Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Even Get Me Started.

I am summarizing an article. The first line I have written thus far:
The article... lays out the debate between those pushing intelligent design and those defending real science evolution.
As this should be written with as little slant as possible, it's taking a bit of restraint. Thankfully the author has taken care of the problem by agreeing with my position. Speaking of which-

This past week, there have been a number of sign-toting religious zealots swarming the central campus square. They're not nice things like "I love my religion because of _____." They're more like "God is the Answer to Everything, and if you don't agree with me, you are going to Rot and Burn in Hell", "except worded about ten times nastier. They keep insinuating that anyone who disagrees is a Sinner of Cosmic Proportions, that Your Soul is Going to Wither and Die, that You Are Unworthy to Live, and that You Will be Begging for Mercy (muahaha).

Good thing I don't believe in hell.

(They were so serious, it was almost funny. I tried to get pictures several times, just so I could blog about them, but alas. No pictures.)

Now don't get me wrong. I don't have a problem with people believing in their own religions. The problem arises when people try to guilt-press their beliefs onto others. And further worse is when they believe you are A Lower Creature who deserves to be condemned or even pitied, for goodness' sake, because You're Not Like Us.

You know that little "Coexist" symbol/logo/thing that's printed on bumper stickers and t-shirts and just about everything else? Because it's got the right idea.

Honestly. What happened to diversity? Tolerance? Acceptance? Religious supremacy is not okay. Believe what you want, but don't use your faith to judge others.

This topic drives my blood pressure through the roof every time, without fail. But it's okay, I won't bite (unless provoked). Feel free to respond, but kindly restrain from flaming. Thanks for listening, in any case.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Skywatch No. 25

Taipei, Taiwan nightscape. Technically, the roof I climbed onto for this was off-limits. There would have been a higher vantage point, but I wasn't about to climb up a ladder with a SLR swinging around my neck. Or one-handedly, clutching a camera in the other.

Well. I'll get back to you when I'm done paper-writing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Guess Children are Not Evil After All

I realize I haven't had much of an online presence recently, but that's probably because I've been hibernating in my room and not doing anything when I haven't had to.

To compensate, I'll regale you instead with another snippet from Taiwan. As you know, it was a volunteering program in which we taught elementary children English for a couple weeks. This is a portion of my evaluation we were asked to write:
The first few days of classes were chaotic. The students backtalked, made cutting remarks, ignored everything, rebelled. I must admit I was taken aback with the ferocity in their refusals. We spent nights revising our teaching materials and days attempting to keep order. During the afternoon period allotted for students to nap, they swarmed outside to play and we collapsed in the classrooms in exhaustion, only to be woken when they returned.
It was not pretty, but things changed.
Over the course of the two weeks, the students grew to respect us and we them. It had been a no small feat, securing that respect. But once that mutual respect had been established, we found that most of them could be interested, willing to learn. We began to find them endearing.
One day, a few of our students dragged us out to see their meadow.

They showed the patch of cacti (prickly pear? no idea.), then taught us how to harvest the fruit, grind down the spines, and eat them.

There will be more from Taiwan another time. (Unless, of course, you'd rather I write about something else. In that case, let me know. No offense taken.)

That's it this week from an overwhelmed student. Until next time...

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I know, I know, I haven't been updating, but it's been a hectic and trying time, this past month. I'm still not sure where all the time went. But it should be good now; I've just settled down at school and am waiting for it to start. It won't be quiet, but at least I'll have something purposeful to do.

So earlier this week, I biked past the cornfield just down the road from our home. They're putting in a new road there, and have started cutting a dirt path through the overgrown meadow next to it.

I wanted to experiment with the lighting, and so conditions that day were rather nicely suited- sunlight, and hovering sometime between late afternoon and early evening. Clear, strong light and angular shadows. Backlight with the sun, power up the flash (something I usually abhor), and suddenly, there's crisply captured action, adequate lighting, and the absence of the hideousness associated with flash. Well. This'll be happening more in the future.