Thursday, February 27, 2003
SOME REAL NEWS
Of course, with the growing urgency in the media about impending war, the protestors have come out of the woodwork. Most of them are little more than "cause-of-the-week" protestors
, and should, in my opinion, be ignored along with the rest of the uneducated society
. There is, however, one young lady who, in her small protest, is raising questions few are ready to face.
Her name is Toni Smith, and she is a Basketball player for a Division III school in Manhattanville. Normally, her school would not be in the national spotlight. The team they have is barely above average, and being D III, no one on it is a hopeful for the WNBA.
But, at the start of the season, Toni did something which exemplifies How amazing America truly is: She chose to stand with her back to the flag during the National Anthem, played before every sporting event.
In her words
, "the government's priorities are not on bettering the quality of life for all of its people, but rather on expanding its own power." and as a result, she will not honor the symbol of that government. She is, in accordance with the First Amendment
to the constitution, exercising her right "to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Others have grievances against the way she chooses to protest. One man, a Veitnam Vet, walked out on the court during the first time-out and held a full sized flag out in front of Toni's face. Of course, he was taken away. While she was peacably protesting, he was being disruptive. Later he said, "She disgraced herself and she disgraced the flag,"
--No sir, you have, by not allowing an American the right to be against something. By not allowing the country you fought for the opportunity to examine itself, and its actions, in a way that is not harmful to anyone.
Mine is not the only opinion, thank God. In an article written for the NY Post
Many people share their opinions. Writes one man" If she doesn't like what the government is doing with our money, she should oppose the government. She shouldn't stop saluting our flag."
This mirrors what one of her opponents, from the Merchant Marine Academy Basketball team, who says "I'm against the war, but the flag stands for more than war"
--I could not agree more with this statement, but, however misguided Toni is, she still has the right to exercise her freedoms. Few other countries boast this, let's not become one of them.
Another person writes " Why doesn't someone give Smith a one-way ticket to Iraq or any other Third World country and then ask her about the "inequities" in those societies?"
--Of course, this is just the mindless idiot I was talking about a tthe start of this essay. Who in the world is he to cast judgement and condemn someone, for (I might point out) casting judgement on America? Perhaps he should see if he would be allowed to express such sentiment without repricussion in Iraq.
Bret Wallace writes, " Smith has turned her back on the flag all season to protest her claim that "the government's priorities are not on bettering the quality of life for all of its people, but rather on expanding its own power."
As an American, I am appalled by her behavior, but I understand that she has the right to act this way. However, as an American, I have the right to know if my tax dollars are being used to pay for her education at Manhattanville College.
If that is the case, isn't the government bettering her quality of life?"
--He knows a little more than the last guy, but is mistaken to think he has "the right to know if [his] tax dollars are being used . . ." Under the Financial Discloser Policies of any college, he doesn't have that right. And to compare the most basic of our rights with invasion of privacy to prove a point is appaling. Have we, as a nation sunk so low?
Maybe not. In the same article two people sum things up very nicely. One writes, " Nikita Khrushchev once said "America will destroy itself from within." Smith is giving credence to his prediction.
Stop the media coverage, and she will fade away."
--Of course, I doubt he meant it that way, but Smith IS giving credence tohis prediction, by showing us how far our nation will go to argue with itself.
The other says, "Congratulations to Smith on her courage and maturity.
She represents the most precious values that made our country what it is - freedom of speech and expression.,"
We are lucky. A very lucky few, indeed. Many countries don't allow an open forum to voice opinion. Some countries would kill Toni for her protests. Yet we Americans seldom stop to realize how lucky we really are. Instead, we lower our heads, and ram them squarly into half truths and schemes, all in an effort to be heard and recognized, while claiming patriotism.
The beauty is, we have that right, too.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
SAILING THE SEAS OF BLOG
, in his most recent post, brought up some good ideas. He is examining why certain people are blogging, and focusing on those bloggers who journal personal experiences, writing as though other people will be reading it.
