I generally don’t do this

Memes. I hate them. They are like the blogosphere’s version of a chain letter, the creeping crud so to speak. Now the concept of memes, from an academic standpoint is quite interesting.

A meme is a cultural unit of information that gets transmitted from one person to another. Memes, like viruses propogate themselves. In the social science arena a meme can be thought of as tribal knowledge.

Internet Memes can also be cultural bits that are passed around like the warnings about deoderant causing breast cancer, or the laughing babies video… they become viral in that they are passed from one person to another.

In the blogosphere, a meme is propogated in much the same way a chain letter gets passed along– one blogger tagging another, often guilting them into participating. ;-0 and I hate it when someone tries to make me do anything….

But Martin was so pleased that he finally got tagged, a rite of passage he called, and then he tagged me, and I didn’t want to discourage him from playing on the internet, so here goes:

The Inquisition Meme

10 years ago
It was 1998 (Yeah! I can still do math –but I have to check my resume)
Ten years ago I was working as a computer consultant with my good friend. We had a consulting firm to help small businesses optimize their computer use: off-the-shelf software customization, contact management and accounting software deployment and custom database development.

5 things on To do list
1. Finish my You Like Play Chalk essay to turn into my Read and Critique group.
2.Pack a box. (I have goal of 1 box per weekend until I move)
3.Go through dresser drawer and discard items I no longer wear
4.Go to grocery store and make dinner (is that one or two ? they are related)
5.Help sister create a flyer advertising a Gyrokenisis workshop she has planned
6.Follow up on: estimate from movers, registration at University of New Mexico… hell, put together a list of everything I need to do.

yes I know that is more than 5 but I’m playing by my rules.

If I were a billionaire….I wouldn’t worry about paying for grad school! I would buy a house for cash for sure. I would get a massage once a week. I would travel all summer long…. I really want to go to Ireland. And Peru. Maybe a spa week at someplace like Rancho La Puerta. And a dude ranch. Maybe a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. Oh, and Alaska… and the Sea of Cortez to see the whales. Better make a list just in case I become a billionaire.

I would set aside at least 10 percent for charitable causes. Of course I would give money to public radio, and cancer research. Maybe start a scholarship or grant fund for writers.

3 bad habits
Only three! Hah! OK well, I quit smoking so that can come off the list.

1. I don’t exercise. Which technically isn’t a habit. Exercising would be a habit. NOT exercising is just plain lazy.
2. I pick at my cuticles.
3. I procrastinate… terribly, waiting until the last minute to do almost everything. I’m sure I’ll be up packing all night the night before I move… for example. But I’ll surely have a list about it. (is that bad habit number 4?)

5 places I’ve lived
More than five places, again, my blog, my rules. In order:

Long Beach, Calif.
Alameda, Calif.
Long Beach Again
San Diego, Calif
Aiea, Hawaii (near Honolulu)
Vienna, Va (a suburb of Washington DC)
Del Mar, Calif (a suburb of San Diego)
San Diego, Calif
Morelia, Michoacan Mexico (only for a summer, but I’m counting it anyway)
La Mesa, Calif. (a suburb of San Diego)
San Diego, Calif
Chicago, IL
Solana Beach, Calif (a suburb of San Diego)
Leucadia, Calif (a suburb of San Diego)
Del Mar, Calif
Solana Beach, Calif
…. Albuquerque, NM (beginning July 2008)

5 jobs I’ve had
Airline ticket delivery girl
(for you younguns, this was before the internet and email and electronic boarding passes)

Gift Shop Clerk/Birthday Hostess and sometimes Rat at Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater. Those character costumes are disgusting inside. Hot and your breath condenses on the inside of the mask, like everyone else’s before you… ew.

Secretary (I type 80 words per minute and paid my way through college working for a CPA)

Program Coordinator, International Visitors Council of San Diego

Director of Marketing and New Media

# # #

That’s it. If you comment, consider yourself tagged.

Making the Write Decision

Every now and then, its nice to get some sort of confirmation that you are in fact making the right decision…  and so today, when I logged onto the University of New Mexico website…  I found this announcement:

Gregory Martin Named UNM 2008 Outstanding Teacher of the Year

“Most students of creative writing are too good at being students. They are cautious and risk adverse. They have not learned to welcome failure and despair. I want them to stop thinking of themselves as students – with assignments and deadlines imposed by some professor or program – and begin to see themselves as artists, as writers,” says Associate Professor of English Gregory Martin.

He was hired at UNM to implement a creative nonfiction concentration within the creative writing program and his students, who are all required to submit a manuscript for publication in a magazine have been published in literary journals, in anthologies, and had their work read aloud on National Public Radio. Martin mentors student writers with an emphasis on the process of revision and peer review.

Martin has already received the Keleher Award for Outstanding Assistant Professor of English and the Gunter Starkey Teaching Award from UNM’s College of Arts and Sciences. He also wrote “Mountain City”, a memoir of the life of a town of thirty-three people in remote northeastern Nevada. That book received a Washington State Book Award and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

His students describe him as demanding, inspiring and kind. This fall he will be teaching Senior Honors Thesis, Individual Study, Creative Writing Workshop-Creative Nonfiction, Problems for the Master’s Degree, Problems for the Doctor’s Degree, and Dissertation.

# # #

I’ve already signed up for the Fall Creative Writing Workshop…

Good news for divorce attorneys!

