The Challenge With Chastity

independentgirlism

In our house, we have no real tv. As a result, my kids have taken to watching various YouTube channels. Some are silly, like FailArmy. Some are annoying, like all the Minecraft reaction channels. Some are mildly amusing, like iisuperwomanii.

Now I personally prefer binge watching 9 seasons of Supernatural on Netflix inside of two weeks, but that is often thwarted by the YouTube stuff. Recently, my eldest daughter was going through the superwoman channel and landed on a video where the host, Lilly Singh, answered questions from fans.*

I normally cringe at this stuff because the questions tend to be sexual in nature, or just wholly inappropriate for my 12 year old to hear. However, I have to give credit to Ms. Singh for 1) choosing questions that were both funny and appropriate, and 2) answering them honestly.

One of the questions was truly intriguing. Ms. Singh was asked…

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Your Logic is Flawed

Full Frontal Nerdery

All I see on Facebook lately is “Colorado was STOLEN!” “Cruz is an establishment sellout!” and the further I investigate these claims, the more I facepalm.

I know I’m not convincing anyone of anything here, so I’m merely going to point out why your logic is flawed if you believe these things. I understand you all have your preferred sites that deliver news in exactly the tone you wish to hear, so I’m under no illusions that my post will shake the foundations of your beliefs. This is simply cathartic for me.

First, let’s start with your news sources, shall we? I keep hearing how The Media is evil and in the tank for The Democrats or The Establishment Republicans (it changes depending on who is critical of The Angry Cheeto – which reminds me of the evil Cheese Curls in Veggie Tales, right down to the lips). I see a…

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This One’s for my Homies

As you well know if you follow this blog, I’ve been inactive for a few months. I hit a major rut and lost my inspiration. I don’t know why I felt so completely incapable of putting together a reasonably coherent post; perhaps a perfect storm of ADD, doubt, and self-criticism kept me literarily mute. (Yes, I just made that word up.) I was overwhelmed by the amount of news assaulting my mind and demanding my notice. I couldn’t focus enough on anything else to bother with an attempt.
Truth be told, I had plenty to say. I didn’t crawl into a hole and stop observing the world, but I’d gotten comfortable with pithy responses and began to doubt I could formulate a more well-thought out response than would fill a sentence or two. I would create a draft, do a bit of research, and then tell myself that this was all old news anyway and no one would care anymore.
That’s why, when prompted by friends and followers, I decided to grit my teeth and get back up on the blog-horse (to amalgamate some metaphors) and just break through the writer’s block by force of will.
I have no illusions that this will result in any devastatingly spectacular prose. For now it is enough to simply string words together and form sentences that result in a conclusive idea.
I know that the people who have encouraged me to return to this form of media and expression aren’t demanding Pulitzer-prize winning posts from me… yet, anyway. They simply missed, for some reason known only to themselves, my views on life, politics, spirituality, or any of the other topics that I sometimes opine on. Their encouragement is why I’m back in the writer’s chair (or bed, as it were).
So to those dear folk; the friends, followers, and fellow writers; thank you.
Thank you for nudging and prodding me back into using the written word to share my thoughts and experiences. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for believing me capable of this when I doubted myself.
This one’s for you, my homies. I pour out these words on the fertile ground of the internet. Peace. 😉

Nice Deb

 Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital delivered what is being described as one of the more unique speechesdelivered at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast. Rush Limbaugh raved about it on his show, today, because the good doctor took the opportunity to share his theories about the national debt, deficits, taxation and health care, all in opposition to  Obama’s policies.

(Updated with better video via Freedom’s Lighthouse)

The Blaze reported:

His keynote, while predicated upon the theme of Jesus Christ as his ultimate role model, also took a starkly political tone, advocating against some of the very policies the president has implemented.

At the beginning of his speech, Carson shared an intense disdain for political correctness. Without getting too specific on the issue front, he said that Americans should stop being afraid to speak up and defend their beliefs; he also encouraged people…

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Topic grab bag: Random blogging

I’ve noticed that I have left my blog unchecked for 20 days now. For everyone who’s still with me.. thanks. Also, sorry.

I have been pondering some weighty issues and trying to decide if, why, and how I should write about them. I finally determined to go ahead with the topics, but with less detail than I had intended originally. The topics could cause pain to some of my family, so it’s best to proceed with caution.

