Friday, February 29, 2008

What is a Family?

Who decided what a family was going to be? Above we have the "nuclear" family. It has a husband and a wife and two strapping children that look like they could do no wrong. Anyone recognize this family? I don't.

I don't think it is our right to define a family strictly as that which is shown above. So, two lesbians who love each other want to be a family, let them. Or two non- lesbian women who never married decide to rent a house, can they not be each other's family? Family doesn't have to be limited to just those people that came from the same womb. 

To further illustrate, let's take our two straight women who, for whatever reason, never found "the one" in life. So, they decided to rent a house together and live as strictly platonic companions. Why can't the one share her health insurance with the other? Or her discount at her job, or whatever it is that's important? They have no other beneficiaries, they are alone in the world, save for this person. 

Everyone should have the option to be "married" in essence to whoever they want, and be able to share what they have with the other, regardless of their gender.

And this whole deterioration of the sanctity of the family? It's complete bull! When was the family actually sanctified? It's always been such a dysfunctional entity! Dads running out on their kids for the secretary, the wife living as a personal assistant to her husband, etc. Kids disowning their parents or stealing money for drugs? Yea, dysfunctional! So why can't people who care about each other be a family?

I think the definition of family needs to change hardcore. If you believe in having 20 kids and having a nuclear family, then by all means, go for it. However, if you're not "typical", why not define your own family? Everyone deserves a life long companion. What goes on in the bedroom is no one's business. Really, it's not.

Also, confining family to what it is today prevents us from the potential relationships we could have with people all around us. If we confine the definition to just those who are blood or marriage related, we alienate ourselves from other people in our world, thinking they're not as good because they're not one of "us". But aren't we all brothers and sisters anyways? So by being exclusive, we aren't able to serve one another as lovingly as we could if we considered family to be everyone. 

I know this is a totally sensitive subject for some people, but for me it just makes sense. And in a hundred years they're going to look back and say "I can't believe that back in the day family only meant a man and a woman who have sex!" Because family is going to be open to everyone. It's gonna be a great day!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I hope this is not stupid but...

...I've been trying to lay off junk food lately, and have come across some great low calorie snacks that make me very happy. So I thought, why not share my list with everyone? Also keep in mind that the very idea of gross food just for the sake of losing a few pounds has never been okay with me, which is why all of these have been tried and tested by yours truly and they are all good tasting! 

1) Jell-o Sugar Free (10 Calories/Serving) - These are delicious! Being sugar-free, they don't taste funky like a lot of sugarless foods do. I recommend the peach and watermelon flavors, although they are all good.

2) Fuze Slenderize (5-10 Calories/Serving) - These are all-natural juices that come in delicious flavors such as Tropical Fruit, Strawberry Melon and Blueberry Raspberry. It's nice to have a juice drink craving and not feel bad about it!

3) Frigo String Cheese (60 Calories/Piece) - A nice option for dairy without over doing it. You need dairy! 

4) Diet Sunkist (0 Calories/Can) - Okay I know this isn't very original, but can I say I love this! I am a huge Sunkist fan, and the diet doesn't taste diet, which is amazing! (PS- Diet Barq's and Diet Dr. Pepper are pretty good too!)

5) 100 Calorie Packs (100 Calories/Bag) - They have come up with pretty much any thing you can think of: Popcorn, Keebler cookies, Chocolate Chip cookies, Cheezits, etc. As long as you don't eat a million of these in one sitting, this is a nice snack because you still get to eat your cookies/chocolate without overdoing it. Honestly, you will be feeling like there aren't enough in the bag, but at least it's not over eating, which I hate doing.

6) Kool-Aid Jammers (10 Calories/Pouch) - Again, one of those sugary fixes without all the sugar and calories! These pouches are handy to carry around and taste really good. Another Kool-aid option are the Singles which contain 30 Calories/Serving. A few more, but still do-able.

7) Laughing Cow Light Cheese Bits (35 Calories/5 Cubes) - Sure, the cubes are pretty small, but you'll be surprised how 5 adds up pretty quickly. I can't believe these are even light. I used to feel so guilty eating the whole box, then I looked at the calorie count and it was all okay. :) I tried the regular ones and they were too heavy. This is just right!

8) Carrots (35 Calories/Serving) - Surprise! A healthy veggie made it on the list! These things are addicting! They end up like candy and I feel sad when they're all gone. Since they're not going to make you fat, you can pretty much forget about the calorie count and gorge on carrots.

