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DDP Yoga and why I started my journey into it. BANG!

DDP Yoga LogoThis post is written as a break off from my previous post about Tanya and Uliana being in Belarus. I wanted to separate the DDP stuff into another post, so here we go:

First let me tell what DDP yoga is:

About DDP Yoga

DDP Yoga came into being after DDP , the professional wrestler named Diamond Dallas Page, messed up his body while wrestling. The doctors told him he would never wrestle again. He was desperate and would try anything to get back into the ring. His wife was doing yoga at the time and recommended that he give that a try. He was desperate so he tried it, and within 3 weeks he was back to training for wrestling  With his seemingly miraculous return to wresting he worked with a chiropractor who specializes sports extremity medicine affectionately named the ‘Yoga Doc’ , who is also a Power Yoga instructor, to create a workout that integrates Power Yoga, rehabilitation techniques, and dynamic tension to create low impact yoga based workout that delivers cardio and strength training too. He has championed it among his wrestling buddies and many are doing DDP Yoga as a part of their training regiment.

“It ain’t your mamma’s yoga!!”

How It Started

So, why did I start looking into DDP yoga?  Well, it all started when a rep from the Madison Mallards called me to let me know that DDP was going to be at a Mallards game some time in June and will be teaching a class after the game. He wanted to see if our studio wanted to arrange for a group outing for the game and DDP’s class. This, of course, had me thinking DDP?  Yoga?? What the hell is going on here? I spent some time researching it and it looked legit.

In doing some research on this I found  the inspirational story of Arthur Boorman‘s transformation using DDP Yoga, which was amazing. Eventually I bought his book Yoga for Regular Guys (YRG). After reading the YRG book I took a better look at DDPYoga.com and I really liked what I saw. Last Thursday I made the jump by purchasing the Max Combo pack, and then the fun began.

Why I made the Jump

As most of you know, my wife and I have a yoga studio, and she teaches there as the primary instructor teaching about 13 classes per week. I have been taking Yoga with her on and off, depending on babysitting, for about 3 years or so, which has been great for my back and neck. I will also say the Tanya is an awesome instructor.

I have wanted to become a yoga teacher for a few years now, but this is difficult because of babysitting, time (~1 month) and money (~$3,500). The 2 paths I have considered are Power Yoga and Yoga Therapist. I first considered Power Yoga since that would appeal to guys more and it is a great workout for muscle building and weight loss. I definitely need a little bit of both of those, but the possible intensity of workouts sorta scared me. =O I found a more important Yoga focus, since in the last year or so I have been battling with RSI (repetitive strain injury), which is the precursor for carpal tunnel syndrome, and it came to the point where I was concerned about having to quit my job. I decided that if I were to get certified I would pick a therapeutic focus and I found that Yoga Therapy was a possibility, more specifically I found out about the Integrative Yoga Therapist certification which also includes diet and Ayurveda too. I am a strong proponent of ‘fix your freaking diet’ as my friends and family well know. Again, this also takes time and money which we do not have at this time.

Now, DDP Yoga is a nice mixture of both Power Yoga and Yoga for a therapeutic end, and they also recommend good dietary changes too. They recently released the first part of  a certification path which only costs $500 and you can do it at home. If I am able to survive DDP Yoga and benefit from it, especially at the upper levels, I may look into getting certified and then I may run classes in the morning as a sort of a boot camp, but that is in the future and assumes much. We shall see if that shall come to pass.

DDP Yoga Poster

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Here are some links about it in case you get curious:

The First Three Weeks Since Tanya and Uliana are in Belarus

I am writing this post during my fourth week alone, and my first week back to work, so this will be all from memory, and not completely correct, but it will be close enough for government work. I was planning on doing a week by week post, since I expected to be really busy, but that sorta did not happen. My time was pretty much was laced with laziness.

The First Night

The very moment I finished work @ 4:30pm the day after I dropped Tanya and Uliana off  (Tuesday) was strange. I was free with nothing to that I had do, no child to babysit, no yoga class to take, no plans at all, just the emptiness of the night with nothing at all on the agenda, and no one calling for my attention. It was really strange. It has been a long time since I have had moments like that, especially for such a long stretch. Having a child changes things a little bit. =) It felt kind like getting out of basic training in the Navy for the first time, going from where your every minute is scheduled and demands are made of your time and attention, and then nothing. My mind really had no clue what the hell I should be doing. It was expecting to be expecting to be expected to have something to do. Twas strange for me to process. I slowly walked home from work taking my time thinking about all of the things I could do, and then I just went home to prepare for the coming time alone. The first night sleeping alone was a little strange too. I am sorta used to having Tanya there, and not having her there made it hard to sleep. =) =( I miss my Ribchik!!

Week One

The first week  I spent some time cooking, shopping, and doing laundry, as well as doing just a little bit of yoga in the evenings, not so much though. I joined the free trial of Redbox and started to watch some movies, as well as watched some shows of mine that were DVR’ed. I did not really do any reading, sadly enough. This first week had me staying up late, like until 11:00 to 12:00am. Much later than I like. On Wednesday I went down to the game shop to chill with the guys. There is usually a Bolt Action Game going on. Bolt Action is a World War II minis game. I think I also went down on Saturday too to check out the gaming goodness.

Weeks Two and Three (Vacation)

Things pick up a bit during these two weeks in which I was on vacation, and I did not accomplish everything that I was hoping to. Things were more laid back than I was planning. The complete lack of routine totally threw me for a loop. I work much better when I have a rigid routine in place and then I can fit things in as needed.

