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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Top Ten Life Things and cars

First the car

I drive a 1986 manual Toyota MR2. I would like to get some sort of hybrid sports car. I would like to get a hybrid because I think our oil dependency is slightly ridiculous. I would really like a solar powered car, that would be cool. I want a sports car because they are the easiest for me to drive. I know that is because I have driven mine for so long, but that is how it is. I wish I could give more people rides so I wish that created a car that was small but had passenger room. SO i guess I want a car of unlimited holding. A clown car of sorts. I have my grandfathers truck at the moment and I like it because I can give people rides move things and it has air conditioning but I find my own car much better because I can fit a lot in it, I can move me and a friend from point a to b and well windows were made to be open. i think that cars should be simply for point a to point b transportation because if they were I think people would allow better for public transportation. but as it stands cars are used as a status symbol. I mean everyone knows that I have a pos car and make fun of me for it. I get pulled over more because I look poor and that makes cops think subconsciously that I am up to no good. I wish that people had electric cars and only used them for long trips and that for short trips we used buses bikes and well our own damn feet. Sadly, however, we seem to think that owning a car is an important thing so no one uses the public transportation, so no one give it funding so it breaks down so they move even further saying public transport if for the riff raff that cannot have cars. Cars can give you an elite status and I don't see a change coming, everyone knows when a car passes if it is a "rich person car" an "average person car" or a junker.

Next on to my top ten which are slightly odd. So I was thinking about my top ten things ever, I know that it is mostly just a reflection of who I am at this very moment and that likely tomorrow it will all change again. However, this is my current top ten things ever. The way I made this list is that I just started to type out everything in life that made me smile. After I had a pretty good list I began to group those together in to what I felt were rational categories. After that I had to rank them, that was the hard part. Also toward the end I got some more specific because they could fit in with other categories but made me smile more to have them on their own so I guess I should add ignoring my own categories to my favorites too oh well... So here it goes


Formed of People, Friends, and Family

I love people, I love to watch them to see how they interact to see how they do things. I would get so bored if I could not observe people. More than I like people I love friends. I never used to hold friends in high regard. To me they were always just a way to pass the time. However, very recently I have had some very stubborn friends( you know who you are) and they have made me open my eyes to see just what friend are, and what friends good friends are is family. Family is life. You cannot live without your family there helping you through. The world was not meant to be gone through alone. Family is your support; they are the people who push you harder than you want to be pushed because they know it is what you need. They are the people who can sit there while you cry and never let on that they saw a single tear. They are the people who will let you go off on a completely irrational rant because they know that at the end of it you will come to your senses. Family is the blood that runs through your veins, the air that fills your lungs, the gray matter between your ears, and the soul that fills your empty shell. I don’t know where I would be with out both my real family and the people who became my friends and found their way into my new family. That makes them my number one.

2-Nature (Land Features)

Formed of Water and Trees.

Nature, she seems to be the curer of all ales. I don’t know what it is about nature but I love it so much. If I could I would spend the rest of my life living in the water. There is something so moving about water, it has so much power, force and anger, yet it can be calm, smooth, and life saving. It can really do anything and I hold a lot of respect for that. It is hard to do much of anything in this world yet water manages to do it all. My favorite place on earth is this patch of woods near where I grew up and there is a river running through it. It brings me back to Earth and that is important to me. I think that part of my attachment with nature has to do with the fact that I grew up with out a religion. For me any time anything went wrong I turned to nature and she was always there waiting for me.

3-Nature (Weather)

Formed of Rain, Storms, and Sunshine

One of my most profound experiences was the night my grandmother died. Those who know me know that I don’t cry much, now I do way more than I used to so I am improving but slowly. Anyway, the night my grandmother died was an emotionally exhausting moment for me. She had led a great life and died in a horrid slow manner, I was outraged at the world for the way she had to die, and I was outraged at the world because of how fast I had to grow up to care for her and my family. The night she died I was so confused because I was happy because she didn’t have to suffer anymore but so mad because I had lost her. I had not cried for three years and on that night I finally let it all out. But I couldn’t cry in front of my family because I felt I had to be strong for them so I went out side of my window and held myself and cried, after a while, it started to snow just that fluffy soft snow, it fell all around me and on my face raw from tears, it was so southing, it encompassed me in it and gave me what I needed that I could not ask my family for. It led to a great snow storm and I knew that that was nature’s gift for me. It was remembering my grandmother and trying to give me what comfort it could. I also love storms because my mom and I used to sit out at the lake and watch thunderstorms the lightning hitting the water. I miss those times with my mom when she and I could just be and it didn’t matter what else had happened in our lives. I almost forgot Sunshine, sunshine makes the list because well just go sit in the sun and you know, you cannot help but smile in really truly good sunshine.


Formed from, Books, Stories, Dreams, Imagination, Music, and Movies.

I love being in a different world. When I watch movies or read books I am transported to a different place. Even with the worst written books I can feel the wind in my face, I am on their ship, or standing next to them, or whatever they are doing I am there. I love that I love to get away. I love to take vacations in those places. Along with that I love dreams and imagination because they let you go to those places they let you truly feel what you are exposed to with those different ideas. Music has the same power you can connect with it and it takes you away from what you need to escape from. I have always had an overactive imagination, as a kid I watched sailor moon and I think I am still very much like her. I get caught up in some crazy daydreams and sometimes forget about the real world. Granted she had a crazy life to go along with us but whatever I will take what I can get not everyone can be a superhero!


Formed from Hugs, Smiles, Children’s Hands and talking.

I realize that this is getting very long so I will try to make everything else shorter. I love interacting with people. I love hugs they fix everything. My favorite hug is when you really don’t want a hug because you a so upset but your good friends know if they just hold on to you long enough they can pull you through. I love those, Smiles, I love smiles because well they are contagious and when you smile you get to see a slightly different world. I LOVE children’s hands, I love the idea that they are still exploring, I love knowing how much they have yet to learn, I also love the fact that no matter how many times they wash their hands they have dirt, or markers, or clay, or food on them, children truly know how to experience the world and their hands remind me of that. I think too often we forget how to actually experience things. And talking, I love it for more reasons than I could start to explain but it goes along with why I love people. I like to see how people work and talking to them is a good start.


Formed of Sound, Smell, Colors, and shapes.

This one is mostly made of things I don’t fully understand why I love, I love hearing things from the wind in the trees, to a computer fan. I love that through the world you really don’t encounter silence unless you are alone in a really deep cave that has been cleared of animals or some artificial place. Having sounds is a comfort. Smells are the same way everything has some sort of smell even water (I consider the absence of smell a sort of smell). I love colors, and shapes and patterns. Actually patterns can calm me down when I go overly OCD if I can just find an object that has some sort of pattern on it I can study it and then go over it in my mind first I go really fast and then I slow it down until I can stop, that’s when I am done.


I love to dance. I love ballet, I love Jazz, I like out at the club dancing or alone in your room or dancing with your dad. Dancing is so great because A. you can get all your emotions out, B. it is a great way to connect with someone and C. it is so beautiful.

8-Driving on a warm summer night with the windows down-

I love this. It is the best feeling around and if you have good friends all talking and some good music in the back ground it is perfect. The only thing better is if you do it in a rich neighborhood on trash night. I love to dumpster dive but no one here seems to be jumping on that bandwagon.

9-The smell of old books-

I love the smell of old book like in a library. It just brings a peace of mind to me that cannot be topped. I like to go to the stacks in the back of the library and just run my hands over the rows of books breathing in their greatness feeling their embossing under my fingers. Oh old books, why can’t we make them so great anymore, leather bounds with the gold along all the pages… Books they deserve better treatment than we give them today they always stand up for us.


Lame right? Who says they love to work. I don’t really love my job but I love to work because I feel like I am actually accomplishing something. I love to like can vegetables, or build things, or working in the fields, mowing the lawn, I like when I have paperwork, it seems like so much of what I do is just passing time until the next thing. But good hard working makes you feel accomplished. I like to know that even if I have not changed the world I have left an impact even if it is so small it cannot be measured.

Alright that was this moment top ten so this is me on August 31, 2007 at 6:17 pm. I hope you enjoy it and sorry it is so long of an entry.

Dr. Pepper - is there anything you aren't good at?

Welcome Amanda - happy to have you. Glad you see the benefit of this kind of experience for us. I don't know, at any rate, my next question - what car do you drive (if any)? and if money or gas mileage or anything like that were not an issue, what car would you drive (if any)? In this day an age a car really says just about as much about someone (for some people, at least) as their taste in music or movies. What role do you see cars play in culture? Any at all or merely transportation from point A to B? Discuss.

an introduction of sorts


My name is Amanda Jana invited me to your wonderful blog. I am currently reading some of the back entries and making comments to them but I think it is going to take me some time to catch all the way up. I want to say that so far I am in LOVE with your blog. I love the idea of just being able to talk to someone. Jana had become my person to talk to about anything and we would talk about some really weird stuff, as well as some very practical things. I have grown to miss that a lot this summer so I am happy to be able to be a part of that again. I love getting glimpses into how other people think about things. I mean not only what it is that you think but actually how you come about to think it. I love the way people's minds work and talking about things really allows you to get a good insight into that. So thank you for letting me be a part of this blog. I really appreciate it. Also I promise that soon I will have many of my own contributions. I simply wanted to have a chance to introduce myself and let you know that I have been commenting on what you have already submitted. Slowly but surly I am catching up with what you are talking about.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nathan's Life List

  • Write and record a song, if not a whole album
  • Write something and have it published
  • Design and build my own house - have bowling lane in the basement/garage
  • Own a boat and actually use it
  • Bowl a perfect 300
  • Visit all 7 continents and, assuming it's available commercially, sometime in my lifetime, the moon.
  • See the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the natural world, the modern world, etc...
This is what I've got so far, it's sad because I can't really think of anything else I want to accomplish - I guess I'm not as ambitious as I thought. Perhaps I need to think about my life a little bit more and figure out some more things I want to do with it...tricky tricky.

