Community

I’ve been debating the true meaning of community a lot lately. Wondering what it really is, what makes a community, how they are kept together. So I Googled it, and the first result was the TV show Community. Well I guess I should have expected that. Good show, starring Joel McHale, about going to community college after years of working with a “fake” degree. They form their own sense of community in that show.

Cast of Community, photo courtesy of NBC.

The next relevant search result was the Mill Avenue District in Downtown, Tempe, down the street from where I currently reside. There is a big ad stating that there are over 10,000 parking spots in Downtown, Tempe; I feel that this is a lie. They must be considering they’re overpriced parking garage. Good news though: they finally got with the 21st century and put in solar powered card reading devices on the parking meters. As I have stated before, parking meters are like medieval torture devices. Why are we STILL being forced to dig around for change when all we use now is plastic? Thank you Tempe for taking the initiative to end the torment! Now if Phoenix would get with the program as well; a card reader could have saved me a $39 parking ticket. I know you’re trying to pull us out of the budget deficit but maybe, just maybe, making it easier for people to go spend money Downtown, would be a better idea.

Well, back to this community thing. I have read varied opinions on the state of Tempe’s community development, mostly that they aren’t trying hard enough. They have their efforts like the Tempe Arts Festival. Let’s face it, when you think of Downtown Tempe, you think of going out and getting sh@t-faced on Mill Ave. Now, while that is usually a good time, that’s not a community; unless you consider all the drunken college kids a community.

A good example of community in Arizona would be the efforts put forth by the Roosevelt Row organization. Creating a district in the heart of Downtown Phoenix that revolves around localized businesses and the artistic talents of the locals is a great way to build community. When I see the people that live Downtown, they seem to have more of a connectedness then in the other parts of the valley. I admire this. I wish I could find more of this in Tempe, or even if it was in existence when I lived in Mesa. Glendale at least has an entire downtown area that has thriving antique stores and there used to be a crafts fair every Saturday, along with festivals such as Glendale Glitters, Chocolate Affaire, and summer concert series.

Since our cities leave much to be desired about community, I asked a friend what he thought, and he told me about the old “Scene” days in the music genre he was into. Going to the Nile on the weekends and paying $10 to see 10 hardcore bands brought them a sense of community. I wish I had not missed out on that. Down side to growing up in Glendale, virtually NO all ages venues on the West side. When I did in fact start going to concerts on a regular basis it seems as if the “scene” was more about being seen and looking cool, not so much about the community of fans coming together to enjoy music.

So the question is: What is community, how do we create it and cultivate it, and where has the disconnect come from?

This is me NOT writing my business plan that is due on Monday, by the way. SO if you would like to help your favorite blogger out, leave me a comment telling me what you think about community, the one you live in, or an example of community that you have found.

Peace.

Advocate

Things I advocate:

Pets becoming tax deductions, because for some, they are our children. It’s adopting, and might as well be considered a donation. Why should we encourage the over population of the Earth by tax deducting every little brat that comes into the world unplanned? Okay that part is a little harsh. What I am really getting at is this: people who buy houses, get married, and have kids, get to deduct all that stuff on their taxes. But those of us who cannot afford mortgages, nor do we want to be stuck in a a fixed rate mortgage for 30 years, and also don’t feel like contributing to the financial crisis by defaulting on more debt, don’t get any tax benefits. I also don’t particularly see marriage in my future any time soon, if at all, so why do I get the shaft on taxes? And let’s face it, the world has enough unwanted children. I don’t particularly want any, not in the next 10 years, maybe not ever. So I think I should be able to substitute my dog as a tax deduction. I mean, she needs food, shelter, health care, and education too. (Obedience training ain’t cheap!)

My little graduate

Investing money in prevention of diseases like Diabetes and Heart Disease instead of just spending it all on the treatment. Read more about it here:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/how-to-save-a-trillion-dollars/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=thab1

Graffiti and sticker art. I recently went to a show devoted to adhesive arts. Basically the act of stickering any urban landscape with an adhesive tag or message. The work of Obey is something I have only recently discovered (I honestly thought it was just clothing, I’m out of the loop..) I’ll address more of what I’ve learned on the art at a later time.

http://obeygiant.com/essays/sticker-art

What I do not advocate:

Plastic bags. Can we just stop using them already? I admit I still bring them home from work all the time because when I pick things up on the way out, I don’t think about grabbing the reusable bags from the car. However, every bag I get is reused for something else later: trash liners, dog poop clean up, etc. It makes me sad when people ask for double and triple bagging of their groceries because they are walking or whatever reason, why not invest a couple dollars in a few reusable bags? They are inexpensive, convenient, hold more, stronger, and don’t end up in a landfill!

Tuition increases. WTF? Let’s make it harder for anyone to get a degree in this economy why don’t we. What a joke.

http://www.statepress.com/2011/03/20/asu-tuition-could-exceed-9000/

Also see this article for additional information on the state of student debt.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/education/12college.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

 

Brownies=happiness

This is a generic recipe for brownies. I however made mine a little special. I added some crushed up peppermint pieces and white chocolate chips. I also like to sprinkle powdered sugar and green sugar sprinkles on the top. Oh, also I used Ghiradelli sweetened cocoa powder instead of unsweetened. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

    Brownies!!!

Deja Vu

Pull hair out

Scream

Run away

Repeat

I’ve been here before I think

Running in circles

Hiding

These tests are looming over me

Monsters that crawled out of my school bag

Wondering

Will this deja vu never end?

How many more final exams will I have to take in my lifetime?

Phoenix Film Festival


The Phoenix Film Festival took place this past weekend at the Harkins 101 on. Mayo Blvd and Scottsdale Road. Because of my film festivals class, I was able to be in intern/volunteer for the event. I got to be on the events team which made it possible for me to see Cuba Gooding Jr. and Grant Hill. Why is it so exciting to see famous people? They are just people but for some reason, just seeing them makes us feel all giddy. I felt giddy when I saw Cuba drinking the wine I poured for him, even though it was his assistant that actually got it from me. Seeing all the film makers, even if I didn’t know who they were, was definitely an experience I enjoyed. The people watching opportunities were immense! So many egos, so many drunk people, so many people who wanted you to think they were “somebody.” The VIP section was the best, all the people who weren’t supposed to be in there but kept trying. Of course the learning aspect of it was great too. I volunteered for events because that’s something I would like to get into eventually. It’s funny all the work that goes into it that you couldn’t imagine if you weren’t there. Ice for one thing, attempting to stick to a certain amount of ice allotted for a 4 day period, in a desert, that was a challenge. The free food leftover from catering on the opening night gala was another bonus. Yummy shrimp on white chocolate mashed potatoes and banana cream pie in little shot glasses were so tasty, and after a long night of bar-backing and people watching it was so very needed. Despite working every night there, I still got to see a couple good movies and one bad one. “The Dead Inside,” directed by Travis Betz, is a comedic-horror-musical with two of the most relate-able characters. I loved it and it even won Breakthrough Filmmaker Award.Β 

Popsicle Stand

That’s my company name. What the company does is the mystery. For all my many business ventures and career paths the name for my company has remained the constant. My current, and final (I hope), business venture is to open an art gallery and performing arts space, and bridge the gap between the two styles. I hope to make hybrid art shows combining music, dance, art, video, the works.