Tuesday, May 27, 2008

For Those of You Haven't Heard

For those of you who haven't heard
"I'm not Christian," those are dirty words
Why don't we shut up? Why do we cry out?
What really is it we're crying about?
You know, I've been thinking and have come to the conclusion that America isn't so different from the various demockcracies (intentional misspelling) in the Middle East. Let me present a hypothetical situation - say Iraq is one of the most advanced countries in the world instead of the US, the the US is just a minuscule little thorn in the side of this superpower. Now, say Iraq decides to invade and completely redefine our government "for our own good." If we had a dictator in power, sure thing, come on in, but get the hell out once you get him/her out of power. Assume that, like the US, Iraq decides to mill around in our country, mess with our values, and turn us into mini-Iraq. We have every right to be indignant, yes?

This is why I wouldn't put it past Bush (or McCain, for that matter) to start their very own Holy War. They don't seem capable of thinking things through. If Iraq wants to be a third world cow pen, leave them alone and give them a slap in the face whenever they try to impose their rules on us. However, we have no right to slap them in the face when we are imposing so much on them. That's why I think stopping the violence is a moot point as long as we're doing the same thing to them. If we want to end this war and everything that it's caused, we need to step back, take a few deep breaths, and talk. To hell with not negotiating with terrorists - talking does not necessarily mean negotiating. All we have to do is sit down and say "You stay out of our business and we'll stay out of yours as long as your people are content in how they are living."

It is not some holier than thou country's business to impose a new kind of government on a country that obviously doesn't understand or want that kind of government. Let's step back and let them blow each other up - we don't need to get in the middle of it. Hell, let them wipe each other off the map. The international community will thank you for it. I give no sympathy to a militant religion that created its own problems.
Why, hello there God!
Your definition is rather broad
Your as jealous as a child
And your son isn't mild
Indeed, you're more fit for a fraud

You've made your point
I'm stuck in Hell Joint
While I'm burning
You're learning
What it's like when followers disappoint

They're hypocrites, the lot of them
From them so called "goodness" stems
But hear your son revel
He's upstairs with the devil
Yes, indeed, this is a problem.
-Com, who likes being sarcastic and biting.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Seem to Have Returned

Well, I've been having tons of fun this last week up in Santa Fe! Just got back home around 7 (Mountain Time) and had dinner. I have much to discuss.

Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico, in the middle of the high desert. That means it has both trees and cacti - whereas El Paso, where I live, has....cacti and sand. It's also basically the oldest city in the United States. Now, I know what you're thinking - wouldn't that be back east with all the colonies and what not? No, my dear friends, the Spanish and Native Americans were here ages before the English.

You see, around here, old doesn't mean colonial old. Old means 2000 year old Cliff Dwellings in southern Colorado and 3000 year old Mayan temples down in central America. As it turns out, Santa Fe has one of the oldest stucco houses in the US - there were people originally on the land even back in 1200 AD. Now it's a little adobe house with tiny doors, which is right next to the oldest church in the US, San Miguel, built in 1610. Despite being an atheist/anarchist/sinful wrongdoer, I love old churches. We have 3 just a little bit newer (late 1600s, early 1700s) here in El Paso. Santa Fe has them all over the place, including a gorgeous Gothic chapel called Loretto and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi (animal dude). The Cathedral is the largest of them all, and our hotel was about 50 feet down the road from it - you can imagine the commotion the bell caused every hour!

I hate new churches, but the older ones are very restful places - they're one of the few places you can go these days in a city and be guaranteed peace and quiet. I'd like to think that one day all churches will be seldom-used antiquated pieces of art (at least the nice ones. Tear down the awful ones made in whatever building they could find).

Moving on, we were in Santa Fe for two reasons: My father had a conference on Non-Linear optics and had to do some research at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum of Art.

A vastly simplified and probably somewhat inaccurate explanation of non-linear optics: basically using light and fiber optics in the place of electricity and cables.

As for the art museum: My father, a chemist, is working on a project which allows you to protect great works of art from being damaged by light by taking out the frequencies you don't need. You see, light fades artwork eventually, and by taking out unneeded colors in white light you can give that work a much longer life expectancy.

