The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: Blogging (Page 1 of 2)

A turn away from the darker me…

I was told recently that some of my posts here have been a little on the darker side.  That while my messages may be positive, that the lead up to the good side of the message was a little dark.

I went through and looked at it and I do have to agree.  But in my defense, I have been going through a pretty dark time.  Anyone that reads this blog and either knows me from work or know about what happened, will know that I have been through a pretty fucked up period as a result of something that happened there.

I cannot and will not go into the details, so do not ask me, but suffice it to say that my trust in people has been damaged irreparably.

So that being said, I am going to start going back to some of the good thing I used to post here.

 

On the outside, looking in.

 

There is this story I have been working on that I would like to see become a book, one day.  In this story, one of the key groups of people are the plains Indians… or Plains Aboriginal Americans, as I feel more comfortable calling them.

To prepare for this, I have been doing a great deal of reading and researching on the various tribes that covered the great plains.  Reading what I can and speaking with those that will talk to me.  And that is where my problem lies.

When I was learning ASLAN (American Sign Language), my teacher warned me that not only is ASLAN itself a difficult language to learn, but the deaf community, as a whole, is a very closed one.  He warned me to not expect to be “accepted” into deaf groups was a whole, just because I could communicate with them.  And I did learn that this was true. With the exception of a couple times I stepped in to help with a person asking, in Sign, for help or directions, many times I have tried to interact with people that were obviously signing, I was treated curtly or, in one case, ignored completely.

I have found that my efforts to learn about the Native tribes in my area have had similar results.  I have spoken to local members of the Yokuts, Cherokee and Chumash tribes, and while I find that they are willing to talk to me, I feel more that they are trying to give me the information and then dismiss me than wanting to help educate me.

I understand that I am not part of their community, I also understand that I am part of, historically, the reason that they have lost their land and their ways of life.  I will not deny any of that, but there is little I have had DIRECTLY to do with it, so I  am not sure why there seems to be this wall I have to contend with.

I suppose that I do, in part, understand their point, if I really do look at it.  There are many cases throughout history where a people have been put in dire circumstances like that and those that survived or those that were survived by their elders to continue their stories, have been remiss in sharing with those that were considered outsiders.  Take, for example, those that survived the Holocaust.  I have known, personally, two people that survived the death camps, and both of them were very difficult to get to talk about it.  Not because they did not want to share, but because… as one of them put it for me… “How do you share your emotions with another over your own pending death and the genocide of our people?”

What happened to the Aboriginal Americans was no less than genocide…  and as the offspring of Irish and Scottish immigrants who came over with the initial wave of colonists, I am sure that somewhere in my history, my lineage shares in that responsibility and guilt.

I have learned a lot through my writing and reading about the peoples that made up the Plainsmen.  This is a piece of history that we are rapidly losing, and while the story I am writing is not going to help that history, I will continue to work on getting all I can from those that are willing to sit with me and learn.

As always… thank you for your time and your comments are encouraged.

 

With the best of intents…

How often have you ever been talking to a person that you have not seen in a while, then upon parting, you make that commitment that we all, or at least many of us, renege on?

I do not think that we intend to lie to a person when we tell them that we will call them later, or discuss the option of getting together sometime.  I believe that we make these plans with every intent on keeping them.  Then life just… gets in the way.  Other things happen and we keep pushing the effort to keep that promise off further and further, until, many times, it escapes our thought altogether, or at least until the next time we see them.

I am especially bad about this, and I know and admit it.  I cannot even count, anymore, the number of friends that I have let go because I have not made the effort to keep in touch.  I understand that friendship is a two-way street, and I should not be the only one that makes the effort.  But I should at least try.

It is not that I do not like these people, it is just, as I stated earlier, that life seems to get in the way.  Other things come up and take precedence over the option of calling others or writing letters to people.

As an example, let me tell you about a friend of mine.  He and I practically grew up together and were always hanging out in High School and on the weekends.  When we graduated from high school, we still got together all the time.  This lasted until he moved to Texas.  We were and are still as close as a phone call, but there is something that makes making that effort hard.  I am not sure what, but it is there.

Luckily, I guess, I am not alone.  Before writing this piece, I spoke to several people about this phenomena, and many said that they have had the same problem.  In some case people have even stopped staying in close contact with family members.  There are even a couple cases where the people I spoke to have family that live in the same town, and they still do not keep in touch.

I would like you, who are reading this now, to tell me your stories about this and why you think it happens.  Tell me, in your own words, what you do to justify it to yourself or to explain the reasoning away.  I am not trying to put any of you on the spot, but I would like to get your opinions on this.

Thanks for reading.

Don’t Wiki me!

I like Wikipedia.  I really do.

There is something kind of neat about an encyclopedia that the “People” have some control over and can edit.  You might call it a “Leuteenzyklopädie” of sorts, if you will.

This is a tool in which people from all over the world can create, edit or dispute articles and use the provided information in the same way that you would any other encyclopedia.  There is a caveat, however, and that is what I have decided to write this piece about.

The problem lies in the fact that it IS a “open source” encyclopedia.  As such, you should use the information that you get from Wikipedia with the understanding that you should accept it as information that you would want to double-check or verify before accepting it as the gospel truth.

Now… I say that with no malice towards those that run or administer Wiki or Wiki itself.  I say that with the understanding that because of the nature of the system, it is possible for people to get in there and add information that is not quite correct or a flat out lie and this information being distributed before anyone has had the chance to edit, correct or delete it.

I will not go through and list all the examples that I found links to for the various errors that were posted to Wiki over the years.  Most of them Wiki was already made aware of and have corrected.  I will, however, direct you to the official Wikipedia links for how they approach that which I am discussing here.  I will list them at the end of this article.

The main point here is that the old standard applies the same now as it always has.  Verify your sources… do not just rely on one source, such as Wikipedia.

Use it, but do so with the understanding that people just like you and me have the access to go in and add and edit information on that service.  People that may or may not know enough to intelligently write about the topic in question.

Just remember… “Caveat Lector”

 

 

Links to Wikipedia’s policies on Reliability and Criticism.

 

 

 

200th Post

For some, this may not be important.  But this is my 200th article, so I decided to post it on Tax Day, so that I would make something nice out of an otherwise depressing day.

This is as the result of five years of Blogging now, starting from my little Blogger site hosted with Google, to the purchase of my first domain name, which is now pointing to this one.  I never expected that I would keep at it this long, really.  I was expecting that I would have gotten bored with it and then cast it off.

I cannot say that this has been exciting, it really has not been.  There have been several times I have had to motivate myself to write something, then there were other times, like now, when there has been a lot I have wanted to say.  I have no doubt that with the new administration in office now, I will have plenty to write about for some time.

There are some disappointments too… I would hope that after five years, I would have had more than 19 subscribers… and that more of you who do subscribe would interact more with the site.  You see, three quarters of the time spent on this blog are spent trying to draw in readers.  People that might find something that they like here… something in my writing that appeals to them and keeps them coming in.  So the lack of readership can only be attributed to my fault.. not that of the existing readers.

I still have high hopes for the site.  It really does not cost that much to run it per year, and in addition to being my place to talk with you and share my thoughts, dreams and ideas, it is also my window into the world.

I have learned more about politics, science and culture since I started running this blog than I have over the last fifteen years.  So you might say that the process of running this site is a developmental process for me in more ways that just the chatting kind.

I thank you all… my few readers, for your presence here, and I welcome all those that are yet to visit and maybe stay.

Thanks.

Blog appearance…

I have decided to revert the blog back to a simpler appearance.  While I liked the “Old West” feel of the old theme, it was apparent that this was slowing things down a bit.

So…  in an effort to make the site more appealing to those that may find it… I have opted for simplicity over beauty.

Enjoy…

What makes beauty?

What is beauty?  What does it mean to be beautiful? What do you consider beauty to be?

More or less I think that too many people attribute beauty to be solely that which is on the outside, beauty of the flesh not of the spirit or the mind, when in reality, regardless of how a person looks, THAT is where the TRUE beauty lies.

Media, today, does nothing to help the matter in that most of what you see on television, movies and magazines are designed, either by intention or happenstance, to shame people who do not appear a certain way, dress a certain way or otherwise fit a certain category.  This is, in turn leading to people hating themselves because they do not like the way they look.

Popular culture is brainwashing us into thinking we all need to look like people like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tyra Banks and George Clooney, when in reality there is nothing wrong with looking like who we were to begin with.

People as young as in their early teens and as old as their eighties are going in for surgeries to augment themselves, make themselves look younger, make themselves prettier.  Except in rare cases, there was nothing wrong with them to begin with and they looked just fine.  But because they did not look like a super model or a certain actor or actress, they do it any way.

To be fair and honest, yes… I considered cosmetic surgery for a while.  My reason was because of some discolorations I have under my eyes as a result of some malnutrition issues when I was very young.  But that is it.  I am not looking to liposuction my waist, tighten my butt, make my skin more taught… you see, that is what exercising and diet is all about.  It’s called NOT BEING LAZY.

One last thing I think people need to remember is this.  If you are not happy with the way you look, then all the surgery in the world is not going to correct the issues you may have.  If you were not happy being who you are before, what makes you think a little nip and tuck here and there is going to help you?  Doctors should offer FREE extensive counseling to anyone who comes in for cosmetic surgery, that does not have a need for it other than to look prettier.  Be they would never do that because of the potential lost revenue.

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Changes for the new year…

Hello… I hope that your Christmas, Channukah or Kwaanza was enjoyable.  I wanted to share some changes that I am going to be working on in the coming year.

  • Do to the lack of popularity or contribution, I am eliminating the “Guest Writer” program.  I just do not see a future in it.  I do thank the two people whom I tapped on the shoulder for it, but it appears that the interest is just not there.
  • I will be investigating the option of starting a Monthly Podcast for my site.  This will be a summary of everything that I have discussed through the month and maybe a little more.
  • I promise I will complete the gallery and get it online by March.
  • I plan on starting a little campaign to increase my traffic to this site; this may and may not require me to advertise a bit, but I will not resort to pop-ups… I hate those.

Thanks for your readership… those that have stayed on.  There are not many of you, but I thank you anyway.

Good Night.

Making Friends…

As I grow older, I have started paying more attention to things that I used to take for granted… and that is making friends.

I have always been very critical of people… all people.  While some might say this is normal, I would go so far as to say my example would almost be to an unhealthy level.

When I meet a person for the first time, I immediately begin dissecting them.  Their mannerisms, movements, tone of speech, eye movements, etc.  I listen to the stories they tell and, in my mind, begin challenging them for potential realism, validity and probability.  All this in a matter of the first few moments that I have met a person.

Hindsight is always more clear than the vision before you at the time something is happening.  Thus, as I look back, I see many situations where I killed potential friendships before they ever started.  This attitude that I have towards people that I am meeting for the first time was and is unfair to them and to myself.

This has brought me to the point of this post.  A lesson learned, so to say.

  • Accept people for who and what they are.  People are not always going to be what you want them to be, and sometimes the best friendships can be borne from diversity.
  • Listen to what people have to say and take it for what it is worth.  If you do not think that it is the truth, keep that to yourself.  Over time, the truth always comes to the surface.
  • Once a friendship starts, just like a plant or any other life, it requires feeding and nurturing.  You need to make it work.  Don’t assume that “I called John this week, it is his turn to call me.”  That does not always work.  Friendship is a two-way street and takes both parties.
  • Don’t let little things get in the way, and in the case of good friends, nothing is more important.  With few exceptions, all other considerations are secondary to friends.

Making good friends is, in my opinion, not too much different than relationships with your family.  My closest friends ARE part of my family.  In my life, the few friends I have, and they know who they are, are every bit as much a part of my family as my Mom, Sister, Brothers and Wife.  There is little difference to me here.

Some friends you make will not be as close as others.  You will learn to keep them, without letting them KNOW this, at various distances from you, emotionally.  This is not to be callous or mean, but because there are times when you can feel that a person is responsible enough to handle that level of closeness.

There are times, also, that you need to let them go from your life because they become vexacious to your soul and your family.  There is one case where I have done this and the reason was because the path he had chosen led to the loss of his family and drove his friends away.  Even though it was his own fault, it was one of the harder things I have done in my life.  Telling a person to not be a part of your life when you have known them since high school is difficult.

All this being said, my newest goal is to teach myself to be less critical of people.  To try and make more friends and be a better friend to others.  To stop trying to find a reason to NOT make a person a friend, as I tend to do with my mental dissection of those I meet.  I do not expect this to come to me overnight, but I do want it to happen.

I hope that you appreciated my sharing this with you.  I hope that you have something to add, as your comments are always welcome.

Changes Abound

Yes… As you may have noticed, I am trying a new theme.

The maker of the last theme I was using stopped supporting it… in fact, he fell off the face of the earth. SO I am using a new theme…

No… I wish I could say that my studies in PHP has led me to this, but no… this is the work of another.

Let me know what you think.

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