Welcome to Silver and Shadow

"Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

This is a blog I will be using for topics other than food. Politics, religion, spirituality, humor, green living, anything that I want to talk about that doesn't fall under the food/cooking category.

Friday, December 24, 2010

50 Christmases

On the 50th anniversary of my Grandmother Juanita's passing(who died on Boxing Day), I wrote a little story for my family. This was the 50th Christmas since my Grandfather Del's passing(who died in the spring), and I wanted to do something to acknowledge it too. But I just couldn't figure out what, and then life spun out of control this year and I wasn't able to do anything. I felt sad, and a little guilty about it, but that's life sometimes.

Tonight at church, I thought about him. Right as the candles were being lit and we started singing Joy to the World. I thought that it was sad he wasn't there singing and raising a candle with us. And then I glanced at my family sitting in the rows in front of me and caught a sideways glance of my cousin, M, who is the one who most physically resembles Grandpa Del, and I saw him. For just a moment, I saw him. And tears came to my eyes and fell before I could stop them. And I saw that he, and my grandmother, though they are no longer with us, are in fact with us. And in us. They are a part of who we are.

And as I thought about this again after another fun Christmas Eve party with my family, I had another realization: This, the 50th Christmas since my grandfather's passing, was the first Christmas in my recollection, that all four of his children were at that church service together. It may have happened before and I was too young to remember, or maybe before I was born, but I thought it was eerily appropriate to have all four together again this particular year.

Merry Christmas, to my family, here and in the beyond.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Classism, Better or Worse than Racism?


The above video is one of the top viral videos of 2010. Every time I see anything related to it, I feel uncomfortable laughing at it. The people in this particular story are African American, but they are also poor. I realized that we as a society feel it's ok to laugh at poor people, whether they hail from the ghetto or the trailer park. Skin color doesn't really matter. Physical evidence of one's class level, such as missing teeth or garish make up are considered laughable. How a person speaks, denoting their education level and educational opportunities, are a cause of great hilarity.

I've definitely been guilty of this, and am coming to see that it's not funny. It's cruel. Why should I make fun of somebody else's opportunities in life? Why should I see them as a joke and less of a person than I am? Would I want somebody who was in a higher class than I am to laugh at me? No. So why should I do it to anybody else? This is something I am going to try and work on in the future. It's a bad habit, which can be hard to break, but I will make the effort from now on.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I think it's a little bit ridiculous that people get so bent out of shape by the "Happy Holiday-zation" of Christmas. The Christmas season in our culture begins the day after Halloween and goes through New Year's Day. That includes several holidays. I don't think it's rude to wish somebody Happy Holidays. What I do think is a bit ridiculous, is trying to take items for specific holidays, such as Christmas, and renaming them "Holiday" fill-in-the-blank. It's a Christmas tree, not a Holiday tree. By renaming it a holiday tree, I don't think Jewish people are going to now rush out to buy one for Chanukah. Think of it the other way around. What if we insisted on renaming a Menorah a "Holiday candle holder", so that Christians and Muslims and Jews alike can enjoy it. It's stupid.

So, here's how I look at it: In speaking to people, unless you know for sure what they celebrate, stick with "Happy Holidays". In naming objects, call it what it really is. Christmas tree, Christmas ham, Menorah, Kinara, etc.

And I think people who get upset that they aren't having Christmas shoved down their throats 24/7, should think of the fact that they most likely get a paid Christmas break from work, as well as possibly time off for Easter, and Thanksgiving, when people of other faiths must use vacation time if they want their holidays off. So, maybe, fair is fair??

