PEOPLE WATCHING AT CRÊPES DE PARIS

Look now at the two girls sitting there.
They sit like the modern day princess,

Sweet, innocent, beautiful and fair.

They talk, share photos, and jest.

One has a smile like stars,

And eyes like a fine mahogany table

And a ferocity in her smile to match great Mars.

Despite her left leg looking unstable.

The other is dressed in all blue.

She’s thin, fair, and polite

And laughs with a glorious hue.

There’s no doubt she knows what’s right.

Look now at the girl bringing my plate

Her hair is a masterwork of colors

Her hands as nimble enough to craft a crêpe.

And she walks as delicately as a flower.

“Viva la France” she says with a grin

And sets my plate before me.

I cut a bite and bring it steaming to my chin.

The mushrooms and olives fill me with glee.

She turns on a heel, like a dancer in a show,

Bustling about between the lively crowd

Delivering food to where it needs to go.

The glow of her face makes her look so proud.

Look now at me, sitting at this table l alone.

What are the chances that you would have known,

That I sit near such gorgeous women

And have the power of words to woo them

Yet where I see beauty beyond compare
They simply see an ugly stare.

Like I have some sort of sinister plan,

Or that I won’t be who I say I am.

Like I would sooner steal them away

Than simply appreciate their company.

Like I must trick their for their time

Yet give no care as to how it costs mine.

Look now at the man all alone,

His hope and happiness all but gone.

Eating alone at Crêpes de Paris

With a beauty only he could see.

UNRAVELING HUMAN RIGHTS

Hello everyone,

 

So today I wanted to talk about a discussion that I had with my friend recently (really more of an argument). Many of my friends are conservative, which means that I often end up being the only person with a more left swinging perspective to my life. Yesterday, our discussion evolved (ironic, since we were playing Pokemon Go!) from the statement “Cassady doesn’t shop at Wal-Mart,” which is true. I don’t, because I don’t believe they treat employees well enough to deserve my dollars. And it may be slightly more expensive to shop elsewhere, but hey, I think we should pay the small price extra for better treatment of all peoples.

Our discussion eventually got to the point to where I said something along the lines of “it’s a natural right to deserve a decent life in our society.” Which my friend misconstrued to mean natural in a slightly different way that I meant it—he used natural as in it would occur this way unimpeded by human developments, I used natural as in we are born into a society with these values. I couldn’t convey that at the time though because it was a hard thing to put words to.

His response wasn’t attacking my idea, but rather invalidating my point, which was to argue that natural was an invalid argument because aspects like abortion are not natural, which means the use of a natural argument to validate one idea while invalidating another is hypocritical. Which is true. I didn’t have an answer for that at the time, because I had to think about it. I do now.

It was wrong to use natural in the context that I did about human rights. They aren’t nature related. The truth is we aren’t born with unalienable rights—seriously. We have earned them. Every step forward in human development has been earned in some progressive thought process. We came to a point some two hundred years ago where we were able to become, in my friends words, meta-conscious, meaning we are aware of our ability to change the course of our lives at any given moment, as well as the impact of our actions. And that is the grounds that people deserve a decent life. Because in our society of meta-conscious beings, each person should be able to live out natural aspects of life, like having a family, without struggling for food. It’s a very capitalist centered mind set to say that we should all make a grab for the food on the table and whoever gets that food gets to eat, instead of sharing the food so that nobody starves, but maybe serve the people at the top the choice portions.

My friends other example involved monetary values. He said that by my thinking, the right thing to do would be to give excess away. His example was that, lets say, he got $1.00 every day, and he could live off $0.35 every day. Under my thinking, he claimed. The right thing to do for everyone else was to give that $0.65 to some charity so that others could use it too. Which is not the truth of the matter. The reality is that some people have more dollars than that. I equated it this way: lets say a person has $30.00, and a good, average life requires $10.00 to live in some quality. That person has made three times that—but no person needs three times luxury. Why not let them keep $20.00 of that $30.00 and raise someone who doesn’t have anything—not because they haven’t tried, but because they haven’t succeeded yet—to a place of decency.

That’s not natural, but that’s something humans have the capability to do. And it’s also the morally compassionate thing to do. We live in a time where we are surrounded by thieves and people out only for themselves, which is why money is used as the measure for success in life. To make the shift so that community and personal subjective life is a measure for success, we must first make that an option for the majority of humans in America—and under our current structure, too many people cannot afford that opportunity. Too many people suffer from starvation, in the richest and most powerful country in the developed world. That’s unacceptable, and in all honesty, its downright cruel.

SUNSET UNDER THE MIMOSA TREE

“Look at the sky!

It’s red and orange and pink.”

He said as he tugged at her thigh.

All she could do was smile at him and think.

What did I do to deserve this man?

