A New Year's Message

How to sum up 2008: Up and down, courageous and fearful, belief and disbelief, hope and apathy.

As 2009 approaches, I think "it's just another day, really". I also think "it signals something new". This is the ONE DAY when every one of us marks the end of one year and welcomes in a new one in our own way. It is the one day where most of us are thinking about this past year and our hopes for something better, regardless of how we celebrate, if at all. Some have intentions for good, some have darker intentions. While I want to remain aware of those with less-than intentions, I also want to spit on them and their agenda. It's my life, my planet, too.

My focus is on answering the following question: What now? For myself and Mr. N, that means where do we live? How will we make a living? The old is simply that--old. The tried, no longer true. My other focus is on honing those skills that I already have while exploring new creative means of producing an income.

It is my wish for 2009 that we begin to work (and play) together to form ways of living that take the best of the System (technologically speaking primarily) and form small communities off the grid. Communities where everyone contributes what comes to them naturally, joyfully, easily.

For it is long past time to turn this nation of "Pottersville" back into "Bedford Falls".

A solid, peaceful, creative new year to all.


Movie Reviews

Okie kiddies, it's movie review time again. Here's a run-down of just some of the movies we've watched in recent weeks along with my comments and recommendations.

1) Forgetting Sarah Marshall. This is a quirky film about Peter, a songwriter/composer who lives with film and tv star Sarah Marshall. Sarah breaks up with Peter after a 5 year relationship and so he decides to take a vacation to Hawaii to help mend his broken heart. Unfortunately Peter chooses the same island and resort that Sarah has also decided to visit. Putting the obviously ridiculous coincidence aside, this is a funny little film. It drags a bit in the middle (as many films do) and the ending is predictable. However, there are both funny and odd moments in the film that kept our interest, like the surfing instructor who lays out the same line to all who visit his stand, and some of the moments with customer service employees at the hotel who take pity on Peter. Then there's the very comedic crying scenes of Peter and his lonely cereal bowl moments. And then there's Sarah's new love interest, british rocker Aldous, whose huge ego and blatant self-centeredness coupled with his "love and peace my dear friend" complexity make him quite funny. His ability to stay calm in all situations only adds to his character. And one last little addition: there's nudity in the film, only it isn't female nudity. It's the male this time. Front and back (or as Mr. N pointed out "they showed his penis THREE TIMES"). Quite refreshing when we're so bombarded with female butts and boobs in most films.

2) Definitely, Maybe. This stars Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) as Maya, a young girl whose parents are going through a divorce. While visiting her father, she wants to know how her parents met and how many other girls he dated. (In one scene, she asks her dad, who has just told her about 3 women he slept with prior to marriage, "Dad, what's the male word for slut?" Dad comes back with "They haven't come up with a name yet.") Much of the film dives into dad's past, where Maya has decided to turn it into a game whereby she tries to guess which of the women he is talking about turns out to be her mother. A decent film to rent. Kind of smarmy in a disney sort of way in a few scenes, but overall it's a storyline that kept us wanting to know who the mother is. And the obvious question: Will mom and dad's love for Maya be enough for them to stay together or is divorce inevitable?

3) A Streetcar Named Desire. Ok, so I probably don't need to write about this one or say whether I recommend it or not. If you haven't seen it, see it. If you have, see it again. It's a dark and disturbing look at love and obsession. With the acting brilliant, the black and white film providing the perfect mood (wish more films would opt for that) it's no wonder it's a classic. And for those who haven't seen it and are a Seinfeld fan AND you have wondered why Elaine yelled "Stellllllllaaaaaa" during the episode where she and Jerry went to Florida and she was looped up on pain pills, watch the movie and you will understand. And who cannot resist the young Marlon Brando and that amazing body. Those biceps. Y U M M Y. Although by the end you hate his character so much, he ain't so hot to look at.