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Helping the Homeless

I've talked with people lately about Nickelsville and the homeless and whether we should support them or not. A lot of times I hear this, "Well it's ok for the people who are there because they can't help it, the economy or whatever, they totally deserve to be helped. But, there are so many people out there who choose to live like this." So, I guess it's ok if you're homeless because you can't help it, then it's ok to pity you and help you, but if you're just lazy or a drunk or whatever I'll judge you to be, you can just sit on the curb and freeze and starve. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean I get that logic in one sense, some people do "choose" to live a homeless lifestyle. But not all of them. So how do we pick and choose which people to help and which ones to tell to bugger off? I dunno, but I think you can't go wrong with helping everybody. If that makes me a naive chump, then so be it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


As we are dealing with the start of "Snowpocalypse 2010", I hear a lot of people complaining about the mayor and how everything is his fault. I can't help but come up with a list of things that significantly impacted this storm, that the mayor had nothing to do with. They include:

*Not listening to the warnings a week in advance and putting snow tires on your car, and carrying chains in your trunk.

*Driving your car too fast in the snow.

*Hitting the breaks too quickly in the snow and not giving yourself enough space from the car in front of you.

*Leaving your car in the middle of the freeway.

*Insisting on driving to work when everybody in the local media is urging people to take the bus.

I'm sure there are actually many more things that people are doing that aren't due to the mayor...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Grandpa Del

To my Grandpa Del,

I never knew you, but I would have loved to. I wish you could have told me about your war days in the Pacific. I wish I could have heard your voice. I wish I could have felt you hug me. I miss having you in my life. It's not fair that you were taken before I had a chance to know you, but that's the way it is. Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, and I will be thinking of you. Thank you for the sacrifices you made for this country, your family, and me. Even though you returned alive, you did not return untouched by war. All who fight are changed, and yet you went anyway. Thank you and I love you.

-Your granddaughter Summer

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Capitalism in America, is it really Working?

This week I had a moment of realization that our nation's economy is built up, and dependent on the concept of people spending beyond their means. Getting loans from financial institution that they are now having to walk away from because the economy is so bad. Now that the economy is stalled, people are getting their acts together and beginning to live within their means. But that also means they're not out getting loans to stimulate the economy. So the economy remains as bad as ever. What will eventually happen is people's confidence will grow, and then they'll get the loans and go about living beyond their means again. And thus the cycle will begin again. Are these occasional crashes and restarts just a part of the Capitalism life-cycle? Is it the price we must pay to live the way we do? And what is the alternative? What happens if people everywhere continued to live within their means. To make do with less? What happens to capitalism and the American way of life then? Can it evolve beyond it? Can it even survive? Or is this just a horrible mess we're forced to continue to live in forever and ever amen?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Proud of Myself

I'm not the best when it comes to confrontations in life, whether in person or on-line, but I posted a link on FB the other day that one of my conservative friends responded to. The video was regarding the Tea Party and the upcoming election. This person talked about how much better life was "back then" when there was still prayer and the Bible in school and how it is so much worse now. I just couldn't let that go without a response. This is what I came up with. It's a bit long, but I feel it is polite and still conveys what I really think about such things. I'll put it here exactly as I wrote it, just remember this was a response.

"Well, I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree with you on the praying and Bible in school makes the country better argument. I don't think it's fair to force people who aren't Christian to read the Bible or pray to a God they don't believe in in a public school setting. I don't think it would act to unite people, but would divide them further and only create more anger and resentment against Christians in this country if they tried to foist themselves on everybody. If a person wants to pray in school, they are welcome to. I used to bless my food before lunch or pray before a test and I kept it to myself and God and I feel I turned out just fine.

I also must respectfully disagree on the idea that the country was a better place back then. I don't know what era "back then" was, but I think of times when there was still segregation and women were expected to stay at home and raise children only and I cannot think of those as better times than the ones we live in now. How can a group of people who claim to want to enjoy the freedoms we have in this country want to then foist their ideals on others and cause those people to enjoy their freedoms less? It isn't fair. Most liberal people I know don't want to force conservatives to not live their lives the way they want to, they just want the freedom to live their lives too. I just don't see how that's so horrible. Taking away freedoms and rights won't make people Christians. It'll make them hate Christians.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Thoughts on Demons

I was watching one of those ghost hunting shows late last night and they were in a place known for having demons. Like they had footage of a guy who was possessed and another guy exorcising him. And then the ghost hunter guy started feeling a bit demonish during the show and they stopped filming and apparently exorcised him too. Now, I don't know how much I actually believe that this really happens. Pictures, footage, tv shows, movies, those are all easily "doctorable". Stories, myths, legends, might be just that, things to scare ourselves into good behavior or keep our kids in line.