Joggua writes "I've been noticing this trend lately in writing. Not so much in writings by established authors, but more as I've become exposed to writing groups, writing classes, etc. It seems so many people want to share their real life stories, and want to hold them true to what really happened, often sacrificing style -- or just plain ol' good story telling -- in order to stick to the facts. I'm not sure if this is because these people are overly eager for other people to get to know them, or because they are mislead into thinking their mundane daily life is much more interesting than everyone else's. But what I am sure about is that fiction is almost always much more interesting than true stories, and liars tell the best stories."
Well I agree that fiction is much more interesting, on average, than non fiction, I am not sure joggua has fairly represented these bloggers as a group.
He writes, "Everyone has access to a loud speaker; only problem is, damn near everyone has one now, so it's hard to sort through all the noise, and consequently, if you find a few to focus on, chances are they won't be saying anything worth [being] heard."
"...and yet, you still find yourself listening to them."
I say to him the same I say to those people who dislike Howard Stern, "Change the channel." In this case, it is much easier.
Many bloggers, Myself and Joggua included, entertain the idea of having a wide range of readership. We write that way, and even track the visitors so we can see if we get anyone new. In this regard, Joggua is doing a much better job. His blog focuses on things people might actually want to hear about, from the process of writing in a blog, to newsworthy events.
My blog, however, falls into a slightly different category. Far from the audience of one, but farther from the global audience, my blog, as well as most, I feel, have a select audience of readers who share life experience with the blogger. Most often, as is the case with me, I think they are people the blogger actually knows.
This vien of bloggers writes as if they have a global audience, and even can envision such a thing happening (I am
regestered on globeofblogs
), but know who they have as readers right now
. Those people are family and friends. They are people who are interested in the bloggers life, no matter how mundane, just as they would be were the blogger telling them the story over dinner. They do not need to relate their stories to the world at large, because their readership is a group of people who just want to know about the reader.
This fanbase can actually grow, however slowly, when other people, randomly, I would assume, stumble across the blog and, for one reason or another, gravitate towards the personality of the blogger. In this light, the blogger must be sure to stand out form others, if, and only if, they want extended readership.
Of course, were you to ask me which of the two I prefer, I would say Joggua's style of blogging, which offers a rich examination of th eworld around him, beats a more personal Blog such as mine. By and large, it will have a better reader base, as well as better content, and more developed themes. He is doing an exemplary job of showing the full scale of what a blog can accomplish.
However, when he soars with the eagles, of which blogging has so few, he needs be aware that some of the pigeons, who others find interesting, might just seem pedestrian to him as a result of his elevated status. Most people would wish to observe the eagle in flight, but that does not mean a pigeons flight is any less an example of a bird.
Thursday, February 20, 2003
Last night I watched Big Daddy
with Carly. I love that movie. It is so cute, and fun. A good mix between Romantic comedy and mindless comedy. Of course, other people thought different things about it.
thought "There's a certain sameness to all Adam Sandler movies. They're comedies, but the filmmakers employ a lame dramatic underpinning with a twofold purpose: to make the characters more likable and better rounded, and to give us the sense that we're watching a coherent movie rather than a set of disconnected skits. Unfortunately, considering the poor quality of the dramatic aspect, it might be better to settle for the latter option. Big Daddy is the suddenly-hot comedian's latest effort to fall prey to this problem. The film offers its share of big laughs, but the serious side is sunk by mawkishness and sentimentality. It's laughable to recognize that there's a scene when director Dennis Dugan (Happy Gilmore) thinks he's going to make us cry. "
He has a point, though, all Adam Sandler Movies are kind of the same (Hilariously, of course).
The Happy Bastard's
Happy Gilmore as a father? Of course! That's the latest scenario presented by Adam Sandler in the new movie Big Daddy, a movie that's passable but isn't really considered some of Sandler's best work.
Yet the happy Bastard gave it 7/10, so it can't be THAT bad, can it?
