Thursday, July 31, 2008

Problem with Religion

Here's one of my biggest problems with religion—

People use religion to justify and explain their lives and things they find unsettling. Death? We're going to heaven. Terrorist attacks? God wills it. Having 18 children [as has just been in the news]? "[C]hildren are God’s blessing and husbands and wives should happily welcome every child they are given." Apparently they've forgotten that humans, as any other animal on earth, are reproductive machines. Having 18 children doesn't mean God has blessed you, it just means that you're not using birth control and aren't afraid of the day when the human population tops out at around 10 or 11 billion people and Earth might no longer sustain our lives. As a bonus, the husband's name is Jim Bob.

I was also disturbed after the September 11 attacks to hear people talk to reporters about their experience. There were many accounts of people who missed their train or randomly showed up late to work, thereby saving their lives. Many of them had answers like "It just wasn't my time to go yet" or "God still had a purpose for me." So what, that means that God decided to save a handful of people while giving a big "fuck you!" to the rest of them? That's such a dangerous way of thinking! That kind of flippant justification leads entire populations to war and genocide.

People also use God in other ways. A guy I went to high school with posts his religious ramblings on Facebook, and lists his religious views as "Jesus is Lord." About a year and a half ago he posted a note that I still think about, reference, and show to friends. He titled it "Dating and Singleness," and it's here for your reading pleasure:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Real Food

Can you spot the little green worm I nearly ate for breakfast? [yes, I was eating broccoli for breakfast. Sometimes you just want it!]

I didn't see it either, and it managed to survive a couple days in the fridge as well as being washed. I took a bite and he fell onto my shirt— that's how close I was! And then I started thinking that I'd probably already eaten one. I know that's part of getting local food— no chemicals to kill it— but I still can't get used to it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Man counted calories, watched the pounds go

Yes, that's the title. And yes, apparently, that's newsworthy. Or as Fark always reminds us, "it's not news, it's CNN." Here's the article.

Since when was this kind of thing newsworthy? Granted, with all the "miracle" diet products on the market these days, people do seem to have forgotten how weight gain happens. Eat a box of Twinkies and sit on your ass all day, day after day, and you're going to pack on the pounds.

Prepare to be enlightened:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Some of my favorite flowers growing in our backyard are the purple balloon flowers. Before blooming, the flowers look like little presents, green at first and then swelling nearly to bursting as they take on a violet hue. Sometimes I'm seized with the urge to squeeze one and see if it pops open, the way Impatiens seed pods do. I go through this sequence of thoughts every time I look at them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Blogger's Manifesto

You might have noticed that I’ve been posting a lot more lately. For a long time, I felt that this space should be devoted to deep thoughts, important things that needed discussion, my brainstorms.

But lately I’ve found myself reconsidering what a blog truly should be. In order for it to be interesting, not only to the author but to other people as well, it needs to be personal. What does it say about you? How does it relate our lives, through common threads or interest?

What I was missing with my grand concept was what makes the blogs I read [listed to the right] so interesting. I go back to them again and again because they are honest, unassuming, consistently worth reading.

As I wade deeper and deeper into photography, and as I have more and more to say about the world I see through the lenses I’m developing due to school and my experiences, I want to find a way to tie them together. Both photography and writing are important parts of me, and I think they are my strongest assets when it comes to explaining my world view to others.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Elements of a Farmer's Market

One of the things I love most about the Allen St. Farmer's Market is the way it has been designed as a part of the community around it. Not only does it feature local farmers selling only their own produce, local restaurants and "local folks" who make anything from soaps to dessert sauces to t-shirts, but the market was created and is maintained by people who live, for the most part, on the Eastside. Since the Allen Neighborhood Center is a non-profit, finding volunteers is an important part of the mix in order to keep things running smoothly. Volunteers like myself show up each week for the market and make sure that tents are up, signs are out, and everything is where it should be. We then make everyone coming to the market feel welcome, answering any questions and trying to communicate why, exactly, this market is so special. Easier said than done, almost— in my case, I'm there from set-up to tear-down every Wednesday and it is hopefully apparent to people who see my week after week, no matter what time it is, smiling away from my post by the front gate or taking pictures as I wander from tent to tent.

The class I took this spring that had me involved in "pre-season" market activities allowed me to get involved in the market in different ways. One of the things we did was create flags that ring the parking lot on market days, an eye-catching and beautiful sight. It was not just my small class of four who made the flags, however. A lot of people contributed many different talents to make these flags happen.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Teen Pregnancies Up

A new study was just released which claims that teen pregnancies are up for the first time in 15 years: Read It

Allow me to present my theory on this. Bush was elected president in 2000, and since weaseling his way into the White House he has pushed abstinence-only sexual education at home and abroad. In order for schools to receive federal funds, they need to follow lesson plans that barely, if at all, mention preventative measures such as condoms, birth control, or emergency contraception.

I believe I had my first sex ed lesson in third or fourth grade, so I would have been somewhere around 8 or 9 years old.

So here we are, nearly 8 years after Bush took office.

The kids who started their sex ed classes when they were, say, 8 years old, as Bush took office, are now about 16. If teen pregnancies are starting to increase, could it possibly be due to the fact that, thanks to their lovely born-again president, none of them have received reliable information about sex in school?

Just a thought...

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Just want to apologize for the ugly awkwardness of this blog over the next couple of days... I promise it will be for the better!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pure Joy

There's not much my dogs enjoy more than running through rain-soaked grass first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

People Who Are Offended By WALL-E

Apparently certain people have been up in arms over Pixar's new movie, WALL-E, since last November. All I knew about it before seeing it was that it looked adorable. So last Friday I saw it with a couple of friends... and I loved it. As the story goes, mankind has abandoned Earth because it was too polluted and too covered in trash to be inhabitable. The enormous corporation "Buy N Large," who appears to control all of Earth's commerce, builds a giant spaceship to take people away for a "five year cruise" until robots left behind can clean up and allow people to move back home. Seven hundred years later, it appears that only one of the robots, WALL-E, is still in working order. Each day he goes out and compacts little piles of trash, building skyscrapers with the blocks he spits out. The only life form is a cockroach who fills the role of Wall-E's dog. Over the years, Wall-E has developed a personality, collecting interesting knick-knacks and cherishing an old VHS tape of Hello, Dolly! that shows how he yearns for a connection with someone.

All of that is set up in the first half hour of the movie. When flashy, futuristic robots come to Earth in search of life forms, WALL-E falls in love with one and ends up in outer space after climbing onto the rocket ship that will take them back to the mother ship. He had given EVE a plant he found growing, and as we find out, that is not only the first sign of life to return from Earth with the rest of the search mission, but also the first to return in 700 years.

Seeing the introduction to the movie, a layer of thick smog blanketing abandoned buildings and skyscrapers of compacted trash, sent waves of sickness through my mind and stomach. At the rate we're going, that very well could be a look into our future. The smog and the trash— it's already a problem in many parts of the world. My uncle, who travels to China on business fairly regularly, emailed the family a picture of the midday sun— it looks like a dim lightbulb through the haze [see below].

Not only that, but the way Wal-Mart and other huge corporations are pushing other companies out of business, a world where one corporation owns everything isn't hard to imagine. Phillip Morris, the much-maligned cigarette company, owns Kraft Foods, for god's sake!

So, getting back to the part about how I think the people offended by Wall-E are being a little ridiculous... First of all, it's an animated movie. A children's movie. There are very few, if any, movies aimed at children that don't come complete with a life lesson and a moral at the end. By design, a children's movie teaches some important lesson or idea. There are obstacles to overcome that the hero of the story must endure in order to better him- or herself. That's totally standard for Disney movies.