I have to think that if demons truly exist, like really they are minions of Satan or whatever, they aren't gonna possess one random guy. What does that accomplish? Not much, I say. He'd just get locked up in the mental ward, or wander the streets as just one among many homeless people. I think, more likely, it was a way of explaining mental illness in a time when there was no science to explain it.

I think if a demon was truly going to do its thing, it would infect minds, not take over people. It's going to take over people who can influence other people. A demon wants to make a difference in the world, right? A horrible difference, but a difference nonetheless. I think people who are already predisposed towards hate are what a demon would utilize. Think of the Rev. Fred Phelps and his followers. So irrational in their hatred, yet they get their name and beliefs out there. And it's said that the Devil can quote scripture too, so who's to say people like that aren't being influenced by a little more than irrational hatred? Think of somebody like Hitler? So out there, and so powerful. Or groups like the KKK. Who knows...But I think it just goes to show that people need to have and keep love in their hearts, and make that the guiding force in their lives. Because if you hate, you will use it, and if you love, you will use it too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

Watching a dvd special about 9/11/01 and it's bringing back that pain and fear I felt that day and in the months afterward. We have to move on from it, but I think it's also good to recall those feelings. We cannot forget. But we also cannot let it become who we are.

Hopelessness and hate are powerful motivators. And where there isn't hope and love, those two will fill the void. Angry people who want to shape the world will use hopelessness and hate to control the actions of others and help fulfill their vision. Responding with equal hate only fuels it more. Only with hope and love can hopelessness and hate be conquered. They are the strongest motivators in the world.

When we can reach out to one another, with open hands and arms, not bombs, could people learn to love? When people see that we are all the same, whether we come from a land of deserts and sand or a land of green flowing grasses, whether we are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or Atheist. Tolerance is not enough. Acceptance is necessary to the survival of humanity. Either/or, you're either with us or against us, us/them, none of these strengthens people. It only weakens us.

But we must have hope. Hope that love will out. Love will be stronger than hate. Hate can and will eventually be defeated. Because it must. Period.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eid's a Wonderful Life, or Is It?

Just read an article on CNN that left me feeling pretty upset. Eid this year ends around 9/11/10 this year, and because of the perception that Muslims would be celebrating 9/11 instead of the end of Ramadan, many celebrations are being canceled. In the meantime, a group of so-called Christians are planning a "Burn a Quran" day for 9/11. So, people who are supposed to have the freedom to worship in this nation are being forced, though admittedly not by the government, to not worship as they want to, and at the same time, another group of people is allowed to disrespect them and their beliefs. How is this fair? Grrrr!!

Why "My Fair Lady" Outrages Me

I am watching this again and we'll see how far I make it before turning it off. It was never one of my favorite musicals, and I didn't really know why when I was younger, but I can safely say that I know now why. This movie promotes prejudice against entire groups of people based solely on how they talk. This professor guy takes this poor lady under his wing and teaches her to speak "properly". And then he decides, when she can finally speak "properly", that she's worthy of his affection. But if he'd been all, "Hey, I love you no matter what, and I don't want you to change your identity just for my selfish needs," I think I'd have been a much happier viewer. I think they ought to remake the movie, and remakes generally outrage me as well, but this warrants it. When they remake it, I think that's the twist ending they should go with. He says, "To hell with this accent crap, why don't I just love you for who you are?" and the speech lessons end. I think the real transformation in this story ought to have been the professor and not Eliza. Cuz he's pretty much a douche. And that's why this movie outrages me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Monday's Shooting Downtown

I have been on vacation this week, so I wasn't at work when the shooting occurred Monday afternoon. But had I been at work, I would have been there at the time. It happened where I go on my afternoon walk each day, only about an hour after I usually go.

