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I know the heart of life is good...

How many people have ever joined a message board and actually gotten involved in the discussions??? I've been doing that a lot lately... one online community I've been a member of for a while (www.theactivitypit.com) has a number of features, one of which is a forum. When I first joined, I wasn't very involved, but recently I've been sticking my nose in there and dropping random tidbits of two cents everywhere. A lot of times it's for fun, but other times, it's really thought provoking and causes me to really think about my responses.

One such thread on the forums was called "The Value of Life." Intrigued, I decided to check it out. This is what it said:

This has been on my mind for a few days.

Everyone seems to be more affected when children die in a tragedy instead of adults. So, when does a person's life stop meaning as much? Is there some sort of curve? I would think children would die happy and carefree, which would be the way I would go if I could choose.

When soldiers and police die in the line of duty, why is it more important then when a factory worker dies doing his job? Wouldn't the amount of attention paid to the death be in equal proportion to the inherent risks associated with the job?

When people are begging for their life, they always feel the need to add " I have a wife and children" - why does this make them less disposable? The most basic and neccesary human function is pro-creation, so somone who already passed on thier genes to the next generation should be LESS valueable then someone who hasn't had children (but still may).

So, why are some people more or less valued than others, and who places this value on human life?


I read through the few responses that were already there, and upon agreeing with a few, I wrote my own response. Another member of the site told me to flesh the idea out (I had tried to condense it so it wasn't a horrendously long read) and blog it, so - after giving it some thought - I decided to do just that. Here is my response to the question, with a little more thought... lol.

Why are some people more or less valued than others, and who places this value on human life?


This question really makes me think of high school - one memory in particular. Anyone who went to Judson with me will probably remember the little pamphlets we got at the beginning of the year to take home to our parents. The life insurance pamphlets (Anyone wanna try and figure out why a high school was offering life insurance?? lol... go there and you'll find out). I know a lot of people didn't read the pamphlets before shoving them in their parents' faces, but I did, and I remember being part of a "revolt" on my bus, as well as a "protest" in the early morning (that really didn't go anywhere, and consisted of a small number of us telling everyone that Judson didn't value their life), because of something I noticed about the pay out on the life insurance policy.

The pamphlet listed the type of pay out a person would get for certain injuries and, while I can't remember what loss of hand, loss of foot, etc. were, I do remember the pay out for two particular injuries: Loss of eye, and loss of life.

The pay out for the loss of an eye was $5K.

The pay out for the loss of a life was... anyone? anyone? Bueller? $5K.

It kind of bothered me - but mostly made me laugh - that the school had decided that our lives were about as valuable as one of our eyeballs.

The reason I bring this up is basically to say, the value of life is completely dependant on the person doing the valuing. Each and every person values each and every life differently, and for different reasons. Maybe you and I each value a soldier's life more than that of a serial killer, but I guarantee you it's not for the same reason. Things - not just an individuals life - have value because we give them value.

Do me a favor and think of one thing that means the world to you. Maybe it's a necklace, or a favorite blanket, or stuffed animal, or lucky pair of socks, or favorite pair of jeans... something. Just figure out what you have that is your "favorite" and means something to you. Now, imagine giving that thing to your best friend. Wrapping it nicely, sticking a bow on it, and handing it to them, just cuz. They open it, and pull out your lucky pair of socks. You may be excited, oh these mean the world to me - but what are they thinking??

"Great, dude, you got me a pair of stinky socks... thanks!"

Now, did I just compare human life to a stinky pair of socks?? Yes and no. Basically, everything has value because we decide to give it value, and human life is no different.

Everyone seems to be more affected when children die in a tragedy instead of adults. So, when does a person's life stop meaning as much? Is there some sort of curve? I would think children would die happy and carefree, which would be the way I would go if I could choose.



Children are a tricky topic to handle, so I'm going to do my best to get my thoughts across.

For starters it's a tragedy when anyone dies, period. BUT - I think it's more tragic when children die, because when it comes down to it, children are innocent. They're young and are still learning the whole right/wrong distinction. It's hard to look into the face of a child and think that they may not have that long to live. Look at us - we've made it this far, why shouldn't they? Children touch us in a number of ways - they view the world differently than we do - and as adults, on some level, we feel it's our job to protect them until they get to the point where they can defend themselves.

The statement above says something to the effect of, they think children would die carefree, etc. etc., but I do strongly disagree with this. Yes, children are innocent and carefree, but they're also vulnerable.

I worked as a nanny for a few years and over those years, I experienced a lot of things. At one point, over the course of my job, the little boy I nanny'd for decided it would be cool to run at the couch (which was underneath a window) and do a handstand. He had merely been running and sitting on the couch, and I turned my back the second he decided he wanted to do his handstand. I heard a loud crashing sound, and turned around to see his bare foot in a window that now had a nice hole in it. I immediately got his foot out of the window before he could cut himself anymore than he already had, and set to getting a towel for his foot and calling his parents. Now, he wasn't cut too bad, didn't need stitches or anything... and he was fine - until it started bleeding, at which point he started crying. His foot probably hurt, he was bleeding, and he knew he had done something he wasn't supposed to. I held him for a while until his parents came and while I knew he wasn't hurt too badly, it hurt me to know he was so scared.

The point I'm trying to make is: children are easily scared, and if their lives are put in danger, I don't imagine they're very carefree about it. Children are still discovering things like pain and fear when they're young, and I think any situation that would result in a child's death couldn't be very carefree. Each of us were children, and we know the fears we had when we were younger, so it distresses us to think of a child being scared up until the point of their death. I think this adds to why it seems like children's deaths are more tragic than those of adults.

