Saturday, December 20, 2008

Career in Crisis: Career Confusion



ed phoning home ouch
May 18, 2003









now would not be the best time to mention my senior thesis-- or my grad school major, or the fact that i spent the better part life as a volunteer and advocate for children at-risk.. working to give them hope and a second chance at life.

systematically invalidating such bogus, barnum-type feedback that one typically gets from a MBTI type of personality test that is given during high school or in college. i won’t bother to mention the standardization of SAT scores to help our country feel better-- or the fact that the stanford-binet was created for military issue only.


who gives a shit anymore??? if you told a me a fat bearded lady at the circus could decide my fate and tell me what direction i should choose next-- i’d take it! and throw in a fat tip for being smart enough to know that any answer-- no matter how grim, is far better than just wandering aimlessly through life looking back on what might have been-- at THIRTY! AT THIRTY!!!!


after receiving five letters of rejection from jobs that require nothing more than a GED or a high school diploma, i decided to go to the tennessee career center hoping to find a job that will allow me to afford the most basic necessities of life. toothpaste, toilet paper, cat food... i got hooked up with a counselor that afternoon. he has two masters degrees-- one in educational career counseling, and a second in counseling psychology. could this be the guidance counselor i have been asking for since.. well... since... i was old enough to know was in need of guidance?

surely someone else must have recognized i was in need of guidance, but god knows my parents weren't paying attention, and having good genes just doesn't cut it these days. but now more than ever, i realize that having all the smarts in the world won't get you anywhere if you never learned how to apply them.

i am the exact same five year old who needed to win the spelling bee. in college, i was the one to set the curve, not just make it. the one to break the rules, and, break them i did, but there is no glory in being second best, second smartest, second brightest, or second anything.


i wish i could say that after all this time i developed other ego strengths and finally felt okay with who i am, you know.... “just being me,” but i am sad to report that my “condition” (diagnosis) was amazingly accurate and predictable. just like all the doctors said! i wonder if they derive joy out of being right-- if they crack open a bottle of aged liquor in my fathers office and say, “see, we told you so. we told you their was nothing you could do." and so nothing they did.

and by doing nothing, and i do mean nothing-- the illness will just take will its course. and i am now, in fact, nothing. nothing costs nothing (at least to them) and daddy made another fine investment. on the other hand, nothing has drained every hope, fear, security-- every chance-- and every last breath from my body. i might have believed in me. but i know i’m alive because a tear just rolled down the side of my cheek. i am home.


but i still haven’t learned. for some reason with all of my failures i am reminded of in so many ways... me, myself, as i watch them play out every time i shut my eyes or open them. yes- blink.

sometimes i ask myself, how did i get here? how did this happen? what happened to all of the plans i made for myself? where did they go? where did I go? constantly replayed over and over and over again in my mind. i must be FUCK1NG CRAZY!


but at this moment, here, even as i say the words, i am not truly insane, i am merely in pain. what a tragedy that those two words rhyme-- they ruin what could have been a very profound misnomer of the human condition and the labels we hold so dear.

i am the exact same 5 year old who needed to ACE the spelling bee, set the curve, not just make it; break the rules, and, break them i did. there is no glory in being second best. second smartest, second brightest, or second anything. being second sucks. it sucks every god-damned second of the day.

and so my search for mediocrity continues and i wait for it each and every day hoping it will find me beaten and worn from the storm. all of the storms, but dammit, its still there. i still have questions those damn elyssa questions that made all my professors so proud, damn ideas, damn thoughts, damn hope.


my mother still calls me everyday to see if i went to get food stamps to feed myself, fuck her, and her fucking things. fuck diamonds and couture and fuck that life. i was here mom, the whole fucking time. just not pretty enough with out any surgery. not pretty at all, with all those damn scars.


i hope someone out there still loves me. i do actually believe that i deserve love and kindness despite the obvious fact that i am a royal pain in the ass. i refuse to work in burger king. for right now, at least.


so goodnight my dear friends. let's all try to have sweet dreams. pepe awaits, as does alanis, and a pack of smokes that i can already taste.

yes, what could have been, what should have been-- what MIGHT have been if you let me be
m.e.

"When written in chinese, the word Crisis is composed of tvo characters: One represents danger and the other represents opportunity." -JFK

Friday, December 19, 2008

NYTimes.com: Obama's Stamp of Approval

The campaign, produced on behalf of ServiceNation.org, is timed for National Mentoring Month, which has been observed each January since 2002.



THE NEW YORK TIMESBUSINESS December 19, 2008
Obama's Stamp of Approval, Prepresidential
By STUART ELLIOTT


President-elect Barack Obama will soon be doing something before his inauguration that has long been the province of presidents: appearing in a public service campaign.



Link to the New York Time Article

Celebrating An Historic American Night: HACKING BACK









The Music City USA Barack Obama Presidential Inaugural Ball

Tuesday January 20, 2009

7:00pm

Millennium Maxwell Hotel Ballroom

Rosa Parks Blvd.

