New Goals for my New Year

My goals for the next year!

IMG_1119I know that one makes new goals on New year’s day but, for me, that only insured that I didn’t spend any amount of time actually thing about what I wanted to accomplish in that year and, worse, not following through.  Last year at the end of July I wrote out a large list of goals.  I gave myself a year to accomplish some of them, others I gave myself more time (five or ten years.)  That year recently came to an end and I wrote about how I did here (the short version: pretty darn well.)  I spent the last 2 weeks thinking about what I wanted to do this year and why, any time an idea came to me I jotted it down and then went back to whatever I was doing, after it was all over I had quite the list.  I then sat down and reviewed them, using a few criteria: why did I want to do this?  Could it realistically be accomplished in a year? Is this something that should be broken down into multiple goals? Does this make me a better/more interesting/smarter person?  With the criteria I whittled it down to a list that I felt was workable for the year and wit my multi-year goals.

Here is my list of goals for the year between August 4, 2009 – August 4, 2010

1. Get my scuba diving license

2. Go skydiving

3. Become an Oddfellow

4. Brush-up on my Latin – Read Harrius Potter et Philosphi Lapis

5. Write 10,000 word story (this is for NaNoWriMo)

6. Complete my BFG fleet, Horde army, and Chaos army (maybe too much here…)

7.  Make a gaming table

8. Climb Half-dome in Yosemite

9. Get in great shape (swimming, running, cycling, maybe I should look into Triathlons?)

Tuesday Share for June 23, 2009

A little late with the post, this evening.  I had a lot going this weekend and hadn’t had time to write it up early, and free time seems to be scarce in these parts…  Anyway here’s this week’s odd collection of miscellanea from around the web.

The Atlas Obscura is a new website that has set out to catalog all the weird and bizarre places in the world that just aren’t mentioned in normal travel books.  This link is a short overview with more links talking about giant burning holes scattered about the globe.  I knew about the one in Centralia, PA, but didn’t know about the others, including one in Germany that has been burning continually since 1688!  Giant Burning Holes via Boing Boing.

I do some occasional cooking, my fiance loves it, so I keep my eye out for good cooking blogs and recipes that cross my path.  Annie’s Eats is a pretty good blog that always has a new recipe every day, just about?!  Most of them are baking or sweets, so I don’t pay too much attention.  I’m trying to maintain a decent weight not balloon into gross obesity. This recipe though for tinroof ice cream had to be looked over.  Chocolate, peanuts, fudge?!  Decadent and delicious sounding.  Summer is the perfect time to make ice cream and my next batch is sure to be this.

The index card is kind of ubiquitous. It has uses from the office to the kitchen, pretty much anywhere you look you’ll find them.  Their just so convenient and obvious, it’s hard to think that they had to be invented.  But they did and by the father of taxonomy to boot, Carl Linnaeus!  Mr. Linnaeus devised the card to help organize and manage a great deal of information.  Check out the entire story at Science Daily.

I don’t know what to call a link to a series of link?  Is there a word for that yet?  Anyway this short article is a quick summary by Phil Plait, of Bad Astronomy, of all the recent news stories that’ve been critical of alternative medicine and medical quackery claims and those who support them.  From Oprah to British Chiropractors, alt-medicine is taking a hit and hopefully losing credibility.

Michael Moorcock isn’t the most widely known science fiction author, but his creation, Elric has had a lasting effect on the fantasy and science-fiction genre, the music scene, and gaming.  With a new collection of his writings coming out Mr. Moorcock was interviewed by some of his lucky fans to help promote the book.  This is a lucky chance to get inside the head of  a real artist and arguably the most important British fantasy writer since J.R.R. Tolkien – The Readers of Boing Boing interview Michael Moorcock

I sometimes question of America has a culture at all, or if it’s been replaced by a marketable facsimile thereof.  The blind pursuit of profit purely for the sake of having more profit, is a poor goal for a person, organization, nation, or culture, but it seems that is what the United States has been reduced to at times, with considerations of family, community, meaning, a greater purpose to life having been discarded as unprofitable.  J.F.K spoke out against this most eloquently as has our current president Barack Obama, but this isn’t a partisan issue, or a Democrat one, every great teacher we know of from Moses, to Jesus, from the Buddha to Laozi has tried to humanity that life is not just the accumulation of items, but is instead a quest to understand ourselves and the community that sustains us.

The world’s rarest insect, Lord Howe Island stick insect, was thought extinct for the last 70 years until in 2001 30 individuals were found on Ball’s Pyramid.  The insect is now in a breeding program and scientists hope to one day re-introduce it to Lord Howe Island if the rats can be exterminated from the island.  Via Boing Boing, more info at the Australian Dept. of Environment.

The president of the Liberty University Democrats club is leaving the college behind… Liberty University, a fundamentalist christian liberal arts college, has had a history of controversy.  The most recent being the banning of the democrat club from campus.  I hope other students will be inspired and find other avenues of education and centers of higher education that respect a diversity of opinions and viewpoints.

Another link from Debunking Christianity, this time on the genealogies of Jesus, plenty to read over there so I’m not going to add to it.

That’s it for this week.  Expect an original post tomorrow or Thursday as well as some additional old stuff (Necrons, etc.)  The next part of my Camus saga will be this weekend or the beginning of next week.

Giving up Today for Tomorrow

Living like every moment counts and as if you can change the world is exhausting. Which is why it rarely ever is.

Care of Diana

This is a difficult topic to talk about because so much of it is tied up with powerful emotions… Not just my own but almost everyone on the planet… Anyone who holds out for tomorrow in the belief that when this life is over there will be another one to go to, a better one, regardless of your religious tradition the afterlife you imagine for yourself is one of beauty and light, paradisaical.

I used to believe this, at times I still wish I did.  What a comfort it is to think that despite all the wrongs of this world, despite the pain and suffering, despite all the inequality there will be a time when all wrongs are righted, where justice will be served and peace will reign and that we will be there in the presence of God.  I know the power of that comforting thought, it was one that I clinged to for most of my life.  I know longer feel that way, worse I think that it is a lie, a terrible lie!  It blinds us with a beauty we can do nothing to create while we waste the time we have here now.  It tells us that we are fallen, rejected beings living

on a fallen rejected planet.  It denies the glory of our existence and our ability to change the world today, now.  It excuses us from acting on the injustices we see around us today, it absolves us of the horrors we create here and shifts all the blame and responsibility for correcting it on an invisible, unknowable deity, who at some point in the future, always very near but never quite here, to correct.  This is a madness and a sickness.  If today we vowed to live like there was no heaven and hell to absolve us, this world would be a paradise and the need for one far removed would fade into oblivion.  Man is not fallen, nor is Nature corrupted, beauty and justice are obtainable now.  I wish is was as easy as abandoning the lie and moving forward.  But I don’t believe as seductive as it is and yet I’m no better than the faithful.  Knowing something and acting on it are not analogous to each other.

Acting is always the hardest part.  Daily living is just so much habit and change is overcoming a terrible amount of inertia.  Living like every moment counts and as if you can change the world is exhausting.  Which is why it rarely ever is.   I’m just as guilty as everyone else.  I go through each day in a haze aware of but unsympathetic to the injustice that surrounds me,  inured to it from daily exposure.  How do you overcome this?  How do you do so without losing yourself in it?  I don’t know.  I hope to stumble upon a way.

Revisiting Same Sex Marriage

the essential civil right is not the right to be different — because difference, in this context, is the prerequisite assumption of bigotry — but the right to be the same.

With the recent legal activities in Iowa and Vermont, the Same Sex Marriage issue isn’t going away, as some proponents of Prop. 8 hoped it would after the proposition passed.  I stated then that people don’t stop fighting for basic rights regardless of how many times those rights are denied them. 

Now, this issue will be taken up and debated at the Federal level by the Congress.  Not because there is any politician brave enough to address the issue, but they’ll be forced to by the District of Columbia City Council who have proposed to recognize the same sex marriages performed elsewhere.  I’ve been thinking about the arguments against Same Sex Marriage as well and I agree with Peter Sagal, who lumped them into 3 groups:  It is against God’s law, it is against tradition, and it’ll destroy heterosexual monogamous marriages. 

I’ve covered these arguments in the past but thought that I’d do so again, if perhaps you missed it or didn’t understand.  The first one isn’t an argument at all, and is irrelevant.  What if my God told me it was okay?  What if he told me to kill kittens, and build giant obelisks to his glory?  It doesn’t matter. My and your personal religious beliefs aren’t an argument for denying people their rights in a secular nation that doesn’t recognize any religious belief as valid.  That whole ‘wall’ Jefferson talked about. 

Arguing marriages traditional place is also a poor argument, the whole liberal enlightenment movement of which the United States is probably the best product of is based on overcoming narrow-minded traditional beliefs, laws, processes, etc.  Slavery has a long tradition in the world, Misogyny does too, as well as genocide, torture, pedophilia, polygamy, etc.  The list could go on and on, these are all traditions that we’ve overcome and are better off for it!  I won’t mention the fact that what is presented to Americans as traditional marriage is younger than our country, but that can be for another time. 

The final argument that same sex marriage will destroy heterosexual ones is ridiculous on its face.  What is the divorce race in our Nation?  50%  How many more heterosexual marriages are loveless or festering wells of spousal and children abuse?  According to the Center for Health and Gender Equality 22% of women interviewed admit to domestic violence abuse.  This actual incidence of domestic violence is almost always under reported.  In some surveys the number has been as high as 50-70%!    It appears that heterosexual marriage doesn’t need any help being destroyed, heterosexuals are doing a bang up job all on their own.  All of this and I haven’t even begun to question how what two people do in the privacy of their own home effects what you do in the privacy of yours?  You might not like it, but besides not being comfortable with the idea of two men or two women raising children and having sexual intercourse it can’t do anything to your marriage.  What is much more likely to destroy it is money issues or infidelity.  Besides there’s no evidence to support this, the divorce rate in Massachusetts hasn’t spiked since the same sex marriage became legal, for the few weeks that it was legal in California the only statistics to see a spike was the rate of marriage…   They used this argument too when it came to giving Woman the vote, passing Civil Rights legislation, and abolition…  Nothing was destroyed then either…

Finally, those opposing same sex marriage will fail for one reason, the young don’t care.  It might take more years than it should, but it is inevitable.  Look at some exit polling from last year’s election concerning Proposition 8 in California:

           Yes   No

18-29 (20%)  39   61
30-44 (28%)  55   45
45-64 (36%)  54   46
65+   (15%)  61   39

As older voters die off and younger voters replace them and the LGBT movement continues to press for equal rights, laws protecting “marriage” will fall and the LGBT community will be able to enjoy the same rights heterosexuals take for granted.  As Andrew Sullivan stated, the essential civil right is not the right to be different — because difference, in this context, is the prerequisite assumption of bigotry — but the right to be the same.

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