The Money Problem

So I have an apartment and two amazing roommates. Now I have to figure out how to pay for it.

I started taking surveys on those sketchy websites and signed up to be an online mock juror. I’m pretty sure that most of these are scams and probably not worth my time, but I’m trying. I did try the more legitimate route of babysitting and other odd jobs, but it literally got me nowhere. Apparently no one wants to hire a college grad with her own car who is legitimately amazing with kids.

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The crazy thing is we all will stop at nothing to get money. The world is obsessed with money. God bless celebs and the rich people in the world because they all have what we want. The obvious reason is that everything today requires money. There isn’t very much that is free (except you know love, family, health, and happiness.)

I don’t hate the Kardashians or anyone else who is lucky to have money. The Kardashian/Jenners are smart and created businesses out of nothing. They definitely deserve props for that. My problem is when rich people and celebs don’t acknowledge that their money gives them privilege. I can’t buy $250 Good American jeans.

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Khloe Kardashian wearing a pair of jeans from her company, Good American

I can’t simply ask for a small loan of a million dollars from my dad. And this is where the gap becomes a problem. These people are selling a lifestyle that many of us simply can’t have or afford.

For now, I’ll just keep trying to make money and find a job. I don’t need those $250 jeans anyway.

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Which comes first: moving or the job?

This is an ancient post graduate riddle. What come first: the move or the job?

So I’m moving back to Syracuse, home of Orange basketball (Jim Boeheim 4ever) and the Chiefs (no longer Sky Chiefs, people).

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Jim BAEheim- Syracuse University’s basketball coach

 

I’m currently home which is the Hudson Valley aka farmland and malls. I literally live near two farms. And by no means am I a city girl. I like to keep my trips to NYC to day trips only. The abundance of choices short circuits my brain. I just want something that’s in-between the two- like Syracuse.

My current dilemma is which comes first: getting a job or moving to Syracuse. Cause right now, I’m set to move in July and I still have no job. How will I pay for this place and support myself? On the other hand, no one will give me a job if I’m not in Syracuse. I think the important thing is to choose something and stick with it. This is the start of my career, my adult life, and my attempt at being independent from my parents.

As of right now, I’m still moving and I can’t wait! The uncertainty is a part of growing up, I guess. That doesn’t make it any less hard.

Life updates and The Handmaid’s Tale

I spoke too soon in my last post because I got a job interview! (Cue the gasps and excited screaming.) We shall see how the interview goes because I’m dreading the salary question: “how much would you like to be paid?” I don’t think anyone ever knows the correct answer. It’s just an awkward guessing game of numbers and I’m not excited to play it.

So onto my most recent obsession: The Handmaid’s Tale. It feels really weird to be saying this, but Hulu is making some great television. If you don’t already have a Hulu account then mooch off of someone else’s.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/books/review/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-age-of-trump.html?_r=0

Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is about America in the near future where an extremist right wing group has taken over and created a simpler, more traditional society. In this future, fertility is rare so the few fertile women are rounded up and forced to become handmaids (have children for the right wing leaders). The story follows June (Elizabeth Moss) as she deals with being a handmaid.

So first things first, Elisabeth Moss is perfect. Of course, I already knew this because of her fantastic acting in Mad Men as Peggy Olson. I could go on and on about the transformation of Peggy from season 1 as timid secretary to season 7 boss ass head copy writer.

Her acting in both series has a remarkable authenticity and truth. Especially in this newer series, that must be hard to create considering June is living in dystopian America where she is forced to have children and only men can own property and participate in government. (Though that is beginning to sound like the present in a very scary way.) I don’t feel as if I’m watching Moss act. I’m really seeing June deal with her “job” as a handmaid. Props to Elisabeth Moss for creating such an interesting and somehow relatable character in sci-fi chaos.

I love The Handmaid’s Tale because the viewers are not only getting June’s point of view,
but Nick and Serena Joy’s as well. We slowly learn that Gilead, the oppressive government, has made victims out of everyone. Nick, a driver, and Serena Joy, a government official’s wife, have the chance to be heard and understood. It adds a nuance and sophistication to both their characters and the show.

https://www.charactour.com/hub/characters/view/Serena-Joy.The-Handmaids-Tale

Serena Joy

The last thing I want to talk about is the coloring of the series. The muddy and dull colors create a stark landscape for The Handmaid’s Tale. All shades of browns, grays, and blues are included. The production designer has deliberately eliminated any bright colors. This creates a distinct difference between the present and flashbacks. June can be seen wearing a variety of colors in the flashbacks. In the present she is only allowed one: red. A sense of sorrow and detachment is ingrained through the whole society. No one is allowed to create close relationships because of the whistleblower aspect of their culture and this is reflected in their drab clothing.

The color chosen for each position, wife, ‘martha’ (housekeeper), and handmaid, represents their importance. The marthas wear grey because they are easily replaced. The wives wear teal because they’re higher class. The only ones who are cared for and cherished are the handmaids. They are, of course, dressed in red because they are important. They stand out starkly against the dull colors.

http://www.vulture.com/2017/04/the-handmaids-tale-hulu-book-differences.html

June in her red uniform with a ‘martha’

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on The Handmaid’s Tale. I really love it and I’ll be watching every week on Wednesdays when the new episodes come out!

