songquake: (Default)
I'd had a thought I wanted to post, but it seems that LiveJournal is down again—most likely, I think, from another DDoS attack (though status.livejournal.com reports something like "experiencing a heavy load right now," which I think is a ridiculous reason for the site to be down). Stupid hackers.

In any event, this has triggered me to finally use the DW code [personal profile] elainegrey  gave me...2 years ago, now? And now that I've done the minimal page set-up, I find I don't remember what I wanted to post about in the first place!

Things/thinks I need to post about soon (this is largely a placeholder):
- Choir escapades
- Clinical Pastoral Education mid-unit evaluations
- State of my health
- The horrible state of my writing assignment list.

Things I need to spend my time writing instead:
- Library guidelines for choir
- Application for CPE residency (1 more essay plus cover letters)
- Theological Reflection Paper on suffering
- Oh, yeah—all that fanfiction that is either overdue or soon-to-be-overdue.
songquake: (Default)
Hi, folks.

Many of you are mutually friendly with the much-missed [livejournal.com profile] tania_sings. Since I've been generally away from the internet over the past week, I'm really, really grateful that so many of my dear ones are posting updates on her safety and the safety of her family.

One of the things she mentioned to me in one of our first email exchanges after the tsunami (well before the extent of the nuclear crisis was known) was that there are ways for those of us who are, as I like to say, "broke as a joke" to help. I'm going to list those, but I'm also adding a bunch of stuff that has become more relevant as time has gone by.

Family Links of the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent. Are you looking for a family member? Might a family member be looking for you? Do you know someone in Japan who has had trouble getting the word out that they are okay? The ICRC has a website—translated into several languages—set up to facilitate the contact of missing family members. You have to click through several screens to get to the List of Names, but I'm putting out the link tot he most general page so that folks aren't limited to reading the instructions and following the links in English (the site exists in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese.)

♥ Donate blood. And in three months, donate blood again. The Red Cross is flooded with offers of blood right now, so plan a future donation—after this rush of donations has been exhausted/has expired, blood will be needed again. You can contact your local Red Cross/Red Crescent to find out where to donate. In the United States, you can go to http://www.redcrossblood.org. The International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent has a page listing all the national affiliates. If one clicks on the national (or regional) affiliate and enters "blood" in its search function, one will find local information about blood/plasma donation.

♥ Talk to your children, your children's teachers, the parents of your children's friends, their Boy Scout/Girl Scout/etc. leaders. The images coming out of Japan are terrifying, and a lot of kids are trying to make sense of what's happening. Also, when they see or hear about so much suffering, many kids want to do something to help. (I know I can relate to that!) In New York City, the Board of Education is allowing bake sales to benefit Japan to be added to the calendar (we have a pretty strict no-sweets rule here these days). Penny harvests can be started. With children, even knowing that they collected a little money can go a long way to feeling connected to people in other parts of the world. And every little bit helps—not only in terms of assisting those afflicted by the tragedy but in assisting young people in growing their civic consciousness and in helping them feel part of a community (worldwide as well as local) in times that seem so precarious.

♥ The same goes for adults. For those of us stuck in much safer climes, it's horrifying to know we can't "do anything" to help. Even doing what we can, we can experience spiritual turmoil. In this, I would encourage folks to reach out to one another, to friends, to faith communities if you have them, to organizations working for causes you believe are important.

♥ Volunteer! Even if you have no other skills, you can offer to stuff envelopes at the local Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, etc. Or work at your local food pantry; one thing that tends to happen is that folks will lower their contributions to local causes when they increase their contributions to international causes. But labor—that's always local. And it can help you as a person weather the terrible knowledge of these crises by giving you a sense of purpose and connecting you to other people.

♥ Find out if there are ways to support local folks who have family in Japan (either because they're in military service or because they're Japanese, or even are living there/visiting for other reasons). Everyone's soul can use some kindness and companionship in times of family crisis.

♥ Sign up for the Bone Marrow Registry. One of the things we're not talking about so much yet is that the long-term consequences of radiation exposure include increased risk of cancers, particularly leukemias and lymphomas. Bone marrow transplants are one of the treatments for such illnesses. In the US, you can contact Be the Match for information about registering as a bone marrow donor. Outside the United States, I'm not sure of the specifics on how to register, though there are certainly centers (I know because the BBC reported on Tuesday that "Five hundred bone marrow transplant centres across Europe are being asked to be on standby to treat Japanese radiation victims if the need arises"). I think the Red Cross/Red Crescent can help with this, too.

♥ Offer something—stories, art, baked goods, editing services, etc., on [livejournal.com profile] help_japan. You don't need to be a member of fandom to participate! Similarly, everyone can look through the offerings to see if they are willing to make a bid.

