Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Meme

I did this last year and thought I'd do it again. Because I feel like it which is the only reason I do anything, really. :)


1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Never done before? Then I think the only thing that counts is chasing that damn bloody chicken around the yard.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any new years' resolutions so I couldn't keep 'em and I don't plan on making any for next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes. Well, relatively close anyway. Friends, not family.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

waggles hand How close is 'close'? An old friend of the family died, but I didn't consider him particularly close. And my cat Loki died. She was close!

5. What countries did you visit?

None.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Hmmm....you know, I don't know. 2010 actually went pretty well for me.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Loki's death. My parents finding out about Baby Sis's new tattoos.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Embracing technology. I got a bluray player and Murdock the Kindle in one year. That's a lot of change for me.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Still socially awkward. I consider that a fail. But I think I'm getting better.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Strep!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Dresden Files things!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mmm...my family for dealing with Grandma. Trust me.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Grandma. But that's pretty much par for the course.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Books or my gym/trainer. I'm not sure which really.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Murdock the Kindle, The A-Team, Inception, Iron-Man 2, all things Dresden Files

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2010?


I need another story
Something to get off my chest
My life gets kinda boring
Need something that I can confess

'Til all my sleeves are stained red
From all the truth that I've said
Come by it honestly I swear
Thought you saw me wink, no
I've been on the brink, so

Tell me what you want to hear
Something that delight those ears
Sick of all the insincere
I'm gonna give all my secrets away

This time, don't need another perfect lie
Don't care if critics ever jump in line
I'm gonna give all my secrets away

My God, amazing that we got this far
It's like we're chasing all those stars
Driving shiny big black cars
And everyday I see the news
All the problems that we could solve

And when a situation rises
Just write it into an album
Sending it straight to gold
I don't really like my flow, no, so

Tell me what you want to hear
Something that delight those ears
Sick of all the insincere
I'm gonna give all my secrets away

This time, don't need another perfect lie
Don't care if critics ever jump in line
I'm gonna give all my secrets away

Oh, got no reason, got not shame
Got no family I can blame
Just don't let me disappear
I'm 'a tell you everything

So tell me what you want to hear
Something that delight those ears
Sick of all the insincere
So I'm gonna give all my secrets away

This time, don't need another perfect lie
Don't care if critics ever jump in line
I'm gonna give all my secrets away

So tell me what you want to hear
Something that delight those ears
Sick of all the insincere
So I'm gonna give all my secrets away

This time, don't need another perfect lie
Don't care if critics ever jump in line
I'm gonna give all my secrets away
All my secrets away, all my secrets away

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. Happier or sadder?

ii. Happier

iii. Thinner or fatter?

iv. THINNER

v. richer or poorer?

vi. Same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Everything.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Work. *gives work the stink eye*

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Uh. I spent it playing with Murdock the Kindle. Yeah. Oh, and snoozing to catch up from the lack of sleep due to Midnight Mass.

21. How many one-night stands?

Just the one. I'm cutting back.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Supernatural. No question.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope. One person that I hate, yadda.

24. What was the best book you read?

Good Omens.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

“This Is War” - 30 Seconds to Mars (Okay, not a “new” discovery, since I love 30 Seconds to Mars, but this way I get to include my two favorite songs from 2010 in the meme.)

A warning to the people
The good and the evil
This is war
To the soldier, the civilian
The martyr, the victim
This is war

It's the moment of truth and the moment to lie
The moment to live and the moment to die
The moment to fight, the moment to fight, to fight, to fight, to fight

To the right, to the left
We will fight to the death
To the Edge of the Earth
It's a brave new world from the last to the first

To the right, to the left
We will fight to the death
To the Edge of the Earth
It's a brave new world
It's a brave new world

A warning to the prophet, the liar, the honest
This is war
To the leader, the pariah, the victim, the messiah
This is war

It's the moment of truth and the moment to lie
The moment to live and the moment to die
The moment to fight, the moment to fight, to fight, to fight, to fight

To the right
To the left
We will fight to the death
To the edge of the earth
It's a brave new world
From the last to the first

To the right
To the left
We will fight to the death
To the edge of the earth
It's a brave new world
It's a brave new world
It's a brave new world

I do believe in the light
Raise your hands up to the sky
The fight is done
The war is won
Lift your hands
Towards the sun
Towards the sun
Towards the sun
Towards the sun
The war is won

It's the moment of truth and the moment to lie
The moment to live and the moment to die
The moment to fight, the moment to fight, to fight, to fight, to fight

To the right
To the left
We will fight to the death
To the edge of the earth
It's a brave new world
From the last to the first

To the right
To the left
We will fight to the death
To the edge of the earth
It's a brave new world
It's a brave new world
It's a brave new world

A brave new world
The war is won
The war is won
A brave new world

I believe in nothing
Not the end and not the start
I believe in nothing
Not the earth and not the stars
I believe in nothing
Not the day and not the dark
I believe in nothing
But the beating of our hearts
I believe in nothing
One hundred suns until we part
I believe in nothing
Not in satan, not in god
I believe in nothing
Not in peace and not in war
I believe in nothing
But the truth of who we are

26. What did you want and get?

Books, Murdock the Kindle, The A-Team, Inception, More Books

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

INCEPTION

28. What did you do on your birthday?

Went out with friends.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Comfy. And with added hair!

30. What kept you sane?

The people of the interwebs!

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Tom Hardy/Bradley Cooper/Liam Neeson/Sharlto Copley. It's a tie, okay?

32. What political issue stirred you the most?

Equal rights for everyone.

33. Who did you miss?

Loki

34. Who was the best new person you met?

I- I don't know that I've met any new people. This year has been surprisingly stable.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:

People are not actually judging me all the time. Really. That's just my paranoia talking. :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's Not Real Money...

I've discovered a hiccup in the whole Kindle system. At least for me.

When you buy things for the Kindle it's all '1-click-deliver to Murdock'. There's no order confirmation page or anything.

So it kind of feels like I'm not spending any money. I click and I have the book. No money involved! But there *is*...

I have to keep that in mind. Amazon has my number and they will charge me for the things that I buy.

Not that I've gone on any wild spending sprees, mind. And Amazon *does* tell you that the book costs x amount of dollars. It just doesn't feel like I'm spending money for some reason. And that's dangerous.

So I'm actually being very careful about buying things.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

10 Favorite Movie Moments

We were discussing this on lunch at work. These are my current top ten. Subject to random whims. :)

1. Princess Bride - Buttercup has been abducted, rescued, captured, rescued and abducted again. She has just found out that her latest captor is the Dread Pirate Roberts who murdered her beloved Westley years before. In her anger she shoves him over the side of a rather large hill, screaming that he can die for all she cares. As he's falling/rolling he cries out, 'As you wish!' which is what Westley always said to her. And what he meant when he said that was really, 'I love you.' Realising that she has just tried to kill her Westley she throws herself down the hill after him. They land together, reunited. (And one assumes bruised.)



2. Princess Bride - Westley has been Mostly Dead all day due to the evilness of Humperdink and his minions. He, Inigo and Fezzik have stormed the castle to rescue Buttercup, who has just been forced to marry Humperdink (and really, with a name like that his parents were just asking for him to be evil). Inigo has run off to fight the Six Fingered Man, Fezzik is elsewhere and Westley has managed to get himself into Buttercups room. She returns from her wedding believing Westley to be dead (again) and prepares to kill herself. Westley (who cannot move - from being Mostly Dead) calls out and stops her. They have a tearful reunion and then Humperdink shows up. He threatens the lovers and then Westley threatens him back, describing how he's going to cut Humperdink up but leave him alive to suffer. And then he rises, slowly....raises his sword until it's pointed straight at the camera and says: 'Drop. Your. Sword.' And Humperdink does, like a little sissy.