When a child dies of natural causes, it's treated slightly more tragic than when an adult dies of natural causes, because that child never had the chance to live a long life and discover who they were, experience the emotions that come with growing up, all of that. That child is essentially robbed of their future, and that's upsetting. More so than that, when a child's life is taken, it's more often than not taken by an adult. You don't hear too many stories about children killing other children, though they are out there. When a child's life is taken, it again delivers that distress of knowing the child was probably scared - terrified, really - probably in pain, and along with that comes the knowledge that there are people out there evil enough to take the life of something so innocent and defenseless. Look into the face of a child... no matter how angry that child makes you, I guarantee you can't imagine taking his/her life. No matter what you imagine that child doing, you'll never be able to justify taking his/her life, and it's distressing to know there are people out there that can. It's not just about the child at that point, it's also about the fact that there are evil, sick people out there.

Finally, a child's death probably touches us, because none of us want to go through the pain of losing a child. We know how horrible that would be for us to go through, and we know that somewhere, someone is actually going through that. I should hope no one is sick enough to wish that pain on anyone, because I know I wouldn't dare wish it on my worst enemies. We sympathize with what the parent/guardian is going through, at which point not only has a child lost their life, but others are also suffering. Each of us probably has a small part that wishes we could make the pain and suffering in the world stop, and every time we know there's a mother out there greiving for her lost child, we feel a small sense of failure and helplessness. No one likes to feel that way.

When soldiers and police die in the line of duty, why is it more important then when a factory worker dies doing his job?


I
had an answer for this, but I don't think anything I could say could sum it up better than one of the people that commented on the thread. Doc Goolsby said:

When soldiers and police die in the line of duty, they are given more emphasis because they have chosen a life that puts them in harm's way. Most factory workers don't. There are safety measures put in place to lower risk of death. In the life of a soldier or a cop, that can only go so far. The machines and environment of a factory worker are not maliciously intending to exterminate the worker. In the environment of the cop and the soldier, that is not the case.


And honestly, I couldn't have said it better myself. I think we value them more because, when it comes down to it (in most cases), these people lost their lives while working to make our lives safer. We respect that, and I'm sure on some very small level, some of us feel responsible for their life. It takes an amazing person to say they'd rather protect the lives of others than keep themselves safe, and it's sad to see such a person lose their life.

Finally - to address

When people are begging for their life, they always feel the need to add " I have a wife and children" - why does this make them less disposable?


I don't know. I don't know why a man who has a family should have a more valuable life than one that doesn't. All I can think is, perhaps he isn't thinking of himself at that point, perhaps he's worried about his family. As head of the family, it is the man's job to provide for the wife and child, and protect the wife and child. If he's killed, the wife and child are then forced to take care of themselves and, while it's doable, nobody wants to leave their family behind to pick up the pieces. And, I'm sure on some level, it's a way of bartering, trying to make the killer understand that their actions are not only affecting the person they're threatening to kill, but also the person(s) close to them.

Again, these are all just my opinions, because value truley depends on the person doing the valuing.

What about you??? Why do YOU think certain lives seem to be of more value than others?

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I walk this empty street...

I posted a news story on my facebook and asked for responses... what people thought, etc. I really only got two responses... 1 from Melissa and 1 from Sarah... but it'll get the job done. This was the story:

OREGON, Wis. (AP) — A father allegedly shot his 9-year-old son in the buttocks with a BB gun, a revelation that came to light after the boy wrote a school essay about the incident. The boy had written an essay about the "painful afternoon my Dad shot me with a BB gun." The elementary-school teacher turned the essay over to authorities.

Prosecutors charged the 36-year-old father on Friday with one felony count of child abuse. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 6 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The criminal complaint said the father told an investigator he shot the boy after the child didn't move fast enough from blocking the TV. He said he aimed at his son's rear pocket because he thought it would be more padded.

"I knew right away it was a stupid thing I did," the father said. "I told my kids the only way I'm going to touch them is to kiss them, hug them, tickle them. I was very, I was not under the influence of anything. It was a very stupid decision."

He was released Friday on a signature bond and ordered not to threaten or engage in any acts of violence against his son. He was also ordered not to engage in physical discipline of any child.



And here are the responses I received:

Melissa:

One of my fifth graders wrote a story one time about how "My daddy got stabbed by gang members. They broke down our door. They came rushing in. I was screaming and stuff." And it was a true story. Another time one of my students wrote in his journal, "My uncle committed suicide after killing my aunt." And it too was a true story. Kids today deal with far more that I could ever possibly fathom.

Too much TV. A generation where the media has far too much power. And parents don't know how to parent or where to turn for help. Ummm.....the church maybe...but which one if you've never gone before?


Sarah:

I think his punishment should be to watch 'A Christmas Story' 24/7 for a year.


The reason I asked this is because... well... I don't know what to think. This has become more apparent to me in the past few weeks... the types of things that make headlines just make me want to cry, honestly... and I do have a view point on these issues, but I'm terrified to try and explain it... I'm terrified of what people will think of me. It shouldn't matter, I know that much... but when I see people take a stand, it looks like everything they decide on... it looks like they can see the issue in terms of right and wrong... and to them, everything falls neatly into these categories.

I don't know if that's how it really is, but it's certainly not that way for me. It's not that I don't know the difference between right and wrong, it's just... I'm a stickler for finding out all the facts. I hate making a decision based on only small bits of information. I hate passing judgment without getting the whole story, and I don't believe that two wrongs make a right.

