Sunday, June 04, 2006

Assignment 12

My mental map has changed a lot. Now I feel the world can be unraveled. I'm not trying to sound like a "saved" christian, but this is what people mean when they say that the meaning of life is to constantly learn and we all constantly learn whether we like it or not. My mental map is always changing, whether it was because of that class I took, or that documentary I watched. However, the more I learn, the more I find myself brooding over complicated matters, like global warmer or politics. And sometimes I do believe ignorance is bliss but what waste it would be to always live within the boundaries. Why would anyone want to keep themselves dumb. Taking this class has definetly unraveled a lot of things I couldn't have initially done myself, as well as see through things. But the really important part of this class is not just to recognize the problem, but to defuse it. And defusing it doesn't mean completely obliterating the problem, but opening it up and exposing its weaknesses by you becoming an active resistant. If anything, this class helped me recognize the system in which anything is made. If you want to blow up a tower you don't blow it up on the 12 floor, you blow it up at its foundations (ironic).

Assignment 11

Systematic resistance and revolutionary struggle are used to create change as opposed to weapons of the weak in which the people who utilize those weapons only seek to disrupt not necessarily create a permanent change in the order of things. In class we discussed the Cuban Revolution. The cuban revolution was strong because it utilized the struggles of the people it sought to liberate, the same struggles that the oppressors created in the first place. We see the perfect example of using hte master's whip against him. Jordan also brought up the American revolution. That's the classic example people use because its so romanticized, it's rediculous. With all resistances and struggles that seek to create permanent change, utilizing the people is important because without people you lack that important understanding of what's the objective, in addition to support. The bad things about both is that wars were the product.

Assignment 10

Scott talks about weapons of the weak. Even the label "weapons of the weak" hint towards the idea of people reverting to clever yet simplistic actions when in desperation or when being dominated. Throughout my life, I have used many different kinds of weapons for the week. This is because I am young and I live in a society that fanaticizes over the idea that the older you are, the wiser you are. And because I have been so dominated into this role every form of resistance can be classified as a weapon of the weak. Some may say you can liberate yourself from this idea. When I argue with my parents, I usually don't want to be associated with them afterwards. The last argument I had, I ended up giving them the money they give me on a regular basis back to them and explained that if they don't approve of how I live my life, then maybe they should stop financing it. But that might not be a weapon of the weak because it is too confrontational. I was making myself into an example and putting myself out there, vulnerable to compromise and criticism; I became a martyr for the problem. I idea of a weapon of the weak is supposed to be almost like guerilla warfare without the warfare and even almost like being an invisible parasite on the dominator's back. Sometimes without me knowing, I destroy any kind of connection with my parents. Ripping it down to its bare bones, when we fight, I would simply just do what they say and say yes or No, nothing else. They can't punish me for doing what they say. This works in some instances, where you become such a perfect example of what they want, that the dominator becomes uncomfortable. This only works if the dominator initially cherishes a kinship like relationship with you; kind of like this cool bosses who are cool with their workers but still control them.
If I would do this again in the future, I would do something. It depends on the situation, because like I said, weapons of the weak emerge from someone's desperation under domination. It isn't something planned. With all forms of resistance, spontaneity is the key. If planning is made, your enemies can easily unravel it because it is in existence and when plans are made, things can always become over thought and complicated. Weapons of the weak are simplistic and parasitic.
One way of popularizing these methods amongst the weak is to expose and help people realize their own suffering. People these days are becoming too oblivious for their own good. When something horrible happens to the world, they think to themselves, "Oh that can never happen to me." People can't resist their enemies and oppressors if they can't accept the truth about their suffering and rationalize it for themselves so that they can accept the situation.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Presentation Steps

1. Arena

Household
What are the difficulties and hardships of trying to maintain and preserve a healthy household?
How to make other people in the house lives easier?
How do I bring myself back into the inner family circle?


