Monthly Archives: April 2011

IN CONTRADICTION

When I was young, I had hard and fast ideals about who I was, who my parents are, and what kind of world I lived in. I was a rebellious youth, like most, but I was steadfast in certain things that I won’t go into now because for one, I can’t believe some of the things I actually used to believe in, and secondly, because a lot of me has changed (developed, hopefully).  So much of my personal belief system has became dismantled due to my own personal events, joyful and tragic, and very public ones, like electing a black president, the fall of Enron, Jack Abramoff, Katrina and the oil spill. Instead of such a binary set of convictions, I’ve settled comfortably into a fluid life of contradictions.

You grow up and realize that your parents are people and the world does not wrap up neatly at the end of the day. You grow up and the things you thought as a kid are challenged daily. I kid you not when I tell you that Jack Abramoff and my own personal subsequent research into his business dealings and partnerships changed my view on race and religion. It was at that point that I accepted that institutionalized racism is just a way to keep 99% of us busy hurting, demoralizing and killing each other instead of working to bring down the real problem: the wealthiest one percent. Classism is the real enemy here, at least to most of us.

And this is what brings me to the point of this post: A year and some change ago, our coast, my coast, the coast of our children and future generations, was already losing an environmental battle.  The wetlands are an environmental example of the snake eating its tail. The Delta, situated on silt, is already a fragile ecosystem and an unstable land mass. A number of factors contribute to erosion, pre-levees, but nature, in cycles, takes care of replenishment. [Note: I won’t expound on issues that levees create against these cycles because it’s another post altogether and I only have a pat, single-sentence answer for it.] As much as I wish it was California*, the Gulf Coast is the most rapidly eroding coast in the country.

We, as Gulf Coasters, live a dichotomous existence: we recognize the fragility of our environment, but as humans who consume, recognize the need for industry. Our oil industry that brings life and subsistence to many people (including me) in Texas, my home state, and Louisiana, my beloved and adopted home state, is also killing our coast. Our oil is murdering our world’s human and animal population, as well. [I say “our” because we all share responsibility for its continued power.]

My industry, the oil industry, the one I have dedicated myself to and sacrificed many things for, the industry that my whole immediate family works for, the one that gave me a beautiful home and comfortable surroundings to grow up in, the one that put me through college and is still paying off loans, the one that gave me a passion for my current career choice, is killing the world. I make these accusations with awareness and do not take that lightly.

 I don’t want to and reasonably cannot condemn oil as a natural resource as many have, though the big oil industry is condemnable, but I do want to remind myself of the lazy days I spent on the waters and shores of the beautiful and seductive Gulf Coast. To remind myself of watching my baby brother step into the shallow waters of low tide at Galveston Beach for the first time. To remember the fresh fish and shrimp my dad caught regularly that came from its plentiful depths and the joy of a family fish fry or shrimp boil.

I write this post to remind myself that I have to take a stand against the bottom line in the oil industry: assets.  And to remind you that money and power as assets and leverage are what makes this situation so deplorable and what separates BP executives from us, the Louisianans, the victims and survivors.

I am beyond angry and beyond baffled at the way BP has handled this situation. Taking multi-billion dollar tax cuts, rewarding themselves with multi-million dollar “safety” bonuses, providing mere lip service to those who suffer, ignoring our cries to fix what they have broken.  Beyond angry.  Make no mistake: this is about greed and not much else.  It’s not even really about the resource. It’s about the river of money that separates them from us.

After the dust settles, my job is wholly about risk management. To be clear, my company works protect the assets of our clients in the petrochemical industry, but we are here mainly to protect lives. Our first thought when we find a flaw in a system is not “How much money could the client lose over this leak?” but “What would happen if this blows up with people working on it?” Our job is to protect those people. The people who go home to their growing families every night. The ones who burn up in the summer heat and freeze in the winter cold because their job is not to sit in conditioned air behind a computer all day. Those people are me and I am them. The shut down or gradual demise of my industry would be a blow to me, my family and hundreds of my peers. People I work with every day. People I know and cherish as friends, people that sometimes become family when we’re all in this 90-hour work week bunker together.

