Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Accessinf IMDb in Finland makes me Angry

I would like to state I really hate imbd here in Finland. In case you dont know it is a really handy website for answering the age old question of "Who is she? She looks so familiar. What else have I seen her in?". The problem with it here in Finland is it translates all the titles of the movies into their Finnish versions but leaves the text intact in English. I hate this because, first of all this is annoying as you can see here:

I was looking up a show, (Undercover Blues) someone mentioned, wanting to know what it was about and if I had by any chance seen it. This makes me gringe but not go all She Hulk, but this does:

I was looking up roles of the handsome Lou Diamond Philips and also his bio to figure out his ethnicity after watching an episode of Numb3rs last week. As you can see in the picture above, below his name it says 'Photos from "Luopiot"' this, unlike the main page does not have the original movie title written below it. Have I seen this movie? I have no idea, don't recognize the title. In order to know this I would like have to do another search to know what movie this picture was from. So pissed off. Going She-Hulk!

Got some acreen shot software, had to use it on a post. Greenshot is its name and not what I was looking for but seems to work pretty well.

In more serious news, something that does not make me go She-Hulk but rather makes me blink back tears, a friend of mine passed away last night. We were not the closest friends but he was a great person and a key person in our community here and I will miss him and already do. I just talked to him Sunday last time. I was working security and opened the door for him, because it was inconvenient for him to do it because he walked with crutches. I chatted about some plans I had and how I was worried I would not be able to find the coffee shop and he offered to have someone else going there for the same event meet me and help me find it. He was a really great person and we will have a giant hole in our little English Service community now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Update on my life

I am in a fairly boring kind of depressing part of my life. I am really just waiting, waiting to apply for school. I have a fairly good chance of not getting in. You see, I went to a really good high school in the USA, which was a big mistake. Why, how could that be? You got a good education right? Yes, I did. I got an excellent education. I enjoyed all the stuff I learned and loved my teachers who worked very hard to make my grammar and spelling understandable and tutored me on their off periods to help me pass trigonometry, which I both hated and never understood. This top notch education never did any favors for my grades. I went to public school for most of middle school where I was never in danger of failing anything and even got into the junior honor society and on the honor roll with no effort on my part. This excellent education never did me any favors when it came to getting into college and it will not do me any favors getting into the school of applied sciences social work program either, which I am trying to apply to, or will in a month or two.

Other than this I am idle, very idle and slothful. I did sign up for the security team at church, they needed more women and all I have is time right now, I could technically work all services and events, I won’t but I will work many at first because I want to learn the ropes. Later, if I do a good job, they will pay for me to get licensed as a security guard which means I can get paying work also so I am not volunteering just from the goodness of my heart I think it would be a good way to earn a little cash if I get into school next fall, or especially if I don’t. My resettlement aid will run out this fall so if I am not getting student aid I have to get a job. The only other job I could get is cleaning and that is not what I really want to do, well, I could do warehouse work, that would be good.

Last night I worked security for the first time. I did not do much, mostly sat on my butt and asked questions and chatted in general. I did get hit on by a slightly douchey guy. He had a rhinestone encrusted cross of bishoply proportions (as in Catholic bishop), two gold stud earrings in one ear, he was about ten years older than me and asked me for coffee. I mean not at a coffee shop but after we literally exchanged like three words and I said I was waiting for someone he asked me if I wanted to go downstairs to get coffee with him. I said no. According to the other security guys he usually does not stay for the service just the coffee, but he did last night. After the service he came to talk to us and basically said that he was the only one in this church who believed the whole Bible, he was not ordained by the church, but by God and he was a future missionary but not sent by the church but God himself. So, I gather he is not perfect, just better than everybody else.

Like I said, I am in a boring and kind of depressing place right now. There is a lot of stuff happening, or going to happen without my control. I really am not sure what to do with my time; the house is actually clean, which is an indication that there is something really wrong.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I would prefer not to atrophy, I like gains

Today I came across two articles about Christianity that made me think and want to write blog posts. The first one is The Advice the Western Church Never Heeded. While I do not completely disagree with the collection of quotes here, some I find to be absurd like the first one about the scientist dissecting the bird. Unless this scientist is an idiot, very rare in my experience among scientists, he would not be studying the bird by dissection alone but get several and observe their behavior in addition to doing vivisection. As far as I know the point of vivisection is to not have your subject die, but to sew them up afterwards so what happened was an accident especially when searching for the source of its life. I hate when people make metaphors when they do not know what they are talking about. It undermines your aim. Talk about things you understand when making a metaphor. I mean that is a bit of hair splitting on my part but it really annoys me when people do that. Also the ostrich metaphor bothers me too it could not fly no matter how hard it tried, it is just too heavy and, if I remember correctly, lacks the hollow bones of its fellow avians. It simply does not need to fly because it runs any more than I do.

