Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Big Business Profits Make Technology Suck
I find that really irritating. Don't you?

The title isn't very concise. I don't like that we have worse and higher priced cell phone, internet, cable and other technology services because we let big corporations dictate how they are to be regulated in order for them to generously provide these really expensive upgrades to our grateful citizens. Bleh. We'd be better off doing it with government contractors, having them build up the infrastructure and then leasing it out to the corporations, even though that would be totally inefficient and painful.

The article was good.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The status on my internal holy war

I read a very interesting article this morning as I was contemplating my most recent emotional frustration with organized Christian religion. It was a very patient discussion of the recent shift in Evangelical viewpoints and particularly their political bent. No, they're not tree-hugging lefties now, but the wild, lock-step Republican scaries have seemingly retired to their corners to nurse their wounded pride after the failure of their perfect, God-sent president.

Like I said, it was patient, and much more forgiving that I just was. I'm not patient or forgiving in general. When all the scary lock-stepping and Republicanism was going on, I was very tempted to move to a different country and pretend to have been born there. Call me young and rash, because I probably am. I do not yet have the years to recognize when the country is going through a phase. To me, it appeared that it might have been the end of the free world as I knew it.

In any case, it was a very interesting article about the internal struggle of the Evangelical church. It almost made me feel sad for them having to re-evaluate their stance and actions over the past 8 years. Almost. It made me more ashamed for them.

What I thought was most interesting was its discussion on the values espoused by the Evangelical church during the previous two elections, specifically anti abortion and gay marriage, why they have historically been so important to the Evangelical church, and why movements to a more balanced view of Christian values is so difficult for some to comprehend. The article suggested that the focus on gay marriage and abortion is largely a working-class issue, and that as the church has become more established, it is now looking to more middle-class issues.

I just don't think that's it. I like to be more generous than that. Even though there are many working-class people who prefer simple, unthinking morals and religion, I would hope that there are some that consider the wider implications of Christianity and morality and social policy. I really, really hesitate to tie social awareness to household income or profession. I think it has more to do with whether people have the internet, if they read papers from large cities, whether they know people who are different from themselves. It's more a small-mindedness versus an open-mindedness to me.

Let's face it: Gay marriage and abortion are an idiot's way to being good, moral Christians. They are knee-jerk issues. Binary. Yes-no. There is no sort-of, no shades of gray. They are like sports where you can choose a side and cheer for it. You can make cheeky slogans and bumper stickers. You can boil it down to over-simplified sermons. It's a very easy way to approach values. Besides, for most white, middle-aged married Evangelicals, it's easy not to be gay-married or have an abortion. Ta da! They're good Christians!

What am I trying to say? Maybe that Evangelicals aren't changing their political and social stance because they're earning more money. Maybe it's because people are realizing that we're not living in the 1950's anymore. There isn't just one role for a man or a woman or a child. The USA can't just invade a country and win. Things are COMPLICATED. There are global implications of driving our cars, using household cleaners, and even eating hamburgers. It's hard to keep track of whether it's more ethical to eat vegetarian or eat organic or eat local. Gasoline is bad, but some say ethanol from corn produces just as much greenhouse gas in its production. You need to watch your budget, but you KNOW that shirt from Walmart was made in a sweatshop somewhere and that the employees at the store in your town aren't getting their breaks or healthcare. You like chicken, but you know what they do to them, and you know that's not ok, but organic meat is so expensive, and your husband doesn't like tofu. So where does Jesus stand on that?

Abortion and gay marriage are way easier. And so is being a Republican.

And how that relates to my internal holy war: I struggle with those issues. Methodist sermons tell you to love one another. UGH. Ok already. I got that lesson a few years back. What about the chickens? And my car? And Walmart? How do I resolve the differences between what I know is ethically right and what is practical? I am frustrated that "my" religion doesn't place as high a value on the issues that I value most, such as animals, the environment, and social justice, in that order. Rules about what to do and not to do, and what is or isn't a sin when it comes to sex or material wealth or worship or reading the bible just doesn't interest me unless there is something about how to resolve the issues that are most important to *me*.