3. Princess Bride (shut up. I *know*.) - Inigo Montoya has spent his *entire* life hunting for the man who murdered his father. He has finally found the Six Fingered Man, dueled him and is winning. Because he's Inigo freaking Montoya, that's why!

"Offer me money."

"Yes."

"Power too. Promise me that."

"All that I have and more. Please."

"Offer me anything I ask for."

"Anything you want."

*stab**leans in close*

"I want my father back you son of a bitch."



4. Jaws - Pretty much the very end. 'Smile you son of a bitch!' Where Brody shoots the air tank and the shark explodes. Totally not realistic, and yet *awesome*.



5. Jaws - When Brody is chumming the water and bitching at Quint and Hooper, not looking at the ocean and the shark comes up behind him and then sinks back down. And then he looks back and notices and the whole, 'You're gonna need a bigger boat.' happens.



6. Inception - THE WHOLE MOVIE! ALL OF IT! *cough* But if I *must* choose a fave scene, then I'd have to say (as hard as the choice was to make) the weightless fight scene. Badass.



7. Aliens - Towards the very end of the movie. Pretty much everyone is dead and Bishop and Hicks are out of commission. They're back on the mother ship and the alien queen has Newt. Ripley gets into the exoskeletal suit and comes out fighting. 'Get away from her, you bitch!'



8. Alien - The end of the movie. Ripley thinks she's escaped, the only survivor and is actually stripping down to go into cryo sleep when she realizes that the alien has made it onto her escape pod. She has to move so quietly and slowly, get into a space suit so she can space the damn thing. Awesome scene.



9. LOTR: The Two Towers: At the siege of Fort Eorlingas, when all is dark and Theoden is ready to give up. Aragorn gets his blood going, gets him back into the fight. And Theoden's line: "Fell deeds awake. Now for wrath. Now for ruin. And the red dawn!" ROHAN! *charges about with sword*



10. LOTR: Return of the King - Eowyn's fight with the Witch King: "I am no man!" *stabbity*

Monday, December 27, 2010

Televangelists

I think I have figured out why I cannot stand these people. I don't even have to watch them to know that I don't like them. Seriously, people say 'Oh, listen to so and so. He's a great Christian and he's got his own tv show...' and I immediately stop listening. It won't ever happen. I loathe Joel Osteen and I have never listened to a full sermon of his. To be fair I loathe all of them. But Osteen's the one whose picture I see the most and every single time I must fight the urge to light his image on fire.

I think that I can't stand them because they don't live up to my expectations for missionaries. Which is basically what they are. Or at least what they want people to think that they are. I have the utmost respect for people who go out and preach the word of God. Those who go into other nations and those who preach in their own country. But those people are sacrificing for God, usually. They save up money, get donations, whatever they have to do to enable them to spend time where they're needed. It's hard and they have to work at it constantly.

Televangelists want the credit for being missionaries but they don't live the life. They have million dollar mansions and basically just way more than they need. They've turned God into their business. Bilking people out of money so that they can put in a third jacuzzi. In my mind if they were really sincere then they wouldn't be drawing such huge salaries from their companies. They would take what they need to live and be comfortable (I'm not saying they need to live in a mud hut to make me happy) and make sure that the rest goes out to charity and to people who need help.

Do their companies support charities? Sure, I believe that most of them do. But you can't tell me that there's a charity on earth that couldn't use the money these people spend on their mansions.

So yeah. Basically I'm unable to respect these people as men of God. I think they're snake oil salesmen of the modern age.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Old Forms No Longer Work

One of the recurring points that Armstrong brings up is that people who are on the verge of great change in their society or culture tend to cling to their old faiths as a reaction to the change. Basically people don't deal well with new things. It takes us a long time to adjust and to find our footing in our new worlds. We have to rewrite much of what we know so that we can continue to function.

So people at first tend to cling to the old forms of their faiths. Even those who might not have been particularly religious before will become so in an effort to find something solid to hold onto while the rest of the world shifts. But many of them find (sometimes quickly and sometimes after long periods of being conservative in their attitudes) that as they adjust to the new world around them that that old forms of their faith no longer work. They don't fit with the world around them. Not whole hog dissolution of their faith but more that certain aspects of it don't work with the new mindset - slavery, for example. It's accepted at the very least in the Bible and the Qur'an if not outright encouraged. But it's no longer acceptable to have the attitude that it's okay to own other people. So do we reject the world's view that all people are equal regardless of their race and reinterpret the scriptures to fit with that view or do we reject the world and cling to the idea that the world of the scriptures was good and perfect so clearly some people are born better than others based solely on their race and the color of their skin?

Thoughts? Should religious understanding change? Can you think of any 'forms' in your faith that have changed because of the changes in society or things that need to be changed?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Do you guys have any 'weird' family or personal traditions for Christmas?

Family wise we have this ridiculous glass pickle ornament that *must* be hung on the tree every year. My grandmother insists that it's a German custom. So far as I can discover, it is not. It's a strange marketing ploy that it's a German tradition, but not an actual tradition. None the less, that ornament is there every year. It's a running family joke.

Personally, my Christmas is not complete until I've watched Alien (and sometimes Aliens). Because nothing says joy to the world like a chest bursting alien life form. :)

Merry Christmas

It's officially Christmas here in my part of the world.



Given that that makes it midnight, I'm not here but rather at my last midnight Mass. So leave a message after the beep! And have a happy and blessed Christmas!

*beep*

Friday, December 24, 2010

Celebrate Menstruation

Some of the comments over on Candice's post The Hymen reminded me of when I first got my period. I was youngish, 7 or 8 I believe. Certainly none of my friends had started menstruating yet. And I was so *embarrassed*. Admittedly, it started while we were at an air show and I thought that I had heat stroke and was dying (I got very, very sick - in retrospect I think it was a combination of being over heated and the cramps, etc. that come with ones period.) before we got home and realized what was going on.

My question is, why don't we celebrate a girls first menstruation? I'm not talking about taking out ads in the papers or throwing a party, but something within the family, acknowledging it as a special time. It's a good thing, it marks a huge step on the road to physical maturity and (in my experience) people tend to treat it like it's something secret and shameful. For me it was just a list of things that I couldn't do anymore while I had it. It was a bad thing, a restriction. I knew all about where babies came from and what it meant physically, but that didn't make it any better.

Hell, we celebrate lost teeth, so why not this?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cogito, Ergo, Sum

"One evening, sitting beside a wood stove, Descartes evolved the maxim Cogito, ergo, sum: 'I think, therefore I am.' This, he believed, was self-evident. The one thing of which we could be certain was our mind's experience of doubt. But this revealed the limitation of the human mind, and the very notion of 'limitation' would make no sense if we did not have a prior conception of 'perfection.' A perfection that did not exist, however, would be a contradiction in terms. Ergo, the Ultimate Perfection - God - must be a reality. This so-called proof is unlikely to satisfy a modern unbeliever, and it shows the impotence of pure reason when faced with such issues. Rational thought is indispensable for our effective functioning in the world. It is at its best when directed toward a pragmatic goal or when, like Descartes, we withdraw from the mundane to consider something as objectively as possible. But when we ask why the world exists (if it does!) or whether life has meaning, reason can make little headway, and the object of our thought itself can become strange to us. Descartes beside his stove, in his cold, empty world, locked into his own uncertainty, and uttering a 'proof' which is little more than a mental conundrum, embodies the spiritual dilemma of modern humanity." - Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, p. 71-72

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Form or Meaning

Which is more important to preserve and remain faithful to?

Can people lose the meaning behind a 'revolutionary' change in society when they focus too much on the 'perfect' time that it's revelation brought. Ignoring, of course, the fact that such perfection never really existed in the first place.