I saw the victim's picture on the news and realized that I've seen him hanging out around my building. Always begging for money, as so many of the others down there do. And as always, I shook my head and ignored him whenever he asked for change. I feel strange having known of this man, though I didn't know him. I struggle with conflicting feelings like "why didn't I give him money" and "if I'd given him money, he'd only have drunk it away..."

I feel bad that this happened to him, but I feel like it was ultimately his choice to let alcohol rule over his life. Sure alcoholism can be considered a disease, but it's sort of a disease with an asterisk after the word. A disease in which it can sort of be conquered, if one wants to. And this isn't the reason that all people are homeless, of course.

I suppose all of this blathering is to say that I can't fix the problems that make homeless people homeless in this world, and that I shouldn't necessarily feel guilty for having passed this man by countless times, paying little to no attention to him, because there was nothing I could really do to help him. It doesn't make me feel any less bad, however...I don't really know how to resolve this...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Disneyland for First-Timers

I have a friend going to Disneyland for the first time with her family and I thought I'd write this up for her. Feel free to leave a comment with more advice if I missed something.

Start the trip off with a train ride all around the park. This way you can really get a feel for the park and see the layout.

Make sure to watch Fantasmic! at least once. Preferably earlier in the trip than later. That way you can go again if you want to.

Go on the Haunted Mansion ride at least one time at night. It's more fun to come off the ride into the dark.

If you see the line for Indiana Jones is not too long, go on it! That ride breaks down really often, so go whenever you can.

Don't bother standing in the line for the Finding Nemo submarine ride. Go to a cast member there and ask to go into the room they have for people with claustrophobia. It's the exact same experience, and takes a fraction of the time. Those lines are ridiculously long!

Eat a snack in the morning and go on the big rides before it starts to get really busy. Eat breakfast later when the ride lines start growing.

If possible, try to watch the latest Disney and Pixar films before going because these will have a high presence in the park.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! If driving, buy a case of water bottles to take with you and refill them instead of buying them in the park. At almost $3 to buy a bottle in the park, this will save you tons of money. And with the heat, you will need to drink more than you think you will.

If you do Toon Town, do it early in the day or later at night. It gets really hot and crowded there during the day.

Study ahead of time and make sure to take advantage of the Fast Pass system.

Make sure to see Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe at least once.

When you go to Disney California Adventure, go right when it opens, and head directly to Toy Story Midway Mania. This is the most popular ride in the park and the line is always long.

On Main Street, use the reader board near the entrances to the other lands to see the wait times for rides. These are pretty accurate.

The kid's meals are usually big enough for an adult, and come with a drink. This is a great way to save money.

On the first day, go to the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney, or Town Hall in Disneyland and get a "first trip" pin. They are free and make great souvenirs.

Make sure to clear out all bags of any pocket knives or glass bottles, as those will be confiscated by security at the bag check station.

Have your photo id ready along with your passes to get into the park as quickly as possible.

Always get a hand stamp before leaving the park!!! This is imperative!

Must Eats:A churro, a corndog, caramel apple(ask for them to cut it into slices for you,they're easier to eat that way), Dole Whip, Bengal BBQ skewer, and my personal favorite: a Schmoozie's Smoothie.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Morning Churchy Thoughts

I'm reading a thread on my Disney message board about Prop. 8 being overturned and the topic has turned Biblical. Leviticus and different passages. Somebody wrote about the early history of the Christian church, stuff I didn't really know about. Like, that some guy, Paul really got it started, and he didn't even know Jesus. So he took what he liked best from the Old Testament, stuck it with Jesus's stuff, and viola! Christianity is born. And then some other guy, Peter, comes along and convinces Paul that this need not be limited to just Jews, but that Gentiles ought to be welcome as well, if they alter just a few of the rules, to make them feel more at home in this new religion.

I'm starting to feel more and more comfortable with drifting away from organized religion. I mean, this Paul guy didn't even know Jesus but is claiming to know what he wanted and thought? Come on...I'm sure he had good intentions, but still...So that leaves me with what? Not necessarily following Christianity as it is known. So what do I do? What do I believe? Do I believe in God? Yes, though not necessarily how He's depicted in the Bible. More like a genderless spirit/entity than in the shape of man. It's still just easier to say He/Him, etc. Do I believe in Heaven and Hell? I believe in energy. I believe this is the energy of God, and that there is positive and negative energy. We come from it, and return to it, and whatever we give in our lives, is where we return to. So if we spend our lives moping and being negative or hateful, we return to the negative energy. If we spend our lives being hopeful and helpful and trying to do good, we return to the positive energy. I think following the philosophy and words of Jesus isn't really a bad idea, and that it works for me, but that it isn't relevant to every human on the planet, and they ought to be free to follow whatever path makes the most sense to them.

So, as a whole, I suppose I'm not against church or organized religion, but I think it gets used against others so much that it's really ruined it for everybody. We all have to do things the same way, we all have to clap and do the hand motions, we all have to go spread the good word, or we're bad Christians. Never question anything, just believe and do as you're told. I don't buy that. I started questioning organized religion in the 7th grade and haven't looked back since. But instead of feeling insecure and bad about myself, I feel strong and secure in knowing that I am allowed to have a different opinion and still be loved by my God. I am allowed to express myself however works best for me, and that is ok. That is how I was designed to be. And who am I to judge?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop. 8 Overturned

This is a good step in the right direction, but it's only one step in a long process. It made me think about our state and the "Everything but marriage law" or what I like to call "We didn't have the guts to really fight for equal rights, so here's a consolation prize instead" law. I think our state should pick up the fight, but I do not support the release of names of people who signed the petition against it. Why? Because I believe anonymity is vital to our voting system, and petitions are a part of that. People have the right to believe what they believe in this country, and shouldn't have to live in fear of it, even if I disagree. I also think that if that's a new precedent for petitions, some day it'll be one that I signed that other people disagree with. Do I want my name and info out there? No, so I'd be less inclined to sign. I feel this will ultimately impede our voting system, which can't be good for anybody.

Hopefully some day soon this will all be a page in a history book and kids will say "I can't believe this was ever an issue."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Let's Talk About Food

I was just reading some stuff on FB between a vegan and some non-vegans that started a huge fight/debate. I didn't want to become involved, but I did want to formulate my thoughts about all of this. Both sides need to come to see things from the other's perspective. I think that if vegans didn't have to deal with so much teasing and harassment for their beliefs, they'd more than likely be far less militant about it. It's really just a defensive act. And I think if vegans realized that they only make non-vegans dig in their feet more by their proselytizing, they'd probably do it less.

I realized, that what a person eats, is extremely personal. It is a part of who they are. A part of their identity. Just like their religious stance, political beliefs, and sexuality are. And quite often, what a person eats is wrapped up in all of that. To put that into question is to question who a person is on every level.

I would compare militant vegans to conservative Christians who are devoted to ending abortion. Sounds strange, eh? But just because one group claims to be liberal doesn't make them so. The inability to see things from any other perspective is what makes a person liberal or not. To not be able to see something other than how you feel about it, in fact, makes you conservative. It's just what subject matter you pick that makes the difference. And both groups have taken their particular belief and turned it into their own religion, which makes them even more similar than not.

There are lots of ways of looking at the world, and the food we eat, and how it is produced. I cannot fathom being a vegan, but I never say never. I try to remain open to experiences and thoughts about food, because that is how I look at the world. But I can see now, that teasing a person because of what or how they eat, is wrong. And should be discouraged. You know, live and let live...or maybe Live and let eat??

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Doctor Who Rules!!

It really does. And I'm always learning more and more about the show. I thought I'd list out the "rules" that I know of already for Doctor Who, so I never forget them. And do feel free to let me know if I missed anything...

Rule 1: The Doctor is a bluffer. He always has an ace up his sleeve, and that vital piece of info he never shares until he absolutely must.

Rule 2: Doctor Who is not Lost. The wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff is most likely not based on a government and/or evil corporation conspiracy, and there are probably not multiple timelines going on, or alternate universes. This might not be always the case, but more than likely the time travelly stuff is more straight-forward than that. Time travel is always complex, but it doesn't have to be uber complex to still be interesting.

