Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Day Of The Sleepy

April 2nd will bring something new and strange to my current state of residence. Indiana has, for 130 years or so, managed to avoid this new thing, but now, alas, it has come. April 2nd begins Daylight Savings time for states all across the continent. Until this year Indiana refused to participate in the program. But it has been decided that our status quo of stately independence is not to be tolerated any longer. We will conform with everyone else and woe betide he who fails to set his clock one hour ahead on the eve of April 2nd. In a way, it's like a late April Fool's Day joke.

All my life I have been subject to Daylight Savings. Each spring I set my clock one hour ahead and lose an hour of sleep. I then proceed to feel like I cannot be on time for anything for one full month post clock change. To add to my depressive struggle, my internal clock -- which works so well that I almost always awaken before my alarm clock -- becomes utterly confused and proceeds to waken me at strange intervals. It then decides that I cannot be trusted anymore and becomes so erratic that I start sleeping lighter than normal and am fatigued for the next two months. All for the change of an hour's time! Putting the clock's back to right, only annoys my internal timekeeper even more. Yes, the extra hour of sleep was nice, but no thank you, it can't trust me anymore than it could in the spring, thus another two months of being overly tired and dreaming weird dreams in light sleep ensues. That one hour of sleep lost grows into a monster of many hours lost that cannot be made up for by gaining one hour 6 months later.

Farmers are great. I mean, I grew up on a farm. I have every respect for farmers and their work. However, we're not an agrarian nation anymore. Changing the clocks during the summer to preserve daylight has become an outdated nuisance. Our economy is fueled by industry rather than vegetable markets in every village or long hours of tilling the land. Furthermore, farmers are high tech individuals these days. Most tractors have headlights as do combines and other large, scary pieces of farm equipment. People can work with artificial lights as they could not when Daylight Savings began. Labor saving devices make it possible for farmers to get more sleep at night or have leisure time these days. They do not rise as early as they did in the past, nor do they spend every waking moment laboring in the fields.

In essence, Daylight Savings has become the dead dinosaur of a bygone era. It is nothing more than the leftovers of horse and buggy days. Like the crooked, winding streets of the East Coast -- where driving cars is next to impossible -- this concept should be modernized to reflect the technological age. Join with me, my fellow Americans, in throwing off the bizarre shackles of Daylight Savings. Vote yes on Proposal YTBD (yet to be disclosed).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Breaking News

Someone else knew that 9/11 was going to happen, and he's finally enlightening the rest of us.

Monday, March 27, 2006


I am always interested to read the opinions of others. Especially when they are well informed and intelligent. While I may not agree, it at least gives me something to think about.

On the other hand, rude, disrespectful idiots can take their opinions and bury their heads in the sand somewhere because I'm not going to listen anyway. I have no example of this phenomenon since if I found one I wouldn't finish reading it.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Writer I Am

. . . or am trying to be.

My novel is in the beginning stages of editing. This is a crucial time for it, a time when I will decide what is crap and what is actually decent. While I have found some good bits in the story, most of my current discovery is somewhat disappointing. At least, it's disappointing to me. Here I will find a thought in my character's head that is incongruous with his current state of being, there I will find a conversation that no longer ties in to the overall plot. You know, important stuff. Right now I am considering a virtually unsalvageable conversation. I must have stuck it in for filler. It sucks.

Considering my work is more discouraging than I thought it could be. Hence, to bolster my mood I'm going to link to one of my blog entries that I thought was pretty good at the time that I wrote it. There, now I feel better.

To be a good writer, I think that I have to hard on myself and the things I have written. It is necessary to re-work my writing style until it becomes the best that it can be. At these times I doubt that I will ever be a published author. It is no small feat, you know, to become a well reputed author like Steven King (whose only book I have read was his "Memoirs On Writing"). Then again, I do not intend to be that good. I only intend to be as good a writer as I can be. I only hope that after a few publishings I will at least have a small following that includes some of my friends. It does not matter if my books are overwhelmingly popular, it only matters that the people whose opinions count enjoy them. And one of those people is me. So, I better get back to editing or I am not going to enjoy my own story.

