Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Revenge vs. Rationale

Oh boy, boys and girls, and the faux-madrassah story continues with a direct response from the Obama committee against Fox News. What's more, it's actually a pretty redeeming feel-good story, that is, until you address the nagging in your gut.

So, the Washington Post is reporting that due to Fox's irresponsible and illegitimate mud slinging concerning Obama's past, the Obama camp is "freezing out" all Fox reporters and producers, declining them access to speak with the senator or to participate in following his presidential campaign route. Revenge, sweet and simple.

While the actual truth of the matter is as dependable as "unnamed media sources" are, this does seem like a deliberate retaliation on the part of the presidential candidate if Fox reporters are whining about feeling like they're "in the freezer" and that the other people at Fox who didn't do anything against him are now the ones who are bearing the brunt of the snub.

Now I do have sympathy for the struggling new journalists at Fox who might naively believe that their station practices true unbiased journalism, and that by Obama sharing his stories with them, everything they report would be conveyed by Fox's broadcasters in the way that Obama and the journalists themselves intended it, without all the spinning, the skewing, the condescending tone of voice, the raised eyebrows of the broadcasters. This is not obviously not reality, and Obama's group is intelligent enough to suspect otherwise.

However, the question is, although it feels good now to admonish Fox for what they've done by giving them the silent treatment, what good will it do in the long run? Fox caters to a third of the American news-watching population (34% of Republicans, 20% of Democrats in a Pew Research Center study), more than any other single news station, leaving us to ponder the worse(r) of evils:

  1. If that large slice of the population does not get their daily fix of Obama-vibes, albeit spun in a negative light, will they all lose interest in his persona?
  2. But if they did hear skewed commentary on Obama, would they be more likely not to vote for him?
  3. Would they really vote for Obama anyway, seeing that they regularly watch Fox, the neoconservative station?
  4. Would it balance out favors for Obama to make a personal appearance in their states and be featured in their local news instead?
On a higher level, is it really right for Obama to turn his back on Fox? Though it feels justly validating, it is what it is: antagonism, which is ultimately a negative trait for a legislator to hold. Drawing that implication out, would he continue to ignore Fox if he got elected president? Would he hold out on talking to groups that actively dislike him? We have to remember that while Fox did actively attempt to discredit him, they did not skew his own words out of turn, which is what they did with the Hillary campaign. That may be a significant distinction.

I hoped that Obama would have been the bigger man by directly addressing the issue of Fox's childish reporting behavior with a completely mature (and fully publicized) response, perhaps even on Fox News itself, to clarify the issues. Not this childish counter-bullying (as far as I can tell, did I miss his statements?), which may be construed as hostile and irresponsible itself. But we shall inevitably see what ensues as a result. Will Hillary join in?? How long will it last?

Perhaps the only good thing about this news line is that we all now know what a madrassah is...

Friday, January 26, 2007

P.S. Re: my previous post

Let me know if I really am going insane... I should get off the topic.

The world is driving me slowly insane...

I'm proud to announce that I have officially entered into the realm of the small-time activist. This morning, I followed an "action" link from an e-mail sent by and chose to send a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to "help save polar bears from global warming" as described by the promotional e-mail:

The Bush Administration is beginning the review process to decide whether to protect the polar bear, threatened with extinction due to global warming, under the Endangered Species Act. But we must speak up before February 23, 2007, or they will not hold public hearings on this critical matter.

Please help by sending a message directly to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, letting them know you want public hearings on polar bear protection. They are not required by law to hold such hearings, but they can be swayed if we all speak up.
While polar bears may not be my main concern, the reason I did take action this time may be three-fold:
  1. The really cute, poor little animated polar bear who couldn't find a resting spot on any solid floating ice-patch while swimming in the ocean (which, yes, was shown in An Inconvenient Truth, where else?), causing him to eventually drown, but they don't show that.
  2. The "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service" in Anchorage, Alaska seemed like a fairly benevolent organization that would most likely not, in my unfounded opinion, arrange for vengeful retaliation against citizens of the world, unlike my feelings for the EPA or FCC, who seem to be more closely connected to the executive branch of our government, to whom I strongly desire to send action/opposition letters, but am too scared that something similar to 1984 will happen to me and my loved ones... eeeekk.
  3. I just couldn't stand by and watch our mathematics and science curriculum degenerate into writing classes, oil companies dictate international politics, media skewing/hiding world events relevant to the general public, public officials involved in a leak conspiracy trying to do a cover-up on what should be an exposure, and remain complacent. I'm mad as hell, and I won't take it anymore! *makes another desperate passing swipe at apathy*
If, upon the occurrence of the unlikely, and my identity is suddenly put out of existence, at least you'll have a sneaking suspicion of why!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty...

How many of you haven't watched An Inconvenient Truth, yet? Just so you know, it's one of the few things that has been able to light a fire under me, just enough to get me involved to this extent (i.e. doing online research and actually caring about political decisions). I've recently also been considering submitting letters to the EPA via the Union of Concerned Scientists webpage... Dang, I'm losing it! *makes passing grab at apathy*

But s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y now, I'm really excited about the report coming out next Friday (Feb. 2nd) by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For a little background, the IPCC is a scientific review panel consisting of more than 2,500 researchers from over 130 nations, with the mission as stated on its website:
"to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data or other relevant parameters. It bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature." [italics mine]
After 6 years of work, they are ready to release a report to policymakers, and the world, that assesses:
  1. what progress has been made in understanding and attributing human-induced vs. natural climate change.
  2. the implications based on observations made of the atmosphere, oceans, sea level, and snow.
  3. how the climate been behaving for the last hundreds of thousands of years.
  4. the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change.
  5. the projections of future changes: negative and positive consequences of climate change.
  6. the options for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise mitigating climate change, and options for adapting to it.
I'm sure it will be a rather unnerving learning experience for all of us who are willing to listen with an open mind, and who are willing to hear the real and immediate consequences of inaction. With the larger significant changes to our globe in recent years and, especially, with international involvement, I desperately hope that these current efforts will not yield the same results as the report by U.S.' National Assessment on Climate Change in 2000:
"The National Assessment was attacked upon publication by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), an industry-funded think tank with an anti-regulatory free-market philosophy and a longstanding history of opposing efforts to address global warming. CEI filed lawsuits seeking to have the NACC report declared unlawful and to suppress its dissemination. These suits were dismissed "with prejudice," which means they had so little merit that they could not be refiled. In an interview, James R. Mahoney, admitted that the Climate Change Science Program has been constrained in its ability to use information in the National Assessment." (on Wikipedia)
Bush has recently defended the current unprecedented release of carbon emissions based on the one-sided belief that lowering carbon emissions standards in automobiles and industrial factories would be a devastating blow to the American economy, and would therefore be out of the question.

Let me ask you this. Would losing our freedom in 50 years due to climate terrorism also be considered a devastating blow to the American economy? What then?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

VIDEO: nutty fiend

Digg said it best: "Apparently someone attached a speedometer to their furry friend's wheel to find out just how fast their four-legged pet could sprint. The little fella gets the speed count pretty high before the wheel gets the best of him and spins him around TWELVE times. I haven't laughed this hard at a hamster in, well, ever..."

Check it out!
"High-speed Hamster" Video (1:07)

Losing my data... gaining a muse...

I had a post coming this way, but there was a temporarily long disconnect with the Blogger/Blogspot/(dare I mention Google?) server when I "PUBLISH"-ed it. Alas, when I pressed "Back" on Firefox, there was no data there, just the same "sorry" page.

I suppose I had it coming to me 'cause I was hit with a mental scenario very similar to this one last night right before I went to sleep, where Blogger went down and I lost all my posts. Go figure that I didn't type up my post today ON A VERY IMPORTANT SUBJECT MIND YOU on a local editor.

Maybe I should meditate on my lost post tonight and it'll appear tomorrow. If only the universe really worked that way, although such events of foresight/suspicion do correlate often with similar resulting coincidences, for example, when I meditate on certain friends that I haven't talked to in ages and they shockingly contact me the next day... what a trip! I do believe that Fate must have a muse after all...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Go Dems, part II: "Barry"!