Other than that, has anyone beside me seen the Simpsons Movie? Discuss.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Life's a bowl of chocolate covered cherries

I think I have my story. But it's long (as though that's anything new), and I'm not sure I'm ready to post it yet. I'm intrigued by the lyrics, I have dabbled a little bit in Modest Mouse and this songs is an example of why. The imagery that it brings to mind it can be applied to different situations and many different people can find something they have in common with it.
My life list has about 13 items on it right now and I will probably post it soon. I think I may take the weekend off of here and evergreen and get my political blog fully up and going. I also think I could use a break from typing all the time although it does make a great way to pass time at work when I'm just sitting around waiting for them to bring me samples. I only wish I had internet access so that I could post when I get entries done. Then again I have the opportunity to work on these entries almost all day while getting paid so I really shouldn't complain.
I feel the desire to throw my own question into the mix once more and request an entry about celebrity coverage in the news. Do you feel that covering celebrities when they are doing illegal or unsafe things is overdone, underdone, or you don't care at all? The reason it comes to my mind is the coverage of Paris Hilton, and more recently Lindsey Lohan. So I thought it would be cool if we could all weigh in on the topic.
As for the other topics. I'll be answering them as well as mine sometime in the next week. I just figured we always have a million topics going, why not keep the ball rolling?

Okie Dokie

I'll be joining the discussion over in your politics blog as soon as I think of what I even want to say. At any rate - I'm still working on my life list and I've still got nothing for a story shaping my life...and thus, I'll start (another) new topic - if you could have one special ability, what would it be?

In the meantime, I have a song for you all to mull over until I respond to my own question...
Modest Mouse - Missed the Boat (off of their latest album - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

While we're on the subject could we change the subject now?
I was knockin' on your ear's door but you were always out.
Looking towards the future, we were begging for the past,
Well we knew we'd had the good things, but those never seem to last
Oh please, just last.
Well nothin' ever went quite exactly as we planned,
Our ideas held no water, but we used 'em like a dam.

Oh and we carried it all so well, as if we'd got a new position
Oh and I'll laugh all the way to hell saying, "Yes this is a fine promotion."
Oh and I'll laugh all the way to hell.

Everyone goes crazy over such and such and such,
Well we'd made ourselves a pillar, but we used it as a crutch.
We are certainly uncertain at least I'm pretty sure I am,
Well we didn't need the water but we still built that good goddamn!

Oh and I know this of myself, I assume as much for other people
Oh and I know this of myself...
We've listened more to life's end gong than the sound of life's sweet bells.

Was it even worth it? Was there all that much to gain?
Well we'd know we'd miss the boat and we'd already missed the plane.
We didn't read the invite we just danced at our own wake.
All our favorites were playin' so we could shake, shake!
Shake! Shake! Shake!

Tiny curtains opened then, we heard the tiny clap of tiny hands
A tiny man would tell a little joke and get a tiny laugh
From all them folks, sitting drifting round on bubbles then
(thinking it was us that carried them)
When we finally got it figured out, that we had truly missed the boat

Oh and we carried it all so well, as if we'd got a new position
Oh and we owned all the tools ourselves, without the skills to make a shelf with
Oh what useless tools ourselves...

So there you have it - do you have a song for us?
Until next time - ta.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More assignments...are we sure this isn't homework

Just to clarify, all that writing happened over four or five days. That's why there's so much of it, because I had the time and desire to do it...
A couple more thoughts on Harry Potter...I see where you're coming from it's not quite on the same level as Tolkein or Lewis, however she has created a very realistic world that is drawing kids and adults back to reading. I LOVE the Weasley twins, they are AWESOME. But Sirius is a really cool character to me. I could write just as much about a few other series' I've read, but you got me on Harry Potter when my thoughts were ripe because of the seventh book coming out.
Thoughts on your thoughts on my thoughts. I agree completely. I will refrain from political matters here, although I will most likely be taking them elsewhere, although three blogs will slow down my replies, which I think I could deal with as long as everyone else can. So yeah people get your acts together, post it up, share your views, we love them all!
Now for my vacation, which I didn't write nearly as much as a lot of other things :P

If I could get a week's worth of paid vacation I would visit my friends. Ok, that’s the truth because I’m getting a weeks worth of paid vacation. I’m planning to go to Adrian to see my boyfriend and my friend Tommy and a few other people that are not nearly as important as the two of them. I know that seems really weird, but a week really isn’t that long to me, because by the time I fly to Germany or Hawaii (two places I want to go to in the near future), how much am I going to be able to do? I suppose either place would make a great get away for a week, but to me, if I’m going to go to a place like that I’d at least want to stay a week and a half if not two weeks, but that’s me I guess. So yeah if I had some vacation time and enough money to do what I want, I’d go to Hawaii or Germany. This entry is a little short, I guess I could say why I want to go to those places.

I have an obsession with Europe and European history, Nathan you already knew this, and I’ve been to Germany once but I really want to go back because I feel I barely touched anything while I was there. Hawaii, because I have a really good friend that lives there now and I haven’t seen her in about two years now, I’d love to see her and plus it’s a tropical climate. You have to love the ocean and the warmth. I’d be rockin’ out on the beach. So there you have it. My vacation plans.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Joke's on you...

I finished the third book yesterday and am already 150 pages into the Goblet of Fire.

Seriously though, holy shit - did you write enough? And I thought my "me manifesto" entries were a feat - you take the cake for sure. Let me kind of run this in order you posted, to keep my thoughts straight.

As for making this more of a political blog, I'm very mixed. I myself am not particularly political simply because it seems, at least to me, to bring out the worst in's not that I don't see any good in having open discussions like you mention, but frankly - I don't think people are capable of open political debate - people are so close-minded in what they believe, they see their opinion and everyone else is wrong and they just shout at each other until somebody says "fuck it" and they both go their separate ways, in worse moods than they were before, and holding a little bitter resentment towards each other. Tori, my wife, is fairly conservative and I just don't bring up politics because it brings out the worst in her - she becomes combative and takes a lot of things personally, so it's best not to bring it up. That's not to say I don't want to be part of a movement with you, I'm just saying I think that we should take things very carefully. I know as a fact that you and I are very close, politically speaking, even if we've never really talked straight up politics before and once we start bringing in other opinions, we risk a lot of tension and that is going to scare people away. I don't want to rain on your idea though, I think it's brilliant and a lot of other people our age are seeing it too - this open political climate where our voices can be the loudest if we are first to grasp that we have left the information age and ave entered the age of collaboration - the age of people coming together, sharing ideas, and coming out stronger and more intelligent than they were before. Therefore, I urge you, to start your own blog and invite me because I'm there - I'm there in a heartbeat. I don't want to start it here for a few reasons - one, this is your idea and I don't want it be anything other than yours. Two - honestly, I'm all but sending death threats to people to get them to post (and you see how that's working - one so far), and I'm pulling up people who I haven't seen since elementary school to this thing and I'm still getting nothing. I don't get it - I tell people the concept and they get just as excited as I do, just a group of young adults talking about whatever crosses their minds - shooting the shit, sharing life's moments, discussing things that matter (although favorite movie and music lists aren't exactly 'what matter' they certainly still apply in that they make us who we are today, in this society where entertainment makes up the person a lot more than our jobs or our houses). I'm glad you are getting as much enjoyment out of this as I am, because I am just enjoying the shit out of this blog and I think it's a shame I can't get more people interested in posting - I think people are more shy than anything, as if we'd judge them on their off-topic post about butterflies and how cool they are (I don't know if someone is actually thinking about posting this, but if they did it would sweet - so you know). Anyways, back to what I was saying about the politics - sorry, sidetracked by my frustration on this project - I don't want to scare people away yet, not when I am struggling to get people interested in the first place - not to sound selfish or anything, but this is actually exactly what I wanted, if we bring up politics than we bring up politics, but I don't want that to be the permanent air simply because so many people will be turned off by it right away, especially since the only two permanent members seem to see eye to eye on many things - you can see how that would be a little scary for any new comer. Just my opinion - I really do think it's a good idea though and I am right behind you if you want to start something new.