Well, Mr. Cranky
sure thinks so. This guy was just mean:
"This is the kind of film that appears to have been written on a roll of toilet paper by a preschooler during a particularly short dump. Either that, or by one of Adam Sandler's buddies after being let go from his fourth or fifth dishwashing job."
Wow, that is a bad movie. Unless the preschooler WAS his friend gettng fired, I smell an Oscar. And he goes on to say:
"Leaving aside the inability of the film to generate an authentic moment of feeling, there's a hatred for women oozing from this film that's sickening. Corinne is a doctor who used to work at Hooters. When Sonny brings this up the first time, it's funny. The forty-third time, it's harassment. That the likes of Swanson or Adams (whose character name "Layla," no doubt, is meant to denote her function) would pair up with a self-serving prick like Koufax is beyond comprehension; that anyone would laugh at anything in this movie is another."
I guess I my girlfriend hates women, she laughed at all those Hooters jokes, too.
Well, if I have learned anything, it is that Critics are idiots. I guess watching all those so-called "great" moveis have shut off the parts of their brains that allow them to laugh. It is not supposed to be a deep movie, or even one which moves us in any way. It is just a cute, funny, hour and a half break from the harsh realities of life.
"What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish."
-W. H. Auden
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Guitar is going better and better. I was finally able to play something for my girlfriend
I played Ben Harper's
"By My Side". The guitar makes my voice sounds better, I think, because she actually thought the whole thing sounded good. I am glad I have something I can do for her like that. It made me happy to see her watching me as I tried something new. She is the first person I sang in front of, for real (not kareoke drunkedness)
My wiki, The open Door
is up and "running". I hope it catches on, and becomes a good resource for writers. I will be sending out an email inviting people to add their works, thoughts, and comments to it later today or tomorrow. I hope to have it linked on the WRC
webpage soon. I will have to get to begging Brian for that later.
I applied for a job for the summer, working with Upward Bound
. If all goes according to plan, I will only have to work one month this summer and then be able to just relax for the rest. I found a house with a couple friends, and it should be a good summer (It had better be, it is my last summer as a free-from-daily-life-worry person). It will be nice to be able to work with Kids again. Even though I won't be at Camp Phillips, I still have that drive in me. I don't know what I would do for the summer if I wasn't working with helping people. I can't pump gas.
isn't going to poorly. I should have been done by now, of course, but they offer every class I need at the same time. It's not that bad a gig, I don't mind staying an extra year, as long as someone else is paying for it.
That's all for now. I know I have not been leaving quotes lately, so here's a new one for you:
~"The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." -Oscar Wilde
Friday, February 14, 2003
I LOVE YOU, ALL OF YOU
How appropriate that, on Valentine's day, I should rediscover an old love
Thursday, February 13, 2003
Yup, with Febuary 14th right around the corner (tomorrow), eyes start to twinkle and hearts start to flutter. Perhaps, if you are like me, you ask, "Why do we celebrate Valentine's Day?"
Well, bloggers, here's the answer, blog style:
The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. The History Channel
Well, no kidding, that's why I am asking. Jeez. But the site goes on to say:
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Truly romantic. But he isn't the only prisoner who sends greetings:
A young Frenchman, Charles, Duke of Orleans, was one of the earliest creators of valentines, called "poetical or amorous addresses." From his confinement in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, he sent several poems or rhymed love letters or "valentines" to his wife in France.Be Mine
Not a bad legend. It has romance, intrigue, and a locked up con. In truth, it builds on the metaphor that we are caged by our heart's desire. But even thus confined, we are free to express our feelings.
Be that as it may, we Americans, in true fashion, have decided this holiday needed some ole' fashioned commercialism. As early as the 1840s, someone figured out how to turn a dollar on this romantic day:
Esther Howland, the woman who produced the first commercial American valentines in the 1840s, sold a then mind-boggling $5,000 in cards during her first year of business. The valentine industry in the United States has been booming ever since. Today, over 1 billion valentine cards are sent in this country each year -- second in number only to Christmas cards.
But the funny thing is, according to Howstuffworks
, Parents recieve the largest portion of valentines. The site also tells us that 85% of the people who purchase valentines are female. Wake up, guys!!
