Thursday, January 10, 2013

I've Moved!

Hello, followers! I hope that you all are doing splendidly.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Shenandoah Adventure

My dear friends Evan and Amelia came and visited me from Florida for a few days. I haven’t seen them since early July so I was beyond excited to see them.  Here are a few photos from our mountain adventure.


I also have a big announcement…I guess I’ll post about it soon. If you want a hint, you could always follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram: bluecadet3.

Monday, March 12, 2012


My inspiration has been on vacation for quite some time. Thankfully, my fire has recently been refueled. I'm really looking forward to the future right now and I'm working on keeping a positive mental attitude. 

I neglect this blog a lot, so if you want to keep up with me 
                                                                                       follow me on Twitter
                                                                                       let's be friends on foursquare
                                                                                       let's talk music on 
                                                                                       & of course you can always e-mail me      

 I have Spring Fever :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hampton Roads: Coal is Over!

I couldn't resist, I had to make a Portlandia reference. 

Last night I went to Surry County High School in Dendron, Virginia--- the town where Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) wants to build Virginia's largest coal-fired power plant--- for a hearing on the issue.

To catch you up, I'll ask you to watch this video:

So this brings us to last night. After sitting through a power point presentation from an ODEC lawyer (yawn), we heard from a technician from ODEC. When asked questions about the plant, his memory always seemed to fail him and he had a hard time giving a straight answer on a few subjects. He couldn't remember how long the fly-ash landfill would be in use, and was having a hard time communicating how long the power plant would be in operation. All the while, the last slide of the power point presentation was still on the projector screen. The last slide displayed a picture of what the site (to be named Cypress Creek Power Station) could look like in the future if the plant was built.

Finally, when the ODEC reps stopped speaking, it was time for the public to make their comments. Some of the public included lobbyists from the coal industry and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. One of the main concerns from both sides, for and against, was that there is a loophole in the proposal. ODEC could possibly build their coal plant in Sussex and just use the land in Dendron as a landfill, no plant. That means no tax benefits for the rural, agricultural area. Many people asked the commission to cut out this loophole. Another concern, from both sides, was that not enough studies have been done. An environmental impact study has not been conducted yet, nor has a third-party study. Many urged the commission to conduct a third-party study and many asked to halt the project until an environmental impact study had been done.

The arguments for the plant were all about taxes and jobs, which I understand. I'm not anti-jobs, I am just absolutely sick of people valuing a few jobs over the health of their soil, water, wildlife, and people. One man said, "we have lots of ducks, I've seen a few thriving bald eagles' nests, and the blue catfish are doing great." Honestly, he kind of lost me. I'm not sure which side he was on, but it sounded like he was trying to say, "since we have these animals, a coal plant is okay to build." I could be wrong, he might have been against the plant, but it didn't really sound like it.

About 15 students of William & Mary came to the hearing and spoke out against the plant, along with about 15 or 20 non-students from Williamsburg. Williamsburg residents live across the Jame River from Dendron, roughly 20 miles away.

One man who spoke against the plant said that all the college students from Williamsburg had no right to come to Dendron and try to tell them what to do with their town. This really upset me for a few reasons. I could talk about all those reasons for quite a while, but I'll just mention the biggie. Yes, it is their town. But Virginia's largest coal-fired power plant is going to produce as much as ten times as much mercury as the Dominion plant in southwest Virginia. Pollution does not stay within the city limits, it will travel to neighboring communities. The decision that Dendron makes will affect all of the Hampton Roads region. Not to mention, Hampton Roads already fails to meet health-based smog standards.

Those who spoke against the coal plant all made heartfelt and logical comments. They voiced their concerns about the pollution, the noise, the safety, and much more. People from all ages and different regions of the state spoke. A few people who spoke brought up that their families had lived there for generations and if the coal plant was built, it would literally be 60 feet from their backyards. People who spoke against the plant had numbers, facts, and statistics on their side--while the people for the plant just had the word of ODEC that the plant would create jobs and tax revenue. Supposedly, the plant would create 3,000 temporary construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs once the plant was operating. But then again, ODEC said that. The same company who encouraged an illegal vote. The same company that said this:
"The only thing that comes out of the top of the coal plant is water vapor,”
- Jeb Hockman, ODEC. Smithfield Times May 13, 2009 (source)

Not true. No. Not at all. 

