Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Tomorrow, in a few minutes, we'll be living in a new year.

I never make resolutions, unless my parents insist, and then I don't take the resolutions very seriously. I don't understand the point. In my experience, if you want to change your life, you have to start today, this very instant, exactly when you decide you want those changes. Otherwise, it never happens. If you say you'll make those changes this year or next year, you'll procrastinate because you think you have all year. If you say you'll make those changes tomorrow -- whether tomorrow is a new year or not -- it will always be "tomorrow" that you plan to make them. Today is the only day that ever arrives.
I haven't been on top of my life for a long time. I want to make changes and do what I love and be what I'd love to be, but it never happens. When I work up the guts to start changing, it will happen. But a new year won't give me the guts I need. That's how I see it, but I suppose some people actually feel different in the new year.

Not me. New Year's Day always feels like Old Year's Day, just another in a long line of dull pearls. In reality, that's all it is. However, maybe it's the mentality that counts. If you THINK the new year will be different, maybe it will. That would be nice.

2010 hasn't been the best year for me. I miserably failed one of my last high school classes (which is why I currently doubt that I can take any class successfully), spent the other classes half asleep (even though they were subjects I normally love), lost my best friend (she was a cat, but still -- my best friend), apparently lost my love for the County Fair (usually the highlight of my summer), and only lasted two weeks at my first job (at McDonalds no less, and if I can't do that, what can I do?).

Overall, I've come to realize I have no skills with which to survive in the world. Writing is the only thing I love and know how to do. I'd get a job in writing if not for the fact that I'm really not very good, and the fact that it's nearly impossible to get fiction published. It's probably also hard to get a job in journalism, and you probably can't write about what you want, and I gather that the journalism world is almost as cutthroat as showbiz. (I haven't done much research on this, though. Perhaps I should do more.) Besides, I don't want to just write about great changes and fantastic experiences. I want to MAKE them and EXPERIENCE them in the real and physical world. I could do that with engineering. If I can even engineer. See, I've put myself on a path towards such a career, having been accepted to schools of technology and engineering. I, however, know little about being an engineer. I hate math, I'm not crazy about science, I don't work well on a team, I'll probably be terrible at engineering, but I don't know what else to do. I admire engineers, and it would be amazing if I could do what they do, and they don't have to worry about money.

For months now, I've been living off my parents without doing any school, and I understand it's important to them that I'm in school as long as I live under their roof and don't work a job. And it's scary to me because my parents think -- rightly enough -- that everyone should stand on their own two feet, and I don't know how much longer they'll put up with me or what they'll do when they've had enough. I don't want to put off picking a career any longer than I already have. I also don't know how they'll react if I take a year in engineering, waste their money, decide I just can't do it, and apply to some other school and some other career if I have to courage to do anything at all. I don't know how deep their patience runs.

(I hate to sound this whiny. I really do. But I'm just telling it like it is. I'm a wimp. And a whiner. And I don't have time to tone down the whining because I have to get this published before midnight.)

It's been like this all year. I wish I'd been one of those kids who knew right from the start what they wanted to be when they grew up. I had absolutely no idea -- and I mean that very literally -- until a few months ago when I picked engineering. I don't even really want that. Sometimes, even now, I wonder what I'm going to do with my life, and engineering never pops into my head. Other times, I think about it for quite a while before I remember, "Wait, I did pick something, didn't I? Oh, yeah. Engineering."

Basically, lately, I have no idea what on earth I'm doing.

It's all very uncertain.

I hope it changes next year. At least the uncertainty. It seems, for me, most years have been no better or worse than the others. Just different. Different troubles, and different triumphs. 2010 brought good experiences as well as bad. For example, I started this blog. And I feel a lot more secure for having divulged many secrets without the roof caving on my head under the weight of a million motorcycles, as I'd always imagined it would. I got a new cat. Several actually. I saw movies and read books...

Unfortunately, I always focus on the bad stuff.