And if you are in the dark on where to go or what to do for valentines, your friends at MSN
have the answers. From finding a date, to booking a hotel, they will handle everything. But hurry, you only have one night left.
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
I NEED TO GET OUT MORE
Have you been feeling edgy, pent up, frustrated with the people around you, or isolated? Well, me too. Turns out I may be an asshole, or, I may have cabin fever.
That's right bloggers, Cabin fever
. And I am not alone.
"Most Minnesotans would recognize the symptoms. They've either had cabin fever or know others who have suffered through it. Cabin fever strikes most often during our long, often severe winters, but it can get a person down anytime during the year." News Information
I hear that. This winter has been long, and severe. What was it yesterday, negative 30? Ouch.
But how do I know what cabin fever is?
"a change in sleep patterns; (oversleeping but not refreshed, cannot get out of bed, needing a nap in the afternoon)
depression - feelings of despair, misery, guilt, anxiety, hopelessness
normal tasks become frustratingly difficult
withdrawal from friends and family, avoiding company crankiness, irritability lack of feeling/emotion
lethargy - decreased energy, everything an effort
lowered resistance to infection
behavioral problems (especially in young people)
appetite changes (usually increased appetite) carbohydrate craving
loss of interest in sex
difficulty concentrating and accomplishing tasks premenstrual syndrome (worsens or only occurs in winter)
a constant state of sadness
decreased productivity. " all signs you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD
I think I must have about four or five of those symptoms, I know the premenstrual syndrome has been getting worse and worse.
Of course, us SAD people don't have to walk around, pissed off at the world, making our frineds and family miserable. We can get help. No no, not that silly Doctor stuff
. We have a Top Ten thing's to cure cabin fever
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
PUT IT AWAY, BOY
After reading Jason Kottke's blog
I was reminded that it has been some time since I watched The Simpsons. I could go on for hours about my favorite episodes, and the slow decline of the show over the years. I will let throngs of nerds
illustrate the point, instead.
Meanwhile, I am watching the one where Homer outeats Red, the truckdriver. After Red dies Homer becomes a trucker, to honor Red's memory. Meanwhile, Marge has a doorblee ringer that plays "Why do birds suddenly appear" over and over, ad nauseum. I won't bore you with the details, though.
Sunday, February 09, 2003
Mariah Carey sang "The Hero" as they showed highlights of his 14 year career. Then it came...
From North Carolina State, six-foot-six, at guard, Michael Jordan.
It is the end of an era. He passed the torch to Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter. I cried.
ONE MORE SLAM DUNK
After watching the All Star weekend, I was struck with an idea I have not fully developed.
Coaches ask of their players the most that can be given, sometimes more. They practice relentlessly, some even staying after "regular" practice is over to do more work. Sometimes, these practices go for 8 hours. Some, even more.
Michael Jordan, while attending North Carolina, Practiced four hours a day, then scrimmaged. When the othe rplayers would go get a drink of water, he would stand in the middle of the court and wait for them. When they asked him why, he said "When everyone else is off the court, I am still here, that will make me the best." By putting in more hours than anyone else he became the household name, and impact to the game
, he is now.
Academia should be no different. Never should we be asked if we are taking on too much. Never should we be given the opportunity to do less than our best, or less than we can handle. In fact, we should test our limits daily. We will not improve, we will not even reach our full potential
, if we do not test ourselves.
In high school I wieghed in excess of 200 pounds. I had a torn ligament in my knee, and I was out of shape. When I tried out for the team I was laughed at. I went to practice, ran drills as hard as I could, and stayed until everyone was gone, and the janitors had to kick me out to get things ready for the next day.
Perhaps as a writer--or more, an explorer of writing--I, like many of my collegues, would benifit from drills. Perhaps the blog is a drill for us. Like playing horse in the driveway, we get to practice our stroke, perfect our art, in the comfort of a generous environment. The wiki, too, is a drill. We have already seen the amazing power of the internet, and our class has impacted that--as illustrated by the response from Rebecca Blood.