Moving on to Harry Potter - boy do our opinions differ! Now obviously I can't talk much because, like I mentioned, only three books in and I don't instantly hate movies simply because they aren't true to their book form (my previously favorite movie - Chamber of Secrets was faithful to the book, but not in the right places, where it now stands as my favorite book and probably fourth favorite movie whereas my previously second favorite movie, Prisoner of Azkaban, has been bumped up despite the fact that I hated the book). I didn't much care for Sorcerer's Stone - perhaps knowing the ending ruined it a little bit for me, but it just didn't capture me and I finished it quickly simply because it was such an easy read. Chamber of Secrets like I said, is my favorite book (so far) and it's really because of all the things left out of the movie - it really brought me in closer with my favorite characters, the Weasley's. Also, this is the first time Rowling's really shows her teeth, so to speak, with Harry battling the basilisk he actually faces a life or death situation and putting Ginny's life on the line to boot, that just ups the ante. That could be why I dislike Prison of Azkaban so much - it kind of reads as a bluff after Harry was actually in a perilous situation, all of sudden he is only in the illusion of danger - everyone thinks he is, and perhaps his ego kind of clouded his fear a bit - but no, there was no threat whatsoever. I suppose I'm not as captivated by Harry Potter as a whole with everyone else - I don't know why, I'm just not - it seems to have a lot of weaknesses that I just can't put my finger on, although I can easily rank it on the same level as The Chronicles of Narnia although I think it would be a stretch to put it with Lord of the Rings, although Rowling does show to have a bit more balls than Tolkien in that she kills of more "good guys" which says a lot. It's good, it's somewhat captivating (I can see how people are getting obsessed - just not my taste, I guess) and it's a decent story (although I think a bit...I don't know, the whole Lord Voldemort thing seems so planned, not natural I suppose is the word I'm looking for). I'll have more to say when I'm done with the series, I'm guessing. That's all I have to say on that - I'm working on my life list and I still have not got a story that shaped me, working on it though I suppose. I look forward to joining you on a political blog - and I agree completely, open conversation about important political ideas are key - the most important word in all of that though is open, we really need to keep that in mind.

Also - I keep up with a few online music zines, one of which (PopMatters) has recently posted a collection of essays on Harry Potter, The End of the Potterverse. Now onto Evergreen - ta.

Potter you rotter, my thoughts on Harry Potter

I’m not quite sure what you would like to discuss about Harry Potter so I’m about to offer a whole array of my opinions and view points on Harry Potter. Please feel free to elaborate on them or bring up something else about them entirely. I feel very long winded on this one, but maybe that’s because I’ve been working on blog entries for most of this day (and yes, I’m at work, but I’m just waiting for them to bring me samples as I’m caught up on stuff right now).

Ever since reading the first book I have been hooked. I’ve hated the movies, although this last one is among the best. But then again I’m a purist. I am the person that always loves the book and hates the movie, with the exception of Fight Club, which I’m still puzzled over. Forgive me my faults. But yes, Harry Potter. I have read and re-read each of the books always learning something new, picking up on clues that I didn’t previously and seeing new depth to the characters that exist within the pages. They are modern classics that haven’t been seen since C.S. Lewis and Tolkein’s era and yet they are somewhat different in the same respect.

There is no denying that C.S. Lewis and Tolkein both created immaculate worlds that are incredibly complex and contain unforgettable characters. Tolkein in fact created all the languages that are contained within the pages of his novels. Talk about creation of a world. I loved reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the attention to detail was amazing. However, this was also a bit numbing at times. The detail in certain parts of the book was almost overwhelming and yet undeniably genius.

The Chronicles of Narnia are another of my favorite. Ok at this point I must say that there are few books that I’ve ever read that I’ve actually hated. For the most part I either love it or mildly like it, but not enough to read it again. But back to Lewis. His world was also genius. He built characters and a world that conveyed Christianity through four children. Talk about unique and unlike anything before or since it. You cared about these characters and watched them grow and develop until they reached the last battle. You learn what it’s like to believe in innocence and experience what happens when you stop believing. He did a bang up job of telling a story because even if you’re not Christian you get the lesson and a different take on things, which in the end the lesson is the thing, which I’ll talk about here in a second.

But there’s something different about the Harry Potter series. Yes, for the most part the theme is universal as it always is. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Love each other. Believe in yourself. I mean those messages are contained within all of these series’ but Harry Potter caught on now, in the present. It’s not a cult classic, it’s not something that some find appealing and others don’t. There are those places where Harry Potter is banned because it has magic, but I say poo poo on it. Look at the lessons, the writing style. Look at how it has reintroduced reading to a generation that was starting to forget what a book was. Now that’s genius.

Another thing about the Potter series is that there is something for everyone. It’s appealing to many different age groups.

Now at this point I have to get on a soap box (you already thought I was there didn’t you?). Parents who let their 13 year olds and younger read the Potter series I think should really reconsider. It is fair to say that it depends on the maturity of the child however, at a certain point some of the material, particularly in the third book and up starts to get mature. Because of that I think parents should carefully consider just letting their young ones run around with the books without at the very least talking with them about it. I’m sure this opinion will make repeated appearances throughout this entry, so I’m going to put it out there now.

But in all honesty it does appeal to a lot of different people of a lot of different ages and backgrounds. It’s something most people can identify with. The book encompass many of the different man vs. plots that you brought up Nathan. That fact brings the books closer to all types of people. Then you look at this world that she built. In interacts with our own. It is so close that you could almost reach out and touch it. The incorporation of the real with the imaginary brings it to the reader instead of asking them to completely step out of their comfort zone which is what I think really turns some people off to fantasy and science fiction. It’s too far from the truth for them to handle and they don’t want to completely step away from the known. And yet, through the same handling of the truth, Rowling takes you somewhere that you’ve never been before. It’s fantastic and out there and yet close enough to touch.

The series as a whole is genius, but the individual stories are brilliant in and of themselves. I don’t want to spoil anything for you Nathan, although you’ve seen the movies, but I still don’t want to talk about it too specifically and ruin details before you read them, so I’ll try and keep this relatively general.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone)

The first book is always a classic because it’s what gets you hooked. Your first meeting with Harry Potter, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Ron, Hermione, it’s like meeting a group of friends that you wished you always knew. They come across right away with the humor and sincerity that will carry them through all the novels. The first introduction to Hogwarts and the Dursley’s is just as memorable. You watch as innocence gives way to wisdom and knowledge and we learn that love really can conquer evil, just because it’s in your veins. By the time you reach the last page, you’re wishing that there was more. You want to know what happens next and if things will turn out ok.

One of my favorite parts of the plot, and this carries through all of the books, but it caught my eye from the beginning is the story between Harry and Malfoy. The humor that exists in their bullying relationship and the way Malfoy is always the true butt of the joke whether he means to be or not is awesome. I also think that it really ends up effecting Harry and the way he reacts to situations and in the end I think their animosity will give way and they will find themselves on the same side, but the truth of their relationship with each other will have to wait until I get through the pages of the seventh book. But anyway the point of me bringing up Malfoy and Harry’s relationship is that most of my favorite moments in the first book come when Harry and Malfoy are sniping at each other.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This is one of two books not to have the “real Voldemort” in it. That shouldn’t spoil anything for anyone and if it did I’m sorry, but I’ve always found that interesting because the plot of the whole series revolves around defeating Voldemort. And yet Rowling chooses to have two books where the main villain is less than absolutely present. That being said I’m not denying that Voldemort was present in the second book, but it wasn’t the true him, it was a memory. Which makes for an interesting overall message, “memories can be as dangerous as reality.” It goes along with one of the secondary messages from the first book about not getting lost in your dreams (the mirror of erised message). But along with being wary of memories and trusting things that you can’t see where they keep their brains (thank you Mr. Weasley), this book is darker than the first and you see a glimpse of where Rowling is heading, down the long dark, darker and darkest road that leads to the seventh book. Harry starts to grow up, along with his cohorts. He realizes that there’s something special to him and Dumbledore’s job to protect Harry becomes more complicated. Another thing that makes this book different than the first (although it becomes a sort of hero complex for Harry) is that he saves someone. He is directly responsible for saving Ginny and preventing the snake (and Voldemort) from killing at Hogwarts. Harry’s rescuing heroics becomes his banner, which is taken directly from historical literature and other tales of heroes and heroines. Talk about one of the oldest tricks in the book. The Greeks and Romans wrote of the heroes falling to their own pride, and only the humble make it through. Odysseus only made it home after humbling himself and losing most of his men. Frodo almost falls to his desire to save Golum (going back to Tolkein for a moment), and as a last example, Achilles’ dies because he believes himself invincible and able to conquer all. Harry obviously doesn’t die, but he does suffer a hero complex at least for a while until Ron and Hermione tell him to snap out of it in the fourth book.

Out of all the books the second would probably be my least favorite. I’m not sure that I can put my finger on why, because it’s just as well written as the rest, but I find the plot a little flat and less interesting for some reason.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Now, I know that you haven’t read beyond the second book so I will try to stick to the bare minimum as far as details. I LOVE this book. It is still my favorite. It is the second book to not contain the “real Voldemort.” Instead there is just the ramping up of the fear and distrust that surrounds him and his rising. You get to meet Sirius, who is my favorite character, and find out more about Harry’s past. I want to talk more about Voldemort’s rise, but I will save that for the discussion of the fifth book. The third book is a lesson in not believing everything you hear and the government is not infallible. This book shows you that during the first rise of Voldemort the handling of people’s fates was not carefully considered. Instead fear crept in and overshadowed even the most well intentioned officials. That is how Sirus ends up in Azkaban, but what they fail to realize is that his innocence is what sets him free. So there’s your message, “the truth will set you free.” And it did. I think it’s a pretty cool message even if it doesn’t always work, you’re usually better off telling the truth then trying to lie to yourself or others.