For now, though, I will not be writing about weighty issues. Sitting here full of pizza, cold medicine, and a little whiskey, I’d be lucky to make sense of the insignificant. To be honest I’m tempted to ask the internet for a topic and just write off the cuff about random things.

What could go wrong?

Here goes…

A quick look at Facebook reveals that the 2nd Amendment is the first line of defense, and also that 1 million likes man has won the dubious honor of  “Beta of the Decade.” I wonder if his wife owns a gun? I doubt he’d know what to do with one.

Twitter has disappointed me this evening. One question only.. “why are puppies so adorbz? (and delicious)” Umm… you’d have to ask the president about the deliciousness of puppies. I think puppies are adorable because they’re so awkward and fluffy.

But wait! More twitter questions…

“Why did the apocalypse not get any press?” Probably because we’re all still alive, there aren’t any zombies, and no aliens were involved.

And tonight’s winning question…

*Drumroll*

“Why do we never hear from Obama’s jr. high, high school, or college classmates?”

That’s a good question. I’d like to see Katie Couric interview the Choom Gang myself. I’m especially interested in what they read. It’s strange that we know so little about the past of our current president. I suppose it’s helpful if you have the authority to seal your records and preside over the FBI and CIA. I mean, I’m not saying anybody from his past would meet with any accidents or whatever, but if this were Hollywood, anyone who could cast The Chosen in a bad light would meet with doom. Not that he’s a Hollywood president. Just speaking theoretically, of course.

Well, that’s all for tonight. Thanks for playing Random Blogging with Coffeebreak! See you next week…. if you want to play again. Let me know in the comments!

A Hobbit Review

I just saw The Hobbit earlier tonight, and as a huge Tolkien nerd I feel it is my duty to give an honest review of the movie. Fair warning: this post will be chock full of spoilers!

I’ll start by saying that I LOVED the movie. The first thing I did when I got home was to read the critical reviews of the movie to see if anyone else noticed the same departures from the book as I did and also to temper my enthusiasm.

I still love the movie. You should see it if you haven’t already.

I’ll start by saying that I like how the back story is introduced. Tolkien fans will appreciate the references to the Sackville-Bagginses (and silverware) and the Red Book of Westmarch. I like that we see Bilbo setting his affairs in order on the day of his birthday party by leaving his account of the finding of the ring for Frodo and how his preoccupation with the ring affects his thoughts, which Frodo notices. At first I was afraid the movie would get bogged down in this introduction, but as Bilbo writes the story of how Smaug destroyed the region around Dale it keeps you from feeling as if the movie has slowed down by balancing Bilbo’s narration with exciting visual scenes. The meeting between Bilbo and Gandalf is word for word from the book, much to the joy of a true Hobbit fan, and the introduction of the dwarves is fun and accurate without being silly. I was glad that there wasn’t a lot of focus on the colorful hoods and cloaks, but rather on Bilbo’s discomfort with having an onslaught of unexpected company (during a meal no less!). The scene with the dishes being tossed around is great, as it is fun to watch and loyal to the book. I was also pleased with the reference to Bilbo leaving his pocket-handkerchief behind, as it is one of those details from the book that a true fan would notice and reinforces the truth that Bilbo is not adventuring material. I know (because I read) that some critics dislike this portrayal of Bilbo because it ignores his Tookish nature, but without a lot of Hobbit genealogy you can’t really get a feel for the peculiarity of the Tooks and showing Bilbo as a fully developed character early on would simply make him seem bipolar. He is a respectable Hobbit, who sometimes feels as if he’d like to have an adventure, but who has accepted that Hobbits don’t have adventures. He’s forced into this adventure by Gandalf, and if you ignore their dialogue early on I suppose you could make a case for Bilbo’s Tookish side being blithely ignored, but you’d still be wrong. To be true to the book, and to move the story along and leave room for character development cinematically speaking, Bilbo must be shown as doing something rather impulsive which leaves him feeling uncomfortable. Bemoaning the loss of pocket-handkerchiefs is effective in that it shows how Bilbo has become rather soft and comfortable in his little hole.

