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ver. 9.0 - frozen reflections
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I'm back! But still have about 17-200 different back-posts of my Olympic event to share on my Olympic Blog. Unfortunately, a school paper will delay that for the foreseeable future. Hurrah for reality biting me in the ass after the most amazing, exhilarating, most magical month of my life to date.

My normal mundane life already feels empty after the rush of pride and love I felt at the Winter Olympics.



Anyway, the only reason I am foregoing sleep right now is due to some fuming. Because apparently, displays of the wonderful and spontaneous rampant patriotism in Canada during the Olympics has led Texan journalist Gil LeBrun to compare Canada and Canadians to 1936 Nazi Germany.

No, you didn't read that wrong. He, like every other raving lunatic it seems these days, compared us to a party of genocidal, war-mongering, racists. He then, in a later article, would back-pedal by claiming he never meant to offend Canadians in making the comparison but largely doesn't recant the comparison either.

First of all, it takes a monumental amount of stupidity to even be able to THINK that he can make a comparison of ANYONE or ANYTHING with Nazi Germany and NOT offend anyone. Even mentioning Nazi Germany within the premise of any significant topic will get you raked over coals. Second, that he opened up your article with the comparison basically invalidated ANY CRITICISM he had to say about these Games on the basis that by insensitively trivializing the events leading up to and into World War II, he's indicated that he really have no concept of fair, balanced and well-reasoned perspective worth sharing or worth publishing.

Was his criticisms misplaced? Not all of them. Some of them were reasonable. But enough of them certainly lacked understanding and perspective. For one, it wasn't just Canadians that strutted the red-and-white, everyone did as they embraced the country that so openly embraced them. In Whistler, I saw the Australian flag swing proudly next to that of the Canadian one. The Swiss flag was forever prominent, the Norweigian flag even more and it was internationals and Canadians alike that demonstrated it. There were pins, displaying both the Canadian symbol next to one of another country, a demonstration of our shared global heritage in this country.

I sure as hell purchased a Korean-Canadian dual flag pin, not once but twice.

He wanted us to extort a global mandate with these Olympic Games and not just the maple leaf. But what does the maple leaf truly represent on the international stage?

It represents a country, one of the few in the world, that peacefully embraces every culture, every belief and every race with equal hearts and open arms. It represents a country that has often been among the first to share a smile, a hello, a helpful hand or a hug whenever we think one is needed. It represents a country that has for many proved the be the most generous, the most courteous and the most grateful.

Forget the please, thank yous and sorrys. People joke how often we say it, as if we seek your approval, or your permission. We don't. We say it because we as a nation understand that this world cannot run as a world of individuals, but as a world of co-operation and shared experiences. We say thank you for taking part alongside us, we say sorry for the difficulties in creating a unified, shared decisions we have to make, and we say please, to remind everyone that we cannot do anything in this world alone.

We represent a country that has always fought so unyieldingly for peace. The hills of Vimy Ridge was where Canada enacted one of their greatest victories, but instead of statues of triumph there is only statues of a nation in mourning for the needless death of human life, but for what was considered a necessary battle for the end of the war. There is no real victory when in war.

Are these not global values? Should not the world strive to - not necessarily be Canada - but perhaps adopt some of the acceptance and understanding that has eluded some leaders at the world stage? Would that not make the world a better place?

So don't give me that bile-ridden, condescending tone about us Canadians thinking only of ourselves and not including the "world" into our celebrations in what you seemed to think was our swastika like maple leaf strutting.

Every day the world got involved, just ask the volunteers from France, from Germany, from Japan and from Russia that experienced the event alongside the Canadians. I hugged my German friend when her German team won silver, and she hugged me back when Canada beat Germany in hockey, despite the morale crushing score. I high-fived my Japanese friend when they finally got a bronze medal in men's figure skating. And she returned the favour when Kim Yu-Na stole our hearts for gold.

And every event at Whistler Olympic Park was accompanied by the heartfelt roar of a Canadian crowd that was simply glad to see someone win, Canadian or not. Because chances are, we knew someone who represented the country that did win, and we thought only of congratulating them later.

