Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another one bites the dust

On Friday, I will be another year closer to meeting my maker, or becoming a desperate person. I'm not quite sure which. I believe the fog of sobriety to be clouding my judgement. In hindsight, I should have given up fried food for Lent.

This past year has taught me many things:
1. heterosexual relationships do not have to be locations of oppression. This was a long lesson for this feminazi.
2. Racism is alive and ill. It is also very important to me, not to maintain, but to created discussions about it. Ignoring it won't make it go away. Also, discussions about racism and white privilege need to be careful not to essentialize or otherize. this defeats the purpose.
3. Diabetes and high blood pressure are serious risk factors for me and I need to make extreme life changes to address these risks. My dad has pre-diabetes and high blood pressure. Health risks are scary and dismissible when they are outside of the immediate family, but when they cross that line they get really freaky. I will be expending a lot of energy to reduce my risks.
4. School is hard. There are so many commitments tied to school. If you are planning to advance beyond your bachelor's degree you need to volunteer, head committees, and engage in extracurricular activities. Then you need to attend to work and your social life where no one may understand all the pressure you face. It kinda sucks, but is well worth it anyway.
5. IUDs are super terrific happy fun time. I have had mine for two academic quarters and have not had any adverse side effects. Penny and I are very happy and plan to be for a long, long time. Yay no babies!!!
6. I need to make time and funds available for therapy. There are things in my life that I have a hard time dealing with that I need to get over, because they are essentially part of life. Germs, living with people, stress, etc... Having a therapist might facilitate attaining the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I think that is all I have got for this year's life lessons. If you want to help celebrate the accomplishments of my wisdom, come to the Summit Public House on March 21, AKA Transnational Shannon Day! Be there at drinking time and come equipped with the means to buy me a drink.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Seattle vigil

On February 12th, 2008, 15-year-old Lawrence King was shot and killed at E.O. Green School in Oxnard, California.

A fellow student (aged 14 years old) came into their school's computer lab and shot Lawrence "Larry" twice in the back of his head.

A few weeks prior to the shooting, Lawrence had publicly come out at his school for being gay and endured much harassment every where that he went. He had asked the boy who shot him to be his valentine not realizing that it would be the death of him. The main group of students that harassed him were the shooter and his friends.

Would you kill someone just because you didn't want to be their valentine?

He'll never graduate. He'll never learn how to drive. He'll never get his own job. His family and friends won't ever get to see him again..

..Just because someone couldn't handle his differences.

This is an action alert to advise you that on Sunday, March 9 at 5:15pm,
after the Safe Schools Coalition's viewing and discussion of "It's Still
Elementary" at the Broadway Performance Hall from 2pm-5pm (visit
Safe Schools Coalition for more information!!), GLSEN Washington
, in a partnership with ACTION Northwest, there will be a
candlelight vigil in honor of Lawrence, and other youth that have been killed due their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The vigil will be held in front of the Broadway Performance Hall, 1625
Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122.

Scheduled speakers currently include Commissioner Jerry Hebert from the
Washington State Human Rights Commission. Stay tuned to GLSEN Washington State for the latest information on who is scheduled to speak.

If you would like to volunteer to set up for the event, they could use the
help! Contact either David Hildebrand at or Joe Bento at

Let your light for safe zones shine.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Coffee Talk

Let's take a break from political pandering. I can't assume all eyes are on the United states Democratic race, but it is neck and neck and talk of sharing the ticket has begun. So, really the decision seems to be about who will be the headliner of the show. With that said a break is in order.
As some of you many know, I like to spotlight parts of the world that take an interest in my blog in a series I am calling, "This is your life."
Well, Brno, this is yours...

Brno (IPA: [ˈbr̩.no] (help·info); German: Brünn) is the second-largest city in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 1243 although the area had been settled since the 5th century. Today Brno has over 380,000 inhabitants and is the seat of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, Supreme Court, and Supreme Prosecutor's Office.

Brno is located in the southeast part of the country, at the confluence of the Svitava and Svratka rivers. The city is a political and cultural hub of the South Moravian Region (estimated population of 1,130,000 for the whole region). At the same time, it represents the centre of the province of Moravia, one of the historic lands of the Czech Crown. It is situated at the crossroads of ancient trade routes which have joined northern and southern European civilizations for centuries. Due to its location between the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands and the Southern Moravian lowlands, Brno has a moderate climate.

Brno as such was acknowledged to be a town in 1243 by Václav I, King of Bohemia, but the area itself had been settled since the 5th century. From the 11th century, a castle of the governing Přemyslid dynasty stood here, and was the seat of the non-ruling prince.

During the mid-14th century Brno became one of the centers for the Moravian regional assemblies, whose meetings alternated between Brno and Olomouc. These regional authority organs made decisions on political, legal, and financial questions. They were also responsible for the upkeep of regional records.

