I Bored my Blog to Death

I’m pretty sure that my blog is dying a slow death.  It sounds quite painful.  I imagine her gasping, asking for me to replenish her with words to sustain her life.  To fuel her onward, alive with new content and thoughts.  At least just slap up a picture when I’m feeling lazy.  I tried to feed her every now and then.  Sometimes I get hungry to write.  Or I find inspiration and want to share.

But lately, I left her blog bowl empty.  Sorry, blog.  [Don't worry, I feed my dog.]

I suppose I should just call it what it is: I killed my blog by being boring.  Let’s face it, you don’t want to read boring stuff.  You don’t want to look at old content.  I’m hereby releasing my blog into the land beyond.  She can go live on the Farm where children’s old animals mysteriously retire to after a life well lived.  Go in peace, blog, and romp around with Rover and Muffin.

Maybe I’ll decide to update things here and there.  I never set out to create a “life blog” where I document my days.  I prefer to just live those.  I hoped to share some thoughts, creations and do a little rambling.  And I did for a while.  But for now, I’m calling it how I see it.

This is a death of a blog.

We shared some good times.  I learned a few things.  But I never liked your name anyway.

I’ve been told to write everyday.  To keep up the blog.  But I’ll just ramble with traditional pen and paper for now.  If we meet again, I’ll try to be more exiting.  I hope you’re happy on the Farm.

A catchy little song about a Chupacabra, or “goat sucker”

I keep jamming out to this song.  I googled the lyrics because I couldn’t figure out one word he kept singing.  Turns out, that word was “chupacabra.”  Yes, this happy tune was about a chupacabra, or a legendary beast that goes around sucking goats blood.  Catchy.  Maybe you do learn something new every day.

Hey there, little buddy.

The Chupacabras, “from chupar “to suck” and cabra “goat”, literally “goat sucker”, is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal in Puerto Rico (where these sightings were first reported), Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter’s Latin American communities.  

The name comes from the animal’s reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats.

Physical descriptions of the creature vary. It is supposedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail.”  Thanks for the info, Wikipedia.  Rock on.

“Security, there’s an uprising in Theatre 13.” And other things I learned from The Hunger Games Premiere.

I was one of the crazies at the midnight showing of The Hunger Games.  I got to the movie theater about an hour and a half early, and the line was already stupidly long.  Here are some things I learned from this experience.

1. “Trust no one!”  There were two lines formed around the theater.  It contributed to mass confusion.  Which line do I stand in?  Is this for the 3D showing? Does everyone have tickets?  I went in search of a Peace Keeper to inform me of my fated line.  Along the way, young girls were telling people which line was which.  In my badass-like-Katniss-anti-Capitol angst, I just blurted out, “Trust no one!” and forged onward.  Turns out the lines made no difference.

2.  Crazed fans breed chaos.  Listen up, General Manager of the Movies, did you forget that you just sold out 16 Theatres for a midnight showing of a highly anticipated film?  Or were you just trying to let us experience the fear of not getting an adequate seat, and let everyone run rampantly like we’re hijacked from tracker jackers?  Peeta would understand.  If you have hundreds of people waiting in line, wouldn’t it make sense to fill up one theater at a time and subsequently allow other theaters to fill up rather than making it a crazy free-for-all like some Cornucopia feast?  Who are you crazy game makers?!

3.  Braids.  Everywhere.  Girls braiding hair.  And more braids.  I’ve haven’t seen this many braids since working at a junior high summer camp.

4.  Go big or go home.  If you’re going to dress up like a movie character, people shouldn’t question whether those are your real clothes or not.  Is that girl trying to look like Effie or does she just happen to love wearing pink from head to toe?

5. “Security, there’s an uprising in Theatre 13.  Shut it down.” In the midst of the door-opening-racous, we were assigned to Theatre 13.  Doomed from the start.  Upon our arrival to find a seat, we quickly found that every seat was taken.  People continued to flood into Theatre 13 as assigned and started getting angry.  No seats?  This is an outrage!  Let’s burn this place down!

6. The movie previews will seem extra long.  You’re already amped for the games to begin.  You start out excited about seeing the movie, which then turns to anger at the Capitol/Movie Theatre Manager for the chaos, and then finally you’re just ready to watch the games, already!  I don’t want to watch a movie preview about Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.  Seriously, is this legit?  And then that preview is followed by a Twilight preview.  All I have to say is that Bella better watch out for Abe.  Just show me Katniss, already!