Maybe we did go a little crazy in the patriotism category. Maybe we were a little too punch drunk over our own success. Maybe we did fail to give those non-Canadians greater due for their triumphs.

But we did not forget the world in our joy. Rather it was the world embracing the red and white of Canada. And the adoption of a national symbol by a world of nations hasn't happened and wouldn't happen anywhere else but in Canada.
22nd-Oct-2008 11:54 pm - Mae govannen, mellon nin

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Here be 100 Eomer icons for icons100 that I'm currently working on. First time doing this kind of contest really. But I was bored and wanted to fiddle around with my photoshop program. ^^;;

No real rules with regards to crediting or anything, just upload these to your own server (because this is via my own webhost) and no claiming any of these as your own. :) Credits for the brushes, textures, tutorials and whatnot can be found HERE.

Riders of Rohan! Oathes you have taken. Now to fulfill them. To Lord and Land! Hyah!Collapse )
One of my few non-friends-only posts. Woo.

There is not ONE decent LOTR rating community out there! Seriously. I must have looked at all of them and they are all DEAD! :( It's a bit disappointing because Quizilla claiming I'm like Aragorn blah blah blah isn't really good enough for me. XD I'd make my own, but I don't plan on quitting anything I'm doing now for a rating community. And I'd rather sit with my own affirmations on who/what kind of person I am then deal with the paperwork really...

Buuuuuut... because I'm stupid like this, I decided I'd like to test my knowledge of the characters from The Lord of the Rings, or at least, knowledge of Middle-earth, by doing a little rating thing for some stupid fun. Neha's little escapade being sorted the last time made me think to do a similar thing if only in a different format, with maybe a few questions. So...

Which Character of Middle-earth Am I?
Leave a comment with your LJ username in it and answers to the following 3 questions - you can write your answers however long you wish to write them. But the longer, the better informed my choices will be. I'll reply with the character I think is closest to you (or your answers). Please note this incorporates characters from The Silmarillion as well and is not exclusive to LOTR.

1. What is your favourite quote? (from any fandom, origin, etc. - not exclusive to LOTR)
2. If you can aquire ONE attribute (ie. intelligence, strength, determination, wit) what would it be?
3. What is/are important to you in life?

BONUS QUESTION: The last thing you ate and your last activity before commenting.

My decision is not final, as it is merely my opinion from what I perceive. Feel free to refute it, or explain why you don't agree with who I rate you. You are free to reply to other people's comments with their opinions on who they are. Don't take me too seriously either. I don't.
I never really realized it, not even when reading JK’s books how very clique the very system of Hogwarts School is to begin with. The Houses… they all categorize people. The Brave, the Smart, the Clever, the Nice. It seems very… stupid in my eyes now that I think about it. What in ourselves indicates that we are overtly brave, or overtly smart, or clever, or nice? What does it prove? Because whether you are a Slytherin or a Gryffindor should not make the difference whether they are evil or good. Generally speaking, one should be equally likely to meet an evil individual than a good in Gryffindor. And in any other House for that matter.

The divisiveness of this system speaks for itself, and is made much more apparent to me having to live it on HOL, though in different ways than on Hogwarts. Maybe because of the way our sorting hat works on HOL. I am sitting here pondering the truth of what people say when they answer those questions. So I shall break it down for you.

Slytherin has always been classified as the “evil” House, with people always thinking of themselves and no others, and make friends so that they can have connections later in life. If I recall rightly, many of those questions in the HOL sorting hat seemed to exude that. This misconception is what is ruining a potentially great House. Why do people often think clever people are people who care nothing of others? Cleverness is not selfishness, and simply because some clever people in the annals of our history were so does not make all people that way. These people have a lot of common sense. Plain and simple, they have common sense.

I mean look at Draco Malfoy. He used many means to get onto the Slytherin Quidditch team. One can argue bribery but it still got the job done did it not? And really, Lucius Malfoy did not get on the good side of the Minister of Magic by being stupid. He was clever. HE HAD COMMON SENSE!

The problem with this house is that common sense can be so easily misled. All it takes is to twist a single perception and the House falls into darkness. It began with the Head of Slytherin House and his medieval way of thinking concerning muggle-borns. But this by no means make them evil. Just misled.

