Heads up, this content is 15 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

WARNING: Sarah’s scheming again.A while ago, a friend asked what I’d do tomorrow if I won the lottery. The fact that I wholly avoid the lottery notwithstanding, I think I came up with a pretty good answer:

“If I won the lottery, and had already received the money, and it was a particularly large amount of money, and I had already hired a good lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor to oversee it…I’d spend tomorrow embarking on a trip around the world with a handful of creative and entrepreneurial friends that would last several months, the purpose of which would be to observe the state of the world, enjoy ourselves, and brainstorm the best use of the money… so that when we returned home, we could invest the money in a combination for-profit and non-profit enterprise that addressed our collective dreams.Are you in or out?”

And sometime today, in a brief break between my full-time job and my full-time schoolwork, it occured to me, Screw the lottery! Let’s just do it!I hereby propose, and leave open for further brainstorming, a Collaboration Adventure.The ConceptA road trip around the United States (and perhaps parts of Mexico and Canada) with a group of driven, creative people who want to discover more options for their lives. Our GoalTo shake ourselves free of the daily-life rat-race bubble and by detaching, develop a clearer perspective of where we want to fall into the system. To see how everyone else is living these days. To talk to people. Lots of people. To write down those peoples’ stories. To have brainstorming sessions on mountain tops, in corn fields, and on city streets. To document the adventure and share it with others (there will be much blogging!). To collect more like-minded folk. To volunteer. To give ourselves to the communities around us. To scheme and dream and inspire each other and write it all down. To eventually re-emerge into society as a more focused, aware, and empowered group of people who know what they want out of life. My GoalTo find and create a plan for a new business or nonprofit that ethically addresses the world around me and satisfies my creative needs. And to include as many people in that plan as are interested in joining. The PhilosophyWe do not need to win the lottery to make this happen. We don’t even need to empty our piggy banks. We’d pitch the idea as a community project and apply for grants and financial sponsorship to get started (this may involve adding a focused documentary or writing project to the trip, which would be quite cool). We’d appeal to people’s hospitality. We’d attract media and ask for donations. We’d work for people, talk to people, inspire people, and make what they need our priorities. After all, this is about getting outside of ourselves, so we can see our lives. When you are fully free to give, you naturally receive. The TimelineA year to plan and solicit support (and let Sarah graduate, while we’re at it). We’ll make it Summer 2007. Are you in or out?Make it yours. Tell me what your ideal adventure would be.

Heads up, this content is 15 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

TransAmericaI saw TransAmerica at the Bridge Theater in San Francisco last night, and it blew me away. For those who live in a media-free bubble like I usually do, it’s a new movie about a transgendered woman (i.e., male-to-female) who suddenly finds out she has a teenage son. And it’s a really, really good movie. Great writing, great cinematography, great cast, great humanistic depiction of a transgendered life. When the credits rolled, the audience clapped. I haven’t experienced that since Star Wars Episode 1. I’ve noticed a trend these days, though. A number of TV shows and movies that challenge traditional gender and sexuality roles are poking their head into mainstream pop culture, but doing so very carefully. HBO and Showtime now give us Queer as Folk and The L-Word. Brokeback Mountain has stolen the Oscars limelight. A new tv series about polygamy will premier in March. And it’s all very non-offensive. The actress is TransAmerica (Felicity Huffman) is not, as far as I can tell, transgendered. In fact, she’s so female, she’s also a cast member of Desperate Housewives. The L-Word takes place in Los Angeles and features the most Hollywood-esque pretty-girl lesbians I’ve never met. Brokeback Mountain stars the manly Heath Ledger, for goodness sake, and his gay character is ultra-masculine. I think Queer as Folk is the only one depicting queer culture somewhat in-your-face and unapologetically, but they don’t seem to be reaching outside of that culture for a diverse audience, either. I’ve also noticed that these shows and movies aren’t getting seen everywhere. Brokeback Mountain was in every theater in San Francisco, but I couldn’t find it when I visited my parents on the East coast for Christmas. Really, though, these are minor complaints. I want to see the United States be as exposed as possible to all of the different “others” that exist out there. If we need to gasp at sugar-coated lesbians and 100%-passing transgendered characters from our living room sofas in order to get the dialogue started, let’s do it.I grew up in 99% white-anglo-saxon-protestant-upper-middle-class-heterosexual New Hampshire, and I now live in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. It feels like my daily life is hosting a constant debate between diversity and sameness. And without asking for the position, I’m becoming the spokeswoman to my family for what life is really like “out there in the rest of the world.” I don’t mind. I like the job. But I’d appreciate a little more support in this endeavor from the mainstream media, thankyouverymuch.

Heads up, this content is 15 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.
Johnny 5 Is Going Down
Originally uploaded by metasin.

The GoodI get along with technology most of the time. My entire livelihood, skill development, and future aspirations are a direct result of the internet existing. I check my emails as I walk down the street. I keep in touch with hundreds of people who live in other states as though they lived next door. Technology is really freaking cool.The BadBut anything that provides this much good stuff has got to have its drawbacks. The problem with technology is that sometimes it throws temper tantrums. Like a stubborn little kid who doesn’t want to eat his vegetables. You try to be tricky and outsmart it, but sometimes there’s nothing you can do but sit back and wait for the tantrum to pass. Step back, take a deep breath, walk around the block, and try to reason with it on a clearer head later on — or learn to live with its existence. The UglyEarlier this week, my web server got hacked and my email was used to send spam. Now, Thunderbird (my generally-awesome open source mail client) can receive my email, but it won’t send it. My outgoing mail server is SBC-Yahoo (my DSL provider), not my personal hosting, so I don’t think this is a direct result of the hacking. If it is, I haven’t figured out how. My troubleshooting female intuition says to call SBC and ask for their help. The email worked yesterday, it doesn’t work today, and I didn’t change any settings… so something’s going wrong somewhere, and maybe it’s on their end. The trouble is, the account is in my ex’s name (he’s in New Hampshire now), and we can’t change that because of our contract. So getting any kind of customer service is a major hassle for me, and there’s no guarantee that after I wait on hold for an hour, they’ll even give me any information at all. I’m trying to sit back and not get upset about these things. Take them in stride, use workarounds until the solution arises… I’m doing surprisingly well. But pretty soon, I’m going to break something. And it just might be my monitor.