Friday, June 30, 2006

I Don't Want To Say I Have Nothing To Write

. . . but that's the truth.

I've been pretty busy lately. Friends have been visiting. I went to the zoo this week (it rained the whole time, yuck). I bought a rat. She is named Lilo and she's very hyper and cute. I'll post pictures at some point. I haven't been thinking cognitively and for any length of time on any given subject so I am not compelled to write about anything in particular. My life has been busier than usual and more fly by the seat of the pants.

I find that in such cases, it is difficult to pause for reflection. Thus, I have not reflected. I'm tired and I need a weekend. I wish I had Monday off so I could have more fun for the Fourth of July (probably my favorite holiday). Yet that is not the case.

My last four Independence Days were spent at work at Meijer. It was never quite the same as when I was a kid and had no responsibilities. I remember I would go outside on break in the evening and watch fireworks displays that were way off in the distance. Now, however, I have an office job, so I get the Fourth off. I am planning to go see fireworks, but not sure where yet. There isn't much I can do way off here where I have few friends. It makes me sad. This is the one day of the year that I really want to celebrate properly and I am unsure if I can.

As a political science major with a concentration in American politics I have spent a lot of time reading about the founding of this wonderful nation. The Federalist Papers are some of the best political philosophy available. It is too bad that so few people read or understand them. It is also too bad that so many misconceptions about our country's beginning exist. I won't seek to dispell those at this moment, as this is a time for celebration. Yet I celebrate the Fourth with one small sorrow in mind. That so many do not know what they are celebrating. It's not just about fireworks and barbecues and grocery stores. It's about people and what they did to give us a place with a government that makes sense.

Still, fireworks are cool, and any excuse for people to spend millions of dollars on them makes me happy.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

It's Today!

Today is mine and Craig's anniversary. Things to do and places to go! I'm so happy, we've been married a year.

My thoughts on this fact: it's special and wonderful. In a sense, I do feel like it's normal too. It just seems right and good, like we were always meant to be married and thus, a year marker is not outrageous, but in actuality it is appropriate. There will be many more year markers, and I think it will always seem normal at the same time as being totally awesome.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I miss having pets, so I have made an important decision.

I am going to get a rat.

If you like, I'll post her picture when I have her. She will be a her.

I like rats, I just have to think of a good name for mine. Something out of the Redwall series should work. Maybe Romsca (even though she was a ferret) or Triss (she was a squirrel). I don't know, I'll think of a good name. Names partly depend on the creature, I need to see my rat before I name her.

I took the day off to go to the zoo, speaking of animals. And it's raining. Such is my luck. I guess I'll have a lazy day and go to the zoo another time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Personal Safety Is Not Paranoia

Personal safety is something that I take very, very seriously. Many people, I find, do not construct plans for personal safety or even think about it. I have heard people say they do not wish to seem paranoid or "like a weirdo." These are apparent excuses for keeping yourself from getting attacked. I have one question: why make excuses for that? What's wrong with not wanting to be part of a statistic? What's wrong with shooting first and asking later, so to speak?That's my policy. Okay, I probably could not actually bring myself to shoot somebody. My plan is more like this: run first, don't ask questions later because you'll never have the chance to ask questions. This is a post, mainly geared toward my female audience because when it comes to violent crimes, women fall victim to them more often than men. Learning to protect yourself is not as tough as it might seem and there is no excuse for a safety plan.

I suppose a proper analysis of the problem is in order. I've heard a lot of excuses about personal safety issues, excuses that I really don't like to hear. When it comes to safety, there is no reason to be embarrassed by an awareness of the risks. In detail, the excuses I have heard constitute pure stupidity, a wish to avoid seeming paranoid and denial from the woman that she is attractive (I'm not kidding). I once cautioned a friend about running in a relatively bad neighborhood in the early morning with a walkman and headset. I just thought that it was not a good idea to do that while unable to be completely alert. My friend told me that she was flabby and nobody would bother her. All I could think was that rapists are not looking for the most attractive woman, they're looking for the easiest victim. The "I don't wanna seem paranoid" one gets old as well. I'm not suggesting you shake like a leaf everywhere you go and look like you're about to have a seizure or something. There is nothing wrong with contemplating every situation from a personal safety standpoint. You do not have to be obsessed to have a plan of action.

Speaking of plans, here are some pointers. First of all, it is important to have a plan before a potentially dangerous situation arises. I'm small, so I think my best asset is that I can run really, freaking fast and I have practiced yelling. So, running and yelling is one of my plans. You cannot yell, "Help!" because no one pays attention to that. Yell either "Fire!" or "Terrorist!" (they both work, I'm told). There is nothing wrong with yelling and running if you happen to be in an isolated area and notice someone coming toward you. Follow you're intuition, don't overanalyze. Of course, this might not be your plan. It's just an example.