Proof That Movies Affect One's Brain

The one thing I really like about Hollywood stars is their stupidity and their honest willingness to display that stupidity whenever they open their mouths. So out of touch, so hilarious and so insane.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Rome Wasn't Built In A Day"

Tempers have been piqued over the fact that in Afghanistan a man named Abdul Rahman is facing charges for converting to Christianity. Reading up on the issue I've noticed a general focus on the fact that we gave these people democracy and now they're not living up to it. Refusal to uphold one of the fundamentals of a democratic society bodes ill for the fledgling, um, democracy. Or so they say. I have a couple points to make on this. First, as Craig pointed out to me earlier today, "Rome wasn't built in a day." You cannot expect democracy to take hold in a hostile environment in so short an amount of time. Why are we so afraid of giving these countries time to develop democracy? Second, while I am impressed that the world has focused its attention on a Christian man in jeopardy for his faith, I would point out that persecution for that reason is nothing new.

I'm not going to say that the Islamic faith and democracy cannot co-exist, because I do not believe that. Furthermore, I am no expert on that particular faith. Yet, it is true that until recently democracy in the Middle East -- an overwhelmingly Islamic area -- has been unwelcome. The ideas that Americans and other Western countries cleave to in democracy are many and complex. While these ideas do not necessarily reflect the dictionary definition of democracy they still exist and are still associated with that theory of government. One of them happens to be freedom to choose one's religion and worship as one sees fit.

In Islamic nations this freedom has not been supported for a majority of the time. Afghanistan has only recently been given the chance to decide the issue for itself. It should be considered unrealistic that the inhabitants will immediately be open to freedom of religion. It's a new thing in a place that has not even considered such a notion until now. It will take time to acclimate such ideas to that country's people. Right now the door is open for debate and liberalization. That means the deal is not over and done with. Women have enjoyed more freedoms in Afghanistan, thus, bringing about a major step in the movement toward liberalization. To think that Afghanistan, or Iraq, are immediately going to cling to these new liberal ideas is unrealistic. It will take time.

Now that it is possible to introduce new ideas and freedoms we have the hope that Afghanistan may adopt freedom of religion within a few years. That hope was all but nonexistant before democratization occurred. Consider the fact that religious freedom did not take hold in the United States until some years after the Constitution had been ratified. James Madison fought for religious freedom in the Virginia legislature because the U.S. Constitution did not keep states from establishing their own religions at that time. If people who already understood concerns of choice could not adopt this liberty immediately how can we believe that those who have never yet been faced with the decision will arbitrate for it without first giving it some consideration?

I know, I know, a man's life could be on the line for this. I'm a hardhearted freak to be saying such things. Okay, point acknowledged. I'm sorry that this man might die. It's a terrible thing to have happen. There are always costs involved in change and the loss of life is one of the most disheartening and shameful costs. I am removed from the situation, but I still feel sympathy for Rahman and his family. Moreover, I am impressed by his unwillingness to denounce the Christian faith despite the pressures he faces. His own people are asking him to convert back or die. That guy is made of amazing stuff.

Interestingly enough, there are others all over the world who are made of the same stuff. Christians still face persecution in many countries. For example, I heard a South African man give a speech once. His name is Pastor Wally. He was once the most wanted person in Saudi Arabia because he started several underground churches. After receiving the death sentence, Wally was kept in solitary confinement in a tiny cell for many days. By nothing less than a miracle he was released from solitary and eventually from prison. He now travels the U.S. speaking his message to others. Yeah, this stuff happens to people. Some, actually do die for their faith. It is not a new thing. It encourages me that for once it is important in the public eye. But I really doubt that will last very long. Nor do I think this is important for the right reasons.

I think that the only reason this particular case is important is that it concerns Afghanistan -- a country where the U.S. introduced democracy. It's just another reason to get mad at Bush. The fact is, religious persecution did not begin when Bush entered the presidency, nor when 9/11 happened. It has always been a problem and especially so in Islamic countries. There are many other countries where religious persecution still exists (e.g. China), sometimes it is deadly, sometimes it is merely restrictive. It is an ongoing problem that will probably never change. It did not develop because Bush got elected, nor will it end after we finish chastizing him for the trial in Afganistan. The persecuted church exists for another reason: people are sinful.

