Tuesday, September 23, 2008

KKP weekend in review!!

andrea and i spent the weekend visiting my friend kyle at slippery rock, PA this weekend... here's how it went:

7:27 PM - met andrea en route
11:00 PM - arrived at penn state/left andrea's car near her friend's apartment
11:30 PM - kyle picked us and we embarked on our trip to slippery rock
3:01 AM - arrived at kyle's apt.

after we toured kyle's apartment, andrea passed out on the couch and i made kyle give me a back massage. we probably went to bed around 4 am.

the next morning we walked through town and kyle gave us a tour of slippery rock university's campus where he is finishing up his master's degree. i shot a lot of photos of andrea (who is always a willing model) and kyle (who is uhhh, not so much but he was moderately patient with us). it was pretty hot outside -- which i wasn't expecting. we walked back to kyle's apartment; shot a few more photos; and andrea found kyle's "missing" keys. ugh, boys. after we browsed (and made fun of) party city's halloween costume inventory, we headed to Pittsburgh where we ate some REALLLLLY good thai food. our waitress was extremely pleasant, she even hooked us up with 6 MORE fortune cookies after we gushed about how good they were. Mmmm!! after dinner, we parked near a cluster of bars and clubs and walked around the docks. then we headed up the hill so i could take some night shots of the city. the skyline was pretty impressive and overall, Pittsburgh was much more appealing than i imagined. andrea and i ducked in a grumpy ice cream shop near closing time and managed to get ice cream cones. "do you have sprinkles?" andrea was almost afraid to ask. "ugh, yeah," the owner sighed. "as long as you don't get them on my floor." we were all pretty tired on our way back to kyle's but after a mini back massage session, we got our second winds and filmed some hilarious videos of awkward relationship moments (based solely on real-life events). after laughing hysterically at the finished products, we watched "Juno" and went to bed around 4:30 or 5:00 am. we slept in til 11 am; packed up our belongings; took some g'bye photos and were on our way. stooping to an all-new desperation, we managed to give each other massages during the car ride. at one point kyle was massaging andrea's knee while she was massaging my hand because it was ailing after i massaged kyle's back. we're obsessed!!

1:03 PM - left slippery rock
3:30 PM - arrived at penn state/i drove andrea's car to new jersey
7:00 PM - arrived in new jersey. ate chinese food with my mom and her beau.

andrea still had two more hours of driving ahead of herself.

total time i spent in a vehicle during the entire weekend: approx. 13.5 hours
andrea's total time spent in a vehicle during the entire weekend: approx. 18 hours

...but it was worth it!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where you can find me...

My etsy shop along with a brief interview will be featured in Martha's Blog "The Dancing Monkey Jewelry Chronicles" TODAY. :)

You can also find me on TheOnesWeLove.org

My "Pool Triptych" print is featured in Casa Sugar's Summer Style: Pool Photography blog.

I contributed to The Star Ledger's Great Destinations book this summer. You can find out more info about the project here.

My self portrait "Eve" was featured on Catherine Buca's Sunday Flickr Favorites (for July 27th) as well as my photo "Chinako on the Polaroid floor" (for June 29th).

And here is a link to my profile on JPG Magazine.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

McCain proposes 100 new plants in the U.S.

Published: June 23, 2008 12:00AM

Nearly three decades after the Three Mile Island disaster, Sen. John McCain is proposing an American nuclear renaissance.

As part of a weeklong focus on energy security, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said Wednesday that he wants 45 new nuclear plants to be built in the United States by 2030 and another 55 in later years.

Currently, there are 104 reactors in this country, and they supply a fifth of the nation’s electricity; many of the new plants proposed by McCain would replace existing ones. That’s because no new nuclear plants have been built in the United States since the 1970s, and many of the facilities still operating are nearing the end of their useful lives.