Rule 3: The Doctor is not infallible. Though he may be loath to admit it, he does mess up sometimes. He doesn't always make the best choices he could, and he can be downright cranky at times. This is when we roll our eyes and let him snark away cuz he'll get over himself soon enough.

Rule 4: The Doctor is very brave and not afraid to sacrifice himself for the betterment of mankind. From what I've seen, he's not got a martyr-complex, and I don't know that I'd classify it as a God-complex either. It's more like it just is what it is.

Rule 5: The Doctor would never win on Project Runway. His fashion sense is rather...unique. Whether it's a celery stalk on his lapel, or a coat of many colors, too many, really, or a fez and bowtie, each Doctor brings a different look with him. And none of them, except perhaps Nine, would really be considered "normal". I suppose, though, that's what makes him interesting. But I will say this: Bowties ARE cool...

Rule 6: The Doctor has an ego, and needs it to be fed. Hence the need for an audience in the form of a companion. Sure he gets lonely, but I think a bigger part of him needs someone constantly cheering him on. Whether this is ego, or deep down he's actually lacking in confidence, remains to be seen. Or at least seen by me.

Rule 7: The Doctor knows best. Usually. And though I hate being told what to do, more often than not, if the Doctor tells you to do something, you ought to do it. It could mean the difference between life and death.

I think that's a pretty good list so far, I'm sure I'm missing some, though.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Air Show Post

I heard about this on Thursday on the radio. The 2010 Air Expo at the Lewis-McChord Air Force Base. They put this on every other year and it's free. They put it on for the local community, to give back to them. Now, normally I wouldn't be interested in an air show, but I went to one as a little kid and the only real memory of it I have is the hamburger I ate there that day. I wanted to try another one. I think it's good do try and do things once in a while that are normally not things you'd do. Things completely outside your realm of knowledge or comfort. Because you never know what you might end up liking.

So we went, and it was cold and cloudy, so I wore jeans and no sun screen. This ended up being a mistake. The jeans were good, because they kept my legs covered, but my face was horribly burnt because the sun finally did come out and we were in it for about 4 hours. It was worth it though. There was a storyline to it, not like I thought it would be. I just thought it would be random airplanes flying randomly, but there was a plot, and bombs and stuff so it was really cool. And my friend from high school flew his "Warthog" in the show and had a huge role in it. The narrator kept saying his name, it was fun.

Airplanes are very interesting, but not very pretty. Function over form, I suppose. But they showcase the amazing things we can do as humans. Creating machines that can fly up into the sky like birds, with grace and strength. The power they wield is truly awe-inspiring. And it showcases what the military is good at: being powerful and intimidating, yet not always deadly. They drop food and other aid to people out of those planes too, not just bombs. I guess it's a balancing act. It's cool to know that the airmen, as they're called, I guess there are no airwomen? love what they do and get true joy out of it. I suppose there is an art to flying those planes. Those people are expressing themselves and the way they see the world, when they fly. And I say, fly on!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shakespeare, on second thought...

After giving it some thought, and a good night's sleep, I have made some changes to my attitude towards Shakespeare. I realize now that he is a product of his time and culture. But by taking the words of his plays and setting them in modern times, it takes them out of his time and culture, and for me, makes them less relevant, not more. I can handle his antiquated notions about women or mental illness if it's set in the proper place and time. Seeing it in today's world just drives me crazy. What's so wrong with people watching the words set in the time and culture they were meant for? Why can't people just imagine life back then instead of having things redone for their time? Maybe that's why I've put off watching Ten Things I Hate About You for so long...??

The other issue is the language. It's tough, but I realized that for myself, it's easier to think of it as literally a completely different language than English. The words might be words I know now, but they aren't what they were then, and that makes them completely separate from today's language. So, it does need translation, and studying and all that to really get it.

I realize now I was reacting to seeing Shakespeare set in modern times. I have never had a problem watching or listening to or reading the old-school stuff. I really think that's the key that's getting go me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Shakespeare, is he really all that?