My Stomach Hates Me

Yes, I have finally heard back from the doctor. All my blood tests, x-rays and ultrasound were normal. There's nothing wrong with me. So, why do I have this excruciating pain in my stomach? I don't know why. I guess it's not really there.

There is some speculation going on, however. The nurse told me that the doctor thinks I have IBS, to which I was going to respond that IBS is a load of bull. I mean, really, it's a symptom, not a problem. Tell me what's really wrong with me. Apparently there's some weird thing where food doesn't go through one's digestive system quickly enough and it causes pain. It's not IBS, so that makes me happy. The answer to the problem can be found in a high fiber diet and lots of exercise. Well, at least it's not a ton of nasty medications.

I think the moral of the story is that my stomach hates me.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Thinking about my decision to become an artist has a somewhat humbling effect on me. I can remember standing in sculpture class watching my professor tear the arms off my sculpture and, in a few quick motions, build up it's rib cage the way it was supposed to look then put the arms back on where they belonged instead of where I had them. The humiliation of the first two weeks of class got me every semester. I would walk into class get out a notebook, set my things in a corner and then I was forced to make drawings. I draw stick people and they don't look right. But in sculpting class I was expected to draw proportional people in poses so that I could understand what it was I would be sculpting. I'm sure my face burned the entire time and my drawings never approached normal looking human beings. Surrounded by people who could draw a realistic image of a person in under 5 minutes I would struggle for some thirty minutes to turn out a strange outline that appeared to be the likeness of some mutant. If you could see my drawings you would laugh, others have and I do not resent them for it.

The end result of my sculpting efforts have been good. One even made it into a competitive art show. It beat out 250 other art works to get into that. I often found myself staring at my sculptures and wondering that I had done that. It could not possibly have been me. But very often it was. My professor gained enough respect for me by the middle of my third and final semester in sculpting that he no longer tore apart my sculpture without notice. He asked me if I would allow him to change something on it and then he only made minor changes. Or he simply told me what I had to do to make it look right. Still, I need a lot of instruction.

My main problem is that I do not see things properly. Seeing proportions is not difficult for me, however, seeing the shape of something and how one muscle changes the surface of a limb and likewise the sculpture is never simple. I inevitably design them wrong and must be corrected. How am I ever supposed to do this?

There is one thing that sits better in my understanding, however, than politics ever did. It is exactly that weakness that I have described. My lack of an artist's eye. My left brain that has conquered my right brain so that I do not see things the way I should to work creatively.

I always knew too much or too well about politics. In class I would sit listening and I never had questions because I either understood the material or would understand the answer to any question if I thought about it for longer than 5 minutes. Sometimes after class one of my friends would say to me, "I didn't understand a word the prof said." I never told them that I understood everything. I sound so arrogant, but I was good and I knew it. That felt somewhat wrong to me. It gave me no reason to need God in my chosen profession. And since that profession often leads to an accumulation of power it would give me no reason to refuse the corruptions inherent in the American political system.

We often think that we are well intentioned beings who will not allow the things that destroyed others to destroy us. But we see in such strict parameters that by the time we have been destroyed by exactly the same thing as another person it is too late. We are all weak, despite our efforts to avoid knowing that fact. The follies of human weakness are great and many, yet they are all the same. They all come from the same flaws of human nature. Still, we define ourselved down so that we only see a few distinct things that are bad. And we lose to something that is just as bad as the things we saw, but went unnoticed. In short, we are often so obsessed with avoiding one downfall that we walk right into another.

I have never understood art, nor being artistic. Much of art still puzzles and humiliates me. That especially goes toward my own work in it. In that fact I rejoice. The apostle Paul wrote that in our weaknesses God is glorified. Then I say, let my life's work be from the weakest side of my being and not from that at which I excel.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Somebody Wrote My Opinion For Me

This is what I think of the whole port fiasco.

More Ralph Peters And Thoughts On The War

He was a hit last time, so here he is again dispelling more myths about Iraq.

I think it is important to note that Peters does not say everything is perfect in Iraq. He acknowledges U.S. mistakes and problems with the conditions in Iraq. On the other hand, he does not give in to the "civil war" hysteria of the past few weeks. Of further importance is the fact that he spent a lot of time observing average Iraqis and touring so that he could understand what normal life in Iraq is like right now.

Perhaps I should say a little bit about my view of the war. I disagree with it and I agree with it. How ambiguous can I be? I think that Saddam needed to be ousted, and that has nothing to do with discussion about whether or not he had WMD or is connected to 9/11. Those facts are somewhat irrelevant at the moment. More relevent is the fact that Bush was not certain about the WMD. Bush first believed they were there, when they were not found he backed away from that assumption, and now that evidence of their existence and/or programs for existence has turned up Bush has not said anything about that. It strikes me as odd that liberals do not jump on the fact that the Bush administration will not speak about this evidence. Rather, liberals keep right on denying any possibility of WMD in Iraq before the war. Strange. But that's a rabbit trail.

Back to the main point: the fact that a regime that scary was willing to allow us to believe they had WMD and were hiding them is enough for me. However, the timing was off on the whole thing. If we had waited for Europe to realize the danger they were/are in then we could have gone to war with less dissent later on. We're on the other side of the ocean and the best thing we could do is protect our borders and build up defenses until we have real allies across the seas. Kind of like World War II. Now, this would not have stopped some of the real crazies. The fact is that Vietnam made any extended war a traumatic and unpopular thing to do. Since then we have feared defeat so much that we have only entered wars that we could win in a heartbeat. We will probably think like that for another generation or two, until all the bitter ones have died out.

And those are my more rambling thoughts on that. I haven't made up my mind on everything yet, so maybe I'll distill it all later and write a post that makes more sense another time.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I Changed My Blog Title

. . . in case you didn't notice.

The title comes from a song by my favorite singing artist, eLi. I enjoy his music because the lyrics and the very sound is human. It is human in a sense that the Pharisees of Jesus' day would have mocked, if they understood English, which they did not. His music relates the depth and lostness of our own souls. It also reflects an awe of the one whose grace and mercy saves. It reminds me of two Bible passages: the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, and the thief on the cross. Every song of eLi's has the same heartfelt repentence exemplified by the tax collector in his prayer for mercy and the complete faith represented by the theif's desire to be remembered in Jesus' kingdom.

I chose to change the title, because the old one no longer represents my path in life nor my dreams. I have finally laid down my desire to be a politician and pushed it away. A wise man once spoke to me in the time of my utmost need. He said, "Esther, God gave you the desire for politics and He will either use that in you or remove it from you, there is nothing wrong with you having that desire." No, there is nothing wrong, and a part of it remains, but it is the better part. I fully intend to keep talking politics on this blog; to promote Mike Pence for president everywhere I go; to make my views known. But I'm not compromising any of those views ever again because I am worried about what people might say later in life when they read my prior opinions. That burden has been lifted from my shoulders and I am overjoyed. I do not have to worry about what I say anymore. Why don't I have to worry?

Because I want to be an artist and artists can say anything they want to say. Yup, I'm getting back into sculpting. I am also going to be a writer of fiction, and perhaps a political treatise or two. But it's all going to be point-blank me, none of it will be dumbed down because people might freak out later on. This change is the culmination of my thoughts recently and my inability to find any happiness in the walk I have been walking. There is a place in me where politics never made happy. But sculpting and writing make me excited to be alive. I feel freer than I have in ages, like a bird that had its little wings tied for so long that it had all but forgotten how to fly.

If you're worried, then I'll just say that by now you should know I am not a rabid, freaky conservative. If you haven't figured that out, then I'm sorry for you and you can go find a lake or something to dip your head in and cool off.

So, I changed my blog title.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Wearing Faces

Take it or leave it, that's how I feel right now. I apologize if I start to sound drama-queenish in the next few paragraphs. So, why am I writing. More or less to get some thoughts off my chest. I was working on a really spectacular post, but chose to log it away because I just feel like I'm one big farce at the moment.

There are a couple of things about me that may surprise my readers, aside from the fact that I try not to take myself too seriously. I'm not very tough and I often try to make myself look bigger than I am. Those are the two things that bother me about myself the most.