The HOL sorting hat exuded none of that common sense for Slytherin. Honestly, how much common sense lies in the fact of ‘giving an exclusive report’ on the burning of a house? It is ridiculous plain and simple. Most true Slytherins would shake their heads at the poor and rather irrational example of their House. It’s just plain awful. A good majority of people who are sorted into HOL Slytherin, are nothing more than REBELS or people who thrive on THINKING themselves evil. This House is where the neo-goths go because they think they’re all cool in their “hero-hating” and wannabe-evil-lords. This is not cleverness. This is not common sense. This is delusions, desires, and wish-fulfillment.

This has nothing to do with the true Slytherin House.

Ravenclaw has been classified as the house of people with wit and knowledge, brimming with intelligent people. Or does it? Order of the Phoenix made it out as if Ravenclaws were a bunch of snobs, which upsetted a number of Ravenclaw friends of mine I know. But is that so far from the truth? I wonder, perhaps Ravenclaw is not the house of intelligence, merely those who think they are.

Look at Hermione Granger, perhaps the smartest girl in Harry’s year and yet a Gryffindor. Now one may argue that “Oh she wanted to be a Gryff” or “Oh JK is just using her as a literary device” and so forth. I disagree. Hermione I think is well aware she is smart, but she doesn’t put it above everything. She said so herself: “There are more important things in the world like friendship and bravery.” You see, she puts her MORALS above those brains she has (which will be discussed in the Gryffindor portion of my thought process). She’s truly intelligent, but not a Ravenclaw. So where does that leave the Eagles?

CURIOSITY is the basis of Ravenclaw House. It has nothing to do with Intelligence, it has nothing to do with wit. It instead has everything to do with the constant never ending desire to learn more about what lies around you, striving to achieve answers to those unanswered questions. You can be smart, but hold no interest to learn anything more than you have to or need to. Basically just learn what you think you need to learn and that is that.

Unfortunately,in this misconception you instead get the number of superiorists who thinks, knows and acts as if they are smart, and so, are so much more important than others because they can 'deduce things'

Is that really intelligence however? Curiosity?

The HOL sorting hat seems to play on this idea of "Ravenclaws are intelligent" all the more strongly, drawing to Ravenclaw all those that THINKS they are smart, but perhaps are not. I mean anyone who puts intelligence as their most prominent aspect, as opposed to kindness, cleverness or bravery (awful awful awful question if there ever was one) I wouldn’t be too surprised if there does evolve a superiority complex. What does kindness, bravery or cleverness have against brains anyway? Kindness allows one to more easily get used by other, bravery can often lead to foolery and stupid decisions, and cleverness is selfishness that gets one nowhere (which I already explained how wrong this is but I am playing with the stereotypes here). Intelligence of course is the only path to a future.

People, this is not intelligence. This is PRIDE. There is a difference.

I rather like to think of Ravenclaw as being a House of curiosity; a place full of people who thrive on their knowledge and need and desire to learn more about certain things in life. They thirst to learn more. Look at Luna Lovegood, with her insatiable quench to explain the many strange things with even stranger things, as a way to quench her own curiosity. She I think is the truest Ravenclaw I can ever, and will yet encounter.

Gryffindor… the House full of heroes, brave people, people who can do no wrong… Oh how misguided the world is when they think that! JK of course, must be thanked for doing this base simplification of this House, to which as its Prefect in Charge I rue dearly. Because of Harry Potter, SIMPLY because of Harry Potter, we are the most sought after House of the four. We are the heroes, we are always good, we are always perfect, and we are always… great.

Someone once told me that they can name several people in HOL Gryffindor that really ought to be a Slytherin. Now that I thought about it, I really do disagree. They thought they belonged there because they behave ‘rudely’ and are ‘selfish.’ But there we go into the damn base stereotyping of each House once again! They do not belong there. If any place, they actually do BELONG in Gryffindor.