Whatever happens, even if the New Year doesn't bring an end to the uncertainty, blessings will come. I probably won't recognize them, but they will come.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to spread some Christmas cheer. I don't have any ideas for this post.

But you know, something just hit me.

I've always wondered why we celebrate Christmas with joy but recognize Good Friday with sorrow. I mean, I KNOW why we sorrowfully recognize Good Friday. It's when we remember the Crucifixion. But that was coming from the moment Jesus was born, and yet we celebrate His birth because it showed how much He loved us. He loved us so much He took a fragile human form along with the rest of us, at the mercy of the world, to suffer and die. But Good Friday showed that just as much, if not more. Okay, again, I KNOW it would be inappropriate and cruel to celebrate a crucifixion, especially on the anniversary of the day it happened. And maybe that's the only difference: time. We celebrate Christ's birth because of subsequent years He had BEFORE his death, years He had at least some happiness, years He taught and comforted people while physically amongst them. That's surely worth celebrating. (I've always understood why we celebrate Easter, the end of Jesus' death, the beginning of His life with no coming death.)

Furthermore, they've written many songs and many sermons on the subject, but I only truly got it recently. Out of all the places, all the palaces, Jesus could have been born in, He was born in a stable. Not even the measly inn nearby. And Jesus was born, well, a baby. A POOR baby in a barn with a price on His head. People are at their smallest and weakest as babies. Like any child, Jesus was truly helpless. Herod wanted to murder Him, and he would have, if Joseph and Mary hadn't taken Jesus into exile in Egypt. I know how it feels to be small, helpless, and outcast. Not nearly as well as He knew, but on a minuscule scale. We live in a world that exalts the strong, powerful, beautiful, accepted, magnetic, and dominant. Jesus counteracted all that with the way he came into the world. It was a tribute to all the "useless" people. God obviously values the little people, and I'm glad. So do I. Christmas is a celebration of the lowly, the weak, the outcast, the impoverished, and the small.

Take that big, powerful, rich snobs! Baby Jesus was one of us! (But, Minnie, you went shopping today and spent over- SHHH! Ahem.) Go, little people! Christmas is your day! Celebrate the famousest of hobbits- I mean little people: the Baby Jesus! Celebrate the life created specifically to show us how loved we are! Celebrate the 33 years Jesus loved and helped us in ways He didn't before and hasn't since but will again soon!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Perversion at the Airport

You may know that, a month or two ago, the TSA enacted new security measures: the Naked Scanners and the pat-downs. Can you say "wrong" in every language of the world?

Let's start with the Naked Scanners, which basically show you naked to complete strangers and may also poison you.

Shall we?

I don't think nudity is inherently wrong. Those people in Africa who go around naked because it's hot and they're poor and it's their culture and their equally-naked neighbors won't drool over them for it? They're not doing anything wrong. Even American nudists aren't necessarily doing anything wrong. In fact, they have a right to be Nudists if they want. God made us naked, we were born naked, it's our natural state. But in a Western society like the US, nakedness is almost exclusively associated with sex in anyone over the age of 10. It just is. And clothes are associated with decency, dignity, and class. They just are. They have been for thousands of years, and it's not going to change any time soon. It certainly won't change the second a person sets foot in an airport. If that person is wearing clothes, odds are they perceive nudity and clothing in the ways I stated before. Can the government rightly strip that person of what they consider their dignity and expose what they consider their sexuality? No! It's cruel. That person probably views clothes as psychologically comforting and nudity as humiliating. As they scan that person, the CLOTHED TSA worker probably views it the same way: clothes are a security blanket and nudity is erotic. Can the government rightly grant the TSA the authority to look at a person like they're a porn star? No! Even if the TSA worker is grossed out or sympathetic to the stripped person, it's because that person has been exposed, and it's altogether possible the TSA worker is a pervert who will milk the person's exposure for all the titillation it's worth. No hack government worker looks at a naked person objectively like a trained doctor (hopefully) looks at them.