Life as a college grad…

So here’s life as a college graduate:

  • no job
  • living with my parents
  • no car
  • currently obsessed with Sex And The City
  • a million in student debt to pay back

I’m trying to figure what I’m going to do with the rest of my life and it’s not going great. I’ve applied to countless jobs (feels like a million) and no one has called me back. (If you’re a future employer reading this: THANK YOU FOR HIRING ME.)

My mom has been on my back about trying to find a job. I feel like I’m back in high school especially since I keep wearing old clothes. I haven’t bothered to unpack anything so I’m wearing whatever I don’t bring to college aka anything  pre-2014.

The real reason for this post is Sex And The City. I was young when the show aired so I never got to see it. I never understood how people talked about it. I never got the references like “are you a Miranda or Samantha?”

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Now that I am a graduate, I have time for “frivolous things” like Sex And The City and I love it!

It portrays the lives of very different women and validates each of their perspectives. No matter if you’re crazy about sex like Samantha or more traditional like Charlotte, your feelings and point of view is represented. There is no mocking, only gentle playful poking fun at each woman’s life.

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The best part about this show is the fashion. When I watch the show, I can’t help but marvel at whatever Carrie Bradshaw is wearing. I love it because the outfits are sometimes so crazy but thecarrie-bradshaw-outfit-mavatar-19y’re so perfectly elegantly or cool. Carrie can pull off suspenders. I believe in her crazy outfits. They’re not just for this show… they’re realistic. In New York, you can wear whatever you want and Carrie pushes that rule to its limits. But in an amazing, fantastical, and inspiring way, of course.

And this is where I get my inspiration these days. No matter what’s going on with Charlotte, Miranda, Carrie, or Samantha, they always get through it and look fabulous!

I’m back!

I haven’t been on in a while, but I’ve been updating my blog with projects that I’ve been working on. Check out my menu tab to see two of them!

I’m in my last week of my college undergrad at Le Moyne College after taking classes on Mad Men, Fargo and the Film Noir genre (technically it’s a cycle). I went to the TriBeca Film Festival this year and saw Zach Quinto up close.  I worked on my second short film, Luddite, as head of the art department. I’m so happy with everything I’ve accomplished and all the things I’ve learned.

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Julie Grossman and Phil Novak, my professors, and I

Los Zetas and The Beast

In class we are currently reading the book The Beast written by a journalist, Oscar Martinez. The book talks about the journey illegal migrants must make through Mexico in order to get to the United States. The migrants must travel over a thousands of miles of Mexico. There are many obstacles that the migrants must face including bandits, corrupt police

Trails through Mexico

Trails through Mexico

officers and the cartel, Los Zetas. Los Zetas is currently the most powerful drug cartel in Mexico and they only began in the 1990’s. Their extreme brutality and military structure makes them extremely lethal.

Los Zetas began in the 1999 when the leader of the Gulf Cartel, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, needed protection because of a major turf war. He recruited ex Mexican military special forces to be his personal body guards. These men are highly trained and organized. Los Zetas became a bigger part of the cartel taking care of extortion, kidnapping, and assassinations. They were the enforcers of cartel using brutality and intimidation to complete their tasks. They also

Map of Cartel Territories

Map of Cartel Territories (Los Zetas is in Red)

began trafficking cocaine for the cartel. As time went on, Los Zetas became more and more important to the cartel.

Los Zetas are now bigger than the Gulf Cartel and control the southern and western part of Mexico on their own. Their special forces training allows the members access to advanced technology. They are the biggest cartel in Mexico and have international connections most notably in America. They’re especially brutal and are known for massacres and decapitations of innocent civilians and migrants. Los Zetas are notorious and are considered the “most dangerous cartel in Mexico.”

Revolutions in Guatemala

Guatemala has long history of revolution and fighting for the rights of the people. Guatemalans believed in the people’s rights so much that they fought a 30 year civil war which resulted in extreme amounts of violence and bloodshed. This idea began with the Guatemalan revolution in 1944.

The indigenous Mayan people have long suffered abuse and hardship in Guatemala. In the early 20th century, the government took away their lands in order to cultivate the coffee industry which was in high demand. When Jorge Ubico became president he decreased the labor laws and wages by a significant amount. This created extremely bad working conditions for the lower class. Ubico also greatly strengthened the police force and gave incentive to crackdown on anyone who was ‘breaking’ the labor laws. This oppression was what caused the revolution in 1944.

The revolution caused a peace time called Ten Years of Spring (1944-1954) in which 2 presidents were elected who put

Jacobo Arbenz

Jacobo Arbenz

into effect major social reforms including one in literacy. The 2nd president Jacobo Arbenz implemented major reforms that compensated and returned the land to the Mayans that was taken from them in the early 1900s. Decree 900 redistributed land to around 500,000 people. The issue began when some of United Fruit Company’s land was seized. (United Fruit Company (UFC) was a major American company that traded in bananas). UFC went to the American government to fix their problems.