But I also have a problem expressing my views, and I hate being labeled as something I'm not... and I've noticed that most of the time, people who view things as completely right or totally wrong also like to stick people into slots. If I support a law suit against an anti Christian professor, I'm a bible thumping Christian radical. If I see where the professor is coming from, I'm anti-Christian. If I'm upset with something Obama has said or done, I'm a crazy republican. If I want to be positive and hope that Obama doesn't fail the nation as a president, I'm a whack job lib. If I disagree with republicans on ANYTHING, then obviously I voted for Obama. If I voted for McCain, I'm racist. If I'm against gay marriage, than I must be anti-gay and pro-life. If I want someone to face the consequences of their actions, I'm a goody two shoes and a hypocrite that thinks too highly of myself. If I say it's wrong to wish death upon someone who beat their significant other, I'm pro abuse. It's insanity, to say the least, and it drives me crazy, because it frustrates the hell out of me.

Am I the only person that feels this way?? Is something wrong with me?? So many people are able to pass judgement so easily... can things really be seen as black and white, with nothing in between? Should there never be exceptions?

I chose the above story because... while I do believe the act can be classified as Child abuse, I don't think the guy meant to hurt his son, and I think telling him he can no longer physically discipline any children at all is a bit stupid. How about say he's no longer allowed to discipline with a bb gun?? And the part about him not being allowed to threaten his child... I don't think waggling your finger in front of his face and telling him "NO!" is going to change anything. If he wants to threaten his child, what's going to stop him from doing so??? It seems to me everyone seems to think he's this horrible person who's going to abuse his child more if given the chance, but no one wants to take the steps to make sure it doesn't happen... and why? Probably because they think the same thing I do - he doesn't seem like he meant to hurt his son. Yes, what he did was extremely stupid, yes he should be punished... is he a child abuser? I don't think so. But how do you say that without being condemned??? It seems almost impossible today.

I just don't like viewing the world with a big red line down the center of it, but it seems like more and more I just deal with people who have their set ideas. Black and white. No gray at all, and you're crazy for even thinking there could be the slightest bit of gray. Can't we all have our own views... can't we all have DIFFERING views... can't we all have a chance to explain ourselves without causing an epic chasm of insanity over something trivial?? Or do we all have to be split up into two groups... if you agree with me, stand here, if you disagree... stand there.

So... what do you think? Is it possible to have a gray area? To not have your feet planted firmly on either side of the fence? Or can things really be divided up into black and white?


P.S. - thank you to those who gave me responses. :)

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Facebook is jealous of my talent...

...therefore is trying to steal it for itself.

No joke. Anyone else check out the new Terms of Service? Because honestly... not cool. Now, anyone who follows this blog knows that facebook and I have a love hate relationship... sans the love. We despise each other. Facebook insults me on a daily basis (today it asked my mom if she thought I ever paid money to have sex, and that is NOT a joke), and I do everything I can to thwart it's evil ways... especially since its sudden rise in communist members (I have picture proof, just ask, I'll send it).

But honestly, I never thought facebook would start claiming other people's stuff as their own. The new Terms of Service are a joke... see, in the past, when you deleted your facebook page, Facebook lost all rights it had to your content. But now... now it's Linkchanged. Here are the new TOS:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.



Basically... anything you upload to facebook belongs to facebook now and forever. Pictures, blogs, videos, music, anything. Anything you upload is theirs to do whatever they want with... even if you delete your page. What I want to know is WHY. Why do they feel the need to do this?? And the only thing I can think is... the people who use facebook are just amazing. There's a plethora of amazing, witty writers, even more talented photographers and photo alter...ers... a number of people on the site are extremely talented, who wouldn't want to cash in??

Most of this blog may be a joke, but I'm serious about this: I don't know how I feel about Facebook taking my stuff. No one should upload anything they don't feel comfortable with to the internet in the first place, but I don't know why facebook feels the need to hold on to my photos forever. What would it want to do with them? And say someone uploads something you don't want uploaded? Then what? You have no control over that... it just sucks. A number of people have photos of their family and children on their pages, and now facebook owns those... it just doesn't make sense.

One thing is for certain - you will never see a note of mine in full on facebook again. I wonder if, by linking you to my blog on a facebook note, I'm indirectly giving them an owner's licence to my blog but I doubt it. It's not that I think I'm this amazing writer, but I do have my moments... and I just don't want my thoughts owned by someone else.

Seriously, though... this is stupid, facebook. Really, really stupid. Myspace wins this round, they have yet to do something this stupid and pointless. Facebook isn't going to cash in on my wit anymore... and it isn't going to cash in on my photo awesomeness anymore, either.

This does raise a question, though. I have a number of photo albums that aren't of me... for instance, my Star Trek (2009) album. I created the album in anticipation of the new movie because, quite frankly, I'm a Star Trek fan and I've been following the progression of this movie for a long time. Now there are pictures on the web and I'm out to get them... and share them with everyone. Now, they aren't my pictures... someone else took them, and I borrowed them. I'm fairly certain I linked to the Star Trek site in the album but I could be wrong, and if I am, I'll fix that. But it's not the point... the point is... those aren't my photos, they belong to someone else... they belong to BadRobot. Can Facebook claim those? Can it infact licence a photo that isn't mine? Will they get in trouble if they try?? Who knows... it's a whole lot of legal stupid that doesn't need to be going down, if you ask me.