These first weeks of vacation had me staying up late, like until 12:00am to 1:00am in the morning watching movies on Redbox. I usually woke up late which is like 9:00am or so. I would get up, drink my honey-lemon-cinnamon water, take care of email and Facebook, do my yoga, and then shower. I would finish all of this around 12:00 to 1:00pm, and then I would eat breakfast which would usually start with a protein bar. Once all of that was done I would get on with my day.

Reading Books

I was originally planning on reading my Constitution Law book which I bought for my birthday in 2009 and spent a week of vacation reading it. During that week I read ~583 pages. If you get really bored you can read about that in those posts tagged Constitutional Law: Pricipals and Policies. However, since I really wanted to start at the beginning to read the 1300 pages straight through, preferably in a week, but most likely 2, I chickened out. Before your judgemental bastards judge me keep in mind that this is not like 1300 pages of Lord of the Rings, novel sized pages. These are 1300 pages of college text book sized dense law reading. =P

Below are the few things that I read instead:

First, I finished reading the the following 2 books which were already about 60% read:

God and the Gay Christian: This was perhaps the best book I have read on this topic. I have read a few and this is the first one that was really convincing and really gets it right. This is perhaps one of the most important books of the year.

Mary Magdalene: This is the second book on this topic that I have read and I really enjoyed it. Well researched and it really brought me a better understanding of the ways that Mary was and is understood and what it really means today. Good stuff.

Then I moved on to reading new books. You will notice a sort of a trend in the topics here:

Yoga for Regular Guys (YRG): I had picked this up the previous week and had taken a look at it. This week I spent some time going through the yoga routine in there. I recognized pretty much all of the poses in it so there were no surprises there. The forward for the book was written by Rob Zombie which was neat to see. The book was written in a laid back style for men, a bit sexist, but meant in fun, sorta like a professional wrestler wrote it. =O

So You Want to Open a Yoga Studio: This was a small but awesome book. It covered how and why to open up a studio plus what to look for in a space and so much more. If I were looking into opening up a new studio, this book would be a really great place to start.

Light on Law for Yoga Studios: This was written by the guy who is the legal counsel for Yoga Journal, I think. He is also a lawyer and a yoga teacher too, so this book is chocked full of great advice, thoughts, and actual legal forms you  can use to create your own forms. I will have to take a look at my own studio forms and change things around with the info from this book. I wish I had this when we started our studio and I put together our forms and waivers.

The Yogi Entrepreneur: This was a great book on running a studio from everything from choosing a teacher training program, finding work to social media management. A lot of great advice in there.

Yoga

I did yoga almost everyday. My sessions were anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, though I tended to average about 30 minutes. Loving it.

Gaming

I had Charles over and we played some of the following games which are featured on Will Wheaton’s Table Top series:

I also made it over to the game shop and played some:

I will send a shout out to Brian, who has always been kind to me. He has always played mini based games and he always had an army for me (and others) to play. He bought a Russian army for me and I was able to play it for the first time the last Saturday of vacation. He also has plenty of ships to go around for me to play Star Wars:X-Wing too… go Imperials!!

Strangely enough, especially since I am tactically challenged, I won most of the games. Perhaps their is something magical about vacations? Hmmm…. =)

We also had our bi-weekly Star Wars: Edge of Empire Role Playing Game game too, which went well, and Brian also GM’s that and has been our dedicated and tireless GM for 15 years. You go dude! … and thanks!!

Week Four – At Work

With the start of a new week and starting work, I did some cooking and laundry too. It was not too bad getting back to work since I stopped in on both Sundays to clean out my mailbox and see if anything needed to be done.

DDP Yoga

So, I purchased the DVD Max Pack for DDP Yoga and started it Thursday of last week and have done it everyday so far, except for Sunday. It is pretty intense, and I am definitely sweating when I am done. I am looking forward to continuing this practice to help lean me up and lose some weight.  Now that I am back to work I am getting up at 6:00am so I can get my Yoga in before I go to work which will also charge up my metabolism too. It is going pretty well so far and I am going to bed at around 10:00pm too, which is right about where I want to. It is only 2 days in, but things are going well. For more info on DDP Yoga and why I choose it see my next post.

Tonight I will go to Marley’s and then go to see Godzilla.

Next week I pick up Tanya and Uliana on Friday night, and then, thankfully, everything will be back to normal.

I think I have rambled enough for one post.

Chose to Bless the World” by Rebecca Parker of Starr King UU Seminary

This is a wonderful poem that I heard read at our congregation at the Free Congregation of Sauk County, and it touched me enough to post it. It is written by Rebecca Parker, a Methodist/Unitarian Universalist minister, who attended famous UU seminary the Starr King Seminary.

Choose to Bless the World by Rebecca Parker

Your gifts—whatever you discover them to be—

can be used to bless or curse the world

The mind’s power,
The strength of the hands,
The reaches of the heart,
The gift of speaking, listening, imagining, seeing, waiting

Any of these can serve to feed the hungry,
Bind up wounds,
Welcome the stranger,
Praise what is sacred,
Do the work of justice
Or offer love.

Any of these can draw down the prison door,
Hoard bread,
Abandon the poor,

Obscure what is holy,
Comply with injustice
Or withhold love.

You must answer this question:
What will you do with your gifts?

Choose to bless the world.

The choice to bless the world is more than an act of will,
A moving forward into the world
With the Intention to do good.
It is an act of recognition, a confession of surprise, a grateful acknowledgment
That in the midst of a broken world
Unspeakable beauty, grace and mystery abide.

There is an embrace of kindness that encompasses all life, even yours.

And while there is injustice, anesthetization, or evil
There moves
A holy disturbance,
A benevolent rage,
A revolutionary love,
Protesting, urging, insisting
That which is sacred will not be defiled.

Those who bless the world live their life as a gesture of thanks
For this beauty
And this rage.

The choice to bless the world can take you into solitude
To search for the sources of power and grace;
Native wisdom, healing, and liberation.

