Posted by: johnmemmer | May 16, 2010

End of an era…

Kickball has been one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. The camaraderie and memories created over the past two years are irreplaceable. Without further ado, let’s relive one of the greatest moments in sports history (SOBs winning the fall 2008 championship)

1 – 2 – 3 –  S – O – B- s!!!!!!!!!!

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Nuh-uh.

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Posted by: johnmemmer | February 21, 2010

Coming back…

I think. Soon.

Posted by: johnmemmer | September 30, 2009

Back from NYC

I spent last week in NYC volunteering at the Clinton Global Initiative. The experience was wonderful even though the volunteering schedule was pretty grueling (7AM-7PM every day).  It was amazing to see the behind-the-scenes operations of such a large event. According to USA Today the 3.5 day conference resulted in about 8 billion dollars in commitments from the attendees. These “commitments” are quantifiable undertakings that CEOs, heads of state, and other industry leaders make to effect positive global change.

One of the main perks of volunteering at the event is that you get to spend 3 days surrounded by many of the most powerful and famous people in the world. During my volunteer time I saw: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, the presidents/kings/PMs of many many countries, Barbra Streisand, Ben Stiller, Jessica Alba, Alicia Keys, Dikembe Mutombo, Paul Pierce, Matt Damon, Fran Drescher, Jesse Jackson, Martin Scorsese, Jennifer Buffet, General Wesley Clark, and the CEOs of corporations like WalMart, Coke, Kraft, etc etc.

President Obama spoke at the opening session but I did not get to see his speech in person. I was stuck downstairs at the registration desk so I just watched it on a monitor, but it was still cool knowing he was only one floor above me. The rest of my classmates got to actually watch his speech, those jerks. Brad Pitt, Demi Moore, and Ashton Kutcher were also at the event but I never ran into them, though some of my classmates did.

Needless to say, it was an amazing event to be a part of. I also had a ton of fun spending a week in NYC with 9 of my classmates, even though we had very little time to actually see the city. Most of us had been to NYC before so that was not a big deal. The conference ended Friday afternoon and we packed as many restaurants and bars as we could into Friday and Saturday before heading back Sunday.

Emily and I also went to the MoMA Friday evening, where I got to see many famous paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso, Dali, Diego Rivera, Monet, Pollock, and tons more.

 I saw Starry Night in person! That was exciting.

I saw Starry Night in person! That was exciting.

While in NYC we also got a chance to meet up with our classmate Beatrice Biira since she’s living there while doing her capstone work. She is living in a well known documentary producer’s apartment, which she told us all about. The producer has known Beatrice since he visited her village in Uganda when she was 8 years old to film a documentary about her story for Heifer International. He’s only in NYC a few days a month so Beatrice basically has a beautiful and huge Manhattan apartment all to herself. Consider me jealous.

I was feeling sluggish and congested all week and in fact missed a day of volunteering, so when I came back I went to the doctor. It turns out I have a sinus infection and ear infection, I just can’t get a break. The combined cost of the dr appt and medications wiped out the last of my money so I had to skip my planned trip to Little Rock this week. Let’s hurry up and pass some sort of health care help! Please!!!

I didn’t realize how dire my financial situation was, and now I’m freaking out about it. I might have to postpone my capstone (schoolwork) so that I can work two jobs to try to catch up. As it stands, I’ll be starting back at Central Market next week. For now I guess I’ll just be living like a bum. I’m also accepting donations in all forms, including taco cabana gift cards. I’ll be happy to mow your lawn or babysit your kids too.

Posted by: johnmemmer | September 20, 2009

ITP: Cute things

My beautiful niece!

Madison Lynn Allen
Madison Lynn Allen
Madison Lynn Allen

Madison Lynn Allen

Random stuff 018

Edge

Edge

My cat is bigger than your cat

My cat is bigger than your cat

Notice the eyes!

Notice the eyes!

Me in NY, January 2005

Me in NY, January 2005

 

I leave tomorrow morning to meet my classmates in New York for CGI! I’m excited, but not packed, so I gotta go!

Posted by: johnmemmer | September 16, 2009

Towelhead

Today I watched Towelhead, a film that was recommended to me by Netflix. Overall I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars. It was emotionally gripping and all of the characters were well developed, although the acting lacked at times. It dealt with controversial issues, which is something I tend to appreciate in a film. Basically it’s about a young teenage girl (played by Summer Bishil) who moves in with her father after her mother’s boyfriend treats her inappropriately. Once she  moves in with her father a variety of inappropriate sexual encounters combine with veiled suburban racism to turn the cul-de-sac into a ticking timebomb. The movie is purposely uncomfortable at times but the intention is to promote thought and dialogue about the circumstances.