The American government ruled that Arbenz was a communist and that they had to remove him as leader. A covert CIA operation was put into place to replace Arbenz with Carlos Castillo Armas. The Coup of Guatemala began a series of military dictatorships.

Reflections on Always Running

In class we just finished the book Always Running by Luis Rodriguez. The book is the story of Rodriguez’ life in the Chicano gang lifestyle. It is an amazing memoir that opened my eyes to a different world. Today we watched the documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America which focused on the Watts Riots and the creation of the rivalry between these 2 infamous gangs.

Always Running

The book Always Running

The film provided a similar point of view as the book. People from the same neighborhood, with common enemies in the police and society, are fighting one another for a little patch of land. Rodriguez sees this because he grew up in a time when social change was out in the open. This allowed him to recognize that there is more to life than gang against gang. Rodriguez grew up with the gang culture and discrimination. There were moments in the book (involving sex and drugs) where I thought he was 14 or 15 but he was 8 or 9. Rodriguez was discriminated against in elementary school and for the rest of his school career. Teachers are supposed to be mentors but they pushed their beliefs on a child. He was forced to live his life because he was different. I cannot imagine living like that at all. I am also Latina but I never experienced anything close to what Rodriguez lived. My whole life I have been treated like I am white because my father is white. I wonder how things would have changed had I been full Puerto Rican. I would hope that I would have been treated the same.

The History of the Watts Riots

In order to understand gangs, we have to understand history and how it plays into the racial issues of today.  In class we’ve been talking about riots that took in place in L.A.

The Watts Riots happened August 11- 17, 1965 as the result of police brutality. But these conditions had been building up since the Great Migration. The Great Migration caused a huge number of African Americans to move to L.A. from the south. Housing covenants restricted where they could live to 2 neighborhoods: Compton and Watts. As the population grew more and more people had to fit into this small space which is only 5% of the living space in L.A. (That means that white people had 95% of the living space).

Map of L.A.

Map of L.A. with Watts circled

Real estate agents made an attempt to push African Americans into the suburbs but these areas were seen as exclusively white. These suburbs were often the sites of hate crimes including bombings and cross burnings. This area had a lot of racial tension.

This small space for housing resulted in inadequate (and not enough) housing, inferior education and negligence of the peoples in these neighborhoods.

Another factor that led to the riots was the police brutality in South L.A. occurring at the time. In recent years, the police chief William Parker was given the power to separate the

Watts Riots photo

Image of the Watts Riots

police department from the rest of the government and act as an independent force. This gave the police the freedom to do what they want without any repercussions or questions. Police brutality ran rampant in the city and was the incident that began the Watts Riots.

Hagedorn and Sons of Anarchy

As a communications major I watch a lot of tv shows and films to increase my knowledge of pop culture and styles of film. Recently I started the show Sons of Anarchy because a friend of mine loves it and wanted me to get hooked. So I started expecting bikers and women and drugs but I got so much more than that.

Sons of Anarchy symbol

Sons of Anarchy insignia

Here’s a little background on the show. The show ran on FX from 2008 until 2014 with 7 seasons. The series follows a biker gang Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club in a fictional town Charming, California. Jax Teller, the son of an original member, is the main character and the vice president of the club. The show has a slight Shakespearean influence and brilliantly written. What struck me the most was how these (mostly) white biker guys can have anything to do with my class about gangs.

Surprisingly as I watched I saw more and more of the concepts I was learning in class echoed in the stories of this biker gang. In class we read a piece written by John Hagedorn entitled The Global Impact of Gangs. This piece has 6 why gangs are formed. The Sons of Anarchy fits 3.

  1. Resistance identities—identities formed in opposition to the dominant culture and the uncertainties of an unstable modernity.” The Sons have a very distinct look. They wear ‘cuts’ (leather vests with the club’s insignia on back), big brass rings, chains from their jeans (just like the zoot suiters) and have their motorcycles (of course!)

    Sons of Anarchy members

    Sons of Anarchy members in their ‘cuts’ with their motorcycles

  2. Marginalization of others has meant the flourishing of an underground economy for survival and as profitable.” The Sons of Anarchy illegally buy and sell guns to make a profit. The show makes it clear that this is a part of underground economy of the surrounding area. The guns are sold to several other gangs who use them to protect their turf and sell drugs. They have not explained why or how the club got into running guns yet but I’m curious to find out. The Sons of Anarchy are marginalized by the community. Majority of Charming are upper class white collar people while the Sons are heavily tattooed, lower class and they (usually) work as a motorcycle mechanic.
  3. “Some gangs institutionalize and become permanent social actors in communities, cities, and nations rather than fading away after a generation.” I mentioned earlier that the main character is a second generation Son. This is an establishment that is well know to Charming. The Sons are important part of the town. They are often called to keep the peace and protect the residents despite there being a police department. In one episode a little girl gets raped and the father turns to the club to find the rapist and get revenge. Even the police department understand the club’s position in the town.
SOA member

Sons of Anarchy member

There are many other aspects that match up with my class but I only could share a couple. Sons of Anarchy is available on Netflix so get to watching and let me know in the comments what you think!