Gryffindor has nothing to do with bravery, has nothing to do with courage. It is all about MORALS, and how we feel about them and how we stand for them. Look at Percy, at his staunch rule-loving personality. He put his morals, his beliefs, before his entire family! That is a Gryffindor if I ever saw one! And then there is Harry Potter even, his morals are what he bases his entire life on! He breaks rules based on his morals, because what he thinks is right and wrong! That is Gryffindor House! This may be why Gryffindor has so many ‘heroes’ in it. Because it is those people in life who stands up for what they feel is right, their morals, their beliefs, and so would be willing to do anything for it, in addition to the IMPORTANT fact that they succeed that makes them heroes. However if they fail, they will look the fool.

Neville Longbottom for example, a coward in a sense the way he trembles in the sight of Professor Snape. He’s a Gryffindor, a contradiction to the ideas of the House itself. But he whole-heartedly believes in what he does, in what he knows. One only has to look at the way he stood up to Harry, Hermione and Ron to see just how Gryffindor he truly is. Neville was willing to lose his friendship over his beliefs.

That is Gryffindor House.

And so at last I come to terms with the place I was sorted into. Yes, HOL’s Gryffindor House may be full of people with a stick up their asses, who argues, who doesn’t follow along with the flow, who basically, does things as they see fit. This has more to do with our moral values than our separatist views. We fight like the devil for what we believe in. It may not go along with the rest of the world, but hey, George Washington did the same thing. And so, I must also say, did Hitler.

You see, Gryffindor’s are not all necessarily good. Hitler would have been just as good a Gryffindor as a Slytherin, or even a Ravenclaw for he was intelligent. We are not all do-gooders. We only deal only with what we believe is right, whether it is truly right of us to. And so, in the world of OotP, we rebelled against Umbridge, though it may seem like the worst thing to do.

Morals are not necessarily always a good thing. Morals can suck like shit too.

HOL’s sorting hat plays too heavily on the hero aspect of Gryffindor however. Bravery, courage… all things attributed to heroes. However those who answers as such, running into a burning house to save someone’s cat for example, does not make them a hero. I stated clearly: if you succeed you are a hero, if you fail you are a fool. The sorting hat plain and simple, does not strive for those with any moral values, who would fight for their beliefs when sorting students into Gryffindor. The opposite actually; those sorted into Gryffindor are those without any in some cases, only the nonsensical urge to be a hero, to be good, to be everything they want to be.

But it is only a dream of a society who longs to make a difference in this world.

Hufflepuff… perhaps the most difficult House to explain. The house of leftovers, the place where people go because no one else wanted them… I try hard now to think of an accurate rebuttal, a way to explain the true qualities of Hufflepuff, but it is hard. The thing that is special about Hufflepuff is that it has no ‘true’ qualities.

It is not about values, or what we deem important, or personalities. It is simply a House, to which people can become a member of if they want to. Anyone can be a member; it is of all Houses and none. It is simply Hufflepuff.

As for the ‘Huffers are duffers’ crude, and the thought that they are all slow and dumb, I shake my head to it. They simply are not anything, just people who are honest with themselves about their own thoughts and personalities. This does not mean they lack in intelligence at all though, nor morals. They simply accept their fate as, normal people. I’m not saying that all Hufflepuffs are honest, just… that they are who they are. They do not strive for greatness they instead strive to stay true to themselves.

This is what is most interesting, and hard to explain about Hufflepuff House. If the world was to answer honestly having never read the books, Gryffindor would not have the most students in HOL based on those answers in HOL's sorting hat. Hufflepuff is for the everyday person, the person who deals with the realities of this world. Hufflepuff answers in the sorting hat are the kind of answers that the normal person who cares nothing about becoming a specific member of any house would more or less answer.

HOL Hufflepuff is really the only place that receives true Hufflepuffs, because it is a House of all Houses and yet none. Anyone, whether they are truly a Gryff, Slyth or Ravenclaw can become a Huff, because it really does not matter. Hufflepuff is merely Hufflepuff. Whether truth or honesty really does play a part, I cannot say.

I guess what I’m trying to say from this long winded brainstorm is that I hate HOL’s sorting hat, and most sorting hats online. JK Rowling may have summed down the qualities of each House to something children can understand, but when it must be employed in something like HOL, it’s stupid. If JK was to see our sorting hat, she would probably laugh her ass off at how two dimensional it is, how base it truly is.