During the Hussite Wars, the city remained faithful to King Zikmund. The Hussites twice laid siege to the city, once in 1428 and again in 1430, both times in vain.

During the Thirty Years' War, in 1643 and 1645, Brno was the only city to successfully defend itself from Swedish sieges, thereby allowing the Austrian Empire to reform their armies and to repel the Swedish pressure. In recognition of its services, the city was rewarded with a renewal of its city privileges. In the years following the Thirty Years' War, the city became an impregnable baroque fortress. In 1742, the Prussians vainly attempted to conquer the city, and the position of Brno was confirmed with the establishment of a bishopric in 1777.

In the 18th century, development of industry and trade began to take place, which continued into the next century. Soon after the industrial revolution, the town became one of the industrial centres of Moravia — sometimes it even being called the Czech Manchester. In 1839, the first train arrived in Brno. Together with the development of industry came the growth of the suburbs, and the city lost its fortifications, as did the Spielberg fortress, which became a notorious prison to where not only criminals were sent, but also political opponents of the Austrian Empire. Gas lighting was introduced to the city in 1847 and a tram system in 1869. Mahen Theatre in Brno was the first building in the world to use Edison's electric lamps.

During the "First Republic" (1918 - 1938) Brno continued to gain importance — it was during this period that Masaryk University was established (1919), the state armory (Československá Statni Zbrojovka Brno) was established (1919), and the Brno Fairgrounds were opened in 1928 with an exhibition of contemporary culture. The city was not only a centre of industry and commerce, but also of education and culture. Famous people who lived and worked in the city include Gregor Mendel, Leoš Janáček, Viktor Kaplan, Jiří Mahen, and Bohuslav Fuchs.

In 1939 Brno was annexed by Nazi Germany along with the rest of Moravia and Bohemia. After the war, the ethnic German population of approximately 270,000 was expelled.

Brno today

The Augustinian Abbey of St Thomas, Brno.
St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
Courtyard of the Špilberk Castle
Gate of the Old City Hall
Dominikánská Street in the city centre
Villa Tugendhat
Brno Exhibition CenterBrno Exhibition Center, established in 1928, is the city's premier attraction for international business visitors. Annually, over 1 million visitors attend over 40 professional trade fairs and business conferences held here. In 2007, the center hosted the 14th Meeting of Central European Presidents, and a Rolling Stones concert. Exhibition and convention industry contributes heavily to the region’s economy, while 90% of Czech population associate Brno with trade shows. Thanks to its excellent infrastructure with modern facilities, Brno Exhibition Center has a prominent position in the region. Therefore, Brno can be nicknamed the capital of trade fairs of Central Europe.
Masaryk University, located in Brno, is the second biggest public university-type school in the Czech Republic and the first in Moravia. Today, it consists of nine faculties, more than 190 departments, institutes and clinics. It is recognised as one of the most significant institutions of education and research in the Czech Republic and a respected Central Europe university with democratic traditions advocated since its establishment in 1919.
Špilberk Castle is one of the principal monuments, as is the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, also known as Petrov. The cathedral was built during the 14th and 15th centuries. Its bells ring noon at 11 a.m., a tradition since the siege by the Swedes in 1645.
The town has a long history of motor racing. The first races were run as a checkpoint for the Vienna – Breslau race in 1904; in the 1920s, the town hosted the Brno – Soběšice hillclimb race; and in the 1930s, all races were held on the street course called Masaryk Circuit which led through the streets of the western part of the town and neighbouring villages, such as Bosonohy and Žebětín. A series of Czechoslovakian Grand Prix was held from 1930 to 1935, in 1937 and also once after the war, in 1949. Since 1968, Brno has been a permament fixture on the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) series, and has held motorcycle races since 1965. The road course ceased to be used at the end of 1986 when all motorsport activities resumed at the new permanent Masaryk Circuit, which was completed in 1985 in the northwest section of the town. Among other events, it hosts the Moto GP series. The Czech Moto Grand Prix in 2006 was won by Loris Capirossi.
Ignis Brunensis, an international fireworks competition, is held each June. The show attracts more than 200,000 spectators regularly.
Villa Tugendhat, a unique example of modern functionalistic architecture, designed by Mies van der Rohe and built in the late 1920s close to the centre of the city, was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002. Another renowned architect who changed significantly the modern shape of Brno was Arnošt Wiesner. Many of his functionalistic buildings can be found all around the city.
In the 1990s, after more than 70 years of discussion, the city council decided to build a new main train station farther from the centre of the town and to develop a more modern area of the town, which is currently occupied by train track. This plan has been criticised for its possible economical and ecological consequences. The whole Brno railway junction is to be reconstructed, which is very complicated due to its 170 years of development since the first train came to Brno from Vienna in 1839. The construction is projected to finish in 2017. After municipal elections in autumn 2006 this project has been put on hold by new city leadership and it appears that an upgraded main station in the city center will be reconsidered.
The Brno University of Technology, established in 1899, has been developing the Czech Technology Park since 1995.
Every September, Brno is home to a large wine festival (Slavnosti vína) to celebrate the harvest in the surrounding wine-producing region. [1]
Hantec is a unique dialect that originated in Brno, however most peoples' knowledge of it is restricted to a few words.
Brno is the home to the highest courts in the Czech judiciary. The Supreme Court is on Burešova Street, the Supreme Administrative Court is on Moravské náměstí (English: Moravian Square), and the Constitutional Court is on Joštova Street. This makes Brno a second capital of the Czech Republic — or would, if the constitution didn't define the capital as being solely Prague. Thus, Brno might be thought of as the "capital of the judicial branch of government" in the Czech Republic.