More, the choice will draw you into community,
The endeavor shared,
The heritage passed on,
The companionship of struggle,
The importance of keeping faith,
The life of ritual and praise,
The comfort of human friendship,
The company of earth
The chorus of life welcoming you.

None of us alone can save the world.

Together—that is another possibility waiting.

Rebecca Parker

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The Wife and Kid are off to Belarus

It has been a while since I have last posted, but I have some kinda big news for you…

Yesterday, I dropped Tanya and Uliana off at the Chicago airport so they can make their way to Belarus for a month where they will spend time with family and friends. This will be Uliana’s first trip on a plane (and to Belarus)  and Tanya’s first trip back home since Uliana was born (~ 5 years). I am not going, because we could not afford it at this time. =(

The Trip

We had a goodbye lunch with my parents at a Chinese place at noon, and then Tanya finished up their packing and pre-trip checks.  We left by 3:22pm and drove down I-90 to get to the airport. The drive was pretty uneventful due to the rain even though there was a lot of construction zones. We made it there in about 3 hours (~6:30pm). Once we got there we checked their baggage, obtained their ticket,s and then they left for the security check @ 7:35pm. By 8:45pm I received the call that they were finally on board the plane, and that their security check was really quick. Their flight was scheduled to leave at 9:00pm for a nice overnight flight. I started my long drive back home after I knew that they has passed the security check OK. I arrived in Baraboo at 10:40pm and the whole trip cost 1 tank (15 gallons) of gas in our Santa Fe.

I will call them at noon to see how things went. Hopefully, it went well. =)

Update: At 11:15am I received a text and a  voicemail  from Katia saying that they landed, Uliana was great,  and everything went well. Whew!

My Thoughts on Their Trip

I am very happy that they finally get to go to Belarus. I know Tanya has been a bit homesick and really wanting her mother to finally be able to spend time with her grand daughter. We have a lot of family and friends over there that we have not seen in 5 or 6 years. Distance from them is hard. Skype is only so good. There is no replacing talking and meeting in person. Although, we keep our selves really busy, so that helps to not think about it too much.

Uliana’s Passport

While they are there Tanya will have to work on getting Uliana a Belarussian passport. Unfortunately, it is required by Belarussian law that Uliana gets one. She already has a US passport since she is a US citizen, but as far as Belarussian law is concerned she does not choose her citizenship until she is 16 and is kind of considered a citizen of both countries until she is old enough to choose. In the US getting a passport is a pretty painless process. Go and fill out a form, get a picture, pay some money, and then wait a little bit. In Belarus it is significantly more difficult. They are still dealing with Soviet era bureaucracy and red tape. It will go kinda like this: she will need to fill out a form, then go somewhere else to get someone’s signature, then go somewhere else across town get a stamp to verify the signature, then fill out another form, and perhaps do the previous steps too for that form. She may also have to get a signature to verify the stamp which verifies the signature. It is pretty crazy and it can take a month to get a passport as the red tape deals with itself. This is our main concern while they are over there, because if we are not able to get Uliana’s passport done by the time they are scheduled to leave then they will not be able to leave the country. So, this is going to be a noticeable shadow and stressor over their trip until that gets resolved. We plan on expediting this as quickly as we can, but that only goes so far.

Uliana’s Personality

I am a bit concerned about Uliana’s personality. When she is having fun and entertained she is great, but as soon as that bus stops she can be quite stubborn (she gets that from Tanya… for reals) and mean. Since they are in Belarus and are not in our own house,  disciplining Uliana can be a real challenge. She is going to be around a whole new culture and people and I am worried that she will be overstimulated which may make her cranky a lot. I fear that the trip for both of them will be a complete nightmare. On the other hand, since everything is new all of the time she may be in a great mood since she will be continually entertained… until they have to leave someplace fun. Plus they will be speaking Russian all of the time. Since Russian is not an easy language and she will have to try and think which may make her cranky. This may also add an additional stressor to their trip.

We shall see. I hope and pray for the best possible trip so they both survive to return home. =O =)

Friends and Family

We have a lot of friends and family over there. We have our girls who were here with Tanya – Katia, Ania, and Lena over there who we miss terribly. Katia from St. Petersburg who we met here in Wisconsin last year will make her way via train to see them for a whole day. We really miss her too. Tanya’s mother, brother, aunt and uncle and their families, and everyone else too. She has a lot of other friends to see too. A month is almost enough time to make the rounds to everyone at least once. It will be a great time to reconnect and renewing those relationships. It is a wonderful thing. I am soooo jealous. =)

What About Me?

When I am able to pull myself out of fetal position long enough to wipe the tears from my eyes I plan on hiring a bunch a strippers and having a keg on tap the whole time…I just gotta party when I can… While the cat is away the mice will play…

Ok, maybe not quite that. I plan on cramming a lot of stuff into my head. I have the following to read:

  • a book and a half on Mary Magdalene
  • 3 books on yoga studio management
  • a 1200 page Constitutional Law Book
  • books are religion and theology
  • books on writing

I also plan on fitting in some gaming. Brian has a Russian army I can play for the Bolt Action WWII miniature game. I will also be playing the our normal FFG Star Wars Game, and if I can fit in another game day or two I will.

Next weekend , my awesome nephew, Tyler, is turning 21 so I may go up to Marshfield to partake in that celebration. =)

I will post an update later on about how things are going.

My First NaNoWriMo Experience (NaNoWriMo 2013)

I have participated in my first ever National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November and it was a hell of an experience. Out of 312, 866 people signed up for it worldwide only about 40,000 or so succeeded. As one of the 40k+ I can count myself as one of the 2013 NaNoWriMo winners (winner means having submited your novel and had it validated at 50k+ words). On the early afternoon of Friday, Nov 29th, I submitted my incomplete science fiction novel, The Veritus Engagement, for word count and it came back at 50, 309 words. Praise be to the gods that I was able to finish. There were moments when I was not sure.

