Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I think one of the great things about my relationship with my Bible (The Last Vampire series by Christopher Pike) is the fact that at first, I didn't like the main character, Sita. I think that really means something; it shows that the books made me think. I just did a Google search on Alisa Perne (Sita's pseudonym for the 1990's), and came up with one website for Sita fans. It was pretty cool; I wondered if any of them hadn't like Sita when they were first introduced to her. Some said they liked her because she was sexy, or could control other people; this was one of the reasons I didn't like her at first. I am obsessed with the idea of free will (especially my own), and Sita's ability to manipulate those with weaker wills disturbed me.
What touched me most of all were two things: The fact that, despite her amazing power and long life through the ages that I envied, all Sita wanted was to be human, living with her husband and daughter back in India 5,000 years ago again. And the fact that, throughout 5,000 years, Sita changed minimally as a person, but by the end of her life, in the 1990's, within the few months that the books take place, Sita evolved dramatically. It was an amazing metaphor for humanity. We are such amazing creatures, so beautiful and powerful, yet in order to end our explosion of pain and suffering, we must go back to who we were at the dawn of our species. Each one of us, individually, grows in a different way, but years may pass where we feel we haven't changed, and then days may pass when our lives are changed forever. When I read the series, my own evolution of emotions was amazing, and it was directly linked to the books.
Sita was the scourge of many people for millenia, but in the end, she sacrificed herself to protect the humanity that she loved, and truly identified with, more than any vampire. Humanity is so ugly and evil at times, yet my love for it is similar to Sita's; sometimes I wish I had lived for thousands of years to see how we matured, or changed; to see our progresses and mistakes, almost as a child grows up alongside her peers, and watches them mature with her.
And in the end, with all this hate and anger boiling up inside me, I just want to protect humanity; yet I must realize that I am not its mother, but a single cell within the organism. I cannot protect and nurse humanity, just as a cell cannot protect and nurse an organism. All cells must work together to create a balance. One cannot be stronger than the others.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

About Me

Here's an edited version of things that I have emailed to people, that I feel are particularly relevent in explaining who I am.
I have a very pagan-influenced spirituality. I took my ideas from many different religions, and left out what I didn't like. I agree with the Buddhist philosophy that everyone must find their own path. I believe that getting rid of depression relies on what’s in us, not what’s outside, and no one can claim an outside source “saved” them. We have great potential, and there’s no telling what we can do if we use our minds to the extent that we can. I have a very positive view of humanity, but at the same time I'm a realist, and I'm aware of the horrors that we're capable of. I'm actually very good at science, and very scientific, and at the same time I believe there is something more to the universe than its parts. I have a generally very holistic view of the universe and the way things are, which is actually a part of new scientific theories that are coming about (ones that dismiss a lot of Newtonian ideas about the "mechanistic" way in which the universe functions. The more spiritual, supernatural part of my spirituality has a lot to do with mythology, and I use it more symbolically than actually believing it literally. My "gods" are aspects of the universe; they aren't individual supernatural beings unto themselves. I love intellectual reading, but have trouble finding an author that I whole-heartedly agree with, sometimes.
I read Ishmael, and it had some good points, but what he said about the cause of overpopulation turned me off. He made it sound like overconsumption was the DIRECT cause of overpopulation, when it is not. Overconsumption by industrialized countries causes them to abuse resources from Third World countries instead of their own. This causes famine, disease, etc. in the Third World countries. When your children are constantly dying, you need to keep making more so the loss isn't as horrible. Also, in Third World countries, having children is an investment (You have more people in your house who can work and make an income), whereas, in industrialized countries, it's a drain on one's income. Quinn makes it look like overconsumption directly causes overpopulation, when actually it is only one cause, and it is indirect. Also, I don't appreciate his simplistic demonization of "taker" society, and idealization of "leaver" society. As someone who knows a lot of anthropology and ecology, I find it to be more complex.