My favorite moment from this book would have to be either Hermione punching Malfoy (always a classic), or the scene where Snape tries to corner Harry about going into Hogsmede.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The beginning of the darkness. This book begins to get a lot darker than the previous books. You know, as if you didn’t know it before, that things are not going to end until Voldemort is back in action. A main character dies, oh the sacrifices we all make, and we watch the characters get even more awkward with each other (specifically the Yule ball). It’s a good one this chapter in the saga, it shows that Harry really does have to rely on others in order to make it through. Ron and Hermione support him and help him make it as far as he does, even while Ron is reluctant because Harry steals the spot light again. Which brings me to the point that it is in this book that Harry really has to find his strength. We all know that it is hard to fight with your best friend and you have to imagine that fight happening while the whole world is staring at you. I certainly don’t want to go through that. But Harry makes it through and while it is traumatic and horrendous, he finds out who his family and friends are. I’m not going to lie, it was nice to have Ron and Harry fight because it really shows the character’s depth and that they aren’t just these ideal, everything is always good people. Ron shows jealousy, both towards Harry and then Victor Krum, which just goes to show that he’s human and not only a side kick. Hermione starts to find that maybe there is more to life than books, which is always important. My favorite moment in Goblet of Fire would have to be the first task of defeating the dragons. It’s exciting and just really sweet when I picture it in my head. I’ll keep it at that.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I think this book would have to be right behind the third book in my list of favorites. It’s a long read, but well worth it. We meet Luna Lovegood, who I adore. She is just so out there that it’s awesome. You get to see Neville take on a lot more and really shine. Delores Umbridge reminds me of a toad, a fascist toad, but a toad nonetheless. Her lesson of “I must not tell lies,” is one that really hits home with Harry. You learn so much about Harry even as he falls into a darkness. He gets so close to being evil it is scary. I spent most of my first reading of this book going, please let him snap out of it. And thank goodness he did because it made for a really sweet ass scene in the book. The fight in the ministry is absolutely brilliant and yes, I will admit that I cried when Sirius fell through the portal. However the tears didn’t last long once I realized that he probably wasn’t truly dead. I know that my summaries are getting shorter, but I’m trying to keep the details sparse for you and I know that this entry is getting long. Favorite scenes are the fight in the ministry and the Weasley twins leaving school. I’d buy their fireworks.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

The second to last installment and it didn’t disappoint. Things start to get serious and we learn a lot more about Voldemort. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, a lesson that Voldemort could benefit from learning. That along with the fact that you should have friends, but you know to each his own I guess. The darkness steps up another notch, although Harry isn’t quite as much of a jacka$$ as he was in book five. I cried at the end of this book as well, and I’m sure you know what happens, but I won’t talk about it other than to say although the characters are true to themselves, it was still sad. I would like to discuss both the fifth and sixth books a lot more, but I will wait until you have read them Nathan because it will make it more interesting that way. Favorite moment would have to be Ginny and Harry finally hooking up, it was about damn time. That’s all I’ll say.

There are a lot of different themes, lessons and ideas that could be discussed. One that I’m interested in pursuing with this group is that of how Voldemort bears a striking resemblance to Hitler. Tolkein did much the same as his evil was modeled directly off the Nazi’s. And I think it’s interesting how the same thread shows up in Rowling’s work. Now I know that Voldemort and his followers could also be likened to extremists and terrorists, but her books were begun too long ago to truly be written in the spirit of the current climate. Not so much the later ones, but the first couple were. In addition she’s had the overall structure written for a while, so it may reflect some of the current climate, but more so history I believe. Voldemort is the horrid dictator who will stop at nothing to dominate. He is killing those who don’t agree with him, those who aren’t “pure” (even while he himself is not pure *cough*Hitler*cough*), those who he has to go through to get where he’s going. Then you have people who are in denial until they absolutely cannot avoid the fact that Voldemort is back, who are a lot like most of the world in WWII. Pretending everything is fine until their delusion cannot be maintained anymore. In some cases they persecute their own in the name of sanctity. Much like Macarthur in the 60’s, when he would stop at nothing to “get rid of communism,” Umbridge, Fudge and a few others in the ministry of magic show us that even good can go bad. The best intentions do not always mean what is going on is good. I could go on in this vein, but I’m sure everyone is done reading about my thoughts on the books along with the fact that I’m interested to see what everyone else brings up before continuing on this path. I promise that I have not abandoned this thought and it will be revisited sooner rather then later. Let me know if you agree, or disagree or if you have a different idea to accompany or dispute it.

My idea

We have a new member of the writers on the blog and I’m going to admit, I’m not sure I know who you are. I might, but I’m going to act dumb because I don’t recognize the screen name. So hi and welcome, it’s sweet you’re joining us, and I’ll add the vacation question to the list of questions and entries that I have to do. Now onward and upward.

My big idea may not be as creative as yours, but I’m interested to see how it goes over.

The Proposal

I’ve been thinking, which I know is always dangerous, but I may actually be onto something this time. Elections are coming up in 2008 and the massive campaigning that has already begun is well a little bit much. In my opinion, it’s not the campaigning that is the problem, but the amount of money that is spent on it. The reforms haven’t worked, and people without money are constantly cut out of being a part of the political system in our country. This is not fair, and I don’t believe that the founding fathers would want it to be this way. Look at our current legacy of leaders, there have been two families in power for the past 26 years. It seems a little bit like a dictatorship or a co-monarchy. You think people would have figured out that when the first Bush left office we wouldn’t necessarily want to elect a new Bush especially after the way things were all in an uproar over him. Apples don’t fall far from the tree people, let’s be smarter than that. Then you look at what Clinton did. Well overall, he did quite a bit of good. However, the actions in his personal life overshadowed what he did in office. And now there is the chance to extend that 26 years into at least 30 if Hillary is elected in 2008, and consider the fact that Bill is thinking about being her running mate if she gets the nomination. Do we really want that to happen? Would she actually be worth it?

My point and my thinking has led me well beyond the 2008 election, but instead to the future in general. I propose that we adopt some political discussions into our blog. Let’s us it as a forum for open discussion not based on any political party instead what would be best for the country. We started with a slight dive into global warming but we can go further. Perhaps if we can get enough people interested in the blog and in our view points in general who knows where it could lead. We may even be able to start a campaign based on nothing more than our open honest opinions about where the country is headed and what the future holds for everyone. We don’t start it off as a campaign, and that’s not necessarily the end game, but this country needs unbiased opinions about what’s going on. So I recommend that we offer our opinion, we keep it open to people sending us questions and maybe even their own opinions. It’s worth a shot to try and change even our own outlook at the world. When the blog first started and I first wrote in here I talked a little bit about John Mayer’s album and the single Waiting on the World to Change. I’ve been waiting for my generation, our generation to step up and change things, but I’ve realized I have to stop waiting. I am going to have to step up and take charge. I am going to have to try and change minds, to change opinions. It’s not going to be easy and maybe this blog isn’t the best way to do that, but so be it. I would like some company along the way and if you guys are willing to accompany me it would be great. I’m not saying we abandon the lists and the other conversations I’m just saying that we should do a “world worthy” topic along, or in between each of the other topics of interest. I think they go hand in hand, the more that we understand about ourselves, the better we can answer the other questions.

That’s my suggestion for a large undertaking. I want to see where we can go with it, how many people can we get to read it and chime in. My belief is that our generation really needs to step up to the plate, especially those of us without inheritance, the ones that will work for what we get. It’s our country, not the country of the elite. A grass roots campaign for understanding, the education of us all. If we decide to try and go further with it along the way, if we get enough support, well we’ll take it from there.

I hope that, that all makes sense. I’m just interested to know if it’s something that you guys are interested in. If I’ve been too vague and you want to know more about what I’m thinking, just let me know and I’ll see what I can do to clarify. But let me know in the next couple of days. I have a few ideas for topics and we can pick others up along the way. If it’s not something you’re interested in I’ll drop it.

It’s a good way to get our thoughts out there and discuss relevant topics, we’ll all bring something different, but as I said before, hopefully politically unbiased (in terms of large parties), a chance to really look at what we believe without relying on a political party to shove their platform down our throats. Think about it. Ta!


Here comes part two, which is my five favorite movies of all times. Enjoy J

My five movies are as follows:

1) Fight club

2) Shakespeare in Love

3) Robin Hood (Disney version)

4) The original Star Wars Trilogy

5) Singin’ in the Rain

And now for part three (that’s 3 if you’re wondering J). The explanations to go with the movies:

1) Fight club is my all time favorite movie. The humor and the lines in it along with the twisted way it warps your mind I just can’t help but watch it over and over. I’ve also read the book and they both have a lot to offer, but Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are genius. They truly embody the character they play and bring it to life. The movie always shows something new, a different way of looking at things. While that way may be twisted and just plain bizarre at times, it is outside of the box and it is a fresh take on things.

2) Shakespeare in love. It’s a close tie between fight club and Shakespeare in love. It’s a weird combo but while I watch fight club for the way it makes me think I watch SIL because I have been obsessed with Shakespeare’s work for years and on top of that I’m a hopeless romantic. It is one of the perfect love stories out there. It has no “happy ending” and yet leaves you knowing that it isn’t truly over. The combination of actors and actresses was amazing. The costuming perfect. The comedy, the romance. Come on people if there is a better love story that combines a modern take on an age old love story that was written by a master please let me know. I’d like to watch it.

