Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Activism: Stand Up for Your Rights!

Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don't give up the fight.
 

After deciding last week that I no longer wanted to drink star bucks. I am going to extend this to other parts of my life too.  I have already stopped shopping at supermarkets as much as possible, but sometimes for example on a Sunday night, I need too.   I mostly buy second hand clothing, I don't drive, I recycle, I don't read newspapers or watch TV (apart from some programs on the online players). I'm trying to be a 90% vegetarian. 

I feel these are all positive actions that I can do to overcome the negative consequences of monolithic culture.  By monolithic I mean the gigantic, multi-national corporations abusing our worlds resource and humans for their own benefit (money, surprise, surprise.)  However, I think that I need to take my cause and belief's that bit further to make a difference. 


I haven't been to any activist events or rallies.  I think I will make my first, this weekend.  I am going to try and find a leaflet that I had when I went to a lecture at SOAS, which was a two day event in London about Capitalism.  


I have also been looking at different sources for news and found some interesting websites, especially Democracy Now! Which independently reports on subjects such as the occupy.  I really like the style of the reporting and alternative view to general news.


Watch live streaming video from democracynow at livestream.com




Another good website to look for alternative views on news is Russia Today:






Now, to try and keep up with all the news!! 



Saturday, 26 November 2011

Sharing is caring

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
 
C. S. Lewis
 

A lovely quote from C. S. Lewis - one of my favourite childhood authors. I think the originality that everybody searches for (including myself)is detrimental to our health.  Being yourself could just be enough to be different. 

I had a wonderful day yesterday.  I was meant to get up and study.  Instead I got up and went to Balham to the health food shop.  Had a coffee.  And then, went to the pensioners sale in the church.  It was amazing.  I got a new winter coat for £1.  And it was all for a good cause, as the pensioners group at the church recently lost a grant and the sale was in aid of raising money.  I also managed to get some amazing silk scarves for 10p each.  I also gave them an extra £4 as everything was so extraordinarily cheap.  

I started reading when I got home, and we ate a lovely vegetarian lunch and dinner.  Yum. We made a amazing coriander chutney to go on the side, which is pretty much touch and go.  You can add whichever ingredients you want.  We based our recipe on this, however we omitted the sugar and added ginger. 

Today I've done yoga, and  half a hour of mindfulness meditation.  Now I am going to study all morning before going to the farmers market.

I might even try to make this origami hummingbird.


 

Friday, 25 November 2011

Change

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
 
Maya Angelou 

Ha.  I used to see quotes like this and think, how will I change, if they/that/this is MAKING me feel like that!  Now I know that the only thing I can control are my beliefs and actions.  

I had a mock interview yesterday, and although it went OK.  Today I will be doing a lot of prep for my interviews coming up so I feel completely prepared.  Hopefully I will also find some people that will do more mock interviews with me.

On another note, after seeing myself in the video...I felt like I looked out of shape.  Eeeew, I thought it was disgusting.  So today, will be my first day back at the gym.  I am going to do cardiovascular, like running for 20 minutes to 30 minutes.  Then I will do lower half of my body weights.  

On another, exciting note.  We made apple and chilli sauce last night.  We've jarred it all for Christmas presents.  This weekend we're going to try and do some more pickled garlic.  It is so exciting to see our plan coming together.  We also come up with the idea of origami Christmas cards, so that will be my job.  

Now, I have lots of work to be getting on with.  I think I will mostly be listening to Devendra Banhartm(extremely cool website here) who I came across on spotify.


















  

Thursday, 24 November 2011

No more starbucks: slow cooker

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice. 

Confucius

That's it. I have said it before, but today I really mean it.  No, more, Starbucks.  This is not because I definitely think Starbucks is evil (article here) but I want to support local coffee shops and the community.  

Yesterday I managed to reorganise all of my school folders and wrote a to-do list for up until Sunday.  Now I feel a bit more in sure of my work load.  I have an interview with Goldsmiths Uni next week for Politics and Sociology, which I am practising for.  And then the week after I have my Cambridge interview.  I think I will be spending a lot of time practising answering interview questions. 

I cooked the most delicious dinner last night...spiced autumn lamb, with roasted acorn squash, butter nut squash and spinach. The lamb was aromatic, spicy and very soft.  Today I am thinking of cooking a vegetarian meal in the slow cooker that mum bought last week. 

Oh, and I managed to do yoga this morning, I feel amazing.

And here is my motivational song to keep me going....


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Angie's Gone

Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power. 

Shirley MacLaine 


Angie left at 4.45 this morning.  I didn't get too sad, but now I miss her!!  But as I have lots of things to get on with and I know I will see Angie again soon, I'm not going to dwell on it.  Angie and I had a wonderful day in Notting Hill yesterday.  I managed to get some pretty photos and Angie panic bought loads of presents for her family.