2. Background

Prior to my action research project I extracted myself out of the household picture and tried to evaluate what my role had been thus far by asking myself questions like, “How many times did I do the dishes this week?” and, “How many times did I talk to my dad today?” I think a background research is important for my action research project because it establishes a “Point A” for my case since it is change I am trying to create; I need to be aware of the difference I might have potentially made by comparing Point A to my completion. My background research drew a better picture of myself for myself. I realized I locked myself in my room a lot, never did any chores, never talked to my parents, etc.

3. Focus

I focused mainly on the relationship improving aspect of my project, as opposed to just simply the chore doing aspect. In fact I argue that the chore is the action, but the point is to bring myself back into the family circle and strengthen my relationships with each of my parents.


4. Goal

I want to improve my ties with my family through the means of becoming more active around the household.

5. Component Goals

Improve relationships with sister.
Maintain a clean household.

6. Action Plan

Doing everything, and anything, and at any time. Whenever a task arises, throw myself at it.



7. Action

Doing the dishes, mop the floor, feed the cats, do the laundry, clean the house, cook breakfast, cook lunch, cook dinner, by the groceries, clean my room, clean dad’s room, clean the litter boxes, etc.

8. Data Collection & Analysis

5/15/06

Came Home From Baltimore
Unpacked and Folded Laundry
Went Out
Did Dishes

5/16/06

Did the Dishes
Took The Trash Out
Fed The Cats Dinner
Made Dinner For My Dad

5/17/06
Did the Dishes
Made Dinner
Watched The UEFA Champions League Final With Dad (Arsenal FC vs. FC Barcalona)

5/18/06
Did the Dishes
Made My Own Dinner
Took The Trash Out
Fed The Cats Lunch and Dinner

5/19/06

Did The Dishes
Fed The Cats
Did The Laundry
Talked With my Mom

5/20/06
Did The Dishes
Hung Out in The Living Room All Night
Watched Fox Sports News With My Dad


5/22/06
Did The Dishes

9. Evaluation

I would say the goals I set out to do I did. I definitely see change in the way my mom carries herself around the house. She definitely smiles a lot more. And she drinks wine more. I’m not sure if that’s her interpretation of recreation but she normally doesn’t have time to do that.

10.Revised Action Plan

Continue doing the things I do.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Assignment 9

I believe that my actions have had great effects on my household and me as well. In my own life, I feel a great switch in how I spend my free time. I feel that I have also made everyone in my house much more happier, now that the chores are equally divided even though I get the bigger pieces of the house chores. I feel that all along, we had been ignoring the fact that our mother was doing everything in exchange for laziness and relaxation. I'm a strapping young lad... I should be doing all the chores but before my actions, I did nothing. I brought myself back into the household circuit and out of my room's closed doors. Now it is easier for me to hang out in the living room without feeling awkward. I successfully expanded the horizons of my home in accordance to me. My mom is now able to do what she wants to do. She is able to go on neighborhood walks, drink wine, and mope around. My actions were successful because I can feel the changes that initially sought to achieve circulating in the household. I used to come home carrying the burdens of school, just to also carry the burdens of home; The burdens of disintegrating relationships and trying to reside in such a somber environment. Because of my actions, I believe that the problems I first sought to correct are corrected.

The new situation would be to continue to do these actions and to preserve these sweetening relationships. If I let things turn foul again, then it would mean that I never really sacrificed anything in the first place. Which would mean the change that I wanted to create would just disintegrate. Getting things started is always to hardest part for everything you do in life. Now, for me, it is only the simple question of if I can get used to it; getting used to the new lifestyle. There are different kinds of completion and they all have to do with time. This kind of action can be fulfilled in any amounts of time. Maybe I’m being ambitious and optimistic at the moment but I hope that I have not completed my action for this short duration. I wish to seek a greater completion. A completion built upon a greater foundation made up of stronger ideals and much more sweeter relationships. People often create change for self-fulfillment. We have no idea how big our hearts are so for the time being, all I know how to do is continue to fill it up. Some vegans become vegans because they do not want to any part of the guilt involved with killing animals for food. Some people devote their lives to religion because they want to repent their guilt in their lives. Some rich people donate money to things they believe in. Bicyclists ride bikes because they do not want to contribute to something bad like the oil peak. People often do things simply for themselves but successful change is only successful when you're able to motivate other people's lives.