3) My favorite Disney movie of all times is Robin Hood. Along with Shakespeare, I have a strong like of the stories of Robin Hood and the Three Musketeers, the classic medieval and renaissance tales that always lead to swashbuckling and rescuing and plots against the bad guy. Thus, it leads to Robin Hood being number three on my movie list. I have always loved this movie; I found it funny as a little kid and I watched it so many times that I have all the lines and songs memorized. Kinda sad I know, but there you have it. Bonus: Ever since reading Atlas Shrugged, I have reconsidered the viewpoint that Robin Hood is a hero, while I think he was a cool cat and deserves a place in legend, we need to be careful how much stock we put into the message of “robbing the rich to feed the poor.” I’m not saying that we need to go fully the other way because I think our society would crumble too quickly and I’m not ready to move into the gulch yet, but we need to make sure that we’re not just giving charity because people need it. They need to earn it and learn to stick up for themselves in some cases. That's enough of me rambling about Atlas Shrugged because I still love Disney's Robin Hood movie.

4) The original Star Wars Trilogy. I am aware that this is three movies however; I believe they should be considered as one. They are one story, and really truly only the first one could stand alone in my opinion because it is such a single plot. The reason I like the trilogy, oh let me count the ways. The story is a classic; it has adventure, love, comedy and some suspense. It also has elements of mythology in it because the hero is born and you follow him through his hardships and victories. It’s a classic that helped usher in the current era of special effects. It’s a set of movies that everyone should see. Forget the prequel trilogy, everyone should make sure that they’ve seen the original.

5) Singin’ in the Rain. My movie list would not be complete without at least one musical and this one is my stand out stand up musical. I have always been drawn to tap dancing, it amazes me. When I was little, and as a guilty pleasure now, I watched Shirley Temple movies. To see people use their feet to not only dance (most of the time very well), but to make musical accompaniment. It’s awesome, I love it! But what makes Singin’ in the Rain my stand out musical? Well the story is classic, I love Leena Lamont and her screeching voice and the music is divine. To this day my two favorite songs from the musical are Moses’ Supposes and Make ‘em laugh. It’s such a funny movie, and the music and dancing are so cool to me. It’s my default movie when I need to feel better, you can’t be sad while watching it. So it makes my list. If you haven’t seen it, well you should because it’s a classic movie with a lot to offer. Check it out!

And that concludes this portion of my dissertation that I have been giving over the course of these entries. Stay tuned for my next big idea and the first installment of my life list and some other random entries as I try desperately to keep up with all the ideas that are pouring out. Nathan what took you so long to start this? Ta!

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Vacation! All I ever wanted..." - the Go-Go's

Super fantastic, a new topic to discuss just as I had everything caught up.
1. Midwest Roller Coaster Road Trip
2. Sailing the Bahamas
3. Las Vegas to Los Angeles Adventure
4. Washington, D.C. to New York City (an East Coast bonanza!)
5. Northern Michigan Wilderness Excursion

First and foremost, prior to my explanations, I'm going to continue my spirit up bucking the rules and just kind of going off on my own tangent...I put no time limit on these trips - when I'm done, I'm done...most of them are scheduled out though, from one week (2) to two (5) and anywhere in between, so I'm not drifting off into la-la land quite yet.

Midwest Roller Coaster Road Trip
So we leave on Friday night and drive to Sandusky, OH, we stay in a wonderful little hotel on the other side of the bay and then in the morning, we hit Cedar Point. Now, ideally, I'd be at Cedar Point on a Wednesday, but given this schedule, that'll have to work. So we spend Saturday and Sunday at Cedar Point and Sunday night we hit the road again towards Cleveland and kick it in another hotel. Monday morning we go to Geauga Lake and since there will probably be time, the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. We stay in Cleveland again and in the morning (Tuesday) we wake up and drive down straight through Cincy to Louisville for a day at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, then we return to Cincinnati for the night. In the morning (Wednesday) we go to King's Island for the day and then we drive off again over to (seriously here) Santa Claus, IN. We stay in the only hotel (thankfully it's bitchin') in town and in the morning (Thursday), Holiday World. Now they only have three coasters (all of them world class though) so not long after we are on the road again to Indiana Beach for the only two coasters there (not quite world class, but pretty damn good). That night, we stay in Monticello but wake up early on Friday and drive to Chicago for a day at Six Flags Great America. That night we eat at Bob Chinn's Crabhouse and on Saturday we hit up the museum of Natural History and the museum of Science and Technology before driving home - but wait, we're not done yet! We still have Sunday before we have to return to work so fuck it, keep driving up the Michigan coast to Holland, spend the night there and in the morning - Michigan's Adventure (again - would prefer a Wednesday for this one as well, but again, that blasted schedule). So there you have it - my Midwest Roller Coaster Road Trip and I don't think I really need to explain why - and if I do, 73 roller coasters. Thank you.

Sailing the Bahamas - the only one of these that I've actually already gotten the opportunity to do and believe me, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Basically, we just rent a sailboat for a week and kind of drift around aimlessly throughout the islands, we can scuba dive, dock and explore on some islands or just chill and play cards, enjoying the cool breeze and gorgeous sun. Bonus - sleeping on the deck is a must, nothing like being woken up every night around 3 by a quick torrential downpour of refreshing rain that ends as soon as you realize exactly what just happened. We only need a week, I'm sure, but honestly I could probably live like that.

Las Vegas to Los Angeles Adventure - this is probably the least planned out trip seeing as we'd fly into Vegas, kick it there for...let's say four days, three nights and on that fourth day we'd drive across the desert to Valencia, just north of LA. The next two days would be spent at Six Flags Magic Mountain (Tuesday and Wednesday if we do it right), then it's into the Valley to see, well - just about everything. Probably spend four more days, three nights there and then fly home. Day trips to Mexico and other local hot spots would be a necessity. If we really do it right, we could make it a full two week thing, planning it around Coachella and spend three days there as well. Man, that does sound like fun.

Washington, D.C. to Maine (an East Coast Bonanza) - this one has a similar theme as the Midwest Roller Coaster Bonanza except the first two days are spent at various Smithsonian's around D.C., then it's up the coast - we'd hit King's Dominion, Busch Gardens Europe, Six Flags Great Adventure, Dorney Park and finally, Coney Island before spending about three days enjoying the Big Apple before we head straight up the coast to Maine and feast on some breathtaking scenery and fresh Maine lobster. On the way home we go through Six Flags Darien Lake and Kennywood to complete the trip (sensing a pattern here with at three of my five trips?)

Northern Michigan Wilderness Excursion - this is exactly what it sounds like, we head up to my family's cabin and relax, however throughout our two weeks away we take short day trips out to Sleeping Bear Dunes, Mackinaw Island, Whitefish Point, Sault St. Marie, Drummond Island, Tahquamenon Falls and other points of interest in the upper peninsula or the northern section of our mitten. Call it pride, call it a waste - this and probably sailing the Bahamas are the only two I can see keeping up pace for the entire vacation - after all, vacations are supposed to be about relaxing, not keeping a breakneck schedule.

Runner up - Atlanta/Myrtle Beach/Orlando - why not? More roller coasters, and bonus - a day trip to New Orleans, anyone?

My next topic - tell a story about yourself that you believe shaped who you are today. Tricky, I know, I have no idea what I'm going to write either. Ta.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Part II of my babbling

Number 4, Communication. As you said when talking about languages, we have developed a highly complex system of communication that has multiple languages and multiple ways to put those techniques into action. We have evolved to have spoken, written, verbal and non-verbal. We use the internet, and post office, we use the phone and we use face to face communication. Without effective communication we wouldn’t get very far very fast these days. And yet despite the need, many people don’t know how to use their words to get what they want and need.

Number 3, science. I have a major in chemistry, so I obviously see something in science. But what is so cool about science to those who don’t understand it? It’s everywhere. Everything we do, everywhere we go we’re surrounded by scientific concepts and ideas. Some may be abstract, while others are straight forward but it’s there. Evolution, baking, gardening, electricity, driving, it’s all got science in it. I have an obsession with what’s around me and how it works. So science is there.

Number 2, music. This was a hard choice. Is music one or two, but finally I had to put it at two but just barely. Music is my soundtrack, it’s always there, it’s always playing. There’s always a song to describe the situation and the mood that you’re in. And when you find a musician that you connect with it’s like a magical moment. However, to try and keep this short I’m going to go with the easy out and say that Nathan’s response fits perfectly here.

Number 1, relationships. This takes number one. Whether it is my relationship with my boyfriend, my friendships that I have with various people or the people I meet on the street without relationships I would have very little. They are what drive music, movies, stories, and a million other things in our world. Humans were not made to be solitary and anyone who tries to tell you that they were is lying. We need each other for support and for jeering, all of it. To quote Morrie, “Love each other or perish.”

Oh my word, this is much longer than I was thinking it would be. You see I’m typing this is word and copying into Blogger and right now I’m up to eight pages between answering all my lists and typing up some other stuff to post in the next few days. I didn’t know I was so full of stuff to say and yet at the same time, I feel like I’m not writing a thorough explanation.

This concludes my list about my favorite things. Stay tuned for my five favorite movies and more. And as a last bit, please add me to the writing blog, I would love to be involved in that. Ta!

