Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Substantial update!

Ok, so this isn't really a substantial update, but I'm just really excited about it and it has more substance than my last update.

I'm taking a trip!

I'm leaving New Orleans for Denver on August 26th, spending my last couple of days of work there, hopefully doing something amazing for Labor Day (Great Sand Dunes...?), traveling to San Francisco on September 4th to visit Amy Ngo and Macka Tacka Tick Tock Tyre, and then heading back to New Orleans on September 8th.

This will be my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean. I'm gonna catch a jellyfish and a tuna fish and a turtle, and I'm gonna go swimming and play on the beach and catch a frisbee with my teeth and...and...and...

Egads this is gonna be fun!

Monday, July 21, 2008


I may have a more substantial update at some point soon, but right now all I've got is this:



So, I went to visit my brother in Bozeman, Montana this weekend. It was amazing. I landed in Bozeman on Wednesday night, and was immediately overwhelmed by the smell of what my brother tells me is nature. It was almost too much for me to handle.

On Thursday I explored Main Street which has bars, restaurants and a surprising number of high-end clothing stores. Then I had a super awesome all organic/vegetarian lunch at what my brother calls the "elitist grocery store". But, whatever I am totally voting for Obama so everyone already knew that I was an elitist. Thursday night I went out with my brother's girlfriend and her roommate and then helped her study for a final exam by playing a drinking game I created called "Anatomy and Physiology". Basically I quizzed Paige and every time she got a question right I had to drink. COLLEGE!!!

Friday we went RAWK climbing. So, I totally knew that we were going to go climbing, but I kind of imagined that we would be in a clearing with lots of flat space with a slight incline to climb. But, no no. We climbed up about 300 feet (I was on all-fours for most of this climb) until we got to a 40 foot vertical rock face with a giant crack in it. Apparently you are supposed to use the crack for leverage. I was wildly uncomfortable with sticking my hands into a dark and mysterious crevasse (BATS LIVE IN THERE!!) so I opted to climb the other side which had many things for me to hold on to. Apparently I am a full-body climber. I just kind of humped my way up 20 feet until vertigo set in and I gave up. Well I didn't really get vertigo, I just didn't want to go any higher. Then I got to repel down which was super fun. So fun, that I immediately climbed back up so I could repel down again. After climbing we played in a stream of melted snow. It was super clear, but freezing. Friday night we had a sweet grilling sesh and then went out on Main Street. Lots of cowboys and sorostitutes. And slot machines.

Saturday I was wildly hungover and did not feel human until about 3 PM. We hung out about town and then saw Dark Knight. It rules. I am seeing it again tonight. SPOILER ALERT: Batman gets Tuberculosis from the TB Goblin and coughs forever and ever. And then he dies.

So, it was super fun. I would def recommend that you all get out there if the opportunity ever presents itself.

facebook won´t let me upload pictures. it´s infuriating.

I can´t believe it is my last week in Chile. I´m trying to cram in all of the things I still want to do like graffiti and ziplining. Recent adventures included Pucon which was gorgeous and awesome. Didn´t climb the volcano bc of snow. I don´t think it actually exists bc you´re allegedly supposed to be able to see it from every angle of the town since it´s right effing there, but we had so much fog you couldnt see anything above rooves. So really I think it´s all just a big lie for Chile to get tourists there and then have them do other stuff. I rode a horse, went white water rafting and hiked a huge mountain. Never have I ever done so many fun, active things and then gotten so drunk every night. Thank you Tulane kids.

Friday my friends Theo, Chris and I found this patio jazz bar that overlooks the whole city. We drank a bunch of wine and danced and listened to this woman sing jazz in every language. She was so old and adorable in a yellow dress with feathers in her hair and she made me sing "As time goes by" with her. This but with a full moon:

I thought I couldn´t love her more until she sang "Girl from Ipanema" in Spanish and then just skatted most of it.

