Posted by: Samantha | June 2, 2010

I Can Do Anything Good!

 

It’s almost 7:59 am and I already feel like I’ve gotten a bazillion things accomplished today. I love this feeling :)
Yesterday I was thinking about how much I hate people who complain all the time. Nothing makes me more horrendously irritated than people who complain about the studpidest shit in the world.  I think I’ve talked about that before. I’m going to do a little experiment and see how long I can go without complaining (let me be clear – without complaining outloud.)
I was challenged last night, although I thought I’d officially start today. Last night I went running with my friend Tiffany and her insane spastic dog. Well, her dog got my legs caught in the leash and I have this rope burn on the back of me knee that swelled up and started stinging like crazy. Since it was right on the back of my knee it makes it painful to bend my leg (awesome.) So I remember the whole “not complaining” thing and after my initial outburst of every curse word I knew I kept telling Tiffany that it was fine, I’ve been through worse, it’s not the end of the world. She was of course apologizing  constantly, but I did the best I could not to complain even though I could. Because really, what does complaining accomplish? Nothing. Will it help me feel better? No. Will it help anyone else feel better (Tiffany)? Not at all. So by choosing to not complain, even though I might have a right to, it makes things better and I went home feeling nonchalant about my knee and just iced it. There’s bandages on it today, and I can’t take the stairs for a few days which is sad, but I’m not going to complain about the things I don’t like in my life because those aren’t the things I should be focused on.
Now, what about when it comes to politics? Can I sit here and complain about this oil spill, and everything that’s going wrong in the Gulf Coast? Is it okay if I just bitch and moan about how our environment is potentially effed, and how we’re killing all these animals and wildlife and millions of people are still enslaved and millions of women are beaten by their husband, I can go on and on about things I could complain about that don’t even effect me. But that’s still not accomplishing or helping anything.

And to put the icing on the cake, here’s my inspiration:
I can’t figure out how to embed videos or anthing so you’ll have to click on it!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg

Posted by: Samantha | April 23, 2010

Things that make me Happy: Animals!

Picture is worth a thousand words. Enjoy :)

And also, check out this AMAZING video I stumbled upon: http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/28rv

Posted by: Samantha | April 22, 2010

I <3 the Earth :)

A few days ago, I had dinner with my cousin and we were discussing what he’s doing in his environmental science class. And it scared the shit out of me.
I know I don’t talk about saving the Earth all that much, but I need to.
EVERY DAY SHOULD BE EARTH DAY!!! (duh)
Americans should be doing all they can, every single day, to save our planet. I know you hear that all the time, but you hear it for a reason. It’s true!! President Obama once said, “We can’t solve global warming because I fucking changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective”. And he’s right, sort of. Changing light bulbs in your house won’t stop global warming. It won’t solve the climate crisis, but it helps. It has to be something collective, but everyone has to do it in order for it to be collective in the first place (Logic 101). So you may not think you’re making a difference by recycling, or planting a tree, or changing to energy-efficient light bulbs, but you are. YOU ARE. So do it!
I truly do believe this is the biggest crisis this world has faced since the existence of humans. It’s bigger than anything, it really is. It trumps every issue you can imagine, because if you ignore this, you’re ignoring your own well-being, the well-being of nature, of our planet, of our people and animals, of everything.

Here’s a very simplified breakdown of what’s happening now:
Our carbon dioxide emissions are irreversibly damaging our planet and raising temperatures. This is changing, most notably, precipitation in global areas where crops are harvested, and also in the US Southwest causing a “dust bowl” for the next 50 generations. The Southwest and Australia face permanent drying by 2050.
If we keep going like we are with our current greenhouse gas emissions, our beloved earth will be unfit to live in for over 1,000 years.
Sometimes I truly think it’s the apocalypse – and not much is being done about it.
Famine and disease are spreading, species are going extinct, extreme weather is being much more intense and frequent. Ecosystems are being completely destroyed, along with all of their inhabitants. We are destroying our own home.
Growing up with two hippies for parents, I was always told the value of the earth and how important it is to preserve it, to be kind to it. My love for this planet is now unrequited. I just wish the people understood how deeply horrific our situation really is.
We, as Americans, have the global power to lead the way to start changing this by making federal mandates to restrict emissions and make things a bit greener. The thing with this whole “green” movement is that going green is a ton cheaper!! So if we did that we’d be helping the planet and saving our government money, and our economy!! Ah, it’s so simple!! Why don’t people do it?!?!

I’m reading two books right now, one is by an AWESOME and extremely intelligent climate blogger, Joe Romm. I seriously recommend reading his books, they will explain much better than I can what is happening, why it’s happening, and what we can do about it all. If you can’t get his books but still want to educate yourself, then read his blog here : http://www.climateprogress.com
The other is by Al Gore but I”m only still in the first chapter, so I’ll tell you more about that one later.