7.  You will whistle the Mockingjay call.  You just will.  And others will follow like Mockingjays.  And then you will all be bonded, like an Avatar to it’s dragon.

8.  You will feel an array of emotions.  You will cry when Katniss volunteers as Tribute for her sister.  And laugh at the lack of chemistry between Peeta and Katniss.  You will feel so exhausted by the end of the movie when your popcorn and caffeine induced state wanes, but you vow to stay true to the Mockingjay.  And you may adopt the District 12 three-fingered salute when someone does an extraordinary act.  Then you drive home and dissect the movie and realize that no matter how much it may veer from the books, you will watch of all the movies.  Because you’ve caught onto the spark, and now it’s burning.

Photo credit: USA Today

Kony2012: My response to Invisible Children’s campaign [Re Blogged]

Krysta Marie:

In light of the Kony 2012 campaign by Invisible Children and the conversations is has generated, I’m reblogging a post by Rosebell Idaltu Kagumire, a Ugandan multimedia journalist working on peace and conflict issues in the Eastern Africa region and Editor and Rights in Crisis Digital Campaigner at Channel16.

She says, “This is the same narrative we have seen about Africa for centuries and in this century we ought to see something more different… I saw the kind of suffering he is talking about, but yet, we do not think that the story can be told in that simple way just to say it’s about a bad guy and a good guy.”

Originally posted on Rosebell's Blog:

For the last many hours i have followed a campaign by Invisible Children NGO called KONY2012 that has gone viral getting more than 20 million hits on Youtube. I am a story teller and i know the danger of a single story  . It is something many people can easily ignore especially if we are outsiders to the story.

This is the video i recorded late in the night. It’s longer than i would have wanted but i just wanted to put my views out there on a conflict I have covered as a journalist and a people I have worked among as a communications officer at Isis-WICCE. I don’t in any way think I represent views of Uganda like some comments i have seen. This is me talking about the danger of portraying people with one single story and using old footage to cause hysteria when it could have…

View original 20 more words

WANTED: Joseph Kony for war crimes & American Youth to save Africa

   

Madonna

Bono

Joseph Kony

Madonna, Bono… Josesph Kony.   Well, have you heard of Joseph Kony?  Is he a household name yet?  That’s the goal of Invisible Children’s (IC) Kony 2012 campaign: to make Joseph Kony famous.  Who is this Kony?  And why should we care?

Joesph Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda, wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Oh, and he’s been trending on twitter and causing quite a cry of outrage among America’s youth.  While the wrist-band-wearing, sticker-wielding youth have pledged to drive Kony from the depths of the bush in East Africa to stop him from recruiting child soldiers to slaughter others, I wonder when this trend will end.

 

Social media allows IC to reach millions of people and garner support – and they do this well.  But what if they harnessed this energy and put it towards something greater than simply advocacy (which has its place) and took a step past asking do-gooders to appease their guilt (buy a bracelet!) out of obligation of now being informed of atrocities (you can’t un-know it now, so take the pledge)?

There are many reasons uninformed and oversimplified advocacy can cause trouble, and Siena Antsis catalogues some of them here, noting that Invisible Children expertly “commodifies white man’s burden on the African continent.”  Buy a bracelet, soothe some guilt. (Source: Foreign Policy)

Now, let me be clear.  If I sound snarky, it’s because I am.  The truth is, I had that idealistic streak in me at one time.  I was one of the Invisible Children groupies.  I pledged to stand in solidarity with my Ugandan brothers and sisters who were forced to endure a terrible reality far beyond my own comprehension.  I took to the streets with the “Displace Me” campaign in 2007.  I wrote letters to then President Bush, urging for support to war-torn northern Uganda.  I had a google alert for “LRA” and “Uganda” set to daily email me news updates.  I subscribed to the IC approach of advocacy and education to reach my generation through riveting documentaries.  Then, something changed.

  

Lira, Uganda

Lira, Uganda

Internally Displaced Persons Camp, Lira, Uganda 

Internally Displaced Persons Camp, Lira, Uganda

Internally Displaced Persons Camp, Lira, Uganda

Lira, Uganda

I went to Uganda and met men, women and children.  I witnessed poverty.  I saw the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps where people fled for safety.  I learned resilience and beauty.  I saw strength and disease; need and fear.  Above all, I found hope.  And I came home changed – and not in the “let me tell you stories and show you pictures of me and 117 little babies who are just so cute and happy” kind of way.  No, I was pissed off at the world.  What good was a $30 bracelet now?  Woe to you if you were in my way.

