Monday, October 3, 2011

Water Moccasin

For those who were wondering about the canoe...

we covered it with fabric strips and a few layers of epoxy,

which looks like something like this. And by something I mean exactly. This is epoxy. :) We also added gunnels and cross bars to the inside for support.

We took the completed 'Water Moccasin' out to Minamiminowa Dam for her maiden voyage. The water was arctic. Thanks to everyone who came to join us!

Our second trip was to Miwa Dam. No swimming this time, but Satoshi and I won a canoe race in the 'Sweet Banana'. Featured above are the lovely B-chan and Chess-chan, Karen, Takashi and Satoshi.

The only thing left to do is cover the little lady in some artwork and a layer of polymer.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

America, the beautiful

To tell you the truth, I find myself in a pleasant if not cheery mood. 
The sun is shining and I have been lounging under a thick blanket for the better part of a crisp, fall day.
I therefore find it regrettable that the following post may come across as a grumpy denunciation. My intention is actually quite the contrary. I was surprised and pleased to happen across an MSNBC news report on a friend's facebook page. Although I found it somewhat crass and fumbling at first, it really got me to thinking about some things that I had been trying to piece together in my mind for some time. Maybe you will agree with my conclusions, maybe you won't. I challenge you to watch the video and examine your own opinions. 

With love.

This newscaster delivers some pretty clear opinions along with his story. Is that ok?
That's my big question.

Hmm... well...
I have decided that I not only condone the delivery of this story, but I am refreshed by it. The newscaster discusses some grave realities without excusing his blunt personal sympathies in the subject matter. But wait! That's a slippery slope, there, buster! You can't inject opinion into the news. It must be clear cut fact. End of story. Unfortunately in this case, I can only agree theoretically with this exceptionally sound argument. There are some major gaps that seem uncrossable by taking a black and white stance on the issue. 

If I were part of a peaceably organized protest and got beaten or pepper-sprayed by an armed authority, I would hope that the public opinion would naturally support my case. I would hate to think that the 'rightfulness' or 'wrongfulness' of my abuse were left up for debate. For pity's sake, we know that behavior is wrong! Don't we? Shall we perhaps validate the victims by holding authorities both privately and publicly accountable for their wrongdoings?

Oh, heavens, no!
That damnable slippery slope!
When can we say it's officially 'ok' to express opinions in the news media? 
It seems like when our silence threatens the longevity of our human rights is a pretty good time. As specified in the United States' most cherished doctrines, we all have the right to safety and dignity. To freedom of religion, speech and assembly. Freedom from fear. Is it therefore not refreshing to hear just one man from a major network speak with indignation when he sees those rights snatched from us in broad daylight?

Furthermore, I can't help but tilt my head in confusion when I witness the double standard that rejects or allows certain opinions from entering into the news. The Bill O'Reillys are somehow permitted to shower us with idealistic American rhetoric and simultaneously dismiss each and every one of those ideals when it doesn't suit this really bizarre agenda. How can you parade around the air 'ho-ho!'ing American values while you are telling my friends and I that we are wrong for our personal choices, the beliefs we hold and the people we are? The only opinions I am continuously besieged by from big news networks are the ones that keep keeping me down. Hippie, fag, non-believer, hoodlum, druggie, bum, feminist, beaner, negro, terrorist, freedom-hater. I have heard so many reasons from the news as to why I shouldn't even be considered an American. Those distasteful words are carefully remolded to be just passable enough to make it onto my TV set and into my newspaper and tell me that I don't belong on the soil of my own country. This I am told ON THE NEWS. ON MY NATIONAL NEWS.
I love every rock in my country. 
I love every one of my countrymen, even if I find some of his or her opinions to be misguided. 
Why don't I belong in the country that I would gladly bleed for, given the right cause? More importantly, why haven't I, along with my disenfranchised brothers and sisters been speaking up? This newscaster did, and I find that I have to have respect for that.

It goes beyond the pale to expect that 'all the weirdos' should keep their mouths shut and play by the rules when it comes to public opinion in the news, while all of the Bills of the world go on telling my family and countrymen that I am unworthy of my homeland. 

It goes beyond the pale to pretend that racism and sexism no longer exist, and we're all even steven. 
It goes beyond the pale to ask the citizens of one of the freest countries in the world to fall in line or get out. 
Who gave these nutjobs the right to speak to anyone in such a despicable manner? Regardless of whether you fall into one of the poisonous, aforementioned categories, could you possibly understand why some of us are exhausted? The news is not liberal, progressive, or even rational anymore. It's sensationalist, farsical, dogmatic, racist. Perverted. Perverted. Perverted. And it perverts malleable minds into accepting and upholding social divisions. I know because I wake up each day with the understanding that America, the beautiful will feed me just a little spoonful of hate before I go to bed. It is sad for me to imagine people with bigger problems than mine choking down even bigger spoonfuls.

I am not unamerican and I am not a police hater. I am just a girl who thinks everyone should have a sense of physical security and emotional belonging in this world. If those needs are unmet, we must use our voices, hearts and minds to destroy the evil from which division stems. The reasons I have given are why I so fully support the news reporter from this video for condemning behavior that is so obviously wrong.

Do you agree?