I have to thank my wonderful wife who was more than understanding and allowed me to make time for writing in order for me to participate. Did I mention that my wife was awesome? If I have not said that before let me state this now – My wife roxors my boxors! For reals!!

The Veritus Engagement (overview)

Set over a hundred years in the Earth’s possible future where a semi-united Earth has achieved limited space travel and has colonized some of the planets in our solar system, the United Alliance of Interstellar Earth (UAIE) is mired in seceded corporate space colony politics, the threat of a reignited war with the aliens, and competitive corporations vying to monopolize precious resources throughout the solar system.

The Veritus Engagement follows an elite off-the-record paramilitary group, called the Wardens, in which Kuulgan while assisting an elite human military organization, must wade through racial tensions and gun fire to help stop radical alien insurrectionists from reigniting war between the humans and the aliens.

The Preparation

I spent a good portion of September and October planning the writing in MS One Note, which rocks as software. If you have not tried and you are a writer or Dungeon Master, please give it a try I started with a one sentence synopsis, then a 6 sentence synopsis, and then I jumped into writing chapter synopsi using the 5 act plot arrangement with 5 chapters per section @ 2,000 words per chapter. Now, having an even number of chapters per act is not the preferred way to go as I understand, but that is what I went with in order to keep it simple, especially since this was my first time ever attempting anything like this – NaNoWriMo or writing a book. Each chapter synopsis was 3-4 sentences long stating what I was expecting to accomplish during that chapter, and, on occasion, there were also a smattering of bullet points too. I also worked on putting together some character information as I went and was thinking about the plot and needed supporting characters. I spent most time on the protagonist, an alien Named Kuulgan, and his supporting characters, of which there were a total of 14. I also spent a little time on the setting, technology, and history that was needed to support and make sense of what was going on. I even setup Scrivener, my writing tool of choice, with the chapters and 4 scenes per chapter.

The Month of Writing

November 1st came really fast and landed on a Friday. On that Friday I made my 2500 word quota and I was surprised with this and I thought that, with my first 2500 words completed, that I might just be able to this.  The first week of writing went fast and furious. I kept to my daily quote quite easily. Although as we jumped into week 2 I was finding that the 5 chapters about diplomacy that were spread around the book were only going to be about 500 words, so I knew I was going to have to make up for it somewhere. This amounted to about 7500 words of extra writing I was going to have to figure out. Fortunately, a few chapters sprung up that were at least a 1000 words over so I was fairly confident that I was going to be able to get it done. Week 2 was a little slower, but I kept pace pretty well. I used the weekend to get myself ahead by a little over 1300 words. Week 3 was tough. Some of the chapters were coming out, writers block seemed like it was going to be a problem. I had some setting issues that I had not figured out yet, and eventually said the hell with it. Just write and I will figure out the specifics later. I struggled that weekend to get myself caught up but, I was able to. By this time I was not ahead, only just keeping up. I even had to create another chapter with some background writing to fill up the writers block I was having. I was only keeping up, which was good enough for me. Week 4 was the week of Thanksgiving and I had no idea how this was going to work, plus at work my PC was upgraded to Windows 7 which was an all day affair, so I missed an entire day worth of writing, but fortunately I had Thursday and Friday off and was able to easily take the late nights if needed. At this time I also realized the way I budgeted my time I did not compensate for the extra 2 days of the month. I did the math based off of 4 weeks at 5 days a week, so I had extra time if needed, and, fortunately, I kept pace and finished on Friday, just like planned. I was soo happy that I finished. I was glad to finally be done and have conquered this beast. The NaNoWriMo Beast! I think that ding sound means I made it to second level! Squee!

The Experience

I was glad to be done with NaNo. It is not that I did not enjoy it, since i really did enjoy the experience. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is an incredible challenge with a full time job, wife, kid, and a business to manage. I learned that what you plot out and plan to take up a complete chapter worth of words may not actually end that way. I learned that even if you have everything planned out well that writers block may decide that you need more of a challenge. I learned that as you are writing that the writing may take on a life of its own and take you somewhere that you had not planned or it will reveal to you something about your book that you had not realized. I learned that Warrant Officer Giovanni did not like the sound of vibro weapons. The last combat that I had writing turned out nothing like I was intending – no one died. =( I am not sure who is boss here me or the book. =O

What Now?

Currently, I am working on what I hope will be an 7 book fantasy series based on a character and character history from a Dungeons and Dragon’s Second Edition game that played in the 1990′s during my time in the Navy. This was a single player game  that someone else DM’ed for me while we were on our 6 month cruise in the Mediteranean. I am currently in the process of plotting it out and workin on history. The series will be based on the character history titled ‘Of Books and Blades‘ (see link below) and the first book was going to basically be a large rewriting of this short story. I have since come to find out that I have almost completely abandoned this. The only part that is kept is that Jaerle and Kari and the rest is completely jettisoned. I am having the most problem figuring out the plot for this first book. Books 2-5 are fitting together pretty well. 6 and 7 are still a work in process I think either I will get the basic plot for book one done first, or book one’s plot may not happen until the plot for the last two books  are fitting. We shall see.

Wish me luck!

NaNoWriMo (3 Days and Counting)

OK, everyone there are 3 days and counting before National Writing Month (NaNoWrimo) which runs all through the month of November. It is coming… brace yourself!!

I do not have as much prepared as I would like, and I am not sure if the chapter synopsi that I have prepared will work well enough for me to be able to actually write each chapters with 2500 words. We shall see. This is my first attempt at something like this so it will be a huge learning experience.