By now, we all may have heard about Fox News' anti-Muslim Obama "smear campaign" (what else can we expect from these guys nowadays). Started by Insight, a conservative magazine published by the Washington Times, without a proper source or background check (I guess Insight's reports are based solely on, well, insight rather than fact), it was claimed that [1] Barack Obama had studied at an Islamic madrassah in Indonesia, which translates as "school" in Arabic, but in current times implies a location for ideological and political training grounds with the purpose of spreading hatred and violence against the Western world (in the Islamic fundamentalist tradition). The newscasters on Fox and Friends also repeatedly made an issue of the fact that [2] Obama was raised Muslim for the first 10 years of his life, and that his Muslim father gave him the middle name, "Hussein." As if his conversion to Christianity and living it the majority of his life meant nothing.

Not only targeting Obama's reputation, Fox chose to include an additional, indirect, smear on Hillary Clinton by referencing Insight magazine's "insight" that [3] it was the Clinton campaign committee's idea to research Obama's background which produced this "secret" information. Fox went further to attribute these hostile intentions on the suspicion that the Clinton campaign felt financially threatened by his running.

It was indeed discovered by CNN, after investigating the claims by going directly to Obama's school in Jakarta, Indonesia, that [1] the whole madrassah story was fake: the school-in-question that he attended 40 years ago was a public elementary school (and not a madrassah) which follows a national curriculum, and where his classmates called him "Barry." In other words, it is not an Islamic school, doesn't focus on religion, and in fact doesn't give preference to one religion or another. [3] It was also revealed that Clinton's campaign had no connection to the false allegations, and that both Obama and Clinton campaign groups were outraged by the reports.

I want to comment on the truth of [2], that Obama was initially raised Muslim - and I want to parallel it to my own experience in Japan. Living in a foreign country for an extended period of time, sustained by daily interaction with the native people is a true cultural and human learning experience. At first, there definitely is that culture shock and rebellion, but live there long enough and it eventually results in an innate understanding of a distinct set of basic beliefs and perceptions of how the world functions. As a child, I suspect that Obama would have absorbed the legitimate perspective of a Muslim culture, and upon his residing in the U.S. also absorb the equally legitimate perspective of the American culture.

Ever since the start of the Iraq War, and further beyond, there has been a need for politicians who understand the true concept of "new" terms such as "globalism" and "internationalism." Specifically, in this case, not just how U.S. citizens view and react to the Muslim community, but also how the Muslim community views and reacts to the U.S. in all its meanings and implications. There is an obvious imbalance in this regard, where the current administration views foreign relations as an "Us-Them" paradigm, rather than the much more civil "We."

I fully believe that Barry Obama's unique cultural experience and understanding of the Muslim world would serve as a clear paradigm shift which will benefit the U.S.; he would be one of the few able to relate to "those people over there whom we are fighting" on a humanistic level, and even more, to empathize with their fundamental needs and bring that back to a practical level in the form of the education of U.S. citizens and our democratic politics. Isn't that what we are trying to create over there, anyway? It's ironic that our idea of democracy is based on the needs and goals of the people being governed, yet we are trying to build a democracy in the Middle East for people we don't understand. Gotta love the logic!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Go Dems!

Has anyone been keeping track of the democratic presidential candidates so far?
Disclaimer: For my own sanity, this is a completely partisan posting.

(The following are taken from President4-2008, Congresspedia, and the Washington Post's "The Presidential Field," which I'm sure will be updated accordingly, for those of you interested in following along. As for me, I'll be following the latter link because there are pictures of the candidates to judge from. Awesome... ;)

Official Candidates

  1. Christopher J.Dodd, Connecticut Senator
  2. John Edwards, North Carolina Senator
  3. Dennis Kucinich, Ohio Representative
  4. Tom Vilsack, Iowa former Governor
  5. Mike Gravel, Alaska former Senator
  6. Randy Crow, no affiliation
Exploratory Candidates
  1. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Senator
  2. Barack Obama, Illinois Senator
  3. Bill Richardson, New Mexico Governor
Unofficial Candidates
  1. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Senator (Senate website)
  2. Al Gore, no affiliation (Washington Post profile)
  3. John Kerry, Massachusetts Senator (Senate website)
At first glance (based solely on character, as Dave Chappelle advises), I'm leaning towards the two candidates who are not yet quite candidates: Clinton and Obama. It slightly worries me that these are also the two candidates who have been receiving boosted media coverage - am I a victim of media influence?? I suppose I'm being too sensitive as usual.