So, i got invited to this blog once...

Alright, well being a late arrival, I thought I'd just grab a topic to start on before really indulging in catch up entries. so for this first post I'll list my top 10 favorite things, since all reasons are not created equal, those will be omitted at this time.

1.) Friends and Family, reason's obvious
2.) Sunsets, relaxing end to a long day
3.) Chocolate, yum
4.) Thunderstorms, who doesn't like a good thunderstorm?
5.) Internet, keeps you in touch and up to date on everyone's life, plus continuous entertainment
6.) Music, relaxing and mood enhancing
7.) Beach, fun in the sun followed by number 2 :) oh and 5 blocks away
8.) Imagination, without it the world would be a lonely, boring place
9.) Bouncy Balls, the simplest toy that provides some of the best amusement
10.) Stories (Books/Movies) release from the everyday, esp with number 8

Honorable Mention:Puppies

that's the best I can come up with and hey i put some explanation after it.

suggested next topic, you get a week of paid vacation, where would you go? who would you see?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The next steps

My turn to create a list of what I want to cover in my posting. 1) Reasons behind my favorite things, 2) Top five movies, 3) Reasons behind those movies, 4) MY next big idea, hopefully it will compliment yours, we'll have to see. Oh and there will be a prequel of what I've been up to.

I am still in Utah, but this past weekend I got to visit Kansas City. I saw the boyfriend and I got a chance to see my relatives that live there and just overall get away. I'm still busy grinding away at samples, but my work hours and coming down in number as I get into the swing of things and get more fluent at what I do. I'm still debating what I want to do after this year is up but I'm going to take the GRE sometime soon after I get back in August or September. That's the short end of what I've been up to and this is the end of my prequel.

1) A review of the list so we all know what my favorite things are:
1. Relationships
2. Music
3. Science
4. Communication
5. Nature
6. Art
7. Evil
8. Handmade things
9. Books
10. Beer
Runners up: Sports and good

So upon retyping my list I realized that originally I had books on there twice. They are definitely number 9, just to clarify.

I decided to go backwards in my explanations so let me start with sports. For as long as I can remember I have been surrounded by sports. For the better part of my life so far I played softball and then in college I earned a black belt in the martial art of Tae Kwon Do. This combined with the fact that I have at least dabbled in basketball, volleyball and a host of other sports they are a part of what I have done and where I have been and how I have accomplished it. Sports have taught me and many, many other important life lessons on how to accomplish things not only for yourself, but for others when necessary. I choose the words when necessary because I agree with Ayn Rand's theory that in the end everything we choose to do must be based on doing it for our personal gain in some way shape or form. And in that is where the reward comes from. Sports have also kept me in shape and taught me how to take care of myself. In addition to everything that has been accomplished by my participation in sports is that I enjoy watching sport competitions on tv and in person. I get a thrill when watching certain sports being played and there is always a lesson taught if you want to learn one.

My other runner up is good and I believe that a lot of the explanation for good will come from the discussion of evil which is higher on my list. So stay tuned or scroll down to evil to get the scoop.

Number 10, beer. This may seem like a some what shallow thing for me to choose but it is an interesting drink to consider. Beer is one of my favorite beverages. The taste of fresh beer brings a host of memories to mind for me. A lot of my memories from college involve beer, for better or worse it's the truth. It wasn't always me who had been consuming it, but it was involved. Also it brings to mind Germany. Beer was everywhere I went in Germany and although it took me a little bit of time to warm up to it, I did and I'm glad I did. For the larger picture, beer is a historical presence. It was consumed, brewed and given as offering throughout most of history. It unites current day with past because although the flavors change and the ingredients may vary it is a common thread that ties past with present. Many other foods and flavors have changed, but beer has remained relatively the same. It was drank when the water was bad, it was drank in celebration, it was drank because it was easily available and easily made. Many appall it because it is alcoholic in nature, but I say it's a good way to preserve the past and continue our homage to those who have come before us.

Number 9, books. Ahhh, my best friends, except for the real ones that is. I suppose I could have also substituted knowledge here, however well, I'll just go with it and let you decide. I taught myself to read when I was three. Ever since then I have been obsessed with words. I read and still read anything I can get my hands on. It's a quest for me to gather as much knowledge (and pleasure) from the written word as I can. Some books are more like good friends and I read them because they transport to far off places, others are read for knowledge and yet others for lessons and a gaining of truth. Some of the strongest and most notable messages are contained in books. Hemingway, Bradbury, Rand, Poe, Twain, and Plato all wrote and in their own way they have all changed the world and the way people think about it. Whether through humor, sarcasm or just telling it like it is all of them have made an impact that is still respected to this day. That is power. The power to teach, to provide entertainment and to make people reconsider that which they thought they knew. Yes these things exist on the Internet, they exist in the speeches that have been given throughout history but they live on in books for generations to discover and rediscover. Alright I could go on and on about books but I will move on to the next topic.

Number 8, handmade things. There is a sincerity that is created by actually making something. Taking your time to create and bring to life an idea is irreplaceable and an entirely different entity than just going to a store and buy it. From clothes, food and accessories, to cards, handwritten notes, and blankets, there is a charm and an extra step of care that goes into making something for someone else. The feeling one gets from receiving something handmade, or if you are making the project for yourself finishing the project, is unlike any other. There is a sense of accomplishment or of feeling a sense of love or caring that has gone into that gift that you now have. I think that makes sense. In today's world where so much of stuff is prepackage and the personal touch is removed getting something, or making something by hand, actually doing it instead of just buying it pre-assembled is a really awesome feeling.

Number 7, evil. Now you're probably wondering why I chose to put evil on the list instead of evil and good, or just good. Most people prefer good to evil and most expect them to come as a pair. And while I do believe that they are important in the pair, I think that evil is the more important of the two. In my way of thinking if there wasn't evil we would have no concept of good. If all we knew was good, it wouldn't seem so good anymore. This would be a large problem. I also think that evil is important because it is the opposite of what most of us strive for in life and as long as you know what you are striving not to be, you can better understand what you are and what you are trying to be. Evil to that respect is always better than good. However again I say, where would evil be without good and where would good be without evil, which is why good ended up as a runner up.

Number 6, art. When I say art I mean many, many different forms or art. Not necessarily the art where people throw together random items and try to give them meaning, but art such as painting and sculpture, photography and ceramics. Art is a record of humanity and the wealth or poverty of a country or period of time. It is a record of the capabilities of the society in which the people live. Art is a record of what and or who is important to the age. Art is also a form of self expression that allows for people to have a creative outlet to show what they are feeling or experiencing at the time. A snapshot into a persons reality. Whether you create, enjoy or analyze art it is unavoidable and frankly who would want to completely avoid art. Life would be boring and uncolorful along with relatively unexpressive. Art contributes to the design of buildings and houses along with just being able to hang it on your wall or look at it in a museum.

Number 5, nature. Being outside and enjoying what there is on this planet is too important to waste. The beauty that is out there to be seen is too much to be missed. I don't have a lot more to say other than, while city growth is important, preserving nature is also important. So go outside and enjoy the sites.

It's a little more than halfway and I'm thinking I may have to stop here for the night because it's getting late and I have work tomorrow. So unfortunately I am going to have to leave it here and finish it up tomorrow and hopefully get the rest of my list of discussion items discussed. I'll work on it and we'll see where it goes tomorrow.

Me Manifesto - Part 3 (Harry Potter and Other Phenomenon)

Section V - Harry Potter
Ah yes, the finale - part 3. Luckily for you, this will be the shortest of these psycho babbling. So as I'm sure most you know already, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out in theaters and I'm pretty sure most of you have seen it already. As a bonus, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, the final book is released this Saturday! What a crazy phenomenon this all has turned out to be. So I've begun reading the books - they are really light reading as I'm sure you fans already know, I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in about 26 hours and I've obviously begun ...and the Chamber of Secrets (although my progressed may be slowed a bit as I bought the Simpsons' Season 5 on DVD today). At any rate, I kind of wanted to talk about Harry Potter for a bit because I think it's an interesting topic, if only for it's wonderful use of mythology and good timing with proper target marketing. I don't have much of an opinion quite yet (actually, I do, but don't feel I'm authorized to share it as I've barely read much at all in the grand scheme of things). What are you opinions? Thoughts? Etc...discuss.