Nashville, Tennessee

"Celebrating An Historic American Night"

Formal Attire Please



Proceeds will be donate to nearly 20 community organizations, services, and institutions: Little League Teams, three Nashville High Schools have been selected, several college scholarship awardees, after school academic enrichment tutoring programs, and youth development programs are just a sample of the wonderful Nashville community groups that will recieve much needed donations of 500, 1000 up to 5000 dollar grants from this marvelous charity celebration.


Tax Deductible Invitations go on sale December 15, 2008. The price is $100.00 per person. Live music, dancing, food, cash bar, eight foot television screens tuned to DC, Obama Memorabilia, personal fun photos with President Obama, slide shows, and America's newest hit dance, "The Music City Obama Slide".


Our Special Guest:

"Bob the Builder"

Yes We Can

Change We Need: Mentor A Child

"I am not too proud to beg for a job or take some free advice if it will help me to get from here to there. I need someone, anyone, willing to give me a chance to prove myself. I need someone to invest in me!

I believe I deserve more out of life than this, and I think that if you knew me, you would think so too. Help become the person I was meant to be. Try to the see the person I could become. I have so much to contribute, but few resources get there. All I want is a chance. All I need is a mentor. Will someone please take the time to invest in me?" -Elyssa Durant, December 16, 2008


From my recent publication:

Morally Bankrupt: How Much Am I Worth?
Help me become the person I was meant to be. Try to the see the person I could become. I have so much to contribute, but few resources get there. I believe I deserve more out of life than this, and I think that if you knew me, you would think so too.
View more »

SAVE THE INTERNET!

COMCAST MUST DIE!


SavetheInternet.com

Monday, December 15, 2008

PRESS RELEASE


The Music City

USA President Inauguration Day Ball


Tuesday January 20, 2009

7:00pm

Millennium Maxwell House Hotel

Rosa Parks Blvd.

Nashville, Tennessee


On the morning of January 20, 2009 Barack Obama will take the oath of office as America's 44th president.

Listings number hundreds of traditional events in and around the nation's capital in honor of the new president on Inauguration Day.

But outside the overcrowded nation's capitol in Nashville, Tennessee, a "Host Committee of 44" people are supporting The Music City "USA President's Inaugural Day Ball".

The Nashville Inaugural Ball is spearheaded by longtime Nashville pastor, the Reverend Enoch Fuzz. The "Host Committee of 44" consist of some of the community's most notable persons including:

Davidson County Sheriff Darren Hall, Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, Gospel Music Icon Dr. Bobby Jones, Criminal Court Judge Monty Watkins, Award winning newspaper journalist Tim Chavez, Metro Parks Director Roy Wilson, attorney Linda Jones, Metro School Board Members; Karen Johnson and Mark North, acting Schools Director Chris Henson, Metro Council At Large Member Megan Barry, the Reverend Edwin Sanders, Rev. Dr. ray Richardson and former Dean of TSU School of Engineering Dr Ed Isibor.

And some who did not vote for Obama -- but feel it is now in the best interest of our city and nation to work together and hopes for the new president to have success -- include several former Metro Council members, business owners and community volunteers.

Successful Nashville business owner, Carol Jenkins of Priority Hospice and the New Hope Foundation has signed on her company as a major sponsor of the event. Jenkins who served on President Bush's Small Business Advisory Council volunteered her company's support when asked to serve on the Host Committee of 44 saying:

"I feel this is an effective way to create positive opportunities in our community."

The proceeds from the Music City USA President's Inaugural Ball will be donated to twenty one selected nonprofit community organizations and programs. Some of the groups that will recieve $1,000 or more are:

Northwest YMCA, Maplewood HS, Whites Creek HS, the Inner City Boy Scouts, the College Trust Fund, AT&T Community Network Tennessee, the First Response Center, Faith Family Clinic, several little league ball clubs, some academic tutoring programs, job mentoring, and faith based programs are also included.

Ticket Invitations to attend the formal attire event are $100 per person and can be purchased online starting December 22, 2008. Those attending the Music City Ball will dine on awesome Southern food, dance to the music of DJs and live bands, be entertained with stand up comedy acts, and stay abreast of all the official Washington, D.C .,Inaugural Ball activities by way of 10-foot television screens in the grand ballrooms at the elegant Millennium Maxwell House Hotel.

Many at the Nashville Celebration may seem closer to the Obamas than those in D.C. The event organizers estimate that near 200 invitations to the Nashville Ball have been requested as word got out about the event and expects it will be sold out one week after tickets go on sale December 23.

Stay tuned for invitation information.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is Equal Opportunity Just A Myth?

Is Equal Opportunity Just a Myth?
America claims to be dedicated to equal opportunity, yet equality is not sufficient in urban communities. These kids need more. We need to think about equity, not equality. It is not enough to hide them away. These are visions we should never forget.

Link to full text: View more »

In Amazing Grace: The lives of children and the conscience of a nation, Jonathan Kozol paints a vivid picture of the conditions in the poorest sections of New York City. During the early to mid 1990’s, Kozol made several visits to Mott Haven in the South Bronx. As he describes in Amazing Grace, the South Bronx is one of the most severely segregated and poorest Congressional Districts in the United States.

The members of this community have been segregated into a hell plagued with sickness, violence and despair. Kozol argues that this strategic placement serves to isolate the rich from the realities they have thrust upon their fellow man. New Yorkers do not stroll through the streets of Mott Haven, and taxicabs take no short cuts through Beekman Avenue. Many taxicabs will not even venture past East 96th Street. Out of sight is out of mind.