It is based on a novel by the same name, a name which is one of the most controversial elements of the story. In fact, the DVD special features consist of  two separate panel discussions comprised of representatives from the movie(the producer, actors, and author) as well as members of the Arab-American and Sikh communities. The non-movie reps argue that the film’s name is as offensive as naming a movie (the “n” word) and that it was done in a cheap attempt at generating buzz over the controversial name. They complain that the only reason it’s acceptable is because the Arab-American and/or Sikh communities of the United States are not organized and strong enough to cause an uproar the same way the African-American community would be able to. The movie (and novel) representatives say that the name is meant to invoke dialogue and has nothing to do with marketing. The term “towelhead” is used repeatedly in the movie and that is how it came to become the title.

The producer, Alan Ball, who also wrote American Beauty(you can tell), claims that he struggled with the title for quite a while and in fact during filming the movie was officially known as The Untitled Alan Ball Project. The name was then changed to Nothing is Private but that title tested horribly with focus groups. Thus, he reverted to the novel’s moniker- Towelhead. He himself is a homosexual and asserts that he would never create art that would purposely exploit a minority. How do you feel about a movie titled Towelhead?

Interestingly enough, if  you go to IMDB and search for “Towelhead” is automatically redirects you to the page for “Nothing is Private” even though that’s not the official title  of the film.

Anyway, it’s not the most amazing movie ever but it does show some of the darker aspects of our society and raises more questions than it answers, which is usually a good thing in a film. If you get the chance, I’d recommend checking it out.

 

PS- It’s also set in Houston, which excited me until I realized what the subject material was all about.

Posted by: johnmemmer | September 15, 2009

CGI Attendees announced!

I cannot even begin to describe the plethora of opportunities afforded to me thanks to UACS, but the most recent might be one of the most exciting to date. Next week I will be traveling with 9 of my classmates to spend the week volunteering at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.

I was happy enough knowing that I get to return to NYC, but my excitement grew exponentially when I saw the list of 2009 CGI Attendees. From the press release:

 

“President Barack Obama to Address Opening Session

More than 60 Current and Former Heads of State, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Larry Summers, Valerie Jarrett, Kofi Annan, and Al Gore to join the CEOs of Cisco, The Coca-Cola Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Duke Energy Corporation, ExxonMobil, Florida Power and Light, Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc, General Electric, The  Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. , Hess Corporation, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Nissan Motor, PepsiCo, Standard Chartered PLC, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wellpoint, Inc., Western Union, Visa, and Matt Damon, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, Wangari Muta Maathai, Demi Moore, Barbra Streisand, Muhammad Yunus,
and Robert Zoellick at Fifth Annual Meeting


Meeting will Address Global Challenges – Education, Energy & Climate Change, Global Health, and Economic Empowerment – via Four New Action Areas: Harnessing Innovation for Development, Strengthening Infrastructure, Building Human Capital, and Financing an Equitable Future”
 
I’ll be volunteering every day from 7AM-8PM and will not be attending the actual conference so it’s not likely that I’ll speak to or even see most of these people, but it will still be mind-blowing to know I’m in the same facility as all of them. I hope I somehow catch a glimpse of President Obama, though that is probably the least likely of all. As a consolation, I’d be happy to settle with meeting Quincy Jones, assuming I could convince him to persuade his daughter to marry me.
Posted by: johnmemmer | September 14, 2009

I’m back…

…by popular demand. Actually that’s a lie. In truth I just want to make good use of my 1 year Flickr subscription and therefore need a place to post and explain the pictures. Plus I enjoyed keeping my friends and family in the loop this summer as I rarely get to speak to everyone nowadays. So if you’re interested in keeping up with my life or if you’re just consistently bored at work be sure  to bookmark me or add me to your RSS feed!

  

My Life Post-Argentina

My last few days in Argentina were amazing, as I finally overcame my month of pneumonia and met up with classmates Sarah and Nique in Buenos Aires. We did tourist-y things and ate great food, an amazing end to a  tumultuous yet priceless summer. Argentina is a beautiful country with a unique culture and I hope I one day get to visit again.  

Me, Nique, and Sarah in Argentina Me, Nique, and Sarah in Argentina

 

Although I’ll miss Argentina, I was extremely happy to return to Texas.  I missed the food (esp. tex-mex), the ability to communicate, and of course my friends & family. What made my return even better was that I was picked up from the airport by my girlfriend, whom I had not seen for the past year, as she’s been teaching English in Taiwan. I did not miss the humidity, however, which was in full effect as we exited into the parking garage despite the fact that it was 5 AM.

I spent the first few days catching up with family & friends and visiting some of the places I missed the most (Half Price Books, Taco Cabana, Fuddruckers, etc). Julie was only in town for a couple weeks before heading back to Taiwan to continue her teaching gig there, so I of course did my best to spend 24/7 with her as well.

Unfortunately, the year apart had taken its toll on her and she told me that she no longer had romantic feelings for me. Thus, we split up. I won’t go into further detail as it’s not something I feel  like sharing with the entire world. I want this blog to be a bit more discreet than my livejournal that I posted in for years and years.

The rough summer experience, coupled with a stressful return to a capstone-less Fall semester was already causing me to dread getting back into the grind of my daily life obtaining my Master’s degree. Needless to say, my split with Julie completely halted any motivation I had to do anything and has caused the past  month to be completely unproductive. I’m finally trying to turn things around a bit and this blog will serve as a written record of my progress.