I Have Joined the Green Party!

How I Found Out About The Green Party

I have officially joined the Green Party. “How did this come about?” you ask. Well, the short of it is that I took a thorough survey during the 2012 presidential electoral cycle which was titled “I side with…?“. I knew who I was going to vote for – Obama, but I was curious as to what the survey would come up with – looking to validate/invalidate my current political label or to illuminate where I really stand even if I think  I stand else where. The result for me from the I side with …? survey was a bit surprising – 98% Democrat, 92% Green Party, and 5% Republican. Agreeing with Democrats and not agreeing at all with the Republicans I understood, but I had no idea who Jill Stein or the Green Party were. I was kinda stunned. Who the hell are these people and how do I agree with them so much?  This started my search into the Green Party – the Green New Deal and other Green Party related sites. Recently I quickly took the survey again and I am at 95% Green and 91% Democrat and still @ 5% Republican. =)

Joining the Green Party

A little over a month ago (29 June 2013) I attended the Wisconsin State Green Party‘s Annual Meeting @ UW Oshkosh officially joining their ranks and become an Alternate Delegate for the state of Wisconsin to the National Party, as well as joining the National Green Party Platform Committee. About 2 weeks ago (25 – 28 July 2013) I attended the 4 day Green Party Annual National Meeting (ANM) in Iowa City, Iowa, and after a day and a half of training and talks on how to run for office, and like 2.5 days of committee meetings, I also have jumped on their IT and Outreach Committees, as well as assisting their Campaign Coordination Committee.

What Appeals to Me About the Green Party

The Green New Deal really appeals to me because it provides real answers to the many issues that we are facing as a country and as a people if we are to have any hope of a future for our country and the world. I do not agree with everything in there, but all most all of it makes a lot of sense and really attacks the real problems that we face in which the Republicans and the Democrats are too spineless to tackle for fear of losing their corporate sponsorship, and their seats. They are more concerned with money and power than actually solving the problems the real problems.  This saddens me greatly. Below I will highlight one of the areas that appeals to me about the Green Party and the Green New Deal, as well as add my thoughts to it:

Electoral Reform

One of the most powerful problems which truly prevents real change and real solutions to our problems is an electoral system that is rigged by the system to keep others out beside the two entrenched major parties. It is a herculean effort for a 3rd party to get on the ballot to be up for voting, especially for presidential elections. When the powers that be write the laws that keep them in power it is very, very difficult for anyone else to really participate in our “democracy”. I do not believe in any way that the Republicans and the Democrats truly represent the breadth of views that the entirety of the American people believe. Americans are not truly represented as long as there are truly only 2 parties able to run for office – the super conservative and the quite a bit less conservative. Voters are more concerned about “wasting their vote” than voting their conscience. I have been victim of that as well. I wanted to vote for Jill Stein in 2012, but did not. Below are four main reforms that need to happen to help correct this. These are not all that needs to be done, but this will go a long way towards fixing things:

  1. Government Paying for Elections: Elections are to be paid for by the federal/state government. This will limit the money wasted on such things, but more importantly it will get rid of corporate money from elections. This is the single most important change that can radically change the political and electoral landscape over night. Corporations will lose their power and will lose their primary method of bending the political process to their will and against the people.
  2. Proportional Representation: This will only really affect the senate and assembly and other seats where their is more than one person position available. In proportional representation seats are put up for vote in a block of seats. In this case let us say that their are 10 seats up for vote. Seats will be portioned out in proportion to how may votes they have received. If democrats receive 40%, Republicans receive 40%, Green Party receives 10%, and Libertarians receive 10% then they shall receive seats as follows: D – 4, R – 4, GP – 1, L – 1. This will allow for other parties to access the ballots and allow people to vote for who they really want and not fear “wasting” their vote.
  3. Shortened Electoral Window: The current electoral season is huge. Congress “works” for like 5 months out of the year and then they spend the rest of the time fund raising and campaigning. I am pretty sure this is not what we voted them in to do – campaign and fund raise. I think we voted them in to legislate and lead our country forward. The electoral window should be shortened to a month or so, so that time and money is not wasted on such things when people are going hungry, are without homes, and our education system is continually being cut.

Running For Office

Now, with all of that said  I would like to run for office so I can be apart of bringing about that necessary change that the Republicans and Democrats do not have the resolve and caring to make it happen. I am looking at running for local offices first to get my feet wet and then hopefully run for  state office. Since I work for a county government I cannot run for County Supervisor and then only spot that is interesting to me and available for this next electoral cycle is School Board, so, hopefully, things will work out so that I will have that opportunity. If I do I will definitely post that event here too.

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There is so much to than this in the Green New Deal. Please take the time to look at it and consider what it offers. We offer a real way forward to solve our countries problems.

Attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

OK everyone…. I am going to attempt to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which is all through the month of the November (Nov 1 -30). The challenge is to write a 50k word novel in one month. I think 50k words is technically classified as a novella, but whose counting anyhow? Not a fully edited one, of course, just a rough draft. I have no idea if I can accomplish this, but I am going to try. I have a Google+ Community setup for those who wish to assist me in this craziness. If you would like to look up the community titled: FX’s 2013 NaNoWriMo GP – the Vertitus Engagement, or you can find a link below

FX’s 2013 NaNoWriMo Entry
Genre Sci Fi
Title The Veritus Engagement
Cover Summary Kuulgan, and alien from another galaxy and a former member of their alien military, while assisting an elite human military organization, must wade through racial tensions and gun fire to help stop radical alien insurrectionists from reigniting war between the humans and the aliens.
Setting Set over a hundred years in the Earth’s possible future where a semi-united Earth has achieved  limited space travel and is colonizing the planets in our solar system. The United Alliance of Interstellar Earth (UAIE) is mired in seceded corporate space colony politics, the threat of reigniting war with the aliens, competitive corporations vying for the next great technological advancements that can take our species beyond our system, and monopolize precious resources, tries to keep the peace with an elite off-the-record paramilitary group, called the Wardens.

