Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fun with photos

I really enjoyed my multimedia course this summer. It was really fun to learn to play with photoshop and if the program wasn't $600 I would start saving for it myself. To me digital art was challenging since photoshop is easily accessible and easy to use. Rather than the combination of skill and 'the idea' that is required to be good in traditional art the primary focus in computer art is 'the idea'. I made this particular picture in the class, it has 7 different things edited in that weren't there originally. Can you spot them?

Skinny in your mini?

People always ask me what the secret to being skinny is. I don't consider myself thin but if I did have a secret it would be the snacks that my mother (on a constant diet) has made me accustomed too. Here are 10 delicious/fast/cheap/low calorie things my mother and I eat.

1) Instead of regular cookies try baby cookies dipped in creamy stirred vanilla yogurt.
2) Microwave chopped sausage and mix it with cottage cheese.
3) Boil a chicken soup base and add chopped sausage/chicken, celery, carrots, and rice.
4) A Soft boiled egg (5 min) with toast and margarine (basic but delicious).
5) Instead of popsicles kick it old school with frozen juice boxes!
6) Mix cinnamon and sugar in a dish, cut up an apple and use the cinnamon as a dip. Or you can peel the apple, glaze the cinnamon sugar over it, and microwave it for 2 1/2 minutes. Eat with 1/2 cup of nonfat vanilla yogurt
7) MMM (obsession this year) sliced tomato with a dash of olive oil, salt, pepper, and either mozzarella (sliced from a ball), flavoured havarti, or feta cheese.
8) Want a veggie to bbq? Grilled zucchini is to die for!!!
9) Salad & spinich mixed with walnuts, cooked pears, and pommegranate seeds (this one not so cheap).
10) Light rye (wasa brand) with layer of both margarine/butter and honey.

Hope you enjoy all these things as much as I do!
Bon Appetite!

Why it is wrong for religious fanatics to hate on gays and support Carrie Prejean

Everyone hates on Perez Hilton for hating on Carrie Prejean for her answer during the Miss California USA 2009 competition. I don't understand how this became a controversial topic because of an uninformed opinion. To recap during the competition judge Perez Hilton asked her what her opinion of same sex marriage was. She responded,

"Well I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. You know what, in my country, in my family, I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman."

I think it was a mystery to a lot of people why this beautiful young lady was being heavily criticized when she was trying her best to be polite.

It is because marriage is not solely a religious contract. "Marriage is an institution in which interpersonal relationships (usually intimate and sexual) are acknowledged by the state, by religious authority, or both." Though many gays and lesbians are hoping for a progression in the church their main focus is a progression in the state laws. They are aiming for civil or secular marriages which is a marriage performed by government and not a religious organization.

The state and religion are two entirely different things. Her political beliefs should be independent of her religious opinions. By intertwining her political and religious beliefs she is disrespecting everyone who does not belong to the Christian faith. She is saying, "My country does not accept you because you do not believe in what I believe in." She could have remained true to her religious beliefs and said "While same sex marriage goes against my religious beliefs, all people in America are equal and deserve equal rights." Instead of (what I heard), "Christians are the most important people in America."

Why am I so sure of her ignorance about the matter? For starters she thinks gay people can be "cured". Second, when asked about civil unions in an interview with Van Susteren she says,

"My thought on civil unions? You know what, Greta? I don't have the answers to everything. I'm not running for political office. I don't have the answers to everything, you know, in the world out there.

But I think that there should be rights for people, you know, especially in California. I think that people that are homosexual should have some rights, you know, hospital rights, and things like that.

But I would like to be more educated on that, so when I do have a better answer for you, I will get back to you on that one.

But so far I just support traditional marriage, and that's my main focus."

If traditionally the constitution of marriage has had the option of being independent of religion then isn't a civil union a traditional marriage?

Case closed.

Spinning Wheels Religiously

Last Thursday I attended my first University Religion course. Unfortunately, I am the type of person who hypothesizes how the entire semester will be laid out based on the professor’s mannerisms in their first lecture. When I got to class I saw my red-faced, birkenstock wearing, longhaired professor. Immediately I classified him as an outdoorsy type who probably had a big ego since he obviously didn’t conform to any particular trend. I was wrong. I was in awe as this man began to speak. He was bold, loud, and more passionate than any instructor I have ever encountered. He informed us there were to be no textbooks, no notes, and no late marks. Then we were dismissed.

I was very skeptical about the material he would be covering in the next class since there currently is no class format. Upon arrival he showed us a film about two mountain climbers/friends entitled, 'Touching The Void'. He said the climber 'Joe's' experience was metaphorical of man's struggle with organized religion.

I personally do not believe in organized religion despite the fact that Catholicism has played a pivotal role in my household and educational upbringing. After fourteen years of Catholic education I was fully prepared for the professor to start lecturing us about the virtue and benevolence of Jesus. For the second time I was wrong.

By the end of that lecture my throat and stomach were heavy and my mind was full. Dr. Penner surprised me by speaking as I did as an angst ridden and insubordinate teenager. He told us he was here to provoke us and to anger us. He started by suggesting that organized religion is selfish, in that it tries to make us feel safe by offering us heaven, god, and joy in exchange for our souls and devotion. Religion is not something one should be able to possess or control. It is not a crutch for life. In trying to control religion one gains superficial happiness and loses the truth. There is no correct formula for living life. True spirituality should only take us out of the humdrum of our normal lives and make us feel alive.

To 'feel alive' we cannot allow ourselves to be controlled by the fear that deeply consumes us in our everyday lives. This fear is ingrained in our culture and our genes. E.g., fear of being unattractive, aging, not finding a spouse, etc. Inherently humans want comfort and security but spiritually we should not rest on one particular path. One should not be ‘defined’ or ‘definable’ in the way I tried to define Dr. Penner during the first lecture. Spiritually there should be constant growth. It is necessary to discard the trappings of our cultures, and the identity of ourselves in those cultures to grow as people. Struggle gives birth to spirituality while passivity gives birth to superficiality.

Can we give up everything to be reborn into our culture? What would our friends and family think if we gave up everything to be closer to 'god' or the 'spirit'? Would they be happy if we stopped caring about the daily grind in order to find god? What if we gave up everything to find god? People forget that Jesus and Buddha gave up everything and in this way I believe that true religion is cultish.

To end my thoughts I feel that organized religion has lost its way. Society uses religion as a stereoptying tool while some religions use themselves to provoke fear by promising eternal damnation. I am not claiming that myself or Dr. Penner are aware of the secrets of religion. Einstein once said "The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know," spiritually I am proud to say I feel the same.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Random video for your entertainment