Next, it is important to make a plan to prevent an actual attack. I believe that it is easier to prevent an attack then it is to escape harm once an attack has occurred. Thus, I take preventative measures. Basically, appear alert. Don't walk in many isolated areas and don't walk extremely close to buildings. Look around you while you walk. Don't walk with your head down. Walk tall, head up, looking the world in the face. When someone looks you in the eye do not look down immediately, that is a sign of submission to a would be antagonist. Look the person in the eye and then look sideways. If someone randomly greets you then greet him in reply -- even if you do not know who the person is. A greeting tells the person that you know he is there, if you say nothing, you appear unaware of your surroundings and make yourself an easier target.

Basically, you must not think like a victim and you must not make yourself a target. An appearance of confidence can go a long way. I do not understand why some women will avoid running as long as possible. Going for walks by oneself with no apparent notice of where you are walking is also a bad idea. Pay attention, even if you're deep in thought! It could save your life.

I don't know how to say this nicely, so I'm just not going to. It seems that women who live through violent crimes are more likely to be the victim of another one. You know, get counseling and learn personal safety. I will never say that someone is asking to be victimized, but you must realize that something you're doing might not be helping you to avoid bad situations. Rethink your attitude on personal safety. And remember, it is better to look like a fool than to end up as part of a sad statistic.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

For My Next Trick

I want to learn to play the fiddle. Not the violin, if you get confused. I have found (and you can all laugh at me, but don't tell me you laughed) that the older I get the more I like fiddle music and bluegrass music. I know, I'm crazy.

I really like that one part in The Alamo where Davy Crockett plays the fiddle along with the Mexicans' drums. That is my favorite part of that movie and consequently, it is my goal to learn to play that particular melody. Someday.

I'll add that to my list of learning to scrapbook better, becoming an artist and getting a book published. I hope that writing this stuff out does some good eventually. It kind of forces me to remember my goals when I tell them to others.

I need to get a fiddle . . .

Saturday, June 17, 2006

We're Gonna Be All Right

I've been worried over the past week. That's probably why you haven't heard much from me. Worry tends to motivate writer's block. I have been unsure about a few things. One of the most important was whether or not Craig and I would be able to pay for food this summer. I only make enough money to pay our bills. It's my stupid loans, really. I took them willingly and knowing that I would have to pay them off. I want to pay them off. But they do exert an extra strain on our budget. Until they are gone it will be that way. Nobody in this town makes much money, so that's another problem. High cost of living, low income. Crappy area. Now, Craig has a job, and I know we will be all right. Of course, I always believed that we would be all right. I prayed every day. I always know that God will provide. Even if He waits a while, something will come up. And something did.

So, to divert you all, I have decided to review one of my favorite movies: The Road to El Dorado. I don't know why so few people enjoy this movie. I have never heard another person express much liking for it. I find it to be one of the funniest, most enjoyable films ever.

It's about friendship and adventure. Friendship, because the movie is about two sidekicks. The characters are not your ordinary hero and sidekick, they're both the latter. I think that's how most people and most friendships are. A real sidekick would get tired of being a sidekick after a while. I would find it annoying and I'm sure anyone else would to -- to be always in the shadow of another person? That would grow tiring. But in this movie, the friendship is like a normal one. It's like David and Jonathon from the Bible. The two main characters, Miguel and Tulio are the closest of friends, and they are also equals. They bounce jokes off each other and understand one another's personalities just like ordinary friends. Of course, the best part is that it's got the voice work of Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline. They're just great.

As for adventure, I happen to believe that good old fashioned adventure is no longer appreciated as it ought to be. We have all these contrived adventures and conspiracies now. Nothing can be just a good adventure with no forethought, no complexities and no subterfuges. An adventure is a straightforward thing. Here is a story about two guys who accidentally end up on the other side of the ocean and then go seek out the City of Gold, which they actually find. Then hilarity ensues. It's like the stuff I read as a kid. Like a fairy tale, with magic and wonder. The badguys are real villains -- scary and obviously up to no good, they don't even act like nice people. The whole movie is a classic story. One that is not as original as it is familiar. Unique in its familiarity and therefore worth the watching and re-watching. It's too bad that everyone has to come up with something totally different nowadays. Sometimes old stories can be intriguing, old adventures can draw one's imagination. They can exist without any hokey or campy elements to them. It's too bad that everything has to be original, most things are old and overused in their originality. El Dorado is fresh in its vivid portrayal of the adventure that we all wanted to have at one time or another.