Ah, yes, I search for my own personal, tree-and-squirrel-hugging, fair-trade-coffee-drinking Jesus, but only if he doesn't make me talk to him all the time. I'm not into clingy relationships.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's a really nice fall. So I took the hedgies out for some pictures. I have to say, they didn't like it. Maybe it's because they're albino. Maybe it's because they're nocturnal. Maybe it's because they're albino and nocturnal. Or maybe our grass smells funny. It's really hard to say. In any case, I did get some nice pictures with Mike's help (he was the hedgie wrangler). For a present to myself, I'm going to custom order tiles by Judy Peters of all my hedgies to use as coasters for the living room. She does great art, and I think it would be an artistic way to incorporate them into the house without plastering the walls with their photos and ribbons and things.

In any case, it's fun to take the hedgehogs outside to see what they will do, for about 5 minutes before they get really scared and then I start feeling bad for them. It might be more fun for them to run around at night in the dark, but I imagine the trolls would get them then. While I have made peace with the fact that their life spans are very short, I have no wish to shorten it even further by troll abduction.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Well, I'm out in Denver and finishing up a weekend full of fun and adventure! I'll have to post more later, because I'm currently exhausted, but I wanted to put up a picture and a brief "here's where I am" as though anyone is waiting on bated breath for such a thing. I'll be here for another night hanging out with people and resting up before traveling back tomorrow. Perhaps I'll have more time to write then while all the other folks head off and I wait for my flight to leave. Well, what can you do! For now, I go off to nap. It is an excellent thing to do.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I like spiders. I think they're really interesting creatures. Yeah, I know, most people are afraid of them, or they don't like them because they bite, which is really just another form of fear. It seems unjustified to me. Mosquitoes bite more often, as do horse flies and heck, even puppies, yet spiders are the ones people fear. Perhaps it is because people feel that spiders prey on them at night, or make them feel vulnerable in general. To me, it seems that spiders are afraid of me when I come near them, or are protective of their space, and they have never tried to wrap me up in a ball of spider silk and eat me. I doubt any spider the size of those around Wisconsin that tried to eat humans would survive long enough to reproduce. Thank you, evolution, for that.
In any case, I like spiders. I think they are beautiful. Last week I walked to a pharmacy near my house and passed by a number of empty stores in a strip mall. The spiders had taken over. There were a half-dozen or more different varieties, and I got some very interesting pictures of them. They were all very good subjects, holding very still and not jumping out at the camera. I suppose spiders that tried to eat cameras would also not survive long enough to reproduce. When you look close enough, they have such beautiful, intricate markings. This one in particular struck me as beautiful. The patterns seemed almost Frank Lloyd Wright-ish. I haven't been able to find spider-species identification guides online, so I can't tell you more about what this spider is all about, just that I found it hanging in a window.
People's fear of spiders is like people's fear of a lot of things, I suppose. We can be quite irrational. I think there is a certain gratification in loving things that other people don't understand. Taking the time to look and study something that others pass by can be so deeply rewarding. Perhaps it is hedgehogs that taught me that. Perhaps classical music. I have looked at spiders and thought about them and made up my own mind not to be afraid of them. I doubt this spider appreciation will change my life, but it is interesting to think about. It also makes for great photography.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

This is a picture of my two hedgehog girls, Harriet and Bianca. They are doing pretty well these days. This is a picture of Bianca licking her nose. Her sister, Harriet, is snuggled up beside her. They were getting comfortable as I held them in my shirt. They are very lovely girls! It's so interesting to have sisters. No hedgehogs I've ever had have been accustomed to being around other hedgehogs. These girls cannot be apart! They snuffle and shove and crawl over one another, but they are always curled up together when I visit them during the day.
My Girls are also the biggest hedgehogs I've ever had living with me. Harriet is the small one, weighing in at about 600 grams, and Bianca is just over 700. To give you some perspective, Sophie, my first hedgehog, topped out at 320, Lola at 350, and Ash is currently at 250. Yes, these girls are literally twice the size of my little Ash. And no, it's not just fat. They both run quite a bit at night, and each can curl up into a ball quite comfortably. Well, ok, Bianca is getting a little fat, but I've started measuring their food again, so her weight should be under control. They are also just big hedgehogs! They would starve long before they could weigh just 250g. Sort of like Mike's dad is much, much larger than I am, I guess.
So, there's the picture! Ta da!