Reflections for myself and you if you are randomly interested...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What are politicians doing for us? Censoring the Internet.

 I just signed a petition that opposes censorship of the internet. Feel like signing?

Wait, where do we live again? I thought it was the United States, a place that values freedom of speech and expression. What GOOD are you doing for the people of this country?

Instead of taking away our rights and diminishing our chance at a life where we have our needs met and our dreams within reach, why don't you start looking out for us? Why are you representing us if you do not try to make our lives BETTER, not worse?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New city...

It is a little scary to be honest. But I can do it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

WHY WE ARE NOT EQUAL: Gender Role Reversal

So many U.S. Americans are under the impression that women and men are equal. ‘Sure, we had that women’s lib thing, right?’ Yet women are still used to sell everything from cars to beer to music to you name it. I am not the first to be disgusted by the Stella Artois ad, but just in case you haven’t seen it, here it is.

Every ad for cleaning supplies shows happy mom looking thrilled to give the kitchen counters or bathroom a good twice over, as in these ads here and here.

Go into any sex shop and you will be bombarded by clothing that makes women look “sexy” and a plethora of porn that degrades women. The only clothing in sex shops for men is usually of the ridiculous variety. Yeah, I laughed when I first saw the elephant nose man-thong. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all in favor of exploring and having a healthy sex life, I just fundamentally disagree with the gender inequities that exist in the sex market.

Women still get in free or cheaper than men at most nightclubs. Sure, there are a fair amount of strip clubs that showcase male dancers, but hands down, the supply is for female-dancer nightclubs. The majority of pornographic magazines feature and objectify women and are geared towards men.

Girls and young women still wear tiny skirts and tank tops to school or out on the town and get plenty of attention for it.

Just imagine a world where everything is reversed... I mean everything. Can you? Men wear low cut tops so they can snag a raise or grab the attention of potential employers. Women are the vast majority of business and land owners worldwide. 1 out of every 4 men you know has been sexually assaulted. You read in the paper about a young man in the military getting gang raped, left tied up in a dormitory and then refused medical treatment, only to be shamed and blamed by his peers when stepping forward. Men in refugee camps are afraid to go to the bathrooms at night because they are in serious danger of getting raped or attacked.

Families across the world must sell their young sons into slavery in order to survive. The bulk of the world’s multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry is geared towards men. Men are slowly but surely becoming the prominent group of university students in the U.S. for the first time in our nation’s history. Women can, for the most part, walk freely anywhere at any time without ever worrying that they might be attacked or raped. There are men in every country in the world that must sell their sex to survive or ensure the survival of their family.

Women can have as many sexual partners as they choose whereas men get labeled slut or prostitute if they have more than a few or sometimes even just one partner. Men get pregnant and have to deal with EVERYTHING that that implies. They must put chemicals in their bodies if they want to prevent pregnancy. They are often forced get illegal abortions and end up ill, hospitalized or worse. Young men get disowned from their family and are forced into poverty after they get pregnant out of wedlock.

Women are the primary group that commits rape, murder and incest. They are also the ones that make and enforce the majority of laws worldwide.

It seems ridiculous, right? It is atrocious to think of a world that is like that. Yet, when you switch the roles to how they actually ARE, it seems commonplace. That is just how the world is. Well that is not good enough. We are still not equal, and if you think we are, or that it doesn’t matter, you are playing with fire and just plain delusional.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Does it have to take a tragedy for us to change?

My partner told me that his stocks for a solar power development company just rose 4% in the past 10 minutes on top of a 10% rise in the past few hours. He told me this at the exact moment I was reading an article about the sharply falling odds of a nuclear revival in the U.S.

According to another article on MSNBC, as of 2002, 47,000 metric tons of spent fuel (which is now radioactive waste) has accumulated in the U.S. and is still waiting to be properly stored. Whatever ''properly stored'' means...

So what do I take from this? Something catastrophically horrible has happened and NOW we are starting to care. Never mind that we have long since known the potential dangers of nuclear energy and the ridiculousness of the 'out of sight out of mind' theory when applied to the pileup of radioactive material.

I want my parents to eat healthy and exercise so they live a long time. I have always bugged them about it. Yes, I am sure it has been annoying at times, but I bug them because I love them. I do not want them to be one of those people who have a heart attack and THEN realize they need to start being healthy.