I must admit to having a love-hate relationship with the works of the great Shakespeare. I have to have a certain amount of respect for works that have lasted and been loved for so many centuries. But I feel that they aren't perfect either. I think if Shakespeare had lived in our time, he'd be a soap opera writer, or write for a show like Grey's Anatomy or Desperate Housewives. Behind all the fancy schmancy language is usually a pretty simple story. Stories that rely on pretty simple people. Or stupid people in some cases.

And then there's the language. I have to read the versions with the translations on the side of the page just to understand it. I mean, it's English, but it's not. I know what the words mean, but when they're all put together the way he did it, I feel like I'm dyslexic. Not being able to understand such a simple story only makes me feel stupid, which makes me like Shakespeare less. But, when I do get it, I really do get it. And it's usually fun at that point.

I just don't think he should have written about stuff he didn't necessarily know anything about, like mental illness. It's one thing to write about witches and magic, cuz that's not real and whatever you want it to be, it can be. But knowing how mental illness works is kind of important when you use it so often as a story-telling device. Sure it makes for an interesting story, but it's not very helpful. There's such a stigma against mental illness already that there doesn't need to be stuff like that out there giving people the wrong idea.

I know he can't be considered responsible for it, he was a product of his times, and who knows what sort of education he had. I'm sure that's well known, but I don't care enough right now to Google it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Living Green, Shopping Green

I used to buy clothes from second-hand stores all the time in high school. It was all the rage. I was big into grunge, and wouldn't be caught dead in store-bought clothes. But somewhere after that I got away from that. I started earning money of my own, and could afford new stuff, so why not buy it? I have never been a clothes horse, nor do I have any amount that could be considered excessive. I have used up just about all the shirts I have for work and now they all have stains, so I have to go out and buy more. My first thought was, "Now I have to go to the mall." But my second thought was, why not buy used, instead of new? Reusing things is one of the most important tenets of Green living. I realized that I had become a part of the cycle of producing too much "stuff", and needed to get out of it. To do this, meant going back to thrift stores. The only problem? Trying stuff on at those places is sort of creepy. The solution? I did it anyway. And took a shower when I got home. The new Value Village up where I live is really nice, brightly lit, and the dressing rooms are not at all creepy. I had a lot of luck there. I came away with two bags stuffed full of clothes for work and around the house, plus a book, for $54 and change. It was enough that I didn't need to go to the mall after all. I feel very proud of myself, and had a lot of fun in the process. This is a change I will be able to maintain.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Patriotism and Me, It's Complicated...

Every year around this time, I contemplate my feelings for my country. I am not by nature a flag-waving person, filled with passion and zeal for the United States of America. But I don't hate it either. Pride is just something I don't tend to feel towards my country. But I do feel love. I love the land, and I love the people. I can't think of a more beautiful country in the world, nor can I think of a place where so many different sorts of people live together, trying to get through life together. I do feel pride for that. But the idea of the government mingling in all of that, tempers it. I do love that we strive to be better. We want to be a good nation, run by the Constitution. And it's a darn-sight better than some other forms of government out there.

But there are things that bother me about us too. No matter what your political beliefs are, we all believe ours is the correct set. And everyone seems to want to foist their beliefs onto everybody else. I don't know why we can't coexist peacefully, but it's been 250ish years and we have yet to do so. Here's hoping we make a bit more progress in the next 250. What we stand for, and what we do, are often conflicting. And our nation's leadership seems to exemplify this very well, no matter which party is in power. It makes it difficult for me to be a flag-waver.

One of these years I hope to have it all figured out. But as with all things, it's the journey, not the arrival, that makes it all worth while. I may never be the type to love, with a deep passion, my country, but maybe I'll grow more comfortable with the feelings that I do have. I think, my greatest feeling of pride and love, come from the fact that I live in a country where I am allowed to not love it blindly and only say positive things about it. I have the right to be critical, and to expect better of it. Therein lies its greatest strength and is what sets it apart from other nations in the world. And that, is something that I can feel very proud of.