So, whether you think that gay marriage somehow undermines the “institution of marriage” or like me (and the California Supreme Court) you think that same-sex couples should have the same rights as different-sex couples…

California Court Affirms Right to Gay Marriage
Published: May 16, 2008

Same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The court’s 4-to-3 decision, striking down two state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman, will make California only the second state, after Massachusetts, to allow same-sex marriages. The decision, which becomes effective in 30 days, is certain to be an issue in the presidential campaign. –continue reading–>

….with a divorce rate of 40-50% (depending on who’s statistics you read) and even higher apparently for born-again Christians the fact is that divorce attorneys will probably reap the benefits of this landmark California Supreme Court decision….

call me a cynic.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has always been difficult for me… looking at all the ads for special brunches, presents for mom… no mom to celebrate with.

Mothers Day?

And this year Ralph had his first Mother’s Day without his mom. My sister casually said something about it– right before she went out of town to Rancho La Puerta (an opportunity to go for Free! why don’t I know people like that?). It got me to thinking, however, that maybe I didn’t have to be angry about not having a mother on Mother’s Day. Maybe I could take the day to celebrate, to remember, to appreciate the mother that I had if even for too short a time.

And so I invited Ralph to dinner so we could celebrate our mothers. We got all dressed up. I wore a dress, heels and everything and Ralph wore a nice pair of slacks and a dress coat. My mother would have been proud. 

We went to Rei do Gado a Brazilian churrascaria, had a really fine dinner and toasted our mothers with a fine Malbec.  No special significance having Brazilian food, but it was a place we had both heard was good– and it was. 

And today, in the midst of going through the things that I will soon pack and pay to have moved to Albuquerque…  I found this:

 It only took me some 30 years to figure it out, but it felt good to celebrate rather than be upset or angry. I think I will make this a regular annual event, to celebrate my mother on Mother’s Day.  I’m not making any promises about the upcoming Father’s Day, but I’m going to give it a try.

So whether you are a mother, have a mother or had a mother I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day!  It feels good to celebrate, and remember the mother that I loved when I drew that picture. 

Chicano Park

This past weekend’s tour of San Diego with my cousin Katie and Casey included a stop at Chicano Park, and I am embarassed to admit I had never been there before. What an amazing place! And, an inspiring story of community acitivism and a neighborhood’s desire for self-determination.

Hanging out under the freeway offers a unique perspective. More lines. These freeway lines initially divided the community, but in the end served to unite.


And I felt really secure seeing the support structure of the freeway. I always wondered how those bridges stay up:

My cousin Katie the artist was wowed as well, and hopefully inspired since she will be working on some murals in Portland soon.

I’m not sure if this is a regular occurance, but last Sunday several Lowrider car clubs had gathered, showcasing some awesome classic cars, totally restored and tricked out.

Check out the rest of the pictures of Chicano Park.

We also visted the San Diego Mission– another place I had never visited. (In my defense, I have been to the Mission San Luis Rey, also in San Diego County, as well as half of the other Missions in California) Are there places in your community you’ve never visited?

Arbitrary Lines

My cousin Katie the artist and her partner Casey just spent some time here this weekend, and we took a trip to see the border.

I can’t help but think of Katie’s most recent work exploring the horizon line “as the factor that draws many views on earth together…”
the horizon by Kathleen Simpson
….and how this line, La Linea, the border, divides us. It is an arbitrary line, a fence between two countries, cutting across social, economic and environmental ecosystems.

We marveled at the crowds at Playas de Tijuana, smelled the churros and watched families play in the sand and surf. And our side of the line was an empty stretch of beach inhabited mostly by Least Tern and Snowy Plovers, guarded by a border patrol agent and a myriad of hidden cameras and underground sensors. It was surreal.


PS: here’s Katie and Casey… aren’t they cute??

and here’s a link to the Photos from our border visit, and a link to Borderfield Friendship Park (which I may point out does not rank high on The Google and was a bit difficult to ferret out).

Community Blogging in San Diego

As you may or may not know, I used to contribute to SanDiego Blog. In fact, I almost bought the domain from Joe Crawford after he moved to Simi Valley, but I decided if I was going to pay $1500 or more for the website, to really make if pay off, I would have to treat the venture like a business. After some careful consideration– taking into account that I already had a job and I’m writing a book– I passed. Some other guy bought it, and in my opinion has run it into the ground. It is now cluttered with ads, and spam comments are allowed to pass through. The saddest part of all is that no one posts on the blog anymore.

There are other community blogs, like the KPBS Cititzen Voices project— but that is strictly political, and of course limited to the six authors selected. Blog San Diego is another community blog, but the focus there is arts and culture. Both have great content, but are hierarchically focused rather than being true Web 2.0 network / social media sites allowing the community itself to determine the content.

So, with the demise of SanDiegoBlog, I was kind of excited to see that the Union Tribune is finally embracing social media. They just launched SD Backyard which appears to be a media rich social networking site.

I admit, I ridiculed one of their early attempts at Web 2.0– “America’s Finest Blog” and still think it is too stiff and boring, but this new site looks promising. Users can participate in online discussions, write their own blogs, flog events, and even upload video.

It will be interesting to see what the community wants the site to be, to see how the Union Tribune handles this site, or whether the publishers will step in. (remember the L.A. Times Wikitorial?)

If I weren’t moving to The Duke City in July I might just jump in and start community blogging there….

Do you community blog? if so, where?