12 April 2011

On Pulling Your Head Out of Your Ass

So the whole "blog every day in April" thing... hasn't happened. Sorry, I've been busy.

Every generation has its civil rights issue. Ours is homosexuality, and I think, for the sake of the future of our society, it is something that should be addressed as soon as possible.

I'm not entirely sure what the people who hate homosexuals are basing their arguments on because I try to avoid talking to these people at all costs, but from what I hear, they're saying that it's in the bible. In the bible there are millions--I don't know an exact number--of scriptures, seven of which address homosexuality in some way or another, and most of which only mention it as a result of poor translation.

As for those who use the God-made-man-for-woman argument, of COURSE He did!! God isn't stupid, I'm sure He knew He had to make a man and a woman to make more people. That's how it works, if you have problems understanding that, it's your parents' fault, not homosexuals.

Lastly there is no excuse to hate anyone, let alone hating someone for something they cannot control. So pull your head out of your ass--it's against the sodomy law.

Also, I may do more posts on homosexuality because I really like this topic, and I haven't said everything I want to about it.

07 April 2011

On College

In honor of National Tartan Day, yesterday, I decided to not post anything--yes, I forgot. Also, I'm not feeling very articulate today, so this post won't be anything special.

If I could have it my way, I would go to the University of Evansville. It's exactly what I want--comfortable university in a city that's big enough to actually do something in. But tuition is skyrocketing and it's looking less and less likely that I will be going there. Of course, I do have back-ups--Ball State University and Indiana State University--but I think there is something particularly difficult about letting go of a college that you've had your heart set on. 

Or maybe I'm over thinking things.

05 April 2011

On Sarah Palin

Politics aside, Sarah Palin is a horrible human being. She never answers questions the way they were asked, she's vain, she is extremely biased, she gives us rationally-minded Christians a bad name, and her voice makes children cry. But, as much as I loathe this woman, and as much as it makes me sick to my stomach to say this, I think I have found an area where our beliefs overlap. This is, surprisingly, evolution.

In an interview with Katie Couric (one would think she would have learned her lesson the first time--but, no) she said the following

"I think it should be taught as an accepted principle, and I say that also as the daughter of a school teacher, a science teacher, who has really instilled in me a respect for science. It should be taught in schools, and I won't ever deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is Earth... science should be taught in a science class."
I think--as insultingly stupid as she has--she has hit the nail on the head with this one. Evolution is the generally accepted scientific theory of the origin of species, and as such it should be taught in, of all places, a science class.

This kind of thinking can, and should, be applied in all realms of thinking--particularly when discussing education. For some reason, the parents who demand that certain books *cough*Huckleberry Finn*cough* (note: the link I posted in entirely satirical) not be taught in schools because they think that we should shield our children from the not so pretty parts of our history, or that certain words should be eliminated from use in schools despite their legitimacy as words and their possible rhetorical and syntactical usages, are relentless in their destruction of the educational system, and their insistence that their children can not form their own opinions and learn--let alone comprehend--difficult subjects.

04 April 2011

On Indiana Weather

I'm going to keep this one short. Because I'm lazy.

Fact: Indiana weather is the worst, cruelest joke that mother nature has ever played on the human population. It never stays the same for more that three days, particularly during the spring and fall. Yesterday there were beautiful, blue skies all day, while I made my way out to my back porch to get a little writing done, that is until about 6 p.m., when the temperature dropped 19 degrees and the skies turned an overcast gray leaving today to be cold, gray, and rainy.

Don't get me wrong, I love rain... when it's warm. But this is simply ridiculous! It's spring break and the only thing that is springy is the wind and the influx of Facebook photos from beaches.

Until next time, enjoy the horrid weather.

03 April 2011

On Nostalgia

Nostalgia, na wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friendsa sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time: a nostalgia for his college days.

This evening my youth group gathered to watch Toy Story 3 together, which, if you've seen, you know the emotions that it conjures up within the viewer. 

Watching it the second time, I was able to focus more on the details of the plot, and appreciate it more in that aspect. However, two of the people watching had never seen it before, and watching their reactions reminded me of the first time I saw it and the feelings that came with remembering the first two films from my childhood.

And this, I believe, is the reason that Toy Story 3 was the most successful of the trilogy and why it is such a great movie to watch with friends. Nostalgia is so powerful because it causes people to recognize that they share emotions and memories with other people--something that transcends any other bond, religion, race, background, ethnicity, nationality, political alignment, prejudices, and any other way people try to divide themselves. Nostalgia gives people a common cause that doesn't carry hate with it.