Spirit Animal Test Sitakaliism Test Paganism Test The Liberal Test

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Environmentalism Needs to Stop Being a Class Issue

It’s very easy for environmentalists like me to sometimes become shortsighted and see everything in terms of black and white. Hunters are bad; environmentalists are good. Anyone who degrades the environment is bad; those who seek to conserve it are good. But what many of us fail to see is that this is a class issue, as much as it is an environmental issue. When conservatives complain about liberals being “elitists”, they are not getting this idea out of thin air. At least as far as environmentalists go, the conservatives are right.
Think about it. Environmentalists are not just asking people to be outraged at our current ecological situation; we're asking people to do something about it, which is very productive. Unfortunately, what we seek from other people sometimes costs more money than they have. We preach that we must only buy organic foods, recycled products, fair trade and so on, which, as we’ve noticed, all cost a great deal more money than the less politically correct products. Yes, cheap labor coffee is evil; yes, Foster Farms and KFC treat their chickens horrendously, but they cost less, and people gotta eat. Even if they’re vegetarian, we still ask that they buy fair trade and organic products.
Then we come to hunting and logging. The CEOs of logging corporations are rich and can afford to treat the environment better, but the people who work for them are trying to make a living. If we simply ban logging without giving alternatives, those people will permanently lose their jobs. As for hunting, many hunters hunt for food. It’s a lot better than cooping up some poor cow in a tiny cage and letting her rot in her own feces, yes? These hunted animals, delicately put, are “free-range”. If they are endangered, we must offer an alternative to hunters before taking their food away.
What about cars? Do low-emission and high gas mileage vehicles cost less than the average car? No. When it comes to more environmentally sustainable cars, the investment is ecological, not economic. As for hybrid vehicles, take this example: If someone were to buy a Honda Civic Hybrid, which costs $5000 more than a regular Civic, s/he would have to put 300,000 miles on his or her car before the high mileage started making up for the $5000 difference.
A lot of working-class and poor people have a hard time identifying with environmentalists, because on average, we’re middle-class. They resent our demands for buying PC foods and products, because they simply cannot afford them. We take their apathy toward our cause as simple ignorance and greed, but is it more than that? By definition, lower-class people tend not to be as well educated as middle-class people, so we need to educate them about the environmental issues that we’re facing. But we also must combine environmental justice with economic justice, because logically, one cannot exist without the other.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Environmental Health Doesn’t Just Benefit Liberals

© Sunday, 02 May 2004, by Sitakali from The PeaceWorker

Liberals and progressives are at times blamed for being “overzealous” about the environment and making up conspiracies and controversies where there are none. Response to an article about a Pentagon report on global climate change showed the same blame and outrage. The Pentagon report articulated that it was only speculative and gave worst case scenarios, but also recognized that many of the scenarios were probable.
The article entitled, “Leaked Pentagon Report Warns of Coming Climate Wars” in the April PeaceWorker was written by two reporters from the Observer, and was first published on February 22. The Pentagon report suggested that global warning was potentially a greater national security threat than terrorism. The article has received a lot of publicity since then, both positive and negative. Many believe it blew the Pentagon report out of proportion and that the report never was secret or suppressed.
According to the article, former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) whistleblower Jeremy Symons said the report was suppressed for four months. This may have been inaccurate, but regardless of whether the Pentagon report was suppressed, Symons also referred to a 2002 EPA report that was severely “edited” by the Bush administration. The annual reports had previously always included updates on global warming, but that update was stripped from this EPA report.
An email, written by Myron Ebell of the Exxon-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute to Phil Cooney, senior official at the White House Council for Environmental Quality, explained how to play down an EPA report -- the first report where the U.S. admitted that humans are contributing to global warming. Suggestions included firing the head of the EPA, Christine Whitman. According to Ebell, “…we made the right decision this morning to do as much as we could to deflect criticism by blaming EPA for freelancing. It seems to me,” he added, “that the folks at EPA are the obvious fall guys, and we would only hope that the fall guy (or gal) should be as high up as possible…Perhaps tomorrow we will call for Whitman to be fired.”
The White House is going to dismiss global warming, whether or not it is a national security threat. The Pentagon report was never sent to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Former EPA administrator Russell Train put it bluntly:
“Having served as EPA administrator under both Presidents Nixon and Ford, I can state categorically that there never was such White House intrusion into the business of the EPA during my tenure. The EPA was established as an independent agency in the Executive branch, and so it should remain. There appears today to be a steady erosion in its independent status.”
The Bush administration insists that global warming isn’t real -- and even claims that the environment is in better shape than in the past.
Why then do scientists think that by 2025 50% of the world’s population will face water shortages?
Why is it that:
· The American Geophysical Union resolved that “human activities are increasingly altering the Earth’s climate... scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century.”
· According to a study by the University of Maryland and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the melting of Arctic Sea ice over the last 46 years has less than a 0.1 percent chance of being caused by natural climate.
· Carbon dioxide levels are twice as high as they were during ice ages, and methane levels are five times as high, according to the National Center for Scientific Research in Grenoble, France.
· The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere have increased by more than 25 percent since before the Industrial Revolution. Roughly half this increase has occurred during the last 35 years.
Proven or not, global warming is a coherent theory that has been approved by top scientists around the world. Yet, the Bush administration’s ideas of helping the environment are to:
· Allow three times more mercury emissions from power plants than current law allows.
· Allow 50% more sulfur emissions (which cause acid rain) than current law allows.
· Send a letter to Congress saying that Bush wouldn’t support new controls on global warming pollution from power plants—the largest U.S. source of carbon dioxide emissions (a greenhouse gas), which account for 10% of carbon dioxide worldwide.
· Dismiss the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
· Increase the use of coal, oil and natural gas, fossil fuels that contribute to 80% of U.S. global warming pollution.
Despite the daunting facts, there are things that can be done to slow the process of global warming. Legislation to clean up power plants and raise fuel economy standards would stop the growth of U.S. global warming emissions within 10 years. A bill called the Clean Power Act was introduced by Senator Jim Jeffords (D-VT), and would limit emissions of pollutants from power plants. The bill has bipartisan support from 19 co-sponsors. The government could introduce more energy- and cost-efficient clean energy sources, which would address the U.S.’ energy needs. The Kyoto Protocol would help countries around the world cut down on greenhouse gas emissions everywhere. The Protocol has been ratified by 100 countries, including Canada, UK, Germany, Israel, Denmark, and Italy.
The U.S. is far behind the rest of the world when it comes to helping the environment. The rest of the industrialized nations have vowed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 level. As the rest of the world embraces sane and efficient ideas, both economically and ecologically, America’s power and reputation are falling rapidly.
I know that everyone has their differences in opinion, but I hope that we all agree that we want the human race to survive, and to ease suffering as well as possible. This world is not a happy place, environmentally and socially. Americans tend to be uneducated and, being the largest superpower in the world, it is our responsibility to have an influence on our own society, as well as set an example for the world.
If only the conservatives and liberals, the progressives and the reactionaries, could stop screaming at each other and listen, we might learn something about each other, the world, and what changes are the most necessary.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The What Gender Are You? Test

