“I want to emphasize something sad, really sad, not what we don’t do for the poor, but what we do do to the poor, and that is instead of helping the down and out in this culture we have a society that seems to persecute the poor. So that if you start sliding down you’re likely to accelerate all the way down to destitution, homelessness, even incarceration.”
– Barbara Ehrenreich.
Ask me things. Anything you want, literally. I will answer and do so honestly, to the best of my ability. Not that anything I do or say is self-evidently interesting or demanding of a question, I’m just saying that if you want to ask, or have something to ask, then by all means, go for it. I’ll video-record my answers and post the responses. So let me know!
Our growth is generally dependent upon our ability to obtain new contracts to develop and manage new correctional and detention facilities. The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.
– Corrections Corporation of America, 2005 Annual Report.
A capitalist enterprise that feeds on misery trying as hard as it can to be sure that nothing is done to decrease that misery, what a wonderful system.
The hardest thing in the world is to figure out what exactly you want to do. By that I mean its the hardest thing in the world to figure out what exactly you want to do and what you are confident enough to try. And by THAT I mean, the hardest thing in the world is to figure out what you want to do, what you are confident enough to try, and what things within that venn diagram of desire are possible of happening.
I am asking you on a date and to do so, I will use an extended metaphor:
After the defeat of the Empire at the Battle of Endor by the Rebel Alliance the New Republic, which emerged to restore order and justice to the galaxy, and the remnants of the former Galactic Empire continued to fight for years. Although the New Republic eventually emerged triumphant, the fight to permanently defeat the imperial forces was a drawn out affair.
During this protracted time of fighting, an elite group of fighter pilots was formed, Rogue Squadron, to fill the need for a highly versatile special operations group which could do anything from provide convoy escort, intelligence gathering, or infiltration of hostile worlds to disable planetary shields.
Corran Horn, a member of Rogue Squadron, and Mirax Terrik ended up hanging out after the battle to take Vladet, capital of the Rachuk Sector. Horn had disobeyed a direct order from his superior and led an attack against a Lancer Class Frigate which was guarding the imperial base. While Horn’s attack was ultimately successful he was confined to his room as a result of his insubordination.
While there, Mirax Terrik (a civilian pilot) visited bringing some traditional Corellian Rhyscate and they both enjoyed themselves talking about vicissitudes and such.
So, what I’m saying is: let’s eat baked desserts and hang out sometime when neither of us really have pressing responsibilities (responsibilities is here being equated to dismantling an oppressive galactic regime).
What else about this metaphor works? Hm, excellent question. I’m not a fighter pilot, nor a space-fighter pilot, but I do post lots of links about corporate and government malfeasance to my facebook wall so thats going to have to do as far as drawing parallels between Corran Horn and myself go. You aren’t the daughter of a famous smuggler are you? Probably not, but Mirax Terrik was. The internet says you were from Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh was heavily industrialized until shifting patterns of global trade and public-private frameworks led to the decline of American industry, which is vaguely similar to the planet from which the Terriks are from.
So there’s that, which is essentially all I have.
Anyway, I guess that’s it, I’ve heard unsettling things about Community getting yanked and for the record I totally object to that, it’s a great show. Take it easy, stay awesome.
A simple path, a well worn trail, at dark
Is fraught with hazard in a juniper fog.
Misplaced steps lead to falls and heroic (maybe) attempts
To navigate, although that navigation misses every other frame –
And roots – and otherwise harmless bumps.
Sometimes that fog, that evergreen veil, continues
Past the trees, past that pale ribbon of hard packed earth
To well lit steps, to the safe indoors, and adds the
Aches and pains of stairs and tile to
The bumps and bruises of the woods.
Yep, this post is pretty straight forward, this was my entry to the WorldNomads 2011 Travel Writing Scholarship. Like almost everything I write it bends toward the melodramatic but I am happy that I managed to incorporate some concrete detail about Laos throughout. I owe Josephine Butler many thanks for providing editorial support, and for encouraging me to write stuff, her comments were both insightful and refreshingly honest, and the swearing, man, nothing like some well placed profanity. If chosen I get a 3 week vacation in Istanbul and get to write more things about travel. Heres to hoping. And my entry:
Across A Forgotten Country
We crossed into Laos from Hanoi, stopping first in Vientiane, the nation’s capital and most populous city. With two thirds of the population Theravada Buddhist, monasteries and monks are a frequent sight, adding the gentle swish of robes and ornate spires to the urban environment. 700,000 inhabitants call Vientiane home and by 9 pm it shuts down completely. It’s fitting for Laos, often called ‘the forgotten country’ of Southeast Asia. Less developed than its neighbors it attracts fewer tourists and embraces a pastoral tranquility attested to by a notably sparse nightlife. Laos has escaped, perhaps temporarily, the crass and unapologetic exploitation of place and people so evident in Cambodia and Thailand.