Also, regarding blogging every day in April, I am not going to do an extra blog to make up for not doing one on the first. Get over it. :)

02 April 2011

On Lists and Why I Hate Them

But before that, I would like to apologize to my six readers for not posting anything in a very long time. I've been extremely busy with school and making preparations for a coming trip to Italy and France this summer. That aside, my spring break is at hand meaning I have a few free hours here and there which I plan to spend blogging.

So, the list thing.

I hate lists, and I think the best way to illustrate why I feel the way I do about them is to show you my list for today with the things I've actually done marked out.
  • Wake up on time
  • Take a shower/other typical morning activities BEFORE doing anything else so I can actually get something done today
  • Eat breakfast
  • Get oil changed
  • Get air in tires (living on a gravel road does weird things to tires)
  • Actually finish chapter 2
  • Get started on the first English essay
  • Send in application for college open house
  • Send in application for OLAB
  • Turn off the Golden Girls marathon
  • Write a blog post
In case you didn't get the point I was making, it was that I can make all the lists I want, but I almost never stick to them. Granted, I'm less prone to forget things, but, for the most part, with me, nothing really gets done until it absolutely has to.

The reason, I think, for my reluctance to do anything, is that I hate the idea of a list just as much as actually doing anything on the list itself. I'm too afraid that, if I actually follow through with absolutely everything on the list, my life will become more rinse-and-repeat than it already is. I'm reminded of a quote by Author Jack London
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
Lists feel too robotic--too much like I'm doing something simply for the sake of doing--even though I know that's not necessarily their purpose. I prefer to do things on-a-whim.

Lastly, to make up for my lack of blogging in a very long time, I am going to try--try, mind you--to blog every day in April. We'll see how long that lasts.

21 February 2011

On a President's Day Deary

The only time that mass American Exceptionalism really pays off is on President's Day (and maybe the 4th of July simply because it's an excuse to blow things up). It's a pointless holiday, kind of like Groundhog's Day, except that most people get out of work and school. (The rest of the time American Exceptionalism is a nuisance and kind of annoying.)

So how did I spend my President's Day weekend? It started off on Saturday when I spent an our and a half walking through a local cemetery taking pictures of tombstones, like the one on the right of Opal who is last-name-less, to get ideas for a short story. Also, on Saturday I spent three hours at Barnes & Noble reading and people watching. (No, I don't feel creepy when I do this.) (Yes, this is how I spend my Saturdays.)

Then yesterday, in the evening, I went to youth group (or oof group, as my pastors' daughter calls it) where we talked about Glee and how awesome it is.

Today, however, I did nearly nothing of substance... nothing at all... I read a little... and wrote a little... and watched the rain a little... and ate some ice cream... a lot.

The reason that I post anything on this blog is because I think it is something that is worthwhile or important or funny. This post, however, is none of these. I suppose you could argue that simplicity is worthwhile, but I would disagree, simplicity is boring.

So there was really no point for me to post this, but I felt like I should write something so I didn't get into a rut of "I'll write something tomorrow" and then completely forget about this blog until I'm in college and look back on this pathetic little project and laugh at my immaturity.

That is all.

19 February 2011

On Links and Backgrounds

So, after a comment that my previous background--the one with all the books--made the text hard to read, I went on a rampage of renovating this blog including font changes, color changes, and a new page of links in which I put all (or most) of the links that I put in my normal posts along with other links that I think are noteworthy, yet not important enough to have their own blog post, with short blurbs about them. (If you can't tell, I really like green.)

18 February 2011

On Hell and Who Gets to Go There

The other day, I stumbled upon (yes, through stumble uponthis, an article about a bonus question that was given on a midterm of an engineering class at the University of Washington.

The question was this: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or Endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Naturally, most people answered the question with a simple combination of their religious beliefs and Boyle's law; however, one answered with this: "First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let us look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

"Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added. This gives two possibilities:

"1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

"2. Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

"So which is it?

"If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa Banyan during my Freshman year, '...that it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you.', and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then, #2 cannot be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and will not freeze."

Receiving the only 'A' in the class, this student not only did something of reward but also opened the door to an important question: who is going to hell?

The answer to this isn't simple or rational, nor does it make any sense to try to answer it, but, after all, we are only human, and humans are stubborn--no matter how much you tell them that they can't possibly find an answer to something, they still want to believe they are right. Silly humans.