At the non-linear optics conference, we met with some of my dad's old friends, including the guy who, mark my words, is going to cure cancer. They haven't been able to do human trials yet - they'll be using dogs soon - but he predicts that he'll be able to cure something like lung cancer in an out-patient procedure that lasts six days and has none of the side effects that chemotherapy and radiation do. Seriously awesome stuff.

At the Georgia O'Keeffe thing, we heard a lecture on Georgia O'Keeffe (great southwest painter), Ansel Adams (black and white photographer and one of my inspirations for my own occasional venture into photography) and various other artists. Ansel Adams' son was actually there, which was pretty awesome. It was very posh - artists remind me of myself a little too much for comfort. We're intellectual, aloof, and usually a bit egotistic.

On a side trip, we also visited the New Mexico Museum of Art, the New Mexico Capital Building (which is minimalist yet gorgeous), and The Palace of the Governors, the old capital building on the plaza (square). They all had tons of nice art, and the Palace of the Governors had these huge old tapestries that depicted battles with the Native Americans. It also had some great stuff from central American tribes (Aztec, Maya, etc.).

All the buildings, ALL of them, are adobe, and there are actually rules against towering skyscrapers. Everything is low to the ground and lets you look around and see everything there is to see. The town has lots of character - Native Americans beating on drums in the plaza, playing guitars, hell, I even saw a guy on an accordion. The culture is lovely.

And, to tie this into what the blog is actually about, I saw TONS of humanist/atheist/tolerance bumper stickers. More than I'd ever seen in one place. All the places sell crosses and crap, but the city is actually very liberal despite its small town homey face. It reminds me a lot of a European style city. If you ever get the chance, I definitely recommend visiting.
Lingering among the waves
In froths of white sea foam
The sat a form along the rocks
Restless in its exile

The ocean churns beneath its feet
Longing for the cliffs
Where whitewashed rocks of ivory
Are slowly carved smooth

The seabirds call in quieting
As the storm rolls in
Shadows cast over the hills
Which shiver in the din

For which answer does he stoop to find
And risk the tremulous seas?
Where sharks prowl and water
Swallows all that you might see?
-Com, tired but wired

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Vacation and A Little Fun

Elles is Splendid, this I know
Because her blog told me so
She rants and raves
Darwin roles in his grave
She bites with words like Van Gogh.

Elles is Splendid, this I know
For Dawkins himself did tell us so
She's got a vendetta
Against societa
And flattens ignunts like soft dough.

Elles is Splendid, this I know
She disregards the status quo
She's got a way
To make you stay
So don't waste your time, just go!

What? You thought I only wrote depressing end-of-the-world poetry?

Anyway, I'm going to be gone on vacation until [I think] next Saturday. Going up to Santa Fe, so hopefully I'll come back with pictures and good tidings. Though I live in Texas, I'm more of a New Mexican - almost everything we do is in New Mexico. West Texas is insanely far from anything to do in Texas, so one must improvise. We go to the New Mexico state fair, hear a lot from the University of New Mexico, and all the damn bands only come to Albuquerque, despite Albuquerque being smaller than El Paso.

Hell, West Texans don't even have much of an accent, a fact which I'm very thankful for - I can actually go to different parts of the US and not sound like a brainless hick. Though I can pull of foreign accents pretty well - that might just be my (VERY) mixed heritage.

No snippets today. Elles gets the spotlight.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Fire! Destruction! Chaos! ....Mormons?

The Library of Alexandria
Fell to fire
Millennia ago.
The Library of Congress
Joined it in the grave that night.
I love orchestral music. It's probably why I also love symphonic rock so much. I'm fairly proficient at the violin, played in an Orchestra for three years, so I like to be taken back to that feeling of being a part of something as huge as a hundred musicians shredding the strings around you. People who've never played in an orchestra seldom know the feeling - you never get it from the seats. It comes from being right in the middle, surrounded, and making the same music yourself. Your heart starts to speed up, your legs shake with adrenaline, and your whole body is vibrating with the sound. When I listen to things like Nightwish and Hans Zimmer (look him up), that's the feeling I get.

Now that I'm done with being saccharine and nostalgic, on to things you actually care about. I, for one, hate it when people make references to the Library of Alexandria - it makes me more depressed than when people make references to the holocaust, because that's just how much I love books. So I suppose it's an oddity to see me doing what I hate to see done. However, I needed to make a point about just how big the occurrence was, and sometimes one must disturb oneself in order to properly disturb everyone else.

How much do I love books? Well, I've been known to rescue books from trash cans, take home books that teachers were going to get rid of, and occasionally escape with entire sets of outdated encyclopedias. That's how much I love books. That's why I come close to crying anytime the Library of Alexandria is mentioned. Books to me are more precious than any kind of jewelery (Note: Guys, if you bring me old books, I'll love you for ever and ever. Though I'm afraid you can't get laid in Texas until both parties are over 17).

In other news, I was at Wendy's of all places and in comes what one might of thought were Amish if the geography wasn't all wrong. The women were wearing bonnets, skirts, and long sleeved blouses. The guys were in jeans and flannel shirts. Oppression much? I'm pretty sure they were either Mormons or FLDS - we have a little of both around here, albeit in small numbers. I'm usually just amused by these kind of people, but this time, me being especially snarky today, I was mostly pissed. They had a gaggle of small children with them, and all I could think was, how are these kids going to grow up to be respectable members of society with parents like that?

Most Mormons around here are moderates - they're mostly normal people who prefer not to show as much skin as the rest of us (it's the desert - I walk around in flip-flops starting in March) and have a ton of kids. My violin instructor is a Mormon who's lovely and actually values knowledge for all her [nine] kids. Her oldest, a girl, is in college right now. But these people were taking it a bit too far. You could tell just by the way they interacted that the men were in charge and the women were little more than cattle. You've probably already figured out that I'm a rabid feminist who doesn't take kindly to this kind of stuff.

A little more, because I made a good bit of progress yesterday.

Years of history lost in flames
Only charred pages are the remains
Blackness where pillars of knowledge once stood
No one stops in the street to brood.

The power’s been out for at least forty days
No one is coming, nerves start to fray
A leader steps up to pull us from the debris
His name now lost in his infamy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Limericks Are The Bane of My Existence

No, really, I can never get them quite right. In any case, I finally got around the next poem, and took the challenge of doing something that resembled a limerick in a lazy, unhinged kind of way.

People shouting in the rain
Chaos looming, a sad song’s refrain
Twenty men in a shrouded room
Conspire quietly what to do
Their actions the future explain.

A leader falls as siege is laid
A helpful cover the silence made
Order lost in a flow of fright
Working quietly through the night
Easy to see what they’re all afraid.
Anyone who can guess the dual meaning of "twenty men" gets a cookie.

My exam went well, pretty easy actually. I love some aspects of mathematics, though some parts just annoy me. My brain went blank at the end of it, so I had to guess - I completely forgot how to find the x-intercept of a linear equation. The people taking the test with me were mostly "future criminals," as I like to call kids who get in trouble all the time because they think it makes them look cool. I was a tiny bit paranoid about not letting any of them cheat off me.

I'm now displaying a scarlet "F" under my scarlet "A" (ironic, no?) for High School Freethinkers. I'm basically in high school already, and I will be officially this fall, so I don't see any problem with it. Young intellectuals need to start coming out of their shells and need to be told that it's cool to be smart, even despite what their so-called "friends" say. In my own case, I quickly dismiss people who think it's cool to be brainless slackers. It's not cool, it's anti-intellectual, condescending, and it should be a criminal offense to encourage it.

Speaking of condescending anti-intellectualism, a new bit of stupidity from Minnesota has cropped up.

A Muslim high school student's intolerance for a service dog needed by a student teacher with a disability has reportedly prompted the student teacher to abandon the last 10 hours of his scheduled assignment at Technical High School in St. Cloud, Minn. (© 2008 WorldNetDaily)

What the? Really, if I wanted to hear about stuff like this, I'd subscribe to Saudi Arabia Today. While I respect that this teacher would be disturbed by something like this, they really should have stood up for themselves instead of bowing out to someone spouting crap like that. I do love cultural diversity, but cultural diversity does NOT mean you can walk into a foreign country and expect them to bend to fit your dogma's rules (pun intended). Islam may find canines unclean, but we treasure them as friends and family pets. If you don't like it, go back to your third world country.

I've actually heard of this happening before - a lady in a heavily Muslim community was discriminated against because of her service dog. She would walk into the supermarket, someone would scream, and instead of the managers escorting the screaming person out, they evicted the lady with the perfectly calm, nice dog who she needed to get around because of a disability.

Let me make this clear: I don't give a damn what your two thousand year old book says. This is the twenty first century, you're (albeit delusional) adults, stop your immature whining.

Apparently, the student also threatened to kill the dog. Why does this not surprise me? Why don't we just set up Future Jihadists of America while we're at it? We can put it right next to George Bush's Hitler Youth.

Sigh. My country depresses me. This is why I'm planning to a) go to college somewhere else or b) go the college in the US but do overseas programs for the majority of my time there. I need to see things for myself before I'm as blindly patriotic as it seems everyone here is.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

For Those of You Who Are Wondering

"Deörk" rhymes with "jerk." Why, you ask, do I use such a perplexing pen name? Because people have a tendency to misspell the real version, which is vastly similar and vastly more simple, and making it even harder reflects my slightly vindictive nature. Yes, I will most likely be publishing under the name Deörk, so keep an eye out in, oh, a year or so. (This is a novel. I'm just starting Chapter Two. Patience, people.)

Unfortunately, I have no snippets today, as I got caught up arguing Quantum Theory and perception with my father over e-mail. Yes, I do argue with my own family members over e-mail. I have no oral communication skills whatsoever, which is why I have to write. Basically it went somewhere along the lines of how someone more evolved than you can resemble a god-like being. I pointed out that "god-like" does not mean "god." Grapes can be "wine-like," but that doesn't mean they're wine. How did we get on the subject of Quantum Theory and perception?

Einstein, of course! Apparently a letter has been found that is being auctioned off, wherein he calls the Bible "primitive" and "pretty childish."

End dignity here.

Take that fundies! That's what we call evidence! I bet you can't come up with that for your sky pixie! Ha!

Restart dignity here.

Anyway, Heisenberg and Schroedinger discovered Quantum Theory, which should have developed earlier, but early physicists couldn't fathom the thought of there being a element of chance in their precious field of high mathematics. This element of chance is why religious dimwits jump on the field and rip its perfectly nice set of rules to shreds so it will fit their agenda.

In any case, as Dawkins pointed out in The God Delusion, the religious would jump all over the findings of something that allowed "God" to exist, whereas they would reject something that disproves his/her existence on the basis of faith. A right bunch of hypocrites, don't you know.

Abandoning scientific matters for the day, my Algebra exam is tomorrow, starting at I believe 8:30 AM. How I'm supposed to complete anything of such a subject that early is beyond me - my brain resists working before 9:30 on most days. For this reason, I'm fairly terrified of going to high school this fall after being home schooled for a year in which I was allowed to sleep in longer than five minutes. Plus, you know, whoop-de-doo for being a Freshman. I absolutely can't wait to hear what everyone has to say about the fact that I snark left and right when given the chance to speak. Hopefully I can hold my tongue before calling the entire school an incompetent bunch of unwashed Vogon cabin boys.

-Com, 14-year-old who makes references to Douglas Adams in most of her insults.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Blondes Lead the Blind

Still pondering politics, in the middle of studying for an exam on Wednesday, so I'm not really getting anywhere on either playing field. With little hope for inspiration, I've been listening to Streetlight Manifesto, which I would highly recommend. Ska is very much an acquired taste, but it's great when you've got a feel for it. Most of their songs allude to religion in one way or another, whether it be vaguely or "in your face atheism," as some have put it. The solar storm poem is going well, it may be one of my favorites from the whole project, even as I'm just working my way into Chapter Two. A little bit of it...

Particles colliding in the night
A show before the storm
As satellites crash through the atmosphere
Leaving burning trails across the sky.