I want to be tough, but I've got this little, tiny voice that does not sound very loud even when I'm angry. People always think it's funny when I'm mad too, so I pretty much try not to lose my temper at all. Also, I am more sensitive to hurting words than you might think. Most things bounce off of me, but a few do not. If a close friend proves to me that he or she does not know me at all, it usually hurts a lot. For example, asking me if I acted in a certain way for a really stupid reason that I would never have even thought of myself. That makes me livid with anger. But I very often do not even tell my friend how mad I am at him or her. That's how un-tough I am. I don't say anything because I don't want my friend to feel bad. Because I just want people to get along and stop getting mad at each other. It doesn't do much good though, because I often never regain the respect I had for the friend and the friendship is never the same. I try to talk things over, but I just do not like to explode at people. I like things to be good.

I'm a little, tiny person, also. I mean, I'm of average height, but I'm small in all other respects. I wear baggy clothes quite often just so that people will not realize how small I am. Many have been fooled by this. Some of my friends have just freaked out when they saw me in something form fitting, "You're tiny! I never noticed how small you are before!" Yup, fat clothes kinda work. It's also because I do not like other people feeling bad about themselves. A lot of girls feel bad because I'm so thin. Dude, it's not like I try. I just can't eat anything fattening. If they went on a diet and did not eat any sugar other than fruit sugar they'd probably get a bit smaller too.

Putting up a face, that's what it's all about. Sometimes I feel like such an act. I put on this face, it looks tough, it looks big, but it's not. I'm really just a fuzzy, little person who wants everyone to be happy. There are moments when I find that I just hate wearing faces. This is one of them.

You know what I really want to do. I want to help children. I get so angry at people who hurt children. Even though children are often maniacal monsters, I want them to be functional and happy maniacal monsters. Er, strike the last two words there. I hate seeing kids get hurt. I remember when I was a happy little kid. I remember this one time when I was about 7 years old. I was sitting on a rock in the sun chewing on a timothy weed. The wind blew at my hair and the light of the sun played over me, warm, but not too warm. I drank in the air in great big breaths. I had never felt happier to be alive. I'll remember that moment for as long as I live as my Rosebud. The moment when I was just a pure and happy kid with no faces, no shows, no defenses, nothing but me. Me, sitting in the pure joy of life, dressed in muddy clothes with messy hair. That's the kid I really was and the kid that I still am, buried somewhere under the faces I wear. That's why I want to help other kids. I see in all of them the lack of a "face," that adults always wear, that even I wear. Kids can't hide who they are, they can't put on the act. The strain shows through and tells on them, often for the rest of their lives.

I often wonder why adults are so full of bluffs. Then I remember that I am no different. Why do I wear my faces? Why do I pretend? All I really want to do is help kids, help them to be kids and not pretend who they are or develop some face to put on so that everyone else will be happy and not weirded out by them. But I never say that. All I am is a kid wearing a face.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Civil War

We are all asking the same question: Is Iraq really going to Hell in a handbasket?

Here are some thoughts on that.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Out Of Oscars

So, who all watched the Oscars? I sure didn't. Aside from the fact that no movie I had watched was nominated for anything good, I don't have cable and I live in a broadcasting hole (i.e. you can only get public television here with an antenna). I do feel obligated to post a link to the results and perhaps talk about the awards just a teensy bit.

It looks like "Brokeback" took in three awards, but it didn't get best picture. That went to "Crash."

I am surprised that "Revenge of the Sith" did not get nominated for visual effects. The volcano fight scene was masterful. I haven't seen "King Kong," but I'm sure the effects were excellent considering that Peter Jackson directed it. I'm not saying it should not have won, just that Episode Three should have been nominated.

My last disappointment goes to Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride." It was far better than "Wallace and Gromit" although I enjoyed both films. What gives? Does everyone hate Tim Burton or something? He's never even received an Academy Award. In fact, this is his first every nomination for one. That appalls me.

And that's my take. Oscars suck, they usually go to movies that don't make any sense. I am convinced that the people who nominate are so befuddled by the movies they choose that they assume they must be good. The thought in their heads must be: "I don't understand this movie at all, therefore it must be really good."