I was filled with rage, angry at everything and everyone that was not pointing towards a larger reality outside of their own.  Angry at anyone who talked about “those poor people” as if they were passive animals in a petting zoo without dreams and creativity.  Angry at myself for my ignorance and indulgences.  My reality had been pierced with the reality of another people living thousands of miles away, and I was unable to reconcile that these two worlds existed within some greater whole.

What do you tell a woman who is living with HIV/AIDS?  What do you tell a child who has fled from her home?  What do you tell a mother who is being exploited?  And how do I hop on an airplane, knowing I have a warm bed and three Starbucks within five miles of my home?

While I didn’t handle well the culture shock  that ensued upon my return home, I do think that I’ve learned from the process.  Anger is justifiable and can be used towards promoting justice.  But it must not be anger that is leading you.  You will shrivel up and lead a very bitter life if that is the case.   You cannot do life alone.

So what now?   And what’s life like after Kony 2012?  Does America sweep in riding our bald eagles and bomb Kony’s camp because the 14-year-olds who can afford $30 for a wrist bracelet raise a raucous?  I don’t think it works like that.

I wish I had answers, but what I offer are suggestions.  Everything begins with listening.  Listen to the needs and desires of others and work alongside each other in conjunction with existing grassroots organizations who have formed relationships with local citizens.  I think article said it best:

Perhaps worst of all are the unexplored assumptions underpinning the awareness argument, which reduce people in conflict situations to two broad categories: mass-murderers like Joseph Kony and passive victims so helpless that they must wait around to be saved by a bunch of American college students with stickers. No Ugandans or other Africans are shown offering policy suggestions in the film, and it is implied that local governments were ineffective in combating the LRA simply because they didn’t have enough American assistance.

None of us who actually work with populations affected by mass atrocity believe this to be a truthful or helpful representation. Even under horrific circumstances, people are endlessly resourceful, and local actors understand their needs better than outsiders. It’s good that Americans want to help, but ignoring the role and authority of local leaders and activists isn’t just insulting and arrogant, it neglects the people who are the most likely to come up with a solution to the conflict.

The LRA is a problem worth solving, but how to do so is a complicated question with no easy answers. Americans are right to care but we need to stop kidding ourselves that spending $30 plus shipping and handling for a Kony 2012 action kit makes us part of the solution to anything.  (Source: The Atlantic)

Please note:  I am no scholar or expert.  I write to make sense of what comes across my computer screen, in hopes to be another voice urging people to question the approach to justice and change.  This is not a comprehensive approach towards a solution.  This is not a one-dimensional issue that can be “solved,” but rather a string of complexities etched in a history of colonialism, fear, war, poverty and systemic issues.  If you are so compelled to see change, visit Charity Navigator for reports on not-for-profit organizations.  I have plenty of humanizing pictures of Ugandans whom I met; however, I do not want to publish these without their permission.  

Madonna Picture: Source
Bono Picture: Souce
Joseph Kony Picture: Source 

Color Me: Purple & Orange

Purple and Orange.  I know, the color combination is a little bizzare.  Maybe that’s why I like it.  Vibrant hues of purple meet vibrant orange.  I was surprised by the amount of purple and orange in nature – jelly fish, starfish and flowers, to name a few.

  
  



 


 

Photo Credits:
Color Board: Source
Lotus Flower: Source
Pomegranates: Source
Branch: Source
Glass Bottles: Source
Purple Pants: Source
Vespa: Source
Buildings: Source
Living Room: Source
Foyer: Source
Shakespeare Room: Source
Bedroom: Source
Chandelier Bedroom: Source
Zen Room: Source
Carrots: Source
Pinwheel: Source
Starfish: Source

Leapin’ Lizzards! Leap Years, Leap Seconds and Leap Lists: Why Telling Time is More than Big Ben

Yesterday was February 29, 2012.  Leap Day.  I woke up to a barrage of “happy leap day” messages on all fronts – facebook, twitter, even NPR had an assortment of vintage photos of people leaping.  Does this just feel like a regular Wednesday to anyone else?  Is it alright that I’m not joining in the jubilant celebration of Leap Year?  Hmmm.. maybe I should go jump over some stuff right now and get pumped up like the other leaping lunatics?  My excitement was nonexistent.

As the day progressed, so did my thoughts.  Is this Leap Year business really like getting an extra day?  I mean, if you’re looking at a calendar, sure there will be 366 days in 2012 instead of 365.  But that’s just a way of counting.  We’d have that day regardless, only we’d just call it March 1st instead of February 29th.  Is that right?  Does this make any sense?  Chalk it up to my natural skepticism.