I just saw Kingdom of Heaven, an Orlando Bloom movie, so this was hillarious to see after taking a gender test:

The What Gender Are You? Test
by leop123
You are 55% male!

If you're a guy: You're about as masculine as Orlando Bloom

If you're a girl: You're about as feminine as Orlando Bloom

Note: 0% male means you're all female, 100% male means you're all male. Okcupid won't let me change the name of the variable depending on your score.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The I-Don’t-Give-a-Shit Attitude is Getting Kind of Old

Yeah, the word is screwed up. Yeah, there’s suffering. Now shut up and do something about it.

A growing epidemic in America today is apathy. When people feel overwhelmed with the horrible things that are going on in the world, they usually do one of three things: become part of the corruption, try to become active against it, or become apathetic. Unfortunately, many of the people who become apathetic are the ones with consciences; who would become active if they thought there was any hope.
Much of the “outcast” culture is made up of those who have lost hope; the gutter punks, the Goths, the druggies. Many Goths get into existentialist philosophy (more nihilist, actually), and obsess over death and suffering. Life sucks, so why bother? There’s nothing you can do about it. When I argue with them, they tell me to look at history. Who has always prevailed throughout history? The corrupt. I try to tell them that’s not true. Most of human history has not even been recorded. It’s gotten to the point where we’re trying to prevent global disaster, and we need people to become active. It’s no longer, “Save the poor Spotted Owl,” but more, “Save ourselves before there’s Armageddon!” More people have a voice now than in any other time in history; more people have gone through school and are literate now than in any other time in history. This is the time that we can and must rise up.
A lot of apathetic people have been misinformed. They need to be educated. We have seen the power the media has with telling people slanted truths and controlling their opinions. The American public is unaware of what’s really going on in the world; it was so shocking when the Twin Towers were hit—“I don’t understand. Why would anyone want to hurt America?” one person’s reaction was shown on the news. A teenage girl was filmed saying, “I’ve always thought of America as some big super hero. How could anyone have done this to us?” Do these people really not know what we’ve done to other countries and other people? Do they really think that everything’s just fine and dandy, and the planes crashing into the World Trade Center was a freak incident?
The truth is, had this been any other country in the world, a large building being attacked by terrorists would not have come as such a surprise. We’ve been sheltered for too long.
The people in this country who have consciences and are aware of what is going on can be divided into two groups: those who take action, and those who are apathetic. Sadly, apathy has become endemic in our country. We feel overpowered by this corrupt government and don’t see a point in trying to do anything. But if all the apathetic people in this country got together and took action, we would have a huge movement on our hands.
We complain that there’s nothing to do. Yet that’s because nothing is happening to us. The starving in third-world countries have no choice; they struggle every day. Don’t we owe it to them to do the same?
America has a remarkably low voter turnout. Many complain that the youth don’t care nowadays. But, within this century, the highest voter turnout was in 1960—64%. The last presidential election had barely 50% of the voting age go to the polls. So how relative is “nowadays”?
At Antioch College, my fellow students are much less apathetic, but most of the reasons people go there is to create social change. Even in Berkeley, California, where I’m from, I tire of worrying that every time I make a comment about taking action or going to a protest, I get people whining and moaning about how nothing’s going to help. Why don’t you go to India, look some starving kids in the eye and say the same thing?
I think a lot of it actually has to do with ignorance. Seeing this world in all its nasty forms is draining on anybody, but there are people working all over the world to change it.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow...

