Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More Human Than Human

I didn't really go to college. I mean, I kinda did. We have a community college in town, and the first time I went for a semester, I took like 9 or 12 credits or something, and I only went to one class or maybe I didn't go to any of them. I don't remember any more, but the good news is that I finally paid off my student loan for that.

The second time I went to college I was much more committed. But I was working two jobs, working around 60-70 hours a week, and I tried to take a full course load on top of that. I went to all my classes for the first two months, but by month three, I was too burnt out and only went to my English class.

And thus ended my college experience.

Well, sorta. I had a couple friends who were in college, and I used to write papers for them all the time. I don't know why exactly. My friends aren't idiots and could probably write great papers themselves. They didn't pay me for them or anything either. I just liked doing the paper to see what kind of grades I could I get, I guess.

I don't actually know what my incentive was, actually. I just know that I did them. I don't remember all of them, but I wrote a couple choice ones for Eric. One was about censorship, and the other was about drug testing in the pharmaceutical industry. Eric got an A on both papers.

My absolutely favorite paper I've ever written in my entire life was for my friend Fifi. She was in some movie class. I don't really know why or what it was about anymore, but they had to watch movies and discuss them and write papers on them.

Her assignment was to watch the movie Blade Runner, and if I recall correctly, she tried watching it but she kept falling asleep during it. To which, I freaked out on her several times, saying things like, "Blade Runner is amazing! How can you sleep through that?" Eric defended her by saying that it gave him BillyBobThorntonitis*

(*BillyBobThorntonitis is the made up name for a real condition that both Eric and I suffer from, although for Eric it's much more severe. Basically, it's the feeling you get when you're watching a film, particularly an old film, that makes you feel dirty and gross and just plain icky, so you don't want to watch it. Eric coined the term, because apparently, Billy Bob Thornton makes him feel that way, or more specifically, Slingblade made him feel that way. Had I named the condition, I would've called it DavidLynchitis.

As an aside, "itis" is a suffix meaning inflammation, so what Eric is actually is that he has an inflammation of the Billy Bob Thornton, which makes me picture Billy Bob with his head all red and swollen, and that makes me giggle.)

Anyway, back to the story. So Fifi can't/won't/doesn't want to watch Blade Runner. I love the movie, and I've actually read the book that it's based on (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, who I also love lots).

So I wrote this paper, and I titled it "More Human Than Human," mostly because as I was writing the paper, I had that White Zombie song stuck in my head the entire time. And it was a really good paper, and it got an A.

It bums me out, because I don't know where that paper is. Fifi probably threw it away, which makes sense, because most people don't hang onto their schoolwork for ten years, myself included. But I really loved that paper.

Now I want to go watch Blade Runner. And Total Recall. I could probably talk Eric into watching Total Recall but not Blade Runner, for the aforementioned reasons.

Also, what are your thoughts on the upcoming remake of Total Recall starring Colin Farrell? And the Ridley Scott Alien prequel/sequel/tie-in/reboot/? Prometheus. I'm cautiously excited about both. They both made it on my Summer Movie List (which is prestigious).

And as another aside to this rambling blog that really doesn't have much of a point whatsoever, many of books have small allusions to the works of Ridley Scott. I'm a big fan. Also, his name is Ridley, which is pretty sweet ass.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's supposed to storm today, which greatly excites me. I have been craving a storm for weeks. Not anything too major, because I don't want people or property to get hurt, but I do like thunder and rain and all that.

Anyway, I got the edits back on Lullaby, the second book in the Watersong series, from editor Rose, and I'm pretty excited to dive into them. I love doing edits. I don't know why. Maybe I'm a freak that way. Plus, I want to get started on Tidal, the third book in the series, and I didn't want to do that until I started the edits.

It's only a month until Ascend, the final book in the Trylle Trilogy, comes out. I'm really excited about it. So many more people have discovered the Trylle books since they've hit stores, and I'm really, really anxious to see what you all think about the last book.