They sat in the shade of a mimosa tree,

Nibbling at food, sitting hand in hand.

Their children ran about being free.

Her dress danced in the summer breeze,

Tickling her ankles, or was that her son?

Not one year old, and already saying please.

It was days like that, when things were so fun.

Yet that night she would feel her husband’s drink,

As he made her beautiful face red and orange and pink.

 

Hey everyone,

 

This was a quick Sonnet I put together. It doesn’t follow classic Shakespearian Iambic Pentameter, but it was something that caught me nonetheless. I’m not sure if I made it right, but hopefully the message is clear enough. Let me know what you think!

A GAME OF REALITIES

Hello everyone,

 

I recently started reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Which is certainly quite a book. So good in fact, they made a hit TV series out of it, which I also haven’t watched. Now, I am only about halfway through this book, but I’ve enjoyed it so much thus far that I wanted to share some of my thoughts about it with you. I wanted to look specifically at Tyrion Lannister.

Now, I’ve seen all the Tyrion memes, and I am well aware of the fact that people have fallen deeply in love with Peter Dinklage as a character. But I specifically wanted to talk about how the book notes him early on as being a brilliant mind. Something not just formidable, but also quick to finding an efficient route to victory. Though he has never seemed ruthless to me, which I hear may be something that changes as I read further. For those of you that don’t know (I know, how could anyone not know?), Tyrion is the son of a great lord, and a member of the Lannister house. They are a powerhouse (pun intended) of the storyline. Wife of the king, a member of the Kingsguard with the name “Kingslayer,” and so on. Tyrion is often looked down on as the outsider of the house, though house pride keeps him from complete exile. However, his inability to match foes in battle due to dwarfed legs and so on has caused him to focus more keenly on his mental prowess. He notes this early on, saying that he reads constantly to sharpen his mind, like a whetstone sharpens a blade.

That being said, his brilliance is shown in practice when he creates a saddle for a recently crippled child that allows him to ride a horse again—ironically showing a compassionate angle that I would not have expected out of a character in the book. Anyway, this is then juxtaposed when he gets captured by Catelyn Stark, another character, and he is shown as nearly helpless. In fact, his decision to call out Catelyn Stark (which is the reason she had to take him prisoner, lest she be discovered), can be seen as a very rash and somewhat idiotic

So to relate this back to reality, why do we make mistakes? Most of us are brilliant people, capable of seeing plots, and analyzing situations. Certainly, we aren’t necessarily all as cunning as Tyrion is, but I think that’s the point, and why he’s such a great character. In fiction, it’s especially easy to fall into archetypes. Tyrion is the brilliant mind that rarely if ever get’s outwitted. Except he’s not. He gets beaten and then has to find his way out somehow. And in some ways that is even more commendable. It’s more realistic. Which is dynamic in a relatable way. Back to mistakes though. People make them, and it’s not always intentional. There are so many thousands of factors that go into any day that it’s hard to see when our joke will offend even our closest friends, or make them laugh. The same goes for strangers. Maybe that’s what makes A Game of Thrones so fantastic. Does that sound like what you’d enjoy in a book? Let me know!

TAKING A PERSONAL DAY

Hello everyone,

 

How’s everyone’s Monday coming along? I realize I left you all with a very depressing poem and little explanation. I wrote that on July 4th, and I guess I’m going to take a personal day to reflect on myself a bit today. Hopefully you all can relate to it in some ways.

Anyways, I was up late last night because I have been feeling really lonely lately. Which is ironic, because I couldn’t be more surrounded by people who love me. Seriously, I have a group of friends I regularly talk to, I have an immediate family that I am close to, my extended family is close to me for the most part, at work most people respect me and my ideas, and I even can approach most of my acquaintances on Facebook fairly easily to talk as friends would. So perhaps I am just ungrateful.

But despite all this platonic success, I couldn’t be further away from being loved. Maybe that’s just because I am a 21 year old with a hyper progressive mindset. What I mean by that is that I don’t subscribe to our American individualism ideals in the way most people do. I believe in meeting people and respecting them. Community is vastly more important to me than individual gain. My moral values are firmly placed.

Establishing this means I don’t really fit in. I’m community oriented in a time where individualism is valued. I’m a selfless guy in a time where being selfish is the norm. I’m a nice guy in a sea of bad guys, but so few people like nice guys. I’m an English student in an era where STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is the predominant area of success. In being this, I sometimes feel like an outcast.

What’s worse is that we also live in a world where money is the almighty decider for what people can and can’t do. I’ve never felt more like I needed to escape the norms of the world than I have recently. And I don’t mean escape as in hide away in my room with a laptop. I mean literally escape to another time period. Or another universe. One where merit is valued higher. Where being a kind hearted and honorable person doesn’t disadvantage some people.

