Monday, September 14, 2009

more spectra to think about

NPR Tell Me More: Gender Questions Surround Track And Field Star
The world governing body for track and field is deciding whether a sprinter can compete as a woman, if she also has male sex organs. The International Association of Athletics Federations has taken up the case of Caster Semenya, a world record holding South African runner. Semenya, has undergone tests to prove that she is a female after claims to the contrary. Michel Martin discusses the topic with Doctor Eric Vilain, an expert in the field of intersex science and identity.

I never gave much thought to the fact that there's no single definition of male and female. There are people clearly one or the other, but how to distinguish the ones that aren't? Sexual identity is one thing, where it's very simple to say it's up to the person to determine how they'd like to be identified. But I think this is the first time I've heard the issue come up in the field of sports, where it does seem that some sort of fair clear cut distinction will have to eventually be made.

Friday, September 11, 2009

flashback to...

NYTimes: A Fortress City That Didn’t Come to Be

A little ditty encapsulating the uncertainty following the September 11th attacks.

New York would become a fortress city, choked by apprehension and resignation, forever patrolled by soldiers and submarines. Another attack was coming. And soon.

Tourists? Well, who would ever come again? Work in one of the city’s skyscrapers? Not likely. The Fire Department, gutted by 343 deaths, could never recuperate.

If a crippled downtown Manhattan were to have any chance of regeneration, ground zero had to be rebuilt quickly, a bricks and mortar nose-thumbing to terror.

I'm not gonna tell much of my story, because I had a very ho-hum one compared to others, especially those of some of my good childhood friends attending a rival high school basically across the street from the falling towers. And everyone was affected by the 9/11 in some minor way and at the very least remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. My experience had an unrelated personal twist that is making it all the more bitter tasting, but I made it out without losing anyone I knew particularly well. I got home...eventually, after walking what I think was about 100 blocks with some stops in between to get someplace to sleep. It was a clear day with good visibility, so you couldn't miss the pillar of smoke. I got home the next day eventually, going to Brooklyn and getting picked up there. Like I said, I couldn't complain much. But I do remember the next day, when I got on an express bus and asked the bus driver if I could use my student metrocard and a token to get to manhattan, because ferry service was suspended, and he said..."no...but just get on, I guess you got no other way of getting to school" that I started to tear up and I walked to my seat.

It was a weird feeling as I said about the article before, uncertainty. I was just scared because, well, wtf. What is going on exactly?
The US was not used to random acts of terrorism or violence, at least not with the use of anything resembling bombs and destruction on city streets. Arguably my generation had been living some damn peaceful times, with no major war to speak of that affected the homeland.

I should probably flesh this out, but I don't wanna be a cheesy downer. :-) I just wanted to post something since I read this article and was reminded of how powerful just not knowing what's next is.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

growing up, cont'd

I used to think I had a grasp on the growing up thing, and I definitely don't miss college. So I thought.

I don't miss college how I think most people do -- the people, the relative carefree nature, always having something new to do -- but rather I miss the routine. Those who knew me knew I was always overbooked for everything. If it wasn't just the sheer nature of being a chemical engineering major, it was a cappella rehearsals and concerts, marching band functions (and parties!), tae kwon do practice or testing or tournaments, or working my shift at the library or heading to the lab to work on that project (and get money for it!). Engineers partied hard when they could, and otherwise were banished to do problem sets when others were going out.

In high school, my main activities were track, tennis, math team, concert band/orchestra and generally running amok in the courtyard. I unsuccessfully carried over these things to college (though I tried...I also wanted to do cheerleading or rugby) and picked up what I listed above. High school to college was a definite transition for me. And it felt pretty good to learn new things and I think I changed for the better. (Apparently that's when Diana rage died down.)

In my attempt to center myself in the real working world, instead of exploring and finding new interests, I've held onto my college ones. I sing with a guy and write songs and record them sometimes for kicks...I work and train at a tkd school...and though I couldn't get the marching band aspect, it seems I've just latched onto my apartment sports teams and I can't let go. I need season after season of whatever they'll offer -- volleyball, bball, softball, soccer, tennis so far. And goodness knows I make unnecessary effort to see live sports.

Who knows how, but I didn't realize this until today. I'm feeling a little stuck, in that young adult rut, and I think still doing these activities out of habit and not out of actual interest is keeping me from actually moving on from college and enjoying my new life. I'm tempted to wipe the slate clean, and pick up something new. I could be in a dance class or a book club by now. (Actually, bartending classes are first up on the list when there's time. =P) I think I was supposed to apply to law school around now. My bad.