♥ If you're not-poor enough to collect frequent flier miles or hotel pointrs or credit card points or whatnot, major corporations have made it possible to leverage these for the good of relief efforts.


That's all I can think of at the minute, but I've been meaning to post something like this since Tania mentioned it on Saturday. Had I not been singing for days and then sleeping for days, I'd have got it up faster. Ah, well.

I'm going to unlock this post; feel free to boost the signal.
songquake: (help haiti)
Hi, folks. For those of you who are interested in such things, I am offering drabbles in exchange for donation pledges over at [livejournal.com profile] songquake_fic.

Cholera is just awful. And the huge tragedy is that this situation was utterly preventable: there just wasn't the political will (by the Haitian government, the UN, or NGO's) to take the steps needed to ensure that Haitians have clean/potable water.

It's hitting me particularly hard because clean water is something about which I'm very passionate. Over 2 million children die each year from diarrhea, most of which is caused by untreated water and/or poor sanitation conditions. That accounts for something like 20% of all childhood heaths. It unconscionable.

I also know someone who has a family member who just died from cholera, so it hit me where I live.

I spent a good deal of time this evening crying, yelling at God, and feeling impotent. I feel like the world has got no real sense of priorities. Really, the best thing to do would be either evacuate the country's population to somewhere that has excellent sewage and water treatment, or drop some pre-fab water purification plants on the various towns. I was horrified that anything was getting more news coverage than this. I mean, really, NYTimes? Is the trend of touching-up school photos really worth more webpage space (it was a lead story on the home page, and above the fold with a giant picture in today's hard copy edition of The New York Times) than the lengths Haitians are going to in order to stem the tide of cholera (it's not listed on the home page, in the paper version was front-page but below the fold, and right now is not on the first visible screen of the World section on the website)? How is it possible that anything, even the economic crisis, is newsworthy when so many people worldwide are dying from water-borne illnesses?

Hence yelling at God about the priorities of our culture.

And my mom's comment that Haiti won't get the water and sanitation help that will make a difference, much less evacuation to someplace that has clean water, because "Haiti is filled with brown people."

There are, however, charities working to ameliorate not only the medical crisis, but also mitigate the water and sanitation issues. Links are available on the [livejournal.com profile] songquake_fic link above.

Thanks, folks. And if you feel moved to donate without the incentive of a bit of fiction, please do.
songquake: (hold me)
So, I may have mentioned over the summer that the choir I'm in (Young New Yorkers' Chorus) has been invited to sing at The 2011 American Choral Directors Association National Conference in CHICAGO this coming March. This is one of the most prestigious gigs a choir can be offered, and I'm thrilled to be going. I'm a dork; I've dreamed of getting to go to one of these since I first heard about them (which was in college, when I learned that my choir director at the time was chair of the Indiana chapter). I mean, a whole weekend dedicated to performing and learning to improve the choral arts! *swoons*

Of course, bringing a choir of 75 singers (plus rehearsal accompanist and director) costs money. A lot of money. Approximately $30,000, in fact. Expenses include airfare, hotel rooms, conference registration for each member, airport shuttles, and who knows what else (I'm not on the committee that's organizing the trip, thank goodness - I've got enough on my plate being the librarian and serving on the fundraising committee). We're doing everything together outside of individual meals, conference sessions, and free time, which means that things that might have cut down on some costs (members buying their own tickets and finding their own housing) aren't an option, but we've negotiated group rates for airfare and hotel accommodations.

Each choir member is being asked to contribute $300 toward the cost of going (my parents are helping me with this, as I'm working for no pay at Roosevelt Hospital as an intern). These $300 dollars only cover about half the expense for each member. So we've also been asked to provide at least ten names/addresses of potential donors for us to reach out to with direct and personalized mailings. A lot of folks have been having trouble/feeling uncomfortable with finding ten potential donors (I, for one, think these people lack imagination -- I totally went and poached names and addresses from every directory for choirs and religious groups I've been in, and when I couldn't find addresses in my records, I googled them), so I'm trying to round up as many potential donors as possible.

To this end, if you wouldn't mind being added to the mailing list (snail mail), please email me at songquake at gmail dot com to give me your name and address.

If, however, you want to minimize the number of trees slaughtered, have a tendency to lose solicitation mailings, or prefer to pay by credit card anyway, you can click the following button to get to our donation page.





ALL CONTRIBUTIONS ARE 100% TAX-DEDUCTIBLE

If you are able, please consider donating to this. It won't feed the hungry. It won't save the world. But it will help send some really talented singers in their 20's and 30's to a conference that aims at preservation and innovation in the choral arts.

Thanks!

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