How to Save the World Chapter 1: A Passionate, Semi-Psychotic Rant from Sitakali

Okay, so here’s my cure for the world, to end all suffering. Ready? It’s quite simple, really. We just need to stop being assholes to each other. Everyone preaches, “Love thy neighbor,” and we all think that’s so sweet and profound, and then proceed to tell the next man on the street to “Get a job, you lazy bum!” You think telling him that is going to change his life forever? You think he hasn’t tried? That’s your fucking contribution to society? While you strut down ritzy North Michigan Avenue in your ankle-length mink coat, Banana Republic shopping bag in hand, you wonder to yourself, “Why do they bother me? Don’t they realize I don’t have any money to spare? What did I ever do to them, anyway?”
The answer to that, my pretty, is that you don’t care. You feel horrible for all the starving and malnourished children in Africa because you know it’s so unfair, but when it comes to your fellow human being two feet away from you, shivering in the 30-degree Chicago wind, you just don’t give a damn. At least not enough to actually do anything.
So you can’t give a $5 bill to every homeless person on the street. I understand. But the first step is acknowledging that they’re there—maybe smiling or saying hi or something. This way, you’re saying, “You’re human, and so am I.” Good for you. Now that you know that, you can let yourself feel shitty about the situation they’re in. Because they’re human, and they deserve that mink coat just as much as you do.
A couple anecdotes:
1. After being interviewed for a job at Neiman-Marcus in the rich part of town, as I walked out of the building, I came across a woman sitting on a ledge, crying. As I looked closer, I saw she was holding what looked like a 4-year-old child. I went up to her awkwardly and put a dollar in her jar. Then I asked, “Is there anything besides money I can give you?” She replied, “Food for him.”
I wasn’t familiar with the area, so I asked her where I could get food. She pointed toward a mall with a McDonald’s, and told me just to get food for her kid. I said, “Well I’m sure you’re hungry, too,” but she shook her head and insisted it was just for the kid. “I just need to keep him warm,” she said, and burst out crying again.
So I got him 10 Chicken McNuggets and some hot tea. But the whole time, I was observing the fancy designer outfits and Armani suits walking casually past this grieving mother and her child. Just another tragedy of the streets.
Judging the income level of that neighborhood and how poor the homeless woman and her son were, I’d say my income was closer to hers than to those passing by her. Yet I, the middle-class student, stopped to talk to her, while the richest people in the city decided not to bother; they didn’t have time, and they couldn’t afford to help her, anyway.
This story wasn’t supposed to paint me as the good guy in the midst of a horrifying world. Quite the opposite; I barely did anything at all, and if more people did what I had done, they would realize how true that is. If I wanted to be a hero, I’d fly off to Sudan and help the orphans there build homes and jobs. I was being a citizen of my country—helping other citizens, and thus, a citizen of the world—helping other citizens.
2. I had found a very temporary job trying to get paying sponsors for children in third-world countries. The job was degrading and discouraging. 8 hours on the streets approaching as many people as possible, asking them to support children in far off countries, I began to feel as if I might as well have been panhandling. 60-70% of the people I approached were in quite a hurry to be somewhere, or nowhere, it was all the same to me. The other 30-40% just didn’t have enough money. Some were looking for jobs, some were homeless, some were wearing fancy black suits and carrying briefcases—it didn’t matter; in this wealthiest country in the world, they were all broke.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