As I was reading Amazing Grace, I remember thinking back to my days living in Manhattan, coincidentally around the same time Kozol conducted his interviews in the South Bronx. I lived in what Kozol refers to as Manhattan’s “Liberal West Side,” an area that was undergoing rapid transformation and gentrification at the time Mayor Rudolph Giuliani took office.

There is no excuse for the conditions in which these people must live. No person should be forced into an apartment that has a higher ratio of cockroaches and rats than human beings.

In 1995, the American Sociological Association (ASA) held its annual conference in New York City. Prior to that meeting, they sent out a fact sheet that may be of interest to ASA members. In this sheet, they too described the same social conditions and asked their members to take note of the changes that occur at 96th Street. I can assure you that the conditions Kozol describes in his book were not exaggerated.

These children are desperately in need of the best schools, yet we give them the worst. They have few libraries, few safe havens, few doctors, and few role models. They have every reason to believe that they are throwaway children and we have certainly not shown them anything else. The social services we have provided are a bureaucratic nightmare. People in need are treated as sub-human, and made to feel ashamed of being poor.

These are among the sickest children in the world. Americans claim to be dedicated to the children and fool ourselves into believing that we are doing them a favor by providing them with medical care, public education, and public housing. Yet, the quality of their neighborhoods speaks volumes of our sentiment and intentions.

Shortly after Amazing Grace was published, managed care rapidly moved onto the New York scene. Around the same time, the Mayor announced he would be closing some of the hospitals that served the poorest of the poor because of financial problems associated with payment and large trauma departments.

Kozol makes the point that people could attempt to gain admissions at a better hospital than Bronx-Lebanon; yet, the privatization of Medicaid has now made this completely impossible. Further restrictions on medical care are inevitable as the result of Medicaid managed care. The law is not designed to protect these people, and this was made obvious in a recent conversation I had with a friend who practices medicine in New York.

My friend John works as a board certified trauma physician at a private hospital on the Upper East Side. The last black patient he treated at Beth Israel was famed rock singer Michael Jackson. I asked him if he ever gets any asthma patients in his ER. He knew immediately of whom I was speaking. “You mean the kids from the South Bronx?” he asked. He told me that they know better than to show up at Beth Israel. “But if they do?” I asked, and he replied, “We ship them back.”

This is the reality. The best doctors treat the wealthiest patients rather than the sickest. Schools educate the best students rather than the neediest. It is no wonder that these children perform poorly in school. By every measure, these children are destined for failure. Their home life is less than enchanting, and they do not benefit from enriched environments and educated parents.

Certainly, there are many dedicated parents who care about their children, but is that enough? When I was in school, children frequently asked the teacher, how will this help later in life. In my class, there was an unequivocal reply, but it could be argued that what children in the South Bronx need to learn couldn’t be taught in the classroom.

There is no doubt that the prevalence of violence in urban neighborhoods affects the ability of children to perform well in school. There is a large body of empirical evidence that demonstrates the effects of chronic stress on memory and the learning process. Rather than taking the children out of these communities, we have constructed prison like buildings for them to attend school. They routinely have gunfire drills reminding them that danger is never far behind.

Children cannot learn in this environment. This constant stress triggers “hot-memory.” Hot memory can be thought of as learning with your heart and not your mind. It is no wonder children perform inadequately in this environment.

It is bad enough that children live in such conditions, must we educate in them too? If we want underprivileged children to learn and grow spiritually, we must create an environment that allows their cool memory systems to take over.

It is only under these conditions that children will permit themselves to learn and develop their intellectual strengths. We have failed to create a safe home environment for urban children, but we can give serious thought to creating a school environment outside of the community so they have fewer fear-driven hours each day.

Studies consistently report lower academic achievement in urban neighborhoods like Mott Haven in the South Bronx. Children growing up in urban neighborhoods have a much higher incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most researchers believe this to be the direct result of living in stressed communities plagued with street crime and violence. The potential impact of chronic stress on academic performance and achievement is not known, but reading scores in neighborhoods like Mott Haven certainly seem to indicate some type of causal relationship. There is virtually no research on looking at the long-term effects of this inflated incidence of PTSD among urban populations. It is important to develop an understanding of the effects of fear on the academic performance of urban adolescents so we can begin to dismantle the myths regarding school performance and minority children.

Under these conditions, it is not surprising to learn that students also report pervasive feelings of fear and do not feel secure despite the added presence of security personnel on school grounds. For these students, school is a mere extension of the violent communities in which they live.

Since urban communities have many different sources of stress, it is important to examine how school policies contribute to the learning environment in public schools. The quick response has been to install weapons detectors and hire school security for urban schools. The presence of school security certainly affects the climate of American public schools by establishing school environments that focus more on student behavior than student achievement. Together, the urban public school and the community it serves are a constant reminder of the poor living conditions and social reality of urban America.

The secured environment is an indication of the roles students are expected to play later in life. This is a lesson they will not soon forget.

