Saturday, September 02, 2006

My Perfect Excuse.


"I always read the last page of the book first so that if I die before I finish it, I'll know how it turned out. " - Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally
This strange and morbid statement has been my excuse for a strange habit for quite a long time now. I thought I would look for a new one after someone called me on it, after I found one person knowledgeable enough, brave enough, to tell me "You aren't that creepy, you aren't that weird, you stole that reason from some movie/book from the 90's, stop it. Think of something original or don't talk." Well, I have yet to find someone to tell me that so I guess I'll keep using it. I don't really know why I wrote about this today, maybe it's the weather, or the bowl of chocolate ice cream I just ate, maybe the milestone I have just reached (which wasn't such a good marker after all), the strange events which have recently taken place, or maybe more lack of originality, but its today's topic. Take it or leave it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Net Neutrality?


The FAQ on Savetheinternet.com made me think long and hard about what it means to live in a democracy. To me, it has always meant that we have the freedom to pursue our own enterprises and speak out about the things which are important to us. That's part of the reason I began this blog. I wanted to call attention to these wonderful articles, stories and poems written by people who had something to say and would not be silenced, this wonderful creation that connects our thoughts with the thoughts from people all over the globe to spread their ideas and exchange information with like minded individuals and people who oppose what they were saying. The internet was the perfect tool to utilize on my quest to share my knowledge and borrow enlightening information. This beautiful tool has long been referred to as The Great Equalizer, the magnet that draws the world's great minds (and the not so great ones...) into the same room, positions them all around a table where they can serve up their pot-luck dinner of opinions and fight over the last brownie. It draws everyone together and reminds everyone that we're just one big extended family, and its hard not to see the resemblance when we're all together having a debate or a laugh. I have never been so thankful for the amazing gift than I am today, while men (and hopefully a few women) in suits spend their night arguing over what may enter my brain. I choose instead to spread the word about this very important current event. Please use all the power you have to do what you think is right, protect your freedom and your information highway. Arm yourself with facts and decorate yourself with opinions so no one can ignore you.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Zen and The Art of Blog Maintenance

Today, for the first time, I am going to talk about a blog that I have been enjoying these past few weeks. The journal is entitled My Left Brain Reads Zen and is located on blogspot.com. The entries are short, sweet, and wise musings on the author's thoughts. They have an ancient feel to them, even the ones about modern subjects, like Winnie The Pooh pajamas, seem to be bestowing the wisdom of our ancestors to all those who read them over. The details described in the little posts make me feel as though my brain is a slightly more inadequate version than the writers, because it has not noticed all the beautiful things about every moment and feeling that have been perfectly captured and preserved on this very special blog. You can see every glint of sunlight and every gust of wind as it washes over the brain with every lovely, praising word.
Very little is known about the author of these amazing words and phrases, but perhaps that is for the better. Sumi Sumi's words speak for themselves with a loud and perfect voice that might be clouded by the identity of the intellectual and humorous individual who speaks them with loving care.
Hopefully this entry will help to bring My Left Brain Reads Zen to at least a few more people who will find it as entertaining and thought provoking as I have. This truly remarkable reading material should be shared and appreciated by as many as possible.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I have returned, do not fear. (Not that you would have anyway with millions and millions of blogs going up everyday)


I haven't done one of these in a while and I don't really have a reason so I won't try to invent one. So... sorry.
Alright then, for my return to blogging, I'll do something a little different. I'm going to talk about a news article from The New York Times, which can be found here.
My first thoughts after reading this article were about the somewhat successful campaign to send one Catholic and one Protestant Irish student to stay with an American family and try to form a friendship between the two adolescents. I remember reading about those experiments a few years ago in the local newspaper and remember thinking about the situation and what it may be like to be sent to a foreign country with someone you were trained to distrust and dislike from birth. Tricky situations abound in those households, I'm sure. This situation is different of course for several reasons. The first and most significant is that they are remaining in their home country, merely changing homes. This contaminates the results because one person will be more comfortable and will theoretically have the upperhand and more control because they are allowed to remain in their most familiar setting. When they moved the subjects to another country, both were out of their element and misplaced. Another interesting factor is the age of the people involved. The people who were subjects during the first study were in their teen years, at an age when people are often more openminded. They had only been retaining negative propganda about they other group for less than two decades, while the adults had been influenced for 30 or 40 some years.
My second train of thought centered around the theme of personal behaviors. In the article they talk about one of the new couples who got along well and one couple who were at odds throughout the course of the show. I think this may be more because of behavioral differances than because of cultural ones. It seems the ones who got along well had similar roles within their homes as well as similar styles of personality. As for the couple who fought constantly, their biggest issue looks to be a clash of character. It was their shared inability to compromise and recognize kind gestures, not their cultural backround that fouled up their time together. My thought is that the racial and ethnic slurs just happened to be the first arms on their swiss army knife of insults. They easily come to mind in times of high energy arguements that sometimes take over our minds and stop us from forming logical crotiqueing patterns.
On the whole, I think this practice of introducing people of two opposite religions or backrounds will be very helpful in our world if we all choose to get to know individuals and be careful of the names we call those we don't get along with. The world can be completly transformed if we use our brains and our hearts.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Steal This Blog.