As are a growing number of Americans, McCain embraces nuclear power as a clean, safe alternative to traditional energy sources that emit greenhouse gases. It’s an unqualified enthusiasm that brings to mind Homer Simpson’s memorable prayer thanking God “for nuclear power: the cleanest, safest energy there is. Except for solar, which is just a pipe dream.”

If McCain is elected president, he will attempt to end a long-standing American aversion to nuclear generated power, which sets this country apart from the rest of the world.

In contrast with the United States, France gets nearly 80 percent of its power from nuclear plants and has a robust building program, as do Japan and Finland. Britain is encouraging companies to build new reactors, and Italy recently lifted the ban on nuclear plants it imposed after the Chernobyl meltdown in the former Soviet Union two decades ago. Across the world, more than 100 new plants are either in the planning or construction stages, roughly half of them in rapidly developing nations such as China and India.

The United States should be in no rush to join the parade. Despite McCain’s glowing assessment and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power still has serious shortcomings.

Modern nuclear plants are certainly safer than their Chernobyl-era predecessors, but accidents remain a problem. The Union of Concerned Scientists recently reported that 41 U.S. reactors have been shut down at least 51 times for more than a year because of safety problems.

While security has been improved since Sept. 11, nuclear plants remain worrisome targets for terrorists. They are also sources of waste that can be used to create weapons-grade plutonium.

Meanwhile, the question of how to dispose of the radioactive waste from existing U.S. reactors, much less the new facilities proposed by McCain, remains unanswered. Radioactive waste from nuclear plants can remain highly toxic for thousands of years, and no permanent storage facilities have been built in the United States — or anywhere else in the world. Congress long has struggled to build a U.S. disposal site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but relentless opposition by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promises to delay its opening for another decade — and perhaps longer.

It’s also unclear that nuclear power can play a timely role in fighting climate change. Because many of the new nuclear plants proposed by McCain would replace existing ones, it would take many more than the 45 new plants that he proposes by 2030, or the 100 he proposes in the long term, to achieve major reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.

Nuclear plants also take large amounts of time and money to build. Current licensing and testing requirements would delay construction for at least five years, and new nuclear plants require investments of between $5 billion and $10 billion — investments that Wall Street is unlikely to make without huge federal taxpayer subsidies.

McCain’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, has a more realistic and safer view of nuclear power. While he acknowledges nuclear power may prove necessary to meet aggressive climate goals, he says it should not be expanded until the challenges of cost, safety, disposal and nuclear proliferation have been addressed.

Palin: wrong woman, wrong message

By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.

Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

-Article by Gloria Steinem, an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Week down the Jersey Shore

back from the beach!! i spent last week down the jersey shore with my mother, her boyriend, my boyfriend ricardo, my cousin vincent and my best friend andrea. lindsay stayed over for a night too. :) we had a lot of fun and i took a lot of great shots. everyone was getting testy about my compulsive photo taking but everyone always wants copies of alllll the shots i take... which is kind of uh, hypocritical. i took a lot of photos, but i wish i took even more. you can see some of the photos here.

here are some highlights of the trip: buying boogie boards and only using them once; lindsay and vincent doing sake shots; getting kicked off the beach at night; having an audience at the photo booth; some drunk lady asking "are you going to put these [photos] on youtube?!"; playing tennis for the first time in over a year; buying over $200 worth of groceries at the beginning of the week and then continually buying food every day after that; honey straws; getting kicked off the playground at night; suntan lotion back massages; seafood fest night; my italian cousin and his irish drinking songs; the ghetto shot glasses i made; vincent and rick quoting movies alllll week long; my mom's boyfriend thinking someone stole one of his flip flops; begrudgingly going jet skiing; embracing the octomat; heckling anyone who might be "doing a stinky poo-poo"; our new found love for the game of life board game; buying painted sea shells for 50 cents from the kids down the street; and the tan line the "hulk out" removable tattoo left on rick's arm.

i will be in new jersey for a month, visiting friends and family and taking lots of photos. :)