Friday, March 03, 2006

Stomach Update

I suppose you might want to know how I'm doing and all. Or not. But I will tell you anyway. I really don't know. I went to see a gastrointerologist yesterday and he seemed very optimistic. My lifestyle is a rather healthy one and gives little reason for worry. His main hypothesis centered on a weird stress reaction that can cause spasms in the stomach and then be very painful for a number of days. Optimistic doctors make me worry less.

Haha, he also told me to eat salad every day and to avoid fried foods. I can do that. You know that somebody is for real when they don't prescribe all kinds of painkillers. It's funny, it's usually foreign doctors who start out suggesting dietary changes and care about real healthy living. Americans like to get pumped full of drugs and most American doctors pander to that. Personally I hate putting weird stuff into my system. On a side note, I was prescribed a drug for preventing nausea when I was in the emergency room last week. When I read the side effects on the container it said "nausea." What's the point of using something to get rid of nausea when it actually causes more nausea? I thought that was pretty funny. Back to the rant about American doctors, I wonder if they're afraid to tell people to live healthier or something. They also always want to do the more evil tests that include sticking little cameras down your throat or something that sounds painful. And then there's the number one cure-all for women: birth control pills. For some reason those get prescribed for any number of reasons. I also hate it when they ask you if you could possibly be pregnant three or four times over. It's like, duh, I think I'd be the one to know this. They always think you're stupid and do not give you all the information even when you ask them very direct, specific questions. I hate that. I asked the ER doctor if she did a blood test to see if I had pancreatitis and she said she had. Then yesterday the gastrointerologist called the hospital with the phone on speaker-phone and asked them while I was sitting there listening. They had not checked for pancreatitis. Why the hell did they lie to me? I really hate hospitals and doctors and being treated like I'm stupid or something! Okay, okay, I'll stop now.

I still have to go back in for another test. It's nothing invasive, which also makes me happy.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


In a college town one would expect to be able to find just about anything. Apparently that reality did not make it this far inland. Here we have a university town that has no understanding of cinematic history. Some movies don't even make it into the theatres here, while others occupy every screen for three days at a time. This complaint will focus on the inability to locate two specific movies on DVD: "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" and "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken."

You may have noted my husband's post on the lovely little town where we live and it's shortcomings. I wish to add more to those shortcomings. Let's talk about old movies for a minute here. Wait, they're not even that old, they're from the sixties! In color! You know! But do they exist here? No.

I intended to memorialize Don Knotts by watching the two movies in question back to back. So I sent my hubby off to rent them. When he returned, he had some interesting news. He had been to two major movie rental businesses and even asked at the counter, with no luck. At Blockbuster the girl at the counter started laughing when she heard the titles. She was then surprised to hear that Don Knotts had passed away. After much searching she said that they did have "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" on DVD. However, someone had borrowed it a year earlier and never returned it. My guess is that person was a student and moved out of town taking the movie with them. The next place said they had a very old VHS copy of "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken," but as we have no VCR that did little good. The one nice thing about that place was that the clerk had actually heard of Don Knotts. Craig went to buy the movies or a season of "The Andy Griffith Show," but the local Borders does not stock any of them. Not even a season of the tv show! I would think that'd be a staple in any store that sold DVDs, it was a very popular program.

Upon learning this sad news I decided that I would just buy the DVDs off I found the first film without any trouble and put it in my Shopping Cart. When I searched for "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" I met with another unexpected surprise. You can buy it on DVD, but it's anywhere from $54.99 to $199.99 and there are only three copies on Amazon. Now, as much as I enjoy that movie I am not paying that much money for it. Imagine my joy when I discovered that if you ordered a set of four movies on DVD for $11.99 you could obtain that one. So, yeah, you can buy the movie by itself for a modest $200 or you can splurge and spend twelve bucks to get that movie along with three other Don Knotts movies. Whatever. The good news is that I will get to see the movies eventually.

The bad news is that I wanted to watch them last night and couldn't. I don't usually care about instant gratification. I was willing to wait however long it would take to go to the store and rent the movies. But the results were somewhat ridiculous. I come from a sleepy town that doesn't even have a dot to locate it on a map and the local library has these two movies. A great big, university town with everything modern you could imagine has a bunch of people who have never even heard of Don Knotts . . . may he rest in peace.