Kozol makes it quite clear that there are several exceptional children in this community. There are probably as many exceptional children here as every other community around the country, yet, so few of them will make it out of the South Bronx. Kozol is careful not to dwell on the exceptional cases of children who successfully navigate their way into the main stream of society. Kozol does this so we do not develop a false sense of hope. If we cling to a few exceptional cases, we may come to believe that what we are giving enough to children like Anthony or Anabelle. Clearly, we can do more. Failure should be the exception—not the rule. Success should be the norm, and until it is, we should not give up hope for these children.

America claims to be dedicated to equal opportunity, yet equality is not sufficient in a community like Mott Haven. These kids need more. We need to think about equity, not equality. It is not enough to hide them away. These are visions we should never forget.

Welcome to America. The Wealthiest Nation in the World.

Reference: Amazing Grace: The lives of children and the conscience of a nation. (by Jonathan Kozol)

Link to the assholes who made fortune off this piece...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

MESSENGERS OF PEACE NEEDS YOU!

This business supports Health Care for America Now
This fall marked the beginning of one of the greatest tragedies in American history: Hurricane Katrina. This is further compounded by the potential devastation that awaits New Orleans residents when they return to the unknown losses that await them as Hurricane Gustav looms of the Gulf Coast and inches its way closer and closer to the Louisiana border.

Several years ago, I made an online statement that Nashvillians in need of benefits should apply "before the Louisiana people utilize whatever resources we have left." In retrospect, that statement seems crass and insensitive. Now that several years have passed, I would certainly blame this disgusting war as the main culprit of domestic waste. Unfortunately, I cannot turn back the hands of time, and that statement exists- floating around for all eternity in the magical world of cyberspace. All I can do now is try my best to explain what prompted that statement and hope that those who read my previous piece will also see this retraction.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain what prompted such an apparently callous, insensitive comment and set the record straight.

We live in a country that rallies together when faced with domestic and international crises. We open our hearts, our homes, and our wallets for disaster relief here and overseas. We also live in a world where smaller crises exist everyday albeit poverty, hunger or homelessness. Such domestic problems tend to be chronic in nature and often slip under the radar. The battle lines have been drawn and we lost. We are losing. With every day that passes the casualties grow to astronomical proportions. We failed.

After Katrina, Tennessee residents took in many refugees. The local papers printed countless ads offering shelter, financial assistance, and job opportunities to "Survivors of Katrina." After calling some of these people in response to their apparent act of altruism, I learned that these offers were only applicable to survivors of Katrina and not to local residents. I was angry.

I was angry because in the months before that devastating storm hit the Gulf Coast, there was an urgent call for people to open their homes to the 30,000 children and adolescents in desperate need of foster care. Children without a home. Children without a safety net. Our city did not respond. Our residents did not rise to the occasion and countless children continue to live in uncertain conditions without the necessities they need to thrive in this complicated, fragmented society.

After considerable thought, I came to the conclusion that the media and current policies that allow such unfortunate states of existence are partly to blame, but so too are the American people and the residents of this fine city that I like to think of as home. So why is it that we are so generous in times of urgent need by allowing pervasive states of poverty for our local residents and out children? Are they damaged goods? Are persons in poverty to blame for their circumstances? Are they too week? Are they somehow supposed to magically lift themselves out of the dark and somehow find the path into enlightenment of financial security? Is this the ultimate act of Social Darwinism where survival of the fittest means people who are fit to survive against all odds? Is it just a coincidence that the words indigent and indignant sound so similar?

As Hurricane Gustav approaches, I call upon our local residents to do more than just welcome the fleeing victims to open their hearts and their homes. I challenge each and every one of you to continue this charity after the storm has cleared. Even after the storm in the Gulf has moved past the coast and becomes another chapter in history, there is much to be done right here, right now. Do we accept the indignation of indigence and poverty with indifference? Or do we act?

We can do so much on the home front before our indifference creates a storm of domestic disaster. It is unfortunate for us that people have been too blind, too indifferent, and too complacent they do not even see such a storm brewing. But if you look, and if you listen, it is not hard to see how such a storm is brewing just beyond the horizon.

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.


This business supports Health Care for America Now

Monday, October 20, 2008

GOBAMA '08!

Chapter II: Older & Bolder

I first started posting this blog shortly after my 35th birthday. It was a gift to myself so I could live my life without being too scared that I might be discovered for being a little bit crazy, a little bit lonely, and making a whole lot of noise.

I started by disclosing my deepest secrets, often exposing to my deepest fears. Initially I chose the motto: "Too old to start over, Too young to forget."

Eventually that moniker evolved into something a little more challenging and inspirational, "Too old to start over, Too young to give up."

Now that my 36th birthday is just around the corner (actually, more like an intersection) I plan to spend the last few days I have in this demographic bracket uncovering some the essays I have written that still need a little tweaking, and a whole lot of twacking! So be prepared to find a few typos, a few disconnected thoughts without making an obvious transition. Because I am naming the next phase of my life, you know, the "35 and up" phase, "Chapter II: A Little Bit Older, And a Whole Lot Bolder."

I have enjoyed the feedback I have gotten from so many people from all walks of life who have written in response to something I have written. Women I have never met, from places I do not know.

Women like Joy and Cat who encourage me to keep writing even if they disagree with some of my core values or excessive use of profanity. Women (or men) who have somehow managed to stumble across my writings in one of their many raw forms without realizing that just by contacting me, much of the fear and hesitation I once felt about publishing my collection of personal (and professional) essays have been replaced with a new found sense of pride and accomplishment. Fear and uncertainty have are quickly evolving into confidence and proliferation.

Personally, professionally, and spiritually, I hope to continue "kicking ass and taking names," because at this point in my life, I may actually start doing that a little bit more.

You will notice that I am reclaiming my name and uncovering the many aliases I have used over the years... I am done hiding.

I'm am not perfect, and I will always struggle with my obsession to find just The Write Words, but I'm guessing it is probably good enough. Probably good enough so that most people will won't even notice if I forget to capitalize a proper noun or if I end a sentence with a preposition. So be it.

You may also notice that I am reclaiming my name, and will be using try to cut down on the number of anonymous postings I listed under an alias because I was afraid I would be embarrassed if my work was not well received.

I am ranges from the less obvious accounts I have created to maintain a bit of distance between myself and my classmates, peers, and colleagues, but in addition to "Miss Elyss" or "Lyssie D." I am even willing to admit that I have created so many login accounts and user names to post anonymously, that I have forgotten most of the passwords to access my own content. But I am rather proud of the creativity I demonstrated when I came up with two of my personal favorites, "I.M.Phobic" and "EyePhobic." I never could get into that whole IM thing, webcam or chat rooms! The way I see it, it is bad enough i need to put on clothes and make-up to leave the house-- I'll be damned if I have to put on make-up to send an e-mail!

Yes, they were all me. They are a pert of me, because like so many women-- no... like so many people... I'm a little bit of everything... so for those of you who are listening and even to those of you who just wish I would shut the fuck up already; be careful what you wish for! The more content I create, the easier it becomes to let go... and the more I let go, the more I can heal. The more I can heal, the more I can focus on the academic issues that will always be my first and primary area of interest. However, it seems rather obvious to me now that the only way out is through. So, I will continue to write through the dark and hope that it I can become more present minded rather than being trapped by memories from the past.

To Joy, Cat, TA James, and a few others, thanks so much for the gift. I hope I can make you proud!

The curious can find anything and everything! I often wonder why it is so much easier for others to to get my information about me than it is for me to get about myself!

I'm a digger. To be clear, that is "digger." I never use the "N" word, and I'm way too proud to marry for money.

I'm a digger. I love information. I love to find, I love to collect it, but most of all, I love to use it.

I love to dissect it, analyze it, formulate new questions and ponder the answers. I love the journey of natural inquiry... never knowing where my racing mind will take me, often surprised surprised by the answer, but always, always intrigued by the things I encounter along the way.

So I set out to find the answer to one question, and instead I find myself asking a million more. It keeps me up at night, and allows me to avoid the day.

My life is not unexamined, and my thought patterns may be far from typical, but the things I have learned along the way are by far the most intriguing and most unique. I am not afraid to ask questions, nor am I afraid that I don't have all the answers.

As a digger, I do know that it is the path least taken: the creative, atypical mind; that is riddled with creativity, tangential thoughts and questions that often deliver the most interesting answers. But sometimes, it is the answers that deliver us to the most interesting questions.

We often think that questions drive the inquiry-- at least that's what they tell us in school. To use the "Scientific Method." And of course, to never, ever color outside the lines. But aren't the best discoveries the ones we weren't searching for? The unexpected gift... the non-occasion.

The beauty is in the every day. The challenge is in the unexpected. Call me crazy if you like (and many have) but I can assure you that there will come a day when all of that R.A.M. will come in handy. I am definitely asking the right questions... and maybe one day you will too.

Finding my voice has allowed me to appreciate the silence. The hours between dusk and dawn where the rest of the world sleeps and I dig. I dig and I write. I fill the lonely hours with my innermost thoughts, and my very best friend. So as the rest of the world sleeps soundly, surrounded by loved ones in a sanctuary they call home, I fill myself with books, journals and information. Lots and lots of information.

Who would have thought that loneliness can become a family in it's own right? It is always there and it is always familiar. That solitude can become our greatest companion and that strangers can become our best friends.

I miss New York. I miss Dr. Stu. I miss Jefferey and I miss Todd. I miss my wild, brilliant friends plagued by curiosity, insomnia, and creativity.

Hey boys-- guess what? I'm coming home!

Let's go to hot and crusty at 3 a.m. when everything really is, yes, "hot and crusty!" Lets go the Internet cafe across from the Hello Kitty store and wake up old friends that actually dare to sleep when it is dark out???

WAKE-UP TODD! I've been calling you for hours! I have a joke to I want to tell you!

New York, New York... The "City" that never sleeps?

See I don't think it was ever really about the city, I think it is more about the anonymity. Someplace you can be yourself, and never worry about being judged by your in-bred hillbilly neighbors who are, in all honesty, much more focused on raising hell then raising children... To them, I am "strange." I am "weird." I am "Italian." or "Jewish" or "something!" because I talk really really fast!

You are all wrong: I'm from New York!

So while you sleep, I dig. I learn , I question, and I write. But I do it alone, and I'm starting not to like so much.

So for all of you out there who are insomniacs: "writers," "consultants," "perpetually un and underemployed yet overqualified" computer geeks -- please enjoy my video blog below.

I chose a few songs have keep me company at night. Just loud enough to drown out the drunk couple outside my window having yet another domestic dispute, but low enough so that the neighbors downstairs won't complain. Hopefully, you will know some of the selections that have kept me dancing in the living room into the wee hours of the morning, and can learn something about my favorite word if you are paying attention...

You'll find all of my favorites in one place. So enjoy the trip my friends, it's getting early for some, but late for others, and I've got some shit to do before the world wakes up, because to quote John Cougar (or is it Melloncamp?) I Ain't Even Done With The Night!

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=04EA65F6BD91E91B

DESCRIPTION: Everything from my favorite word to my favorite website. There's something in there for pretty much every mood-- songs to make you cry, videos to make you laugh. Political ads that make you sick and some that will give you chills-- but at least they make you feel!!! Finding my voice, and hearing those of strangers has given me the strength I needed to move on.

So for so many of you who have contacted me lately, via the web, via your cell phone, or even by way of a nasty website-- stand tall and stand close because much like fear, courage also rubs off on you somehow when you are surrounded by the right people. So a big shout out, and a sincere word of thanks to all of you who have helped to find my voice once again and the courage to say whatever is on my mind... Say it loud, say it proud, just say it!

I will not be ignored and I will not be forgotten. But guess what, Here Comes the Sun. I made it through night and now it's time to go, because that was SO yesterday! Thanks for giving, good luck forgetting!


Elyssa D'Educrat / Elyssa D. Durant
Nashville, Tennessee / New York, New York



http://www.youtube.com/user/elyssadurant

Sunday, October 19, 2008

GOOGLE GOGGLES: Permalink to NYT Online

(your welcome!)





Drunk, and Dangerous, at the KeyboardMail Goggles, a new feature on Google’s Gmail program, is intended to help stamp out a scourge that few knew existed: late-night drunken e-mailing.October 19, 2008 - By ALEX WILLIAMS - Fashion & Style

HERBALKING - Bits BlogMail Goggles, a new feature on Google’s Gmail program, is intended to help stamp out a scourge that few knew existed: late-night drunken ...


Google Inc. Mail Goggles, a new feature on Google’s Gmail program, is intended to help stamp out a scourge that few knew existed: late-night drunken e-mailing. ...

from the Blog Community ...Mail Goggles, a new feature on Google's Gmail program, is intended to help stamp out a scourge that few knew existed: latenight drunken emailing. ...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Dark Night Returns

Too old to start over.
Too young to give up.


I often wonder why other people can uncover more information about my life than I can... Medical, Financial, Employment,,, even my next door neighbors are not somehow linked through the tiny web we have weave in cyberspace.

I'm a digger. To be clear, that is "digger." I never use the "N" word, and I'm way too proud to marry for money. I love information. I love to find, I love to collect it, but most of all, I love to use it. I love to dissect it, analyze it, formulate new questions and ponder the answers. I love the journey of natural inquiry... never knowing where my racing mind will take me, often surprised surprised by the answer, but always, always intrigued by the things I encounter along the way.

I may set out to find one answer to one question; only to find myself asking a million more.

It keeps me up at night, and allows me to avoid the day. My life is not unexamined, and my thought patterns may be far from typical, but the things I have learned along the way are by far the most intriguing and most unique.

I am not afraid to ask questions, nor am I afraid that I don't have all the answers. But as a digger, I do know that it is the path least taken: the creative, atypical mind that is riddled with creativity, tangential thoughts and questions that often deliver the most interesting answers. But sometimes, it is the answers that deliver us to the most interesting questions.

We often think that questions drive the inquiry-- at least that's what they tell us in school. To use the "scientific method"

And of course, we are trained, and practiced to never, ever color outside the lines. But aren't the best discoveries the ones we weren't searching for? The unexpected gift... the non-occasion. Outside of the box?

Finding my voice has allowed me to appreciate the silence. The hours between dusk and dawn where the rest of the world sleeps and I dig. I dig and I write. I fill the lonely hours with my innermost thoughts, and my very best friend. So as the rest of the world sleeps soundly, surrounded by loved ones in a sanctuary they call home, I fill myself with books, journals and information. Lots and lots of information. I love knowledge. I love the written word.

The beauty is in the every day. The challenge is in the unexpected. Call me crazy if you like (and many have) but I can assure you that there will come a day when all of that R.A.M. will come in handy. I am definitely asking the right questions... and maybe one day you will too.

I never dreamed my life would turn out this way at the age of 35. It seems as though it was over before it even began. My birthday next month has pushed me a little further over the hill, and a little less tied to the past.

I have a strong voice. A powerful voice. I have a story that needs to be told. I am tired of being silenced by the Powers That Beat. I will not be ignored and I will not be forgotten.

And though I may be too old to start over; I am definitely too young to give up.

Jews for John? Really?

One more reason to hate Jews!Posted by Picasa

The City That Never Sleeps

New York, New York.
The City That Never Sleeps

I miss New York. I miss my wild, brilliant friends plagued by curiosity, insomnia, and creativity. But, guess what? I'm coming home!

In the city, I can disappear. I can peruse the streets at 3am and still find things to do. If not to do, then things to see. I can stand in the middle of Times Square just reading the Live News Feeds in technicolor, or I can visit the Internet Cafe just across the street from the Hello Kitty store.

I don't think it was ever really about the city, I think it is more about the anonymity. Someplace you can be yourself, and never worry about being judged for being different. I don't fit in here. But to be fair, I don't really fit in anywhere.

Who knew that loneliness can become a family in its own right? Always there, and always familiar. Who would have believed that solitude can become our greatest companion, and that strangers can become our very best friends. I'm getting older now, and I'm not so sure I like it as much anymore...

I can wake up old friends that actually dare to sleep before the sun comes up. So while you the world sleeps, I write. I dig. I learn, I question, and I write.

To Randall, Wendy, Rob, Robert, Christopher Martin, and a few others that got lost along the way; please know that I still grieve for each and every one of you. I mourn the loss of friendships we once shared, and there is an emptiness in my life that memories and photographs will never fill.

But perhaps most of all, I grieve for my self. I grieve for the person I used to be. The person I almost was. The person I believed I would become. The person you left left behind.

To some: Thanks For Giving. To others: Good Luck ForGetting.

Elyssa

Google Goggles: OCD Sanity Checker


Gmail Goggles: Sanity Checker!


How much do I love, love, the person who created this program???

If only I had this years ago... before I buried myself in hundreds of hard copies and countless drafts waiting to be edited, checked, scanned, formatted, reviewed, merged, referenced, compared or merged with older versions of the same document.


Files upon files are waiting to be examined, edited, completed, and submitted at a later date TBA...


At least I am not the only one in need of a "sanity checker!"

Living everyday with so much unfinished business and self-doubt has stopped me dead in my tracks! Preventing me from moving forward and doing so many things that are absent from my life.


Even the most simple tasks become insurmountable obstacles when left to my own devices (usually at least 2-3 dictionaries, a thesaurus, grammar textbook, and the Chicago Manual of Style or the APA.) Ridiculous, right? Everything in my life takes at least 3x longer than the average (normal) individual. This can be anything from filing a job application, turning in graduate school applications, assignments and projects on time...

EVERYTHING is late!

EVERYTHING is pending!

EVERYTHING is probably good enough!

EVERYTHING was probably good enough in the first time around!

Getting caught up on insignificant details such as grammar, text wrapping, format styles, has come to define my adult life and experience. Interfering with my academic, personal, and professional goals.
I want a sanity checker!!!!
 
When you are still editing the very same article after 13 or 14 years, you have a problem.
I have a problem!
 
If I can ever figure out how to use it, hopefully it will prevent me from searching through thousands of text logs and backup files....

I need a sanity checker!

Working on your um-teenth hundredth draft gets tedious. Hopefully google goggles is better at time management and will not spend too much time hovering over typos, font size and other imperfections that probably make my writing a little more human.... a few misplaced commas never hurt anyone unless they are placed after a dollar sign!


Where can I sign up for a personal the "sanity checker" to guide me through the rest of my life??? To clear a path to my desk or help me find the floor...

Thanks so much to the genius who invented this gadget! I hope it works well!

How I wish I could revert back to my days before the technological revolution. My mind has information overload. My life has information overload. My brain is full!

My cyberseeking tools and inquisitive mind have become my kryptonite. Please-- make it stop! Stop the questions, stop the memories, stop the madness!

Just, plain, stop!

I miss Professor Marks' red ink pens back in college. Long before I knew what a computer was or how to turn the damn thing on. Now there's e-mail, Internet, spyware, malware, software utilities...

Life was so much easier before I became dependent upon technology and this stupid little box I cannot seem to pull myself away from. And now, much like my racing thoughts and RAM (random access memory) and my crazy busy mind that is a near perfect reflection of my chaotic life. My paper trail reaches from one room into the next... one year to the next... one decade to the next...

Now I can't seem to turn the thing off... I can't seem to turn anything in, and I can't seem to make things just perfect enough.

Wish me luck as I uncover more and more of my past... although I have often had regrets about sending imperfect documents prematurely: either too soon, too often, or sometimes too early; surely sending something is far better than not sending anything at all...


In this life, people are never remembered for what they start-- only for what they finish.






Even The New York Times posted a peralink. :( Not fair, copyLEFT

NEW YORK TIMES <~ THERE IS ALWAYS A PERMALINK!

HYPERLINK ADDED FOR IN YOUR FACE PURPOSES... 1/7/10

GOOGLE GOOGLES... I HAD THEM FIRST. GRRRRR...







ANYONE ELSE NEED A SANITY CHECKER? LINK BELOW!

Permalink: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/fashion/19drunk.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink


(your welcome!)






Drunk, and Dangerous, at the KeyboardMail Goggles, a new feature on Google’s Gmail program, is intended to help stamp out a scourge that few knew existed: late-night drunken e-mailing.October 19, 2008 - By ALEX WILLIAMS - Fashion & Style

HERBALKING - Bits BlogMail Goggles, a new feature on Google’s Gmail program, is intended to help stamp out a scourge that few knew existed: late-night drunken ...