I have realised that I now, including this morning because I don't have time, have not done any relaxing meditations or yoga for 4 days!  I still feel OK, but, I will start doing them again today.  As I know from before that I take my feelings for granted when I am happy, when I should really keep up the activities that keep me calm and happy.  

The google special anniversary animation for Stanislaw Lem's first book is amazing. 

OK, so ten things I am grateful for:

  1. A roof over my head.
  2. Access to lovely food and being able to eat it.
  3. Clean drinkable water. 
  4. Lovely friends. 
  5. Great family. 
  6. Hands that work, so I can do cooking, origami, typing and such.
  7. Access to education and good university's.
  8. Sobriety.
  9. Great teachers.
  10. My eyesight and IQ.

Oh yes, I am also grateful for Samurai Jack!!!  I have just finished collecting it, and now I have the whole collection I am going to watch it! The introduction is below:



 
Another samurai series I have been watching recently is Samurai Champloo:

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”

Thomas Huxley (1825 – 95) 

Two reasons why is quote is cool:

1. My godfathers dog is called Huxley and love him, he's so cute and cuddley. 

2. Usually anything I find out about, I want to know more about. This makes it hard for me as a student as I seem to want to learn everything all at once.

On Sunday before we went to the market I made scones and (English style)tea for Angie, which she had never had before. Then we took Angie to Brixton market and to Franco Manca pizza restaurant, which is hands down the best pizza.  I love it!! And so do timeout (review here).  Whilst we were in Brixton we did our weekly shop, and got some food that Angie hadn't eaten before like English sausages, cheese, and bread. 

When we got home we watched the 1990 Lord of the Flies, which was OK. And then we watched part of An Inconvenient Truth, which I hope we'll watch the end of today. Of course An Inconvenient Truth appealed to me because it is a factually based documentary about climate change.  For dinner Aaron made sausages, mash and cabbage with gravy.  It was really lovely and a first for Angie!

Yesterday I had a long day at college, but I managed to get some research done for Cambridge. I also spoke to the advisor, who was really helpful and friendly and helped me with some extra research.  And, I also managed to make an essay plan for the unit 2  sociology essay, which has made the next month look a lot  more manageable.

I haven't managed to do yoga for the last three mornings, so I am going to do some now.  Then I am going to take some notes for my sociology essay.  Later we're going to take Angie to Wimbledon common....I am looking forward to it, so I can take some photos.

A jazz song sent to me by a friend, which I LOVE: 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Once we recognize what it is we are feeling, once we recognize we can feel deeply, love deeply, can feel joy, then we will demand that all parts of our lives produce that kind of joy.

Audre Lorde 

We've been having a great weekend showing Angie around London. We took her for traditional fish and chips in Covent Garden yesterday, and did lots of walking around London - probably about 6 hours from Clapham to Camden, to Covent Garden to Leicester Square to Clapham.  Today we're going to Brixton.  For dinner we're going to cook roast...yum.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Such a beautiful mornin

All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.
 
Dalai Lama

A lovely quote!! I got some of my essay results back this week, and they are lower than I expected, however, in a way, I expected this!!  I think I already got a big head from teachers being impressed with my work early on.  So now I don't put as much effort as I should in.  The first thing I am going to do: not break down.  I have to forgive myself for sometimes getting a big head. Second: review my studying timetable and techniques. Three: plan this next week or two for some intensive studying.

I think I know where I am going wrong, I am not doing enough independent reading on the specific subjects.  I am reading: news, other blogs, other books, but, not the big textbooks.  Also until this week I didn't really know how to take notes properly, so hopefully that skill will now help me.

OK...now I have a little plan for my studying, I feel a bit better. 

Last night we went for dinner at Byron.  They are an American dinner style burger bar.  The food was OK, the meat inside the burger wasn't THE BEST quality and the buns were definitely not good quality.  However, the side dishes where extremely delicious.  My favourite was the courgette fries.  Yum, yum, yum yum, yum, yum, yum!  I found a similar recipe here. I will definetly be making these at home.

Not sure if I have anything else to update on at the moment...I got another call from the doctors and should know by next week when my counsilling starts.

That's it, I got to go and collect my Panamanian from the train station. WOoooo.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Effort: The Knife.

“Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Liane Cordes 

So today, I will continue my effort with my school work.  My friend Angie (from Panama) is coming to stay with me tomorrow, not for a long time, for 4 - 5 nights and we have been trying to plan a good couple of days in London.  And obviously I have been trying to plan my school work around Angie's visit. 

I am hoping that by getting up early, doing yoga I will then have 1 -3 hours before Angie gets up and then I can fit in my school work....and obviously I will have to accept that I will get a bit less work down whilst she is in London. 

I managed to re-organise two of my folders last night, and nearly have everything ready to send off for one of my interviews, as they want to see some of my work first.  