And in the glittering cities
Where people have paused to watch the lights
The electricity will soon go out
And plunge them into darkness.

In other news, Christians are praying for the end of the world! I would be glad to see them go, but who am I supposed to write about when they're all gone? I suppose Islam could work, but the US just doesn't have enough to make as big an impact as they need to for the story to work. In any case, should they be taken in rapture, I call dibs on the nicest cars.

Minnesota is officially getting my Stupid of the Week award, following this little bit of insanity in the classroom.

Three small-town eighth-graders in Minnesota were suspended by their principal for not standing Thursday morning for the Pledge of Allegiance, violating a district policy that the principal now says may soon be reworded to protect free speech rights.

Ever heard of the First Amendment? It's a handy little passage in the Bill of Rights. Obviously, it's the History teachers in Minnesota who need to be suspended for letting these "administrators" graduate. For what it's worth, I don't stand for the Pledge either, so I applaud these kids for sitting tall in the face of opposition. If we want a healthy America, intelligence needs to start early.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How To Cause the Collapse of Modern Society 101

So I was watching the Discovery Channel, and got really into a show on what would happen if a giant solar storm hit the Earth. This may actually be the missing link I was looking for. I had to have a way for most of the world's systems to collapse, and I couldn't well blame that on the fundamentalists, as they're bumbling bureaucrats who bide their time waiting. How I'm going to write a poem about a solar storm, I have no idea.

This had been an issue mostly because I needed something that would knock out technology, not people. I had contemplated a meteor strike, but, for one, it would take millions of years for the planet to recover. Two, it would wipe out the human race, and we can't have that. Who am I supposed to torture without anyone around!? A solar storm is perfect because, if no steps were taken, it would knock out the transformers for a good few years, giving the fundies time to conspire the eventual destruction of our government infrastructure. We'd be so wrapped up in providing aid and emergency services, and pretty much preventing chaos, that they could do it pretty easily.

There still is the problem of how I get Manhattan to go back to rolling hills in less than a thousand years. Having also seen After People I know this is going to be tricky. It would be helpful if there was something that could level the skyscrapers.

I'll be pondering it. For now, another snippet.

It started so long ago
Nobody knows for sure
The Church keeps it hidden
They’ve always been good at lying.

It is said that the sky rained fire
Shining objects falling from the heavens
That carriages without horses
Once charged over the fields we sow
Don't worry - I'll soon be introducing the characters that I'll be following through the story. What, you thought I was going to write purely on vague theory?


Saturday, May 10, 2008

An Introduction of Sorts

My name here shall be Comanche, or Com for short, as my real name is irrelevant until the time in which I manage to get published (even then I'll probably end up writing under a pseudonym, per request by the family). I'm a young atheist who likes to make a stir. I love to get people to ask questions and not take anything at face value. The book I'm working on right now is called The Darkened Face of Heaven, and is a collection of connected poems in which the world isn't quite the same one we live in today. It is my view on what the world might become if we continue in the same direction that religious fundamentalists would like us to. You ask me, why write poetry? Why not non-fiction?

The thing is, a lot of people don't read non-fiction heavily. Intellectuals, yes, but the average person? Hardly at all. Through poetry, I hope to strike a cord that resonates with a community focused mainly on media, circumstance, and the drama that surrounds an increasingly materialistic world. Poetry also allows me to be biting, eloquent, and a little vague. My poems are open to interpretation, and I'm always eager to hear what you see in them that may differ from what I see in them.

Since I really am hoping to get this published, I'll only be posting snippets here. To start off, the poem which the first chapter is named for, Burning Books.

Burning books
Have a peculiar smell
As smoke wafts
Above the treetops
Like knowledge escaping
To be written again.

I should probably also mention that most of these don't follow any set criteria - I write what comes to mind with little regard for mechanics. However, there will be some rhythm and rhyme later on. I will also be discussing the news, and how different items of the world's happenings will figure into this story.

That said...I have work to do, and I will be going back to public school this fall (yes, I am that young) and will be dealing with the various terrifying things that make me as misanthropic as I am. I will try to be consistent in posting, though.