This isn't aimed at any one tradition. Think of your own faith, whatever it might be. You know there are people who are convinced that if everyone would just do everything exactly the way the '_____' (insert appropriate name/s) then we would not all be so dirty and evil and sinning and the world would be in line with what God wants.

But shouldn't we be looking more at the intent behind those changes? Did it encourage believers to be clean and healthy? Then take advantage of modern medicine, etc. to take care of the body that God gave you. Did it encourage believers to treat the poor and disinherited of their communities with love and compassion? Then do that. Share the wealth? Equality regardless of gender or race? Care for the ill? All of that is good and excellent.

Do you think that if the person who brought these changes was around to day that they wouldn't take advantage of modern means to effect their changes? I'm certain that they would.

This is, of course, not to say that form is bad. There are, within every religion, certain rituals that have been the same since the beginning and have layers and layers of meaning and purpose and those must remain the same. I'm talking about other things, things outside of prescribed rituals that have liturgical meaning.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why yes there does need to be a giant picture of Eliot cuddling an adorable puppy at the top of this blog.

You didn't know you needed that in your life until I just told you. But you *did*.

Knocked Up

I have nothing important to say except that I really love this movie.

And Seth Rogen.

I can't wait for the Green Hornet movie!

It's wrong that I already want Britt/Kato slash from the commercials, right?

Fundamentalism Starts With Telling People Not to Think

Hmmm...so one common theme that I'm getting as I read the different stories of some (select) fundamentalist movements in history is that they all are reactions to large changes in society.

People who are uncomfortable with changes to the status quo react by reverting back - they look back to a 'perfect' past time that never existed. Religiously minded individuals tend to take the track that if we were truly following the original form of whatever faith they are then this upheaval, this (to them) disastrous change in society won't destroy us. Or won't happen.

And one of the first things they do is start to tell people that all theological or philosophical thought since this 'ideal' time is a part of the problem. That it has removed us from the core, the fundamental of the faith. And they begin teaching people not to think. That they can't think about their own faiths because they don't understand it properly - they have to rely on that particular leader and the interpretation that he has. They close the ability of the people to embrace new thought.

But new thought is important to the survival of any religion. If a religion cannot adapt while still keeping true to the core principles of the faith then it runs a strong chance of dying out or becoming effectively obsolete.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Chicken Story

This happened yesterday morning:

So my mom is sick and Dad went to church alone Sunday morning. He has issues with on-time-ness when left to his own devices and so was running late. Mom asked if I could let the chickens out into their pen. I leave a bit later than they do (different churches and all - they have to get their early for practice since Dad's on the 'worship team') so it wasn't a problem. I knew that the chickens needed their water refilled and they needed food and some more of this stuff we feed them to help them have strong shells on their eggs. It's ground up and baked (?) oyster shells. Anyway. I got the food ready and grabbed the bag of shells and then the water bucket and trucked on down to the pen.

I set everything down and opened up the gate to the pen and then I decided 'Oh, I'll leave this open while I get the food into their feeders and get everything all set up and then I'll close it before I let them out of the coop.' Brilliant plan, right? Right.

So I get the feeders filled and the water set and all that good stuff and then I roll the tarp back (we have it on to help keep them warm since it's been so cold at night) and open the coop door. Out pops Henzilla (our giant hen - seriously, she's the size of a small turkey) and I'm busily latching the coop door open so it won't swing shut in the wind or anything and I see Rocket (the rooster) hauling chicken butt toward the corner of the pen where the door is. And I look and think, 'Huh. Where's he going in such a hurry.' Then I swung my head up to watch him and went 'OH SHIT!' because, you guessed it, I forgot to close the gate.

Of course Rocket was already out in the yard by this point. I shooed Henzilla back farther into the pen and tried to coax Rocket back into the pen with sweet words and some food. No go. He'd sort of come but then he refused to go past the door. So I went out of the pen and went and got the work gloves that were in the big shed. I though maybe, since he's an old show rooster and used to people handing him, that he'd let me walk up and pick him up if I moved slowly and didn't startle him.

Hah! I 'chased' him around the pen and the shed twice. Very. Slowly. Well, I'd left the shed door open and on the second pass he decided to run up the ramp and into the shed. Great! So I followed him in and closed the door behind us - now I had him in an enclosed space and at least he couldn't fly off. Easy as pie from then on, right?

Clearly you have never tried to catch a chicken.

Ten minutes, at least. Because it's a rather large shed - more like a workshop and it's full of stuff because Dad's working on building Chicken Palace so we can get some more hens. So there's wood and things just *all over* and it's like a chicken sized maze! I finally got him cornered between two spools of extension cords (I'd given up the nice and slow approach by this point and chased him there with a broom) and managed to get one hand on his back over his wings and then scooped him up with the other hand.

And then the bloody bird just laid back and looked at me like, 'Well, that was fun!' Henzilla was down in the pen making very unhappy chicken noises and Rocket just let me carry him down and even shift him so that I had him pinned between my own arm and my side so I could open the gate. No trouble. Bloody bird!

In the middle of it all when he had just like...chicken commando crawled between two levels on a shelf so I couldn't get him I was thinking, 'Stupid bird!' and then it occurred to me that he couldn't be *that* stupid since I hadn't caught him yet. :)

DADT Repeal

I want to be happy about this.

I am, in fact, quite happy that the law has been repealed. I just can't be jumping up and down because I'm afraid that the right wingers and the Republicans are going to find some way to fuck it all up again.

It's like being given something and knowing that someone is going to come and take it away again. So I can't let myself feel happy about it because when they come and take it away then it's going to hurt even more. I feel like we try to make progress and then some people just hold us back. Why?

It's the same mindset that didn't want blacks and whites serving together or women in the military. It's the same mindset that segregates people based on differences and teaches us to hate what's different.

Ah, crap

I have an idea for a Marcone/Harry mpreg.

*throws hands in the air*

I need to finish the fic o'doom!

*makes shifty eyes*

I don't know of any Dresden Files mpreg in existence though...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fundies

So why is it that 'fundamentalists' are supposed to be so devoted to the fundamentals of their specific faiths but they all seem to massively miss the mark and tear their faiths into little bitty pieces in the name of their vision?

Let's take 'Christian' Fundamentalists. What (aside from faith in one God and redemption through Jesus Christ) is the fundamental commandment of Christianity?

'Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

Think about any group that labels itself or you would label as 'Christian' Fundamentalist. Any of them feel loving to you? They don't to me. They feel and act like they're all about judging everyone else in the world who isn't *exactly* like them to be wrong and damned and causing all of the 'evil' that they see everywhere around them.

Did Christ say only love those people who look and act and think and believe just like you, otherwise they're fair game to be spat on and kept from their rights and shoved into the dirt and told that they're freaks or unnatural or damned? Maybe the fundies have a different copy of the Bible than I do...

Black Swan



This movie is so very incredible. Visually it's just beautiful - the ballet scenes are gorgeous and really draw you in and the scenes behind the ballet, Nina's house and the backstage, the bar, all of that just becomes so very rough and raw looking beside the brilliance of the stage.

Nina (Natalie Portman) is a chorus girl in a professional ballet troupe who tries out for the lead role in the troupes opening production of swan lake. At first she is shot down for the role because she's technically perfect and could dance for the White Swan (who is supposed to be distant, beautiful and virginal) but she lacks the passion and ability to let herself go for the Black Swan.

However, she approaches the director to give her the role and he kisses her, trying to draw some emotion out of her. She bites him and that convinces him that somewhere deep inside her there's the passion to play the seductive Black Swan.