On the topic of sensitivity, I'm going to barge right into a glass wall (never mind treading on broken glass) by saying that, while I fully support Hillary Clinton's ability, intelligence, and experience, not to mention that the person closest to her was a very successful President himself, she is a woman. All right, before all y'all start raisin' a fuss, I really want to point out who we're dealing with across the oceans abroad. We've all heard the stories of Afghani women not being allowed to step out into the public without at least first covering their entire bodies and being escorted by a man. Women tend to have substandard rights in that region, often not being valid enough to speak, let alone vote. And I can't imagine that Kim Jong-Il would bother consulting with women (other than his harem, for other reasons), either.

Imagine the leaders of these countries, with all of their preconditioned conceptions of women, confronted with a woman who is vocal and unhidden, with a mind to communicate on an equal level with them. What would they think, how would they react on a humanistic level, and how would they respond politically? Would the United States gain any support or trust or even respect from them? Now, I know that with regards to all of the other thousands of issues on the president's plate, Middle East/North Korean/etc. Foreign Relations is only a part of the pyramid, but I can just see it: "[Insert country name] refuses to negotiate with U.S. on terms of female president. Conflict continues without end."

Why, oh why, isn't the world fair and objective??? We need a female president to temper the flaming testosterone and pompousness that make up the administration (and the world) today. Someone reasonable and gentle, yet strong; easy to approach, yet comfortable with control. Someone who is open to discussion and willing to compromise without foregoing confidence, or degenerating into automatic warfare. Someone who holds pure democratic values, yet is able to put them to practical use. I see all of that in Hillary Clinton. In fact, she has the potential to bring domestic policy to the highest levels of quality yet to be seen.

But, I need to be convinced of the viability of her presidency in international policy. Thoughts anyone?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Let us pray.

"Dear Lord, I thank you for this time to give praise to you, for your everlasting mercy, love, and grace."

This opening, albeit a standard kickoff, invokes a myriad of reactions depending on your experiences. Distaste, repugnance, wariness, triviality, incomprehension, defensiveness, hatred. Or it could be gratefulness, hopefulness, security, calming, warmth, understanding, focus.

It is globally understood, though, as an offering of a spiritual prayer - the beginning of the outpouring of an individual's hopes, dreams, worries, and angst.

"I want to offer up my devotion to you, and ask for your guidance during this time. I feel lost, Lord, unaware of my path, unknowing of where to step next."

Here is where it gets sticky. Replace the concept of the Christian "Lord" with a general "anybody out there" or "mom" or even your own name, then take away the religious wording, and you get the type of thought that most people whisper to themselves during times of crisis and doubt. The feeling, at least, is universal no matter what religion you do, or don't, believe.

"I pray to receive strength and comfort in knowing that you are here watching over me, and in knowing that the future is secure in your ultimate plan."

We'd all love to know that what we're doing at every point in our lives is contributing to a greater good, whether it be for humankind or any other desirable kind. To know would help us make decisions easier, take action easier, remain inactive easier, even let breathing come easier. In other words, living life easier.

Life, I find, is full of heaviness and unhappiness. By all means, please prove me wrong, please. Where does this dreariness come from? A lack of purpose? A grinding guilt emanating from our childhood? Our role-model caregivers? Capitalism and bureaucracy? The "War in Iraq/Iran/Syria/North Korea/Darfur/Israel/Palestine/Sudan/Afghanistan/Mexico/Mother Nature" and other global state of affairs? There seems to be no limit to the sources of darkness - if we don't see one immediately, we can readily conjure one up.

I've heard on TV (yay!) that this general malaise and apathy is a natural reaction of human beings toward being exposed to the goings on in the world today. That's reassuring. To combat it, how about this helpful tip from a "Positive Thinking" magazine: If you fake happiness, you'll eventually believe it. Radical. I also recall hearing some straightforward logic in which it doesn't serve any productive function to be negative - it gets you nowhere and only pushes you down - so, why not be positive and save yourself the grief? A somewhat convincing rationale, I must admit. The first time I heard it, I really tried to give positivity a shot. But somehow after the fourth and fifth times, I just kept forgetting about it and reverting back to mundanity.