The book blogger at Paranormal Indulgence declared Loki her Book Boyfriend for March, and wrote this great blog about him and the Trylle books. You should check it out, but be warned, there are a few spoilers from Torn if you haven't read it yet.

Also, I re-made the soundtracks for Switched, Torn, and Ascend because I like to make soundtracks for things. I actually make the soundtracks while I'm writing, because that's the music I listen to as I write, but then I edit them down when I put them together. My current favorite playlist is the one for Wake.

Oh, I also made this little page, because I've been getting a LOT of questions about the movie adaptations of the Trylle books lately.  So if you want to know what the deal with the movie is, check out the page: here. I promise to update the page if/when new information comes in

This blog isn't very exciting. But I promise to write something more exciting tomorrow. I'm not sure what. But I assure you that tomorrow will be fun.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Lost Art of Blogging

I used to write blogs all the time, and they used to be so much fun. I was reading through old blogs tonight, and its just weird to see the way things have changed. I don't know why my blogs less frequent & less fun, but they definitely have.

Even in reading my newer blocs, I feel like something is missing. They're much less random & rambling. They're more quick to the point, and I daresay a big cagey.

I can't complete account for the change except that I know I know I don't like blotting as much as I used to. I feel more defensively. Every time I blog or tweet or speak, its an opportunity for people to point out my faults in someway. Its crazy how much people on the interwebs love to tell each other they're wrong.

I digress. I just want to get back to blogging more and talking about all the irrelevant things that interest me.

So I am going to make a concerted effort to do just that. I will be blogging more and my blogs will be filled with more nonsense and fun. So cheers to that!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Dog is a Jerk

I have a dog, whom I love very much. He's a schnauzer, and he's four-years-old. His name is Elroy Supradaze Bartokomous. This is what he looks like:

This is Elroy getting along with my cat Squeak

The problem with Elroy is that he's a jerk. I mean, he's good with people, my two cats, and my mom's dogs, but he's very aggressive with everything else. My friend Valerie is staying with us, and she has to keep her cat separate from Elroy because he wants to attack and eat it.

About eight months ago, Eric and I looked into getting another dog. We found a four-month-old terrier at a shelter that we really liked, so we took Elroy to meet the dog. The meeting did not go well. Elroy was very mean.

This is Elroy cuddling with a stuffed possum
But the thing is, I still want another dog. I feel bad that we don't have another dog. There's tons of dogs in shelters, and we have a fenced in yard, the time, the space, and the money to have at least one more dog. The only thing standing in our way is Elroy's attitude.

But even if I didn't want another dog, I don't like Elroy's aggressive nature. I'm afraid that it might get worse as he gets older, and even if it doesn't, I don't want him attacking other dogs or animals. That's just not nice.

I've gotten books and read up on some things about how to deal with bad behavior in dogs, but really, I'm at a loss. Does anybody know how to stop him from being so aggressive? Or any good obedience training type things in Southern Minnesota?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stop Kony

You've probably heard of the viral campaign going around to "Stop Kony" or "Make Kony Famous" or "Kony 2012." I've talked about it and posted the video on twitter and Facebook myself. You may have also heard about the new controversy surrounding Invisible Children, the organization behind the campaign.

If you're not familiar with it, here is the thirty minute video put out to Stop Kony (which I do suggest you watch, if you haven't already):


Here is a link to the piece in The Daily What that talks about the Invisible Children: here. And here's another piece from the Huffington Post talking more about Kony: here.

When I first started watching the Stop Kony video, I was annoyed that it was 30 minutes long. I still am actually. I think they could've condensed it down to a 5 minute video. Yes, that probably would've meant cutting out the director's insanely adorable son and a Mumford & Son song, but it would've been more digestible.