Now, let's move on to the pat-downs. Unlike with nudity, there's no question of culture. It's pretty unanimous. When people touch each other's genitals, it's sexual activity through and through. And it's wrong to force such touching on someone. Namely, complete strangers at the AIRPORT. (I'm not talking about parents changing their babies' diapers, or again, doctors doing what they do.) Can the government rightly force sexual acts on a person? No! That's molestation! And wrong in every possible way.

I saw a story about a man who underwent a pat-down and was left covered in his urine because he has a medical condition or something that directs his urine to a pouch in his stomach with a sort of cork in it. A TSA worker knocked the cork out, didn't apologize, and sent the man on his way. There was a big to-do about that. The TSA chief apologized to the man, who said it was his "worst nightmare" and humiliating. (The man's daughter pleaded with the TSA workers to do their job. "We all want you to do your job." She wants to be safe when she travels with her son, but she wants the TSA workers to do their with some "human compassion." Um, sorry. You can't molest people with human compassion. It's just not possible.) Well, a lot of people consider it just as humiliating to be molested or seen naked. A lot of people consider it their worst nightmare. A lot of people consider it their worst nightmare that it might happen to their KIDS. A lot of people would probably RATHER be soaked in urine than molested. I don't think the TSA workers apologized to those people either, and I'm CERTAIN the TSA chief didn't. Why did the urine-soaked man get an apology for something no more humiliating or traumatizing than what the other people had to go through? Because it wasn't an official part of the security process. That's all.

I can see a future where it IS an official part of process to soak people in urine, and THEN they won't apologize for that either. The government will concoct some bogus reason such as how you could store explosives in your system and let them build up in your urine till you used the restroom. They'll make everyone who wants to fly get a urine-pouch like that man's, and an hour before you get on the plane, you'll be required let your urine flow out onto your clothes. And even the chief won't apologize for it. "What?" you say. "Urine-soaked airplane travelers? Unthinkable!" That's what I would have told YOU about the airport screenings and pat-downs. Before they actually happened.

And why would they do this? This urine-soaking-- I mean, screenings and pat-downs? They want to prevent something like the underwear bomber of last Christmas. First of all, it probably won't work. I've read lots of comments on how it can fail. Secondly, I suppose it's out of the question to train security to watch the passengers for someone lighting himself on fire. As is keeping an eye on someone who buys his ticket with cash, has no passport, spends 20 minutes in the airplane bathroom, and suspiciously covers himself with a blanket when he comes back out. Instead, they sexually harass ordinary people in the airport. Well, they know what they're doing. . . (That was sarcasm.) Thirdly, look how the underwear bomber incident turned out. It was okay! There was no big explosion, another PASSENGER subdued the bomber, and no one but the bomber got hurt. It wasn't even airport security, wasn't even the government that took out the bomber. (Well, flight attendants helped put out the fire, but they don't count, do they?) I'm sure that makes them just livid, knowing we didn't need them to save us. With that in mind, it sounds like revenge against us common folk for them to feel inside people's underwear.

Airplanes were bombed in the previous century too. And other places are bombed, not just airplanes. Yet, somehow, the US still stands. It's BEEN standing for a couple centuries now, without the government molesting people. Nevertheless, they now feel in their kindly hearts that they need to sexually harass the American people for our own good. In years to come, I see them ordering you not to wear clothes when it's warm enough to avoid hypothermia, making the walls of all restrooms see-through so you don't have the privacy to scheme against them, patting you down and dissecting you at the doors of Walmart, and politely ordering you to have your fingers removed before boarding a plane so you can't pull a trigger. All in the name of "security."

Even then, I'm sure a few little people will cry out that the government is their friend, the government is protecting them, the government should do more against the terrorists. Because the terrorists will keep finding ways.

