Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh, Glorious Day!

Me, Leanne, Tanya and Alisia all had a blast

Today was magnificent. I was looking forward to the Inauguration, but wasn't expecting so much heartfelt joy. We already knew Obama was going to be President, so there isn't much logic to it... but by the gods, it felt as if the majority of the nation had breathed a huge sigh of relief and shouted out in jubilation.

I met up with some friends by the county courthouse for a celebration sponsored by The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (and MoveOn.org). It's no secret that I live in a very liberal area, and the decorations for the Inaugural celebration certainly reflected how most people around here feel.

I genuinely do feel sorry for George Bush!

The crowd was pretty small when we first arrived.

Some of the musicians and revelers

A 15-foot tall Lady Liberty was one of the stars of the event.

She's still being put together

The smaller crowd at the beginning:

I was delighted when the first sng played was one of my all-time favorites -- "This Little Light of Mine." I remember singing this in the shower when Obama won the Iowa caucus at the beginning of the primaries.

Many humorous, charming songs about the changing of administration were sung by one of the coolest bands ever -- The Raging Grannies.

The Raging Grannies themselves!

The speakers were all powerful and moving, but I only had enough memory to film bits and pieces. Here is the beginning and a middle portion of Ekua Omosup's beautiful speech:

Notice the guy on the bike? He's powering the sound system.

An elderly African American woman came over to her car by Steven and I and paused to look at us, saying "Boys and girls, did you ever think you would see this day?" If my heart so joyously swells on this glorious day, then I can hardly fathom what she must have been feeling.

The California bear flag

And a man whose name I don't remember who read a poem. He asked us for a moment of silence for Oscar Grant (though be careful -- I haven't had any desire to watch the clip myself), recently murdered by the police in a city near us.

We Shall Overcome

The Raging Grannies then played again:

Even dogs love Obama!

Participants were encouraged to create signs that reflected the change they would like to see under the Obama administration.

Then we were off, marching into downtown. The most amazing experience was witnessing the sheer, honest joy felt by so many. Hundreds of cars honked, the people waved, some shouting Obama's name.

The parade and the happy cars

Steven and I didn't mind that it was randomly 80 degrees in January -- we were having too much fun!

A lad and his dream

I loved how many kids got to be a part of this.

The randomness of the dog sticking its head out of the van makes me laugh so hard

Liberty boogies:

These ladies are dedicated to cleaning up the country

A glimpse of the onlookers, many of which joined in the parade. Our numbers just kept swelling!

Leanne the Beautiful

The Planned Parenthood staff was rocking out

Look! It's President Obama himself, rocking out with us! Whoo hoo!

Lady Liberty

Old friends or new friends. It doesn't matter. We all felt like good friends today.

Many we passed were filming us. In this age of technology,cameras abounded! Even people driving past.

People were also looking out of every high window, waving and cheering. Jubilation!

Look in the second highest tower!

After the parade stopped, the drumming and music continued, and we fully enjoyed ourselves as Lady Liberty, a woman on stilts, and the cardboard President Obama rocked out before us.

At first I was upset that my memory card was full before I could film the scene, however it gave me an excuse to tuck my camera away and to enjoy the moment. I think I will forever.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Summer in January!

That's more of a grimace. Though the numbness eventually takes away the pain.

As some may recall, this time of year last January was quite the storm. This year we're in a cloud of high pressure, with days in the 70s and low 80s, nights in the 30s. Great, right? I mean, most of the rest of the country is freezing in record Arctic colds! But, believe it or not, the sun is not so welcome here in northern California. Other than the fact that last year's drought already gave us a six month summer, we're getting even less rain this year. Even less rain means more drought, which means an even worse fire this season than last year. Given that my family always makes fun of me for even announcing that I smell smoke, I don't know if my nerves could take it. But hey, at least every time I say I smell smoke, I actually do. I have a good nose!

Here are some lovely shots Alex took from our day at the beach in January. It was great being there while it was so deserted. Even if the water was freezing!

Another great thing about the beach being practically deserted is the fact that there aren't many people around to be blinded by winter-pale skin...

We also saw part of a dead crab. My inexplicable fear of crabs has been passed down to Alex, as you can see in this glimpse of our flight.

And... this is what a recession looks like. The store at the end, Mervyn's, is going out of business. If you look closely, you'll see this one has already been shuttered. It's been sad, since for years that was the only affordable clothing store. We'll miss you, Mervyn's!