Humans have encountered one sentient alien species which has traveled to our system resulting in a decades long war, but finally ended in a tense detente with the aliens colonizing the he periphery of our system. An eventual agreement allowed some cross immigration for both humans and aliens.

The Apology: The Church could start by asking for forgiveness.

The following article titled 'The Apology' is pulled directly from Dr. Stewart Edser's Website 'Being Gay, Being Christian'. I felt compelled to reproduce his wonderful article for posterity, if, for some reason, his should go off-line. Please do not read it here. Click on over to his site Being Gay, Being Christian

The Apology

Here is the apology that the Christian Church needs to offer the gay people of the world. It doesn't seem to be forthcoming at the moment from the Church, so I have penned one myself on the Church's behalf to give it an idea of how this might go. To give credit, there are some in the Church who do feel this way, but still not enough. So share it with your Christian friends. Share it with your pastor, your priest, share it with your bishop. The church needs to change its view of gay people and its treatment of gay people. We too are part of God's incredible human family.

The Church could start by asking for forgiveness. It could start with an apology.

To Gay People the World Over

We the Christian Church, while professing that our reason for existence is to spread the knowledge of God in the manner of Jesus of Nazareth and to show God's love and compassion for all humanity by our lives, with Jesus as our exemplar, most especially to the down-trodden, the weary, the sick, the old, the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, the weak, the oppressed, the poor and the marginalised, acknowledge that we have fallen so far short in our attitudes toward and our treatment of one marginalised group – gay people – that our actions can only be described as sin. And sin of the gravest kind. We have called that which God has created good, evil. We have contaminated the worth of your lives with toxic shame and presented you to the world as reprehensible and filthy, as the epitome of moral repugnance.

We know that one of the earliest words in the Scriptures for sin was an archery term, the Greek word hamartia (ἁμαρτία) describing an arrow 'missing its mark.' As the Church of Jesus Christ, we freely acknowledge that we have completely missed the mark regarding gay people from the very beginning and that two thousand years of history has not seen us grow any more enlightened. To this very day, we continue to judge you, deny you, reject you, pillory you, vilify you, denigrate you, condemn you, besmirch you, denounce you and exclude you and we do this for one reason and one reason only – your sexual orientation.

We do humbly and abjectly apologise for our actions. We acknowledge our mistreatment of you. We ask for your forgiveness even though we know we do not deserve it.

We own this great transgression of Jesus' first and only commandment of love. We have been anything but loving. We have been the antithesis of loving. We have been an organ of hate.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have clung to out-dated interpretations of Biblical passages. We have refused to openly explore modern scholarship that brings to light so much about the Bible, Jesus and his teachings that we never knew before. We have been openly belligerent towards you and have acted in pride as we shot you down in flames and pronounced judgment over your lives as an abomination. We have behaved towards you in dialogue from a place of hubris where we haughtily saw ourselves as the saved and you as sinners. We have ignored your feelings as if they did not matter; that only our precious pronouncements mattered.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have told the world that your life is not natural, that you are set against nature and in so doing, you are set against God. We have told the world that you are sick and disordered and sinful, that you are deviant and that your love is not real but is only lust. And we have told the world that lust is evil. We have told the world that your whole lives are 'inclined to moral evil,' a statement so grandiose in its language and so all-encompassing in its reach that you gay people are left reeling because such language is usually reserved for despots and tyrants, the cruellest of the cruel.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have pitted parents against their gay children. We have caused untold damage in families. We have stopped you from ministering in our churches. We have sacked and dismissed you from legitimate posts because of your sexual orientation. We have impeded your promotion and even put up barriers for your housing. We have refused the communion service to you. We have forbidden you to remain in our fellowships because of your lives. We have persisted in calling your life a ‘lifestyle’ and your orientation a ‘preference,’ knowing full well that those words are not only illegitimate but are also heavily loaded emotionally and politically.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have ignored the wisdom of science. We have refused to acknowledge that you are born gay. We stubbornly declare to the world that your 'sexual preference is a choice,' despite knowing the fact that science has been able to show definitively that there is a substantial genetic component determining all human sexuality. But we haven’t cared about that. That does not fit our ancient world or mediaeval worldview, so we just ignore the research and dismiss it out of hand, acting as though it does not exist. And we continue to trot out our worn-out arguments and pronouncements with divine certitude while we argue with one another as to which of us has faith the most right. And while we're busy arguing among ourselves, we trample you underfoot with carefree abandon as we pour out rejection and judgmentalism from our bile-filled mouths.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We set up our own idols. Men usually. We follow their every pronouncement and treat them as celebrities. Hatemongers who are either ignorant, prejudiced or have some personal axe to grind about sexuality. But also the Church. We construct its systems as though they are set up by God and use the weapon of bureaucracy against you. The Bible. Some of us worship the book instead of seeing it as a pointer to the One.

