Food for thought

  • “There is so much emphasis on IQ in organizations, and not enough on leadership. Now we have a bunch of technological geniuses who are socially and emotionally inept.” I wish I could shout this from the rooftops of every building in America. This article on Linked In about micromanagement is amazing.  
  • What was the defining moment that changed your life? I have always thought about writing a book where I interviewed my friends and asked them this very question. I wonder how many people walk around with enough consciousness and wherewithall to be able to identify the moment. Did it happen when you were 7, 17, 27, or 57? Here is a link to the article about one woman’s defining moment. Because of her vulnerability I think I’ll write that book now.
  • “How is it that in a film whose premise rests on the idea of reimagining the past, present and future, we still end up with a blonde white woman with flashing blue eyes as the stand-in for what personifies evolution and supremely fulfilled human potential?” I have not seen Lucy, though I want to, but this was an insightful read.  Lucy: Why I’m tired of seeing white people on the Big Screen 
  • I recently was turned onto a show called Roomieloverfriends, which is created by Black & Sexy TV on YouTube. I appreciate that there are people out there who are using the internet to show different images of people of color. Though they may not have one of the big 5 networks behind them, what they are doing is taking control of their images in a way that resonates with black people (and dare I say millennials). I encourage everyone to look at what they are doing.

I’m reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo…

…and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I decided to read The Alchemist after hearing numerous spiritual gurus talk about it on Super Soul Sunday (a program on OWN). People kept referring to the lessons in The Alchemist and so after I finished reading Lean In, I decided to read it. The book is simple, uses words that any and everyone has heard (except alchemist) and its message is clear: The universe conspires for you to achieve you Personal Legend.

In the book a young shepherd decides to leave his home to seek out his Personal Legend and see the pyramids of Egypt. Along the way he encounters a king who manifests himself in various forms to guide the young man along the way. He makes many stops along the way and is faced with the decision to stay where he is comfortable or take a risk and go toward his destiny at all of those stops. I am halfway through the book and I understand what all of the hype was about 26 years ago and why it is still widely read today. This is a book that should be required reading in all schools. It is Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go for grown-ups, namely because of the way it talks about fear. Fear is the killer of all dreams and the ruler of too many lives.  Paulo Coehlo took a story, much like Aesop’s fables and the stories of Sinbad and molded them into something people living in the 20th century can relate to. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book thus far:

“Making a decision is only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

“And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”

“There was a language in the world that everyone understood, a language the boy had used throughout the time that he was trying to improve things at the shop. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.”

Note: An alchemist is a philosopher concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding universal solvent and an elixir of life. Alchemy was practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. (definition from dictionary.com)

Note: My next book will be Native Guard by Natasha Tretheway, the current U.S. Poet Laureate. 

My delayed but still relevant reaction to OITNB Season 2

THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS!

So social media blew up a few weeks ago when season 2 of Orange is the New Black was released on Netflix. And now with it’s recent Emmy nominations (shout out to Laverne Cox!) people who never considered watching the series will tune in to see what the hype is about. I personally was late to the OITNB hype. I had mixed feelings about the show after watching season 1, because I liked a lot of the characters, but wished that there could be a popular show full of strong women who are not in prison. So here’s my shortlist of what I liked and did not like about season 2. Based on the way it ended with Nickels and Boo hiding that heroine, season 3 should be interesting…

 

What I liked…

  • We finally got to see the full complexity of Red’s character. I enjoyed learning about her history with Vee, the tragic closing of her family’s store, how she was able to get contraband into the prison, etc. Her gang of old ladies in the greenhouse provided comic relief — even when they shanked the wrong black woman.
  • Pennsytucky. I have been hosting my own personal Twitter rally to get Taryn Manning nominated for an Emmy and you should join me. Her character is so damn crazy and I enjoy every second of it. I can’t wait until we learn her back story.
  • Can I just say that the Latinas on OITNB are the bomb?! This season we learned more about Maritza through the visits with her chulo fiance and infant daughter. Based on her boyfriend’s appearance I assume that Maritza is in there for something gang related, but we don’t know this for sure. What I will say is that chulo fiance (who does not speak ever) is bringing a new face to fatherhood and commitment.
  • Finding out that Morello is a bat shit crazy stalker changed my life. I never saw that twist coming, but I am so glad that it did.
  • Nickels is everyone’s first prison friend and seems like a generally cool chick. I want to be her friend in real life.
  • Poussey always wins. Samira Wiley, who portrays Poussey, has given this character so much integrity and intelligence, and she’s pretty with no make-up on. She breaks up all of the stereotypes about black women, lesbians, military brats, drug dealers, world education, and is just generally wonderful. I’m glad that her friendship with Taystee is back on track.
  • Prior to learning more about Piper’s mom this season it was very easy to assume that this suburban, rich girl was so different than the women around her. However, this season showed us that Piper came from a messed up family and the reason she allows toxic people to remain in her life and continues to be a perfectly good waste of white privilege is because her mother modeled that for her.
  • The best part about OITNB Season 2 was really being able to see the moment when inmates go from repentance and remorse to survival mode. We keep people in prison entirely too long, and the PTSD that they come out with prevents them from living full lives and having a chance at rehabilitation. Season 2 dug deeper and has started to use this comedy about a women’s prison as a means to shed light on women’s issues. Kudos!

What I disliked…

  • Piper. She is such a despicable protagonist. Frank Underwood in House of Cards has killed so many people that I’ve lost count, and yet I am rooting for him and all of his elitist, entitled machismo more than I can root for Piper Chapman.
  • Vee. Though I was fascinated by seeing Lorraine Toussaint (who normally plays very upwardly mobile characters) do something different, Vee had to go. I was so happy when she got hit by that car I didn’t know what to do. How dare you manipulate everybody and ruin everything, then walk away like nothing happened?!
  • I didn’t like seeing the tension that developed between Poussey and Tastee. Every friendship has its hurdles (and being in prison is a big one), but I thought that shower scene was the end of their friendship. Forgiveness in unforgivable circumstances is hard.
  • I was looking forward to finding out why everyone’s favorite cooking Nuyorican Gloria ended up in prison, and then I found out it was for selling food stamps. We send people to prison for the stupidest things in this country. Garnish her wages or tarnish her credit, but don’t send her to prison.
  • Piper allowing Alex to play her time-and-time again has gotten old. She must have a magical tongue, because I don’t understand.
  • The weird contextualization of homosexuality and the vague separation of being a lesbian and being straight in prison is something that stumps most of us, but now that it’s on TV I’m even more stumped. At what point does your sexual preference overrule your sexual desire and vice versa. The reason this is on the dislike list is because I don’t want this to send the wrong message about what being gay or straight really entails.
  • This sick relationship between Dalia and the guard is not as toxic as Olivia and Fitz on Scandal, but it’s trying to go there. When the bottom falls out on this foolery it will be good TV, but in the meantime it’s on my nerves. I wish she would just have this baby.
  • I realize that we needed more Asian representation on OITNB, but why Brooke SoSo? This character perpetuates so many stereotypes about Asians, and yet is in prison for a crime that we do not associate with Asians! It’s frustrating. She needs to go. Try again writers. There are two Asians on OITNB and both are strange as hell.
  • What I disliked the most about Season 2 was the lack of humor. Season 1 was hilarious. This season was a bummer. I guess with great ratings comes great social responsibility to actually offer insight into prison life, but I miss some of those quick one-liners.