She saunters over to the maroon computer chair, long, dark hair flying as she shakes it from her face. She puts her two small hands on the seat of the chair, trying to climb in like a cat, without moving the chair from the desk. She trips into the seat, banging her left knee on the desk, and collapses sideways in the chair. "Graceful...is...me," she grunts.
Ah, yes, and if you liked that, I have more. I write like James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and Francine Pascal, all in one. My riveting words are painted on the page artfully, like cheap tempera paint mixed with glue.
So enough with the sarcasm already. Here's a parody of Full of Grace by Sarah McLachlan Real lyrics to Full of Grace

Full of Shit (The Rich Tourist's Prayer)
The water here's warm and bitter
It tastes like moldy cheese
Every time that I take a breath
It comes out in a sneeze
I feel just like I'm leaking
And I claw for the toilet seat...
There's nothing growing in this dry land
I didn't know food could taste this bland
In the darkness I cannot see my hand

Oh civilization and good Western values
Come and take me from this pit
I know there are places much better than this
Full of shit

"It's pretty this way," you say,
Having seen this place before
But I can't see what you're talking 'bout
You stupid, liberal whore
It's just that I've stayed too long
In the same old dirty shack...
There's nothing but skinny children here
I clutch my purse, run away with fear
And for God's sake, doesn't anyone have a beer?


Thursday, May 05, 2005

The VampireOwlCat Speaks

Yes, the VampireOwlCat speaks. And what does she say? I've never had a blog before; in fact, I only started a LiveJournal yesterday. So I thought, I should get some friends on my LiveJournal, and I invited my friend Mary. And then she invited me to her blog. So it's kind of like I'm following her, or something. Anyway, I read her blog, and I realized how incredibly smart she is, or how dumb I am, or both. She analyzes things way better than I do, even though I have a very analytical mind (my mother's a therapist, and I've been in therapy for 16 years, for Christsakes). What to write....
I love vampires, I have (and act like) a cat, and my spirit animal is an owl. So that explains my blog name. Sitakaliism is the religion I made up for myself, so that explains my screenname. Okay, I'll explain my religion.
So I was really depressed when I was thirteen or fourteen. Well, before that, too, but I had suicidal thoughts when I was thirteen and fourteen. Then my friend, this guy that I had had a crush on in the eighth grade, was found dead floating in the Berkeley Marina, apparently an OD on a hallucinagin stimulant called belladonna (or Deadly Nightshade). So that was bizarre. I had been a wannabe semi-goth, and I was fascinated with vampires.
One thing that I did not like about vampires, especially in the whole Anne Rice thing, was that they seemed to have no respect for human life; rather, they treated them like vermine. So I skimmed through a bunch of books until I came upon a sophisticated piece of literature: The Last Vampire, by Christopher Pike. Actually, he's a couple steps up from R.L. Stine, but it grabbed me. It was about a 5,000-year-old vampire named Sita, and she was a vicious killer. I didn't like her; she was pompous, a total bitch, and completely full of herself. As the books went on (it's a series of 6), you got to know her character a lot better, and by the second book, I liked her a lot. She was complex, and she had been through a lot. Anyway, I want to say this as quickly as possible...basically, she wanted no more than to be human again, even after 5,000 years of developing amazing powers that made me see her as a goddess. And she became my goddess; Sita, the goddess of protection, in my religion. I really didn't do her justice; I just didn't want to blab too long. The series changed my life, and I became more spiritual, more in tune with myself, and eventually began to love myself. I also began to see life in a new light, and I loved life as well. Yay! Happy ending.
So now I'm 21. Funny how the turning points in my life are in sevens; I moved across the country to Berkeley, California from Nyack, New York when I was seven; I came out of a suicidal depression and developed my own spirituality when I was fourteen; and now, I'm taking a leave of absence from Antioch College (the only place I can really call my home), living with my parents in Berkeley, once again. Did I mention I'm lonely and miserable? All I want is to be back with my boyfriend that I love so much, and at Antioch with all my friends. My boyfriend is transferring to another college, but we still plan on being together.
Whew! Aren't we glad we're done with that? I'm not sure how good I am at Mary's type of pontification while writing. I'm more of a journal kind of person. Even though I'm very political and constantly arguing with other people. See you later, cyberspace!