Monday, February 2, 2009

Lab #19
Over the past couple of weeks while going on trips to different cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and my home town Richmond I have had to use plenty of public trasportation. However in every city the same thing was turning up, all of the buses and subways were crowded, smelly, and uncomfortable. Although this way of transportation is positive, I think walking and utilizing sidewalks is something that would improve social capital, and help our countries overall health. It seems that the effect of the people on the buses and subways compared to the people walking along the sidewalks is completely different. Cramming people into tiny unsafe buses, only causes for more irritation and aggravation. Sidewalks are the way to go! Along with improving social capital, using more sidewalks reduces pollution in these big cities and practically could eliminate crowding of other vehicles. We all know that when people get places faster it makes them happier. 
Lab #12
Facebook Frenzy
Improving social capital

Over the years, generations before us have looked down on the introduction to the new networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook. Today, our generation has grown and adapted to these clever new sites that allow us to keep in touch and contact our friends all over the world. Since we have grown up with it; it is something that we do not even think twice about anymore, because we are always using it to check up on how our friends and relatives may be doing. This improves social capital because it brings people closer, and keeps people informed and interconnected. It takes our attention away from just an everyday quick conversation on the phone, and really being able to update one another visually with pictures and messages. Now that these websites are growing and becoming more and more popular we are able to connect with more people everyday who otherwise we might have lost or never had contact with, which clearly is improving our social capital. 

Let's Get Out Of This Town Tonight- Lab # 13

It's a bird, it's a plane, no, its my dead beat car. So I went home this weekend and while having a whole day of no car at school, using only cabs and our feet, is normal, when I'm at home I have my freedom and it's difficult not to use. A day at school not being able to use the car is simple, because I keep myself occupied with things to do around campus. When I'm at home, my cell is ringing off the hook to come pick people up and take them places and hang out and whatever. I learned that when I don't have a car, and no way of possible getting one, my friends are willing to just do whatever we can find to occupy our time. When I do have access to a car, I found that my friends are wanting to go places and do things and we can't just stay in the house. If we didn't have modernized transportation of our own (personal cars, trucks, SUVs, etc.) we probably would be more of a community instead of so secluded in our own worlds. Having our own cars is a great thing, don't get me wrong, but it does keep everyone separated and not willing to caravan. It also saves gas when you use things like buses, cabs, other peoples cars, and things of the like. 

I was actually in a car with my friend this weekend at about 2 in the morning coming home from a friends house and the car stalled about 4 times, then finally died going to wrong way on the highway. I know that if we had taken a bus or paid for a cab (as expensive as it sometimes may be) we probably would've been safer than we were stranded on the side of the highway at random hours of the night. We eventually got back home, but we had to wait a good 2 hours for my friend to show up and pick us up. We would've been better off calling a cab or just taking a bus and picking up the car in the morning, but because we had our own vehicle and it was 2 in the morning, we decided to drive. So, all that being said I'd say that buses and cabs and caravanning are a great way to save yourself a lot of trouble and time and money when you most need it. 

Kurt Vonnegut Says:

"Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lab #2

The little hanging box, it looks pathetic now--detached from my face, hanging by a blue string.  With that noose wrapped around its neck, the little black box looks like a convicted criminal.   But what was it's crime? I enslaved myself.  Society has done itself in.  The poor thing seems forlorn, not evil in the slightest.  And I feel a bit desolate without it, as well.  And certainly my mother wants me dead after all the missed phone calls.  But life has been incredibly pleasant with out my little celly on hand.  No feelings of life and death emergency when I hear it ring.  No leaping out of bed/the shower/thoughts when I hear the sound of a text message.  I owe it nothing.  I do not feel obligated to send insincere messages of birthday congratulations.  I've been talking to people in person.  People I genuinely like.  Even letting conversations and events unfold out of pure happenstance (one might even call it fate) and leaving planning to the...err...planners.  I feel the Transcendentalism coming on.  I may start wearing flowers in my hair and pick up the acoustic guitar...

Maybe I should send one text message before this gets out of hand.