This is kind of a rant, but I'm also doing it to let everyone know what's going down, because it was kind of done in secret. I didn't know till someone brought it to my attention. The good news?? I think we still have time to take down what we don't want on facebook. This was on my facebook page tonight... a number of you may have seen it as well:


A couple of weeks ago, we posted an update to our Terms of Use that we hoped would clarify some parts of it for our users. Over the past couple of days, we have received a lot of questions and comments about these updated terms and what they mean for people and their information. Because of the feedback we received, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised. For more information, visit the Facebook Blog.


The good news? This means facebook is listening to us finally... and it means the TOS aren't in effect anymore. The bad news? It sounds like it's a temporary lift of the new TOS, so we only have a small window to clean up our pages, if we have a window at all.

Also, I tried to go to the blog and I can't get there, it doesn't work. If anyone else can access the blog, please let me know, I'd like to check it out. In the meantime, join one of the following groups and keep them strong, hopefully it'll keep the new TOS dormant (I don't normally support groups like this... the new facebook stuff was kind of funny, but I seriously think this whole ordeal is stupid and doesn't need to be going down).

People Against the new Terms of Service

FACEBOOK OWNS YOU! Protest the new TOS.

Those agains Facebook TOS

Let's get this!

~Lauren

P.S. Here's another page to visit:

Facebook Bill of Rights

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All the best lessons I've learned in life...

...I've learned from children. No joke. It's almost like, if we could keep all the understanding we have as a child and simply grow more independent and stronger and wiser as we get older, we'd be much better off.

When you spend some time on the internet, you learn a couple of things.

1. The internet is full of crazies. I mean, sure, you can dig and dig and dig and find a couple people who aren't absolutely insane... but for the most part, the internet is full of crazies. The ability to speak does not boast intelligence or sanity... and I'd like to think that goes the same for the ability to type and use the internet. XD

2. Some of the most insane people online are hard to notice at first, because they say they believe the same things you do... but ask them to define what they believe, and you'll find they don't agree with you at all. They see things completely differently.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is something that's been apparent to me recently. I've been trying really hard to be a positive person as of late - it's so much easier to just be negative, but it's so much more fun to be positive, you know? Positivity is a big deal to me... it bothers me when people would rather focus on the bad than focus on the good. It gets under my skin. But what strikes me as odd is that a lot of people will claim that positivity is a big deal to them, too. Some people think positivity is ignoring your morals and trying to keep someone's spirits up. Some think it's reminding yourself that everyone breaks the law, so if someone you like does it, it's okay. Some think it's kicking people with a smile on your face. And some think it's more of an attitude... and it's flexible. Maybe it's all of these things, and maybe it's none of these things... but what I've learned today is... maybe it's more simple than that.

Positivity is seeing a hole in the roof of a barn and utilizing it as another entry way, instead of getting upset that there's a hole in the roof of the barn.

Are you lost yet? Probably. lol. Well, let me explain.

I worked in the preschool building today and, for whatever reason, I was in a "get down on the floor and play with the kids" mood. There are a number of moods you can be in while working with children, and not all of them are hands on, but that's how I was today. I played with a few of the kids and as more kids came in, we began to combine games until we had pretty much combined all the cars and Fisher Price connect-a-tiles and created a nice bussling little town.

Then, a tornado hit, and destroyed our barn and yellow brick road, and car garages and extra rooms and everything... so we all had to rebuild the town. We started with the barn. We rebuilt it and made it bigger and better than ever, giving it reinforced walls and two - count them TWO - doors. The only problem was, I ran out of connect-a-tiles for the walls, and had to use singular blocks. I was rebuilding in such a hurry that I didn't realize two of the tiles had big holes in them, until the barn was already built. I was mildly disappointed, because it was a cool looking barn, save for the holes on top. I was about to tear it apart when Konnor - one of the little boys - looked at me and got this really excited expression on his face. He pointed to the holes and said "THEY CAN GO IN UP HERE!" He then very ecstatically made his car fly to the top of the barn and dropped it in one of the holes. We both laughed, and one of the other kids mimicked Konnor's example. Before long, we were all laughing and dropping cars through the roof of the barn. After a while, Konnor decided it wasn't "realistic" that the cars were flying to the roof of the barn and falling in the holes... so we built a ramp so they could drive up and fall in. We had a blast, and majority of the children were playing with us. Everyone took turns driving their cars up the ramp and dropping them in one of the holes.

Now... they're children. It's not like they wouldn't have had fun if I had taken those tiles out and replaced them and made the barn look pretty... but how much MORE fun did we all have, simply because Konnor decided to be positive instead of negative??

I honestly think we should all strive to do this in our every day lives. Instead of looking at the holes in our roofs and frowning, why not find a way to use them to our advantage?? Not only will it make a difference in your day, but it will also affect the people around you. If you're in a good mood, it'll make them want to be in a good mood... and you never know who's going to need YOUR smile to help them through their day.

There are so many things that can ruin our day or week or month or whatever... but how many of those things wouldn't be able to affect us at all if we DIDN'T LET THEM?

So - that's my challenge for all of you this week... try to find the silver lining in your rain cloud at least once a day... try to view the hole in your roof as a door and, if need be, ask some friends for help... maybe all you need to see things differently are a few friends to build you a ramp. :)

Let's get this!

~Lauren

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This is why I don't lose my passport... OR golf...

Jordan lost his passport in Europe and had to take a train to Paris... hahahaha...


Find more videos like this on New Kids on the Block


And Donnie decided to be a dork on the golf course...


Find more videos like this on New Kids on the Block



Find more videos like this on New Kids on the Block



Find more videos like this on New Kids on the Block

I half expected a Happy Gilmore-esque melt down during this one... lol. THAT'S YOUR HOME! WHY DON'T YOU JUST GO HOME??? ARE YOU TOO GOOD FOR YOUR HOME?