About one year ago, I first read Steal This Book, written by the late Abbie Hoffman. This book was extremely entertaining, and was filled with tips on how to commit small crimes and to better your life. Many of these tips were outdated, impractical, or both, but they were definitely worth reading about. The book helped me to understand Mr. Hoffman's actions throughout his lifetime better than any biography I have read about him yet. Its reminds us of the struggle that his generation led and their desire and need to change the world. The tips in the book are not for those who want to reek havoc randomly across the country, or the globe, but for those who're "fighting the good fight" and having trouble paying the bills while they're out picketing and changing minds/the world. Steal This Book puts a guilt trip on anyone who contributed to the society who made such a great mind pretend to be someone he wasn't to protect his freedom and family, and didn't bother to say it was wrong. Abbie did many things that can be judged as unwise but everything he did was done to achieve his ultimate goal of making the world a fair, peaceful, and beautiful place for all the following generations to live a life he couldn't have. He and his colleagues and friends took verbal, physical and emotional beatings for what they believed was right and never stopped trying to change the world. I am inspired by the time, energy, and effort all these men and women gave up willingly and selflessly for all of us. This work of humorous and important literature reminds me of those terrific humans who will never be forgotten for their heroism and generosity.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Not So Questionable Content.


One of my favourite webcomics lately is the magnificant Questionable Content created by Jeph Jacques. It can be found at www.questionablecontent.net .

The main focas of the comic are the lives of Martin, Dora, Faye, and various friends, coworkers, and relatives who run in and out of the apartment shared by Martin and Faye, as well as the Coffee Of Doom shop owned and/or managed by Dora. There is a constant flow of new information about the core characters in each comic strip, which appear 5 days a week. Love triangles, Indie Music, complicated pasts, inside jokes, always evolving art work, and vocational angst make up most of the comics. For comic relief, the appearances of Martin's robot/pet, Pintsize (picture), more than sufice. I've been reading this comic for over a year now and its still right up there with checking email on my online to do list. This strip blends realism and strangness to give you a taste of the out of the ordinary and keep things grounded enough to be relatable. It's so easy to become attatched to the characters and become interested in their daily lives, that must be the secret that engaged thousands of readers and helped Jeph achieve his current level of internet and comic book fame. As I'm sure all of his readers do, I wish him happiness and continued comic and artistic sucess.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Free Online Novels By Jennifer L. Armstrong.

For today's post I wanted to review a book which is free to be read online. It's called "Society For The Betterment Of Mankind" by Jennifer L. Armstrong and can be found here http://www.free-online-novels.com/society_cover_page.html. Also on the site, are a few other books written by Ms. Armstrong and links to online novels by others.

The book I read, "Society For The Betterment of Mankind", was entertaining for a light reading. It didn't require too much effort on my part, as far as comprehension. The depictions of "love" in the book, were juvenile, yet appropriate for the college aged main character. The novel held my attention and kept me eagerly devouring its contents, despite its semi-puerile outlook. During my reading, the light subject matter provided some introductions into serious subjects. For example, I learned more than I ever expected about The Jewish Religion and The Jazz Culture of New Orleans, which was surprising and educational. "Society For The Betterment Of Mankind" is a novel perfect for the casual reader, looking for something enlightening and not too much on the heavy side. I have not read the other books on this website, but I hope to read and review them for you at some point in the future. Thank you for the comments so far, please continue to read.