4) Burn After Reading. Classified as a "dark comedy", this Coen brother's film (Fargo was another of their films) stars Brad Pitt as a bumbling/sweet gym dude, Frances McDermond as his co-worker and partner-in-crime and obsessed with getting plastic surgery, George Clooney as some married Department of Treasury employee obsessed with sex and discreet affairs and John Malcovich as recently ousted CIA operative whose wife is having an affair with Clooney. Upon his termination/quitting (depending on how you look at it), Malcovich's character decides to pen his memoirs. His wife, thinking that filing for divorce will land her a permanent relationship with Clooney, secretly gathers her husband's financial records and somehow his memoirs end up on the CD. Thereafter, the CD ends up being accidentally left in the locker room of the gym where Pitt and McDermond work. Pitt thinks they're on to something top secret upon finding out the author of the records is Malcovich. He and McDermond cook up a plot to hold the CD for ransom and will return the information to Malcovich in exchange for $50,000. A series of mishaps soon follows. Part of their attempt at the big money includes going to the Russian Embassy, thinking the Russians would be interested in the top secret U.S. Intelligence information they assume is on the disc. This film really held my interest from the get-go. Brilliant comedy. And Pitt and McDermond are excellent together. I hadn't seen Pitt pull off a comedic role like this and I have to say, he was very very good at it. However, the dark really took over near the end with a gruesome murder scene and at that point, the humor dissipated and was replaced by violence. So I guess I am saying watch and enjoy 3/4 of the film but be prepared to watch the comedic element abruptly end and (possibly) prepare yourself to be turned off by the violence in the remaining scenes. Of course I realize some enjoy such films, so it may be to some people's liking. It just seemed to put on the brakes and go off in a whole new direction that didn't follow the energy of the film up until that point.

5) Tripping The Rift: The Movie. This is some CGI/animated flick that Mr. N chose. I watched maybe 10 minutes of it and was not entertained. I found the material stereotypically offensive in its juvenile-like references to sex and the world at large. Mr. N fast-forwarded through most of it and was equally as unimpressed. I would think this would suffice to the male/under 25 crowd. Likely with a lot of beer drinking going on to boot. Not impressed.

6) Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. Another Frances Mcdermond film (she now tops my list of favorite actors). Set in 1930's (or so) London, Guinevere Pettigrew (Mcdermond) has once again lost another job as a governess. She seems to have difficulty in keeping her opinion to herself. In order to avoid homelessness, she plots her way into taking the job as a social secretary for an American actress, Delysia Lafosse, who despite being a bit flighty and holding a rather high opinion of herself, is nonetheless innocently good hearted, well-intentioned and likable. Never having worked as a social secretary before, Miss Pettigrew must deal with the competing love interests of Ms. Lafosse, help her keep her social and professional life in order and ensure Ms. Lafosse selects the best man. She pulls it all off beautifully, despite some real comedic mishaps and near-misses. She also finds herself faced with the possibility of finding love herself. A wonderful, refreshing, charming, comedic film with wonderful costumes and even more wonderful music (jazz and big band).


CFL Bulbs: Much Ado About Nothing

We had our first CFL bulb burn out. While it lasted for 3 years, I am not impressed with these things. I'm not falling for this game anymore. I'll give them away or sell the rest. Here's why I am doing so:

1) We replaced all but 2 lights in our house with these bulbs and we did not see our electric bill reduce in any way shape or form.

2) They take several minutes to fully turn themselves on.

3) The lighting is not that good. Fluorescent lighting is something I'm sensitive to to begin with. And that yellowish tint. Ugh.

4) How did we know it burned out? We smelled a strong burning stench and at first thought something was on fire. When Mr. N went to unscrew it, he about burned his hand. The base of the bulb was VERY HOT. 15 minutes later and it is still quite warm. It also had a yellowing mark around the base as though it had overheated.

Think we've ever had that experience with a good 'ole Thomas Edison bulb?


Now that it's burned out, what do we do with it? I haven't a clue. I'm certainly not throwing it away. I want to recycle it. However, upon doing some digging, I discovered that only approximately 25% of cities are equipped to deal with recycling these bulbs. Insane considering this massive movement to get them in every home. Hopefully our local waste removal company is equipped to do just that.

We've replaced the bulb with the good old fashioned incadescent bulb. We will be stocking up on those and buying them on the black market once they are phased out.

These things are nothing but a scam, something I intuitively knew from the get-go, but I decided to try them out anyways. We bought 30 of them.

Break one and you expose yourself to toxic mercury vapors.

Fluorescent bulbs have been associated with health issues in sensitive individuals.

It was one thing when these were presented as an option. However, Uncle Sam wants to phase out the incadescent bulb, where our only choice will be the CFL.

Uncle Sam telling us what kind of light bulb to use goes against the principles of freedom in so many ways, I am astounded so many applaud this agenda. For it is a joke to me that Al Gore and his posse tout responsible carbon footprints while living lavish lives that knock their carbon numbers off the charts. Once I saw Walmart pushing these bulbs, I knew something dark was behind this movement.

The claim about saving the environment is a joke. Want to save the environment? How about we get these buildings in cities and towns all across America to turn out their damn lights when not in use. It's grossly wasteful to have this 24/7 lighting. REQUIRE the Big 3 Automakers to produce high efficiency, reliable vehicles like their European counterparts (maybe then we american's will start buying them again). Grow hemp and use that to power our vehicles and our lives. Stop the worldwide destructive, deplorably irresponsible and reprehensible deforestation practice. Yank the rug out from under Montsanto and their deplorable, big brother controlling and toxic farming "practices". Stop Big Business from polluting our waterways. Yeah that's right: S T O P. End the use of toxic chemical sprays on our crops. No reason not to when viable, organic, environmentally friendly products ALREADY EXIST.