That's true. Terrorists will keep finding ways. No matter what anyone does, people can't protect themselves from everything all the time and terrorists will keep finding cracks in the defense systems. You have the right to try and be safe, but at a certain point, you have to live, trust God, and stop trying so frantically to save yourself that you commit heinous wrongs. The TSA measures are wrong. Touching children is wrong. Humiliating and psychologically breaking people is wrong. Soaking people in urine is wrong. Cutting off their fingers is wrong.

Lots of people are outraged about the TSA measures, but the few that aren't seem to get more press, which really bugs me. (That and National Opt-out day failed.) A few people easily prefer sexual assault to death, likely because sexual immorality (adultery, casual dating, etc.) is such a part of their lives already (and such a famous part of our culture because they're so loud and noticeable). I try not to force my beliefs on such people because I know it will only make me look self-righteous and won't convince them of my points. But when THEY try to force their beliefs on ME, when they force (or encourage forcing) people to submit to molestation rather than die when those people would rather have it the other way around, when they expect me to put my life before my morals and dignity and beliefs and psychological health and feelings and freedom from oppression...When they do that, I start to hate them.

The Gladly Molested are probably perverts who like being touched or cowards who are that afraid of death. Do they expect sexual assault by the TSA will keep them safe from death? It may or may not. Probably won't. But if it does, do they realize they'll be safe from death but prey to sexual assault? Do they realize the government probably won't stop there? Do they realize they'll be safe from death but prey to everything else?

Why are they so afraid to die?

Because they're making such a difference in the world? They're letting, perhaps encouraging, complete strangers to abuse them.

Because they're afraid to, what, go to hell? They're on the fast track to LIVING in hell.

This is not the way our founding fathers wanted it, people! In the immortal words of a great American patriot whose name I can't remember (JK, Patrick Henry), "Give me liberty or give me death!" It's not liberty to be legally molested by government workers. I'd rather be illegally killed by terrorists. Literally.

Believe it or not, some things are more important than your life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ashley Tisdale

I'm sorry I haven't posted in two whole weeks. Blog ideas kept popping up, and I couldn't pick one. Then there was Thanksgiving. I can't comprehend how time zipped from Halloween to Thanksgiving without being seen. Time is an expert in covert operations.

Finally, out of all the emotions I've had and the happenings in my life and the perverted US government meddling in the airports, I've chosen a simple topic.

Ashley Tisdale is an actress-singer most famous for her role as Sharpay in High School Musical. I know people who hate her because she got her start in Disney. I, being perfect, don't judge people in such a fashion. I judge their work by their work. I thought she was an adequate comedic actress in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, even though the show was terrible. (And I watched it anyway! Just like all the other Disney shows, just because I was bored. I was such an unindustrious child. But that's another post.) I also thought she was an adequate singer, albeit annoyingly high-pitched, in HSM, even though the movie was no better than any other Disney Channel movie. (I thought the HSM choreography and songs were delightful, though. I love musicals. Love people breaking into song and dance. Wouldn't it be fun if people could do that in real life?) However, I didn't really like Ashley until her first album came out. After that, I appreciated other aspects of her personality. She's not pretty. Well, she is for a normal person but not for an actress. Nevertheless, she seems perfectly confident. She DOESN'T seem arrogant. In all her interviews, she seems friendly and sweet.

Concering her music, I loved her first album, Headstrong, primarily because it was fast, upbeat, and fun. I despise (most) slow pop songs, and when Ashley's album debuted, I had extreme trouble finding anything BUT slow songs. (I still have that problem but not as extremely.) Ashley's album was a sweet, wintery breath of mountain air. I liked the variety of sounds in Headstrong. When I hear of bands "finding their sound," I wonder why they would choose to make themselves boring by using just one sound. Avoiding such a problem, Headstrong had an Arabic pop sound in one song, a -- I dunno what you'd call it -- bongo sound in another, a robot pop sound in another, etc. I also liked that not all the songs were about love and boys. Not Like That, Positivity, Headstrong, and Suddenly were none of them about love. So Much for You is a love song but somehow seems to be about familial love (it's not of course, but I'm strange). The album contains other love/boys songs, some of them mediocre (Goin' Crazy, Don't Touch, We'll be Together), some of them dance-worthy but annoying lyric-wise (He Said She Said), and some of them quite acceptable. Unlove You pandered to me, despite being a slow balad, because I can't bear to think that true love could disappear. Over It didn't impress me music-wise, but I liked it because it was -- to quote a headline I can't really remember -- an empowering breakup song, unlike the majority of weepy breakup songs. And THAT is part of why I liked Ashley's next album, Guilty Pleasure.