It is not a matter of understanding or not. Of course you always leave an important experience with new understanding. For me, I think the worst part is that I was always aware of the stress my mother under goes but never brought myself to change it for her. And even with this action, it wasn't performed specifically with only my mother in mind. I was also motivated with the idea that I would also be creating change within myself by creating change for my mother and for my household. If I were pick a new understanding I learned from doing my actions I would say that now I understand that everyone at heart is a little bit of that rich self-entitled brat I talk about and that we should corner that brat and violently stab it to death, till the point where it is not recognizable and is no longer identifiable with ourselves. Change is only possible if everyone adopts an open-minded mentality, a mentality that accepts change. It is also important to kill that brat inside of us because if we hold on to it, we begin to hold on tightly to other things. We begin to obsess over convenience. And when we do so, we make sacrifices harder for us and it would be harder for us to adapt to any kind of new environment. Like what I said before and what Death cycle said, sacrifices must be made if there is to be change. By elimination, we force ourselves to live differently, for better or worse.

As I continue to work on the issue of improving my household relationships, I hope to continue doing what I am already doing. I hope to continue to do the chores I do in hopes of only making my mother only happier. Why? That's a stupid question to ask. Why wouldn't you? You started change, why would you pat yourself on the back and just drop everything you're doing. Change is only good if it is here to stay and not just a little taste.

Assignment 8

The action I took was simply just taking over all of my mother's "motherly" duties. Everything like mopping the floor, feeding the cats, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, cooking breakfast, cooking lunch, cooking dinner, mopping the floor, doing all the dishes, buying the groceries, carrying the groceries, cleaning my room, cleaning my dad’s room, cleaning the cat’s litter boxes, taking out the trash, I try to do almost on a daily basis. I think it is an Asian aesthetic that it is the parent's job to serve their children until they are of age to return the favor. There weren't necessarily any kind of steps I took or any kind of ritualistic approach towards the chores. Whenever the opportunity arose, I simply threw myself at the task, no matter how lazy I was or how easy it was like feeding the cats. During all this I made a realization that made my purpose much more clearer. The only reason I never did any chores was because I felt that they were meaningless tasks that were time-consuming and strenuous. However I realized that I don't really spend my free time any better. I simply just sit in front of the television or computer. So why did I reserve so much time for myself to simply do nothing at all. I could have spend that free time to make everyone's lives much more easier to swallow. And I think that that's the kind of mentality that I want circulating around the house. Kind of like the militant men-at-arms approach where whenever there's an obstacle someone tries to throw himself or herself at it so that the next person doesn't have to do it. It's kind of like what the band Death cycle says in one of their songs, "If no one makes sacrifices, there isn't going to be any kind of change." Which is true. For too long have I let things progress the way they did and the sacrifice I made to create change was to drastically switch around my priorities and change the way I spend my free time around my house.

I chose this action because as lame as it sounds, I wanted to know how my mom feels, coming home from work just to start a different job. People often ignore or revere from the truth so that they can continue to live their own lives blissfully and gleefully. I felt that I didn't want to be a sheep and I didn't want to be my own Sheppard because you do not get anywhere like that. If that's the case than before this action I was constantly herding myself around the same hill. There was absolutely no chance for self-realization if I limited purposely alter how I want to live my life at home without even knowing it. And this is when you convince yourself that the lies you make up are true. "Oh mom can do the dishes, I probably wont do them clean anyways and give someone a stomach ache." If I never took these actions, I would've never learned how to really clean the dishes. I hate living like a self-entitled little brat. Which is why I try to put myself out there as much as possible.