We can choose to run these drills, taking time off to get water. or we can test them, push them, mold them, and truly excel and create something new and exciting. The choice is whether we want to lay the ball in
, or dunk
~"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
Thursday, February 06, 2003
As always, Joshua Murray's comments
shed light on a subject in a clean, concise matter.
--> Perhaps I am wrong, but this criticism appears to be a
-->bit off topic. Blood is, after all, focused on the writing
-->aspect of a weblog, and not so much the technical
-->aspects of how to run your own blog server, create
-->your own template, etc. Including this information may
-->have been interesting, but again, the book is aimed at
-->presenting a new writing space to writers, in the
-->simplest – or, shall I say, the most practical – manner.
Clear, and to the point. It made me think of things I had missed in the article.
Jessica, too, had something I had missed in her review of bernstienmeetsblood
-->Last I checked a “unique view of the world” could also
-->be construed as an opinion…and if one comments on
-->the world, couldn’t this be in regards to recent world
-->events or status, or in the non-journalistic sense,
-->news? They both appear to be saying that a weblog
-->consists of content, and then the author’s reaction to
Most people in the class thought Bernstein was being rather mean, and unneccisarily so. Jason
, however, had some nice things to say about Bernsteins critique of Blood:
-->Berstein statement about the romantic aspects of
-->blogging gave me a personal justifcation for allowing
-->voyeuristic users to take a peak at my life and
I am glad to see both sides were so thuroughly represented, and I enjoyed reading the essays.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
HOW OLD IS TOO OLD?
I noticed that I typed "I wonder" in the below post. It seems to me, in the age of informatoin, I should not do such a horrible thing as "wondering"--in the sense that I go on wondering without resolution. I decided to hit the net for answers.
And, I found them. A site dedicated to enlightenment about OTAs
In 1995, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment for women of all ages stood at 55 percent. Nearly 43 percent of all students enrolled in college were 25 years and older. Of that number, 60 percent were women.
--->Looking around Bemidji, and especially in the writing classes, I can see how that migh be the case here, too
But, why are they going back to school?
As more and more major businesses request that employees have at least a bachelor's degree in their specific field, many older employees are going back to college to land better paying jobs.
--->that is one reason, I am sure, and we all go to school with at least an idea of getting a better job, and that leading to a "better" life.
Again, though, I must ask about the psycology behind it?
Everyone has their own reason for returning to school. For some, a personal experience may have ignited a professional interest, which would be attainable after classes at the local community college. Maybe an on the job accident forced a career change. Many adults are just fulfilling a life long goal of getting a degree. There are so many that had to temporarily give up that goal for other commitments.
Also, For many nontraditional students, however, college isn't just a path to a job.
It is also involves a discovery of a love of the arts, politics, history, public service, technology, the sciences, and the glories of a life of the mind. You don't have to have any reason for returning college other than an interest in seeing what fascinating information might be waiting for you in various classes.
--->It seems, they have a personal goal of growth and fulfillment. It is, I think, what I expected. They are "picking up where they left off" or trying to complete themselves through college. I will look for what results they get form that, I cannot find them yet.
But, in the end, the real meassage is simple:
“the original reasons we return to school, ultimately have little to do with why we continue.
This is the provocative question that we as adult learners must persistently wrestle with; why do we continue to learn? In the discovery of the answers, we reach our personal and spiritual human core…”
~No man is ever old enough to know better."
MASTER OTA, SHOW ME THE WAY OF THE FORCE
I have an older than average student in one of my classes, and a few things became clear to me in class today. When this OTA talks, the others silently groan. Ota is fortyish, has children, and has decided to come back to school. It seems to me when anyone, regardless of age, comes to school, they are searching for themselves as much as they are searching for an education. All my friends back home notice the changes in me over the last three years, as well they should. We change
a lot, in college. Ota makes me wonder what changes an OTA student is looking for. Why here? Why now, in this stage of life? Of the OTAs I have observed (and I know my research just became skewed, as all I have observed also share a common interest in writing, as well as a common age) most seem to be very open about their lives, and what direction they have gone to this point. That would lead me to belive they are trying to step out of it, and become something else. This, of course, is not too different from any other studnet (or person, for that matter) except they already have an established life, and are second-chancing.