For most of my life I have been told I am mature for my age. I always thought that was a compliment. Now I realize that it means I lack something. I feel like I’ve been more adult since I was 14 than many people are throughout their lives. I’ve never been afraid of talking to authority figures. I’m the guy who thinks school is a waste of time because it’s too simple, but would show up every day because it was the right thing to do.

Maybe I’m just being self-destructive. I don’t know. I feel trapped sometimes though. And it’s not always so gloom and doom—in fact it generally isn’t. But escaping the monotony of the world is so much harder than it should be. Which is why poetry becomes such an easy outlet to express problems. Really writing in general. Oh well. See you all tomorrow! Or rather…have you read my words tomorrow…?

A LIFELESS VESSEL

I feel so alone.

It’s crippling.

It starts in the belly,

Like a hunger or a growl.

Then it spreads into the lungs,

Shortening breaths and causing coughing fits.

 

When it finally reaches the heart,

It takes special care to pull and tug.

It aches like an open wound.

It aches like a broken bone.

It aches like the sight of one you used to love.

 

It creeps into the arms and legs after,

Making them grow weak and heavy.

To where the smallest leaf,

Feels like an enormous boulder.

To where each step,

Feels like a hundred miles.

 

It catches the throat

Like a spider catches a fly.

Each breath shivers away,

Almost as if I were going to cry.

 

But nothing is worse than when it reaches the eyes.

For the eyes are where it shows the most.

Suddenly people realize things aren’t ok.

Suddenly people shun you away.

Suddenly people wonder what to say.

And you can see them losing hope.

 

I feel all alone.

It’s crippling.

My body has been consumed.

My mind has been left to rot.

My will has been broken

And I have become empty.

PLAIN IS PLENTIFUL

There are two ways to divide

The beauty of women in my eyes.

Plain and Pleasing.

 

A women defined as pleasing is rounded.

Firm. The kind of girl who makes eyes wander.

And stomachs growl.

 

Personally though, I find the plain woman more lovely.

She isn’t defined merely by her looks.

The kind of woman who doesn’t just attract the eyes and stomachs of men,

But also the heart and the minds.

 

It’s true, she may not pull the same crowd.

Or command the same attention.

But her words carry more value,

And the sweet, sometimes timid smile

Can move mountains.

 

See, the love for a plain woman does not pull from the gut.

That fades slowly, like a digested meal.

It solidifies within a man,

And becomes the centerpiece of his mind.

 

Truly, there is no greater beauty in a person,

Than that which becomes personal.

The ray of sunshine coming in through the window,

And the quiet breath of as morning wakes her being.

CHIVALRY IS DEAD

Hello everyone,

 

Chivalry is dead. At least, that’s what a lot of people say. And it’s an interesting claim. What exactly define chivalry, and why is it dead? Well, to look at this we have to consider a few qualifications. Who is saying Chivalry is dead, and in what context?

I most often hear that Chivalry is dead from women or from men in reference to how other men treat women. Nobody hold the door for a girl anymore, or waits to sit at a table until a lady is seated. Nobody pushes the chair in behind a girl anymore. And so on. Is this what defines Chivalry? How polite a man can act for women on dates? Really?

A more strict definition of Chivalry is: the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code (seriously, I copy-pasted that from a basic web search). At what point does this mention dating? The reality is that it doesn’t. Chivalry didn’t mean men must act this way for women when they were courting them. It meant that they acted like this all the time. So yes, Chivalry is dead.

Think about it, who holds the door for everyone anymore? And who actually says thank you? I go out of my way to do both, but there are a significant number of people who won’t do either. Many girls just expect doors to be held for them. Other girls expect it not to be held for them. Both say nothing. I certainly understand the male plight that we never expect the door to be held for us. Because who is kind to men in basic actions nowadays?

The idea that Chivalry is dead is specific to the fact that it is a dead system. These great knights were also part of a system that expected women to be subordinate to men, prizes to be won. Contests were held to win brides, which sounds rather heroic, but in reality is a depressing fact that women’s role was as a sexual and political device for the agenda’s of men. The kindness stopped when she stopped putting out.

Maybe this wasn’t all knights. But work with statistics. Most men in this era—in fact, almost every era prior to the modern (and even now, things aren’t great)—treated women like objects. So when it comes to all of Chivalry being dead, it’s probably for the better. Of course, there is always the other argument, which is that the good parts of Chivalry should not have been put to the wayside. Holding the door for people is so simple. I have a theory on this though.

It is my opinion that we shape ourselves based on the core values of our society. In the United States, which is the spearhead for culture in the world (for better or for worse), we prize individualism before nearly everything. The idea that one man or woman can rise above everyone else. In doing that, we place trust only in ourselves—and our expectations match this. Instead of holding the door for someone, we instead have engrained this idea that everyone can open their own doors. If you want to change this problem, change how people think. Make the world more oriented toward thinking as a community that works together to succeed. And suddenly treating people with common respect isn’t so hard.