That's how I felt before my actions, like a self-entitled little rich brat. This mentality is the opposite of my "always give, never take" mentality. You can live life feeling the satisfaction of giving someone something but you can't live a life feeling like you owe someone something. I rather not live my life having my gut wrenched every day of life. During my action I felt like I was actually making my mother happier. She had more free time to smile more as opposed to me sitting in front of the computer and after the action I felt like I became or a more vibrantly distinguished character in my average household.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Assignment 7

I want to change the relationship that exists between my parents and I. As well as changing the way I interpret the household I live in by means of keeping it clean and respecting others who live with me. The key stakeholders are basically my mom and me. Me being the family member that barely do anything and my mom who does everything. But things get more complicated. I do not want my parents to take notice of what I am doing because I do not want to be rewarded with money or something. This is something I should have been doing all along. For my mom, it would be weird for her to not be able to do all these things again because I do them now. However, I do not want her to feel as if she’s not doing enough or she is getting old. I do not believe mother should be slaved in the comforts of their own homes. Processes connect to one another. When I get used to doing something like mopping the floor, feeding the cats, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, cooking breakfast, cooking lunch, cooking dinner, mopping the floor, doing all the dishes, I can move on to stuff like spending time with my family, paying more attention to the cats instead of focusing on my own life, focusing on my friends, putting my friends before my family, putting my friends before my siblings, and putting my friends before my pets. My opponents would be my own moms because she would try to convince me not to do the chores I want to because she’s already so used to doing them such as mopping the floor, feeding the cats, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, cooking breakfast, cooking lunch, cooking dinner, mopping the floor, doing all the dishes, buying the groceries, carrying the groceries, cleaning my room, cleaning my dad’s room, cleaning the cat’s litter boxes, taking out the trash. My response to that kind of scenario would be to persist on that I do the dishes, mop the floor, feed the cats, do the laundry, clean the house, cook breakfast, cook lunch, cook dinner, by the groceries, clean my room, clean dad’s room, clean the litter boxes, etc.

Assignment 6

My parents and me have never been close to one another. I’ve always been preoccupied and they are always busy with work so it has always been my sisters who have raised me. My mother almost slaves herself every night with chores like making breakfast, lunch and dinner for me and my siblings as well as doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, cleaning the littler box, feeding the cats, feeding my dad, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming the house, doing the laundry, going to the market, going to get groceries, carrying the groceries home, feeding the turtles, cleaning the house, etc. My action research project would be to assume the role as the mother in the household by taking care of everything and doing everything she does. My objective would be to understand the stress she endures to keep this house together. I would also do the laundry and feed the cats.

This issue is important to me because I feel I am not doing as much as I can for my family so by assuming a more active role, I would be able to do so. Assuming a more active role in the household is not just about doing the chores, but it is more about returning to the family circle that I have barred myself from for so long. It is about no longer being a ghost in the comfort of your own home. I want to break the routine of coming home and going straight to my room, not because of punishment but because they’re is not exists between me and anything that makes home what it should be, most importantly love and relationship. I could have easily done an action research project on something that only affected me but that would just separate me farther from my siblings, my parents, and home. How can you change a broken word if you yourself cannot even recover the broken pieces that make up who you are? I did not want to do a lot of things because I feel that this assignment would not give whatever I choose to do my project on great life worthy credibility. I would simply be rewarded a numeric grade that gets filled into another slot on the teacher’s grade book, as opposed to a spiritual revelation or something of that sort. I believe that my decision was very common because I can tell from certain people personalities in my class are quite like mine and that we are not that different after all. They are afraid to change something about their lives because they do not know if they can do so. People are afraid of failure and the process to failure is so gut wrenching. For my action research project, I know that a perfect relationship can never emerge between my parents and I, but for the time being, even a fraction of that perfect relationship would be more than enough.

Assignment 5

Three techniques of making social change that I find particularly compelling or exciting would be rioting, graffiti, and public film. I have always catered to the arts as a weapon to use for social change, with the exception of riots. I find that our generation is easily distracted because we live in a world that is very distracting. We are constantly bombarded with the news and the media. Everything from the latest fashions to the last roadside bomb that went off in Iraq, we're constantly being fed an immense amount of information till point where we are unable to tell the nonsense apart from what really matters. Which is why the three methods I am going to talk about can be labeled "radical" or visually exciting. From the torched cars of France, to the anti-bush artists that cover New York City under the candid night sky, these to me are powerful and effective methods of achieving social change.