The company begins to face danger as soon as they set out on their quest. The first conflict is of course with the trolls. There is a slight departure from the book in that the dwarves attack all at once, and Bilbo is the one to play for time as the sun rises. If you feel affronted at these departures then you have taken literary purity too far. I like that Bilbo gets to show a bit of wit playing for time by having the trolls argue over the best way to cook dwarves. Gandalf of course comes in and exposes the trolls to the sunlight by breaking the rock with his staff, thereby letting the sun’s rays shine through. It’s close enough to the book without wasting time on dialogue shenanigans and it gives Bilbo a chance to find his footing in the group. The next danger they face is completely fabricated for the movie. In the book there were no Warg-riding Orcs hunting the group, but I can understand why this plot point would be brought into the movie; not only does it bring in Thorin’s back story of his battle with the Orcs of Moria, but it sets some of the groundwork for the Battle of the Five Armies to come later. It also conveniently brings the group to Rivendell where they get their map’s hidden runes exposed and translated. Some critics dislike everything about this time in Imladris, but it deals effectively with some fine plot points that no one outside of die-hard Middle Earth fans would know or understand. First of all, it shows Thorin’s pride and distrust as weaknesses of character in an otherwise strong leader. Second, it briefly shows the meeting of the White Council. The White Council met to discuss the rise of the Necromancer in Mirkwood, and it is at this meeting that Saruman counseled delay while Gandalf believed the evil needed to be confronted and banished. This is important in that it shows the very beginning of Saruman’s double-dealing. He knew the danger, but he had begun his own search for the ring and did not wish for anyone else to know of it. I speak as a book nerd of course, not all of this information is spelled out plainly in the movie. Rather, the company of dwarves use the meeting of the White Council to sneak away while those who would stop them are distracted and you get a sense that Gandalf knows what’s what and Saruman either does not or is a pacifist. (As a true fan, I’m glad the White Council is introduced to the storyline since it is crucial in the tale of the ring.)

The next danger the company will face is from the mountain-giants. I was surprised to see these creatures featured in the movie, as they aren’t hugely relevant to the story. The threat they pose to the group is overdone and exaggerated, and if I had one complaint it would be that these creatures take up time that would have been better spent on some other plot point. (Having said that, they are in the book and should tickle your purist funny-bone.) The mountain-giants effectively run the dwarves into a cave, where they camp for the night. In the book, a secret door opens to a passage where Orcs enter and kidnap the group, but in the movie the floor opens up, dumping the company into a sort of trap. What follows is a departure from the book, but also provides one of the best fight sequences you’ll see in a movie. Dwarves, young and old, kick serious Orc butt. (Gandalf rejoins the group at this time.) This is also where Bilbo gets separated from the group and ends up in Gollum’s cave. I know some people angrily nit-pick exactly how Bilbo ends up with Gollum, but I can see why Jackson would hurry that particular sequence along. While it may be fun to read about a Hobbit stumbling through the dark for hours, it isn’t exactly movie magic. Movie-goers would rather watch Bilbo fall down a slope after an Orc attack and then see Gollum kill the Orc with a rock. It also shows how the Ring ‘leaves’ Gollum at this time. (Keep in mind that the ring has gotten all the use out of Gollum that it can and now its desire is to be active in the world again!) This is where some critics go hog-wild with venting their ire. The scene is not exactly as it is first shown in LOTR. To those critics I’d have to say, “Watch the beginning of The Hobbit again, then read the books!” Bilbo didn’t tell the tale completely or truthfully of how he came by the ring! He only revealed the truth to Gandalf after much time and questioning and to Frodo in his written account in the Red Book of Westmarch. To depart from a previous version at this time makes perfect sense!

The next sequence of events also departs from the book and sets some purists’ teeth on edge. As the company escapes the Orcs of the mountain, they fall into the hands of the Warg-riding Orcs. Again, this is understandable as a plot device. In the book, the group actually gets chased into the trees by a pack of Wargs, and the Wargs wait for nightfall when the Orcs will leave the mountain and pursue the group. Orcs shun the daylight, and it weakens them, but after a defeat they’d be hungry for revenge. It makes sense to use this devised group of Warg-riding Orcs with a personal vendetta against Thorin to speed the story along, although it ends with a short fight scene that I can only guess is used to reconcile Bilbo to the dwarves so as to end the first movie on a note of solidarity within the company. Lots of critics see it as an unnecessary departure into the cliché, and while I agree that it isn’t relevant to the story, it is necessary to bring some cohesion to the group at this time. As a matter of fact, if I had any complaint about this sequence of events, I’d say the Eagles got short-changed. Again. Those noble birds are forever being treated as nothing more than Middle Earth transportation!