I´ve been concocting many potential life plans for when I get back to New Orleans which may include but in a yet to be determined order: finishing school asap, India, quitting my job, speaking spanish, roller derby and swimming a lot. I´m really excited for Buenos Aires. I would like to eat a lot besides avocados and french fries since that is Chile´s cuisine. Saturday!

Also, this:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

immigrants, esl, lawyers, oh my!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the biweekly Freedom of Information Commission Regular Hearing which lasted a solid 3 1/2 hours. During these meetings the stodgy mostly octogenarian commissioners make determinations about whether or not FOIA has been violated and what, if any, orders to impose (ie civil penalties or release these records and unredacted this time, or henceforth you shall comply by x, y, z parts of the act). On occasion the FOIA request will be denied because the records requested fall into one of the exemption categories. Exemptions include but are not limited to, medical records, escape routes for prisons etc.

Yesterday they addressed the issue of the issuance of id cards to citizens of New Haven. This was a particularly progressive move on the part of the city because about a year ago they issued these cards to New Haven citizens who could prove residence regardless of their immigration status. They simply did not ask card applicants whether or not they were documented. So now, this douchetastic group of immigrant haters, the Community Watchdog Project, wants the list of all card holders names and addresses to be released. The mayor refused to do so and so did the Commissioner of Homeland Security. So the haters filed a FOIA request which was preliminarily denied during the Hearing Officer's meeting.

During the Commission Hearing a 2 hour brawl ensued which was kind of awesome and ridiculous. The leader of the dogs is this guy named Dustin Gold , who is, as far as I can tell, totally cracked (and sexxxxxy sex sex). He went off on a ten minute tirade about the power of the Freedom of Information Act and how, if the Commissioners did not vote to release this information, they would be cannibalizing their own laws, picking away the meat of an already nearly bare bones skeleton, like buzzards to the buffalo of freedom of information. I am not exaggerating. Members of the dogs apparently testified in the preliminary hearing to the fact that they can "identify illegal immigrants by the way they look, walk, dress and whether or not they know spanish."

Ultimately, the reason that FOIC voted to deny the records request is because there is this statutory provision which exempts records from being released if said records would put any person at risk for harm. The decision involved lengthy statutory construction and torts arguments. I uber geeked out to it. One of the attorneys who is pretty artful and wonderfully articulate, Assistant AG Steven Strom, argued on behalf of the state that the names of card holders shouldn't be released because the assumption is that the program caters to illegal immigrants and immigrants/illegal immigrants are already at risk of being targets of criminal acts (because they won't report it for fear of being deported) and for what essentially amounts to hate crimes. So there is a "foreseeable" and "credible" risk if their names and addresses were to be released. He brawled it out with Commissioner O'Keefe who was apparently his advanced torts professor in law school. It was super hilarious cause they were fighting and the Asst. AG was like, well Commissioner I believe you were my torts prof in law school so if I may apply some of the.... And the commissioner cut him off and snarled back, "Well, I hope you learned something." O'Keefe was the only one who voted in opposition to keeping the names confidential.

Oh yeah, and 3 time Emmy winner, NBC 30 senior political reporter Tom Monahan was there...which was kind of exciting.

Tuesday I went to a protest in Valparaiso about the new education reform law, LGE, that was passed last week. Protests in Santiago yesterday became violent and students were arrested. This one was peaceful though and organized by professors. In a nutshell:

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet's government has defended the new law. Students and teachers say it does not go far enough to meet their needs and are demanding the government draw more on funds from coffers bursting with revenues from a four-year copper bonanza.

They also accuse the centre-left government of allowing the wealthy right to control the debate over education funding.

Students and teachers say privileged, private schools receive government funds that would be better served in improving the public school system.

Mostly it was just amazing to me that in their lifetime, these professors and folks were afraid to even be seen in groups because of Pinochet's regime. Now they can march and demonstrate and play music in the streets without fear of being tortured or disappeared. It made me really happy.

Also, all this reading about Pinochet and Chile during that time gave me horrible nightmares last night about being taken to a prison camp without knowing why and noone being able to help me. It's scary to learn about what happened here bc it was all done so "legitamitely" with laws passed in the name of national security.