So, relax, kick your shoes of and take a visit.
Brno: for a day or a lifetime

(thank you to wikipedia. Without it this post would not have been possible.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

University of Washington study abroad opportunity!!

Roskilde, Denmark, Autumn 2008

Race, Gender, and Nation: Immigration in Denmark and the United States
(Program dates: August 30, 2008 - December 15, 2008 -- 24 Credits
Sponsored by The Comparative History of Ideas Department)
A recent study named Denmark the happiest place on earth. That people in Denmark report a high degree of happiness isn’t surprising, given widespread economic prosperity and extensive government-funded healthcare, education and social service programs. Denmark is also a beautiful country—bounded by white sand beaches and fishing ports on all sides and filled with sprawling castles and parks and distinctively Danish modern art, architecture and design. But happiness isn’t the only thing that has recently put Denmark on the map. A set of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad first published in a Danish newspaper in 2006 sparked protests across Europe and the Middle East over the unequal treatment of Muslim immigrants in Denmark as symbolic of their treatment around the world. And a country that has historically been defined by progressive politics and inclusivity is increasingly shutting its doors to immigrants; largely through the rise in power of a nationalist radical right party that is working to restrict Denmark’s public resources to ’ethnic Danes’ alone.

As in Denmark, immigration is currently a topic of widespread public discussion and concern in the United States. The U.S. Congress has been debating major immigration reforms, the U.S./Mexico border is increasingly fortified and militarized in the name of Homeland Security, and immigrant communities and families across the country are being split apart through detention and deportations. At the same time, unprecedented numbers of immigrants have been resisting their treatment by the U.S. government, employers, and everyday people as they march for immigrant rights and a path to citizenship.

Program Description
The interplay of race, gender and nation is paid little attention in popular and scholarly analyses of Danish and U.S. immigration. As the University of Washington’s first explicitly feminist study abroad program, this program will center the roles that race, gender and nation play in images and stories of immigration in Denmark and the United States in the context of contemporary inequalities of globalization.

Students enrolled in the program will live and take classes at Roskilde University (, which is 25 minutes by train from Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. Regular program excursions to museums, neighborhoods and public and private organizations in Copenhagen and Roskilde will supplement students’ work in the classroom. All students will also work together to produce group projects that explore some aspect of race, gender, nation and immigration in the U.S. and/or Denmark. Students will have the opportunity to complete these projects in collaboration with public or non-governmental organizations. These projects could culminate in a long research paper, but students will also be encouraged to take a creative approach to the projects that incorporates, for example, visual art, literature, and/or documentary films.

Students will prepare for the study abroad program during Spring 2008 with a required 2 credit non-graded pre-departure seminar (CHID 496). This seminar will focus on feminist perspectives on race, gender and globalization and group learning in the context of study abroad. Study abroad in Denmark will begin August 30 and end December 15 2008.
This program is open to students from all backgrounds. All students are encouraged to apply.

Students will receive between 20 and 25 total UW credits in Women Studies or CHID for the following:
1. Roskilde University Cultural Encounters program core course (September 8 to October 3)
2. “Images and Stories of Immigration” thematic course (October 6 to November 7)
3. Students’ choice of one of three other Cultural Encounters thematic courses on ethnicity, nationalism, identity, religion and culture (October 6 to November 7)
4. Participation in program outings and assignments outside the classroom
5. Completion of group projects

Language Study
Students are strongly encouraged to take some Danish classes before or during the program. Options for doing this include:
1. Coming to Denmark two weeks before the program begins to take part in Roskilde’s introductory course for international students, which includes an introduction to Denmark and Roskilde’s unique approach to teaching and learning as well as introductory Danish lessons. The course runs from August 13 to August 27, 9:30 am to 2 pm every weekday. (Students would have to pay an additional cost--approximately $500 US--for this introductory course.)
2. Taking Danish classes at Roskilde Fall semester during the program
Note: students will receive additional credit for language study.

go to the CHID International page
Questions? Contact Laura Hart Newton: