Financial Aid

Quick question:

How much should I care about how much I put myself in debt?  I mean school loans.

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I’m concerned that I’m just that jaded that it no longer matters.  I mean, I’m going to be paying them back my entire life.  The way it’s looking I’m never going to retire.  I have no ambitions of home ownership.  I’m phobic of having children of my own.   The American dream for me is having a two bedroom apartment so I’m not tripping on boyfriend’s drumset every morning.  The way I see it, why the fuck not rack up all the student debt humanly possible?  I’ll die before it’s ever paid off anyway since I’ll never be able to afford healthcare either.  Shit, after this doctorate, maybe I’ll find something else to waste my time and money on.

The sad fact is I don’t even live well.  I get really excited to go out on dollar beer night and grab pizza by the slice with boyfriend.  Most of the rest of the week I eat plain rice or eggs or peanut butter and jelly.  I nearly tackled a friend of mine for a fee donut coupon (I’m saving it for a special occasion!). I’m a bit pathetic.  But hell, I’m almost a doctor right?

Don’t be scared! It’s just Political Dissent!

In case anyone is living in a hole and doesn’t already know this, NATO is in my lovely town of Chicago this week!  And, for us citizens of Chicago, that means that downtown is essentially shut down.  There are cops on every street corner.  Surveillance  helicopters EVERYWHERE.  Fighter plane “demonstrations.”  Highway and train shut downs.  Security searches on suburban trains.  Museum and park shutdowns.  And essentially life is hardly allowed to go on so that we can try to convince the world that we are a successful and metropolitan city for the ages!

Yes well.  That’s special.

The shut downs and 10 millions + dollars spent on security has been related to the Occupy Movement and planned protests for this week.

(Credit to 1070 WINA News Radio)

I will be honest.  I am pretty biased here.  I’ve been to Occupy Marches and support the spirit of the movement (I differentiate that from the statements and some of the actual behaviors and such of the movement, but I’ll talk about that later.)  I’m so glad that a new movement has sprung up that questions and pushes the government, something they have not had to do in a long time.

So, back to what I actually wanted to talk about, which is how the protests have been covered in Chicago, reactions I have heard from those around me, what I’ve heard from other protesters, and what I actually saw while I was down there.

The media coverage and the general population’s reaction go pretty much hand in hand.  Everywhere I went, starting in about February/March when things began to fall in place for the NATO Summit, people were talking about how terrible it was going to be, the predicted riots, the shut downs, the arrests, the anarchy.  People living along Michigan and near McCormick Place were encouraged to leave for the week.  They expected the CTA to be, I don’t know, bombed or something.  Up to and during the Summit, the protesters were made to be feared.

-I’ll stop to make yet another aside.  I know, I’m sorry, this is how my mind works; it’s disorganized.  I have to acknowledge Chicago’s rough history with protesters.  I’ll point out the Haymarket Riots, 1968 DNC Convention, the Division Street Riots just to point out a few.  You get the idea.  We really don’t have a good track record.

So, starting Thursday and Friday, when the NATO members and ambassadors and dignitaries and all these other important people were coming to Chicago, along with them came riot police, everyone within three states that was in even barely trained in crowd control, surveillance helicopters, Big Brother Boxes, Paddy Wagons lined up for miles.  I hope you’re forming a great picture of all of this.  On the other side of all of the cops were thousands of protesters.  Hanging out with their signs.  Chanting, singing, angry, but excited to be there.

Credit to Time Magazine Newsfeed*

By the end of the day, a few people were arrested and detained.  No major calamities or clusterfucks.  There are always going to be a few people arrested, whether they deserved it or not.  From what I understand, everyone who was detained was let go–I’ll get to the three Bridgeporters who were arrested for “terrorism” *facepalm.

Saturday began with a march on Mayor Rahmmy’s house (I fucking hate him.  I will be completely clear on that.  No gray area.  All hate.) in protest of his massive cuts on Mental Health Care, including shutting down half of the city’s clinics for the most severely disordered.  Fuck.  What was the logic behind this in the first place?  Oh yeah, none ’cause he’s an ass and doesn’t need logic.  From what I saw and heard, this went really well.  I hope he was there and he was so pissed off! lolz.  But no damage done.

From there they kept marching along.  They did really look intimidating.  Thousands of people marching down the street in protest.  Personally, I describe that as beautiful.  Not intimidating.  A beautiful and perfect picture of thousands of people gathering to communicate their discontent with the status quo.  I suppose I understand why that would be intimidating.  But still find it inspiring.

(Credit to the Inquirer news)

On Sunday I spent a good chunk of my morning and afternoon at Grant Park checking out the speeches and seeing what all was going on.   By this time, I was hearing from just about everyone around me about how terrible the protesters were being and how terrified they all were.  I did my best to spread the love and be all “don’t believe everything you hear.”  Because the media was exploding some things (I promise I’m getting to the Bridgeport thing!).  But when I went, honestly, it was mostly all chill.  People were talking, dancing, debating.  Partly because this has turned into a bit of a pop culture thing, partly because most people who jump on the protest bandwagon have no idea what they’re talking about and just want to be counter-culture, there were a ton of people who were just talking nonsense.  I mean, really, people were at the same time preaching anarchy and socialism and I have to this:

But the people were well meaning despite much idiocy.  The overall theme was: fucking government answer our questions, be responsible, check your fucking priorities.  Anytime you get more than 2 people together, the message gets muddled.  When you get several thousand, the message gets super muddled.  I encourage people to look at the big picture of this movement, which is to keep the government in check, use this stage to make a statement that the people are paying attention and demand to be heard.

Like I said, most of the people were under control and happy, openly talking, wanting to be there, and excited to be part of something.  There were, of course, people that wanted more.  People that thought destruction and aggression were better ways to be organized.  Luckily, it looks like (I bit my tongue a bit because it’s not over yet and as I write this it downtown could be exploding.), those people were kept in check.  But they let themselves be known.  Instead of jeans and t-shirts or hippy clothes, they chose to wear full black pants, hoodies, masks, face coverings.  They reminded me of the North Irish during The Troubles in the 70’s.  That’s never a good thing.  They made a spectacle of not wanting to be photographed (ha, sorry ’bout that) and not wanting people in on what they were doing.  They seemed to be looking to make a name for themselves.  But people were easily bored by them.  I mean, would you rather chat politics with theses people:

Or these people:

(yes, my photos from that day.)

But, it seems that all things are really going okay with the NATO protests.  Yes, a few arrests.  Yes, some disorder.  But, overall, it was a happy experience.  Anywhere there is a protest, there will be idiot throwing in half-baked ideologies, violence, and misinformation on level with the mass media.  However, it is important that we recognize the real force behind the protests, the need for change and the need for people’s voices to be recognized.  So, march on bitches!  Tell those fuckers what you think!  And take the stage of the world.  But, also, put on your best face if you want to be taken seriously.

Ok, so I’m not going to talk about the Bridgeport Case. I’m sleepy.  But now you just have something to look forward to later!  I hope you’re just dying to hear my pointless rant on that!

**Forgot to Add the best image of the day!  For you, amatorium.

Human beings are terrible creatures.

Confession:  I am a documentary junkie.

I don’t really know if that’s a confession since everyone in my life pretty much already knows it.  But!  I found the Holy Grail.  The most stomach churning documentary ever!  And it’s not what you might think from the chick who sat through (and thoroughly enjoyed!) Human Centipede 2.

Oh no!  This is so much more disgusting.  What is it you might ask?

NURSERY UNIVERSITY

A documentary about New Yorkers–primarily upper-crest Manhattanites–trying to get their 2 and 3 year-olds into the most competitive pre-schools in the city.  Yes, pre-schools.  Those places you go to finger paint and learn to not shove other kids when they wipe boogers on you.  Oh dear lord.  Education should not be this disgusting.  I understand there is some apparent lack of good pre-schools in New York.  However, from what this documentary showed me, unless you are super rich and can both afford to send your kids to these ridiculous schools and have a connection to get your kids into them, your kid gets no early education or very poor early education.

I’ll start off with what, to me, is the most important issue here.  What the fuck New York?  Education is not a limited resource.  Why is it difficult to build more pre-schools, especially when parents will obviously pay a great deal to get their kids into anything.  The doc starts off with the statistic that for every 1 spot they have in these private pre-schools 15 children will apply.  Obviously some parents are applying to multiple schools for their kids, thus skewing the stat some–who knows how much. But for fucking real, New York.  I’m stressing this point here: You can build more schools and hire more pre-school teachers!  It is not difficult!  I refuse to accept the idea that it is impossible to educate each and every child.  I don’t know what New York’s public schools are like, but if they are like Chicago’s or Detroit’s they are probably terrible.  Overcrowded, underfunded, and run by apathetic administrators.  So I understand the want for private schools and pre-schools.  But at this earliest stage of life, when education and exposure is most important and when more and more parents are forced to make the decision to work or stay home solely on economic basis, I’m struggling to understand why creating more schools is so difficult.  More schools=more jobs across the board.  And it has a long-term positive effect of education.  The lack of schools has across the board negative effects that fucking hurt my soul.

Okay, now that  that is out of my system.  Let’s talk about these shitty fucking schools, then we’ll talk about these shitty parents.  Some of the highlights that scroll past my eyes include administrators rejecting “shy” children, rejecting children who show any kind of separation anxiety during the “group interview”–okay, stop.  Fuck.  They would reject the 25 year old me! I just need to make that point.–talk about “legacies” (what the fuck?  Legacies are bullshit no matter what the level of education), ranking preferable races of children, criticizing freeplay, denying any child that cried or is “developmentally young” or had a temper tantrum (because that’s not what toddlers do), talking about preparing these children for their first job at Goldman Sachs, and forcing children to complete puzzles during this interview process.  I would love to learn the philosophy that actually drives the philosophy behind these schools.  They describe each days as being so over-scheduled, with first yoga, then Spanish class, then reading, then blah and blah.  For real.  And they don’t see the benefit of free play? What?  Do they know anything about child development?  God, the Goldman Sachs comment made my fucking stomach churn.  Is this really how rich people think?

Okay, now the parents.  Again, I totally understand that these parents are overly stressed due to the lack of good early education opportunities.  But, they sit around and write essays for their children, they step on one another to get the last spot in a good school, they make massive “donations” to the school to inflate their chances, they kiss so much ass because that is what they feel they have to do.  I’m sure their is an even seedier side of this; the documentary mentioned–in not as much detail as I would have loved to have heard–an incident in the early 90s (I may be a bit off on that) when a stock trader inflated the stocks of the head of this school in order to get his child in.  That’s fucking hard core.  It’s like applying to Yale for a 2 year old.  It’s so wrong.  Parents should not have to do this for their child just to get their child into pre-school.  And then the parents who don’t get what they want complain.  One woman ends by saying “We’re not used to not getting what we want.  I thought we could pay like $20,000, $30,000 and get what we want.  I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

And all these little toddlers want is some fucking play doh!  Come to me children, away from your creepy parents!  I have play doh that you can stick in your nose or throw in each other’s hair!  I hope all these children, in their coming years, leave all kinds of tiny legos around the house for their parents to step on!

Oh I have missed you, outside world!

I have been pretty much completely shut off from the world over the last 3 weeks.  Finals, Competency Exams, and IRB processing all collided and nearly comatized me.  😦

But I’m okay now!  Huzzah!  And so much is going on that I must catch up on!  I’m so excited to write and rant again!

Give me a moment to catch up with the world.  But, I really really need to share this video clip with the world.  Because it is awesome.  I have been a long-time fan of Shepard Smith.  But, this, it made me swoon.  ❤  U Shep!