Being the bookworm I am, I immediately found a similar example of this in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. In the case that you haven't read this, it goes a little like this: (*spoiler alert*) Hester comes to America a few months before her hubby. She gets knocked up by a minister, and is, thus, forced to wear a red letter 'A' on her clothing by order of the Minister who screwed her in the first place. (Minister's aren't portrayed very nicely in this novel.) So about seven years later, after Hester's husband, a physician, has badgered the Minister into trying to confess to the affair with his wife, the Minister has decided to run away to Europe with Hester, and, just as they are about to step onto the boat to freedom (cosmic irony) from judgement, the Minister is all, "hold up! I confess! I Knocked up Hester seven years ago!" Then he dies. (*End of spoiler*)

The reason I brought up the example of The Scarlet Letter is because it shows perfectly that, although most may put the blame on those who are considered socially "unholy," we are nothing more than human. The Minister, although he put all of the blame on Hester, was just as guilty.

In Steven Sondheim's Into the Woods, the witch (played by Bernadette Peters) is the obvious source of all of the discontent of the other characters, but, arguably, the only one with real perspective. Towards the climax of the musical, while the characters who managed to survive the clumsy giant from the bean stalk who keeps stepping on people are deciding who is to blame, she finally sings:

No, of course what really matters is the blame, somebody to blame. Fine, if that's the thing you enjoy, placing the blame, if that's the aim, give me the blame.

She acknowledges that people only want to find someone to blame, because, if they don't, it's safe to assume that it's their own fault, and people don't like to blame themselves. So she takes the blame.

Obviously not every person is going to hell, or there wouldn't be a heaven. Even if you don't believe that anything significant happens after death, it is mutually agreeable that people who point fingers are just as guilty as those they are blaming, (plus, they're really annoying.) 

27 January 2011

On Office Supplies, Not Procrastinating, and Stupid Computers

Firstly, this post was originally entitled On Office Supplied and Not Procrastinating. Then my computer crashed. -_- Thankfully I didn't loose anything... except the almost 500 word draft of this post that I had typed. As a result of this, and the fact that I don't feel like retyping everything that I just spent the last thirty minutes working on, this post will be much shorter than 500 words.

Secondly, I know I said in my last post that I was sorry that I hadn't posted anything in while and that I probably wouldn't be able to for a while do to my bad habit of procrastinating on homework and other school projects. However, there are rare instances where I somehow manage to get all or most of my homework done and still have a few moments to spare in my day to do something somewhat interesting. Today is one of those days, and this is my somewhat interesting thing.

Thirdly, I have an unnatural love of office supplies. It's really bad. I have several--five--pencil holders filled with pencils, markers, sharpies, highlighters, and other things of that sort, two notebooks, three journals, and an obnoxiously extensive collection of post-its.

It would not surprise me at all that if I had saved all of the money that I spend on office supplies, I wouldn't have to ask my grandma for gas money.

Fourthly, here is a video song by Lauren O'Connell and Ryan Lerman until my next post!

26 January 2011

On Procrastination

I am incredibly sorry to all five of my readers for not posting anything in almost a week, but with the accumulation of several school projects,--on all of which I have procrastinated,--I have not had much free time. This will probably change by February 11th when I get my life back.

In the mean time, here is a made-of-awesome video from one of my favorite channels on YouTube, Microrator.
Eet - Regina Spektor (cover by Microrator)

22 January 2011

On Censorship

Censorship is one of the few topics that really fires me up. The idea that someone thinks they have the right to tell someone they can't think something and express it because of some irrational system of societal rules is as irrational as the people who allow it to go on. The parents who don't allow their children to watch a television show or read a book because it might have questionable material or a few words here and there that they don't like have a clear misconception of what goes on in public schools. As much as the administrations of the public school system would deny it and try to suppress it, there are things that go on in schools that are far more shrewd than anything in these books.

Two great examples of how people try their hardest to create some sort of over-protective dome of what they deem as 'appropriate' can be found here and here. The First of these links is a video from John Green whose book Looking for Alaska was being taught in a school where parents wanted it to be taken out of the curriculum. The Second is from a video blogger and author, Jackson Pearce, about the censoring of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

But, this blog is not about you or your parents or any one else who would want to censor it. It is about me and my thoughts. So to practice my powers of free speech, I chose the worst possible word in the English language; fuck--which for some reason is worse than other words that are deemed inappropriate. Below is a paragraph that I found here about the origins of the word fuck.