But, even at cost to my livelihood, I stand as a proponent of research and use of alternative energy sources and for stricter laws against exploratory drilling and stricter building and inspection regulations of structures that produce, treat or synthesize products made from oil. I stand as a champion for longevity through a healthy environment. On the same dime, I am a consumer and an employee. I live in reality. We can’t just cease production of petroleum-related products. Stick your hand out and touch something, anything. That product is most likely the result of the culling of a natural resource we loudly condemn.   You can drive your petroleum-based car around town or walk in your rubber-soled shoes through the streets. These are the things I’m talking about.

As I get older, it’s less clear and increasingly more difficult to be hard and fast about what I rage against. I wrote this post with the full knowledge that I’m on the clock for one of the world’s biggest refineries of petrochem. Though a small blow, and with a little guilt, it is a joy I can’t deny myself.

Truly and still, I love my job at the same time I love my sweet, humid, destroyed and heartbreaking Gulf Coast.

I live in contradiction.

 

 

*Jokes?

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AT LEAST SHE KNOWS

Kelly:?? I bought some grape leaves and tzatziki at the farmers market for lunch!!!!

me:?? wow. that's some whiteness right there.

Kelly:?? hahahaha it SURE is.

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BATTLEGROUND: NEW ORLEANS

A little something from DJ Shiftee to get you hyped up for tonight!

 

New Orleans is the second stop on the 2011 DMC regional qualifier city roster. San Antonio hosted the first one last week, with DJ Qbase catching top honors and moving on. The 3rd place qualifier in that competition was The Don Santos, who is giving 1st place another shot tonight in NOLA in hopes of clinching a spot in the US Finals in NYC on August 6th. 

Ten DJs are set to battle TONIGHT at the Howlin’ Wolf (923 S. Peters). Battlers include: Immortal (FL), Farrell Concept Futral (FL), DJ Birds (TX), The Don Santos (TX), Jeff “DJ Jeff C” Cohen (AL), DJ Cajun (LA), DJ EzMoney (LA), Beverly Skillz (LA), DJ Kut Kid (TX) and Know Respect (LA). They will be playing a 2 minute elimination set and should have a 6 minute set prepared if they make it to the final round.

The most notable difference from last year’s competition, and what has turned a lot of the more purist DJ’s on their ears, comes after the controversial announcement that competitions for 2011 would permit the use of Serato, a vinyl emulator software that allows the DJ to manipulate digital audio files. As opposed to scratching and beat juggling on two decks, competitors can use their laptops. The competitions should be interesting tonight, as we see how the new adopters and traditionalists fare against each other.

This event is organized by the inexhaustible New Orleans-based DJ Tony Skratchere (@Tony5kratchere) and his new venture Poor Boy Pros (@poorboypros), who told me that promotion has gone well. He’s received “a ton of cooperation from lots of different people…Kinetic Productions, Louisiana DnB, Louisiana Dubstep, GoDjs, Definition Djs, Humid Beings, Canary Collective, Dirty Coast, Templum Group, Frank 151, and friends in the region that believe in the battle.” DMC has also moved from last year’s venue, the Hookah, to Howlin’ Wolf.  When asked about the advantage of the move, Skratchere said “Howlin’ Wolf is a better venue due to the fact that this is more of a live music event than a dj event. Howlin’ Wolf is a live music venue.”

The competition itself is always lively.  Lots of banter and trashtalk between the DJs during battles and some from the seasoned host.  This year’s host is NYC’s DJ Fatfingaz, who is pulling triple-duty by also being a judge and doing a showcase.  Cleveland’s DJ Swamp pulls double-duty as a judge and a by doing a showcase, as well.  Third judge in the competition is DJ Spin, from New Orleans.

Follow @DMC_DJ_Champs on Twitter for updates on the whole competition and visit www.dmcdjchamps.com for more complete information. The hashtag for this event is #dmcnola and you can follow them on Twitter @DMCxNOLA.

See you there!

More info:

DMC New Orleans

10pm – 1am. $18+.

$20 day of or Only $15 off with flyer or with RSVP to DMCNOLA2011@hotmail.com

Howlin’ Wolf 907 S. Peters New Orleans LA 70130 www.howlin-wolf.com

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