Some random things I noticed that I felt were a bit lazy: Gandalf scares people with his room-darkening trick again, the Orc battle is oddly like the battle in Moria with all the collapsing structure, and Gandalf asks a moth to send the Eagles. Other things will be familiar, namely scenes (Weathertop) and musical themes. It makes Middle Earth feel familiar, like an old friend, but in my opinion plays a little too much to the crowd that wants to relive LOTR instead of revisit Middle Earth. It’s small criticism of an over all exceptionally well-done adaptation, though.

The one thing that I haven’t decided how to react to yet is Radagast. When I read all the books, I imagined Radagast as a quiet, solitary wizard. Gentle, perhaps. In this movie he’s an eccentric, nervous, and almost motherly wizard whose primary purpose is to care for animals. That’s not to say that this portrayal is inaccurate. Radagast was known to have a rapport with animals and spoke to them. He even sent them on missions for the Council. What I find difficult to embrace about this character is that he allowed birds to cake one side of his head in poo and he rode a sleigh pulled by bunnies. Watching his Rosgobel Rabbits outrun the Wargs was pretty funny, but seriously if you were a wizard that talked to animals wouldn’t you ask the birds to kindly not crap on your head?? I would.

So anyhow… that’s what I thought of The Hobbit. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

Viva la Resolution!

Well, it’s that time again, folks…

New Year! 2013 edition

That means for the next couple of months your friends are going to be annoying you with constant updates as to the progress of their good intentions Resolutions. Social media will be all astir with…

Pictures of  ‘diet’ food as evidence that I did TOO have a salad for lunch! See?!

happy-woman-eating-saladYum! Eating rabbit food makes me deliriously happy!

Statuses and check-ins from various gyms

I’m feeling the burn, man!! I’m COMMITTED! …by contract. Crap.

And the weekly weigh-in!

Losing-Weight-Girl

I lost 3 pounds this week! Woot!” 

Can you tell how excited I am? I’m positively radiating excitement am I not?

It’s not that I’m not happy when my friends decide to pursue a healthy lifestyle. I’m delighted for them when they feel good about themselves. The thing is, these resolutions flood my social media with constant updates of overly ambitious goals.

I simply don’t understand it… You’ll spend tonight eating and drinking decadently only to spend tomorrow nibbling greens and sipping lemon water… and you’ll pretend to like it. Why?!

Oh, that’s right. It’s all about getting a head start on ‘swimsuit season.’ How silly of me. I thought you were interested in a healthy LIFESTYLE. My bad.

That actually makes sense, though, seeing as how the annoying updates will trickle to almost nothing by March and then there will be an upsurge of exercise and tanning statuses around May… only to be followed by an almost reverent treatment of ‘holiday food’ come fall.

“Just keep eating the spring greens until summer, I can do this, it’s all about the beach. Focus, Janie, FOCUS!”

It’s insane to spend the first half of the year starving yourself and the second half of the year stuffing yourself.

You may wonder who I am to take such a superior view of dieting and blog down to you about it…

I’m a woman. I’ve lived most of my life with body image issues because society bombards me with ads and campaigns designed to make me want to be something other than what I am. Before I was ever called ‘fat’ I was called ‘scrawny.’ It doesn’t seem to matter what size I am, to someone it’s the wrong size. I know that other women deal with body image issues as well because they talk about it. Constantly. 

Enough already!

You aren’t going to be perfect because there is no standard of perfection. 

So stop jumping on the crash diet bandwagon every time the annual counter ticks off another year gone by. Enjoy food. Enjoy food! Try new things, add more fruit and vegetables to your diet, eat pie and ice cream, and just enjoy food. Then go exercise! Exercise makes you feel good. You’ll be happier. You won’t be happier if you pull a muscle and pass out because you’re trying to overdo it, so don’t do that. Go for a walk. Learn how to golf. Play ball. Stop treating food and exercise like tasks or vices and just accept that it’s part of life.

It’s always good to want to improve yourself, but the best improvements are the kind that last. Don’t stress over dropping 20lbs in 3 months, just decide what you can do this week, today, to move you closer to that goal.

Diet is what you eat. Lifestyle is how you live. Those aren’t bandwagon concepts, but realities, so quit obsessing and just live.