When you spend a great deal of time writing for a living, there seems to be this point where you don't so much hit a wall, as the wall just flat out falls on top of you, or your muse decides she's bored and roams off with a bottle of scotch and a stack of books and locks herself in the attic. Writing for fun is one thing because often your mind is able to latch onto some sense of direction and keep fairly open to more abstract ideas.
When you're facing a deadline or a confined “theme,” it can get insanely difficult to find that spark to keep rolling. I wish I could go into just how insanely common this is and how frustrating it is. It's something I hear about almost constantly from other writers, from virtually every form of media.
There is something about it I don't think anyone really expected, more when you're allowed to basically write what you want (granted it's within a certain topic, which is alright because you enjoy it). The problem is that eventually you run out of things. You think “tomorrow or next week won't be so bad.” Then next week is just as bad.
So how and the hell do you work around that? It is your job after all, it's not like you can shelf it and take up a new hobby. To be honest, I've learned that the best things sometimes really do pop up by accident when you're not thinking about it.
You may be rambling with a friend about some totally silly topic and right there you find your topic. This seems to be a good guide for many things, just let go now and then, let things come to you. You'll go mad trying to seek them out yourself.
It's a rant I keep wanting to bring up, but one I just let fall to the side. Let it rest and carry on. Yet there comes a point when any one true person must speak up and point things out when things just seem wrong. One of which is when the guides and source book “SUPER ULTIMATE ALL KNOWING GUIDE TO:" comes out regarding Jedi. Of course the fan base feeds into it, and creates an overwhelming cloud of utter confusion and skewed, and exceedingly limited view.
Let's face it: Lightsabers sell. The fact that the prequels, as crappy as they were, did so well was largely because people were there for Lightsabers. The problem with this is playing up the idea that Jedi are all super elite commandos. They are not, but on the same hand, they are not pacifist temple dwellers.
Fighting comes when there is no other option, but they will fight and when they do, they are good at it. Yes Bushido was a big influence in it, but remember Bushido is based on Zen philosophy, a good example of who you should emulate as a Jedi would be the Buddhist monks of the Shaolin region.
That brings up my second major rant point. The philosophies, the concepts the understanding of “what a Jedi is” becomes a mess. This seems to come from the simple fact that so many of these guides and such are being written by the west, for the west. The intimate and deep understanding of the eastern philosophy originally intended gets utterly lost.
I can't say it's entirely the writers' ignorance, though that may be part of it. It may also be very much done intentionally to over simplify things for the fan base. Gotta sell more replica Lightsabers after all, right?
My best advice: the guides are one thing, but to really get the deep understanding, take the plunge and study more of the eastern philosophies, understand the noble truths, eight fold paths, understand suffering (not the western concept of that word) touching on that larger mind and the birthplace of the order itself will go a long way into really gaining a complete insight in to what it really is to be a Jedi.
I remember the comparisons made to Pearl Harbor in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001 well, especially one newspaper headline that placed above a photo of the burning World Trade towers the word “Infamy.” A nod to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous words: “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy …”
At first glance, both events seem one and the same: an unprovoked attack on U.S. soil which caught us badly by surprise. However, I believe both events cannot be more dissimilar upon close examination. What took place on Oahu, Hawaii, on December 7th, 1941, was an act of war committed by one nation against another. What took place on the Eastern Seaboard of the continental United States on September 11th, 2001, was committed by a small band of international thugs bent on mass murder, not war.
While the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps units on Oahu were caught on the jump on December 7th, many if not all possessed the means to fight back, as for example the stirring feat of valor done by John Finn at Kaneohe Naval Air Station in which he manned a machine gun out on the base’s seaplane ramp and fired and fired at the attacking Japanese Zeroes, despite being so badly exposed he suffered numerous flesh wounds.
Not only did Finn survive both the attack and the war, he won the Medal of Honor and lived to the ripe old age of 100. By contrast, only the passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 fought back against the terrorists on September 11th. The other passengers and crew aboard the three other hijacked planes made no attempt to resist, perhaps out of a belief that they were being hijacked for ransom or other demands like in so many other airline hijackings in the past.
Finally, December 7th saw warrior pitted against warrior; September 11th saw murderous thugs against innocents. A more appropriate WWII event that 9/11 could be compared to is, perhaps, the infamous Rape of Nanking. There too, innocents were the target, in this case Chinese civilians and POWs who were murdered by the hundreds by the invading Japanese Army in a destructive orgy that raged for six weeks after the city was captured on December 13th, 1937.
