doubt I would have.) We then stayed at his friend's penthouse along Venice Beach- all in all a moment of spontaneity that I was proud to participate in! Well, on the beautiful morning drive back on the PCH we talked about what a great time we had with his friends and I made a remark about the spontaneity of it all. Just then he looked at me with that half smile that always means my reaction could go either way, either I'll laugh or be bugged about whatever he'll say next, and he said to me, "I'm glad you came along, this was the original plan, but I wasn't sure you'd come so I didn't tell you."

I smiled. I had a great time all in all, and to be honest, had I had a heads up maybe I would have thought a 10pm trip to Venice Beach for dinner wouldn't make a lot of sense- but maybe I would have.

Now I am in an interesting part of life, looking for a job, but also enjoying very fully different parts of life and really enjoying the time I do spend with people in my life. I am in one of those exciting/ nerve wracking periods of figuring out what I'm doing next. My faith has always been strong because whenever I have had these moments of suspension, the resolutions or outcomes of getting to the next step have ALWAYS been far better than anything I could plan or imagine. I think this faith at this time requires trust but also the willingness to pursue that spontaneity, because great things come of it. As I think, plan and seek what comes next, I can easily imagine getting there- and God smiling a little as he says; "I'm glad you came along, this was the original plan, but I wasn't sure you'd come so I didn't tell you."