And yet, Joe and Jane America. Use CFC bulbs. Save the environment. Save the planet.

Wake up folks.

This is not about saving the environment or the planet.

It is about placing further restrictions on our lives, our personal choices and about making a lot of money taking advantage of our naivete'.

Nothing more, nothing less.

*this message is the opinion of yours truly, nina and nina only and does not reflect the opinion of blogger, its affiliates and the typical american. nina receives no money from republicans or big oil or right-wing special interest groups, contrary to what some may think when reading some of her posts. no animals were harmed in the creating of this post. however the feelings of certain elitist pond scum were disturbed as hidden truths were exposed.


How About Some Respect For The New Year

Flipping through the television channels and scanning online message boards and blogs, one notices something is sorely missing: Respect.

Disappearing are the days when people used tact and consideration when discussing a topic. Today whoever casts the juciest zinger or the most crass insult will claim victory of some sort. Sarcasm has replaced thoughtful dialogue. Name calling and curse words are tossed around as often as words such as "if", "and" or "but". It's like a disease--a disease that seems to be contagious. I myself have been working on watching the words I say, especially those flippant curse words. I can really fling them when I want to. And yet, in those moments when I actually hear myself, when I hear what others are likely hearing from me, I am disturbed. I sound horrible. This is not something to be proud of or to embrace. So now and then I ask myself the following: Do I wish to create something helpful or something destructive?

Our often out-of-control ego's think we/they know it all. And yet, in reality, who defines what is truth? Who really knows it all--about ANY topic? I have personally come to embrace those who say "this is what I/we believe/think" and raise a sceptical eye towards those who say "this is truth." I have opinions, many of which are still a work-in-progress. On many subjects, what I believe today is different than what I believed 5 years ago. Toss out a thought, any thought and you can come up with an opposite thought. Toss out a "well studied" idea and you can come up with another "well studied" idea with opposite conclusions.

I have a hunch that a lot of these hot topics that are so hotly debated are generated to keep us fighting and arguing with one another. I have an equally strong hunch that this is to keep us from uniting together on things that matter, where we discuss the things that matter to EVERY ONE OF US (well, those of us with souls and a conscience). Where we break down the emotional and mental walls we have built, with plenty of help from the system itself, and discuss what it is we truly need. Not just what we think but what we need.

You want peace? Be peaceful.

You want love? Be loving.

You want respect? Be respectful.

This isn't a perfect formula by any means. But it is a good recipe in which to live life.

Maybe the doctor's oath of "first do no harm" should be on our minds, in our hearts and played out in our actions. Maybe we need to take a breath and think about those words before share our thoughts--both written and spoken.


Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays, one and all.

A peaceful new year to you and yours.

My wish is for the awakening to continue.

May it touch your heart, ignite your light
and inspire you to do all you can to be all that you are.

Always Remember Who You Are.

Love and peace,


I Try

Lyrics to one of my songs...

I Try

I try...
to understand life
and all that surrounds it.

I try...
to carry on
with the burdens in my heart.

And even though I smile...
Inside I'm crying.

'Til you came along
and offered a place to fall.

'Til you came along
and shined your light
on my darkened soul.

I try...
To find the meaning
in my life.

And I try...
To see in me
what I see in you.

And even though I smile
inside I'm still searching.

Cause you came along
and showed me a different way.

'Til you came along
I was unaware
of the beauty within.


Scam Alert: National Collector's Mint, Inc.

For the coin collector's out there, may I offer a suggestion: Do not do business with "National Collector's Mint, Inc." Mr. Nina ordered some Morgan Silver Dollars after seeing an ad on television (ah, the great deceiver--television advertisements). Guaranteed to arrive as Fine to Brilliant, with the price guaranteed for ONE WEEK ONLY at $19.90 per coin plus shipping and handling (in our case, $9.50), what we received was not what was advertised. While we are not coin graders, looking at these coins, one could hardly define them as "Fine". Two have chips. Two are heavily tarnished. Two have fairly big dents on the side. Most I soon found out were heavily circulated.

It was then that I decided to do some research on this company. Well, come to find out, National Collector's Mint has been in some hot water with the New York Attorney General's Office. They also have a string of online customer complaints and rip-off/scam alerts. Google "national collector's mint rip-off?" FMI.

And their little "ONE WEEK ONLY" has been playing--ALL YEAR LONG.