Guilty Pleasure disappointed me with its music because it seemed Ashley had "found her sound" and saturated the album with rock guitars that all sounded the same. I grew to love it, though, and learned to pick out the songs' differences. The album also disappointed me with the content of its songs because it was vastly about love and boys. I found, however, that for such songs, they're pretty enjoyable. Ashley seems to react to situations the way I would, and she sings only one song, Tell Me Lies, that really annoys me. I vaguely enjoy songs like What If, I definitely enjoy How Do You Love Someone because of the haunting melody and meaningful lyrics, and I love her non-love song, Acting Out, because of the violins and rebelliousness. As I said before, I was also hooked because she only sings angry breakup songs. Not "Boohoo I Miss You and Want You Back, Pity Me in My Beautiful Pain" breakup songs. I'm not saying I wouldn't be weepy in a breakup, but I'd also be overwhelmingly angry. It seems a lot of artists overlook that anger and make it all about despair. (Or the artists ARE the cheaters, trying to defend their actions, which is just despicable.) Not Ashley. Ashley's songs are righteously furious with appropriate amounts of sadness but not too much meanness.

What follows is her song, Whatcha Waitin' For. I love her attitude of "If a guy cheated on me, I flatout hate him." In her song, she's obviously hurt, but she doesn't wish for the guy back. This is a nice break from those pathetic songs that express love and wishes for cheaters.

I also love her attitude of "If a guy doesn't want me, I don't want him either. In fact, I stopped wanting him FIRST . . . Or I wish." In If My Life Were a Movie, she wishes that SHE had broken up with HIM, that she was more independent, that she hadn't happened to love someone who would leave her, that she was cool, thick-skinned, and not the victim . . . The song explains it best.

As far as I remember, she remains consistent in singing angry breakup songs. None of those pathetic, weepy ones. So I can enjoy her music in furious peace.

I admit she's tried to make her image edgier or something with videos for It's Alright, It's Ok and Crank it Up. And it's only made her look silly, tasteless, and tacky. I like other aspects of her image, though. I like that she isn't dating everyone in Hollywood. According to the wiki page I read weeks ago, she's been involved with, like, two guys since her rise to stardom, and she's still with the second one. That, plus the empowering songs, would seem to indicate that Ashley's mature and independent and doesn't need attention from a million guys. I also admit, however, that I don't know how many songs she actually partook in writing. Not all of them, I know that.

I have been reminded countless times that many singers don't write their songs, and it still hasn't stuck. Every time I hear a song, I assume the singer wrote it, and I'm always shocked to hear they didn't. At the same time, I'm always shocked to hear people specify that a singer writes her own songs. I'm always shocked to hear them make a big deal of it. It should be a given. That it's not annoys me terribly. I feel like I'm crediting the wrong person. It's not fair. I've been tricked, and the writer's been robbed. What, pray tell, is the POINT of being a singer if you're not spreading your own messages in your own words, especially when 99.9% of all singers have no real talent as SINGERS? When all they do is sing, singers are like keyboards. They only transfer someone else's words from one place to another.

Rant aside, I enjoy Ashley's music, and if I can't rightfully credit her for that, then I like the music for the music and Ashley for her humble friendliness.

(One of these days, I wish to pay tribute to the song known as I Will Survive, a single song that rivals all of Ashley's empowering breakup songs put together.)