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What’s the meaning of the New Year?

I’ve started this blog post several times. I don’t really understand what keeps stopping me from writing this post. I suppose it’s just my own personal indecisiveness. By making concrete New Year’s resolutions, I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure. I’m afraid of failing myself, through not upholding my resolutions.

So I’ve come up with a compromise for myself. I’ll just create some general guidelines for myself. That way I can’t really fail per se, just not do as well as I had hoped. Alright, let’s go:

1. I want to do a lot of work this year on my garden. I’m preparing a compost pile, hopefully one that will yield some nice compost pretty soon. I’m also planning to start up an herb and vegetable garden this spring. I’m going to get some mint, some rosemary, some sage, maybe some thyme. Then I’d really really like to get some big ol’ squash going. Maybe a few cucumbers as well. Yum!

2. I’m going to take and do well on the English Language, US History and German AP tests.

3. I’m going to take and do well on the SAT.

4. This year is going to be about being healthy. I want to exercise more. I want to focus more on nutrition.

5. I quit eating meat nearly a year ago. I want to make this year about cooking and making being veg fabulous.

6. Read more. More of everything, primarily more fiction. This past year, I sacrificed much of my reading for school and for non-fiction, but I want to widen my knowledge of literature, as well as sharpen my literary mind.

7. MOAR BOAS.

Characters that change you

My theater department just finished its latest show, Night of the Living Dead. It was a fun show – not incredibly deep, but scary and a lot of fun. So I find it interesting how much my character has influenced me as an actor, and even as a person. I played the police chief, which in itself isn’t incredibly important, but what is important is how the show as a whole has changed me.

The first thing about my character is that he really represents my antithesis. He’s an old, power hungry, NRA-touting cop. He’s basically the comic relief of the show, which was difficult for me in so many ways. I mean, first off, I have a lot of trouble playing comedy, just because it’s difficult for me not to break character. And ya know, there are various levels of character that you can get into, and this one required me to crawl deep down into a shell of a character, so breaking would obviously be very clear. And bad. 😛

More important than my character was my role as a hole. The show is about zombies and is rife with fear – I’ve learned that the most important thing to scaring your audience is feeling and embracing the fear yourself. For me, this was incredibly difficult. I’ve had a few experiences in my childhood that – long story short – left me jumpy and nervous pretty much constantly. Fear is an emotion that I’ve struggled with to no end for much of my life, it’s right up there with anger. I suppose I’m just such a passionate person that I have trouble finding a controllable level of emotion. And fear is a biggun. To be a part of this show, it was incredibly difficult for me to straddle the line between fear and terror. Ya know, between just being scared (or even really scared) and that disgusting animal terror.

Opening night was a big deal. I was actually terrified by my fellow actors. I had been trying to be afraid as my character, and respond to the fear as my character, but there was just absolutely nothing I could do to not let the fear get to me. So I let it come. I embraced the primal terror, that throwback to the time when we were little animals scurry around underfoot of the dinosaurs.

And, much to my surprise, it ebbed. I really honestly couldn’t believe it. All my life, I’ve fought fear and fear as fought back. But once I let fear in, it didn’t stay, it released me. I don’t feel like I’m being controlled by fear any longer.

You know what? Fear? I’m not your bitch any longer.

Capitalism is alcoholism, hide the liquor

An adult that I have a lot of respect for has been helping me develop my political opinions, albeit in a bit of a backward way. She’s a capitalist and, while I disagree with her, I definitely still hold her in high esteem. We were talking about capitalism, and she shut me up with the comment that “capitalism is like alcoholism. We have to realize that we’re sick, then just hide the liquor.” I didn’t have much of a come-back for it, but it did give me a lot of insight into capitalist politics. I’ve had a week to think about it though, and I’ve given it a lot of thought.

Capitalism is indeed like alcoholism, but rather than accept it and avoid the liquor, I think that one should attempt to move away from it. If I were an alcoholic, I would avoid places like bars and wine-tastings, realizing how dangerous they could be for me. Similarly with capitalism, if I realize that it is a disease, why continue playing along? I’d much rather be proactive, and do my best to eliminate it. I do recognize and understand that a communism would not be any kind of Utopia (Engels had a great critique of Utopian socialism, I’d definitely recommend it for a read!) however, it would be a better alternative to the current capitalist system.

This, ramblingly, brings me to another criticism of socialism, which is that it breeds laziness. My first thought on it is that a Jamestown, John Smith method to work would be very beneficial, essentially, if you don’t work, you don’t eat. But I do realize that this opens the door for atrocities, like Social Darwinism. I definitely think that this should be altered to say something like “To each according to his need, from each according to his ability” then “he who doesn’t contribute to his ability, shall not eat.” Although it’s definitely not as pretty as the John Smith version, it definitely sets me more at ease. I also think that, again, a paradigm shift would be incredibly necessary. Work isn’t something that we have to begrudgingly do, rather, it should be something that, even if we don’t particularly like it, we understand that it provides for a cohesive society.

Now, I do acknowledge that some people can be lazy, even realizing this. And I think that, in a communism, we would definitely see these people take advantage of the system. As I said, a communism would in no way be Utopia. But, I think that it’s important to realize, in this case, this is one of the evils that we must just take in stride. I strongly believe that a communism would be vastly more productive, cohesive and effective than the current capitalist system.

Effective though, I do use it a bit loosely. I follow Marx’s, in that I believe that the quality and effectiveness of a society can be judged by that of it’s weakest or lowest members. It is this way that I feel a communism would be effective. I do realize that a large reason that technology and whatnot have advanced so quickly, is because of capitalism. Capitalism encourages people to work quickly and effectively, however, the only members of society to reap  the benefits are the upper class, it takes much longer to trickle down to the lower classes, and the disadvantaged. In a communism, things would obviously not progress as quickly, but I think this is a worthy compromise to lessen class stratification and bring benefits to all of society, not just a select elite few.

That last point there brings me to my critique of individualism and my promotion of humanism, however, I’ve decided that I’m going to break it up into two blog posts. This is getting a bit long, and, believe me, I know that denizens of the internet don’t have the attention span. Until next time, I think I’ll leave you with a cheesy ‘fight on comrades!’

Fun links I’ve recently found

So, being bored during the summer, I’ve done my share of web surfing. Needless to say, this surfing just finds me stupid nerdy things for the most point, but the things I find that make me giggle make me want to share them :

The first spiffy thing that got my interest, I was reading about ebooks. You know, I really detest ebooks (I’m planning a blog to explain about why I do indeed, but that’s neither here nor there), one of the big reasons is because they just feel so artificial. You don’t get that wonderful book smell. I stumbled upon a Gizmodo link here, which explains that an ebook company is going to give out scratch and sniff stickers that smell like books with every ebook they sell. I’m really not into the smell of brand new books, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the smell of fresh paper and glue, but what I reaaally love is the smell of moldy used books. This website addresses that, it has smells such as “Classic Musty,” “Eau you have cats,” “New book smell” and even “Crunchy bacon” (which it warns isn’t kosher or vegan friendly, keeping that in mind!) I still hate ebooks, but I’d kind of like to try some of these and spray them on my bookshelves! 😀