Prayer, or its more popular second cousin, inner cries of despair, however, is another thing on its own. It naturally spurts out now and then, doesn't it? "Oh man, this sucks." or "Help me, someone... anyone?" or "I'm so friggin' tired of this." or "What the hell am I supposed to do now?" Asked, or rather, tossed out there into the vast ether of space and time. Interestingly, upon the utterance comes a definite moment of repose, an almost release from the heat of the moment. Perchance could there also be a split-second expectation of an answer to the mindlessness somewhere in that moment? One would have to analyze oneself honestly to find out, but I suspect it would be true.

"Dear God, thank you so much for your love and forgiveness. I pray that you will continue to fill us with warmth and a passion to serve you through the journey that we are each taking. I trust that you will lead us to glory. I give this time to you. Amen."

For those of us not on the religious bandwagon, there has to be a way to refocus our inner cries of despair and guilt into concrete thoughts, recognition of a fundamental trust toward life, disregarding of self-judgment, and developing true acceptance and thankfulness toward the life you are living, with the will to keep going on the journey. A meditation of sorts, where it's just you and "the ether of space and time" communing, no judgment, no expectations, no pressure. Perhaps that will be enough to rise above the deathly doldrums. For me, with enough daring and patience, that may be the way away from Lexapro-and-friends. Let me not forget...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reading in circles.

I've got nothing today, friends. My mind is utterly preoccupied with the overwhelming amount of reading there is to do in order to understand the current state of democratic events here... I'm trying to read 4 websites:

  • Huffington Post
  •'s instructional section on "Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy"
  •'s coverage of the National Conference for Media Reform
  • Wikipedia's entry on "Hezbollah"

at the same time and getting absolutely nowhere and I started at 11 this morning. Talk about productiveness... give me a break! OK, so all four readings are on completely separate issues, but hey! I'm trying to make myself into new woman here.

Transform me...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Doing my homework... Where's the instructor?

There's a ton to keep track of when the news media doesn't do it for you, huh! Here's a list of 39 issues that are dominant in maintaining order in the United States (taken from Project Vote Smart -

Do you know where any of your legislators stand on the issues? But first, do you know how you stand on these issues? For my part: "No, sadly, except maybe Obama's" and "On a generally whimsical level," but I'm going to try and see if I can become an active-thinking member (yes, it's a dash, not a comma... Gotta respect that apathy!) of this democracy even if it kills my eyeballs...

  1. Abortion Issues
  2. Agriculture Issues
  3. Animal Rights and Wildlife Issues
  4. Appropriations
  5. Arts and Humanities
  6. Budget, Spending and Taxes
  7. Business and Consumers
  8. Campaign Finance and Election Issues
  9. Civil Liberties
  10. Civil Rights
  11. Congressional Affairs
  12. Crime Issues
  13. Defense
  14. Drug Issues
  15. Education
  16. Employment and Affirmative Action
  17. Energy Issues
  18. Environmental Issues
  19. Executive Branch
  20. Family and Children Issues
  21. Foreign Aid and Policy Issues
  22. Government Reform
  23. Gun Issues
  24. Health Issues
  25. Housing and Property Issues
  26. Immigration
  27. Labor
  28. Legal Issues
  29. Military Issues
  30. National Security Issues
  31. Regulatory Issues
  32. Science and Medical Research
  33. Senior and Social Security Issues
  34. Social Issues
  35. Technology and Communication
  36. Trade Issues
  37. Transportation Issues
  38. Veterans Issues
  39. Welfare and Poverty

This calls up to mind Dave Chappelle's bit on "Killin' Them Softly" (2000) about a "cultural thing" - "He knows who he's going to vote for, he's just not gonna tell me ... White people do not like to talk about their political affiliations. It's a secret..." So good, though plenty of cussing, mm-mmm: (6:27 total, but watch at least the first 2:30).

So there, my predicament. I'd love to tell and discuss the issues - is this the right place for it?? Ah well, on with my search regardless.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Apathy and Anger - an overreaction and analysis

Is it me, or are people becoming more and more apathetic and less responsible towards their fellow citizens in these times of war and financial turmoil?