Rioting is a powerful display of a group of people's anger and will; A group of peoples' will to change something. One thing that people need to understand about riots is that they wouldn't be necessary if a government would just take the time to listen to the people it governs in the first place. The only reason people would turn to violence, as an answer would be because they feel that they have not been heard. Riots should only come naturally after groups of people, after much reasoning, eliminate all options except for rioting. Rioting can be overused like protests or boycotts. Because there is no physical harm involved, authorities can easily subdue a orderly protest or arrest a sit-in boycott because of their laws. With rioting there is a crucial element, which is not being predictable. The actions of a riot cannot be easily anticipated. There is no clue to whether what kind of destruction might possibly take place. Nowadays, protests and marches are always accompanied by a convoy of police officers and their route is mapped out by the authorities so at every corner, they are being watched. Personally to me, i feel that is stripping them of their purpose and turning them into the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade; they become a spectacle for the media and bystanders because they present no harm. With riots, there is harm involved so they have to be taken seriously.

Public films are a great way of spread social change. Ever come out of that movie theatre and still feel the goose bumps on your skin, even long after the credits roll? Film can achieve monumental results. The whole point of film is to depict. The act of delivering a message. But even nowadays, films are water down by companion blockbuster films, your typical "blow the bad guys up and the good guy wins movie". Even though the blockbusters have overtaken film, once in a while a unforeseen film full of twists emerges and affects their viewers. From "The Fog of War", starring former Secretary of Defense, Henry Kissinger, to Michael Moore's numerous documentaries, films today mix the black and white defined world of facts with the power of filmmaking. Now audiences are no longer only shown how exactly Rambo takes on an entire enemy encampment, but they are shown why, when, where, and what. People have not lost respect for a film. It takes a lot to make a film and it takes more to make a good film that says something.

Having grown in Brooklyn, New York City graffiti is as prominent to me as city pigeons or squirrels in a park. Every you look most of the time; someone is try to say something. Humans talk a lot but humans don't listen enough. So if people can't reach others' ears, then why not reach their mind via their eyes. This goes back to my idea about how riots only occur when a group of people feels as if they are not listened to or not taken seriously. Why not make everyone listen to you on his or her way to work on the subway?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Assignment 4

On May Day, I chose to not contribute anything part of me or anything to establishments that had illegal immigrants working for them. I chose the method of boycott even though it was something I did alone but to contribute to a greater meaning. I chose to boycott because I felt other methods were too radical and could be easily misinterpreted. For example, rioting could easily be misinterpreted as senseless violence. Graffiti would deface other people's properties and ultimately it would be illegal immigrants cleaning up the mess. And graffiti's message is often overlooked because people are too fixated on the crime aspect of it since we live in world riddled with laws and policed by people poisoned by the endowment of power by power holders. Writing letters to power holders can be easily overlooked. In writing letters, the writer is the only one that feels the change because it occurs within them. It’s the feeling of accomplishment or getting rid of one's own guilt. Ultimately the act of boycotting should be recognized by other people because it is sending out a clear message saying, "I'm doing this because I think it is right. Maybe you should do the right thing too." They don't have to believe in what I am boycotting but the act of them taking notice of what I am doing already makes a difference because I am promoting public awareness to the issue. When I was boycotting on May Day, I felt very guilt free. Almost as if I was doing the right thing and I had nothing to do with the evil in the world. But I couldn't forget that before May Day, I was taking advantage of the many illegal immigrants' efforts. Not only did this experience raise public awareness, but also it raised my own awareness to the issue and my decision to change my lifestyle because of it is now probable.