Oh yes, people will say "buyer beware" and "why didn't you blah blah blah before buying from these folks?" Yeah, may your piss land on a sparkplug with that b.s. Blame the victim. Enough already. How about we ban together and shut down companies like this instead?

I'm doing my part by alerting the public.



Winter Wonderland

It has been quite beautiful here this week. We've had an unusual weather occurrence: snow lasting for more than a day. No longer do the trees look lonely and barren. They have been kissed with sparkling whiteness. The sounds of kids squealing is once again to be heard, replacing the silent streets that are the norm this time of year. And the dogs, well the dogs, what can I say, they love the snow. Well, most of them do. Upon seeing it was snowing quite heavily last night, this little pooch begged me to venture outdoors, well past the time most people are sleeping. I agreed. Grabbing my camera, we headed outside. She soon grew displeased with me taking pictures of the scenery and decided to come plant herself right next to me where she gave me her best "mama you PROMISED you would play snowball with me!" look. I complied. For who can resist such a face?


Massacre At The Puppy Dog Corral

As you can see, there were no survivors. It was indeed a polyester batting bloodbath. But it left behind one satisfied dog and a nice mess for Mama Nina to clean.


Snow Day

The thrill of victory...

And the agony of defeat. Or shall I say the agony of de snow up de pants.

Today Mr. N and I headed out to the hills to go sledding. Not having been sledding since I was in my early 20's, I was hesitant to strap my ass to a piece of plastic and allow my body to be hurled out of control down a hill. Hesitancy was soon replaced by absolute joy, squeals and thrills.

When I was in my teens, I had the need for speed, be it on my bike, on a skateboard, in my car or on a sled. I was known for taking chances sledding down steep, icy roads that were otherwise not in use by motor vehicles. One such incident had me in front and a girlfriend in back, clinging on to me for dear life.

"You're sure you know how to steer this thing?" she asked.

"Of course," I replied.

And off we went. Things were going fine for the first few moments, but suddenly the sled began to veer towards a parked car.

"Oh my god LOOK OUT FOR THAT CAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRR" came my friends scream.

For whatever reason I remained calm. At the very worst I figured we'd bounce off the tire and spin out.

Which is exactly what happened.

My friend was not pleased. I couldn't understand that. I'd had a GREAT time. And we were fine. No injuries.

Ah but that was then and this is now. Things like bodily injury and money and insurance (and lack of) go through your mind when you get on in your adult years. However, that didn't stop Mr. N and I from attempting to capture some of those child-like feelings of youth. Mr. N even made his first attempt head-first. I said a quick prayer when I realized the position on the sled he had taken.

And yet, just as in my youth, we came away from the day with no injuries. Just cold and wet. Tired from the snow tackles and snowball fights. But invigorated and gleeful. And looking forward to the next time out.


Another Corvallis Employer Pandering To The Spanish-Speaking

There aren't many available jobs in Corvallis as those of us looking are well aware of. And as such, it's an employer's wet dream. Unfortunately, some of these employers take advantage of such situations, many of them over the years pandering to the Spanish-Speaking community.

Before I continue I want to make clear (again) that I have nothing against anyone moving to the states. I have nothing against Hispanic people. They are some of the most open-hearted people I have met. Very truly deeply family oriented. My issue is this trend of businesses and government mandating that we become a dual language society. In our private lives, this is of course fine. And doable. However, out in the working world this is unfair and ridiculous. Practicality screams we must have one recognized language in such situations. This trend has put aside a large percentage of our population that does not speak Spanish (or Spanish AND English both)--aside and out of the competitive job market.

Move here and you can receive assistance learning the language. Already live here and want assistance learning Spanish? Don't think so.

Helicopter Transport Services, Inc. located out at the Corvallis Municipal Airport is hiring for a position I would otherwise be qualified for it it weren't for one caveat: Spanish speaking is a must.

I wish to give my thanks to HTSI for continuing this trend of pandering to those who chose to move here and opt not to learn the language. I wish to thank them for making it more difficult for folks like myself to find employment. May a hemmorhoid gigante se conecta a su asno hasta que usted llegue a ser conocedor de lo que sus acciones hacen a este paĆ­s.

For those who think I am exagerrating, here's another little scoop on this issue. I recently purchased some asparagus at Fred Meyer. Attached to the label was a word I had never seen. A new country, a new state, a new city perhaps. It was a combination of "Mexico" and "California". I was stunned. I forgot to save it so I can't recall the exact word. But it was eye-opening for certain.

Breaking News: Mr. N reminded me that I bought two bundles of asparagus, kept one in the refrig and put the other in the freezer. The one in the freezer still had the rubber band and attached labels. The name of the city in California? "CALEXICO." There you have it.