I'm excited for Tuesday! There's an event going on downtown that afternoon that I'm planning on attending. Anyone else planing on celebrating the Inauguration?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We're Either Retards or Geniuses

You guys oughta read this article. It pissed me off so much that I'm postponing working on my new short story to come out of my blogging recession (pun intended). The article states that, based on a psychological study, our brains are hardwired to find conflict between God and science. Not only are the sampling of tests conducted to determine this biased, but apparently those of us who have no quarrel with science and God are idiots.

"'We can only believe in one explanation at a time,' she told LiveScience. So although people can report explicitly, "Look, I’ve been a Christian all my life, and yes, I also believe in science and I am a practicing chemist," the question is, are these people really reconciling belief in God and science, or are they just believing in one thing at a time?'

When it comes to the ultimate questions, it's really just one thing at a time, Preston says.
People rarely think about these problems, however, so most people live their lives without paying much attention to how the universe started or how life began, Preston said."

See? Those of us who understand that science explains the physical, tangible world, and that religions address the intangible and the spiritual are really just retards who don't think about these things long enough.

Perhaps I found this claim particularly insulting because I'm working on a novel for my thesis that specifically addresses many of the "big questions" through metaphor and, well, through some not-so-subtle means. And my ideas are pretty wacked. Others have addressed these issues far better than I -- isn't that all of art and human expression when it comes down to it? King Lear, Lord of the Rings, Moby Dick, even Tuck Everlasting. Oh, and a few little poems like The Iliad and Beowulf. But I guess we're wrong. Whatever it is in us as hominids that made us decide to ceremonially bury our dead all those millions of years (and species) ago apparently turned us into perpetually-conflicted morons. Never mind what that could say about the current state of the world.

But don't get me wrong -- I'm not a very good example for this study. I don't believe in God. I'm not a Christian and do not belong to any organized faith. I was raised by scientists who never pressured any of their children to go to church (despite my father being a Christian) or choose a belief system. Though I suspect repeatedly being told I was going to Hell by my classmates from Kindergarten-high school made me somewhat biased against the Christian death-cult.

I do believe, however, that there is something essential to life that sets a life apart from the purely physical. A spirit, a soul, an energy -- these are all ways we describe the divine in us that innately understands the world. Most people choose religious explanations over scientific ones because they are simplistic and emotionally-satisfying (no, unlike the article, I'm not attempting to call a group of people stupid -- just in need of comfort). That's fine. That's one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is the scientific explanation.

And no, science does not "know everything." In fact, science is incredibly dynamic, and every fact or claim purported by science is preceded by the unspoken statement of "based on what we know, ____ is a fact." The problem is, most people who have a bone to pick with science either don't seem to understand the fact that it's a constantly-changing, evolving, refining body of knowledge, or are so ignorantly blind to this because of the emotional ties to their religious belief system that they don't care.

And emotional ties can be much stronger than tangible evidence. Those motherfuckers in Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations, going on jihads and blowing themselves up for the sake of their religious beliefs, murdering countless others, are prime examples. Sorry -- I have very little capacity to try to understand or tolerate such an extreme perversion of any belief system.

The opposite side of the spectrum is to read the article with F. Scott Fitzgerald in mind. "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." So in that sense... those of us with a dual mind are frickin' geniuses.

Though there's another helpful quote by the same writer:

"Either you think, or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you."

I'm still angry, so I need to go listen to my favorite Bob Marley song to calm down before I write again. Check it out:

No Woman No Cry

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne

...I really should update this more often. I've been kept busy by Spider-man and Batman. Check it out:

Peter Parker's Bad Day
(music by Viggo Mortensen. Yes, Aragorn. When you hear it... you'll know that he's as weird as I am)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Vacationing With Alfred and Bruce Wayne
(I'll be the first to admit that this one didn't turn out half as funny as it seemed in our heads)

Part 2

I love Batman. I can't tell you how much... especially Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale's interpretation of the mythology. But as much as I love Batman and wish he were my boyfriend... I wish more that Alfred were my BFF. I love you, Alfred!

Hope you all had a fun and safe holiday!

Mackenzie's Momma -- LOL no rush about the recipe! And glad to be informative! I was feeling like crap when I wrote that so I know that post was all over the place... so if you're interested, I suggest a bit more research on your own would turn up a lot of interesting pagan customs!