Why does it so often take something tragic happening for people to start to change their ways for the better?

Let's start thinking about the future today. Hopefully the world will be here (and in tact) for our children and their children. We need to stop being so short sided when it comes to taking care of the earth and each other.

I hope all of my (and your) friends and loved ones in Japan are going to be okay.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The last day that I will ever be 28

What a strange thought.

What made up this year? Good and bad things, just like any other year. I have been lucky enough to start the year out in Costa Rica, followed by Colorado, then Florida and finally ending my 28th year in Belgium.

My family has a wonderful new edition: my brother married an amazing woman and I love her already. She also has a great family that I will get to know as my life goes on.
I had to be separated from my love for 6 months with only a short stint of seeing each other to break up that awful length.

I worked a shitty, pathetically paid job in retail, but I had some wonderful co-workers and learned a lot. I think I also got a bit of an attitude from that experience, but I think it might be a good thing. I am much less likely to take crap from people for no reason now.

I am feeling a bit strange this birthday. I was watching a tv show where the main character got into an accident. All of his friends dropped what they were doing and rushed to him, worried and wanting to make sure he was ok. It made me sad. I have had some wonderful adventures these past years. Since leaving Virginia in autumn, 2007, I have been to Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Costa Rica, U.S. and now Belgium. I love seeing new places and I am so thankful for all of the incredible things I have been able to do. But that little show made me realize what I have been missing. Now don’t get me wrong, I have had some fantastic friends along the way. But the thing is…I left them. Or they left. I have been in places where people do not stay.

That scene made me miss a real circle of good friends. I miss the support, the companionship, the fun. It has been a long time since I had that. In Korea I just started to have that sense. And then I had to leave. In Costa Rica, I met a lot of wonderful people, but a deadline of a year was in my mind. And then I had to leave. I think I am tired of leaving. I want to invest in a place and make a life there with friends and loved ones. I still want to travel and have adventures. I just miss having a home base.

I want to dedicate these 28 years to all of the friends and loved ones I have had who would drop everything and come see me if I were in the hospital. You mean so much to me, so thank you…

Sunday, January 2, 2011

America's Favorite Pastime

I remember hearing when I was kid that baseball was our favorite pastime. Maybe that just means I am old.

But my age is not what my concern is here. It is our favorite pastime. Coming home to U.S. has been an eye opener. What do I see families doing together? What do friends get together to do? What do people who need an afternoon just for themselves decide on?

In my idealistic and romantic mind, I come up with many charming and fun possibilities: going hiking in the mountains; sitting at a little cafe and chatting and watching the world go by, going to see a neat little foreign film at the indie theater then splurging on a piece of chocolate cake at the bakery next door; going for a long bike ride in the park.

I realise that 1. many people still do these things, and 2. that I have watched way to many old movies.

But even though these things all still take place, I feel there is a huge monster looming over them, threatening to stomp them out like the embers of a campfire. So can you guess what this monster is? What is U.S. American's all time favorite pastime?


I have lived in several towns in the U.S. where all there is to do is shop. And have you noticed that all towns are starting to look more and more alike? They all have the big box stores crowded soullessly around a main road.

What do people do when they are bored or eager for fun or just want to get out? They go shopping. All the time. Even when they don't need anything, even when they are exhausted. Shop, shop, shop, shop. Have we all become shopping zombies?

I can't help but feeling that this current mindset really keeps people in their place. We work a crappy job, make just enough money to go out and buy crap we really don't need, then go home and watch tv because we are so tired from working and shopping. Sounds super fun when I put it like that, huh?

We do not spend our money on things to enrich our lives in any way. A shirt and pants hardly contribute to better life quality. Are we so brainwashed that we actually think pointless crap makes our lives better somehow? I am starting to wish people acted like they did in the old movies I love so much... I am bored of the house, honey. Let's go take a drive to the coast! Or maybe We have been working way too hard, let's take the family to the park! Anything seems better that driving to the nearest shopping mall and spending my pitiful, hard-earned salary on a shirt that will look shabby after 3 washes.

What would the world be like if we spent our money on life-enriching and relationship-strengthening activities? If we actually did things together that did not involve handing our hard-earned cash over to a poorly paid shop clerk? Think of what we could do with all that extra money!!!

What would our lives be like? I am thinking they would be a whole lot better.