Such a comparison admittedly would rub sensibilities in Japan raw due to decades of denial about Nanking by the Japanese government, but I believe comparing it to 9/11 is a far more apt comparison than Pearl Harbor due to the reasons I have expressed above.
Every now and then, I feel the urge to cut my hair. In the past, I have actually given in to the desire to do so. Unfortunately, the end results are usually not in my favor.
For the past eight years, my hair has always been long. And although I do take pride in my long locks, it can be a pain at times. It tangles easily when I run, and every few days my husband would accidentally pull on my hair while tossing and turning in bed.
Girls with short hair have it so easy. They can just roll out of bed, run their fingers through their hair, and they are set to go for the day. When they go running, they don’t need to worry about their hair bouncing all over the place. Basically, they never have to worry about their hair.
Girls with the right face and facial features can look absolutely stunning with short hair. I, on the other hand, look quite childlike with any haircut that is above the shoulders. Plus my face tends to look a bit on the chubby side whenever my hair is at a shorter length.
That and the fact that short hair makes my nose look too big are the reasons for why I have not dared to cut my hair short within the last eight years of my life. Even so, I still get extremely tempted to go at it with a pair of scissors during the hot summer months.
While traveling through North Central Kansas, I noticed and then became mesmerized by fence posts carved out of rock. Mile after mile of these posts with barbed wire strung around them effectively kept cattle in the pasture.
I pulled to the side of the road, got out of the car, crossed the bar ditch and got up close to the fence posts. I couldn’t help but wonder at the first pioneers on the prairie who, faced with survival on a daily basis, were able to carve fence posts from stone.
The prairie was endless miles of grassland when riding on a horse instead of a pick-up truck. There was simply nothing else from which to fashion fence posts. The farmers found limestone deposits protruding from embankments where erosion had exposed them.
The limestone that was buried was softer and easier to form than limestone exposed to the elements for a while. Even so, hammering and chiseling out these fence posts, up to six feet in length, was back-breaking work.
Then it was necessary to load the heavy fence post into a wagon, transport them and then maneuver them into the ground. After the limestone had weathered and it hardened it stood up to wear and tear, weather and age astonishingly well. Many posts are still in the original holes dug by pioneer farmers and ranchers.
I returned to my car and as I left Kansas behind at 75 mph, seated in my comfortable padded captain’s chair, I adjusted the air conditioning and settled back for a smooth ride. I am afraid I know the answer to the unasked question—could I have survived on the Kansas plains?
Last night while texting my sister about a movie we’re going to go see today, I told her, “I have browwwwnieeeees if you want to bring one with!” I knew she’d say yes; like many people in their twenties and, let’s face it, any age, she’s a chocolate fiend. But that leads to the question—how comfortable are you with breaking rules, and which rules are okay to break?
I always think that sneaking in treats to the theater is an okay rule to break once in a while—if you’re broke, for example, and can’t afford $5 jujubes—but I think it’s more important to buy treats than tickets, since that’s where the theater makes most of its money. I’d rather sneak into another movie showing—which I’ve still never done!—than sneak in treats on a regular basis.
What rules are you willing to break in your life? Do you skip the no cell phones in the hospital room, run red lights (we have cameras where we live so you can’t do that) if no one is around, or even enforce rules at home that you break, such as no swearing? Discuss your rule breaking and defend why you do it here.
My daughter and I love to use straws in just about anything. Whether it’s craft making (cut up straws into strips and thread them as a necklace!), sculptures (she made me a horse sculpture to represent Artax from The Neverending Story last night), or science projects, we always need straws in our house.
We use straws as rockets to race in two ways: as launchers and as rocket bodies. Here’s how you do both.
Launchers: This is the easiest one to do. Many of you might remember it simply as “spitballs” from middle school! Roll up a small ball and use your straws to blow it as far as you can. You can alternate by using the ball inside the actual straw or simply on your palm (or elbow, etc. to make it more challenging), use a wet or dry ball, whatever you like. The limit is only your imagination! We tried this with squinkies, too, but it didn’t work so well.
Balloon rockets: Cut a small piece of your straw off—maybe a one-inch piece or so—and blow up a balloon without tying it (just hold it still while inflated). Tape your straw to your balloon, then threat some string through it. Tape one end of the string up high—a doorway works well—then step back and make the string taught. Release your balloon and see how fast it goes! Race your whole family with different strings or just by taking turns.