I ended up leaving the hearing around 11:45pm (it was past my bedtime!) but the hearing went on till around 1am....and luckily for me, I missed the midnight ferry back to Williamsburg, so I ended up getting home around 1:30. In the end, the commission ended up approving rezoning and conditional-use permits for ODEC, as well as making other recommendations, which you can see here

All in all: 
‎59 people spoke against the coal plant. 17 spoke in favor of it. 
Dendron residents: 0 for it; 5 against it.
Surry residents: 7 for it; 21 against it.

Half the people who spoke in favor were coal industry lobbyists. (Thanks to Betsy for that info!) 

There is another hearing next Monday the 5th, please come out. RSVP here

We cannot let ODEC win. The time for coal is over. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Not Buying It

So, how 'bout them Giants, huh?
No, I'm just kidding. Football bores me to tears (I'd rather be watching futbol).

What I really want to talk about are those commercials. Miss Representation launched the idea a while ago to call out sexist marketing schemes with the Twitter hashtag #NotBuyingIt. Last night the hashtag got a lot of attention, as most of the commercials during the Super Bowl were targeted towards men, and usually made women look like nothing but mere possessions.

Let's talk about some of the biggest offenders.

1) The Teleflora commercial with Adriana Lima

Give and you shall receive? Receive what, may I ask? I think everyone knows what that commercial was implying, and it's disgusting. Women are not for sale.

2) GoDaddy Girls Paint Hot Model

If you can't sell your product without naked women, then your product sucks. This is not racy and appealing, it's just disgusting. Plain and simple. Women all over have already left GoDaddy, and you can, too. 

3) Fiat 500 Abarth

First of all, woman don't like being stared at like a piece of meat. When this sort of thing happens to me, I don't walk over and get all over the guy, I usually give him a dirty look and the finger. Street harassment = not cool. Ever. (Sick of street harassment? Check out Hollaback!) Not to mention, this commercial makes guys look like easily-manipulated, perverted idiots. 

What the Super Bowl adds taught me: Women are objects, will give sexual favors in exchange for flowers, women don't buy or drive cars, girls think that food is get the point. 

You may be thinking, "it's just an add, it's just T.V. Why make such a big deal? Why criticize every commercial?" It's a big deal because millions of Americans watch these commercials and the more these commercials play, the more people think that sexism is okay. We are exposed to thousands of advertisements each day. The average 6 year old has looked at a TV more than they have made eye contact with their parents. Unless these companies are called out, adds like this will continue to be on T.V, and nothing will change (for the better). 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keystone XL: Victory!

As you have undoubtedly heard, yesterday President Obama formally rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline permit.

We beat Big Oil. Take a minute to think about that.
Pretty awesome, right?

This is an incredible and important victory. President Obama stood up for us and he kept his word. Big Oiltried threatening the president--saying that if he did not approve the permit he would face "huge political consequences." I applaud Obama for standing against Big Oil and being a real leader. Today Mr. President is facing a lot of backlash from republicans, saying that Obama was only interested in pleasing environmentalists instead of creating jobs---but let's keep in mind that TransCanada admitted that the Keystone XL Pipeline would only create a couple hundred permanent jobs, and it would kill as many jobs as it would create. Also, let's remember why the republicans were still pushing for this pipeline even after TransCanada came clean. What's that word again? Oh yeah. M-O-N-E-Y

The pipeline as we know it may be dead, but...

There is a chance that the Keystone XL pipeline will be re-routed through a different area of Nebraska, so that it will not go near the Sand Hills or the Ogallala Aquifer. This route has not been determined yet, but it is possible. Big Oil is going to keep pushing this. That is why on on January 24th, people are gathering outside of the Capitol in Washington D.C. to blow the whistle on Big Oil. 

On Tuesday January 24th, we're blowing the whistle on Big Oil corruption in Congress. We'll be gathering at the Capital dressed in referee uniforms (yep, stripes and all), and then heading to the American Petroleum Institute - Big Oil's top lobby - to do the same.
It will be unavoidable, very visible, and just disruptive enough to absolutely get the attention of the oil industry's representatives in Congress and put them on notice that the era of big oil corruption will soon be coming to an end.
UPDATE: Over 800 people have already signed up to join the action. Our biggest tool in the fight against Big Oil is people power, which means every person who joins brings us one step closer to stopping this disaster from happening.
We're still working out the exact meeting place and a few other details, but here are the key things you need to know:
What: Blowing the Whistle on Big Oil Corruption in Congress
When: Tuesday January 24th, 12 Noon
Where: West Lawn, US Capitol Building

To sign up for this action, go here. I am probably not able to attend, and I know it's short notice, but if you are able to get yourself to Washington, please do so! Our work is not done!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Helpful Links

This post is the same as the "I Support" link at the top of the page. 

