Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Friday, July 30, 2010

MOVIE: "Molokai: The Story of Father Damien"

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com
Share |

Mutant Reviews From Hell, a website, cites a telling discrepancy between history and this film: Damien had no conviction, on his death bed, that he had done enough to enter heaven. Kind of blows your mind, doesn't it? While Mutant thinks this a minor historical dissonance, I think it is fundamental: Damien was a person; now he is a saint. Any rumors of inappropriate activities, any qualms about his possible lack of humility, ANY character faults of the poor dude are buried in bells and smells, as the church gilds his story, just like all the others. Want to become radicalized? Work with the people who need it most; everybody will hate you and tell you to your face to be more considerate of other people. So, no, I did not enjoy the magical thinking, sanctifying of a regular guy with a back breaking job, to boot. Now, I watched this film because I love Hawaii. I love Hawaiians. You know: the inconvenient ones, who want to save their ecosystem from environmental degradation? Who want to be a sovereign nation again? Who want the OLD traditions of Hula, not the cheap tourist entertainment? You know, the grouchy, real Hawaiians? Well, none of them really appear in this film. They are MENTIONED. They have one or two minor scenes. I happen to think that, if a group of exiles is capable of organizing prostitution, theft and black market rings in the colony, they are probably not all a bunch of passive, brown sheep: heads lowered, whimpering, singing three part harmony in the background. I think their story would be very interesting. Nope. Hot here. This is the story of white, European and US people, how important they were, how clever they are, how educated and articulate they can be. No Hawaiians were ever in danger of spraining a jaw from speaking too much, let alone too honestly, in this film. I hated it. Hawaiians, please produce some juicy, indy stuff and get it on NutFlux. I like pagans a whole lot better than  saints.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MOVIE: "Mary & Max"

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

I keep seeing superficial reviews, calling this movie strange. This is about regular humans, in a regular friendship, living individual lives, struggling to understand what it is, exactly, the Universe wants of them and why it will not drop any hints. Attention to detail is meticulous: it is one of the best furnished claymation films I have ever seen. The musical choices were sophisticated; sometimes, I laughed out loud at the compositions chosen for various scenes. This is one of the best portrayals of the rights of people with behavioral health challenges I have ever seen: we do not need to change to make others comfortable; we just need to love ourselves. Que Sera Sera tore a hole in me; I have been where she was and survived. The depictions of genuine emotions was stunning, considering it is clay. This is NOT a depressing film! Exactly the opposite: this film is filled with celebrations of life! The end was magnificent. Mary and Max were SO lucky to have found and befriended each other! I only have two friends in the whole world; my own behavioral health challenges provoke hate, fear and mockery in sheeple. I am sending them this film to thank them for sticking by me through a lifetime of chocolate hot dogs and ancient roosters. To the rest of you for whom superficial, easy attachments are normal: I feel sorry for you. We who are confused by your world know the true value of love and dignity, on the most profound levels. I wish I could just live in that world. As the movie began to wind down, I looked at my timer counter and reaized: I am really going to miss this place.

My favorite scene, Que Sera Sera

COMEDY: "Jake Johannsen, I Love You!"

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com
Share |

People laugh for the same reason dogs bark: when they are confronted by the truth (I am parphrasing Lily Tomlin there). NOBODY gets injured in this routine, unless you count the comedian but not really him, either., Well, when his daughter reaches adolescence, if she finds out some of the stories he told, she may either run away from home, get into therapy, join a cult or kill him in his sleep. See, this is not standard self deprication: I am a jackass, or pathetic, or unconventional and you should laugh at that. He is not insulting himself so much as exposing himself. It takes healthy self confidence, humility and just the right amount of self love to be so exposed to a room full of strangers. All of us may not go through exactly what he describes, but we know, in our intimate, secret selves, that these kinds of uncomfortable self revelations happen; we usually just try to forget about them. He makes a routine about them. I laughed at some of this until I was squeezing out tears. This is an ordinary guy, trying to understand what in the heck is expected of him: too intelligent to just blindly obey and too timid to revolt. There is a slight tremor in his voice that is endearing. He looks and dresses like any guy on the bus. Nothing about him is especially attractive or interesting. But when he opens his mouth, and his mind comes pouring out, all I could do was smile, wide eyed at how clearly and lovingly he ponders reality. I am telling all my friends. I feel better about myself and the world, having watched this. It is not life changing, just life enhancing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jesus rides

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com
Share |

A guy picked me up, hitch hiking, the other day. He told me Jesus told him to pick me up. It had nothing whatsoever to do, I suppose, with the fact that I, a fat, disabled, older woman with a load of groceries was standing in the hot, desert sun with my thumb sticking out. He takes no personal responsibility for his own decisions; either God or satan tell him what to do. He can blame every aspect of his life on somebody else. I didn't reply to his Jesus comment. I did tell him a little about my life. I'm 5 miles from the nearest, small town. There's no public transpo and I have no car. Every room in my house has at least one broken window, which I've patched with bits of glass and clear silicone. I have no running water, no sewage, no heat in winter. I poo in a bucket and bury it in the yard. I have no friends or family here to help me. First few days of summer, it was over 110f in my house, as I had no air conditioning. He heard all of it and commented on none of it. If Jesus were actually directing his actions and decisions, would he not have offered to gather a few of his fellow congregants to help me make this place habitable? Not doing anything is a decision, which he can't recognize, of course. He didn't want to help me; he wanted to recruit me. He's not alone. Most people who pick me up start immediately cramming their religion down my throat. They never ask if I have a faith or show any interest in what it might be or who I am. They assume that, because I'm poor, I need to be saved. I guess God is only for the middle class. If you're poor, you're going to Hell. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

MOVIE: "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com
Share |


thought I knew this story. I first heard it in one of the first Native American history classes offered on this continent, over thirty years ago. It has been part of my concept of reality ever since. But it was theoretical and political. This film is visceral: a little boy, having his hair (and all his memories)cut for the first time: both the character he portrays AND his own hair pounded a hole in my heart. I knew Sitting Bull traveled with Bill Cody, but I never grasped that he was a roadside attraction, a tourist trap, just like the people on the road to the south rim of the Grand Canyon who now sell Mexican blankets and Chinese beads to tourists. I felt so embarrassed, so sad and SO protective of Sitting Bull as that realization dawned on me. Charles, who chooses his so called Christian name just so he can speak in class to defend his chief, tricked by his teacher into a huge slip into assimilation. The recreation of the photos of the frozen bodies in the snow. The pot of dead mice, fading to the dead child and a tear on Sitting Bull's face. It was all a genius heartfelt production from all. I just wish they had used more contemporary: white, African American AND Native music for the score. The Hollywood Philharmonic orchestrations took me out of the movie; they were melodramatic. I had to go outside and watch the sun set after I saw this, let the wind wash my mind from the images. It took a long while before I could listen to the actors' commentaries. I got little from the director's, beyond a history lesson, and turned that off rather soon. This is work. Your heart must be open but protected. Do not try to see this movie in a hury. It is a memorial; treat it with honor.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

the well pump

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com
Share |

10am, Thur, July 8

I have about 20 2 liter soda bottles full of water in cabinets. That's it.

h2o lines burst when frozen. leave h2o at drizzle only, constantly, esp. last winter, to prevent further freezing. That's to the house. the hose spigot worked fine. Now, there is no water at all.

So, no swamp cooler for air conditioning, no bathing, no dish or clothes washing, no flushing urine (I poop in bucket & bury in back yard).

No transportation to lug heavy water home. Think there's a thirty five cent/gallon h2o dispenser at grocer in Belen, not sure.

Neighbors brought me portable heat pump/air conditoner, but it burns a LOT of electricity.

I'll have to seal off livingroom again, like I did in winter, to keep this habitable if possible.

Can't move out.

Haven't heard from landlord in 3 months; hasn't even collected rent.

I'm screwed. It's barely July.

Garden will die. damn

how to water goats?
4am Fri, July9
I'm not sure I understand what these people say they did, but they built a brumby pump for under fifty bucks. I can, too, if I can figure it out.

Rachel, I still have that little compressor of yours; it's bigger than what they used and water GUSHES out! Would only turn on when water needed. Can store in bottles. Need water for garden, and can attach hose to PVC pipe. Can build this weekend, if I can figure this out.

Here's their video:

Hope I can get old pump OUT of well. Will look tomorrow.

5 am

This one has a sensor to turn off/on compressor. don't need that. but it's a pretty good schematic, if a bit TINY!


I can't find anymore online. I don't really need the balls in the one above. air bubble will drive h2o to surface and will suction more h2o for next charge.

THe couple in the vid. I sent you suggested making small holes in capped off air line.

THey make "fish stones" for aquarium aeration.  I could use that.


Gotta check that air compressor doesn't blow it off end of tube, though...

I can buy parts tomorrow or Saturday at a place in Belen.

Sat, July 10, noon

Guy came out and fixed my well. Couple of electrical parts were bad. Don't have a pressure switch now, so I have to run hose on full when water's on for air cond., laundry, etc. then turn off power to well. Can't let pressure build; burn up pump!

So, I'm lyin here nekkid, after hitching back from grocery store, a/c on, laundry going, all my bottles & tubs full, sprinkler running out front in my garden, letting a cat lick my toe.

Got a good deal on marked down rotisserie chickens; bought all seven @ $1.50 each, corn tortillas cheap, lots of marked down cookies, tons of marked down bananas, cheap grapes . . .  I filled my baby stroller contraption!

Gonna make chicken tacos. Weasel & I snacked on some chicken in the parking lot of the grocery while I stuck out my thumb. I gave cats & dogs a whole chicken to fight over... that was fun.

Yesterday exhausted and dehydrated me. I was overheated: headache, dizzy . . . couldn't get enough to drink.

I believe I'll take the rest of today off, except easy, light chores. I've never been so scared in my life. I can put up with burying poop, with only having water part time, with the long walk & hitch hike to get ANYTHING, with the heat, poisonous bugs, missing electricity in parts of the house, blowing sand . . . but when that well stopped working, jesus.

Of course, I immediately made a plan, so next time, I won't be so scared. I have 55 gal drums neighbors can fill. I can get drinking water from a dispenser at grocery, 5 miles from here. I planned how to keep garden alive, do laundry, etc. without running water, using pumps, etc. But that REALLY SCARED ME!

I can probably rig up some way to pump h2o up through the hole for the air cond. to keep the reservoir filled, if this happens again.

All the well and pump guys have been really nice, telling me what I need to do to keep from killing the well pump.

Winter will be very hard, if I can't put a pressure switch on before then. It costs $25, but I am not sure if I can get the old one off. Tried the other day, and couldn't get it loose.

I'm hiding in my house for as long as I can. I am to the point where I really hate going out in public or even talking on the phone.

Like the guy who gave me a ride home today: am i married, do I live alone... I just said I don't like to answer personal questions for my own safety. Fortunately, he accepted it.

Ugly Betty arrived once I had bathed and rested yesterday. The box was almost three feet square! FULL of stuff! I have beautiful, cheerful, hand made things all over the house from the show now. It was just like xmas, opening the wrappings to see what was there. I got a lot more stuff than I had thought. A lot is much better quality than I had imagined, and cuter. Everything has tags or stickers from the auction house that states it came from Ugly Betty. When I woke this morning, it was like the day after xmas. I couldn't wait to get out of bed, wander the house and see the wonderful things I got! What a treat!

There's even a weird coffee mug with a face on it, hand made, I think by a kid, marked "J. Hernandez" on the bottom. I'd love to use it, but don't know if it could stand the microwave, as I warm pre made pots of coffee, since I can't function right for several hours in the moring, plus the mug has an auction sticker on it. It comes from the kitchen of Betty's last apt. in Manhattan, season 4. My husband's name is Juan Hernandez, by coincidence.

Lots of coincidences with this lot of stuff, really. Just little things in common that make me smile.

Have gone through all Ugly Betty DVDs on Netflix, except Season 4 (final) which will be released in August, in time for my birthday.

The auction, and rewatching old Ugly Betty episodes, inspired me to go back to my old ways of dressing in interesting colors, textures, etc. with off beat accessories. I learned a lot about wardrobe from UB. It isn't just Betty, either: as the show goes on, you begin to see even the stylish people dressing in patterns, textures and colors you wouldn't think would go together, but look really sharp. My favorite is Michael Urie, who plays Gay Marc. His wardrobe gets AWESOME by the end of the show. He played Vanessa Williams' assistant. Here's a BEAUTIFUL ensemble:


July 10, 3pm

Thanks for noticing my skill. I was always smart (not something I take credit for, but feel responsible for). But I was raised middle class female in the San Fernando Valley in the fifties & sixties. All institutions in my life expected me NOT to fend for myself; someone else would take care of me.

So, a lot of my anger as a young woman came from not being taken care of, even though I was a teen runaway, hanging out with radical Lesbian feminists, Olivia Records, the Women's Building, the Lesbian Tide, etc.

I was powered by terror and righteous indignation, mostly.

My standard of living has degenerated gradually over the years. The economy's much tighter now than it was in the seventies. And I've progressively lived more and more rural, until now I find myself in a harsh, desert frontier. I've been thinking about my neighbors' indifference to my life threatening circumstances recently. I have finally come to the realization that the influence of the Conquistadors and Patrons of New Mexico are very old world values: empathy and compassion are not practical survival skills here. It's a very predatory system of sizing others up to see if they have any value, ignoring them if they don't.

I accept it. I don't like it and I think.  No, I know it is wrong and counterproductive. But I accept it because that is how it is.

So, over my life, I have been brought down to basic survival, alone. I HAVE to apply my intelligence to resourcefulness and problem solving. NOBODY is going to help me, least of all the people in the agencies who are supposedly paid to do so.

I have been forced to put my feminism where my mouth is. If I want gourmet food, by gawd, I'd better learn to cook.

If I want a running vehicle, I'd better learn mechanics.

If I want a garden, I'd better study how.

If I want animals, I'd better know veterinary medicine.

If I am injured, I'd better know HUMAN medicine.

It is REALLY TOUGH at times. But I have learned I can trust myself. I think that is the greatest accomplishment of my life.

The way my animals feel completely secure, trusting, relaxed and happy under my care, I KNOW I could have been a good mother, partner, friend, lover, community member... if I had been wanted. I no longer blame myself for not being wanted. I don't understand all the reasons why I am so rejected, but I accept that, too.

It's been a big relief not to call myself a failure as a mother anymore, because my baby died. Did I tell you about her?

I nearly killed myself over her death, until I realized my suicide would be the only memorial to her life: rogi killed herself because her daughter died. no way. Viri DIana has not CURED my suicidal impulses, but I can no longer indulge them or flirt with them; I made a contract that I won't kill myself, for her. Her life has GOT to have had some meaning, so I am giving it THIS one.

I feel the water has evaporated from the swamp cooler, so I need to go out and turn water back on.

Thanks for noticing that I just get down to business now and solve problems, rather than wallowing in self pity, panic, pleas for rescue, pointless rage... thank you for noticing.

Time for some air up in here.

You want something from Ugly Betty? I feel like gifting a bit of it. Just a little pottery animal or something? There's a psychedelic green squirrel from Mexico that grins. It is very nice.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

MOVIE: "The Only Good Indian"

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com
Share |

I thought SCHINDLERS LIST would be the most profoundly disturbing film I would ever see. I was wrong. I will not discuss production, techniques, etc. here, except to say the music, the lighting, composition and acting were spiritual (and I do not use that word lightly nor often). US treatment of Native peoples informed Hitler and served as template for treatment of Aboriginals in Australia, Hawaii, Latin America, Africa, the entire planet. I live in New Mexico. I see the effects on Sam Franklins, nearly every day. Kevin Wilmott, director, is listed in Wiki as a Black man and Kansas native; his sensitivity to the subject seems as blood in his veins. I followed the Santa Fe trail, from Albuquerque, through Lawrence, KS. The story of this film was completely invisible to me. I know about boarding schools, but this portrayal was more poignant than RABBIT PROOF FENCE, a profound film. The asylum (which was anything but) is a chilling testament to the pathologizing of free people, which continues today with chemical, instead of iron, restraints. Forced sterilization got mention, which is rare. Native collaboration with US genocide, a tricky discussion, is here. I kept seeing the thousands of silenced stories like this one that need to be told about Native peoples. The film is clear eyed, unsentimental, without polemic or magical thinking. It is nearly documentary in storytelling. The Jews have a saying about the Holocaust: Never Again. We need a filmography, a literature and schools of all art forms that record, with such care and honesty, Manifest Destiny on the North American continent: historically, and contemporarily. The metaphor of the vampire as European invasion is honest; the church as the Castle Dracula was heart breaking.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

MOVIE: Ping Pong Playa

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com
Share |

You mean Charlie Chan is not Chinese? I put off watching this film because I thought Table Tennis? It is dorky, boring and embarrassing. I thought a comedy about table tennis? How lame must that be? I NEVER laugh out loud at movies. I laughed SO HARD at this one, I almost puked my soda pop, for real. I grinned from start to finish and my face hurts. You know the stereotype of the Chinese American father who is the stern patriarch, overly demanding, not listening to what his kids really want? THIS father, and the actor who plays him, is a REAL sleeper comedian! The KIDS! Oh, I would think my life was Heaven if I had even one of this clever, cute, brilliant boys doing their slapstick and one liners! The love interest is not a haughty, arrogant, conservative, disproving cardboard cut out. She is, in her subtle and dry way, a very funny straight man. And Chris? I have never seen a character quite like him! What a doofus! Yet, he is intelligent and has a good heart. The actor who plays him deserves a brilliant and long career (I think it would be funny to remake Charlie Chan movies, urban style, with him in the lead!) I do not hear hip-hop style music too well: the lyrics just go by really fast. I loved the music in this! And now, a word about editing. The juxtaposition, in a conversation, about what Chris tells his friend, against what actually happened? Oh, my GAWD! The kids' practices, the final tournament...beautiful. The tiny pocket cycle, the cereal, the vibrating cell phone that lands on his head, the Opium Wars . . . I really REALLY loved this movie! And no, it is NOT racist to point out the IGNORANT things Europeans have said about, and done to, Chinese people! We aint workin on no railroads for free, bro. PS: not Asian here, Im just sayin . . .
Golden Cock: ROFLMFAO!