Section IV - the mystery spot, if you will. So I've been thinking, mostly about Harry Potter, and then - how easy is it to write a story? Any story really, how easy is it? And thus - with that thought, I've started another blog (I'm sick, I know) - a private one for us, well, for anyone interested and wants to write...but I don't just want to write, I don't want to waste time posting stupid poems (been there, done that - you all suffered because of it), but I want to start a project and despite me loathing them in school, I'd like it to be a group project. I think we can write something, I want to write something and I wouldn't be surprised if you did too. I want to create a world like Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, the aforementioned Rawlings, hell - even George Lucas. I want to create a universe and write some epic story about this world. It's simple enough, really, if you break it down and take all the fun out of it - let's quick review story archetypes.
The Greeks had two and basically these principles stand up even today - COMEDY and DRAMA, or in layman's terms, the good guys win and the bad guys win, respectively.
Next, the standard seven we (or at least I) learned in 10th grade - man vs. (1) nature, (2) man, (3) environment, (4) technology, (5) the supernatural, (6) self, (7) and God.
Finally, we can break it down into individual story arcs - there are 20 basic guidelines for these
1. Quest
2. Adventure
3. Pursuit
4. Rescue
5. Escape
6. Revenge
7. The Riddle
8. Rivalry
9. Underdog
10. Temptation
11. Metamorphosis
12. Transformation
13. Maturation
14. Love
15. Forbidden Love
16. Sacrifice
17. Discovery
18. Wretched Excess
19. Ascension
20. Descension

Now obviously, at this point - you all think I'm crazy, I want to write one epic novel containing twenty character story's, plus seven plots with two combative underlining themes? Hell no - that's ridiculous. What I want to do is create a world and through the course of 5 books I want to run through five of those plots, alternate themes and include those twenty character lines. Think about it - it's just crazy enough to work, right? For example -
Novel 1 - comedy, man vs. environment - it would make sense for our hero to break free of him own setting prior to concurring the world. Oh, by the way, I've decided on the hero's journey for our overall mission - traveling is just an easy narrative and symbolically can be used in many ways.
Novel 2 - drama, man vs. nature - a new world is a scary place, am I right?
Novel 3 - comedy, man vs. technology - honestly, I'm not quite sure where to go with this one, but that's why I'm recruiting you, my imagination is expansive, but pretty much a dry wasteland with the occasional oasis
Novel 4 - drama, man vs. man - this is obviously where the antagonist who we have been establishing throughout the previous three books really comes to life and, since it is a drama, probably wins (this time)
Novel 5 - comedy, man vs. self - ah yes, that pesky character flaw all good heroes have, pretty much a necessity if you ask me, and here the hero finally reaches his destination, defeats his flaw and the antagonist all in one easy climatic moment.
I think the key though is not to make any one of the novels a story within the story - they have to be able to stand alone as interesting pieces to a puzzle - now as for the twenty character lines (all of which I have no hopes of using) fit in as we introduce characters, perhaps sometimes they are used a simple back stories or little side trials on the greater journey. Obviously, every good journey needs a group of characters to work together to reach the goal (just like this particular epic needs a group of wannabes to write anything good). Now obviously I don't expect you all to be as enthusiastic as I am about all this, and frankly I don't expect many of you to join me, but I figure it's something to do - something to occupy my mind when not working, or reading, or...okay - I'll only think about while walking the dog or sleeping, but that's not the point, the point is that it's something to think about. Now I also don't expect to just jump in and write a novel - that would be ridiculous to think we could achieve so we should probably start with a few simple short stories, written somewhat together and we can see where we go from there. I've already started one, so if you are interested just say so and I'll add you as an author to that blog and we can see where this takes us. Also, on a side note referring to section 4 - writing a published work is on my life list, among many other things which I haven't even begun with.

That concludes me manifesto (for now). Ta.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Me Manifesto - Part 2 (The Two Towers)

Section 3: My Favorite Things (a comeback of sorts)
Prior to jumping into my explanations, I feel I must first amend my list slightly. Nothing is changing severly, moreso I'm just going to specify more where I need it and possibly add a detail or two as I see fit. So without further delay, my list (version 1.2)

1. Music

2. Water and Time (I'll explain when I get there)

3. Man over Nature

4. Architecture/Engineering

5. Family Life

6. The Simpsons

7. Words/Language/Mythology

8. Mathematics

9. Weather

10. Animals/Evolution

11. Roller Coasters

12. Bowling

Honorable Mentions: Lists, Philosophy and Google

Alright, now that we have that squared away, let's discuss, shall we? I think music is my obvious number one simply because it consumes most of my life. I insist on listening to music as much as possible, I've never been to a concert that didn't lighten my spirit and simply put, I've built my life around my music. It is the only art I know of that encompasses my entire being in its experience. I know I had a lot to say about my number one album and movie, but I don't think I can add anything to this as it would be like defining the word "the" without using the word "the" - I can't do it because music is a part of my being.

Now for what will likely be the longest explanation of everything, more than likely this will actually be longer than most of my others combined. Now in my original list I just had water, defined as "including, but not limited to; rivers, rapids, erosion, waterfalls, fountains, lighthouses and catamarans." Now I have decided that this shall be Water and Time. Wow, Nathan, that's a pretty big jump - those are two completely unrelated concepts, how can they be lumped into the same category when you seperated Google and lists from words/language? Simple - it's all in how my mind works. You see, I've been thinking about why I love water and the things I love about water, and I think the most fascinating thing about water's a destructive force. Nothing can stand up to water in the long run and this is where my mind made the connection - time is just as destructive and often they work together to bring something down. This is how water and time are related. Now I shall discuss just solely water, and then how time relates into all of that.

When I first think of water I think of a river, this river in mind has many rapids and at the same time, many calm areas where a leaf falling disrupts the reflection of the crystal clear sky. There is probably a waterfall or two, lots of forks and bend, tributaries joining it and dams slowing it down. I have a river in my mind, hopefully someday I will be able to construct it on my massive bit of land (which, if I can afford to build a river, I no doubt will own). I like all of these things for one reason, they are beautiful. At the same time, they are all very different - the same river, the water flowing downstream and we have all these different features, all these different facets to this same body of water. It's the river's personality and you can't judge it by just one bend because who knows what it's like downstream or upstream, or even during the rainy season? It's this constant change, this constant curiosity that makes up the water's personality and why I find it so fascinating, because it's deep, and not necessarily in the traditional sense. This same thought process leads me to erosion, the aforementioned destructive nature of the beast. Even a slow moving, calm creek will eventually dig out the grand canyon under the right circumstances and this is ever more entrancing than the faces of a river. How can something so pleasant, so peaceful, so relaxing be so destructive? Water gives life, and yet at the same time it can move mountains and create valleys! It can destroy cities (RIP New Orleans) and it can hide the past (RIP Atlantis), it is the ultimate force on this planet. Bonus it expands when frozen, how cool is that? The final things I mentioned when I first listed water were "fountains, lighthouses and catamarans." Fountains, I think, interest me because they are harnessing the power of water for nothing practical, simply it's beauty. Yes, it may seem shallow, but with all the mythology surrounding fountains, can you blame me? This is the ultimate force on this planet, like I said, and here we are carelessly hurling it into the air only to watch it fall magically back down into a constant pool. It seems frivolous and perhaps it is, but fountains are one of my measures of man, it is one of the powers that make us great (this could be my engineer coming out, but we'll get to that later). Next we have lighthouses, and this is again having to do with our attempts to control the vicious mistress as she is. These devices are by no means a fail safe but rather a guide to understanding this mystery of water. Unlike fountains they are practical in every way in that they have one task and even today, are extremely useful. They also work as reminders of the dangers of water, they give us one more reason to respect it and honestly, they are a sort of tribute to the power of the sea. My final item was the catamaran, which in reality I suppose I could have just listed boat and called it good because quite frankly, it's the vessel that interests me, not necessarily the design. I did however mention catamaran specifically because it is the most intriguing vessel on the open water. Perhaps it's the ability to stand fearlessly over the water, perhaps it's just another way we can prove our worth to our most vicious foe. Maybe it just looks cool. I'm going with that.
Now where, oh where am I going with this now? How am I going to connect all that big talk about water with time? I'm must be crazy! Alright, so stay with me now, let's start with the river again. Now, picture your life as, well - a river. Now you start at a spring up in some mountain or something, come to think of it - the similarities between a fountain and a spring are astounding. Anyways, moving on - so we have established the 'fountain' in time being represented by birth and we have our river as our lives flowing towards the great sea of death. Wow - that was kind of dark. Now obviously at times our lives flow by faster than we would like and other times it lulls to a near stop. I suppose we could find a similar event to a waterfall, I know I can find an equivalent of tributaries, obviously it's people moving in and out of our lives...sometimes we are huge bodies of water streaming down towards a common goal and other times we are but a tiny little creek, more than likely completely ignored by anything and everyone - these are when we are most surrounded by those whom love us and when we are completely alone, respectively. You see where I'm getting my connection? Waterfalls, I suppose, would be the hardest feature that I could find a metaphor of, perhaps 'taking the plunge' as it were, so marriage? Major life changing decisions? Those completely alter the course of our travels through life, so I suppose that makes sense, right? And now that only leaves two more artifacts to bring up - lighthouses and catamarans. When trying to control time, I can't help but think of something that's always been with me - my watch. A watch, like a lighthouse is simply a guide, a shining light through the storm leading us to wherever we need to be. It doesn't stop time, it doesn't control time, but it helps steer us through it safely, keeping us afloat whenever we need it to. Finally the catamaran, or any vessel for this moment as obviously no time travel machine as yet exists (to my knowledge, although I'm sure I can find some shady eBay auctions that beg to differ) and the vessel remains just as fascinating to me, if not moreso in that it requires my mind to leave my known limits of reality. The final similarity between the two, and the first connection that I made, is the power of destruction. Time has destroyed so much and yet, just like water, created so much in the same way. Time and water truly are the two most destructive and creative forces known to man and I beg anyone to show me a more dangerous foe than these.
Bonus point - three words: Fountain of Youth. These two, as concepts, are as intertwined as Forrest and Jenny.