One Of The Youngest Iraqi Victims

This is maddening to me. Maddening not only because of the genocide that's being committed in Iraq (karma cannot come soon enough for every fucker who supported and supports this war) and the families being torn apart, destroyed, and the overwhelming number of children being injured, including this precious little child, but maddening because the father is a gutless fuck who allowed a new wife to enter the family home--a new wife who refused to care for his little girl, his daughter, his baby. That isn't a woman. That is a heartless bitch.

The loving thing to do would be to allow this child to be put up for adoption. The other loving thing to do would be for the Rosie O'Donnell's and Brad/Angelina's of the world--the multi- millionaires who are very much in favor of adoption--to create a fund enabling those who would like to adopt but cannot simply due to money the chance to do just that. If such things existed, I would be first in line to adopt this little girl.


I don't normally do this. But today, I am.

Today was a fucking lousy day. Frustrating as hell. And a reminder that hey, when it comes to me trying to record some fucking music for some fucking god damn holiday gifts, I am alone in trying to fucking learn how to do this.

So I read. And re-read. Then went to record. Hours I spent. First I hook up the USB cable from the piano to the computer. I go back to my keyboard manual and try to find SOMETHING that tells me what to do once I've done this. Nothing. Not a god damn thing. Just essentially says "hook it up". Uh yeah and NEXT I do WHAT????

Nothing shows up on my computer that says "houston we've got a keyboard hooked up". "Houston we are ready to upload some files." Just that little "kachung" noise it makes when hooking up external hardware equipment.

One word of note: I am not tech saavy. AT ALL. You either are or are not. I don't learn these things well on my own, IF at all. And yet finding someone who IS tech saavy who can just be kind and generous and offer to help you out for no cost is, well you know. People don't do a thing for free anymore. If I am told ONE MORE TIME to "RTFM" (read the fucking manual) I am going to intentionally cause myself to vomit on the person's face.

So here I am thinking "wtf"?

So I decide to call Yamaha (keyboard dealer).

They're closed for the day.


So I think about it and decide "screw this". I'll just load up the recorded material onto my jump drive.

Which I do.

All goes well.

I then upload it all onto the computer and dump it on a blank CD.

All still going well.

That is until I actually played it. The piano only pieces sound wonderful. However, the pieces with piano AND drum sound awful. The drum sounds like someone is scratching nails on a chalkboard. WTF?? It doesn't sound this way when played on my Yamaha at all.

I've spent 2 hours online researching this and have come up empty handed. I try looking up things on recording and faulty jump drives. NADA.

Apparently I am the only damn person on this hell hole who has ever had this problem.

Also up my ass today is a friend who is, for the millionth time, suicidal. Suicidal people are the most selfish you will find. So focused on their own lives and suffering, they can't--they won't--find it in their hearts to let you know how they are. Silence is what you get. What I'm getting. She has reasons to dismiss all of my suggestions. So what do I say? Fine. Go ahead. Do it.

Hearing someone say "I hate my life I want to die" over and over again wears on you. Don't these people GET that? I've dealt with the desire of wanting to just go to sleep and not wake up. I battle with it some days. But I do not spread this little information to those around me over and over and over again. Why? Uh, because, my selfishness doesn't bypass into the category of insanity and I happen to THINK about the feelings of others and about what I say even when I am at my most low.

Calling one of those suicide hotlines or shelters is a waste of time. My friend's in a horrible relationship, has health problems that interfere with her ability to work, certainly full time, no car and no family support. In a nutshell, she's on her own, no place to go, no place to live. Hotlines just gives you someone to talk to and talk isn't usually what these people need. Shelter's offer temporary housing. So while I have anger and frustration and pain aimed at her, I have even more for this fucked up system of ours.

In a loving system, such folks would have a place to go stay and HEAL and recooperate before they're told "Get your ass out into the world and support yourself. We'll let you stay here for a few weeks." In a loving system, money wouldn't ever ever be an issue for such folks.

It breaks my heart. And it enrages me.

Our local shelter/agency, CARDV, SUCKS. I know one of their former counselor's and she said it was the most unhealthy, dysfunctional agency she had ever worked for. A friend of mine went there a few years ago seeking advice and help. Her experience was deplorable. She became so disgusted she walked out. They have a very high staff turnover. That speaks volumes right there about an agency. Community Outreach also has a very high staff turnover. A former friend once worked there and had similar things to say about the place.

Also on my mind is my DESIRE to help people in need by landing employment at one of these god damn agencies. Something I've sought to do off and on for close to 15 years. And with each god damn attempt, I'm told "no". Why? Experience. I don't have it. Education, yep. Experience IN such an agency? Nope.