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Bratz Dolls May Give Young Girls Unrealistic Expectations of Head Size


Bratz Dolls May Give Young Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size

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I'm that girl!!

So... as some of you may have noticed, and even more of you may NOT have noticed, I wasn't online Friday morning to laaaaaaaaaaaate Saturday evening and, as devastating as it was to surf the web during that time without my presence, I promise I do have a good reason for denying the internet the awesomeness that is me (and for those of you that are reading my current story - my real promises are kept better than my fake ones... hahaha).

Anyway, my excuse for being gone for two days: I. SAW. WICKED. As in the Broadway smash hit Wicked?? Yeah... that one.

Anyone who's known of my obsession knows I've been waiting for FIVE YEARS to see that musical. Anyone who hasn't known... well, now you do. Five years... there's only one thing I've waited longer for... hahaha. So... before I get into the details of the trip, let me get this out of the way...

*runs around room and screams*

*a lot*

Okay.

We left Friday because Sean had to be at Vanguard camp at 9 in the morning on Saturday and, well... that's too early to get up on Saturday morning and drive from Merced. So, we went up Friday night and stayed at Travis, which was fun, and meant I was free for 48 hours - my thoughts were consumed only by Wicked. Star Trek, Heroes, Watchmen, New Kids... it was all out the window... and I could think of nothing but the musical. We had dinner at Chevy's, which was pretty good... they served us something called corn tomallito or, as I effectionately referred to it - Corn Blob.

That's what it was... it was a blob of corn... kind of like mashed potatoes... but... corn. And it was sooooooooo good! It was like eating mashed potatoes that looked like a corn blob and tasted like corn bread! Serious mind trip... but it was really sweet and quite possibly my favorite food item of the night... haha.

I was up by 5:50 the next morning and ready to go by 7... we got to the city (San Francisco) by 11.... and the show was at 2... XD SO - we walked from the Orphium to the business district and had lunch in the mall down there, across from Union Square, then walked back so we could meet up with everyone. I'm not sure who all went... but it was a fairly big group. Took us a little while to get inside - we spent some time taking cutie patootie pictures in front of the big wall advertisements for the show and what not, and then we got our seats and the show started.

I started crying half way through the FIRST song... not because the song was sad or anything, but because I was seeing it. A five year long ambition was finally being achieved... You all saw how excited I was after waiting 2 years for the Star Trek trailer, and that was just a trailer! This was the whole show, with a 5 year wait! *screams again* The actors were AMAZING, and much to my excitement, Nicolas Dromard was Fiyero, and Teal Wicks was Elphaba. *screams again* The show was absolutely amazing... I mean, I knew I was going to love it, but there is SO much that goes on between the songs. I know, I know, duh - but still. There is SO much that goes on between the songs! This was the first musical I knew the whole story of, had every song memorized, everything... BEFORE I saw it. And there was still so much that just made my jaw hit the floor and my eyes tear up.

The stage was amazing... I couldn't get over how magnificent the stage was. I was impressed by everything... just bawled my eyes out because I related to Elphaba and just because I was there, actually seeing it. And the ending... OMIHECK... I didn't see it coming!!!

Afterwards I was absolutely giddy and tear covered... and in need of a restroom XD

We got together and all took a few more pictures afterwards... by this point, I'm in the most MAGNIFICENT mood, and just having fun. My friend, Stephanie - who is also an Ozmazing Wicked Fanatic - directs me to the stage door. I just stood on the sidewalk and stared at it. I really, really, REALLY had to use the bathroom, but I also really, really, REALLY needed to see Nicolas Dromard up close and personal. So... I had this decision to make... and I don't have a lot of time to make it, at which point, I leaned up against he railing for the BART and directed my attention at the empty stairs. While I'm staring, someone walks down and catches my eye, we make eye contact, I smile and wave, and he smiles, waves, and nods... and I freeze.

"So, do you wanna go by the stage door?" My mom asks.

"Hold on," I say, still staring at the once again empty stairs. "I'm trying to figure out." I ran mental image after mental image through my head - head shot after head shot - and smiled despite myself before turning and saying. "No, we can go, because Nicolas Dromard isn't back stage anymore."

"How do you know?"

"Cuz he just said bye to me!" I felt like doing a dance! FIYERO FREAKING ACKNOWLEDGED ME! NICOLAS DROMARD SMILED AT ME! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Which means nothing to most of you, but to this humble little aspiring theater geek, it's the world. And then some. It's like all that and a bag of chips... and the bag of chips was 4 for a dollar, so I got 8, cuz I happened to have an extra dollar. (The first dollar is implied, Heather.)

So I pretty much floated around on a Wicked/Fiyero cloud for the rest of the day. Fantastic. Amazing weekend. Amazing play. Amazing moment. No. Not Amazing. OZmazing.

If you ever ever EVER get the chance to see this musical, DO IT. It's simply... wicked! And worth EVERY PENNY! And the performance... everything was amazing. A couple people said it was better at the performances they saw, but honestly, I can't see it getting any better... unless I got a performance with Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Joey Mac, and Nicolas Dromard... THEN I'd probably wet myself with excitement... haha.

BUT - a fantastic day/experience/weekend. Awesome. Perfect. Beautiful. Another adjective I can't think of right now.

I'm STILL on Cloud Nine... hahahahaha.

*runs around room and screams more*

~Lauren

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Don't Judge Me...