Of course, behind the scenes is Nina's mother who is really really Mommie Dearest. She had to give up her 'career' in ballet because she got pregnant with Nina and is trying to live out her dreams through her daughter. She pushes her to be the perfect ballerina but also keeps her virginal and childlike. Nina's bedroom (Nina is probably in her 20s though it's never stated) is entirely pink with little kid wallpaper and giant stuffed animals everywhere. It is very much a young girls room and it looks like it's the same room she's had since she was 12. There are no locks on any of the doors so her mother can come in at *any* time - which gets very awkward fairly early on in the film...the mother spends all of her time and energy obsessed with her daughter (her room is wall to wall paintings that she's done of Nina. Wall to wall.) and doesn't let Nina out of her sight. Calls her all the time. It's nuts!

Anyway. Nina has very clearly been driven to the edge by her mother who she can't seem to escape and then with the pressure of suddenly having the role that will make her perfect - will elevate her above her mother's failed life - she starts to snap. Since the movie is done from Nina's point of view and Nina is so very much not a reliable narrator it's hard to tell what is real and what isn't and there's some debate between myself and my movie buddy as to what all Nina did in her deep bouts of crazy, but I think that's brilliant as you get to decide for yourself just how vicious Nina gets in her psychosis.

This whole mother fucking with her mind and then the stress is just compounded by Nina's sexual awakening. I don't believe her for a second when she says in the movie that she's had a few boyfriends and isn't a virgin. Her relationship with her mother is way too creepy for that to be true. Nina would never be able to meet a man since she's not allowed to go out at any time and her mother would never loose track of her long enough for her to trip over someone let alone meet them, get over her extreme shyness and have sex with them. Nina's like a child who has their first crush but she's got the body and the hormones of a fully grown woman and no idea what she's supposed to do with it all.

She's obsessed with the former lead dancer, Beth - because, in my opinion, she wants to *be* Beth. She sees her as everything that Nina wants to be - strong, sexual, aggressive, adored and perfect. Nina actually steals Beth's things and wears them (her makeup, scarves, earrings, etc.) - playing dress up and trying to be her. Nina has this child crush on the director Tomas (who also happens to be sleeping with Beth) and fixates on him as this ideal man - which is so very much is not. But she doesn't have a healthy way to deal with these sudden feelings - she doesn't know what to do with them and all of this just keeps boiling inside of her and she starts hallucinating and having deeply paranoid fantasies that lead her to do some truly insane things.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vaguely Worrying...

So either I've started sleepwalking or the ghost has learned a new trick.

My bathroom door was closed this morning and I definitely did not close it last night before I went to sleep. It's a sliding pocket door so it's not like a random gust of air could blow it shut. And it makes a racket so I'm vaguely disturbed that I didn't wake up last night when it got closed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

'It was Eve's fault.'

*headdesk*

The woman who does the obits here for the paper is a Baptist. I've spoken of her before. She's the woman from this post. Anyway. She received an obit in which one of the surviving daughters' names is Pandora. And she commented that that was a terrible thing to name your child. I asked why and she said because of the Pandora's Box thing. I said that it was still a perfectly good name, a classic name.

She took a phone call and I thought we were moving on and then she commented on the name again. And I again said that it's a perfectly good, classic name.

Her: 'But you can't name your kid that because of Pandora's Box!'

Me: 'So should we stop naming our kids Eve?'

Bystander: 'And Adam?'

Her: 'No, those are good names.'

Me: 'But they brought sin into the world. That's just as bad as the Pandora myth.'

Her: 'We're all sinners. It doesn't matter.'

Me: 'But only because of them. It's their fault.' (not really, I know, but this was a silly conversation, okay?)

Her: 'Not Adam's fault. Just Eve.'

Me: *laughing* How is it just Eve's fault? Did she shove the fruit down his throat? He made the choice.'

Her: 'She talked him into it.'

Me: 'He *still* had a choice! It's very misogynistic to blame it all on Eve when Adam committed the same crime.'

And then she answered the phone or something and dropped the conversation because I refused to agree with her. Of course, she says that I don't believe in the Bible just because I don't take it 100% literally like she does, so what can you do?

*throws hands up in the air*

She really, honestly believes that the blame can and should be laid on Eve and not on Adam. So much wrong involved here...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book: Muhammed - Done

Okay, so I finished it.

It's a really easy read and I enjoyed it. I enjoy Armstrong's older works, clearly.

However, the major problem with the book is that Armstrong's bias toward Islam and Mohammed in particular makes it impossible for her to write a balanced book. She writes Mohammed as a man who only wanted the best for everyone and who was forced to compromise his vision because of the baseness of his companions.

I think she's taken her old Catholic belief in Christ and His perfection and begun to project it onto the founder of a religion that she finds more palatable since she rejected her roots and lost her faith in Christianity. That being said, so far as I know Ms. Armstrong remains an agnostic.

Nothing bad that ever happened while Mohammed was alive was ever the fault of his not seeing the consequences of his actions. It was always everyone else who took something wrong or couldn't stand the social reforms that Mohammed was trying to implement.

Don't get me wrong - I don't subscribe to the view that Mohammed was this blood thirsty pedophile that I see him portrayed as by some people. I see him, as I have said as a typical man of the era. Perhaps because of his own background he was more sympathetic toward certain segments of the population (women, orphans, the poor and dispossessed) than others. He may have even believed that his social reforms were necessary for the survival of his people. It's well evident that the old tribal ways were not going to ensure the tribes survival over the long term - not in any significant way.

Some of the stories were interesting - I found the description of the building of the mosque in Medina fascinating as well as the fact that it wasn't only a place of worship but actually where Mohammed and his wives lived. And that the wives didn't have fabulous accommodations - their huts were so small, apparently, that most people couldn't stand up straight in them.

Armstrong does mention conflicts in Mohammed's life, including the strife amongst the wives caused by jealousy. But she glosses over or ignores some of the more questionable actions by Mohammed. You know, not even 'questionable' but things that make him less kind and gentle and perfect as she seems to see him and more like a leader who has to do things (or order them done) that don't sit well with modern sensibilities. And she completely leaves out the assassinations of the two poets that Mohammed if not directly ordered then implicitly did and then brushed off as if they were nothing. Because that doesn't fit with the fluffy Mohammed that Armstrong imagines.

So, all in all, interesting but not, in my opinion a very realistic image of Mohammed.

My next book is also an Armstrong book The Battle for God.

My Oddities

Susanne apparently is a very weird person. :p And she some how thinks that everyone else has to be weird too. So I'll list a few things that others might think are 'odd' about me. But they're not. It's everyone else that's weird.

1. I always tap the bottom of a bathroom door with my right foot when I'm leaving. I have no idea why I do this, but I do.

2. I *love* kosher dill pickles. Love them. We used to just buy them in those big jars, whole, and I would eat them all by themselves.

3. I'm afraid of dolls. The Incident of the Raggedy Ann Doll has left me scarred for life.

4. I deeply wish that I was a 'hat person'. But they look awful on me, so I'm not.

5. As long as the food is dead, I will try it. I will not try to eat anything that is still moving on my plate.

6. Catterwompus is a word.

7. I once threatened to castrate my best friends husband. He believes that I would do it. Which is great, because I really would. :)

8. I cannot keep a plant alive to save my life.

9. I do not do silence. There must be noise at all times.

10. I think people who walk around in t-shirts with suit jackets on over them look like tools. Pretentious tools.

11. Sometimes, if I've been talking to lawyers all day I use unnecessarily large words when I'm talking.

12. I still love to color in coloring books and draw (badly) with sidewalk chalk.

13. I'm not allowed to play video games much since Super Mario Brothers for the Wii makes me curse.

14. I am a technological moron. It's not that I can't learn how the stuff works, it's just that I don't care. And I have computer nerds for family so I don't need to care.

15. I don't like stickers.

16. I'm fairly certain that dust doesn't get under furniture so I'm not sure why I have to move things when I clean. (I do it, I just don't like it.)