What do I agree with? I suppose the fact that American Christianity is saturated with materialism. Other than that I am not in agreement because the overall tone is anti-intellectual, anti-thought and anti-questioning. To use a metaphor myself, one I hope to execute better than the person being quoted on this blog. Your faith is like a muscle if you never use it, it will not be challenged it will atrophy and disappear. If you lift weights it will get bigger and stronger. Weight lifting is based of challenging and hurting the muscle to break it down in order to build it up better than before. The exercise of questioning your faith will break it down in small ways but it will make it stronger and more apt to take on greater challenges in the future. I for one lift weights. My progress has not been astounding in the past year but there has been a little progress. One year ago I did eight bicep curls with a 5kg weight, now I do 12 bicep curls with a 7.5kg weight. Soon I can move up a weight and will do a significantly lower number of reps with a 10kg weight (I have adjustable weights they do not alter in traditional increments of 1kg). Why do I do this? Well I really hate people falling over laughing when I flex.

Anyway, enough about my puny arms. I think the biggest problem in Christianity is the lack of questioning and encouragement to really figure out your own faith. If you rely on others to tell you what to believe unquestioningly in the best case scenario you miss the point of Jesus dying for us and giving us a direct line to God, in the worst case scenario you end up drinking some Kool-Aid with some outwardly happy people in matching track suits and die. Think about what you believe in and if a pastor says something you don’t understand, ask him or her, or look it up in the Bible yourself but most of all think about it yourself and pray about it. God gave you brain and he is not above answering your questions. If you don’t understand something in the Bible the same principle applies.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Santa, Toothfairy and Jesus: What is the Difference?

I am a huge party pooper when it comes it innocent childhood beliefs. I have been called mean by old ladies because I won’t pay my son money and tell him a magical fairy brings it when he loses a tooth. I never grew up with it and I just can’t make myself pass down the story. I do tell my son about Santa Clause but I could not keep up the pretense that there is a magical gift giving man who is able to ignore the laws of physics and give all the kids presents. We pretend there is a Santa because it is fun at my house, we don’t actually believe, neither does my son.

Why can mean mommy not let her little boy have a beautiful story about a man who gives gifts to all kids out of the goodness of his heart? I am a bad liar, I feel quilt when I keep up a pretense without saying it is a pretense. Still that is not all. We are not wealthy enough to pull it off. We cannot buy our son what he asks for, just a few items and then have the grandparents provide a few more. He asks us why did Santa not bring him something he really wanted. What am I going to say? I don’t know, ask Santa. Then he asks me, why did so and so get a lot more presents than him. He was a better kid than you son. How can I answer this question and keep it within the realm of the story without making him feel bad about himself? I feel bad saying, I don’t know, because that is a lie. I very much know why. It is because we are poor. Santa did not bring him as many presents because we are poor. Santa believes in prosperity theology. He measures how naughty or nice you are based on your parents’ income. Wait, no, that is not right either.

I approach the story of Santa as a fun little fairy tale and I also tell him about house elves and other fun stuff. I don’t believe in these stories and so I don’t present any of them as the truth. My son has a pretty well developed sense of skepticism about crazy stuff people make up. My husband has not been able to fool him with a crazy story for a while. He is getting to be about seven so it is a good time to start spotting when other people are trying to fool you. I was really gullible on the other hand well into my teens. Skepticism is a defense mechanism I learned the hard way. There is a difference between being optimistic and an imaginative skeptic and an uninspired cynic. Not that there is anything wrong with being a cynic, it is just nothing one wishes on a child.

So you might ask me, I hear you: What about your religious beliefs? How can you perpetuate that mythology on your child? The simple answer is that I actually believe in that. My son can tell I am sincere. I do also communicate to him the value of other systems of belief and non-belief and tell him they are sincere too. I introduce my son to other belief systems. I also tell him that the people believing them are just like us in their sincerity. This way he can evaluate things on a more realistic footing. He does not seem to be too interested in religious things, he has not asked me a lot of questions, but that is fine. He is more interested in science, cars, Legos and sledding down hills at the moment. Still, I think I am ready for the hard questions. I have asked them myself and I am not afraid to admit what I don’t know or understand. I always try to approach whatever my son asks with age appropriate honesty and I will continue that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I found this video on Mars Hill Refuge and wanted to share it with you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mark Driscoll, the Douchelord (I am a wee bit angry in this one)

My problem is that I get angry and upset really easily at phenomena. Children starving in Africa: I want to punch someone. Old Chinese men made to live in shipping crates in Helsinki construction sites with no running water and improper heating because greedy men trafficked them here: I would toss my chair out of the window if it would not make a mess and get us in trouble with the land lady. I have this seething, calculating stress enducing, enduring bad temper. This is why I avoid the news. Why would I want to read about human rights violations and injustices when I can’t do anything to fix them especially when I feel like having a heart attack for hours after? Yes, I have a problem. Writing about it and posting it anonymously on the internet really helps.

I did not want to know anything about Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll especially since I was fairly sure I did not count in his view of the world because I am not a “real” woman, my husband is not a “real” man, ours is not a “real” marriage and I am pretty sure I am not among his elect. Also if my husband was to all of a sudden to turn into Mr. Driscoll’s definition of a “real” man I am not sure what I would do with him or what use he would be to me. On that note why would I want to give my reverence to a God so petty, small and legalistic? I was not created good enough or with the self-discipline to be good enough and there is really no true grace in the Calvinist world view (in my opinion, let me remind the reader that all opinion on this blog, unless stated otherwise is mine).

Now, since I cut off ties with my Mars Hill congregant friend I have been obsessed about reading about the phenomena. I do not so much have a problem with the fact that I theologically disagree with the man and he reads the Bible like the Devil, which is fine, because I believe in religious freedom. People are free to choose this lifestyle if they want but the problem is the disallowing of criticism and cult like control that is exerted over membership’s lives. At Mars Hill when a person questions, they are not given proper freedom to question and are hushed up for fear that the decent spreads. I mean, everyone knows I am all about questioning; it is the basis with my relationship with my Father in Heaven. I am that child who constantly asks her parent why and the God I believe in patiently allows me to question. Sometimes he answers, sometimes he says that I am not mature enough to know yet and I must wait. I accept that, sometimes I grumble that it is unfair and stomp to my room but that is alright, He understands, it is just who I am. He created me like this and loved me enough as I am to die for me.

Here are some stories by people who know more about Mars Hill than me because I have never been to that church.


Here is the same story as above but from the husband’s perspective which actually adds a lot of dimension to the first one, if it did not I would not be posting both: http://twocleareyes.blogspot.com/2012/01/mars-hill-altar-of-doctrine-and-occult.html

Here is an interesting take on masculine religion which I enjoyed: http://bramboniusinenglish.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/masculine-christianity-is-a-privilege-of-the-english-speaking/

Now I will go and try to calm down I will try not to imagine kicking Mark Driscoll’s ass.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Occupy DC Yesturday

I know people all over the world. When the tsunami struck Japan I worried about an old friend, actually my first boyfriend. I have not been in touch with him for years, but that does not mean I do not care whether he lives or dies. I was filled with anxiety until I found out from a mutual friend that he was alright. Last night was another bit of a scare. There is a guy I know, not too well. I may have talked to him once personally but I follow his blog and I admire him for his commitment to social justice and his willingness to endanger himself to stand up for what is right. He has been involved in the occupy DC protests for months now.

Last night was a real scare. The police tore down their tents and rode through the crowd on horses. There was screaming. People were hurt. I watched it live. The last tweet there was by him was just before they broke up the camp he said he was going to go to their library tent and try to convince the police to let them save the books. Then there was nothing by him for a long time. Turned out the library tent was the only one declared to be in compliance and let stand still he was pushed and kicked.

The occupy protests have been going on for months and no one cares. The media does not report on them as much as they should and my fear is that these peaceful protests will not remain peaceful forever. The protesters have already been there so long they will not just quit and declare all these months wasted. My acquaintance will have the patience to remain peaceful, I am sure. Not all there are as patient as him and things may get ugly.

Let’s not ignore these protests. These are real people standing up for what they believe in. It does not matter if you agree with what they have to say, they still deserve to be heard and their concerns addressed it is their right in a democracy. You may not have someone you know there like I do but you should still care.

Here are a few sites that do live streaming, at least they did last night when the tents were demolished and the protesters chased out of the park. www.ustream.tv/occupydc and http://www.ustream.tv/channel/occupiedair

This is my acquaintance’s blog: http://lambswar.blogspot.com/