Sunday, July 31, 2005

An Ode to Macintosh

During the Spring of 2003, just over two years ago, I lost my first mac. It was perhaps one of the most traumatic events of my life. I came home (at the time I was living with four other people in a house on campus) after a long day at work. When I approached the house, it was completely dark. No porch light on, no interior lights on. As I reached the door, I found that it was unlocked. I immediately felt a sense of worry and fear. As my boyfriend entered the house, he first went to my room (which was the only room with a light on). In a nervous and urgent voice he asked me "Arielle, where's your computer?" What? I thought, it should be on my desk. I ran into my bedroom, heart racing, fear rising from my stomach to my throat almost blocking my windpipe. I looked to my desk to see my plant knocked over, dirt scattered, pulled wires, and the most heart wrenching of all....a bare, empty, space in the middle of my desk. My laptop had assuredly been stolen right out of our very home.
We instintly called the police, incase someone was still in the house (which was pitch dark), and sat outside awaiting their arrival.
My idiot ass roomates had left the front (and might I add) back doors open. I lost my computer, my book bag, all my notes for two of my classes, as well as two books--all two weeks before exams were about to begin.

I think that I cried on and off for about two days. My roomates never apologized. They never even took responsibility. I pray that the karma catches up to them, some day. The laptop wasn't covered under the insurance (desktops only) and it took me two more years sans computer to pay off the loan I took out to purchase it.

But alas, there are joyous times ahead. First, the loan has been paid off. Second, the gracious gods above have given me a new Powerbook G4!!!!!!!!!! I purchased it two days ago with the help of Mr Papa, Mrs Mama, some lovely birthday money, as well as my own savings. Not only that---(karma helped me out) but I was able to take advantage of the rebate deals on the iPod Mini, Microsoft Office, and Photo Printer with Scanner.

I am in love with this machine, and repeatedly mumble to myself "what a beautiful, beautiful machine." I easily installed the printer software, iPod software, and hooked my digital camera right up to it--no problems. I am in heaven!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Our Nation's Path...Continued

I want to clarify my points from the last post. I received a comment to the post which made me realize I may need to rephrase some things.

I do not believe that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned. However, without overturning that rule, there are ways to limit a woman's right to choose while still allowing abortion to be legal. Certain states currently have varying laws concerning minors getting abortions, the need for parent's authorization, etc. My real concern is that it will become more difficult to get an abortion in some states, and possibly become more difficult nationally.

I do agree that some conservative women privately support abortion rights. Unfortunately, many conservative women are strongly against abortion, but often times because they do not understand what it means to say "right to choose". I spoke with one person (who is very close to me) who really had a very contorted view of "pro-choicers" thinking that they really were advocating abortion (which we know isn't the truth). The conservative parties (Republican and other) often speak in hyperbole of liberal and "left of right" views. This tactic has worked surprisingly well, especially for those who rarely speak about "liberal issues" with "liberal people". The same scheme has been seen with the issue of war, (those against it are somehow anti-american) as well as artists, directors, and writers (the claim that Micheal Moore and Al Franken are anti-American). Hyperbole--shit why didn't we think of that?

I do not think that the Supreme Court Justices will have the only say on reversing abortion rights--of course that doesn't make sense--but I do think that many of us underestimate the role of judges in this nation. Local judges (let alone the feds) have had an enormous impact on women's issues for hundreds of years, and that hasn't stopped (though we may want to believe it has). There are large variances among states and counties within states. If you read about cases involving rape or domestic violence --many times a judge will impose very minor sentences to offenders. Unfortunately it doesn't end there. I have worked with victims of domestic violence for almost four years---and so my attention to these issues is heightened. I have read many-an-article where men are given extremely light sentences for killing their wives (one story took place in Texas).

All for now...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Our Nation's Path To...

The resignation of Sandra Day O'Conner, coupled with the recent high number of judges appointed by the Bush Administration is quite disturbing. But alas, we already know this.

Perhaps what many of us don't know, is what is possible. Not only what will happen, but what CAN happen? I picture our nation in twenty years, and wonder whether my current birth control prescription will require more than a doctor's visit to obtain. Will I need to fill out more forms, will I need my husband's approval? Will I be allowed to get my tubes tied after having children without needing the Governor's approval? These are extremes and yet some of these types of requirements are not so far fetched-considering policies in other countries.

Looking at the Human Rights Watch website today, I read two articles pertaining to this exact issue. One dealing with Columbia, the other Argentina. Portions of the articles are below.