Moving on - Man Over Nature, harnessing that wild power I just talking about. Now in my original post I mention windmills, watermills, dams used for hydroelectric power and solar power. Now it would be easy to kind of cop out and save me some time and just say that using these things to help reduce our emission of greenhouse gases into the environment, but quite frankly - that's not why I love these things. What I love about these are right there in my title, it's us conquering nature. In the end, nature will always be able to defeat us, but for the time being, occasionally, we are in control and it's when we are using these. We can't stop a river from flowing (okay - we can, dams) but we can't completely stop the flow of water, but we can harness it for our own needs. We can't stop the wind (I don't know why we would want to, but you get the idea) but we can use it for whatever we need. The sun is always going to pound down on Earth and you know what, we can use that! Why simply let it heat our planet, let's get the most for what we're given and take advantage of everything given us...that's plain and simple resourcefulness, a necessity for survival in any ecosystem. Solar power in particular really interests me because it is reaching the point where it is so cheap that it can effectively replace shingles for roofing and if every house in America had them, we could close every power plant without fear of roaming blackouts or, honestly, even minor power outages as the whole system would be completely decentralized it would be nearly impossible for the system to go down entirely. That's power.
Next I have architecture and engineering. Originally I had included landscaping, although only because of a view aesthetic things I find visually attractive, although none of them are in any way practical (most everything I love is in some way) and if they didn't exist, I wouldn't miss them but they do so I have a liking towards them. What I do love about architecture and engineering is the modern era - skyscrapers and super highways in particular. I suppose I have always been interested in building from my childhood surrounded by Lego's (still have them all too) to my photograph collection of roller coasters and other engineering marvels where it is clear the simplicity in defying gravity and simultaneously show a smooth and graceful facade to the world. Skyscrapers particularly achieve this with great presence and they bring to my mind, at least, the greatest of human achievements. Think about it - the world wonders; the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge - all of these things, the things that we consider the greatest human accomplishments? These are engineering feats for their time and we have no choice but to just be blown away by their presence that men...mere men, were able to construct these - the same goes for skyscrapers in the modern era, we are merely men but look what we can create. Bonus - I had these thoughts well before reading The Fountainhead but the book really backed up what I already thought.
So I was walking the dog, now we occasionally go on long almost marathon walks - a good four/five hours round trip and I love it. It's the perfect time for me to gather my thoughts since being married I don't normally get as much time to myself as I'm used to nor what I feel I truly need to keep my sanity. These walks are always so calming, so peaceful, so relaxing that going for an hour daily seems like nothing since it's such a stress relieving experience that I don't know how I got by without it prior. Then again, there are a lot of new things in my life that I don't know how I got by without. Honestly, when I think of my life before Tori, I get bored - I didn't do anything, I didn't want to do anything, and while sometimes I yearn for those late nights of freedom and irresponsibility, those days of sleeping and the false lack of ambition to keep me satisfied in what was otherwise a thankless position, but who wants that life when now I know there is so much better? Now we have decided to wait until she is 25 (2010) to begin a family proper with children and what have you, and I really want to wait knowing that currently we are not financially secure enough as of right now, I'm probably not as mature as I should be come time to care for another living being, and also we have a few more plans (like finishing school, visiting Vegas) that we would like to be able to do prior to committing our lives to the next generation. With all these things we are waiting on, frankly, I want to start today - I want to have a family and I can't even truly explain why. Perhaps its that desire for domestication to the extreme, maybe it's just in my head, but I don't think anything will come close to that moment when you realize, not only you successfully raised a child, but raised them so that they could raise their own kids right. I know it's a long time until that payoff, but if I realize I have one successful grandchild, I will die happy.
Sixth on my list is the Simpsons and if I truly have to explain how much this family means to me, how much they part of me growing up and how much they effect everything else in my life than, well - we'll be here even longer because their effect on me as a person is more than likely similar to the chicken or egg debate - am I the way I am because of love the Simpsons or do I love the Simpsons because of who I am? In the end, it doesn't matter, that four-fingered five-some and all of their zany characters in Springfield make up a universe that reflects my own view of our society much more than any animated series should be able to.

INTERMISSION - half way through my favorite things, tired yet?

Yeah - we have opposable thumbs, yeah we created fire, but you know what really separates us from the animals? Our complex method of communication. There are a lot of species that are able to communicate, if only with grunts and clicks or simply by body language, whereas humans have created not only one, but literally an infinite amount of languages and dialects to communicate with each other, and each one of these languages contain an infinite amount of words. A little over the top, but completely necessary for us to live the lives we live today. What I find most interesting is, well, words - the evolution of words, how we went from Latin and even pre-Latin to everything we have now, how words have origins here and there and now we are here with what they are. Words evolved much like animals have - survival of the fittest, or survival of the most efficient, the most effective way of communicating a certain emotion, or event or want - those are the words we use today and even now we are changing and getting ready of words we no longer use. It's just amazing how we can visualize that in just the recent past. Continuing on this thought process we have the invention of mythology - those stories meant to make us laugh, scare us into behaving, or just giving us a thrill, nothing on this planet could quite achieve that so we felt the need to throw in crazy superstitions like vampires, werewolves, wicked sea creatures - things we didn't understand at the time were labeled as monsters, dragons and dangers, and we told stories upon stories about them - the superstitions and the difference between luck and fate. Storytelling is another element of human life I just adore, probably moreso than the words themselves, but it's all interrelated as far as I can tell. I'm going to get back to all of this in section 6 so I shall not ramble on about it now.
Next, we have my inevitable math, my strongest area if you will. I love and not only because I'm good at it but because it is a set structure of concepts built upon simple, tried and true principles. There is always one right answer, and it always follows rules that have been proven to work every time - math is really like a skyscraper, on the ground floor we have all those simple little principles we learned in grades one through three and as we move on we continue adding on until our math tower is the only thing we can see on the skyline of our minds, a commanding tower of truth protruding over everything else we know. Math is awesome - learn as much of it as possible, I should have majored in it, and I can't wait to help my kids with it (although I have hunch that they will be just as good though).
Weather is an event (notice my lack of transitions? How lazy can I be?) that just impresses me can it be 80 again today when it was 70 with thunderstorms yesterday? And does anything beat that feeling in the air right before a storm? Or the view of the clouds overhead with a gorgeous sunset on the horizon? Weather is just one of those things that is so complex, so hard to understand I doubt we have even scratched the surface, really, of what's happening in the environment. It's not an exact science - yet - because nobody honestly what is going on - now that is cool!
Animals and evolution, I think, stands on it own as fascinating because - it makes so much sense, and simultaneously, so easy to see how it was ignored (and occasionally called blasphemy) because how are we going to prove that dinosaurs are now birds? It took millions and millions of years to make that transition - it's a mystery, really.
Roller coasters - we are just banging them out now, aren't we - I love roller coasters for reasons I don't quite understand it, really, I suppose it's the adrenaline rush? The freedom? Controlled danger? I don't know - all I know is every year I go to Cedar Point, every year I try to plan a vacation around a new park I've never been to. Every year, I ride and I love it. I pity the non-riders.
Finally we have bowling, a true gentleman's sport and one that I'm good at. It's not boring like golf, it doesn't require two people like tennis, it has a definitive 'perfect score', my whole family bowls and honestly I'm not that bad. I used to bowl four days a week and now I'm lucky to fit in three games a month due to time and money constraints, I cannot express enough my love of heading to the bowling alley, putting on my shoes, and throwing a perfect strike - this is my stress relief if life ever gets to me - in case you were wondering how I stay so cool and collected - that's how.
Now my runner-ups...I list 'lists' because I organize most of my life by them, but they don't really serve any practical purpose other than easily remembering what I like and dislike (harder than it seems), it makes it easy for me to tell people things if they are in a bullet-list, it's just the way my mind works, I suppose - in lists. This discussion will more than likely be all about building lists over and over again (if you haven't noticed that trend already).
Philosophy, I think, doesn't make the list because it isn't an exact science and never will be - unlike math, there is never one right answer...hell, there is rarely an answer to begin with, unlike weather, it is unlikely we will ever truly understand it. All of this and I think philosophy is a bit too, all encompassing? I like religion and I like learning about the universe and I like learning about human relations and human reactions and all of these things - but they are all individual thoughts, not one giant concept to be collected into our beings, how we are supposed to live - that shouldn't be found in a book, or told to us, we just do and if it feels right, we carry on as such. Just my opinion.
Finally we have Google, however before I include Google, let me explain why I exclude what most people would probably have me expected to include - computers, or computer games, or the Internet. All of these things are all well and good and (sadly) a large part of my life, but I think I would be fine without them if I had to, where as Google and it's mission is, well, notable if nothing else. Google and it's plan to supply information - today's currency, is something of a admirable undertaking and anyone who thinks it is too in depth or too invading then they are seeing the bigger picture - Google and their world view is the future, it's inevitable. We will thank them someday.
So there you have it - my list of favorite things and why, I bet that took a lot out of you, huh?

Section 4: Life Lists
This should be short and sweet as I'm sure you feel I've written quite enough already. To my understanding, a life list is simply a list of things you would like to accomplish prior to your death. It doesn't matter how many you list or whatever, as long as you feel it's complete (I guess most are over 100), but no rush on this one - I've got bigger ideas, just something to think about and work on. Sections 5 and 6 eventually, this one took me awhile (obviously) and it might be awhile. Ta.