Well excuse me you fucking pious assholes, but how in the FUCK am I supposed to GET experience if no one will hire me? And.......perhaps the fact that your agencies have a HIGH TURNOVER and the fact that you ONLY higher people with experience, doesn't that mean perhaps you should open yourselves up to those like me who HAVE the education AND the desire and passion and REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE?

A social worker once told me I was too idealistic and passionate to work in the field. WTF? Slap me in the face, why don'tcha. She was serious. She herself was idealistic and passionate but she said these qualities got her into more trouble with co-workers and management. The "help the people" system, private and public, is broken. It is (by and large) run by burned out, broken people who follow too many god damn rules instead of listening to the needs of the clients and fighting within to change the system. And hell, here in this town, to work at such an agency, if you are female, you often have to be fat, over 50 and have some sort of strange body odor.

I have had a couple of interviews though. On one such occasion, after such an interview with Community Outreach, I was told I came in 1st for personality match and 2nd for skills.

That's right. C.O. went for the one with the skills over personality.

Apparently these dumb fucks don't realize SKILLS can be taught and thus learned but PERSONALITY fits cannot.

So there you have it. A multi-faceted insight to my inner dialogue, which on the one hand feels way too stupid to be a part of this system and on the other hand, feels way too wise brilliant and wonderful to be a part of this same system.


Craigslist Top 5 Secrets

I've been following a thread on the Corvallis Craiglist rants and rave section called "My Top 5 Secrets". While I no longer post in this particular space due to my refusal to hand my phone number over to Craigslist management, I check in now and then to see if there's anything worth reading. Usually there isn't. This topic, however, is eye-opening. It is sad. It is comforting.

We all have secrets, stories, that tell of our lives. We all hide them. And yet it's really no big surprise because in truth, we are so much more alike than we are different.

People spoke of wanting to die, of being unhappy, of cheating on their spouse, of wanting their ex dead, of being broke, of working long hours with little to show for it. Ex-meth addicts and current porn addicts share their dirty laundry.

Why do we keep such things to ourselves? Why do we find it easier to post such things, anonymously, online? It's simple: We fear the reaction/potential reaction and judgment from others. We all want people to like us. We all want to be accepted, embraced, wanted. If I tell you this dirty little secret about myself, you may not want me in your life anymore. Or, you may just encourage me to open up even more, which can be equally as uncomfortable as rejection.

As a species, I would conclude most of us are tired of the world around us. Our stuff, while in and of itself is not a "bad" thing, doesn't satisfy us. Neither do our addictions. And neither does isolation. All such things merely keep us feeling safe due to the familiarity and in comfort zones we feel we and we alone control. Some go out to clubs and bars or to parties where alcohol and other mind-numbing/altering drugs are the norm. Such environments don't allow for us to truly relax and open up.

Nope. The only way to do that is to just take a risk and start opening up with those around you. Wouldn't it be refreshing when in getting to know another we would share our life stories, what we most fear, what we most desire and things like that. Real conversations. Not just topic/subject-based. Real relating from the heart rather than the mind only.

If we were to do that, we would see how alike we are. We would help in creating a new world, one we want to be a part of instead of one we do what we can to run from in our own ways. As the line in the movie "Contact" states: "The only thing we have found that makes the loneliness bearable is each other." I would add that it isn't just being with another/others that reduces or eliminates the loneliness (for we've all likely been in situations where we've been with another/other's and felt very lonely), but it is the relating and connecting we do with one another.


Things That Make Me Go "Aaawww"

To balance out the post below, even out my energy output.

1) Anything my dog does. She is perfect.

2) Children playing outside on a sunny day, squealing with delight.

3) Seeing couples out in public holding hands, kissing.

4) Mr. Nina's smile first thing in the morning. Adorably little boy innocent.

5) Hearing of any story where someone has unexpectedly helped another in need.

6) A sleeping baby.

7) When someone says to me: "Thank you so much. That was so kind of you." Or along those lines.

8) Being told "you are important to me."

9) Puppies and kitties playing.

10) Receiving an unexpected letter from a friend or family member in the mail.

Things That Make Me Go "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!"

1) Stubbing my toe on the door jam. Especially distressing when it's 3am and I don't want to awaken anybody.

2) All of these Hollywood Gala Benefits and World Government Gatherings addressing hunger whilst participants enjoy 18 course meals.

3) Listening to Mr. Billionaire himself, Bill Gates, proclaim the U.S. needs to double it's Foreign Aid whilst neglecting to campaign for a double or tripling of Aid here for the poor, homeless and hungry here at home.

4) Listening to these helmet head, zero facial lines, pimples or flaws due to the 20 pounds of pan make-up spew from the teleprompter some of the same lines I write about (only I do so much more eloquently) whilst getting paid $500,000 a year. Me? Zero.