Colombia: Women Face Prison for Abortion
Human Rights Watch
(New York, June 27th 2005) "Colombia’s law prohibits abortion in all circumstances. The penalty is lighter when the pregnancy is the result of rape (or “nonconsensual artificial insemination”). In 2000, the Colombian Congress amended the penal code, adding the possibility for a judge to waive penal sanctions on a case-by-case basis. However, judges have discretion to waive penal sentences only in cases of rape and under two further conditions: if the abortion occurs in “extraordinary situations of abnormal motivation” (an ambiguous clause that requires judicial interpretation) and if the judge considers the punishment “unnecessary.” However, a later amendment in 2005 also extended the maximum sentences for abortion from three years in prison to four and a half."

Argentina: Limits on Birth Control Threaten Human Rights
Human Rights Watch
“Argentina’s restrictions on contraception and abortion prevent women from deciding how many children they want to have, and when,” said LaShawn R. Jefferson, Women’s Rights director at Human Rights Watch. “These laws and practices effectively treat women like minors.”
The report also exposes some of the detrimental effects of domestic violence on women’s reproductive health. The Argentine government has not done enough to remedy these abuses and their effects on women’s health, Human Rights Watch said.
A 35-year-old mother of eight children, Gladis M. said for 14 years her husband beat her and prevented her from using contraceptives. Gladis said her husband repeatedly told her: “I am going to fill you up with children so you can’t leave my side.”
After decades of government opposition to the sale or use of contraceptives, including even condoms during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, the Argentine government in 2003 began to implement a national program to distribute certain contraceptives—like hormonal contraceptives and intrauterine devices (IUDs)—for free through the national health system. However, women continue to face multiple barriers in their access to family planning, including lack of accurate information, violence in the home, economic constraints and discriminatory laws.
Under Argentine law, one of the most effective forms of contraception—sterilization—is subject to discriminatory restrictions. Many public hospitals require that women obtain their husband’s consent for the operation, that they have at least three children, and that they be older than age 35 to be eligible for the surgery.
“I thought I was going to die, but I wanted to do it.,” said Laura P., 35, who already had five children when poor health caused her to seek sterilization. “In the hospital they set up every possible obstacle. The head of the hospital told me that it was the same as having an abortion.” She appealed to a court, but was denied the operation despite fulfilling all the public hospital’s requirements.
“Women seeking sterilization face Kafkaesque ordeals,” said Jefferson. “In one public hospital, women had to beg approval from six different authorities, plus get their husband’s signature in the presence of two witnesses.
Many women told Human Rights Watch they had endured unwanted pregnancies because of lack of access to or inability to use contraceptives, and some had abortions. In Argentina, abortion is illegal in all circumstances, yet an estimated half a million abortions occur every year. Though the law waives the punishment in cases where the pregnant woman’s life or health is in danger, or where the pregnancy is the result of the rape of a mentally disabled woman, access to a legal and therefore safer abortion is almost nonexistent in practice. As a result, women are forced to seek abortions through unsafe, unregulated clinics. In other cases, they induced their own abortions by methods that gravely jeopardized their health and lives. Without medical supervision, other women used anti-inflammatory drugs to induce abortion, resulting in severe health consequences and sometimes even death.
“You get overwhelmed by desperation. You seek all the ways out,” said Paola M., a woman who had 10 children by the age of 36. “But if there is no way out, then you take a knife or a knitting needle.”

These stories are horrifying, and heart wrenching. Sadly, this was the place of many American women during the early to mid-twentieth century. Is it possible that we will end up there again. Is our Nation's path leading backwards?

The Smell of Honey

I adore this picture-I snapped it on Sunday. Hope you like! If you are interested in viewing more photos please visit my other blog:

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

When the Wind Changes

Scrambling to pick a side,
to choose a scapegoat
and feel secure again.

The winds are changing,
that southern warmth
turns to a northern chill.

No one is sure of what to believe,
who to trust,
or where to find refuge.

There is just the constant reminder
that things are changing
and the blinding sun, is no longer blinding.

While one camp has greater vision,
the other still pretends not to understand
and in the midst people are disappearing.

It's July and I'm freezing,
watching the clock
and thinking of home.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Day Trip to Big Sur

Below are some pictures from Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park at Big Sur!! We were unable to camp (due to last minute planning on my part) but we did hike all around Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

We hiked the Waterfall Trail, the Canyon Trail, the McWay Trail, as well as the Ewoldsen trail. You can view a map of the park trails at:

You can also view the following website for park information:

Here are some photos--taken on a very foggy morning. FYI: some of the images are slightly distorted (stretched too wide or compressed).

This is a picture of McWay Falls, perhaps one of the most famous images of Big Sur.
McWay Falls at Big Sur

Here I am, standing in front of McWay Falls.
Me, at Mc Way Falls

There are many bunnies hopping around Big Sur, this one stopped right in front of us as we were hiking, staying long enough to pose for a picture.

This is a view of McWay Creek, along one of the hikes we did.
Redwoods and McWay Creek

This is one of the more spectacular falls (McWay Creek).
Redwoods and Water Falls