I'm actually going to do this. I've been pushing this thought around in my head, trying to figure out if I should write it. It's a complicated idea, and I know it can be received incorrectly but... part of me keeps screaming that it needs to be said. I know I'll probably get my head chopped off and buried in the woods somewhere... I won't be deemed worthy enough to be given a proper burial, but I blogged about Twilight and DARNITALL I'm blogging about this!

I'm going to say this right out - if you're one of those insane fans that flips out at the mention of your heroes name in a negative light (i.e. Michael Phelps is a pot head, Edward Cullens SUCKS, etc.) then please, REFRAIN FROM COMMENTING ON THIS, because I really don't care what you have to say. It probably sounds extremely close minded for me to say that, but I'm going to put a bit of effort into this. It is not a blog to sing Phelps' praises, but he will be mentioned... if you won't take the time to read it and reply to the topic at hand, and instead want to drop explitives and insult me and the people who read my blog, then I won't give your comment the time. I will delete it, you will be dropped from my facebook, and that will be it. No response. No message. No warning. THIS is your warning. If you want to be one of the many people that further convince me that you can't fix stupid, then I don't want you on my page.

(I wrote all of that, in the hopes that it would idiot proof my blog. My mom just sent me a piece of flair that said "Make it idiot proof, and they'll make a better idiot.")

That is NOT to say that you can't debate the topic at hand. If you disagree with me, feel free to say so. I'm all about debating. I'm all about discussing. But I am not all about being called "effing crazy," and if that's how you want to start your debate, it won't be accepted well. Are we agreed?

Everyone who answered that question with a "NO," kindly click the home tab, or any other tab that will navigate you away from this note. Everyone who answered "YES," I want you to close your eyes and think of something for me. Imagine you have children - if you already have children, picturing them would be easy - and then think of someone you'd like them to model their lives after... celebrity wise. I think we'd all pick Jesus, if given the chance... haha. He's possibly the only exception to this discussion.

Have you thought of someone?? OK... chances are, you've chosen someone in the limelight that's painted positively... like, say, Michael Phelps.

I picked Donnie Wahlberg. No, not because I love him - though that's indirectly part of it - but because Howard Stern was already taken.

SAY. WHAT? Howard Stern? The SAME Howard Stern? THAT... Howard Stern?

Yes... that Howard Stern... and yes, THAT Donnie Wahlberg. Up until a few days ago, I probably wouldn't have picked him... but then I read this blog about Howard Stern, and why he was the best person to pick to be a role model, and I tell you what the guy had a POINT. A REALLY good one, too!

Think about it... how real are the people we'd normally pick? How innocent were Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Michael Phelps, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Lindsay Lohan, any of them, before the world got a hold of them? And how much did they change?

Britney's pretty obvious... it's painted everywhere. She was a sweet young girl, and now it's a fight everyday to keep her face out of the papers and away from the negative comments.

Michael's probably the least obvious... some would argue that he's still innocent, but I don't think he was innocent to begin with. Give the boy a few gold medals and he's nabbed himself a pretty DUI and a nice pic of him smoking pot to go with it - AND BEFORE YOU SAY "but Lauren, it was a one time deal!" Do some research, he's done pot before - and now people are upset with him... really upset with him. But who's fault is that? It's kind of ours... I know I know, I'm kind of pointing fingers, and none of us forced that joint into his mouth, but think about it. If Michael Phelps didn't have a pool, then he'd be just another stupid 23 year old kid. I'm 20... I know how stupid we are. But, like the other article pointed out, someone put him in the water and he shot around a few times, and someone realized they had something there. He wins a few medals, and he's America's golden boy... then he screws up, falls down, and people get upset. It happens, it's the design of the human. We pick role models, and they let us down because we hype them and paint them as gods. No matter how little their offense is, they're gods, so they can do NO wrong, and when they do, it's heart breaking. One of the most depressing things in our lives is when things aren't quite what they seem...

Take the Twilight books for example. How many people have read them? Because I have... and let me tell you, it was a disappointing experience. I personally love books... LOVE them. I had lunch with my Aunt a few days ago, and she told me she had the second Bolyn book, and I about peed myself with excitement. Books are amazing, and I'll read just about everyone I can get my hands on. So when Twilight rolled around, and the world went CRAZY for it, I was excited, and immediately went to read it... and I did... I remember closing the first book and just staring at it, expecting it to come to life and jump up.

"Just kidding!" I expected it to say. "Here's the REAL Twilight!"

"Oh, you and your jokes, literature!" I would say, waggling my finger in his face. And I would read the book he handed me, and I would love it.

But that never happened. The book remained a book and quite frankly, pardon my french, a piece of crap. I just stared at it... here I am with the "best book ever" in my hands, and I hated it. "This can't be it... it must get better," I kept saying. So, I read the next one. "No... no it MUST get better." I read the next one... and the next one... and it never gets better.

I had expected an epic literary romance between vampires, werewolves, and humans. I expected a tale of forbidden love, adventure, and fantastic lore. Instead, I had read a series chalk full of incest, abuse, teen pregnancy, and grammar mistakes. Oh man, the grammar mistakes were enough to make me want to rip my eyes out... It's one thing to write fanfiction with grammar mistakes... e-mails, messages, wall posts, blogs... but a PUBLISHED PIECE OF LITERATURE? It's ridiculous.

Rolemodels and celebrities get treated the same way... everyone says it's one thing, and you're excited. OOOO! Someone perfect! Someone golden! Someone that will never mess up! And then they do... and you realize, not only is this person not a god, but they're flawed as well... and it's depressing. We feel let down.

Unless... unless for some reason, we pick role models we wouldn't pick. When I read the blog about Howard Stern - and I advise everyone to read it, I'll supply the link at the end - I commented on it. I was sooo surprised that I agreed with everything that was said, and surprised to realize that I should have known it all along.