17. I name inanimate objects: Murdock the Kindle, Myrddin the Car, Rodney the Shredder, Sheppard the Cash Register, Daniel the Computer, etc.

18. I don't understand vegetarianism. I'm half certain that it's a sign of mental illness. No offense to anyone who might be a vegetarian. I just don't get it and it seems weird and alien to me.

I'm sure there's more, but there you go. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book: Muhammad - Mecca pt. 1

Mecca in the time of Mohammed was something of an unusual place. The Meccans had carved out a living and made their city a thriving center of trade when most Arabs were nomadic by necessity.

The vast terrain of Arabia was barren - only a few places were suitable for agriculture - Yathrib and Ta'if, the later of which supplied Mecca with most of its food. Elsewhere farming was impossible and so the people lived nomadic and difficult lives.

The nomadic life was hard and as a consequence the Bedouin spent most of their time on the edge of starvation. The ghazu or acquisition raid was a vital part of life. It was a regular feature of the nomadic lifestyle and done with great care - the raiders wanted to come away with camels, cattle and slaves but they did not want to kill anyone. A death would incite a vendetta and those (as I'm certain everyone realises) could get way out of hand and go on forever. You kill one of my tribe and I kill one of yours. Then your tribe comes back and retaliates and on and on and on until there's nothing but blood and sand.

'The Bedouin were not very interested in conventional religion. They had no hope of an afterlife and little confidence in their gods, who seemed unable to make any impact on their difficult environment. The tribe, not a deity, was the supreme value, and each member had to subordinate his or her personal needs and desires to the well-being of the group, and fight to the death, if necessary, to ensure its survival. Fantasy was useless in the steppes; they needed pragmatic, sober realism. But they had evolved a chivalric code, which, by giving meaning to their lives and preventing them from succumbing to despair in these harsh conditions, performed the essential function of religion. They called it muruwah, a complex term that is difficult to translate succinctly. Muruwah meant courage, patience, endurance; it consisted of a dedicated determination to avenge any wrong done to the group, to protect its weaker members and defy its enemies. To preserve the honor of the tribe, each member had to be ready to leap to the defense of his kinsmen at a moment's notice and to obey his chief without question.'

Muruwah made a virtue of the necessity of sharing ones 'wealth' with other members of the tribe. The karim - the 'generous hero' - was one who cared little for his material goods. He would evince no concern for where his food or shelter or livelihood would come from tomorrow and had to be prepared to squander everything he had in one night in order to put on a lavish feast for his friends. Of course this led to a lot of families yo-yoing between having enough to care for themselves and then being thrown into abject poverty at the drop of a hat.

The only solidarity encouraged by muruwah was tribal solidarity. The generosity and care of the poor only extended as far as ones own tribe - there existed no concept of universal human rights. One lived and died with ones tribe and with the traditions and way of life (sunnah) of that tribe. The tribe was all - to deviate from the way that things had always been done was death. Desert nomads could not afford to innovate. To ignore the shari'ah was to invite disaster - if your ancestors had been following the same path to the water hole you should follow that same path because that way was known and sure. Any other path could lead your whole family and possibly the tribe to death.

The Bedouin men were proud and aggressive. It was considered a virtue to respond violently to any perceived threat or slight. The karim were encouraged to be self-reliant to the point of recklessness.

The only way to escape this harsh lifestyle was to find a place that was suitable for settling. One could do that by taking over an oasis as the tribe of Thaqif had done in Ta'if. Or one could become an intermediary between two more powerful civilizations in the region. The Ghassan tribe did this - they converted to Christianity and formed a buffer state between Byzantium and Persia.

In the sixth century the Bedouin invented a better saddle for their camels. It allowed them to carry heavier loads and merchants began to use these camel caravans to transport their merchandise and to take the road through Arabia rather than the longer paths around. And they hired the Bedouin to guard their merchandise, drive the camels and guide them from one oasis to the next.

Mecca became a station for these northbound caravans. Conveniently centrally located it was important because it had an underground water source - Zamzam. The miraculous existence of this water in such an arid place made the site sacred to the Bedouin long before there was a city there.

The Kabah may originally have been a part of the cult of Zamzam. The spring and the sanctuary (haram) went through the control of numerous different tribes but in the early sixth century controlled rested in the hands of the Quraysh - Mohammed's tribe.

Unlike other tribes that had controlled the area the Quraysh were able to abandon the nomadic lifestyle. They managed to monopolise the north-south trade and to control the mercantile activity within Arabia that had been stirred by the influx of international commerce. Several fairs were held throughout the region through the year - they cycled in a clockwise fashion with the last five fairs being held in the area in and around Mecca. This fair was held right before the month of hajj - the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca and the Kabah.

Because the Quraysh had become men of peace - they couldn't grow their own food in Mecca, the ground was unsuitable for it so if their trade failed they would starve and be forced to abandon control of Mecca - they had to make Mecca a place where merchants and traders could come without fear of attack. They made special agreements with the Bedouin tribes so that they would not attack the caravans during the trade fair season. In return the Bedouin were permitted to act as guides and protectors of the merchants - compensating them for the loss of income they suffered for not raiding the caravans.

Trade and religion were inextricably combined in Mecca. The pilgrimage was the climax of the fair cycle and the Quraysh reconstructed the cult and architecture of the sanctuary so that it became the spiritual center for all the tribes. Even though the Bedouin didn't put much stock in the power of their gods each tribe had its own presiding deity with a stone effigy to go along with it. The Quraysh collected all of the totems of the tribes that belonged to their cooperative group and placed them in the Kabah so that in order to worship their ancestral deities the tribesmen had to come into Mecca.

'When they reached the Kabah, surrounded by the 360 tribal totems, they began to perform the traditional rites in Mecca and its environs, which may originally have been devised to bring on the winter rains. They jogged seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, to the east of the Kabah; ran in a body to the hollow of Muzdalifah, the home of the thunder god; made an all-night vigil on the plain beside Mount 'Arafat, sixteen miles outside the city; hurled pebbles at three pillars in the valley of Mina; and finally, at the end of their pilgrimage, sacrificed their most valuable female camels, symbols of their wealth and - hence - of themselves. The most famous ritual of the hajj was the tawaf, seven circumambulations of the Kabah in a clockwise direction, a stylized enactment of the trade route round Arabia, which gave the Arabs' mercantile activities a spiritual dimension.'

Any of that sound familiar to anybody? I find it interesting that all of the rituals of hajj existed in pagan form. Of course it's a question of chick and egg I guess. If you believe in the Qur'an then you believe that these rituals existed because Abraham and Ishmael brought them there in their pure form of worship of God and that they were corrupted by later generations. If you don't then you believe that Mohammed co-opted the existing rituals for his own religion.

The Meccans had become settled but they hadn't managed to escape the old ways entirely. They had lost the old communal spirit but had kept the arrogance and greed. Families vied with each other for wealth and prestige. Those who had hoarded it and those who hadn't 'made it' were pushed aside and looked down upon.

I've Taken the Plunge

I just went through my Amazon account and any books that I've pre-ordered that are available in Kindle I cancelled the hard copy order and pre-ordered the Kindle version.

*takes deep, calming breaths*

Change frightens meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Know What My Problem Is Here

I've been having problems with the editing for the Dresden Files Fic o'Doom. It's just not working as well as I wanted it to. But I've just realized what the problem is. Marcone and Harry are too freaking *nice* in my fic. I'm listening to the books in the car and just finished Death Masks on my reread and I've realized that Harry and Marcone are not 'nice' people. They're just not.

See: Harry and Marcone both agreeing that shooting Nicodemus in the back and letting Michael hack him to bits afterward is the best idea. And then actually following through and shooting him in the back when the opportunity presents.