5) The continuation of the two-party system and those who still see differences between the two parties.

6) All of this talk about 2012.

7) Being woken up by drunk, obnoxiously loud, inconsiderate college children.

8) Gas prices up 50%. Food prices up over 30%. Gas prices drop over 50%. Food prices, still remain the same.

9) This movement afoot calling for people to grow their own food thinking we can all survive on potatoes and carrots, beans and tomato's, not to mention the space needed for such a thing is not doable for many if not most American's.

10) This movement afoot calling for people to reduce spending, cut back and live simply. This movement is basically being aimed at the middle income folks and lower when it is the upper middle class and beyond who needs to be cutting the fuck back. For many of us, we are living as simply as we can and frankly, many of us are tired of it and would like to be living a bit more abundantly.

War On Christmas: The Flip Side.

There is a flip side to this issue and it is one that is going on at the moment.

Up in Olympia, Washington, at the State Capitol, a battle between Christianity and Aethiesm is ensuing. A Nativity Scene was first put in place. Recently, a sign stating things such as "There is no god. There is no devil. There is no heaven. There is no hell. There is only the natural world" was erected. As you may already have heard, this story spread like wildfire. Even Bill O'Reilly jumped on the band wagon with his usual over-reactionary commentary.

As a result, the Governor's office reportedly began receiving upwards of 200 calls per hour, most wanting the sign removed.

This is no different than those wanting to see the quieting of the religious aspects of Christmas.

However, what I have not yet seen discussed is the obvious: I thought we had a Separation of Church and State in this country. Therefore, a Nativity Scene does not belong in a State building. And as such, neither does this sign.

That being said, if we were truly enlightened, if we were truly able to stand side by side as Jews, Christian's, Muslims, Hindu's, Buddhist, Athiest's, Wiccan, Agnostics and the thousands of other religious philosophies and labels we embrace while ceasing to impose our belief and our will on those wearing different labels, we wouldn't NEED the Separation of Church and State to begin with. We would truly honor the diversity and be open to seeing and celebrating the likeness. We would be able to see symbols and statues and signs and statements all over the planet, each proclaiming "This is what I believe" and not take offense.

But we are not yet there. Therefore, we are not as enlightened as we could be. And we are not yet free.

So what say you. Could you allow yourself to become comfortable with the side-by-side display of different religious philosophies? Maybe that question could be worked into our focus and explored, thoughtfully, this time of year.

War On Christmas?

That term comes up this time of year. I used to think it was nonsense. Now I see there is some truth in it. And if you understand the agenda behind the political-correctness movement, you'll come to agree with me. (And for the record, I celebrate Christmas, but not as a Christian.)

In this era of "political-correctness", we have seen a growing extremism take place where freedom's are being squashed. Can't say this, can't say that. Certain words and phrases are now labeled "hate speech".

As I often say: Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from being offended.

What we see happening with Christmas is quite similar. Those who celebrate the religious aspect of it sometimes find themselves fearful to acknowledge this, fearful due to the "we must say Happy Holidays" politically correct crowd. Fearful due to the societal brainwashing that says we have to keep certain things to ourselves lest we MAY offend another.

Ridiculous hogwash.

Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, Summer and Winter Solstice, 4th of July, etc. However, I think the choice to wish another "Happy___ Day" should NEVER be imposed upon. Let us take the wish as it is--a wish. We all make assumptions about one another, therefore we will all assume, at one point or another, that those around us are celebrating the same recognized holiday as we are. It isn't a crime to do so. The crime only comes in when the greeting triggers an emotional response and a verbal argument ensues, which then leads to threats, physical attack and/or other imposition's of one's will.

And doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of the celebration?


Tidbits of (Obvious) Absurd Bullshit

There's so much absurd bullshit these days, it's difficult to decide which tidbits to toss out there at ya'all....

Well, it seems that since GM owns half of GMAC Financial Services (who just happen to give out loans to buyers seeking GM autos), they (GM) are not only asking for money for themselves, but they want to see the Federal Reserve classify GMAC as a bank holding company so that GMAC can also dip into some of that bank money bailout. I heard the term "double dipping" being used. Anyone else have a Seinfeld moment with that one?

Britney Spears was the most searched name on Google for 2008. Can it get anymore pathetic than that, folks?

I've been watching some clips here and there of the Bush "Exit Interviews". Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric and Brian Williams drew straws to determine who got the first shot. Charlie won. And boy, did he toss some tough journalist questions. However, they weren't quite tough enough for yours truly. Therefore, I decided to put myself in that "let's draw straws" ring. And wouldn't you know it? I won. I get to interview him next. Here's just some of the questions I'll be asking. Feel free to offer your comments.