I will be working with Heifer International for my capstone helping to completely overhaul their domestic programming. It’s going to be really exciting work and I’ll probably share some of what I learn from them in here as well. Nothing about their strategies or programming, of course, but perhaps some of the general information about food issues facing the United States today.

Other than that this blog will mainly consist of random ramblings and recounts of daily events that I think might be interesting to a general public as well as recommendations of things I find. All of it will be accompanied by the world famous Memmer wit, so be sure to check back!

Posted by: johnmemmer | July 30, 2009

Yet another brief health update

Things seem to be improving with my health, though it´s difficult to really get an idea of how I´m doing until we get another x-ray. With that said, the past couple days I´ve been allowed to leave the house (during daylight, it gets super cold at night) and my cough has significantly improved.

The past two days I´ve also gone to a physical therapist, which I never would´ve thought would help with pneumonia. In fact I still don´t know if it helps but it´s free so I don´t mind. He just puts me on a humidifier for a little bit, then hits me in the back to loosen up the infection in my lungs. After we did all that work to stop my coughing, he is now intent on making me start coughing again so I can get the stuff out of my lungs.

I haven´t gone back to LCDQ yet, which reopened this week, but if my next x-ray is positive I´ll be returning to LCDQ next week. I´m apprehensive about returning too soon as those kids are always sick and I don´t want to risk getting the flu or even a cold while I have pneumonia, as that´s a recipe for disaster.

It´s fortunate that my health is improving now, as Sarah and Nique are coming into Argentina next week and I want to enjoy our time together. Since I´ve missed so much of my project due to illness and the ¨swine flu closing¨, I can´t leave Chilecito any earlier than next Friday, but they might come here and visit mid-week. If they don´t come to Chilecito then I´ll meet up with them in either Cordoba or Buenos Aires next weekend, and we all fly out around the same time on Tuesday the 11th, though I´m on a different flight. I get back to Houston at 5am on the 12th.

For some reason my laptop can no longer find the wi-fi network I´ve been using, so I have to use the family computer and I have much more limited internet access. As a result this may be my last blog post until my adventure next week, though I´ll try to check in again if I can secure the computer access(AKA keep the 17yr old and 18yr old off of the computer long enough for me to check in).

Posted by: johnmemmer | July 24, 2009

Health update

Got my xray, shows some improvement but I’m not cured yet, looks like I’ll be in bed a few more days, at least, maybe up to 10 days. Also, pneumonia causes run-on sentences.

Posted by: johnmemmer | July 24, 2009

Health update

I know I promised a blog update the other day but sometimes life (or its opposite) gets in the way. When I posted the puppy I had had a cough for about a week, but nothing too bad. Didn’t interrupt daily life. Finally the cough got nagging enough that I asked to go to the doctor. After a look at my throat and an unexpected chest x-ray, I was diagnosed with a lung infection, which I now know they’re saying is pneumonia.

my chest looks sorta like this

my chest looks sorta like this

 

My tenuous grasp of the Spanish language has exacerbated the situation as I hardly know what’s going on, but Tuesday afternoon paramedics came to the house and gave me a present

233034

which I’ve been stuck with ever since. Except now it’s in my right hand.

This IV drip is for administering my antibiotics, apparently a straight injection is too painful, though I’d like to decide for myself. The paramedics come twice a day (8am/8pm) to inject the treatmeant into the IV, and I also take 3 pills a day(8am,4pm,12am). Other than that I’m stuck in bed. Constantly. I even eat here. And I watch lots of TV, a daily cycle of American programs consisting of Friends, 2.5 Men, House, Law and Order, and if I’m lucky an occasional movie. I’m also enjoying Shameless season 3 which Julie gave me for my birthday.

I’m going in today for a new xray to see if the treatment’s working, but I’m also hearing rumors that they plan 15 days more bed-rest for me. Apparently there are emails going around about my condition that I didn’t know about, but I’ve now asked to be included. Hopefully the 15 day thing ain’t true because I’m supposed to fly home in about 15 days, and I don’t think they let pneumonia patients in airplanes.

I’d give my left lung (or whichever is infected) to be home right now, but that ain’t gonna happen. This situation is scary and confusing because I feel perfectly fine but apparently I’m relatively seriously ill. The combination of the language barrier and knowing I’m thousands of miles from anyone I know only further complicates things. It also doesn’t help that I’m a chronic worrier with an (thankfully completely controlled) anxiety disorder. To top it off, a week+ without a shower makes me look like I like rockabilly and smell like I like crust punk.

What do you mean you don't like Reverend Horton Heat?

What do you mean you don't like Reverend Horton Heat?

For now just keep me in your thoughts(or prayers if you’re the Holy type), and send me money. OK you don’t have to do that second part. Instead, make me nachos and next-day-air those suckers. I miss everyone and I hope I make it back there, soon.

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