Boycotting can always be overlooked or overpowered. Boycotting is only successful when every one is sharing the same piece of mind. If I were to be boycotting, someone who strongly disagreed with what I was doing could have resort to violence and beaten me. That is an example of boycotting being overpowered by violence. Violence also exists hand in hand with another repertoire, rioting. With boycotting, not only can one draw public awareness to an issue through non-violent means, one is also promoting a peaceful state of mind. Because boycotting is not about violence or fighting, but it’s about understanding and reasoning taken higher to a more physical and active level. Not necessarily as active as rioting. There's so much more I could've done to make my method more effective and that would uniting with other who share the same ideas as me. So now my act of boycotting has taken on a collective identity not that people see that there are more people who believe in the same thing. This connects with the idea that human beings imitate each other. When one person sees that there are more people under one umbrella, that person goes ahead and joins that group. People have the tendency to consolidate with each other, whether it is under a positive or negative idea. Even though I don't want to admit it, boycotting has its limitations in terms of effectiveness. At that point rioting would seem to be more effective because it is the quick and hurried act of bring something to its knees, as opposed to waiting it out against the issue.

Assignment 3

On Wednesday for volunteer day, I decided to go to the AbcNorRIo darkroom and try to clean up the space even though I already volunteer there, on Sundays. Even though we charge customers 6 dollars an hour, I feel the money is well earned because every dollar AbcNoRio earns goes into a master plan to demolish the entire building, ultimately to recreate a new AbcNoRio that's up to date with the city's requirements if it were not to be condemned. It tries to remain a free art spaces by holding many workshops and events that are opened to the public. Recently a hole had opened up above the drying rack for the prints due to rainfall. Gregor, the darkroom supervisor, had been making plans to fix the hole with money out of his own pocket. On Wednesday, I went in to make sure that no prints that were still on the drying rack, had been affected by any kind of fallen debris. I also reorganized the messy metal cabinet where we keep out focus lens, enlarger lens, dodging tools, the moneybox, filters, and cds. I also put my old matte RC printing paper in the donation area so that everyone can use it since I have moved to printing for fiber paper for better preservation. I enjoyed what I did. I do the same things on Sundays with the exception of changing old chemicals and making fresh batches and taking out the nasty trash that always smells like corroding metal because of the developer, stop bath, and fixer chemicals.

There's only so much one person can achieve through volunteering. Perhaps because of my actions on Wednesday, I might've made other volunteer's jobs much more easy going by organizing everything. However if every volunteer, including myself, were to put more energy, time, and effort into the darkroom, we could make it a much better and efficient place. What if we all became philanthropists like Gregor and took money out of our own pockets to contribute to the darkroom? I have personal issues with philanthropy. We live in a society where people are classified based on how rich or poor they are. So it’s just hard for me to put my trust in money in general. Money is circulated through society as if society was a swollen part of your body and money was the bad blood being re-pumped through the area instead of fresh blood. I guess it depends on whom one might be financially contributing to and how they plan to use the money. I believe in what the AbcNoRio darkroom does. They retain the reputation of being the city's cheapest darkroom apart from having your own darkroom. Its not everyday that you come across free art spaces like AbcNoRio where collectivity is successfully keeping a place that is made up of so many things and people, running.

Volunteering is a good way for someone to be charitable. But it takes a bunch of volunteers to make something happen or to create change. For example, how can volunteering possibly stop a World War? When a world is bent on violence and war, charitable actions like volunteering at a darkroom might be overlooked because there are more dire situations on the horizon.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Assignment 2