Saturday, December 31, 2011

All Dogs Go To Heaven

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." -Ben Williams

When I was 4 years old, I was in the car with my babysitter, Lisa, driving down a snowing, busy road, when we spotted two small animals on the side of the road. My babysitter pulled over, thinking they were groundhog babies, but found two very young beagle-chow mix puppies. She put them in her car, and we went back to her house to care for the puppies. A couple hours later my mom came over to pick me up. Miss Lisa said to my mom, "Renee, I have something to show you," and my mom replied, "No, Lisa. Whatever animal you have, I don't want it." Lisa led my mom to the room where the two puppies were, sitting in a giant cardboard box. The runt, who was sitting in the corner shaking, was the dog we ended up taking home and the dog that would be our best friend for the next 16 years.

This puppy, when we first got him, was about the size of a Beanie Baby--he was much too young and small to not be with his mother. My mom would carry him around in her sweatshirt pockets and bottle feed him. We had no idea what to name him, so we looked through a book a baby names and picked Bert. An animal control worker told us that Bert's mother was shot by her owners, and they didn't want to keep Bert and his brother, Sammy (Miss Lisa kept him), so they threw them on the side of the road in the snow. The animal control worker also said that Bert's mother was wild and too much for the people to handle--and that we should get rid of Bert. All our neighbors tried convincing us to get rid of Bert, too. My parents were going through a divorce, so people thought that a puppy was the last thing my mom needed. But they were so wrong. Although throughout the years Bert did cause some chaos (running rampant and getting caught by animal control, ending up in the pound 3 times, getting in the trash can and dragging it all over the house, etc.) he brought so much happiness into our house.

Bert was a happy boy. He loved chasing (and usually killing) rabbits outside, sitting in his hand-painted dog house and sniffing the air, drinking tea (which led to his middle name being "Tea"), splashing through rocky creeks in the mountains, trying to catch minnows, going on car rides, wearing my old t-shirts, and lots of cuddling. Bert's favorite thing was probably Christmas. Every Christmas he would get his own stocking and presents to open. He would always rip the wrapping paper away with his teeth, or stick his head inside a gift bag and pull out whatever was in there. He loved doing this so much, that we started letting him open our Christmas and birthday presents. Bert had probably opened more of my presents than I have. Every year when we hung the stockings or brought home a tree Bert would get so excited and start whimpering then those whimpers would turn into full-on beagle-y howls. It drove him nuts to have to wait so long for Christmas!

Bert veggin' out on Christmas under all the wrapping paper
Bert was always there. When I was lonely, he would play with me. When I cried, he would lick all the tears off my face. When I had a bad dream, he would come sleep with me. When my parents yelled at me, he would sit next to me the whole time. Bert was always a constant in my life. When someone is around for so long, you feel like they'll never leave, whether it be your best friend, your parents, or your dog. I got the call this morning that he had to be put to sleep last night. His last meal was popcorn chicken. I can't imagine that he would rather have had anything else.

When other people looked at Bert, they saw a big, fat, smelly, beagle-chow mix. I saw my little brother and my best friend. And he smelled just fine. 

He was my Bertrum, Bertie-Boy, Bert the Bear, Big Buddha, Big Boy, Little Man, Manatee, and Potato. I loved everything about him. I know it would have been selfish to let him live in pain any longer, but I still wish that I could have spent one last day with him. 

I wonder who was sticking their head in the trash can? Certainly not Bert. 

The last outing I took with Bert--fun at the dog park, then a trip to Sonic. 

Bert in his Christmas shirt. 

All I ask is that the next time you are looking for a new pet, go to a shelter or rescue. Don't buy from a pet store or a breeder. Love your pets unconditionally and give them the best life possible. 

I hope that one day I can be as genuinely good, kind, and happy as a dog. 

“A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not." -John Grogan