Now to do some school work before school, listen to some music and the news.  One of most favourite songs (it reminds me of a love affair between friends):


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The time has come: 7 Billion.

“There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.”

 

I know this is going to sound crazy, but with the long heard rumours of 2012 and the end of the world, this article released recently by the BBC regarding 7 Billion people now on the plant. And the film Children of Men, trailer below:

 

 

It seems that unless we start consuming less of the worlds resources, in terms of oil, wood, petrol, air, water and food (to name a few).  

 

We might, to put it lightly, be forced into a tight corner. There won't be enough resources to support the people that are alive and it has even been suggested by some that the future may bring war over water

 

What's more is, what is causing the infertility in women? Is it chemicals in the water from prescription mediation or illegally dumped chemicals, the food we eat, stress? I have so many questions with relation to this. 

 

I personally think these problems are stemming from pollution in water all over the world, the overuse of plastic and general pollution. A majority of these pollutants (see a good documentary: The World According to Monsanto here) are produced in the making and breaking down of all the products we 'need to' have, such as food, mass amounts of clothes, TV's, anything!!  

 

A similar view regarding mass consumption and how it props up the capitalism system is supported by Jonathan Porritt in his book Capitalism As If The World Matters, and on the website Forum For The Future.  

 

Below is a short radio clip of what he thinks about mass consumerism:


http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9623000/9623644.stm


What can be done to stop this?  Well thankfully we already have had the demonstrators in London and New York to try and bring down this system.  But the true solution would be to start looking after our immediate needs and wants such as water, heat, food and love. And to get rid of the capitalist, economic 'booming', consumerist view of needing all the thousands of extra items we buy every year!!  

 

Thus creating a sustainable world, where we care about our planet and the resources it provides, and use them with respect (this is also covered by Jeremy Seabrook here).   


There are reports from the UN and many other reliable sources that think unless, something is down now regarding the energy and resource consumption, we will not have a plant left to live on. I haven't got time to go into these issues in full,  but there is a good article here


Want to give being a sustainable hippy a go?  Try the experiment on the No Impact Project, and see if you can!! 


The greedy industrialist capitalists and consumerism reminds me of the greedy, disrespectful of others, Walrus from Alice in Wonderland (I know, it has been a Disney related week!!):



Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Thanks giving: Mary Blair.

Let us rise up and be thankful; for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.

Buddha

Whoa, I had a long day yesterday, my first class was at 9.30 and I left college at 18.30!! I was extremely tired, and was meant to do some school work when I got home, however I thought that something relaxing would be better for me. 

Last month I posted about the Illustration Cupboard. And since then I have been looking at different art work, including Mary Blair, who did illustrations for Disney in the 40's and 50's, with very bold colours and strong style (Google also did a 100 year anniversary for her).  

I loved the artwork so much, I started doing copies last night to get my creativity flowing. It really did melt my stress and tiredness away.  Examples of her work can be seen below.  I love them all....I can't choose a favourite!!



















I also googled Mary Blair and found some animations based on her artwork, which I think are really cool.  Hopefully in the summer I will get some time to do some animations too.





Mary Blair - Muffin Man animation from Smaro Papaevangelou on Vimeo.


I also found a great website that has all sorts of 50s cartoon and illustrations: Cartoon Modern

Apart from that, not much went on yesterday.  I had my first philosophy lesson, we are starting to learn about ethics and will be focusing on Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) and Utilitarianism. Both seem interesting and I actually listened to a Oxford pod cast on philosophy in politics and ethics recently, which can be found here

That's it...off to do some yoga before I start anything else today.   

Monday, 14 November 2011

WoooooooHooooo

“Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.”
  
Winnie the Pooh quotes.
I'm back!! After having two weeks off. Which there are two reasons for, one is that I started to feel a bit down so I started doing an hour of Kundalini yoga every morning to try and balance my emotions a bit, and keep me calm.  And two is that I have been super busy at college, so decided to dedicate my time to study instead.

I have been doing some other bits and pieces over the two weeks....which I will update on soon.

As I was feeling down, I also went to see the doctor and now am in the process of being referred to a therapist to do cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) along with general counselling, that way I should be able to improve my mindset (i.e living in the moment and thinking positively) and target underlying problems. 

Some great things that have happened in the last 2 weeks; I got an interview for Cambridge - I applied for PPS (Politics, Psychology and Sociology.  I also went to two open days as SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, where I had a fantastic time sitting in on two lectures and then discussing and questioning the content, it really gave me an experience of what Uni will be like, and I really liked it!! Whilst I was there a student rally was running, regarding Uni fees and the atmosphere was deeply touching, strong and made me feel hopeful.

That's all for today - I have signed up to do Philosophy on Monday's too, so that I can learn the basics and apply it to some of my work...I am hoping it won't be too much work load, only time will tell! So I have to get my bag ready and make sure I am in early.

A cool song a found yesterday, that reminds me of my childhood: