Thursday, August 25, 2016

1960's Fashion

In honor of watching The Man from U.N.C.L.E. again, I am posting about '60's fashion. Also, I plan on rewatching That Darn Cat. I had thought I could not really make '60's fashion work with my figure, but I found some patterns on etsy that would work for me. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

2016 Election and Real Conservatism

My understanding of conservatism is anti-federalism, small government, and Constitutionalism with Christian principles. You obey God first, the government second, you respect everyone because they are all made in the image of God while simultaneously punishing the evil and rewarding the good as the Bible instructs.

Here are some of the most intellectual sources on conservative politics and government I have come across:  Listen to his podcasts as they are amazing. Especially the ones about presidential character. This source is Christian.

Earlier when the two candidates became clear and my independent search turned up fruitless, I decided that I would not vote (I mean, Hitler or Stalin . . . what kind of choice is that?). Then I found an ancient candidate for the Constitution Party and thought I would vote for him. Then I remembered and fully grasped the understanding the write-in option (oh, the political ignorance and laziness of this country), and I thought that I would write in Cruz even though I have no way of knowing if he filled out the paperwork my state requires for a write-in candidate to be legally valid. Then I began hearing serious discussion about a new, serious, conservative candidate: Evan McMullin. I think he may get enough attention to a least not prove an embarrassment or a throw-away vote.

Here is his commendable letter

Final Thoughts of Our Western Survey Trip

Most of us kept a travel journal. I painted two simplistic paintings on the spot and some rough sketches. I glued in a ticket and a menu. I have added in more details and will continue to do so until I feel it is complete enough, but I need to make a better effort next time by writing quotes, memories, activities, etc. down sooner before I forget.

I may have mentioned this before, but I added 7 new states for a total of 22 visited/lived in. Now, some of these we only drove through, but I am counting those anyway.

We brought plenty of car entertainment (far too much; we hardly used any, and we could have used the space), but my youngest sisters provided quite a bit on their own. For example, the first day we were regaled to the entire first verse of "God Bless America" for every.single.U.S.flag my little sisters saw. I feel like we were in flag territory that day too.

My foodie attempts failed, miserably. I will keep suggesting, but I just need to realize I will probably have to try new places on my own, we are a rather unadventurous and VERY impatient family when it comes to food.

I recently finished a book on Native Americans which mentioned the economy of casinos on reservations. We saw the evidence of that. We discovered that as reservations have their own regulations, casinos are allowed on reservations in states that do not allow them in other areas.

I loved seeing all the wildflowers. I feel like the areas of my state that I frequent most do not have the variety that I saw on this trip (or they are mostly yellow and white). I know that picking wildflowers is often illegal, so I did not pick any, but I wished I had researched to see if I could pick some in order to have a few for my travel journal.

I heard quite a few European languages spoken in the Grand Canyon and noted many Asians.  My sisters noted a lot of Europeans at Zion National Park also. I heard fewer than I would have thought in San Diego. Of course the number of Latinos (probably mostly Mexican, especially in San Diego) increased as we traveled with Mom saying she felt like a minority in San Diego. I felt like I did not see many African Americans although that could be because in many of my work situations and school situations, I saw a higher percentage than I would otherwise. And we saw some Native Americans as well, though less than I anticipated. So less ethnic diversity and fewer foreigners than I expected I suppose.

We did not get very far into the trip before I decided to make dream itineraries for other road-trips such as the northwest, northeast, and Blue Ridge Parkway. I would prefer to be less crunched for time and to make foodie exploration more of a priority.

I did finish one of my photography classes and started reading my photography book before the trip. I brought two spare batteries and two extra memory cards. I replaced my battery maybe twice but used the same (16 GB) memory card even though I shot RAW. I learned some points during the trip and when going through my photos.

I still overshot, mainly at the zoo; I had my face to the camera the majority of the time there when I should have focused on my favorites and animals unique to the San Diego Zoo. Part of the reason for the the overshooting was the inability to tell how well focused the photos were. I came home with around 1200 (I think) photos. I would shoot and then delete the photos that I could tell were bad, but I need to purge at least 50%. I need to hone my skills, so I can take fewer photos faster (I was hounded about my speed) with a higher success percentage, but I also need to choose my moments and subjects. And I need a good tripod and self-timer if I want quality evidence that I went on the trip!

I posted unedited and lightly edited photos on this blog, but my main focus is a photo book, and I need to learn more about optimizing RAW photos with editing. I think I will give myself several months to complete this project because 1) I made myself sick of the photos quickly 2) I need to learn more, and 3) I do not want to feel rushed. I also need to research a reasonably priced, high quality photobook. I do not want to pay too much, since no matter how I edit my photos, they will not be professional quality, but I want my effort to pay off.

A Few Notes for Future Trips
-Better prepare for photography and art/travel journal (I think I want an insta camera to some quick moments for journal).

-If I want good food, I will have to buy it. But we should have made the effort to have a cooler. Jerky, nuts, dried fruit, fruit, fast-food etc. is not the greatest diet.

-Wetwipes are a must; I packed some homemade ones and these proved so popular we bought more.

-Calculate space for purchases (I toted around a box for my fragile goodies which cause grumpiness).

-Because of entertaining sisters and sound sensitivity the audiobooks and Adventures in Odyssey mainly served to take up much needed space rather than entertainment. If you can (we couldn't in that car) take advantage of downloadable options.

-The coin laundry in hotels is EXPENSIVE. So you have to find a balance between space and expense when packing. Even on low outdoor and exercise days, I did not really want to re-wear clothes after using disgusting restrooms, so I washed clothes more often. Washing in the sink isn't really an option if you are staying only one night it most hotels because clothes won't have time to dry.

-Knits, knits! I ironed too much. I know most people won't really have that issue, but I really need more casual and easy elegance clothes.

-I missed a few beauty tools/toiletries. Luxury yes, but I would have been happier with them, and they would have been small. I could also have downsized a few more items.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Public Consensus and Morality

The problems with popular opinion "we know now" and human rights is that it is a public persuasion (or brainwashing) to elite intellectual consensus RATHER than personal conviction based on religion or demonstrable scientific law. The difference between, "I believe it is wrong," and "I am told to/shamed into/brainwashed into thinking that of course it is wrong." Between knowing and assuming. Our constitution and country* is based on this type of human reasoning as if philosophy can prove moral statements such as "self-evident truths." That self-evidence gives leeway to all kinds of personal (therefore, relative) interpretations. Morals change based on changing opinions and consensus. And people rely on consensus rather than proof to promote their morality.

When the majority hold one view, that one view is held by those in power and the majority of the believers are usually persuaded or manipulated to agree rather than convicted to hold that opinion. Therefore the same reasons for slavery are the same reasons against it: popular opinion (swayed by personally interested/convicted). The same goes for any other moral view. Victorianism was not because God said but because of overall cultural adherence to what a few people believed out of genuine conviction.

We do not actually know; we believe because we choose to do so, the same as those poor ignoramuses who upheld opposing opinions. Very few concepts can be demonstrated to be true, and none of those concepts involve philosophy and morality. Those are belief systems. People make statements against such as "The Bible is so old; it is outdated," but have no way to prove that these statements are anything more than opinions. Dislike and disapprobation are not the same as refutation. These same people can offer no argument for their own beliefs beyond stating that their beliefs are upheld by "human rights" and "equality and fairness." Who is to prove that such moral concepts as human rights exist. Who is to determine their definition and why is such a person or group to be obeyed. The terms are intentionally relative; that is the only way people can use them to invent their own personal moral codes. People have to believe in the concept of human rights (and instead of trying to prove that it is true, they take its truth for granted and expect everyone else to also) in order to support their moral code the same way Christians believe in the Bible.

*America was a "Christian nation" in morals, not in law; the distinction is very great because once we threw off our Judeo-Christian morality and any pretense of Christian conviction the law showed itself for what it was: relativism based on Enlightenment, not Christian reasoning. America is based on relative principles originally understood in the light of Christianity, and  now people interpret those principles however they please. You can mask relativistic principles as Christian, but unless you address the relativism, the tides will turn. Moral relativism and popular consensus accepting Christian morals for a time is not Christianity.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Extrovert, Introvert, Ambivert . . . Personality Tests and Research Are SO Much Fun

I love all sorts of personality/character tests . . . from Harry Potter House Placement (Ravenclaw through and through, peoples) to the scientifically questionable MBTI knockoffs to the Big Five test.

Generally, on the free Meyers Briggs tests I get the same answers, but the percentages change (I have taken some a couple times). Also, some the descriptions don't match well. I know of the problems with Meyers Briggs and agree (particularly the thinking or feeling issue), but I still find it fun, particularly when so many people assign the types to book and movie characters. I am seriously considering taking some paid tests, including the MBTI.

I recently learned about Ambiverts. Duh, people. A lot of the descriptions of introverts and extroverts are pretty extreme. And people in the middle are not all similar either; there are those who are steady and balanced in their middle characteristics, and then there are those who swing from side to side and their characteristics "average" out in the middle.

Take a quick test on the Quiet Revolution.

Kindred Grace has posted tons of articles and links about personality types and various tests. Here is the link to their resource lists.

The Enneagram Institute has a free, shorter form of the enneagram test on their website here (homepage).

Here is the link to a long Big Five personality test.

Also, this is kind of hilarious point of view (a lot of the personality types act like everyone is sweet and sensitive). Speaking of sensitive narcissists, have you seen this hilarious Emo Kylo Ren twitter? I discovered in from this blog post.

And this is not personality, but after reading Ultraviolet, I found synesthesia interesting, especially as I noted that this sensory disorder/superpower explains certain ways L.M. Montgomery described concepts in her novels. Unfortunately, I am not remotely synesthetic (is that a word; it needs to be for explanatory purposes), but I find it interesting to hear about anyway. So, here are some tests of the different types of synesthesia.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Yarn Along

I am linking up here again.

I actually finished this book yesterday. Wow. Read it, but prepare to feel the horror. The descriptions are not graphic, but between the style of writing, cruelties mentioned, my previous WWII college classes, and my imagination, I really got the feel of cringing fear. I still don't think it is Book Thief level in my liking, but as for understanding the spirit of fear in WWII, I think it is far more accurate. (Yet another reminder, that most Americans, even the British also, really don't understand the horror of events in which we are only partially involved; we are so insulated. The war was not on home soil, and the wars fought on U.S soil did not destroy daily life for the entire nation). Quite unlike the rather silly Code Name Verity. Mentioning hard things does not evoke the proper tones, the touch of horror the protected and pampered need to feel.

Anyway, I am working on Standing Stones Cowl in fingering. I bought two patterns with a reader's discount offered via Ginny Sheller's blog several months ago. I have finished knitting another medium size accessory, but I still have some finishing work to do, perhaps blocking. I finished a scarf except for buttons, but I want to wait until I get the "perfect" ones before I picture it. One of my mom's friends had preemie, so I knit a preemie hat (that one is not pictured), and then a baby shower at church caused me to knit a regular baby hat, so I decided I would start stocking up on small baby knits. The cream one below was for the shower, the top two are preemies, and the bottom is for a normal baby. I would like to add socks, headbands, and booties to my stock as well. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Foul Language

A Youtube video and comments (I know, I know; Youtube comments are the most idle, inane, and worthless conversations and arguments ever) inspired me to think the issue of Christian and foul language out a little. People try to make words and meanings relative, "It's just a word." Really, then why use it at all if it is so meaningless? The choice to use or omit a word gives the word meaning and weight. If those words are so changeable, why haven't the definitions changed? Curse words have held the same foul meanings and connotations for centuries while other words garner additional meanings and new words are coined regularly. Besides, the Bible is very clear that every word counts, good or bad, with idle falling into the bad category. Here are a few of the many Bible verse on foul language

Ephesians 5:4 (NKJV) neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV) Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Luke 6:45 (NKJV) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart[a] brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:36 (NKJV) But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Culture Relativism and Cultural Appropriation and This Is How Culture Dies

I understand that when I visit another culture I need to obey certain rules and manners, "When in Rome do as the Romans do." This is just a basic manners principle to be respectful, not mimic the cultural. One needs to be sensitive and discerning. This concerns a LIVING culture that you are VISITING.

The whole cultural appropriation argument is based on the argument that you should never borrow anything from a culture to which you do not belong. And is one of the most ridiculous of the ridiculous arguments out there from my lovely, charming generation. NO culture has ever grown in isolation. EVERY culture borrows and improves and sheds and changes. When people attempt to keep a language or culture alive, that is a death knell, nay a sign that the culture is already dead; this attempt speeds the fossilization. Stagnation and isolation are death to a culture. Instead of trying to horde your culture, you should seek the exchange of cultural ideas.

Sometimes one culture may find and develop something, a plant for example (cacao and tea trees), but then another culture takes and develops it into something more widely appealing (chocolate and the British tea culture). I feel that the cry of "cultural appropriation" comes from minorities and is directed at larger, more thriving cultures. Instead of trying to tear down the stronger culture, borrow what is good and improve it. True success is not bringing others down to your level, but rather trying to reach or exceed their level.

I am not a cultural relativist; some cultures are much worse than others and some cultures are weaker than others. I do believe all cultures have evil (since I believe in human depravity). I know that the Caucasian invasion of the Americas had MANY horrible wrongs attached, but enough land existed to share. Native Americans expected the stronger nation to understand and appreciate their concepts of land ownership instead of trying to understand said stronger nation's concepts and how that would play out for the Native Americans. The U.S. understood the Native Americans' concept of land ownership . . . and used it. I think U.S. history of manipulation and cheating HORRIBLE, but the Native American pettiness (the U.S. easily played on their tribal warring) and narrowness of cultural comprehension (inability or refusal to understand the rapacious U.S. desire for private land ownership) contributed to their own downfall.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Social Media

I think that there exist two main types of Social Media usage: actively interacting and passively reading. Using both ways is best if you use them to your own and/or other peoples' benefit.

My two platforms of choice are Pinterest and Blogger. I find much to inspire and enjoy on both sites; I certainly have wasted time on both, and I dislike the commercialism of Pinterest now, but I can control myself and use Blogger and Pinterest to improve and/or amuse myself far more profitably than the other forms of Social Media I have used.

I have been on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter. The latter two I joined for mainly for such activities as giveaways and web series and did not really use well. Google+ was also short lived. I joined Tumblr to read blogs, but the disgusting content of suggested blogs lead me to delete my account and bookmark the blogs I wished to read. Also, I am not sure I really understand the reasoning behind the use of Tumblr rather than Blogger or Wordpress as a blog platform or rather than Pinterest for curating.

Facebook I utilized more, but I deleted my account over a year ago (and I want to see if I can block  Twitter and Instagram's websites since you can still get on even if you do not have accounts). I hated all the news and spam and advertising. I wasted so much time being a busybody which is the main use of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook that I can see for me; what a waste of time and what a method to embitter. These sites are not maturely thought provoking or book group discussion like or artistically inspiring like many of the blogs I follow. They don't provide good ideas and links and inspiration and the ability to make visual shopping lists like Pinterest.

I am not saying these sites are wrong (although advertising content often is), but I just cannot right use them very well for myself (usually as a passive reader). I also cannot see that many other people use them well (as active participants) with the oversharing, thoughtless linking, etc. For the few who do use them well, kudos to you.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Easter Outfit Take 2

I was working on my dress and remembered an idea from Pinterest. I would have loved to have a polka dot, but I found a lace top too late for Easter which ended up being fine as I finished the dress too late as well.

I used Simplicity 1607. I had to alter the princess seams a bit to fit my small bust. The neckline gaped; I wonder if I adjust the shoulders (to fit my sloping shoulders) the neckline would gape less? I bought the lace top via Ebay. I love that I can make several different outfits out of this dress if I wanted.