I guess the lesson I take from this is to get it right the first time. I don't want to be an OTA, no matter how noble a pursuit it is.
~"Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't."
Tuesday, February 04, 2003
Guitar is going well, I am still plugging away at the major chords. I think I am doing well for someone so ungifted.
Calligraphy is going a bit slower. I cannot figure out which tip I need to use for which stroke. I think I am going to find a book with different teaching methods and see if it helps.
My room is becoming a very nice living space. The addition of the waterfall and he bookshelf balance the room out nicely, and the plant adds a much needed sense of life. I think I am going to move the mini fridge and microwave into the bathroom, behind the door (away from the comode, it is a large bathroom) and put a nice bushy plant at the foot of my bed.
It seems to me that indifference is plaguing my life as of late. I read a book and had no opinion on it. That scares me. I am one opinoinated guy, which many of you can attest to. Lately, people have been saying things I know don't make a whole lot of sense, but I just don't care much anymore. Maybe I am growing weary of arguing all the damned time. Maybe I am just growing up. Maybe I am waiting to erupt.
I had a nice conversation with a guy down the hall. He is a little confused as to where his life is taking him (aren't we all, pal) but he is almost certain it should not have taken him to Bemidji. I like the town, and could see myself settling in one much like it, but I know what he is saying. The promise of the big city draws me near from time to time as well.
We also talked about God. That's the Capitol G one, not any of the other ones we could have talked about. He shares my conviction that it is far more likely God does not like us than God does like us. It puts things into perspective a bit more. I only half believe that.
I think I am becoming scared of my writing. I am full of ideas, but haven't really taken the time to commit them to the page. I need to figure out why that is, and correct it. I should be spending "days off" like this one working on some of my stories. I fear I am falling behind, and I don't know what I am falling behind of.
Well, that's today's update.
~ "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."
Monday, February 03, 2003
It looks like I have not really kept up with looking at blogs outside of class. To date, I have only blogged two non-class blogs. I guess there is something to actually knowing, and being able to see, converse with, share with, the author of something you are reading. I think I would much rather this is the case, as I am a person who likes "people" and not "personas"
But, in the interest of class, I have checked out Globe of Blogs
. I decided to try to find people like myself, so I filtered it by age. There were thousands of people born around 1980, so I dove in. Mostly, they were the type of page I have come to expect: rants and public diaries. One, wihch was no different in classification, caught my eye. It was bright pink, so it was hard not to look at it. I actually found I enjoyed the public journal this young lady was keeping. Like most, it was apologetic for not posting as often as she felt her readers (hmmm) deserved. It was the voice that really caught me though. Very personal, as if talking to long time friends. I did not find anything to say that is why she started it, or that was her intent, but I did enjoy the read. With no further ado: anticipate
Sunday, February 02, 2003
Good news, the Anniversary went off quite well. She liked the dress, and the shoes were a little tight, but looked good. The pictures were amazing, and now we wait for them to come back: I am excited.
She got me a plant, which I think it is a very thoughtful gift for an anniversary. Especially with how obsessed I am with creating a perfect living space. She also gave me one of those home waterfall things, and a monkey lanp (don't ask, I won't tell).
All in all, life is good. Iam repairing my relationship with my mother, which is a long time coming. I have a wonderful girlfriend, and we both love each other and are in love with each other, more each day. I have a very nice, tight group of friends, free of any hangers-on(sp?). And, I may have found a house for next year.
Usually I would be looking over my shoulder, but I think I will let it all ride for now. I have been having night terrors again, and they usually signal something bad happening, but I can't stop whatever comes anyway, and I might be self-fulfilling. The waterfall helps, too.
~no quote for today, no one has said quite how I feel.