1) Your approval rating has been around 20% for quite some time. Why do you think that is? How does that make you feeeeeeeeeeeel? And have you also noticed that the media folks keep saying "Approval ratings are at an all time low" and yet that figure really doesn't change? Are you in on that one?

2) There are a lot of Americans, oh hell who am I kidding, there are a lot of earthlings who are afraid of Dick Cheney. I mean you gotta admit, there's just something off about the guy. You can confide in me, Mr. President. Do you have nightmares about Dick? And do you ever go hunting with him?

3) Tony Blair. Is he gonna come out of the closet or do you think he'll stay put?

4) Can you say "weapons of mass destruction" 5 times really fast?

5) Watch my mouth move as I form the following word. I'll say it slowly a few times to help you out. Then repeat it after me. "nu-clee-er". (This one's a trick. It's not actually a question but rather a statement of request. We'll see if he notices.)

6) I gotta ask you, how on earth did you manage to pull off two presidential election wins when you failed at every single business venture in your previous years?

Anyone notice Obama seems to be the President and Bush has taken on the new role of that annoying relative who has long past worn out his welcome?

There's talk about turning wastewater into drinking water. Uh huh. Ok, so let me get this straight. Folks want to see whether it is humanly possible to turn poop and pee and other things we normally want OUT of our body into drinking water.

...giving the reader time to process that...

Yikes. Or as my cousin used to say when she was a child "Grody to the max!" We can't even turn river water into healthy drinking water. Shouldn't we try and master that one first? The obvious question is: Who will be the guinea pigs for that little experiment? Feel free to offer your suggestions.


Craigslist's Hassle And Thoughts on Civility

To post on Craigslist, you are now required to have an account, which includes providing them your phone number.

So much for privacy.

My support for Craigslist just went into the toilet, which is likely a good thing for me given there is very little in the way of intelligent, respectful communication (most consisting of juvenile insults and other such nonsense). That and their help wanted section is full of misleading ads. I followed up on one recently, which said hey we'll pay you $42,000 a year for data entry in our offices in Corvallis/Albany. I had already determined these ads were bogus, but decided to follow up, with one question. Where are you located? Corvallis or Albany? I received no response. Of course I didn't. But my spam folder did increase.

Something has happened to our society since the birth of online communications and other technology. People are free to mislead others with false ads. Proper spelling and grammar has gone out the window, so much that some college professors are calling for an inclusion and recognition of such words and tossing out their formerly spelled and pronounced counterparts. And need I speak about the behavior of disagreeing folks interacting with one another? Then there's the bully mentality that has permeated the internet like an out-of-control virus. Two extreme recent cases include the young girl who thought she was corresponding with a boy who was interested in her, when in fact it was a neighbor girl down the street who had nothing better to do with her time than to mislead and abuse someone. When the neighbor girl told the young girl that he/she was no longer interested and began telling the young girl how worthless she was, the young girl killed herself. And we all know of the teenage male who killed himself live on the internet while people cheered him on. As someone who was the victim of repeated childhood bullying all the way through, believe it or not, my junior year of college, I know the lasting, deep scars these experiences leave. It paints a world that is unsafe and unkind in the deep recesses of the mind.

Is this the legacy we wish to leave as a species? Have we become so aloof and apathetic as we go about our daily lives, addicted to our little gadgets? Do we really believe it's ok to lie to others, take advantage of desperate folks, all to make a dollar? And good lord, where did the behavior of cheering on a deeply pained suicidal person originate? Mom and Dad America, are you paying any attention at all to what your kids are doing?

The original post I was going to speak of on Craigslist was about karma. Life has taught me there is indeed something to this concept, although it isn't a perfect system. We all know of way too many examples to know some people just seem to escape karma (usually those with the most money and power). So while the Universe may respond in its nonjudmental way, it is also up to us, you and me, to see to it that people are held accountable for harmful behaviors. Doing so in a firm, grounded, unwaivering and civilized manner is the way to do so.

Yes, some civility would be a nice thing these days. And perhaps less glorified/sensationalized attention given to those who are in need of such behavior. I believe partly what has happened is that some have it in their minds that freedom means the right to do whatever one wants, without consequence or consideration for others. That is certainly not what freedom is about.

In so far as young kids bullying one another through technological means: Perhaps we need to monitor our children's technology activity to ensure they are being treated with respect and to ensure they are treating others with the same respect. We wouldn't let a child operate a vehicle without knowing how to drive responsibly. As such, we shouldn't let kids operate a computer, cell phone, etc. without knowing how to operate them responsibly.

A Return of Civility. By Earthmama Nina.