The country is a mountainous spread of rugged and breathtakingly rural terrain, a bright and vibrant edge of the world with clear skies and friendly people. Remote interiors boast dense and thrumming jungle, broken not infrequently by jagged, vertical limestone formations skirted by narrow, timorous highways that connect an archipelago of agricultural and mining villages. Legacies of colonial rule still resonate here. French is spoken in governmental and commercial circles and by members of older generations. Our breakfast ritual consists of small cafés and buttered croissants. Triumphal arches dot the towns, and the cratered remnants of near ceaseless American bombardment are ubiquitous in the eastern half of the country.
Touring the countryside on a rented 125cc Honda Forza the fields, rice paddies and distant hills surrounding Phonsavan glide lazily by. Wandering the landscape are small herds of water buffalo, ponderously sized draft animals with full arcing horns swept above broad foreheads. We stop and stroll among the chiseled monuments on the Plain of Jars before resuming our trek back into town. After two days we move on, unhurried, leaving a dusty village to its mountains and clouds and scenery and ancient history.
Vang Vieng, a tiny village hidden within the folds of Laos’ central interior, overlooks the Nam Song River from nearby hills. One of Lao’s only destinations on the hedonistic itinerant traveler circuit it’s our next stop. The town harbors escapists from everywhere. I meet Germans, French, Irish, Scottish, Canadian, Polish, Australian and Turkish travelers. Our last evening in Vang Vieng ends in a violent, howling thunderstorm forcing an early retreat from the river.
I watch the passing countryside for six hours on the taxi ride back to Vientiane. Words cannot describe how green Laos is. An adolescent rice paddy is almost impossible to comprehend in its lush, thriving, neon, unabashed verdure. A rolling, tangled ocean of green upon green, fringed by dark and furious jungle. The insects are a force, their noise tangible and incessant.
I had no idea what to expect from Laos, but something lost amid the frenzied congestion that is life in Vietnam’s industrial north was breathed into my being here. Four days left on this trek through southeast Asia and I doubt Thailand will resonate as Laos has. So peaceful, this forgotten country and its high green hills.
She’s standing in front of the mirror, overcoat and white beanie braced against the winter weather, and a look flashes across her eyes and you know its over. Not when, or how, or why, just that its over because this isn’t going to work. So much in that half second expression. You will blame yourself, you will compound the awkwardness with alcohol and self-loathing, you will run a multi-colored galaxy of “if I had only”s through your head. None of it will help. It will actually make things worse and encourage the doubt which, apparently, can spread into other areas of your thoughts and feelings, an epidemic of wasted emotion.
Three CAV’s broke atmosphere at 30,000 kilometers per hour and descended almost casually toward the faint cluster of lights stuck way out in the barren wastes of Ganymede’s anti-jovian hemisphere. From the ground, the formation was oddly pretty, long tails of superheated molecules stretched behind each small ship.
3 minutes after re-entry, all three of the unmanned vehicles slammed into the causeways and dome covered parks of the city’s center at 22 times the speed of sound. 2 minutes after impact, the tactical, thermonuclear ballistic missles released 500 kilometers from target hit, and then there were no more lights.
Police can be funny guys, they can be accommodating and fair and very helpful. Quite often they are. Some just don’t have a sense of humor though, like officer Barbee. He didn’t appreciate it one bit when I asked him why he had gone in the bedroom and shut the door. He actually thought I was impeding an investigation and accusing him of planting evidence! Haha, what a silly misunderstanding.
So now I’m in a cell with a hulking neanderthal who tells me that hes there for something involving a child, so I give him my breakfast, and think back to that time 6 hours ago when Officer Barbee and I first met and I can’t help but wish he wasn’t so serious all the time.