That's why I like that movie. Then again, I still read kids books, so I am kind of a weirdo. You don't have to believe me, but you could go watch the movie.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I really enjoy Victor Davis Hanson's articles. Here's another gem. The man is completely logical without being the least bit offensive. It's too bad there are not more like him.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I Really Like This Plan

Mike Pence on immigration reform. This is a great plan. I hope Congress is smart enough to pass it. Pence is a great man. I hope he becomes president in 2008.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Continuing Thoughts On Al Gore

First off, here's some thoughts on the whole global warming issue. I think global warming is bunk. We haven't even been able to measure the temperature of the earth for long enough to know what sort of trends exist. Climate is still quite mysterious and we've only been tracking it for a little while. Also, the word "proof" is used in reference to global warming far too often. Only bunk scientists and politicians use that word in connection with a scientific hypothesis.

As for Mr. Gore. He's a new man. Or so they say. I'm not sure why this makes him so wonderful, however. Most politicians end up losing all credibility when they do things as stupid as the things Gore has done. Every time Gore re-imagines himself he comes up with a new childhood for himself (this time he studied in France and got good grades in science classes). I'm waiting for him to say he was around during the Ice Age and it was a terrible, terrible experience. And he froze to death with a wooly mammoth and then got resurrected by a bolt of lightning, which is why he was somewhat stiff and boardlike during one of his earlier personalities. You know, we have a name for someone who cannot make up his or her mind as to who he or she is: insecure.

Gosh, I hope that wasn't too mean . . .

Monday, June 05, 2006

Libertarian Policy

I found this article written by a libertarian. He claims that he's writing a libertarian policy, but I think it's really more like common sense.

This is my favorite quotation from the article:

"When people get checks from the government, they tend to think of this as an entitlement. They are getting money in exchange for doing nothing. They learn that this is how you get money -- you take it from others. Taking money from others is what criminals do.Productive people get money from other people by exchanging something of value. "

Thursday, June 01, 2006


In a situation where I would have to come up with one word to describe my personality, I think I know what word I would use -- one phrase would be contradiction in terms. That word is: informal. Yes, if it were allowed I would come to work in my pajamas. It's not allowed, and that's probably for the best. My hair is a natural mess, so I've decided to stop trying to formalize it like everyone else, embrace the mess and get a messy looking haircut.

That's just how I am. The older I get the more I realize that my informal personality affects every aspect of my life, including religion. Despite my recent plunge into Lutheranism, I find myself as informal as ever. It is the formalities about organized religion that will always get to me. The liturgy is nice, and I learn a lot from it. I have even ceased challenging it when speaking with other Lutherans. I don't mind organ music so much anymore. In fact, I kind of like it, but not in a formal sense. I listen for the melody and try to sense the emotion of a hymn. Perhaps I do that to get away from the funeral-like feel intrinsic in organ music. I don't like dirges and hymns sound like them so often. As Eddie Izzard pointed out so aptly, "We're the only people who can make hallelujah sound like a funeral march" (he referred to Anglicans, but it kind of applies to Lutheran hymns as well). I don't like the formal tones of sadness and imposing solemnity, I guess. Then there's making the sign of the cross. I don't do that, and I probably never will. I don't have anything against it, it's just that to me it would be nothing more than a meaningless ceremony.

I don't like ceremony, pomp, circumstance, long robes, or any of that. Still, I can be awed when walking into a cathedral. I can be humbled when remembering what a great God I serve. I can be astounded when I think of what Jesus did for me and everyone else upon the cross. In church, I understand the reason that we confess our sins and humble ourselves before God when we prepare to receive Him.

So what is the difference between the formal processes that I have learned to tolerate and the formal way in which a person should approach God that I aspire toward? I think it's the difference between appearances and what's on the inside. Jesus said that God looks at the heart, while man looks at the outside. We see people for what they are, God sees people for who they are. I think that in my own fallen way I want to escape the limitations of formality, the outward graces and, yes, even appearances. I don't care if you're wearing the right white robe for the day or not. If you're a pastor and you're telling me about God I'm going to listen to the words and learn what I can from them. The outward signs, to me, are nothing more than that. It is the inside that I try to perceive and care about. Since I am only human, I have a difficult time doing this successfully, but I try. More so than just learning what is being said, I want to know that the person who speaks to me from the pulpit, or any person who proposes to speak to me about godly things, cares about me and the other people around them.

To care more for theological terms and doctrines than for people -- who they are, what their needs are, how you can help them -- is empty. Jesus said that if you love God but not other people then you are a liar. How is it possible to love the God you cannot see, and yet dislike people who are made in the image of that God, whom you can see? That is only head knowledge, and Jesus himself spoke against it. It is a disguise, nothing more.

Yes, I think I dislike the formal because it is a pretense. I prefer what is to what pretends to be. Or at least, I aspire to do that. I also fall hopelessly short of that mark, and must trust God to forgive me and help me to run the race.