I know there’s a reason for having that extra day every four years.  But why?  How do people remember this stuff?  I was never good at that poem.  Thirty days hath September… wait, or was it.  Oh, never mind, I’ll just google it.  I have to count on my knuckles to remember how many days are in each month anyway.   Ever used that trick?  Each knuckle is the month with 31 days and the “valley” between the knuckles is a month with 30 days; except February.  I also have a using my fingers trick for multiplying by nine.   It’s handy.  [Har, har, har.  Pun intended.]

I digress.  Things got really interesting when I heard about having a leap second on June 30, 2012.  An extra second?!  What?  How?  Who is the time keeper that makes that decision?  That’s some authority.  The New York Times states, “while the leap year keeps the calendar in order, the leap second keeps the clock in order by closing the gap between time as measured by atomic clocks, which rely on the oscillation frequency in an isotope of cesium, and time as measured by the daily rotation of the Earth.”
I stopped comprehending that at “oscillation frequency” and feared my head may explode.  I’m no engineer, so just read this article if you speak that jargon.  I understand that we’re getting an extra day and an extra second.  Whoa.

What will I do with this time?  Time, you sneaky little minx, you’re somehow elusive, healing, agonizing, and a gift.  I continued musing.  

Isn’t it interesting how we as a civilization tell time?  How we fashion ways to measure the sun, moon and stars.  How we operate on a universal medium.  It’s inescapable.  We’re bound by time, like it or not.  Our ancestors questioned the rising and setting of the sun, studied the rotation of the planets and their paths, pointing towards something greater.  We had time-telling devices from Stonehenge and sun dials to the Atzec Calendar and Big Ben.  Time is a great unifier and leveler under which we all work and play.

   

Perhaps it’s more important to measure our time by our actions, by what we do.  Maybe I should make a “Bucket List”, like the movie.  Morgan Freeman was inspired to create a list of thing he wanted to do before he died.  And Honda has that “Leap List” commercial.  You know the one – where people are excitedly driving around to all 50 states to cross it off their “Leap List.”  It’s catchy.  I like lists.  I crave adventures.  And I already have a Honda.  I think that commercial was directed toward my demographic.  Nicely done, Honda.  I see you with your “Leap List.”

Naturally, I thought about what would be on my Bucket List/Leap List.  Here’s what I have so far:

  • Travel somewhere wonderful with my family
  • Learn Spanish
  • Re-learn French
  • Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
  • Travel down the West Coast from Canada into Mexico
  • Backpack Europe – France, England, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Iceland…
  • Be in a musical
  • Audition for the Amazing Race
  • Go back to Sierra Leone
  • Go to grad school
  • Live and serve overseas
  • Stay in a tree house in the Costa Rican rain forest
  • Run a 5K
It’s not anything revolutionary, but it’s a start!  What’s on your Leap List?

Photo Credits:
Lizard: Source
Hands: Source
Stonehenge: Source
Sundial: Source
Aztec Calendar: Source
Big Ben: Source

Color Me: Yellow & Gray

Yellow and gray.  Like the sun casting rays onto the cold concrete, granting warmth to something once cold and rigid.  Gray is one of my favorite colors.  It’s not just boring old gray.  It’s versatile.


 

 


 


 

photo

Photo Credits:
Kitchen: Source
Pillows: Source
Couch: Source
Door: Source
GrayWallpaper: Source
Metal Headboard: Source
Striped Bedroom: Source
Yellow Couch: Source
Barn Door:  Source
Anthro Bedroom: Source
Gray Couch: Source
Runway: Source
Flowers: Source
Shoe: Source
Color Board: Source
Yellow Bed: Source
Cabinet: Source
Sunflower: Source

Color Me: Red & Teal

I love colors.  Bright colors paired with other bright colors, bright colors with neutrals, or neutral on neutral.  Color intrigues me.  Today I bring to you one of my favorite color combinations: red and teal.  Look at it in nature, fashion or the streets.

 


 

 

Photo Sources:
Color Board: Source
Building: Source
Shutters: Source
City: Source
Shoes: Source
Bicycle: Source
Bird: Source
Beach: Source
Collage: Source
Bed: Source
Door: Source
Dresser: Source
Chair: Source
Kitchen: Source
Kitchen: Source
Boots: Source

PS – Follow me on Pinterest to see more red and teal photos.