The obscenity fuck is a very old word and has been considered shocking from the first, though it is seen in print much more often now than in the past. Its first known occurrence, in code because of its unacceptability, is in a poem composed in a mixture of Latin and English sometime before 1500. The poem, which satirizes the Carmelite friars of Cambridge, England, takes its title, "Flen flyys," from the first words of its opening line, "Flen, flyys, and freris," that is, "fleas, flies, and friars." The line that contains fuck reads "Non sunt in coeli, quia gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk." The Latin words "Non sunt in coeli, quia," means "they [the friars] are not in heaven, since." The code "gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk" is easily broken by simply substituting the preceding letter in the alphabet, keeping in mind differences in the alphabet and in spelling between then and now: i was then used for both i and j; v was used for both u and v; and vv was used for w. This yields "fvccant [a fake Latin form] vvivys of heli." The whole thus reads in translation: "They are not in heaven because they fuck wives of Ely" [a town near Cambridge].

19 January 2011

On the Transcontinental Railroad

Picture it; it's a cold, snow January morning in the God-forsaken state of Indiana and an extremely bored Algebra II student rolls his eyes as the slacker seated behind him interrupts the day's lesson once more to say "why do we even need to know this?" Then he sits there as the teacher tries to come up with an impromptu answer. No matter what your teacher tells you, the answer will most likely be that you will never need to know anything that you learn in math after about the fifth grade.

I am not by any means saying that the time that you spend in your math or science or history or English classes is time that is not well spent, although it may seem like it in the moment. What I am saying is that, although you may  not ever find a use for the endless amounts of useless knowledge that you gain in these classes, some things that you learn in school you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

This evening I was writing a paper analyzing the social and economic effects of the completion of the transcontinental railroad in the west (which, might I add, are nearly endless.) Fun, right? In the event that you don't know what the transcontinental railroad is I have included a little map to the right >

Anyway, as I was writing my essay on a topic that I have absolutely no interest in, it occurred to me that I still might actually learn something useful from this class after all. Surely if the class is required--or at least recommended--there is probably a reason for it. And even if, at the end of the class, I don't get anything substantial out if it involving the content of the class, simply to learn under a teacher--some of the most dedicated and wise people that I have met--is enough to never regret any class that I have taken.

18 January 2011

On the Sword and the Pen: Part II

As a follow up to my first post, I wanted to further elaborate on the reasons I chose the name The Sword and the Pen for this project. The answer comes in two parts.
^ Cardinal Richelieu ^

Part 1: The first reason that I chose this for the title comes from the famous line from act II of a play by Edward Bulwer-Lytton called Richelieu. Essentially, the main character, Cardinal Richelieu, who is a priest, discovers that his friend Joseph the monk is planning some plot against him. Being a priest, he is prevented from engaging in a physical fight. At this point he utters the famous line,

Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword.

Although Edward Bulwer-Lytton is often given all of the fame for having thought up this brilliant line, he is hardly the first one to have the thought. Awesome people like Shakespeare, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert Burton all had similar thoughts. Although the prize goes to a Greek poet named Euripides whose dying words were
The tongue is mightier than the blade.

Part 2: The second reason comes from the brilliant singer/song writer Regina Spektor's song "Sword and Pen" from her album, Far. This song, like most of hers, can have a million different meanings. For me it signifies the importance of thinking critically about how our world functions. What if we got it wrong? What if the sword kills the pen?

If you don't know who these two people are, you should definitely google them--or bing them, if you roll that way--and learn everything you can about them. Edward Bulwer-Lytton was an amazing writer whose words are still used in conversations today, and Regina Spektor is a brilliant song writer whose lyrics are beautiful and meaningful and will be remembered (at least by me) for long after she stops writing.

17 January 2011

On the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Georgia O'Keefe's Obsession With Vaginae

Recently I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art with one of my friends. I went because of a project that I am currently doing in school about the state of art and elective classes in education, which, in the United States, is slowly dwindling away, that involves a site visit to a place that has something to do with your topic.

Art has always perplexed me. I can grasp the meanings behind entire novels and decipher the complex metaphors in literature with ease. Yet when I am given a Georgia O'Keefe painting of a flower--which probably sums up 90% of her paintings--and I am expected to make the assumption that it represents a vagina, I am lost.

The point of this post is not to highlight Georgia O'Keefe's obsession with female reproductive organs. Rather it's about how different people communicate differently. Some people communicate through music, some through teaching, and some through painting pictures of flowers that have some deep message about female sexuality. I communicate through writing.

On the Sword and the Pen

Essentially the entire reason for this blog is that, in following other people's blogs, I think I have enough thoughts of my own that I would like to share with the world. I love writing and communicating with anyone who will listen to me, and I thought a blog would be the best way to do it!

This blog is about me. It is about life. It is about what makes life unique. It is about what makes individuals individual. I will blog about everything and everyone I see, hear, and experience, because these things are what make life--my life, anyway--awesome.