Idolatry. Ecclesiolatry. Bibliolatry. We listen to homophobes and misanthropists and share their words while we worship a book instead of the God that it speaks of. And we hide behind church governance instead of relating to you as fellow human beings. And from our book and from our churches and from our God, we exclude you. We other you like we have othered no other group in history. We have resolutely painted the picture as us and them. We have done this for centuries. We are the us. And you are the them.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have even told you that you had to change, even though we know in our heart of hearts that there is no change. We have set up ministries to lie to you to tell you that your lives are worthless as they are. You must change, that you are not good enough as you are. You must turn yourselves into heterosexual people. Against all evidence, we have told you that you can do this by the power of God and with our support. We did not tell you that should you succumb to our ministrations you would forever be in limbo, a no-man's land where you will never be straight and you cannot call yourselves gay. And even if you do marry an opposite sex partner and even have children, we will still never quite accept you. We do never quite go the full distance to full acceptance. We have ignored the signs from around the world after some of you have committed suicide because you couldn't cope with what we did to you in these ministries. However despite the deaths, we have continued on, referring young vulnerable gay people, mostly brought up in the church and in Christian families, to these ministries at a time when they are emotionally defenceless and the power differential between them and us is gargantuan. We have harmed you. We have killed you. We are responsible.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

In our realisation of the grotesque distortion of the Christian Gospel that we have offered the world, a distortion that the world rightly rejects, we abjectly apologise to you. We have debased the Good News and driven people away from God and from life in the Spirit. We have put before the world a false dichotomy between the sacred and the profane and we have put sex and desire in the profane. It is no wonder we have rejected you for you have had to go on a spiritual and emotional journey to be able to accept yourselves at the sexual level. We are frightened of this. We are frightened of sex, of desire. We always have been. We fear you and your comfort with sexuality. We have placed celibacy as the zenith of human conditions and even mandated some of our clergy to live this way against all inclination for the rest of their lives. And we tell young gay people that they too must be celibate and deny an integral part of their identity for the rest of their lives too.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We are mortally and grievously at fault here. Like the old Latin words we say contritely, 'mea cupla, mea cupla, mea maxima culpa – through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.' We are stripped and laid bare and our transgressions are unveiled for all to see.

Our sins have been grievous and manifold. We have not acted like Jesus at all. We have not shown love or compassion. We have been quick to occupy the divine judgment seat and speak with hubris as if the plank in our own eye were not big enough already.

In apologising and asking for the forgiveness we do not deserve after perpetrating so much hurt and so much harm, we seek to redress our sinful actions. We need to make recompense. We need to change.

We will be the followers of Jesus we were always meant to be. We will have love and charity as our foremost test of everything we do and everything we say. We will seek out and ask for your views and value your opinions. We will include you in our liturgies and as part of our clergy. We will happily employ you. We will desist from calling you unclean, disordered and evil. We will abandon such language forever. We will stop using the Bible as a weapon against you and start reading the scriptures in the light of modern scholarship. We will be big enough and strong enough in our faith in God to say where we think the peoples of the ancient Biblical world got it wrong, such as with slavery, women, the death penalty, and gay people, among other issues. We will have a strong and robust faith that is partnered with reason so that our God and our faith are not mocked and laughed to scorn by an educated, literate, post-enlightenment humanity. We will speak out for equality for all human beings and denounce homophobia specifically. We will be strong advocates for gay people so that you feel welcome, valued and loved as part of the family of God.

We will do our best to make up for the centuries of trauma. We do not know how long it will take for you to trust us and to forgive us. But we openly and honestly offer you our sorrow, our contrition, our apology for our actions past and present.

For these and all our sins against you we are truly sorry.

Pax et Amor – Stuart

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    Google Glass Features: How Medical Uses Will Revolutionize Your Healthcare [VIDEO]

    Here is a great article with videos from Medical Daily (mar 2013) titled ‘Google Glass Features: How Medical Uses Will Revolutionize Your Healthcare [VIDEO]‘ which goes over the ways the Google Glass is set to revolutionize health care.

    Reflections on My Grandmother Dying

    A week or so ago my grandmother had gotten sick with something like triple pneumonia from which she seemed to recover from fine, and then she stopped eating and her kidneys began to shut down. Thus started the downward spiral. I had a chance to say good bye while she laid there unconscious toward the end. At age 79 she passed away last week on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 @ 11:00pm at the St. Clare Meadows assisted living center in Baraboo.

    I took Thursday off and helped mom take care of the funeral arrangements with the Baldwin-Rago Funeral Home. They were great, supportive and helpful. Fortunately, things worked out so that we would only have to pay a few hundred or so out of our own pockets to cover everything. We did a little shopping on Thursday looking for an outfit for grandma and sent pictures to the funeral home. Friday we OK’ed the obituary, and sifted through numerous picture albums to put together 2 pin boards of pictures of her for the funeral.

    Visitation was from 10-11:00am on Tuesday, April 2 followed by her funeral @ 11:00am. At her funeral we saw some family come in that rarely see except for moments like this – funerals and weddings. As I had previously done for my grandfather’s funeral I read the 23rd Psalm for grandma’s funeral too. I wrote about reading for my grandpa’s funeral a little in a previous post.

    Reflecting On Her Passing

    My grandparents did not really take good care of themselves, unfortunately. =( Since even before grandpa passed, grandma has not been all that lucid, which is sad. Her last 15 years were not filled with life. They were filled with just living = breathing, going to the bathroom, eating. She did not really have a “life” – her health and mental state would not allow it. She could recognize me and knew my face, but it was not really possible to have a conversation with her. Her mortal shell was, in some ways, a shell. The shell in which my grandmother had lived and existed, but “she” was slowly fading from the living energies that bound her to the mortal plane.

    In thinking about this I have come to realize that I really did not know my grandparents too well. I knew them as a child – as a child knows their grandparents, but I never knew them as an adult – as an adult would know them. My grandfather passed shortly after I returned from the military after 6 years of service right out of high school, and even then grandma was having issues. =( I was also busy with a new marriage and its subsequent all-too-soon-divorce, a new job, and starting college all in that short span, so my life consumed me. Because of their poor health and not taking care of themselves I have, in some ways, been denied the ability to get to know them.