9) Celery (Basically No Calories) - Had to mention the almighty celery. It is in essence a negative calorie food because your digestive track has to work at those celery threads for a while, so it actually burns calories. Not many, but at least you can feel guilt-free (but don't subsist solely on this!).

10) Ice Water w/Lemon (No Calories) - Again another negative calorie idea. Since your body needs to warm up the water to body temp, you'll burn calories doing so. The lemon adds a nice taste and also is thought to be an appetite suppressant but so far it hasn't been doing much of that for me. :)

11) Weight Watchers Chocolate Mousse (180 Calories) - Yea, watch out on the calories here, but it is a little lower than most desserts and you get your chocolate! It is especially useful if you're on weight watchers, because it equals 3 points and that's pretty affordable! Again, not something you would want every night, but still yummy! 

Obviously, this list serves primarily as snack foods, not your actual meals. If you're looking for some low cal meals, I usually just go the boring route and eat Healthy Choice meals (who, by the way, have an excellent selection these days!), or I consider seafood such as shrimp and salmon as delicious but no stress meals.

Ok so now, if anyone else has any fun snacks, please let me know about them! I am always looking for easy, healthy solutions! 

Monday, February 25, 2008

"to discover within yourself that which you despise the most in others"

If you've ever seen any color footage of WWII or the Concentration Camps, chances are, you're familiar with the work of director George Stevens. He was sent to Germany to record many of the hauntingly gruesome images that will forever impress the world of what happened over there. 

Undoubtedly, the images of mass graves and starving prisoners took their toll on Stevens. When he returned, he said this of his experience:

"When a poor man, hungry and unseeing because his eyesight is failing, grabs me and starts begging, I feel the Nazi, because I abhor him, I want him to keep his hands off me. And the reason I want him to keep his hands off me is because I see myself capable of arrogance and brutality to keep him off me. That's a fierce thing, to discover within yourself that which you despise the most in others."

Can the Nazi be within all of us? Surely not, right?

How disgusted do you get when you're riding the subway and  the stench of urine and fecal matter sweeps through the car? You look and see a homeless junkie lying in a heap at the end of the car. The stench is deplorable. 

I can honestly say that happened to me so many times, that I eventually got fed up with it. I didn't feel sorry for them anymore. I didn't want to help them out, I just wanted to get away. I wished they all disappeared. 

If we had been alive during slavery in the U.S., would we be pro or anti? Would we own a few slaves ourselves? Today we answer no, but can we say what we really would have done?

To think we are capable of "arrogance and brutality" is disturbing. It doesn't feel good to be equated with the monsters that were responsible for the horrors of WWII. And yet it is in every one of us. 

Thanks for making me hate babies, jerk!

Yea, you, the one in the BYU computer lab, who just let your baby scream ear drum blowingly loud, for twenty freaking minutes! I appreciate how you did absolutely NOTHING to shut it up, or to accommodate the other 50 people in there.

I am not against college kids having babies. If that's what they want to do, more power to them. But babies don't belong at school. The f-ing school does NOT revolve around your baby, and if you can't handle hiring a babysitter while you're at school, be honest, can you handle a child? Or maybe you didn't think about that BEFORE you practiced the rhythm method. 

Enough venting though.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"They didn't approve of our message of peace, I guess"

One of my favorite movies is the old 1950s classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, about a spacecraft that lands on the mall in D.C., and all panic ensues from this attempted alien communication. No one quite knows what to do, particularly when the wounded martian escapes from the hospital and, because he looks just like us, blends in to society unnoticed. However, the reason he has come is to spread a message of peace and to warn us that if we try to spread our wars farther than earth, we will be destroyed. 

As a child, this movie was intriguing because it was fun and entertaining. Now however, when I watch this film, I'm led under the surface to a deeper meaning.
The film's director, Darryl F. Zanuck "led Hollywood filmmakers in embracing edgy, courageous subject matter" and with "the Cold War in full swing...tensions arose when ever patriotism seemed in question at that time." 

"When they sought to obtain military equipment from the War Department, the producers were told that the Washington bureau had rejected the script and no equipment would be supplied. 'Everything we had...came from the National Guard of Virginia, not the War Department. They didn't approve of our message of peace, I guess'." - Twentieth Century - Fox

Peace is such a difficult thing to retain. Why are we always at war, for one reason or another?