Hell, see Harry torturing Cassius for the information they needed.

Harry's a good guy but that doesn't make him 'nice'. In many ways Harry's only the good guy in comparison to the bad guys. Same with Marcone. I just need to keep that in mind when I'm reworking the fic. Don't shy away from a path just because it's kind of dark and people may not come out the other end the way they started.

What brought the realization on, you may ask? A combination of the reread and then this quote caught my eye yet again:

'Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.' 

And I thought: Marcone's just a guy who has hoisted the flag and started slitting throats. Because the alternative was even worse.

In addition, I am thoroughly convinced that Marcone is ex-military of some black-ops-y flavor.

Maccababies

When I was younger (not that much younger, really.) there was this show on called Rugrats. It was a bunch of babies and their adventures. A cute little show that I'd turn on when I was doing homework because I don't work without noise but I needed something that wasn't going to get me interested in it.

They had a Chanukah special and it was all about the Maccababies!



I'm reading Maccabees right now and every so often that special pops into my head and I read Maccabees as Maccababies. :)

Oh brain, why so irreverent?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm Easy

Give me handsome, muscled men in eye liner (throw in a hat and a vest as all he's wearing on top as well for aesthetics):



And beautiful women in very little (corset, thigh highs, garters, you get the idea...):



And I'm a happy girl. *le sigh*

'The Overgarment' - A Pictoral

Candice did a post a few days ago about the jilbab and whether or not it can be worn without anything under it outside since it wouldn't make any difference to a woman's hijab requirements. The jilbab plus a scarf covers everything that has to be covered. Anyway, for some random reason that post made me want to do this post. The jilbab/scarf combo does meet all the hijab requirements and sure, if you're going to be wearing it anyway then you're not about to whip it off in the middle of the market so it doesn't, in a practical sense, matter. But it does cease to be an overgarment if it's the only thing you've got on.

For the purposes of this post lets assume that we all agree that Islam dictates a specific dress code and not just an enjoinder to modest dress and action, okay? I know there are arguments for both sides of that matter, but if you don't think that there's a specific rule about types of clothing then the jilbab doesn't matter anyway, does it?

For purposes of all 'hijabi' pics, I am aware that the clothes aren't loose enough to make most Muslims happy with them as hijab. I've gotten rid of all of my really loose clothes though, so this is more illustrative without being exactly correct hijab. It's the best I can do with what's in my closet. :)

Right. So, first, because I felt like it, here's typical casual me:



Now, I've heard different opinions on what clothing is appropriate when one is with other women or maharams. One says that you only have to be covered from collar bone to knees:



The other says that you have to be covered from collar bone to ankles and that your arms have to be covered to the elbows:



Unless, of course, you're concerned that the people you are with might tell tales about your looks. In which case you have to have your hair covered as well (which is also what you should wear around non-maharams):



So one way or the other that's the minimum amount of clothing that you have to wear when you're in the presence of any other human person. Excepting your husband, of course and then you get can naked when the appropriate occasion comes up. But that's neither here nor there...

Anyhow. That's my understanding of what is required, at the minimum for Muslimahs to wear. Like wearing a shirt and pants is the minimum in society. Yes, there are exceptions - people who walk around shirtless, etc. But that's not polite and they're not really dressed appropriately for most situations.

Now then, if that's what you have to wear inside and there's a requirement for an extra layer when venturing outside then it's essentially a coat, right?



And a coat is only a coat when you can take it off if you need to. That's why it's outerwear. You wear it outside/over your regular clothes. Like underwear is what you wear under/inside your clothes. :)

Can you wear a coat without anything under it?

Sure. If it's long enough you can even wear it as a dress. My favorite coat is long enough:



If it buttoned all the way down it would be just as long as my dress which is appropriate for all sorts of situations. No, you don't get an illustration of that one because sadly my coat doesn't button all the way down. :( But you can see the length illustrated, yes? But if I wear it as a dress it stops functioning as a coat and functions as a dress. I can't take it off if I get too warm. Similarly, for a friends wedding many years ago I wore a Jackie O style suit. A jacket with a matching skirt. It was the middle of October and I decided not to wear a top under the jacket so that the jacket became my top. I couldn't take it off because if I had I would have been in my underwear. See?

So while it's possible to wear the jilbab/abaya plus scarf as your only clothing and meet the requirements for Islamic dress it stops being outerwear once you've done so and just becomes your clothing. Nothing wrong with that, as far as I'm concerned (then again this is all from the peanut gallery anyway) but it's not an overgarment any longer because it's not 'over' any other garments.

On a sort of related note, the whole, once the women are old and have no prospects for marriage they can start removing layers thing annoys me. I get that it was a different time and all *hand waves* but who says older women aren't attractive? Are the Islamic rules of modesty only about sexual attraction? Then what's all that talk about respect and seeing the women as people and not sex objects, etc. all about? At what age does a woman stop being attractive? Especially in today's day and age.

You want to talk about attractive women who are way past 'marrying age' as thought of way back when?

Talk to Helen Mirren:



Or Judy Denche:

Not that that has anything to do with anything whatsoever. I'm just saying. Older people are still attractive.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Present Day!

Can you spot what's new in this pic?



His name is Murdock. :)

*cackles and runs off to find more free books to download* I'll get around to buying some eventually. So far I've got The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Sayings of Confucius, The Art of War, The Iliad, The Odyssey, A Study in Scarlet, and Dracula.

I'm absolutely loving it. I've only had it for a couple of hours but the screen seems to be very easy on the eyes. It doesn't look like it should be a computer screen - it looks 'fake' - like an overlay or something. But it's the screen.

I've paired it here with a real book. The glare from the sun is less on the Kindle than it is on the page - the book page is white paper and the Kindle recreates a greyer shade.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Supernatural S06E11 - Appointment in Samarra

DEATH! Okay, you know, I love Supernatural's incarnation of Death. Not the Reapers, though I like Tessa well enough - she reminds me a little of Death of the Endless (which I assume was intentional). But I *really* love Death himself. I have this vague idea that he and Chuck *combined* are god in Supernatural. If they're the same age and both are necessary for the universe - creation and destruction then one without the other is not god. So both are god, but only if both exist.

Anyway. I was curious about the title. So I committed an act of google. 'Appointment in Samarra' is a book from 1934. I think the important aspect here is the old folktale that is used as an epigraph in the book according to Wikipedia: 'A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Shortly, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace he was jostled by a woman, who he recognized as Death, and she made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant's horse, he flees at top speed to Samarra, a distance of about 75 miles (125 km), where he believes Death will not find him. The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture. She replies, "That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra."' The plot of the book might also be important - it apparently described the evens of three days where the main character gets more and more self destructive with a series of impulsive acts, culminating in his suicide.

Let's watch and find out!

Hi Balthazar-iphale!

God how I love the rumble of the Impala's engine!

Well this place look suitably icky. Doctor? That doesn't sound promising at all.

Dean's about to do a stupid thing.

You know, that chick looks kind of plastic-y to me. I'm just saying.

Dear Supernatural: Your money doesn't even look real.

Hey! He's mailing a letter to Ben! Yay paternalDean!

'He's dead.' But still the prettiest!

Hi Tessa! 'Why are you dead?'

*squee* Hello, Death. :)

Dean, do you really think Death can't just take back his ring whenever he wants?

Oh, hey, look, someone remembered Adam!

'Pick one.'

Dean, sweetie, bets with Death never end well. Never!

'Are you serious?'

'No, I'm being incredibly sarcastic.' The *face* Death makes.

Crap!

1-800-Dial-A-Angel

Again, hi Balthazar-iphale!

'Go ask your boyfriend.'

'Cas can't help me.'

He didn't mean Cas, Sam. He meant Gabriel! *Your* angel boyfriend.