I realize that most of you have experienced the event that I'm going to write about, anyway, but frustration needs venting!

Walking across the Star Market parking lot, I watched in horror as a middle-aged woman, too lazy to walk to a proper storage area, heaved her used shopping cart across the aisle towards the mulched curb at the edge of the lot, and right into the side of my car. Apparently, she didn't account for the way the pavement slanted, making the cart veer slightly left and pick up speed as it crashed. I was speechless with disbelief and anger at her inconsiderate attitude! Where is the love?? True, she may not have purposefully aimed for a car, but she didn't even care to look at where the cart was headed the second it left her manicured, spoiled little hands.

My first instinct was just to watch (how apathy rears it's ugly head!), but a very close second reaction was to shout after her to watch where she threw her crap. Unfortunately, that split second reaction was already too late - she was getting in her shiny car backing out of her spot. I wanted so badly to run right up to her driver-side window and pound on it, yelling profanities, but the realistic side of me said, "She might have a gun in her glove compartment." Who knows these days with the state of things, but it was probably just a lame excuse not to get involved.

So, ashamed as I am for it, it ends up I did nothing but gawk and get really hot in the face, standing in the rain-soaked lot next to my dear, violated Corolla. More upset at my lack of reaction rather than the actual occurence itself (there were no marks on my car), I spent the rest of the day and half of the next day regretful and furious over how apathy and irresponsibility have settled like a dark cloud over the major populice of these times. Just how many people truly operate like that woman, I don't know, but the pessimistic side of me feels that it must be the majority of the nation. The optimistic side of me tells me to have hope, look at the exceptions, and give the "populice" a chance. I don't know about you, but I am always surprised by those exceptions - the acts of friendliness that shatter my reality. Are you?

There is a common theme here, something I attribute to the steady decline of the state of the country, the way that news reporting is being monopolized into infotainment such that the public is no longer given a chance for action through democracy; it has all become a sit-and-watch-other-people-suffer,-isn't-it-fantastic?! method of brainwash into futility. There is a definite lack of relevant news focusing on our government policies, and implications of these on the nation and on the rest of the world. Wake up! There is life after America, after all! The network stations aren't giving the public a chance to fight for democracy and ultimate good - apathy and inaction ensue. That woman was apathetic enough not to return that shopping cart where it was supposed go in the first place, apathetic enough to not to care whether her actions were going to damage someone else's property, apathetic enough not to look at the results of her handiwork, and my own apathy in not sharing my feelings about her actions directly to her face.

Someone pass the Zoloft, unless you have a better idea.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Avatar posts

So for those of you who remember my freakishly obsessive days and endless nights over anime, particularly Fushigi Yuugi and Rurouni Kenshin, during our college years, you might also recall that I was a crazed fansite and fanfic proponent for a majority of that time. I remain adamant about how this may have indirectly cost me my interest in my computer science major and directly nearly lost me my co-op job at Stratus ... although they had me programming test drivers of all muthafoking things, how much interest could I have sustained anyway. (OK, so I don't swear all that well in real life, either, so what?)

With my newfound desire to create a decent string of words (ie, write something meaningful), I recalled those past days of fanfic-ing into the wee hours of dawn with the passion and drive to truly convey my super-character, Yael, and his burdens. You all may be happy to know that I found my posts (13 in all) and just might start re-writing. The immediate problem I see is that I was writing from the perspective of one character then. A full-blown story would dictate more characters. Call me fearful, but that may be difficult - I got very involved with Yael, it's hard to image how much energy it would take to create and write several layers of additional characters. Thoughts, anyone?

And for your entertainment, the beginning:

"Saariyah, listen to me carefully..."

With closed eyes, he bowed his head and sunk into a deeper concentration.

"The words of our God are true, and they are bestowed unto His children. The hearts of God's chosen sing with praises to His mighty Goodness. This very notion, you mustn't forget, for you are destined to lead these people... your people, gentle Saariyah, to victory."

Saariyah allowed himself to be swept away by these words, carried by the faith that the God he loved and worshipped would guide him. As he let the significance of his mother's words imprint on his soul, he told himself that he would not be afraid. He was chosen. And he would obey. "My God, I thank you for your blessings. Please guide me to do Your Will, to show me the righteous path in which I will lead Your children to You. I praise only You."