The film's "message of peace" is well illustrated in a particular scene when the alien emissary, Klaatu takes little Bobby out for a day of fun around D.C. They stop at Arlington Cemetery where Bobby's fallen father lies. Klaatu looks around in disbelief at the graves sprawling among acres and acres of land. He asks Bobby, "How did all these people die?" Bobby responds, "Why, from the war. Haven't you ever heard of the Arlington Cemetery?" Klaatu tells Bobby that where he comes from, they don't have wars like those of planet Earth. 

Really, what is so addicting about war? And what must this planet look like from a foreign point of view? It's difficult to conjecture, because we are so used to this place of turmoil and disagreement. Surely, disagreement exists universally, but the way we deal with disagreement is the problem. Are we on a one way path to self-destruction? Sometimes it feels like it, as we constantly crave more, more, more. We want to be perfect, disease free, flawless. Yet in the attempt, we are destroying ourselves, our neighbors and our relationships therein. 
I wish that Klaatu and his buddy Gort really would come to earth so we could see we are not all around which the universe revolves. 

Anyways, if you haven't seen the film, come on over and I'll put it on for you! :)

P.S. a remake will be released Dec 2008. That should be interesting. 

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dr. Seuss = My Forte

I can't say I was too excited about getting books from the library for a research paper. I don't make this trip very often, but when your teacher says you can only have one internet source, what can you do? BYU's library is huge (and ranked #1 college lib in the country, thank you!), and I get lost every time I go in. 
This time, I was looking for some books on Alaska and the Yukon. Sneaky me, thinking I can kill two birds with one stone by writing a report on the Klondike Gold Rush for my American West class whilst at the same time working on some kick A tour material for this summer. Anyways, after crossing miles and miles of library ground, I end up at the books-of-interest-to-me section. 
Now, who here had heard of the Klondike Gold Rush before I went up to the land of nordicity (a new word I found on a book at the library! fancy huh?)? Yea it's pretty much a not very popular subject. But not for me! I struck it rich in the Alaska Gold books section! 
First, most books on this subject are generally written by folks who were there or who had family up there, causing these books to date back quite a ways. The books are often written by the mother in law of so and so (as one book I selected was) Second, these books are mostly out of print, so the books I found, happened to be original editions of the books. Yes, dating from as early as 1906. One book hadn't been checked out since 1956. Probably when people actually knew who Soapy Smith was. 
I know it's a bad photo, but this is the book that hadn't been checked out since 1956.

Not only that, but I happened across a small book of Skagway photography. In Skagway, the name Martin Itjen is pretty well known. He was the one who revived the town's economy by encouraging tourism. Skagway would not be alive today without his help. The Skagway Street Car Company, which he started, is still in operation. Anyways, I found a book written by him and what do you know? It had his original signature in the front page! How much do you think the library would charge if I just conveniently "lost" the book? ;) 
Martin Itjen's signature. Yes, it's backwards. :) 

A lot of the books are falling apart, their pages frayed and brown from age. It is a weird feeling to be holding books that are as old as these. 

As excited as I am to have these books in my possession, the library depresses me every time I go there. Endless rows of books are cast before me, and I know I'll never read 1% of them. I saw a book on Edmonton, and was like "Ooh I want to read that!" I'm like wait a minute, since when did I care about Edmonton? But honestly, I will never read that book. That's why libraries are depressing. Well, at least I have the juvenile section pretty much down pat. 

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ooh this is a colorful little page!

I though that I too might jump on the bandwagon of blogging since the everyone in my family shamelessly does so! I really don't know what hot topic is eating away at me right now that I can start off with. Britney Spears? Yes, so ADDICTING! But alas, we can just read Perez Hilton for news on that, so I won't bother. The oven Mitt quit his race? And yet the day before he said he was sticking in it until the bitter end. So now we'll see who Utahns vote for, since it's either McCain or Obama or Clinton. Since McCain is a pube, he might win Utah regardless of the fact that he's old and creepy. But wait, why am I even caring who wins in Utah? Do the delegates even care about Utah themselves? (Answer: NO). Did Mitt even care about Utah, the state in which 90% of pubes voted for him? (Answer: NO). So anyways that's about all that is going on in THIS world, and it's pretty much really entertaining.