Hmm...is anyone surprised that Sam is trying to do an end run around Dean's plan?

'Michael and Luci are hate-banging as we speak.'

'I'm not a fan of your brother. So screwing him would delight me.' Balthazar hates on Dean because Dean's banging Cas. And Balthazar totally wants to hit that.

'You need the blood of your father, but your father needen't be blood.' No Sam, no. Bad thoughts! No cookie! Keep off Bobby! You don't view him as your father anyway. That's Dean's issue.

'He's in agonising pain, right? Give me a minute.' Dean's a vicious bitch.

'Why?'

'Mostly because you're a dick. Enjoy the ride down, pal. Trust me, sauna gets *hot*.'

Hee. Dean as Death is cute.

Oh...yeah. We knew that was gonna happen. Ouch. *sniffle*

Anyone want to bet Jolene the Nurse dies? There has to be balance, right. So the little girl lives and Jolene gets added to the List. Or something like that.

'May have been born at night, boy. But it wasn't last night.'

Was Sam going to kill Bobby? Bastard. Though I have to admit that it does line up with the whole no soul personality. Eminently practical.

Oh! Oh! I just had a horrible thought! Dean as Death has to reap Bobby! So he takes off the ring! Ack! Say it ain't so...

Hah! Bobby is smarter than you!

No! Don't open the door! It's a *trap* dammit!

I WIN! Sorry Jolene...

Ah, this is gonna be one of those Dean learns a lesson eps.

He took the ring off! FAIL! No soul for Sammy. Well, we sort of knew it wasn't going to be that easy.

Can we now go back and rescue Bobby before Sam does something really very dumb? And utterly unforgivable.

And that has now totally freaked out that guy.

Poor kid...

Right then. Actually crying. I'm such a sap!

unSam needs a leash and a shock collar.

Yes! Sam deserved that sucker punch.

Sammy sans soul is a sociopath. Why does no one listen to me?

Death and Dean share taste in food. That's...kind of creepy.

You gotta love Dean's inability to keep his mouth shut in the face of all powerful beings who could slap him down like a mosquito.

Death's giving back the soul? Cool. I love the old school doctor's bag.

You know, I'm having a thought. Balthazar trades in souls, right? So aside from just screwing with Dean, if the kept Sam from being an available vessel for his soul then Balthazar could have claimed it, right? How valuable would Sam's soul be? It's not just your run of the mill boy next door soul. It's been in touch with an Archangel. Intimately. Died a few times, been to heaven, been to hell. Interesting...

Hellatus! I *hate* end of the year for this.

'VIRGINS SAM. VIRGINS.' - 1/28/11 *whimpers* What will I do without my crack fix?

Wine Whine

I'm trying to find a nice red wine to buy for my trainer for Christmas. She thinks that I've asked her for suggestions for my parents, since they drink wine, but really it's for her. I've had to ask her mainly because I don't like wine so even knowing that she likes red wine I have no clue what's good and what's not.

I really, really don't like wine. I've had cheap wine and I've had good wine. Not $100 a bottle wine, but good stuff. And as far as I'm concerned it all tastes like what it is - rotten fermented berry juice. One step away from being vinegar. *blargh* I can *taste* the rot. It's awful and I don't know how people can drink it.

That being said, sometimes the bottles are very pretty...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Adam West era Batman

This new HUB channel plays the old Batman show. I used to watch this after school as a kid. It's great watching it again - so corny!

And I've realized that this show bears a ton of responsibility for *so many* things about me! :)

That's just scary...

Book: LIOL - Last Post

I finished the book. The posts I did are only a few of the stories out of the collection. A lot of them have some angst and sadness and pain. Not always abuse but sometimes. Some of the stories were just sad and touching. Like the last story which was that of a woman who has an autistic son. It focused on her attempts to be the 'perfect' Muslim woman - she went to the extremes, doing everything that she might possibly do so that God would 'fix' her son. And then her journey taking her son to an experimental kind of therapy (the therapy took an entire year) to try and get him to have some sort of functionality and how this journey - having to focus on her son and his problem and not the thought that it was somehow her fault because she wasn't good enough brought her out of her self imposed punishment and made her realize that her sons autism wasn't a 'fault'. It's a very touching story - I was sort of sniffling while I was reading it on the treadmill - and it's painful on a purely emotional level. No one does anything wrong in it - just people muddling through and suffering because we're all human.

Anyway. I do think it's an interesting book. Some of the women I liked better than others. There's at least one that I feel comes off as extremely arrogant and self aggrandizing but she probably wouldn't like me either! :) It's a good read.

My next book is Karen Armstrong's Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I HAVE A STORY!

So, I get back from lunch and check my voice mail. There's one message from an attorney's office (work related, so that's all normal and good) and then the next message goes like this: 'This is your grandmother. I've locked myself out of my condo.' *headdesk* Luckily, after the last time that my grandmother locked herself out of her place my mother had keys made and we all carry one on our key rings so that whoever is closest can get there.

I let the girls at work know that I've got to run out and head down to my grandmothers place. I'm expecting her to be waiting outside her door, but she's not there. So I have to call my mother and ask her who my grandmother knows in the condo so I know where she might be. My mom tells me where the door is of the lady my grandmother knows the best but she can't remember what the condo number is. Down I go to the first floor. I'm standing there, ringing the bell and no one is answering. I'm getting ready to knock and a woman who was there picking up her father tells me that that particular condo is a two-story unit and if Sarah is on the second floor then she can't hear the doorbell from the first floor. She tells me which door is the second story door and off I go to the second floor of the condo. I knock on that door and wouldn't you know, there's this very nice little old lady with the cutest little long haired chihuahua. She also happens to have my grandmother! Yay! My grandmother who was *standing* behind the first floor door of this condo. The. entire. time. So maybe the doorbell isn't even working? Let's go with that.

I collect my grandmother and we head back up to her third floor condo and I let her in. She grabs her keys and then rides down in the elevator with me because I need to go back to work and she still has to get her mail. On our way down I get to hear *why* she was so distracted that she locked herself out.

Apparently on her way to her doctor's appointment this morning she got pulled over by a Sheriff's deputy. She cut the deputy off in traffic. *headdesk* But, according to my grandmother it wasn't really *her* fault. The deputy *had* to have been speeding because she always has the time to make a left hand turn there when the car is at this other condo where she says the cop was when she made the turn. Well. Basically, my grandmother was a smart ass to the cop. *headdesk* The cop, who was within her rights to give my grandmother a ticket - the cop had to hit her brakes to keep from hitting my grandmother and I don't believe for an instant that the cop was speeding. I've driven with my grandmother - she's a *terrible* driver - just gave her a verbal warning.

And my grandmother was going on and on about how she should have gotten the officer's name and badge number so she could call the Sheriff's office and complain about the officer being rude to her!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Book: LIOL: On the Edge of Belonging - Khalida Saed

This is also one of those things girls get hospitalized for, like masturbating.

'As long as I can remember I have teetered on the edge of something. I have not always been an American. Sometimes I wasn't a Muslim. I never wanted to be a lesbian. But I have never had any doubt that I don't belong fully in any of these identities. I teetered on the edge of belonging to the lesbian community and being invincible within it, on the edges of being American and Iranian, and on the edge of Islam. I have been juggling several identities all my life, and it never occurred to me to complain at first. It seemed that the less I complained, the less people would notice that I wasn't fully part of their community - and community is the reason for everything I do.'

Khalida came out as a lesbian to her mother when she was fourteen. Her mother was 'distressed'. She cried, she screamed, she hit Khalida and locked her in her room. She wound up missing two days of school because of it. Her mother told her that it was 'just a phase' and that it was because she was too 'Americanized'. Khalida says that the last argument might have some weight - if not for her American half telling her that she had the right she probably would just never have said anything. But she still would have felt the way she does. They have never discussed it again. 'Honestly, it never occurred to me that my person sexual orientation would hurt her. I was THAT naive. Our relationship today is as close as it can be when two people refuse to bring up the pink elephant in the middle of the room.'


