Moral relativism and religion.

I think it would be fair to say that many or most religious people have a strong disbelieve in moral relativism. They believe moral laws defined by God and are absolute. (or are absolute, exist eternally and God is God by knowing and following all those laws). I think many religious people would even go so far as to agree with the statement 'right is right and wrong is wrong and there are no two ways about it.'

I wanted to find a quote decrying Moral relativism so I did a Google for "moral relativism Falwell" and found this interesting bit of data:
Abortion, moral relativism and mistreatment of others almost came in a three-way tie as the top concerns among America's evangelical leaders, according to the survey released Monday by the National Association of Evangelicals.

What I find interesting and ironic about this is that in practice religious people tend towards a far more relativistic view of morality than the non-religious.

Most non-religious people would agree that the death, torture, destruction of property of millions even billions of people is a bad thing no matter who is doing it.

If you are religious, (particularly Christian, but several other faiths as well), you probably believe it is bad thing most of the time, but sometimes is a very very good thing. Even something to look forward to and pray for. It is called the apocalypse, Second Coming etc. (God's holocaust).

Most non-believers people would feel that a person who deliberately causes another immense suffering over a minor grievance like using their name in a disrespectful way without apologizing or even just not believing certain things, would be doing a very bad thing. Even if this torture they caused was only for one year. Or even one day or one hour.

If you are a Christian you likely feel this is usually a bad thing thing, but if God does it is good, even if that suffering lasts forever.

If you are a Mormon there is a decent chance you see Socialism as an evil.

Unless it is has been instituted and directed by a prophet, then it is a very good thing.

This approach to morality is far more relativistic than any non-believer I know and I think it is unfair.

I do believe that morality is relative. (how could it be otherwise? How could morality even exist without context? What would that even mean?)

That being said, when your moral relativism takes the form of: 'Abc is bad when everyone else does it, except it is good when I do it.'
It is unfair to make rules and judgments that apply to everyone but yourself.

I know this approach is rife within Mormonism. There are many examples similar to the one about socialism where it is taught that a principal is very bad, except when done within the context of Mormonism. (one more example: The Church often praises those who question and doubt their religious leaders or traditions. Martin Luther is portrayed as a hero for his railing against Catholicism. Joseph Smith is admired for his questioning doubting approach to his religious upbringing. Yet the Church strongly frowns upon and sometimes excommunicates those who do this same towards them.)

It is weird to me how it is often taught in Mormonism that something which might be seen as good, like Socialism, if done in a slightly different way, is seen as totally evil rather than just somewhat less good. What if they took that stance about other issues as well? Since 'loving your parents' is seen as a commandment by God, if it is done by a non-believer it becomes evil, so they should actively try and hurt their parents.

I acknowledge that the goodness or badness of a principal is based on context but if you claim otherwise then go on to teach that something otherwise bad is good only when your team does it, there is a problem.(not to mention it being really unfair/unjust)


Emotional expression.

One area where I have had a shift in my thinking over the past year is the subject of emotional expression.

I've long felt it is important for us express our emotions, even if they are negative. I felt that if we keep emotions bottled they will ultimately express themselves in other, less healthy ways. In addition I felt that expressing felt emotions is the more honest thing to do.

Two experiences within a week of each other caused me to re-think this notion.

First: I read a book about 'Destructive Emotions' as explored through both Buddhism and science. This book briefly mentioned that the expression of emotions enhances them.

Second: Driving to pick up Marissa from work hearing a piece on Npr about how expressing anger, rather than relieving it leads to more feelings of anger.

I found this information surprising. I suppose it shouldn't be. We know that when it comes to everything else, the more we do something the more ingrained it becomes. WE know our brains rely heavily upon association (if we were in a certain place with a certain odor, smelling that smell will evoke a memory of that place. Or if we felt a certain feeling doing a certain activity, that thing can evoke that feeling) and so the more expressions of anger we have, the more associations we will have to trigger it.