A soft tingling sensation washed over the praying boy and centered on his right shoulder blade. Saariyah tried to find comfort in that sign, that God was listening and answering, but anguish lashed at him when reminders of his alienation were stirred. The probing tingle on his shoulder blade immediately dissolved when he opened his eyes.

"I... Mother..." He refused to look up.

"You still can't let go, can you, my darling." A pale, but warm hand touched his chin and slowly lifted it. "Don't be ashamed of who you are."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Today among all other days to start again!

Hi hi. After 3 months, I'm back! Again! Gotta love how things remain the same when you're not looking...

This morning was the same as all other mornings, except that I seem to have developed a pain in my ass. I suspect it's from all my sitting in front of the computer, reading blogs. Among some are The Huffington Post, The Dilbert Blog, and LOCAL MAN. Yes, I've come back full swing to realize my interest in reading. Over the past few months, I've ingested:

  • The World According to Garp, by John Irving - I don't know how a book can be so traumatic, yet funny at the same time. I actually thought this was going to be a political book about issues from the perspective of the farming world (with a name like Garp, can you blame me?), but I realized after reading the first line, that I was indeed mistaken. The only fighting I had to do was open to the first page, the book reeled me in with its first sentence and kept me absorbed, unknowingly. The best kind of book! It has the magic also found in Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meaney," a book from my AP English days that I'm considering re-reading.
  • The Accidental Asian, by Eric Liu - which motivated me, at the time, to look into getting involved in the Asian culture and reduce my tendency towards Asian self-hatred. I learned that most Asian mags/community are accessible on the West Coast. Go L.A.! I suppose my growling demeanor for Oriental-looking people has let up just a bit, but as always, I moved on to other things without a notion of closure. More to come of this, I'm sure!
  • My Life, by Bill Clinton (Audio CD) - his voice makes me comfortable and puts me to sleep very nicely. He's a charmer for sure!
  • I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov - who can resist good ol' sci-fi? This book's cover ($7.99 paperback) had Will Smith on it, but was NOT the same thing as the movie. At all. That's interesting... did I miss something, or was the title wronged?
  • Foundation, and Foundation and Empire, by Isaac Asimov - These were the days that I forced myself to stay up till 3am to get in the last few chapters of this good stuff.
  • Emotionally Weird, by Kate Atkinson - excellent use of language and semantics, good character writing, humor is slightly off-kilter.
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  • The Doctor is Sick, by Anthony Burgess
  • An Ambulance is on the Way, by Jonathan Wilson
  • 1/2 of Spirit Matters, by Michael Lerner
  • 1/2 of Positive Energy, by Judith Orloff, M.D. - I thought I was too New Age-y, but this totally threw me for a loop! I know I spent 2 hours at the Coop deciding whether to buy the book (which I somehow did. Why, I'll never know for sure now), I doubt I'll ever be ready for this one.

and I'm currently working on:

  • News Flash, by Bonnie M. Anderson - to continue my new interest in news media domination.
  • The 158-Pound Marriage, by John Irving - trying to start this one to see if it's John Irving's writing I like, or just the subject matter.
  • Understanding Islam, by Thomas W. Lippman - haven't started this, but at least I've got it! The hope for this one is that I'll be able to react humanistically towards the Middle East when I see war violence on TV rather than apathetically. Will knowledge bring compassion for me? I need more love to give...
  • Whose Freedom?, by George Lakoff (Audio CD) - another voice that puts me to sleep quite well. Although I pull myself out of my dozing inebriation and try to latch onto comprehension, because really, this book is very, very good - the author is very very intelligent. He talks about manipulative framing by conservative think-tanks in the news, and how it's affecting the nation unconsciously in order to shift our traditional notion of "freedom" into a more submissive definition of non-action and dependence. On a lighter note, I really like these audio CD's with words rolling over you - it's like having someone reading you a bedtime story. (Argh, I'm not regressing here after 6 months of unemployment, really. *sob*)

I think all this reading is my way of psyching myself up to take on some sort of writing project sometime soon. Writing is the goal here. Such tension, too much fiber, not enough writing. Maybe that's why my butt hurts.