The comment that I left ended with this phrase:

"It took this blog to make me realize that all the role models I have that have never let me down, are the ones I NEVER should have picked in the first place."

Basically that means, I have a few role models that are a little more unconventional. Most the people I stick in that role model slot, I just wait for them to fail. I did it with Michael, and lookie there, he did.

But - interestingly enough - Mr. Wahlberg has yet to do that.

First, let's look at why he shouldn't be a role model: He's definitely rough around the edges. He's from Boston, so the explitives drop a little more freely and one would like. He's a free spirit, a tad on the wild side, and he's not perfect.

*GASP* Say that last part again???? Here's why he's a good choice for a role model:

He's not perfect.... and he isn't trying to be. Donnie Wahlberg always has been Donnie Wahlberg... at least while I've been alive. There was a moment in time before my conception where he was a little good kid, but he snapped out of that pretty quickly. He's never really shocked the world, because he's been a bad boy from day one. That was his reputation. He wasn't a polished little puppet, he was himself. He had fun. He was himself. He was REAL.

Unlike Michael Phelps, Donnie Wahlberg got into trouble... and no one thought he wouldn't. He wasn't a golden boy when he was 23, he was a 23 year old when he was 23. No surprises there. In fact, people's expectations for him were SO low, he ended up getting arrested and being sentenced for something he never even did... interesting.

So... reason #1. He isn't fake. He's real. He's a human being, and no one expects him to be more, because he doesn't lie to the public. Take him or leave him, that's who he is.

Reason #2. He surprises.

Let's go back to Michael Phelps for a moment... I've been attacked a bit the past few days because I stated that I would like Michael to recieve proper consequences for his actions. That's all. This is one response that drives me crazy:

"He's under a lot of pressure. He's super popular, and he probably doesn't know how to handle it. He's under so much pressure, he's going to mess up. You don't know what it's like to deal with his amount of stress."

First of all... I'm thinking having everyone notice you is a small price to pay to have millions of dollars. Second of all, I'm a college student, finances are tight, and I'm not super popular. I know people who are struggling with far worse, that have been through far worse... and I know people that are going through so much that they would WILLINGLY give up their privacy to have the kind of problems Michael has... so I kind of do understand.

But let's forget all of that...

Here we have this young kid from Baltimore. He's been popular since roughly the age of 19. 15, if you wanna kick and scream and scratch my eyes out for getting the age wrong ;P. He grew up having to deal with getting picked on... as a kid he was funny looking, but extremely talented when he hit the water. He had to deal with fame from roughly about the age of 19. He made history, and is now super popular. Everyone knows his name, everyone knows his face, everyone loves him... and he has fat girl syndrome. He apparently has stupid girl syndrome, too, but I won't get into that.

If you want to blame his screw ups on the pressure and hard knock life he's had to deal with, then consider this:

You've got a young boy from the wrong side of the tracks in Boston. He grew up in the theater, and at 15, he was thrust into fame. His entire life, the only expectation anyone had for him was failure. He had fame and money like he never could have imagined, and he was a young kid, forced into a label. The expectation of failure that was on him was so harsh, he was arrested for something he didn't do. ARRESTED FOR SOMETHING HE DIDN'T DO. As he grew up, the expectation for failure gets steadily more apparent. He switches careers, quickly gaining fame in his new choice. He finds happiness and loses it, and constantly deals with hate and cat calls of failure. And yet... nothing negative in the news, save for the trumped up charge. Now, if anyone's ever had a reason to screw up and scream "PRESSURE!" It'd be him. But he hasn't done it yet... interesting.


Reason #3. He appreciates his fans.

This probably doesn't mean anything to most others, but as an aspiring actress, I love to hear how much Donnie cares about his fans. He gives more attention to them than any celeb I know. He meets with them when he's sick, and almost every blog he writes, he states how impressed he is, how BLESSED he is, to have such amazing fans. He let's them... well, I suppose I should say US lol... know he hears us. Let's us know he notices... and I have to say, it makes me excited to be a fan... if that makes sense.

It's nice to see someone with as much fame as he's got, past and present, still care about the people who essentially got him there (I mean, honestly, without fans, no one can be famous).


There are numerous other reasons, but those are the most prevalent ones. Surprising, isn't it? Wait till you read the one about Howard Stern - I found myself respecting the guy on some level... crazy, huh?

I guess, if you're going to take one thing away from this blog, let it be this: Don't judge a book by it's cover, and don't count someone out just because they aren't what you want them to be. You may be surprised if you take the time to pay attention.

I for one would kill to have my child grow up and be real, respectful, and strong, rather than some flashy fake freak that's destined for disappointment. (NO, PHELPSIES, I did NOT just call Phelps a flashy fake freak. Chill.)

So... that's it... just wanted to get that out there. :) Hey, at least I don't want a child like Sylar, right? XD And I AM curious as to what you think. Do you agree? Disagree? Wanna state who your role model is? Go right ahead! :D Just watch the explitives ;)

And, as promised, the Howard Stern blog. I don't think there is any bad language in it, but I could be wrong... I skimmed it again just to be sure, but may have missed some. If there is some in there, I apologize.
TV 101

~Lauren

P.S. I feel this needs to be said. I don't hate Michael Phelps... I have a huge colage of him on my wall... I just don't like what he does with his free time. I still recognize his swimming talent... and recognize that he did something amazing that's never been done before... BUT - to everyone who's response to me is, "Let the swimming do the talking," consider this. He can swim as fast as he wants, it will never change who he is. I can't swim worth crap, but it doesn't mean I'm a horrible person. Likewise, no matter how fast or how well Michael swims, it won't make what he did any less wrong.