Now, I don't know if I ever believed that unfettered wallowing was healthy and I've always felt expressions of anger seem to be a bad thing, but realizing that expressing emotions often enhances and leads to more of that emotion has caused me to approach both my own dealings with negative emotions and my dealings with others negative emotions differently. And I think I have found it beneficial.

Granted it probably isn't a good thing to walk around with pent up anger or sadness and not try to dissipate it in some way, but perhaps expressing those feelings isn't actually going to resolves them.

I still feel their is value to acknowledging our real feelings. I find it unpleasant when people won't even concede to feeling anything other than good, but perhaps it needn't go much further than just that, acknowledgment.


See two entries below.

This is a tea hut. Imagine living in a place where all buildings were this cool. This building kind of reminds me of 'Where the Wild things Are' which movie I LOVE!

See entry below.

This is awesome

I just recently noticed the 'blog this' feature on flickr. I don't want to over use it, but this is something I thought was really cool and wanted to share, but was to lazy to do it manually.

Mt st volcano

Originally uploaded by orclimber

Mt St Helens eruption

Mt St Helens eruption
Originally uploaded by orclimber

Eruption taken near Trojan Nuclear plant

saint helens

Originally uploaded by orclimber


Originally uploaded by orclimber

St helen photo series

Originally uploaded by orclimber
I cam across a bunch of really cool photos of Mt St Helens on flickr, which i am posting on my blog by clicking on the 'blog this' button. I would like to post them all in one entry, but that would be a lot more work.

Mt. St. Helens

Cool photo of Mt St helens.

Following hearts

(This is something I've written about before and make reference to often, but I'm writing about it again because 1) It's been a long time since I first addressed this and 2) My thinking on the subject has become more refined.)

One the most prevalent messages in our culture today is 'follow your heart'. Almost every contemporary mainstream movie made has this as one of it's themes. The main character triumphs over all nay Sayers because s/he alone followed his/her heart, while everyone else foolishly relied on their reason.
How often have we seen a movie/tv character, when challenged on what s/he is doing respond with something like: 'I just know I need to do this!'. They have no reasons, they 'just know' because it's what their heart tells them and no matter how improbable they always turn out to be right.

The message sent, often implicitly but sometimes explicitly is that no matter what anyone else may say, if we follow our heart even it means defying not only everyone on earth but also all logic and reason, we are doing the right thing.

We are taught that very act of believing something strong enough makes it true. And that because we believe it so deeply we justification in doing all we can to make our beliefs manifest.

As an artist and someone who has a natural tendency towards rebellion, this sort of thinking spoke to me.

I remember the moment I began to question it.

I was taking an American history class about the Jacksonian era. That day's lecture had two parts.

The first was about Andrew Jackson's personal character. Both my teacher and the text spoke of him in mostly positive terms. He was praised as someone who always followed his heart regardless of criticisms. This sounded good to me.

The second part of the lecture was about the 'Trail of Tears'. For those unfamiliar: the 'Trail of Tears' was the forced relocation of Native Americans. Andrew Jackson was a leading advocate for and implementer of this by signing the 'Indian Removal act'.

During this lecture it dawned on me that perhaps following one's heart isn't always a good thing. Here was a man following his heart and causing one of the saddest chapters in American History.

(I'm not seeking to judge a historical figure by modern values, the Indian Removal Act was unpopular even during his time, although not nearly as much as today).

Based on the 'follow your heart' principal, Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Oklahoma City building, should be an American Hero. Even his fellow Militia Movement followers didn't believe that bombing a day care is a good thing, but he did it anyway.(followed his heart)
A person might argue, "He wasn't really following his heart, our hearts wouldn't ever tell us to do something bad"
Even if that were the case, how can one tell what is really from their 'hearts' and what isn't? I've known several people and in Mormon culture we have all heard stories of people who have felt in their heart that they should marry a certain person who then find out that person isn't interested in them back. (In addition, I'm sure we've all had experiences where we felt certain something was true, which later turned out false) Even if our hearts were the arbiter of truth, which I don't believe it is, it's voice is too easily misunderstood to follow with any certainty.

What makes our hearts so special that they should be the arbiters of good and bad to the exclusion of everything else? Our 'hearts'(intuition?) are subject to all our messy emotional states and cultural indoctrination.
Better than following our 'hearts' we should seek to follow reality.

Granted, I sometimes agree with what people mean when the speak following their hearts.

If by 'follow your heart' a person means 'you don't have to do things based entirely on cultural expectations'.
I agree. But within limits. Sometimes cultural expectations are silly and arbitrary, like clothing and hairstyles, sometimes they have real value like incest taboos.

If they mean 'you are free to like and do the things you actually like even if others might see them as dumb or weird'
I agree. Again, with limits.

If they mean, 'our intuition is sometimes able to figure out things before our reasoning can'
I agree. (I used to not agree, but several studies changed my mind) However, this does not mean our intuition is the source of all truth and always triumphs over reason. Intuition is our unconscious minds noticing something before our conscious mind. it doesn't apply to all situations and it isn't always correct. It doesn't mean our intuition should be trusted over solid contradicting evidence.

If they mean 'it is generally good to try and fulfill one's dreams'.

I give my qualified agreement.
Unfettered dream following may not be a good thing. Sometimes people really are terrible at what they dream of. Sometimes a person's dream is bad(like blowing up a building or invading Iraq) The message that one can and should achieve anything they want is not only unhelpful, but can hurt.

Sometimes people are delusional about their own abilities.
Reality shows have illustrated this point many times over.

No matter how bad a person may be at singing, dancing etc. our culture has taught them to ignore all negative criticism and keep trying. Yes, often the best art was initially criticized and misunderstood. Thank god those artists kept at it until people were finally able to appreciate their genius. But that is the problem with 'follow your heart' type of thinking. It usually only works if you are a genius, or at least able to become very good at what you're doing. Otherwise, it makes you crazy and depressing, like those all those guys online who think they have proved Einstein wrong.

We are saturated with quotes and stories of famous, paradigm changing people whose bold claims are met with mockery and derision yet because of perseverance become recognized as not a fool but as a genius. The problem is, if you are making such a claim but are not part of that .01% geniuses able to change paradigms you really are just a fool.

Our culture often tells us that to be happy we need follow our hearts by pursuing all dreams and wild ideas with maximum ambition, but more often, happiness is already here, we just need to slow down, be quiet and notice it. Then we can be content with what we have and who we are. We can still have dreams and ambitions, but they can be pursued with contentment rather than in search of it.

Book Ideas

A book of scripture. Something not unlike the Book of Mormon, but transparent in it's having been invented.

The story of Jesus told from the First person. (i'm sure a book like this must already exist, but my search for one has been fruitless)

The rapture, Armageddon and the second coming, told from the perspective of non-believers who, though ultimately convinced of it's reality do not convert because of God's ridiculous brutality. Kind of like a counterpoint to the 'Left Behind' series, which does portray God as being ridiculously brutal, but somehow makes it seem good.

A person follows their heart despite the well reasoned opposition of everyone he knows and at the end discovers he was totally wrong and his life is ruined.



Glen has a subtle coat. From a distance it seems gray, and that is how I normally think of it. But he actually has spots like leopard except they are so subtle I only notice them when I look very close or the light is hitting him just right. The tips of his hair have begun turning orange on some parts of his back. I can't tell for sure, but the orange seems to be increasing. I know that a cat's skin is the same color as the hair which grows there, I would be interest in seeing glen's skin.

Me and my current relationship with Mormonism.

Like many people, when I first was leaving/left the Church, I had an almost obsessive interesting in all things Mormon, especially those things one doesn't hear in Church. Well, I guess almost exclusively those things one doesn't hear in Church. For whatever reason my interest seemed to have lasted a while longer than most of my friends(Perhaps my general interest in religion played a role), but eventually, my interest too died out to the point where for a while I had virtually zero interest at all and even disliked talking about it. However, more and more often I find myself going through spurts of active interest.

I even go through phases where I find myself missing being part of the Church. I miss believing something absolutely (even though it also caused confusion for me, not knowing what contradictory, ambiguous or symbolic elements were true. But some core parts I believed absolutely. Well, no, but close to absolutely). I miss the community, even though I always felt somewhat alienated from it. I miss having the notion that there is an ideal way of living and there had existed a perfect person whom I could model myself after. I miss feeling that if I do certain things, unrelated good things will happen to me.

I particularly miss the church when I read or hear liberal(I don't mean politically liberal, but liberal in their approach to religion. Although these people often are politically liberal as well.) Mormons.
When I listen to interviews with people like Joe Bennion on Radiowest or read blogs like Zelophehads Daughters or Feminist Mormon Housewives I think to myself 'If this is what most Mormons were like, I probably would have stayed in the Church. Not necessarily because I would have maintained a belief that it was true, but because I would have enjoyed the community and post-modern interpretations to concepts which I grew up believing and enjoy.'

Though, when I continue this train of thought in my mind and actually imagine myself as a believing member of the Church, or look at things produced by the Church like Lds.org or even The Deseret News I feel an enormous amount of gratitude to no longer have those beliefs.

I've sometimes tried to stop thinking about and being interested in Mormonism. Since Church members often see those who leave the Church yet maintain an interest in it as being bitter, not being able to leave it alone, or trying to justify themselves. I think part of me wanted proof to myself and proof to them that one can leave the Church and no longer think about it.

And while many people I know do leave the Church and no longer think about it, I don't think this can be true for me. Not because I am bitter against it or can't move on, but because it genuinely interests me and even like it. It is not only fascinating to me but also comfortable. I clearly don't believe it is 'true' and I have serious qualms with it, but it is like one's family or hometown, it will always have a soft spot in my heart. I will always feel a certain amount of kinship towards post or current Mormons that I don't feel with others. If Marissa didn't feel so strongly against the Church, I could even see myself attending services once a month or so.

It may even surprise some people that in situations where people are speaking negatively about the Church (which happens often when it is found out I was raised Mormon), I often speak to defend it. I've found that many people have warped and inaccurate views about the Church, which I make the effort to correct and give the Church credit where credit is due. Of course, when accurate and honest criticisms are made, I readily agree.

Granted, I am, in general, much less interested in Mormonism than I used to be and it feels good. I am sure I will continue to go through phases of complete disinterest and strong interest, but I hope to no longer feel as if I my interest in Mormonism is something I need to get over.

Part of what motivated me to write this, is that for the past several weeks my interest in Mormonism has been in an upswing. I've been reading liberal Mormon blogs and the Deseret News(regularly reading the Deseret news is always a sign I'm in an interested phase) and listening to the Mormon Stories podcast.


This next part isn't necessarily related to what's above except that it is about Mormonism and is something I came across today as I've been reading various Mormon Blogs. I thought it was funny but also illuminating. It makes a point that seems obvious yet had never occurred to me before. It is about The Rameumptom from the Book of Mormon.

Written by someone named Phil:

Cast: A father and his daughter.

"What's a Rameumptom, Daddy?"

"Well, the Book of Mormon says it was a place where the Zoramites stood to worship and pray."

"But my Primary teacher said it was a tower that evil people used."

"I can see how someone could think that. The Book of Mormon says it was a place for standing which was high above the head' and only one person at atime could go up there."

"Was it like the speaker's stand in the church?"

"A speaker's stand? You mean a pulpit? Yes, I suppose it was. In fact, the word 'Rameumptom' means 'the holy stand.'"

"What's so evil about a holy stand, Daddy?"

"Well, it wasn't the stand that was evil. It was how it was used. The people gathered there in their synagogue. . ."

"What's a synagogue?"

"Just a different word for chapel or church, honey."


"They'd gather in their synagogue one day a week."

"Which day, Daddy?"

"I don't know, honey. It just says 'one day,' and they called it 'the day of the Lord.'"

"It must have been Sunday."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because Sunday is the Lord's day."

"Well, maybe it was. . . Anyway, they'd gather there and whoever wanted to worship would go and stand on the top of the Rameumptom."

"Could anyone go up there?"

"Well, no, that was part of the problem. Apparently, they had to wear the right clothes. . . "

"You mean like us when we wear Sunday clothes, Daddy?"

"Well, not exactly, but in a way, yes, I suppose. Some of us might have a hard time accepting certain kinds of clothes or people in sacrament meeting. But we wear our Sunday clothes to help us be reverent, don't we?"

"Yes, Daddy."

"So anyway, where was I?"

"They went to the top of the Rameumptom. . ."

"Yes, they would go up and worship God by thanking him for making them so special."

"Were they bearing their testimonies?"

"Well, uh, I guess maybe they were in a way, but they weren't true testimonies."

"How come?"

"Because they were too proud."

"What do you mean 'proud,' Daddy?"

"Well, they would talk about how they were 'a chosen and holy people.'"

"My Primary teacher said Mormons are the chosen people and we're a special generation."

"Yes, honey, but that's different."


"Because we are."


"Besides they were very, very proud about how much better they were than everyone else, because they didn't believe the 'foolish traditions' of their neighbors."

"What does that mean, Daddy?"

"It means that they believed everyone else was wrong and they alone were right."

"Isn't that what we believe?"

"But it's different."


"Because we are right, honey."


"Everyone would stand and say the same thing. . ."

"That sounds like testimony meeting to me."

"Don't be irreverent."


"Then after it was all over, they would go home and never speak about God until the next day of the Lord when they'd gather at the holy stand again."

"Isn't that like us, Daddy?"

"No honey, we have Family Home Evening."



At the advice of a triage nurse via my primary care physician I went into the emergency room on Sunday. The doctor couldn't tell me the source of the pain, but she was able to determine that it isn't a gallstone or anything to do with my liver.

One possibility is that it might be an ulcer. They gave me a prescription for Prilosec, which would help an ulcer. If this doesn't help she mentioned some other, more invasive tests that could be done.

Everyone at the hospital was pretty nice and I didn't feel as if I had to wait too long.
One funny thing happened. My nurse requested a urine sample from me and since I was hooked up to an IV I had to do it standing beside the bed. She left the room to give me privacy, but then came in with a cup of ice water. She realized I was peeing and apologized, but didn't leave. Instead, she placed the cup right beside me, apologizing the entire time.

Overall the Prilosec seems to be helping, though I have had occasional bouts of what has easily been the worst pain of my life, lasting about 30-45 minutes.(which isn't necessarily saying much. My previous most painful experience was when I hurt my foot and couldn't walk on it for a couple days).

I'm not really much of a swearer unless it is in jest, but I was surprised to find my reaction to these bouts of pain is to swear up a storm while clutching a pillow.
I seem to remember reading that when we swear out of pain or anger, it comes from a different part of our brain than other language, so perhaps it was an instinctual reaction on my part.

I'm bored of laying down, but it seems to help. My new issue of National Geographic came today, which I am very excited about. I am wanting to try and take advantage of my time in bed. I've been trying to get into the TV show 'Lost', which I was never able to do before, but this time has been holding my attention.



For the past few months I have had some stomach issues, but it's mostly been mild and I seem to have always have a sensitive stomach, so I didn't think much of it.

About a week and a half ago I started feeling some movement under my right rib. It wasn't painful. If anything, I found it oddly pleasant. But it did worry me. I looked at an anatomy chart and realized that under my right rib is my gallbladder. Until then, I had no idea what a gallbladder even was, now I know that it releases bile to help digest foods containing fat. It is helpful, but not vital. A person can live without one.

About three maybe four days ago, the feeling in my gallbladder became unpleasant and has been increasingly more painful.

Looking online, I am pretty sure I have one of these:

These are gallstones and they are surprisingly attractive.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow where I will find out for sure. If it is in fact a gallstone and I have to have it surgically removed, I hope to keep the stone.
I feel mostly okay at this moment, but the pain comes in waves. Sometimes it is so bad I can't stand up or even think straight.

The pain seems to get worse towards the evening, but this morning was pretty bad as well.

From what I've been reading, I think what happened was that the gallstone had been loose in my gallbladder, but then a couple days ago became lodged in a duct, which caused the pain to begin.

Anyway, the past few days I've felt pretty miserable. I can't tell if I am being a baby, or if my misery is reasonable. Since late yesterday afternoon I've been staying in bed, because it seems to help.
The thing about stomach pain which is so difficult for me, is it is more than just physical pain. Since the digestive system is so closely linked to the nervous system (think of how certain emotional states cause certain feelings in your stomach or bowels.and vice versa) I've also felt emotional discomfort.
All that being said, it isn't fully bad. As i mentioned, the pain comes in waves. So when the pain isn't, like right now, I get to experience the fun of laying around in bed without feeling as if I should be up and doing something.
It really makes me feel for my mom who has had chronic pain for something like 7 years now.


Rats off to ya!

I posted this earlier, but didn't notice till now that the bottom half didn't show up in my browser, so am re-posting it.
Ever since last week I've had troubled relationship with the toilet.

(warning, what follows may leave you too with a troubled toilet relationship. Read at your own risk!)

You see, last week's episode of This American Life opened with a story was about a couple who came home to their apartment in Portland one evening to discover a rat had climbed up through their plumbing and into their toilet. Not once, but TWICE!

Ever since, whenever I'm on the can, I can't stop imagining a rat finding its way into my toilet and taking liberties with the most vulnerable parts of my body.

I can recognize that my fear is not especially rational, but that doesn't lessen it. When you have offered your exposed bottom to a device which may or may not lead directly to rat world and you aren't even able keep your eyes on it, you are in a pretty vulnerable position.

I keep hoping that as time passes I will stop thinking about the possibility of a rat wreaking havoc on defenseless behind whenever I enter the bathroom and I'm sure that eventually I will, but if anything this week of thinking about it has intensified my apprehension.

How awful would it be if I developed an overwhelming phobia of toilets. I would have to go in the shower or in a bucket and then dump it in the toilet or something.

I don't think this is very likely to happen.

In or out.

One thing that has long been curious to me, is why do some people, when learning about the troubling elements from Church history leave immediately, while others stay around a long time before eventually leaving(or even not leaving). I myself spent at least two to three years having serious doubts about The Church, trying to reconcile the difficult things I was continually learning about the church with the aspects I loved and believed. (similar to several people I know) Whereas other people I've known leave the Church almost immediately after learning of it's uncomfortable past. Both groups seem to have been equally devoted to the Church before their doubting, and frequently I have wondered, what is it that separates these two approaches. (aside from the fact that some people who leave quickly were just looking for a reason to not believe. I'm sure that happens, but among people I know it seems less common.)

Today, something finally dawned on me. People who leave the Church quickly tend to have a more 'things are either this way or that way' sort of approach to life. When applied to the Church they would take the approach that either the Church is totally true, or it isn't true at all. In thinking of the people I know who left the Church quickly, this seems to characterize their approach to many issues.

I do not mean to attach any judgment to this. While I personally tend towards not being that way, I think it can have some benefits. For example, I think my life would have been simpler if I was able to have quickly left the Church.

I don't think this is the only factor separating these two groups of people, but it seems like a significant one.

I think the way a person's parents approached religion can be a factor. Children of parents who took a more restrictive approach to religion will often feel a bigger backlash and resentment if they learn things which don't support the traditional restrictive views they were raised with. If a person is raised to think their Church is ABC and anything outside of that is wrong, will have a difficult time when learning their Church also includes DEFGHIJKLMN. Whereas a person who was raised believing their church is ABCDEFGHIJ, probably won't have as hard a time when they learn it also includes KLMNOPQRSTUV.
But this again goes back to 'things are this way or that way' sort of thinking. Perhaps they view the world in those terms because that is how it was presented to them by their parents. Or they inherited that approach to things genetically from their parents.


Grocery store music

Whenever I hear a song in the grocery store that I think has artistic merit, I think about how disheartening it might be to hear one of your songs being played in a grocery store.
Background music in a grocery store seems like one of the lowest forms of artistic expression. Something deliberately not meant to have a strong impact on the listener, but rather to be as non-intrusive and easily digestible as possible.
I imagine the artist buying groceries, feeling at first a surge of excitement at the recognition of his own music over the speakers but then saddened to realize that this is what his or her music has come to.
Well, I was listening to an interview on Npr with some 'Creed' sounding musician who surprised me when he said that hearing his music in the grocery store is one of the best feelings in the world.


Rats off to ya!

Ever since last week I've had troubled relationship with the toilet.

(warning, what follows may leave you too with a troubled toilet relationship. Read at your own risk!)


I have been noticing an upswing in describing something large as being able to be seen from space. I've been hearing it often in reference to the oil spill. Just now on npr I heard that description used to describe this giant beaver dam.
I find this description not helpful at all.
Where is space? One mile up? 100? The moon? Pluto?
I know my house can be seen from space. I've checked myself on Google earth. But my house isn't very big. We have good optics that can see things from far away, so seeing something from space isn't very impressive, or helpful in understanding the size of the object.
Perhaps if these descriptions were more specific, ex: '___can be seen with the naked from the space station', it would be useful to me.

P.S. (written 5/12)
I don't want it seem as if I was really worked up about this issue. I am not at all. I just happened to be listening to npr with my laptop in front of me and so noted my observation. I am also not worked up about the possibility of having seemed worked up, I was just looking back at this and wanted to include post script. I am also not worked up about having seemed to be worked up about having seemed to be worked up.


Lord Neanderthal.

I was reading an interesting article today about the mapping of the neanderthal genome on the npr website.(Turns out humans DID have sex with Neanderthals. European's at least. Genes specific to neanderthals are found in people of European Ancestory but not African. Which makes sense since neanderthals lived in Europe. How widespread the human Neanderthal love affair went is unknown. Theoretically it may have only happened once, though that seems unlikely)
The article on Npr included this photo of an artist depiction of a neanderthal.

Looking at it, I thought the face looked awfully familiar.

Then it dawned on me.. It is none other than our Lord and Saviour...Jesus!

(if you are wondering why I say this dumbfounded looking man is Jesus, click here)

After getting over my surprise that Jesus was actually a neanderthal, I noticed the picture also reminded me of someone else.
None other than our other Lord and Savior....Cat Stevens!

Their face is kind of similar, but mostly I am thinking about the short bangs/big beard.

So not only Jesus was a Neanderthal, but he was clearly a friend or acquaintance of Cat Stevens. Maybe he asked C. Stevens to give him a hair cut, or he just liked Cat's hair enough to style his own the same way. Either way, these neanderthal genes have shown there is a lot we didn't know about Jesus.(or Cat Stevens)


Rainbow prints

For some reason, Glen has taken a liking to standing in my watercolor pallet(it is a rectangular plate with inch high walls) while grooming himself. This leads to rainbow paw prints over the kitchen counter.
In other cat news, ever since he jumped from the window sill onto my face and experienced my startled, angry reaction, he seems to have learned to not jump on our stomachs(or faces) anymore. He carefully jumps in between us.
I also wonder if he might be bi-polar. For a few days he will be wild then seem melancholy for several days and then a few days being even-tempered. Maybe he is just going through puberty.
Cats: the most boring thing to hear about unless it is your own.

Really great thing.

There is this medication which I have taken for a couple years now which doesn't really have an equivalent and has no generic form that for some reason my insurance did not cover. It cost me nearly 200$/month.
This is quite a bit of money for a person like me(poor), but I didn't really have any alternatives. If I could not take this medicine I gladly would.

Because it was so expensive, I would buy only a few pills at a time. As a consequence of this, I had to go into my local Rite Aid at least once or twice a week, making me a 'regular'. Everyone knows knows my name and even recognizes my voice on the phone.
One lady in particular is working almost every time I go in. She is what you probably imagine if you imagined a sweet, kindhearted old lady and I refer to her as 'Grandma'(not to her face). When I go in, she seems genuinely happy to see me as I am to see her.
One day, as I was getting my usual 4 pills, a miracle occurred: there was no charge! It was covered by my insurance!
This was about one week after Obama's health care bill had passed. I have no idea if it was related or not. Perhaps it was connected to one of the changes which took effect immediately, perhaps not, but I like to imagine it is.
Either way, this has a big impact on my life. As you can imagine, I was extremely excited to learn this medication is now covered.
It has been over a month and I don't see 'Grandma' nearly as much, but it is well worth the money I save.
There is no larger principal to this story which inspired me to write about it. It is just something I was really excited about and am still excited about whenever it's remembered.


Plants and signs and shelves.

Here are a few of the things I have been doing with my free time since graduation.(I have quite a bit of free time these days and I LOVE IT!)

I made signs for my herb/vegetable garden. Here are some scanned images:

I made a present for my Grandpa. It is a long story but at the beginning of last quarter I suddenly had to come up with $6000 or I couldn't register for classes and wouldn't have been able to graduate when I did. Thankfully my rich grandpa(he helped found Enron, but is not a crook. He retired before all the shady business went down.) pulled through. This was a present I made to thank him. The pot was made by Marissa. The sign by myself and the plant by mother nature(vs. nurture):

I built and installed a shelf two days ago.
I saw something similar in the New York Times and really liked it.
I am thinking of putting in two more shelves so the windows if filled with plants, however, marissa and I will be moving in a few months, so I'm not sure if I want to put that much work into something I will have to take down soon:

(my camera battery is dead and I can't find the charger, so I took this photo with my mac's photobooth feature. In case you were wondering why the quality is so low)

I also ate some funny candy:

In addition to my inside garden, I also planted an outside garden(marissa helped quite a bit with the outside garden. She did much of the hard work. ie. pulling out the plants and weeds that were already in our tiny little garden space. There was one especially troublesome weed plant that took me almost an hour to pull out. A few of the leaves from it were left in the soil and within days put down considerable roots)

I made a wooden box for something I never ended up using it for and Marissa had the brilliant idea that I could use it as a shelf for my tea things.

(Not that you were interested but that ceramic tile is normally on the wall above the mountain painting. I don't remember why it was on top of the box when I took this photo. And the pencil is normally in my hand writing important documents.)

There are some more things I could post but...my caffeine buzz is starting to wear off.


Today is the second! My favorite day of the month.
The reason?
Food stamps!!!!
Thank you liberals for setting up a system which allows me to eat healthy despite being poor!!
Thank you tax payers for financing this system.
No thank you tea baggers for opposing these sort of organizations.(but I also thank you for continuing to pay your taxes and supporting me.)
Hello Trader Joe's and the co-op. Thank you for having delicious, healthy food at good prices!
Thank you farmers and food processors for providing the food to grocery stores.
And most of all, thank you to me. Thank you Christopher and God bless you with the force of a million tumble weeds blowing into your face.
To all my poor friends, you should really look into getting food stamps. It is easy to do and really makes a big difference.
To all the tea baggers again.


A true story.

I 8 a sl8 on a g8 with my l8 gr8 m8 on a d8. We then went str8 to our est8 to deb8 our in8 tr8s and cr8 pl8s. Although she was ir8 it did not neg8 our f8 or make us h8. We read the gold pl8s while feeling sed8. We then chose to conjug8 and procr8. Then we talked about the number seven.

I swear all of this is true.