    I can only imagine how much longer grandpa would have lived if they would have eaten half-way healthy. I can only imagine how much more full of life that my grandma’s last years could have been if they had taken care of themselves better. Perhaps I could have had a conversation with her; perhaps she may still have been able to drive for a few more years; perhaps even take care of herself for a few more years before having to go into a an assisted living center; perhaps she would have been able to live longer and happier since she would have been able to communicate with us and her doctors.

    My Parents

    I see my parents and they way they live and eat and it worries me. They take care of themselves an order of magnitude better than my grandparents, but still, there is so much more that could be done. I worry that even with what good things they are doing that a similar thing will happen with them. How will I take care of them? How will I be able to afford it? Will they be able to provide for themselves until the end of their lives? I look at my financial situation and I cannot see where I can fit in an extra thousand dollars a month to provide for their healthcare and other expenses, or nine thousand dollars or so to pay for a single funeral.

    My Familiy

    I also begin to think about this for my family too. I am thinking I will also need to somehow put together a funeral trust, a will, and perhaps, even better – to take better care of myself. I would actually like to see my daughter graduate high school and college, and perhaps even get married. As is stands right now I will be like 52 when she graduates high school. Not too young. I still do not have a 529 account set up for her yet, which really annoys me.

    Cultural Problems

    This is something that greatly worries me about our world today. We do not take care of ourselves. We do not eat healthy enough. We do not exercise enough. Taking care of ourselves is not a core part of our family lives, our work, our laws, or our culture. There is still so much more that needs to be done to get ourselves ready to live better and to prepare ourselves for the future, and yet the world around us works against us in this endeavor. Eating healthy is expensive as hell. Eating unhealthy is cheap. Food that we are lead to believe should be healthy especially to the uneducated are even more harmful than the foods they are supposed to replace as a less harmful alternative. Our laws and subsidies do not support or promote healthy living as a core value or desirable goal – cheaper mass produced food and profit is the end goal. Our hospitals and health care system is not preventative based. It is based on emergency care. Our health care system should, in most cases, start with 2 questions: “How has your diet been?” and “What is your exercise regiment?”. Most diseases and health issues can be prevented with proper diet and exercise and yet this is not the foundation of our health care system? I find this confusing until the point that I allow a horrible thought to creep into my mind – there is not so much money to be had in actually making and keeping people healthy – less money for hospitals and doctors, less money for drug companies who create diseases out of thin air with which their drugs can help with, and yet create more physiological problems that more new drugs can help you with. =(

    Category: Death, Family  Tags: ,  Leave a Comment

    Busy Week for Same-Sex Marriage in the Supreme Court

    This week on Tuesday and Wednesday we had the Supreme Court final hearings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage of Act (DOMA), respectively. These are the final hearings prior to the Supreme Court’s final decision which should be given sometime near June (possibly unless they dismiss the cases due to lack of standing). After that, the Supreme Court’s decision will be up for appeal by the affected parties.

    Prop 8: I am fully expecting that the Court will strike down Prop 8 in a narrow way and that it this will likely be appealed, but I am, thankfully, losing faith in the possibility of the appeal by the National Organization of Marriage’s since their funding seems to be drying up.  We can only hope that their biggoted nut-jobbery can come to a screaming and embarrassing halt by a Supreme Court slap-down.

     DOMA: I fully expect that this will also get struck down, but, after listening to the judges questioning I cannot help but wonder that they may be thinking of a slightly larger scope decision. We can only hope.

    If you have not read or listened to the transcripts please do:

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    Are You Still Bored? – the Archives

    I have aggregated 2 other “Are you still bored?” posts (originalpart II) and the 3rd I was in the process of putting together so you do not have to look around for them and their associated links.

    You can find them here on this new page: Are You Bored?

     

    Declaration of Principles from Babylon 5

    This is the text of the Declaration of Principles as written by the character G’Kar in an episode from the science fiction series Babylon 5, a Star Trek spin-off. These are powerful words and quite applicable to a liberal theology. I think here is the actual reading from the series.

    The universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice.
    The language is not Narn, or Human, or Centauri, or Gaim or Minbari

    It speaks in the language of hope
    It speaks in the language of trust
    It speaks in the language of strength and the language of compassion
    It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.

    But always it is the same voice
    It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us,
    And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born
    It is the small, still voice that says
    We are one

    No matter the blood
    No matter the skin
    No matter the world
    No matter the star:
    We are one

    No matter the pain
    No matter the darkness
    No matter the loss
    No matter the fear
    We are one

    Here, gathered together in common cause, we agree to recognize the singular truth and this singular rule: That we must be kind to one another
    Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us and each voice lost diminishes us.
    We are the voice of the Universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future.
    We are one.
    We are one.

    Category: Politics, UNDHR  Tags: ,  Leave a Comment

    Life Partners Who Aren’t — And Never Will Be — Lovers

    Here is a great link talking about a nontraditional family structure where people find others to raise kids with, without romance messing things up: Life Partners Who Aren’t — And Never Will Be — Lovers  (Buzz Feed)

    At 40, Dawn Pieke had just broken up with a live-in boyfriend who cheated on her, but she was ready to have kids. She didn’t want an anonymous sperm donor — “because I hadn’t grown up with a dad myself, it was important to me to have my child know who their dad was.” So she started looking online, and eventually found a Facebook group devoted to something called coparenting.

    “Single mothers by choice” have gotten a lot of attention in the past few years, and most discussions of single women — a topic of much recent scrutiny — include at least a nod toward women who go the sperm-donor route. But a growing number of single people want to have kids with someone else — and that person doesn’t have to be a romantic partner. Instead, it can be a coparent — someone they meet online or in life and agree to raise kids with, in a relationship that can be very close but isn’t sexual. And some coparents say this system has big advantages over the more traditional one.