At any rate, I did end up watching the whole thing.While I was moved by the plight of the children in Uganda - which is truly horrendous - I was leery about where the video was going. Thoughts I had during the first 20 or so minutes were:

-The guy making the video is clearly a hippie. This made me nervous, because a lot of times, hippies view a course of action as "hoping," "dreaming," "loving." These aren't courses of action. These are merely emotions that may spur action, but they aren't action themselves. And nothing changes without action. It's not merely enough to feel or want or hope  - you must do.

-This Kony guy is a massive douche. But even if we take him out of power, the LRA is probably still going to be active. Dictatorships like this act like a hydra - cut one head off, and two more will pop up its in place. The entire climate in Uganda and the surrounding countries needs to change so they can defend themselves and organizations like LRA won't be tolerated by their own local government. Sending the US in to get rid of one dictator is like giving a man fish vs. teaching him to fish himself. These people need to be able to feed themselves every day without US aide.

-The plights of people in Uganda is so multi-layered and complex that doing one act like this won't change everything. In fact, I'm not sure it will change all that much. The video proclaims that if this one thing is done, we'll have changed the world forever. That's not true at all. Forever is a very, very long time. At best, we will change things for awhile.

But at the end of the video - when there came a clear, simple course of action - is when I started to get on board with the idea. It's simple, possible for anyone to do, it's free, and it could actually work.

One thing I took issue from The Daily What article was this part: KONY 2012, the latest fauxtivist fad sweeping the web (remember “change your Facebook profile pic to stop child abuse”?) The reason I liked Kony 2012 is because it's the exact opposite of that.

I'll be honest with you - I hate that crap. I remember a lot of people doing that for Caylee Anthony and thinking "How does this help anyone?" I'm very anti-child abuse, but changing your profile picture doesn't do anything. Everyone knows kids are abused. We don't need reminders. We need a call to action.

The Caylee Anthony death was a great time for America to have a conversation about how to prevent child abuse. If instead of changing your profile pic, they had said volunteer at a local woman's shelter, gave tips on how to help young parents who seem overwhelmed, giving tips and signs on how to know whether a child is being abused, etc, I would've gotten on board.

But it didn't. It was sentimentality without an action plan, so nothing changes.

The Kony 2012 is the first time I've seen a clear action plan in this internet movements, and I'll admit it - I got excited.

That didn't address my other concerns, which is that getting rid of Kony probably won't dramatically change anything. But you know what - so what? Kony has raped and kidnapped somewhere between 10,000 and 66,000 kids. Even if getting rid of him doesn't solve all of Uganda's problems (and it won't), it gets him off the street.

It's like catching one pedophile in your neighborhood doesn't get rid of every pedophile in the world. But it does get rid of that one.

So yes, I do think the video is a little melodramatic and exaggerated, but justifiably so. I don't think people would react if they spoke about things more realistically, and this guy Kony is a douche. Everybody agrees with that. Just not everybody agrees that Invisible Children organization.

Which brings me to my next point - I don't know anything about Invisible Children's book keeping, so I can neither condemn or defend them. What I can say is what I believe: Most large charity organizations have some corruption and overhead costs. The larger the organization, the more problems it has. I'm not saying that its right or that I condone. I'm just being realistic.

Which is why I tend donate locally more. When you do that, more of the money you donate actually goes to the cause you're supporting. I think it makes me more of a difference when I donate to my local humane society than it does the ASPCA. That's not say that I don't give money to the ASPCA, too - I just give more to my local human society, and I believe more of the money goes directly to helping the animals.

I'm not saying that to justify any wrongdoing that the Invisible Children may be doing (if they in fact are doing any). Or any wrongdoing that any charity organization is doing. I'm just saying that when I hear of corruption, I'm not shocked.

So what's my take away from all of this? That Kony guy is a douche and should be stopped. We can do things to stop him without giving any money to Invisible Children. And we probably won't change the world, but we might be able to change the lives for a lot of children.

And for a few days on twitter, the trending topics were about saving children instead of a celebrity. For me, that counts as a win.

I encourage all of you to more research and form an opinion for yourself on Kony and Invisible Children and the conflicts in Africa.