'We are not unlike many American immigrant Muslim families. Sexuality of any kind is not discussed. She would have been more supportive of me if I had never come out to her at all and we had left it unsaid all these years. Sex has been the one issue we cannot get over as a family. Sex has been the one "condition" in the unconditional love parents are supposed to offer their children. A woman's virginity is the most valuable bargaining chip she can bring to the marriage. And she will get married one day, or else it reflects badly on her entire family and ruins the chances of marriage for her younger siblings. Bringing up lesbianism was the ultimate form of discussing sexuality. Not only was I talking about sex, but I was refusing to participate in the biggest institution religion ever created: Heterosexual Marriage.'

"They don't have jobs, they live on the street, and they want to be men, for God's sake!"

Growing up, Khalida believed that in order to be a 'real' lesbian she had to have short hair, listen to Melissa Ethridge, etc. She only knew the stereotype lesbian because she had no access to the wider world. Her out of the home activities were closely monitored by her parents and older brother so she didn't have the opportunity to access any LGBTQ youth communities in New York City. She remembers being lonely and isolated throughout her youth. Her sexuality pained her - she knew it was a death sentence on family relations. Khalida thought that she would have to choose between her family and her own identity. She chose her family - she did what she knew would please them. She began wearing hijab and formed the Muslim Student Association in her high school. She collected all the signatures and then stood back when the elections came so that the boys could all fill the positions - with no mention that she had done all the work to make this MSA even exist. 'I thought I was on my way to becoming fully Muslim and belonging to that community. But I never managed to stop being queer.'

Every time I get a new girlfriend, I have to introduce her as my best friend to my parents. They think I'm very social.

When Khalida was a freshman in high school, she met Jane. Jane was her first girlfriend. They only dated for about a month and kept it very quiet. A little kissing, some hand holding. Soft things. But the important thing that she and Jane did together was get to some meetings for youth at the local Gay and Lesbian Community Center. Khalida remembers them getting to her when it was time to introduce themselves and just blurting out everything about herself. 'We all had a need to be known by somebody. I felt like I had a real chance to find someone with whom I could share all of myself.'


If you wear lots of makeup it will make you look sixteen, then the truant cops won't pick you up, but the lesbians won't know you're a dyke...

When she was supposed to be at school was the only time Khalida's family couldn't monitor her movements and dictate what she did. So she started cutting school and slipping down to the East Village. Stress in her family turned ugly - her parents felt that they were losing their children to America. Khalida equated everything Iranian and Muslim with being anti-gay and therefore anti-her. Her sister regarded all things Muslim as completely foreign to her and anything she might care about. 'My parents tried to control us through fear and anger.' Khalida rejected Islam in all it's forms because she couldn't find any place for herself in it. She left the MSA and turned her back on all of it.

Being gay and Muslim? That's like sinning automatically, for no reason, all the time!

Khalida left home to go to college. It devastated her family - it was just not done. She was the first person in her family to do it and they had no idea what to do with it. She says that it was hard, being away from everything that she knew - she faced 'racism, homophobia, and worst of all, defeat.' But she learned to survive.

At twenty she stumbled onto a website for the Al-Fatiha Foundation - a national group for LGBTQ Muslims that was unapologetic. She 'pretended to be horrified' every day she looked at it for a whole year. In 2001 her girlfriend took her to her first Al-Fatiha conference in Washington, D.C. The first day they just sort of hung around the edges and didn't join the conference. 'This was my last hope of finding someone to tell me that it was OK for me to be who I was.'


'When I finally joined the conference, it was a wonderful and soothing experience. I don't think I lied about who I was once the entire time I was there. I even prayed more regularly than I have ever prayed before in my life.'

Khalida joined the board of Al-Fatiha immediately - 'because I wanted to give that feeling of belonging to other people.'

'Al-Fatiha restored my faith in Islam because it included women in its leadership and insisted on inclusive prayer spaces where women were not relegated to the basement and forced to wear hijab even if they did not wear them normally. Women were even encouraged to lead prayer.'

So you don't want to get married? What did you waste all that time going to college for, if not to be more appealing to a husband?

Khalida's family has come to terms with her refusal to enter an arranged marriage. They don't acknowledge the fact that she is in a long term relationship with a wonderful woman that she met in college. Khalida's s.o.'s family is very supportive and they have embraced her as one of them. They want to get married, but keep putting it off because Khalida wants to tell her family - shouldn't they be there for such a joyous occasion? But she knows that some of them would react violently and others would simply cut her off and bring her more pain. So she puts it off. Because she has this fantasy:


'In my heart I secretly wait for the day when I will gather up my courage, walk into my mother's house with my head held high, and ask her to sew me a wedding dress, just like her mother sewed hers. And while we're on the subject of family scenarios, I imagine her wiping tears of joy from her eyes as she leads me to the sewing machine to take my measurements. She will then do the customary passing down of jewelry. She'll take out my grandmother's pearl set that her mother gave her on her wedding day and extend it to me, saying, "You know, I always liked that girlfriend of yours. Tell me more about her mother and her family."'

Jolly Fat Men, Giant Bunnies With Eggs, and Fairies With Tooth Obsessions

I was reading a blog post somewhere and they were talking about whether or not it's okay for Christians to play Santa Claus. I don't have anything against Santa, I guess. I learned he wasn't real very early on - I can't even remember a time when I thought he was real, that's how early I learned there was no Santa. But I don't have this animosity toward the character that some people appear to have. *shrug* He's based on a real person - a Saint, as a matter of fact. St. Nicholas of Myra's feast day was yesterday, December 6th.

Anyway. It just reminded me that I'd decided a long time ago that if I ever had kids (I wasn't planning on it at that point, but there was always an outside chance and now I want to have kids...) I wasn't going to tell them about the character of Santa Claus. Not because I thought that the revelation later on would destroy their trust in the adults or make them wonder what other invisible beings we'd been lying to them about but because I think that the myth of Santa as it exists today encourages unrealistic expectations for presents. After all, if Santa is a magical man living at the North Pole with magic elves and rain deer then why can't he give them that pony or that $200 Barbie dream house or whatever it is they want? Is it because they've been bad? No. It's because 'Santa' is Mommy and Daddy and Mommy and Daddy can't afford the $200 Barbie dream house with all the accessories and Mommy and Daddy can't afford the pony in the first place and understand that their house is not zoned for livestock and who's gonna feed and groom it anyway? Yeah. Kids will still want things that they're not going to get even if they know that 'Santa' isn't real, but I think that knowing it's really your parents who have to buy you these things makes a difference. Especially once they get a little bit older and start to understand about money and how it's necessary to keep the roof over their heads and food on the table and how there's a finite supply of it. Which is another thing - kids should learn about that as early as possible. It's all about knowledge and treating them not like they're pets but like they're going to have to grow up and be adults at some point. Keeping stuff from them is not actually helpful most of the time. I do also see the point that Santa takes away from the religious meaning of the holiday - Christmas is very commercial for most people, in case you didn't notice that one on your own.

And I realized that I'm not going to do the 'Easter Bunny' either. It's just silly and takes away from Pascha which is the entire point of the season. Why can't you do Easter things without involving an imaginary giant rabbit? Dye the eggs, have an Easter basket, all that good stuff. Just...without the giant bunny.

The Tooth Fairy is *also* unnecessary! Loosing teeth just shows that the child is growing up. I think it's still cute to give them a quarter or whatever for every lost tooth as a sort of memorial for it - no fairy busting into your room in the middle of the night necessary.
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