If you're going to use that to defend Michael, then no one can complain about TO, Plaxico Burress, Jim Carrey, Zach Braff, or any one else... Being an amazing swimmer does not mean he's not an idiot. It just means he's an amazing swimmer, who's an idiot.

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Geeky love keeps me running back to you...

Last night, at 12:12 am, I had a heart attack. I was going to the restroom, and the tv was on... Red Eye was on - and I froze. I freaked. I had gone an entire day without posting a blog... I HAD FAILED MYSELF, and NABLOPOMO!

Then, almost as immediately as the heart attack started, it ended, because I realized - IT'S FEBRUARY, SUCKAZ, and I'M FREEEEEE! How did I let January end without even the slightest inkling that I was done with the January challenge? Easy... the Super Bowl... oh football... hahaha.

So, if any of you are wondering - which you probably aren't - I have decided to NOT take part in this month's NaBloPoMo challenge, because I like being free.

I will be blogging regularly, though... it's just that my thoughts have been consumed by really one thing the past few days... STAR TREK. It's a driving force, no joke. It's taking everything I have to not geek out and post an epic blog about how much I love the original show and cast, how much I want to watch the movies but can't cuz our VCR is being lame, how much I miss DeForest Kelley and Jeffrey Doohan, how thrilled I am about the new movie, how much I want to see the new cast in action, etc. etc. I'm holding back... I don't want to geek out too bad, but I don't know how long I can hold off... as much as I don't want to give you a blog about all of those things... like the Heroes Eclipse, it's coming.

There are other things I've been thinking of but, due to their controversial nature, I can't publicise them... lame.

BUT - I think I will talk about Heroes and the fact that I'M FINALLY CAUGHT UP! Monday's episode was pretty epic... Sylar's getting more and more intense... (GAH! It just leads back to Star Trek!! Stupid BRAIN!!!...BRAIN...SYLAR...CONTINUE) he's still got the mystery and layers that I love about the character... but there's something innocently sinister about him. For instance, I have a hard time hating him when the people he's killing are working for Nathan...

I also find it insanely fascinating that I have no problem rooting for Noah, no matter what side he's on... and it's awesome when he's against Sylar, because then, it's like the Seahawk's against the 49ers... sure, they're both my teams, and either way, one is going to lose, but it's going to be a good game, and one of my teams are going to win... and in the case of Sylar and Noah, it's usually a draw... haha. I think it's because Noah's morally grey... he made that clear, so whatever he does, he does for the greater good, even if he has to break the law to do it... he's also the only character that has stayed consistant. He said he was morally grey, and he's stayed morally grey.

Not to mention, I like the idea of morally grey... I mean, yeah, I'm soooo against breaking the law - but in a character, morally grey is fantastic, and I honestly can't think of anyone outside of Noah Bennet who's pulled it off so well... except maybe (NO NO STAR TREK!!!!)... nope... just Noah XD. The concept is just... it's great. He's not a good guy, but he's not a bad guy. He's a help and a hindrance... and yet neither. He's like a drifter... I just love it.

I hope he's okay. XD

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Super Bowl 43 Vlog!!!

video

Alright!! As promised, here is the Super Bowl Vlog!!! And below are a bunch of questions about the vlog, just to give you all something to do... :D All answers are in the video, so... have fun! Post your answers in the form of a comment, or message. :D

1. The song I sang at the beginning was a rendition of a song from what Nick Jr. TV show?

2. Who sang the National Anthem?

3. When talking about the banana pudding, I say "banana" a certain way - what show is that from?

4. Who flipped the coin?

5. Who won the toss?

6. Who's babies did I say I would not mind having?

7. Who did I say played Spock?

8. Why were the guys sitting upstairs?

9. A little less than 3 minutes into the video, we watch a fairly violent commercial, only to rewind it later and watch it again. What product was the commercial selling?

10. What were my "famous last words"?

11. What question did Ellie ask me when I came out of the bathroom?

12. Why did I eventually ditch the TiVo tv and move upstairs?

13. After the Cardinals touchdown that brought the score to 23 - 20, I let out a noise (6:11). What movie (and/or tv show) is that noise from?

14. At about 7 minutes and 40 seconds, I say that there wasn't a fumble, because the ball had "forward progress." Was that the right terminology?"

15. There's no hushing in football" is a variation of what phrase, and from what movie?

16. According to my mom, who won?

***BONUS***

1. How many times has Jennifer Hudson been nominated?

2. During the coin toss, what is the number of the player closest to Gen. Petreus?

3. Where did I say the Star Trek TV Spot was?

4. At about 2:16, what is the first food you see on the table?

5. What color were Aunt Sandra's flowers in the kitchen?

6. What am I?

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Look! In the sky! It's a bird... it's a plane! It's... SUPER BOWL!


It's Super Bowl Sunday! BUT - it's only 1:51 AM... so the game hasn't started yet. Being the football lover that I am, it's a given that I'll be watching the game... however, lucky for all of you, I am on a mission to supply you all with a fantastic Super Bowl blog! I mean, first I have to go to church, and then GET to the destination... but then, the fun will start... I hope to take a bunch of little videos, compile them all together, and then cut a scavenger hunt for you guys... it'll be fun! :D And I hope that insanity will take place at the party, so... here's hoping!

GO CARDS! :)

And now... some fun links!

Top 10 Worst Super Bowl Somethings...

Best Sports Quotes of 2008

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