Google Inc. Mail Goggles, a new feature on Google’s Gmail program, is intended to help stamp out a scourge that few knew existed: late-night drunken e-mailing. ...


from the Blog Community ...Mail Goggles, a new feature on Google's Gmail program, is intended to help stamp out a scourge that few knew existed: latenight drunken emailing. ...

I WILL ADD THE LATEST VERSION....  OF ANOTHER BRILLIANT IDEA THAT I SHOULD NEVER HAVE LET OUT OF THE BAG... FUCK THE NEW YORK TIMES.

I STILL REMEMBER THE HEADLINE YOU SNAGGED ON SEPTEMPBER 12: THAT WAS MINE TOO. YOUR REPORTER COULD HAVE AT LEAST BOUGHT ME DRINK WHILE SITTING NEXT TO ME IN THE EAST VILLAGE! Grrrr.....  #yeahisaidit

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Catchy, approprite, and I even can't get letter to the editor?

 Well things are chaning.  The news is in our hands now.  So no more media manipualtion. i'm so tired of reading the crap you guys put out to distract us from he issues.... and since I get a job... i may as well, keep writing for free..

AC made a forutne off the story I posted for free...  but I haven't forgotten. 


I know my own words. and it really hurts when I can't even get a letter to the editor printed, or a response from a local journalist about when call give them a hint where to look for REAL news

So I don't give a fuck if you all go down in flames.  Power to the people.

Because they wrote me off long ago.... and you may laugh because I'm different, but I laugh because you are all the same.

$1.00 for this story..... how much did AC make? I call your bluff.  And funny thing.... I never even got the dollar.  I can't wait for that audit.  

it may some time, but you have no idea, how much I could have helped you. It was is a good story.  The economist thought so... so did USA today. you guys just can't handle the truth.

All I wanted was to get the information out, so why charge ME to download my own story only to see someone elses byline?

I am watching the watchers.... and heads, up... I'm pretty damn good at it!

#yeahisaidit and i'll say it again if i need to.

Fuck you, AC!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sanity for Superheroes

Learn to laugh at your problems-- everyone else will, because truth IS stranger than fiction!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dark Nights and White Noise: Sanity for Superheroes

Dark Nights and White Noise: Sanity for Superheroes

A History of Me & Tennessee


The Powers That Beat: A Brief History of Tennessee Healthcare


Tennessee Healthcare & The History of Me

(For Historical Reference)



1996: Throughout the three year process of filing appeal after appeal after appeal, I acquired well over 1/4 million dollars in debt due to uninsured medical expenses and student loans. My life will never be the same. My heart will never be the same.

1999: Patient X: Corporate TennCare adjusted the prescription formulary over Memorial Day in 1999 and failed refused to offer a 3-day or 14-Day emergency supply as mandated by Grier.

2001: I have no other benefits. No Social Security checks to count on; no disability payments to pull together; no Medicare to meet me when the bottom falls out, again. This surely is not the first time my Medicaid has not come through as a reliable source of payment. It is not even the second or third time. It more like the eight or ninth, maybe more often than that. I only recently qualified for Medicaid some eight months ago! Since then, I have already acquired several thousand dollars in unpaid medical expenses that have made their way to collection agencies.

2002: Before my benefits were stabilized, learning to navigate the system consumed every waking moment of my life. I was unable to work or attend school on any substantial level and I am frightened to see at might happen if I were to stray from my established, stabilized, treatment plan. If I lose my benefits, will I still be able to work? To function? To be productive?

2005: The massive number of people being dis-enrolled or limited in their access to medical care and other social services will no doubt create significant anxiety, confusion, and chaos for everyone involved in the social service and health care industries.

2006: Without my current level of benefits, I simply do not function.

2007: I remember how difficult it was for me to obtain benefits when I first applied several years ago. I am deeply concerned about how the most recent decision to eradicate yet another class of TennCare / Medicaid recipients (the Daniels class that is made up of SSI recipients by way of a pending federal waiver) will affect the poor and disabled residents in Tennessee.

MAY 2008: And even though my life has become a living hell, I have almost learned to enjoy the sheer irony of it all... for someone with OCD and post-traumatic stress, this is truly a ridiculous little experiment.

JULY 2008: I am becoming increasingly inspired to just burn every last document I own, throw away my keys and my cell phone and take Spotty some place where we can live off the land, but I have come this far, and I am becoming rather skilled at expressing myself without an audience or the obsessive need to check every fact, throw, and typo for capitalization and perfection.

AUGUST 2008: So after all this-- now I face losing my health care once again? Where is the safety net? Where is the American Dream that I so diligently chased after for so many years? What was the point spending so much on an education that will never be utilized? I understand the how; I just don't understand why.

LAST MONTH: So for now... I write. Maybe later, I'll read. But if there is any justice left in this world, maybe someday, I'll actually live.

TODAY: Good-bye for now. I need a break.

Dark Nights and White Noise: Sanity Checker for Superheroes

Dark Nights and White Noise: Sanity Checker for Superheroes

Finding My Voice in the Silent Hours: White Noise

The Powers That Beat: Finding My Voice in the Silent Hours: White Noise