Lab # 3


This past week without media has been really refreshing and liberating. I have not checked facebook, watched T.V, read magazines, or watched the news for a week. My days without these things have been a lot more simple and less stressful. Instead of watching T.V. I finally was able to finish a book I've been meaning to read for a while and I have had more time to get work done. Now I don't even feel the need to check facebook or watch TV because not having media in my life hasn't made it any worse or made my life less convenient, instead its made my days more enjoyable.
Im a person who occasionally picks up a fashion magazine from time to time and I'll admit they always put me in a negative mood and quite frankly made me feel pretty shitty about myself. All they do is tell girls how they should dress, wear their hair, loose weight, and they even give girls tips on attracting mean. Gross, I mean COME ON that stuff is so ridiculous. This constant reminder from the media that women aren't good enough the way they are is absurd and has poisoned the women in our society. All it does is present an ideal image of a woman that is impossible, sick, and unrealistic. Having a week without this image being shoved in my brain has been really cleansing. I feel like I am in a better place with myself because I'm not letting myself be subjected to that horrible ideal.
I cant believe how much time I've wasted (and Americans have wasted) fixated on the media. Its toxic. Well, I can say that news is different because it is both good and bad. Not having media in my life for a week has given me more time to spend with myself doing things I enjoy and has made me think about things that matter and that people should be worrying about, not what color lipstick they are wearing. I'm going to try and continue to eliminate as much media from my life as I can. Ive had a more positive outlook on my self and my time spent here at NCSA without media. Media is the cause for a lot of corruption in this world and its like being brainwashed so why do we have so so so so soooo much of it?!! Its crazy.
I thought a week without facebook and T.V. would be unbearable, but surprisingly its was easy as pie and I barely thought about it. Its possible to survive without media, because though it can be entertaining it is also working to make us think, act, and behave a certain way. I'm really happy with what I found out about myself after doing this experiment and will encourage other people to do the same.
yours truly,

Lab #14

Interview with Mazena Puksto
Lab 14

Q: What is your favorite Lithuanian dish?
A: Cepelinai, its like a potato shell around meat. Its really good.

Q: When did you come to America?
A: I came when I was 15 on September 12th.

Q: Why did your parents want you to come here?
A: Because there was no future for me in Lithuania, so we came to the states.

Q: What was it like for you dad trying to live here in the states? Was it really difficult to get a green card?
A: My dad left USSR to go to states with no chance of return to Lithuania. Its impossible to get a green card without my dad having citizenship, and it took him a while to get it.

Q: What is your favorite American dish?
A: Im not sure, but I love McDonalds!

Q: Are you worried about the economy in the U.S right now?
A: I care because obviously now I'm apart of it.

Q: What religion are you, and what is the main religion practiced in Lithuania?
A: Protestant, and Christianity

Q: What is the weather like there?
A: There are no storms, tornado's, hurricane's nothing. We have all 4 seasons which is really nice.

Q: How are the school systems in Lithuania?
A: Terrible, there is really poor documentation of students and they dont keep up with anything well. You could get away with anything at the schools. The grading scale is 2-1o not using percent or anything. 1st grade-4th is kindergarden and 5th grade to 12th grade is highschool.

Q: Do you still have family in Lithuania?
A: yes, all my family except for my mom and dad who are here with me.

Q: Least favorite thing about U.S.
A: Living in Concord.

Q: Favorite thing about U.S
A: For the most part the people here are a lot more friendly that the people in Lithuania. Even though it can be fake here it makes you feel welcome. I also like the roads here, the ones back in Lithuania are bumpy.

Q: Is there a lot of poverty in Lithuania?
A: Oh yes, a lot of fake hobos people who are just trying to get money.

Q: Is Lithuania racially diverse?
A: No, there are almost no African Lithuanians, mostly just blonde people.

Fun fact from Mazena: Recently new members were reentered into the senate house post USSR, this was the first election. A man who is a host of a television show similar to "Who wants to be a millionaire" in Lithuania was elected into the house.

"Aciu ir Labanakt"
"Thank you and goodnight"