I believe that people in society should not rely so heavily on caffeinated, sugary beverages. Beverages like Coca-cola are so unhealthy. In addition to consuming large amounts of caffeine and sugar, you are also consuming unnecessary amounts of sodium as well as other “unknown” ingredients to the All-American drink as well as its brother Sprite, and sister Dr. Pepper. I would definitely love to see human being take back what is rightfully theirs and they’re for their consumption, water. People say that they can’t stand the tasteless taste of water but in my opinion, because they’re so used to drinking these pumped up beverages that rot them inside out. Drinking water isn’t that simple. There are many kinds of water out their that have unknown ingredients too as well as water out there that are owned by corporations like Coca-Cola and Snapple who should be trusted since they also supply us with their unhealthy sugary delights.
I recently developed a sense of fondness towards Coca-Cola products, as well as coffee. I drink soda before I go to sleep at nights and for the longest time; I have been having sleeping problems and being woken in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. I figured I must have been consuming too much caffeine in the first place. Initially I cut back on coffee and started drinking de-caffeinated and caffeinated teas on and off but I still consumed a lot of soda. The thought of pumping these unknown ingredients disturb me so I figured I’m going to stop drinking soda and coffee. Self-work is effective only if it works and you tell your friends about it. Personally I feel that if you’re doing something right and keeping it to yourself, it would be very selfish and wouldn’t make you any better than the people you’re setting yourself apart from by not doing the same things they do. A large part of social change isn’t to make yourself feel better and not guilty, but it is about making a large group of people guilt-free and spreading your message. I believe if I started by telling my sisters to stop drinking soda and coffee, as well as, my parents, that that would be a good initial stepping stone, because they are the people I come face to face almost every day.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Assignment 1

Prior to performing my "random acts of kindness", I took a few hours to re-evaluated myself. From thinking introspectively about myself, I was able to mentally visualize the kind of person I am, as well as the way I behave. I realize that I am somewhat narcistic. Growing up in New York City lead me to realized that I have adopted that "city" habit of avoiding eye contact and keeping a somber, straight face while I walk from one unswerving, crackling city street to another. My plan, based from these self-realizations, is to correct these things; To do the opposite of what my instincts suggest. On my way around the city today, every person that I caught the eyes of, I courteously sent a mediocre smile back their way. And everytime I sent a smile, it was such a relief to recieve one back from a complete stranger. Almost everytime, I was immediatly engulfed in an optimistic sense of warmness. In addition to smiling at strangers, people I had no personal connections with, I started conversations with my many neighbors as well as being courteous to them. As I made my way around the corners of the lobby in my apartment building, I ran into the husband in the middle-aged spanish couple that recently moved onto my floor. I started the conversation off with my cool and laidback trademark, "Hey...", almost "Fonze" like, the infamous character from the once hit television show but now TV Land re-run, Happy Days. We went through the ritualistic conversational procedures. "Hi, How was your day", he said with a sigh in his voice, as if he had just rushed home from work and couldn't wait to take off those pointy, painful dress shoes. I replied in the same sigh-like tone he had used, "Good, and yours?". I figured it would be pretty obnoxious of me to be louder than a typical Californian valley girl since it seemed that this poor man had just been through what seemed to be a tiring day at work and the least I could do is be courteous, and not send my loud piercing voice through his already unwinding brain. He made the conversation much more worthwhile and interesting by going through the mail. He pulled out this New York Times newspaper letter. It seemed like a bill. "This better not be a damn bill," he said, "I already cancelled my suscription!" I always found swearing to be humorous, so I gave out an unruffled scuff. He began to go more indepth with his anger, but at the same time still being able to remain humorous about it. I took it as a sign, and I began to laugh out loud. We live on the same aisle of the floor so as we walked down the hallway together. At this point, I said outloud, "Alright, well have a great night." At which, he said, "Yeah man, you too." And I continued my walk down the hallway, since I lived at the very end.

Social change on a global level is something that can't be achieved over night as well directly achieved. One must first climb the small stepping stonesand slowly crusade towards the more efficate social changes. Being vibrantly nice and courteous, in a gray, disgruntled city is a great place to start. "It's the little things that count." Everyone probably has heard this phrase before and i'm beginning to believe that it is indeed true. Instead of avoiding eye contact, we can acknowledge each other as living breathing human bodies, simply be smiling or conversing with the person. Both are forms of human acknowledgement. From my experiences in life, people are great at imitating each other, whether it be verbal slang, or how we dress ourselves. People model themselves after other people. By starting the trend of being nice and in touch with the people you share the world with, a sense of unity and kinship can emerge from a world of complete strangers. We might not be able to be each other's brothers and sisters ,but that kind of relationship can be created, one small step at a time.