Tonight 11pm MSNBC “Future Earth: Addicted to Power” – Please watch it.

Posted by: Samantha | April 20, 2010

Things that Make Me Happy: Powerful Women

I would like to clarify that I am in no way whatsoever a “man hater”. I love men. I think there are many, many good men in this world and I have a lot of respect for them. That being said, I also believe that women are a significant source of solution (alliteration much?) for many of the world’s problems. There is much to be said for women. Women are underappreciated, underpaid, and most of all underestimated. I mean, I could go on all day about this. I did major in it, so I actually can go all day. But I won’t. I will just say that I think many men have an idea of what being a woman is like, but in actuality they have no clue what it’s like being a woman on a daily basis. For example, just yesterday as I was strolling into my local Borders I noticed a man staring at me and walking towards me. When he got close enough, I heard him mumble something but I couldn’t make out what he said. I fled into the safety of Borders and didn’t look back. Now, that scared the hell out of me. Even though it was broad daylight, I knew there was a chance I could be kidnapped, raped, even trafficked. Men do not live with that constant fear, the constant anxiety that something horrendous can happen to you just because you’re a woman. Men do not have to continually deal with the stares, the condescending nicknames, the flirty smiles from gross old men that make me feel about 2 feet tall. These things happen several times a day. It never ends. Being a woman, you never quite feel equal.
I truly don’t think that men know what they’re doing wrong. It is my belief that men think they are being friendly, possibly flirty, when they say things like, “Hey Gorgeous” or “hi beautiful”, and I believe they think that we just revel in it. Maybe some women do, but I don’t. I know that most of the time, they mean well, but when a man comes up to me and says, “hey gorgeous” (let me clarify – when a man I am not involved with says this), this is exactly what is going through my mind: “Oh, shut the hell up. Thanks for letting me know that you have no respect for me as a person, and that you see me as only something great to look at.” And I know deep down they think they’re flattering me, that I’ll like it. That somehow I’ll feel validated by the pleasure I bring to their eyes because they’re a man. And I know they think they’re being chivalrous when they pull out my chair for me, or open the door for me, but I am a capable woman. I can do that shit myself. Stop it. I know most of them mean well, I do. It’s just that that sort of stuff doesn’t promote equality. Which is what I’m looking for.
Strong, powerful women are an inspiration to me because they know that being a woman puts us already at a disadvantage. I have seen, firsthand, the powerlessness that is felt by women, and the strength it takes to demand to be taken seriously. Even among my male friends, I’ll make a stand for something I believe is right and I get laughed at, and then face comments such as, “don’t be stupid”.  (** I would like to note that as I am typing this, just right now, I was greeted by a man walking through the door. He says, “Well, hello sunshine, don’t you look pretty today.” **)
Oops, I guess I went on all day, didn’t I?
Okay, my point is this: Strong women are more of an inspiration than anything else to me because I know how hard it is to face the challenges out there as a woman. I love it when a woman questions authority, takes matters into her own hands, and thinks for herself. When women stand up, and don’t back down. Women who know that life isn’t going to wait around for them and make things happen.  It’s completely amazing.
I was going to make a list of some of these women but I think I’ve said enough, and there is no list long enough to include every woman that inspires me. So I’ll leave it at that: powerful, loudmouth women make me happy.

Posted by: Samantha | April 18, 2010

Things That Make Me happy: Sunshine

One of the most beautiful things in the world is when something so small, seemingly mundane can make the most powerful impact.

For example, sunshine. I mean, we have it more often than not, right? Depending on where you live, I guess. But there’s something about a day when the sky is clear blue and the sun is out, and the birds are chirping that just makes you happy. You can say all you want that it’s about the serotonin or melatonin levels in the brain but I think sometimes it’s bigger than chemistry. When the sun is out, even if your life is shooting down the crapper, life isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s pretty damn good. No matter what’s happening, sunny days make life better. They make me forget about all of the bad things going on and remind me how beautiful this entire world is. It seems so cheesy but it makes a huge impact. It makes you want to get out and enjoy life. It makes you want to go outside and enjoy nature (Earth Day 2010 next Thursday, holla!!). It makes the sweet things in life that much sweeter. Aah. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go enjoy some rays (and you should too!)

Posted by: Samantha | April 16, 2010

One small step for Barack Obama…

One giant leap for America!
Okay, I don’t care who you are, if you have a brain, you can’t NOT get behind this!


So let’s say I’m somehow about to die. If I’m knocking on heaven’s door, I’m obviously going to want my family, but what about people who aren’t legally my family? For example, I was adopted as a baby. If I’m about to die, my birthmother, who I have a very close relationship with now, wouldn’t be allowed to visit me because she’s not legally considered family. Is she family to me? Of course. Same goes for my best friend.  So these people who are close to me, closer than some actual relatives, can’t come visit me.
Well, President Obama thought that was bonkers and decided to change that. He’s now made it mandatory that the patients get to choose who has visitation rights. So even if my best friend isn’t technically family, I consider him family, so I can say that he can come see, and he does. Aaah, isn’t that better?? :)
Perhaps the biggest victory isn’t for this but of course for gays and lesbians, specifically ones who are in committed and lasting relationships but who are not legally married, therefore not legally family. This will also give same-sex partners the authorization to decide what happens should the partner in the hospital be unable to make their own decisions.
What this is essentially doing is taking the control of your life away from the hospital and back into your hands. You get to make the decisions for your life and who you want to see. It’s how it should have been all along. I am glad that our President saw this needed to be fixed.
Now, as we all know, there are haters out there. But this time, it isn’t about them. They can say all the nasty things they want, but progression is still being made. I keep holding out thinking that they’ll see, eventually, that this is a good thing. Maybe they will, and maybe they won’t. But if they don’t, then in the end it’s only their loss, and it won’t get me down because they’re not keeping us down.

Posted by: Samantha | April 13, 2010

IU’s Greek System should be horrifically ASHAMED.

When I first started at IU I thought the greek system was kind of dumb, personally. I never judged anyone, at all, for rushing. Do what you want to do, that’s your business. It just didn’t seem like it would work for me. For those who it does work for, great. Good for you.
Unfortunately, I briefly dated someone when I was just a wee college baby who was in the greek system and that’s where my involvement stopped. I read things in the paper about stuff different frats and sororities were doing, but that’s where it ended. It’s been years since I”ve had a meaningful relationship with someone who was involved in the greek system. AND NOW I REMEMBER WHY – BECAUSE THEY’RE ASSHOLES! (Keep in mind this is not true for my friend Marissa and my cousin Jordan, as I am sure it’s not true for many people who ARE in the greek system and rock, people I just haven’t met.)
So IU’s greeks have a newspaper/blog/magazine, whatever it is it’s called The Odyssey. I just spent the last hour reading it and I am truly appalled. My short encounters with the greek system have always sort of led me to think they’re assholes but this just confirms it and straight up angers me. I’m not even bothered, I am passionately enraged by what these people have said in it.

The first article to get my attention was actually forwarded by my good friend Marissa, who is incidently also the one friend I have involved in a sorority. It is an article, PRINTED AND PUBLISHED, detailing the “ranks of a girl”, i.e. 1-10. 1 being “extreme obesity, a face that looks like it was hit with a frying pan, or a missing limb” and 10 being the “Holy Mecca of girls” . But don’t forget, “They can have the personality of a cardboard box, but what gives.”
I won’t nauseate you with the classifications for the other numbers, but please if you must read it (and I actually suggest that you do), you can read it here, and make sure you have a barf bag close.
What this moron is saying is that a woman’s personality is meaningless and they are judged solely - by men — based on their appearance and nothing else. It doesn’t matter if a girl is smart, or funny, or caring, no. None of that is worth a damn, and neither is she as a human being,  if she’s not hot by their standards, which are ridiculous to begin with.
I truly cannot fathom how people can think like this, and then tell the public they think like this, and then be proud of themselves. Think that they’re funny. Umm, last time I checked, which wasn’t too long ago, misogyny was extremely unfunny and I am not only ashamed for IU’s greek system, but I am ashamed for IU as an entire university, and for all people my age, and even humanity. This dude makes me ashamed of our entire race. That’s how mad I am. I am ashamed to be in the same species as this loser, if that gives you any indication whatsoever of how truly mad I am over this.

And I am sorry to say, it doesn’t stop there. The articles I read were demeaning and making fun of women, from subjects ranging from their appearances (obviously) to an alleged text etiquette to getting drunk at bars, and it just goes on and on and on. Finally, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I can’t believe how women were being treated and talked about by this guy, and I know there are many guys out there who think and act the same way (Tucker Max, anyone?). The worst thing is that it’s glorified. Many women in the greek system read this! Why are they not outraged??!
You’re telling me this guy thought up the most misogynistic, hateful bullshit he could, printed in a paper he knew women read, glorified it, and people thought it was funny??!!!
I can’t even finish this blog, I am speechless.

Posted by: Samantha | April 6, 2010

You don’t know how lucky you are.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world. If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not. If you can even read this blog, you’re luckier than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

It pains me, on a daily basis, to listen to people living in affluent America complain about the most mundane things. I’m not immune to this, I find myself guilty of it all the time. The difference, and I do think this is rare, is that I know it’s trivial and I understand there are things bigger than me in the world. Shit just doesn’t matter!! It doesn’t matter if I burned a CD and it broke. It doesn’t matter if I have a pimple, or I ran out of gas money, or I spilled red wine on my favorite shirt. While undoubtedly irritating, I am aware that these things have no relevance to the big picture. It is useless to get upset over trivial annoyances. STOP IT. Stop whining over things that are stupid. Try thinking about how incredibly lucky you are, even just to be alive. I now understand the expression “wake up and smell the roses”.
You’ve got this one life (maybe) on this Earth, and as I get older I understand how short it really is. Why would you waste it complaining in self-pity? You are lucky, you are beautiful, and you seriously can make the world a better place. It sounds so cheesy, I know, like I”m coming straight from the Disney Channel but it’s so very true.

I wish people would spend more time finding ways to make the world better, and actually following through, than solely complaining about the things they don’t like. I wish people would read a book instead of watching mindless reality TV. I wake up every day motivated to do something, even if it’s just a smile, to make the world a little happier. I don’t have much money, but I know it’s more money than some people could even fathom having. For this, I am lucky and I remind myself that constantly. I just can’t understand how other people aren’t like that.

Posted by: Samantha | March 26, 2010

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Last year I wrote a paper on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and I wish I still had the article I based it on. It was so good!
First, lets go over the basics. It was introduced in 1993 under President Clintons administration, and has since discharged over 13,000 people from the military. What I find perhaps a bit more interesting is the financial impact DADT has had. The US government has lost $95.4 million in recruiting costs and $95.1 million for training replacements thanks to DADT, and that figure is only current as of 2003, so think about how much more we’ve spent since then, and think what else we could’ve done with it!!! Not to mention it is horribly oppressive to gays and lesbians…bothered!!

When I was writing that paper last year, I actually had a conversation with my cousins friend who was in the Army and was serving in Iraq. I asked him what his thoughts on it were and he was absolutely against the repealment of DADT. He said it would drastically effect comraderie on military bases and serve as a distraction. Now, understanding that most people do not have as open a mind as I do, and understanding that many people who serve in the military are also right-wing conservatives, it would be silly of me to honestly expect any other reaction. What did surprise me was discovering that 73% of military men and women were not bothered by having open gays and lesbians serving with them. That 73% is from a poll in 2006, and I had this conversation in 2009.

Anyway, it’s pretty much known now that DADT is going to be repealed, but with its repealment come a couple of questions pertaining to the rights of gays in the military.

1) What about partner benefits?
Ideally, they’d get the same benefits that married heteros gets, but that won’t be the case, will it. Since gays and lesbians aren’t allowed to marry (yet), it’s legally as if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend your whole life instead of a spouse. Meaning no benefits. I imagine this will be a really complicated issue because there’s no federal mandate for domestic partnership/same sex marriage/civil unions…so will each state have to issue different benefits to their gays serving in the military? Or will there be federally enforced benefits? And because each state has different laws, what is marriage in one state could be civil union in another, which could mean nothing at all in a different state. It’s gonna get confusing!! This is how this plays out in my dreams: DADT gets repealed, but because of this benefits issue everyone gets so confused that Obama just throws his hands up in the air and says, “I give up! Same sex marriage is now federally legal and you can have all the benefits you want! And while I’m at it I’m going to take all the dollars we’ll be saving and put it towards saving the whales and other marine mammals!!”

2) It’s a shame I even have to bring this up, but I’m a bit concerned with an uprising in gay hate crimes within the military. I am as pro-GLBT as they come, but I have serious fears that this might happen. I’ve read more than my share about gay hate crimes in general, but I must admit I haven’t researched it in the military at all. I spend a decent amount of time in Kentucky, and I can tell you there are more people than I’d like to admit that do not like gay people one bit. I know that’s just the South and it certainly isn’t everyone. I suppose every openly gay person has to deal with this form of hate at one point or another, but I feel blood would boil sooner on a military base. Then again - and I hope I am right this time - what do I know? Have I ever been on a military base? No. I don’t know what it’s like. It’s just something that’s crossed my mind.

So that’s how I feel about DADT.

Posted by: Samantha | March 25, 2010

Love people who stand up!

In the case of Constance McMillen, I admire her so much because she’s just not just standing for her own beliefs, for her own RIGHTS, but she’s doing it for every GLBT youth who has ever felt an injustice (or ever will).
I’m sure you’ve heard about it but if you havent: Constance is a Mississippi teen who was told she couldn’t attend her own prom because she wanted to bring her girlfriend.

Now, I’ve been to Mississippi, and I can only imagine how hard that must have been to do in the first place. She knew her rights were violated and fought. How incredible for such a youngin’, what an inspiration. She took her school to court, and even though her prom is still cancelled, the court ruled that her rights had been violated.

This week I salute her. It only takes one person to start making a difference. Every fire begins with a spark. :)

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