COOPERATIVE VICTORIES

Hello everyone,

 

How’s your day in my future going? I’m (hopefully) having a great day in Montana while you read this. Don’t worry, I’ll talk about my vacation when I get back. But right now it’s time to get down to…business? This isn’t really a job. I don’t get paid. Either way, I was thinking more about gender inequality, which is just such a wonderfully substantive topic that is never ending. However, I was thinking today about reverse discrimination, as my dad calls it. Specifically, I was thinking about an ad I saw a while ago trying to promote equality. See it here:cjpnx8ruyaaaaqp

Of course, it’s a totally unfair ad. It’s poorly worded. It doesn’t present the world as it is in reality. Women are abused sexually in higher numbers than men by a significant margin. But the ad does bring forward a problem that I see and hear a lot. Which is that feminism sometimes, depending on the hands it is in, is not about equality and instead about feminine superiority. Typically it’s not even consciously done either. This subconscious idea is how we end up with ads that show two people in the same scenario (Jake drunk, Josie drunk) and think it’s ok to just blame one of them without further clarification. I’ll take a recent example that happened to me by my own family.

My sister and I are both over 21, she’s a couple years older than me. This last Mother’s Day, she received a gift, despite not being a mother, simply because my mom felt like giving her one. That’s super sweet, and I think it picks up on the spirit of the tradition rather than the strict definition of the holiday.

Father’s Day rolls around, and I don’t get a gift. Now, I don’t really care. I’m not a father. I mean sure, I was a little like “hey that’s a double standard” but let’s be honest, Father’s Day has always fallen a bit more to the wayside in American society in comparison to Mother’s Day. The guys are already so far ahead in society, it’s less valuable. Or a “real man” wouldn’t need to celebrate. Regardless, I noticed this difference. And this is the kind of duality that even the most foreword thinking person can make a mistake out of.

One of the problems I have come to face is that the pride that exists for being a woman far out weighs the pride there is for being a man. This could just be the household I was raised in. But we constantly talk up how important women are—which is effectively affirmative action for women, who have been neglected for decades. But in filling the silence with just talk about the greatness of women, we often unintentionally push aside the great parts of being a man. Which I don’t think is the core aim of feminism. A lot of people call feminists pretentious, which I think is pretty clearly false. But there certainly could be experiences like this that would cause people to feel that way. If all I saw were women tooting their own horns constantly, and shaming men for being “manly,” I would feel the same way.

This is a bigger topic than I have time for today. I don’t mean to say that women aren’t facing more difficulty than men. Sexual assault occurs too often. It’s unacceptable that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in college, and we need to be better about it. But we don’t solve the problem by holding up women and leaving men behind like some people do. We do that by lifting up everyone. Don’t make it a battle of the sexes. Make it a cooperative victory.

DRIFTING SMALL TALK

Hey everyone,

 

Today is day one of my vacation, but I wanted to keep everyone involved in what I’m doing here, so I’ve written quite a few blog posts ahead of time to do that! Today I’m writing the first one…unfortunately I have no idea what to write it on since I’m sort of all written out for the day!

 

I paused mid sentence while writing the blog to talk to my housemate, a nice girl that I get along with really well. Then realized our conversation was a perfectly interesting thing to duplicate for a future blog. Check it out:

“I just sang to a sapling. I helped it and it was more robust.”

With harmonic voice:

“Sapling’s, come to meeeee, let me sing to youuuu”

Very stoically:

“ ‘Bedraggled’ they use such good vocabulary.”

“Who’s they?”

“The elves.”

“The elves or the writers?”

“The writers!”

Pause. She takes a sip of water.

“Doo-do-doooo”

“What are you singing?”

“Oh just some song that was in my mind. I want to find my sister!”

“Ok…”

“Well I wanted to show her the wedding place of Aragorn.”

“Oh…ok.”

“Yeah, she’s probably asleep though.”

“At 1:40?”

“Well sometimes she stays up late.”

“I mean same but I’m surprised your parents let her do it.”

“Yeah I mean like they sometimes are surprised she’s asleep but meh.”

“Must be nice.”

“Yeah.”

Pause. Another sip of water.

“My parents probably wouldn’t say anything to me, but they’d give me that look. Like I had somehow failed them or that I was a terrible citizen.”

“Wow. Harsh.”

“Meh.”

Silence. Music of chains and minor battle cries play softly. The air conditioning turns on.

“Well, Kevin is stopping by shortly, so I have to get cleaning.”

“Wait I just got to the tree.”

“O…k…?”

Silence. I walk out of the room.