Not that you can properly identify where one belongs with a computer generated script, but HOL’s sorting hat is primitive, surface deep and quite frankly, completely useless! It can be better executed with more flair and ACCURACY to the true meaning of each House than to cater to wannabes. Because that is exactly what this one does, cater to the wannabes.

Tell me, do you belong where you have effectively sorted YOURSELF? Are you willing to accept BOTH the good and the bad that comes with where you are sorted?

Or do you perhaps belong elsewhere?

But in a way, my entire rant above is useless and damn well as meaningless as HOL’s sorting hat itself, because well... what does it matter where you are sorted in?

HOL unlike Hogwarts is supposed to reach out to other people in other Houses…

Or does it?

Do we really co-mingle with those not of your own House? How many can say they made extremely strong ties with people from every single house on HOL?

My strongest ties lie in only 2 Houses: my own House and Slytherin House. Though I have friends from elsewhere, they… simply are not as strong. And though I have many a chance to make stronger connections, sometimes it is simply not there.

What does that say about me? Have I missed out of the chance of making some amazing friends simply because I am a Gryffindor? Simply because I have “Gryffindor” labelled across my name and so makes me unapproachable; that you have Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff or yours that makes you equally so to me?

What about the rest of you? How many potentially great friends can you, are you, missing out on simply because where they, and you, were sorted? Because of a simple stereotype? Because of generalization of a group of people?

Stuck-up. Rude. Childish. Immature. Scary. Power-monger. Hostile. Irrational. Bully. Meanie.

There are many adjectives that HOL has used to secretly bash others, because openly will leave one open to trouble. I now bring them to light and ask all of you, how many of those have you stuck next to a House because of one person, or two? How many of those have used it on a person because of hearsay? I will admit that I am guilty of it at times. What about you?

House-bashing is a real thing, and though it is discouraged, it happens still today, behind closed doors, away from distrustful ears. And away from those who will nail you for it. It is like racism. People deny its existence. But it is there, and it festers.

We all know there is a gap between Houses. Some have bridges, some are simply impassible canyons. For all your talk on reaching out to others, have any of you truly done anything to try and bridge this gap? Even if you are afraid to?

Yes it takes both sides to make that bridge over the gaping hole that separates others, but have you even tried? Ever tried? Have you bothered?

Or do you merely shelter yourselves from within a solid group of friends neither looking out beyond them, only looking in. And when you do look out, you only look out to look down and scorn what lies beyond, neither lending a hand nor lending an ear. Disdain towards those that you and your friends did not invite into your world; elitists, superiors!

Is that all you have in your life?

But that is of course, of another topic, and another day to which my mind might consider unraveling.

It takes a simple seed to grow the tallest tree in the world.

Ponder and think about it. However, think carefully.

Because I am making this a public post, open to anyone who wishes to read it. Because what good will this one thought be if only my friends can see this? What good does it do this world if I merely cloister it among a select group of people?

I intend to plant a seed. You may think it rotten, but it had to be done, eventually.

It had to have been said.

For all of us.

(This brainstorm is a subject of ongoing debate in Rai's mind. In addition, this stems from the fact that I "tried" to write Chapter 8 of NOAH - which deals on the subject of newbie House-bashing and finding it really very difficult to write about because of general misconceptions... in any case, think, talk and consider. And rethink your way of thinking in this world where friendship is SUPPOSED to be the strongest magic...)
In #duels...
[20:33] [RaiKatLee] they'll ask why the hell I'm talking to the computer
[20:33] [RaiKatLee] and ask if I need help?
[20:33] [Nicky] lol!!
[20:33] [Nicky] Tell them: "Sure!"
[20:33] [Nicky] "Could you get me a glass of water for my 40 year old pot belly hookerish male friend?"
[20:33] [RaiKatLee] oh geez
[20:34] [RaiKatLee] #1 way to get the internet disconnected o.O
[20:34] [Nicky] lol!!
[20:34] [Nicky] We should make a book.
[20:34] [Nicky] "101 ways to get your internet disconnected."
[20:34] [Nicky] Book.
[20:34] [RaiKatLee] LOL
[20:34] [RaiKatLee] we COULD
[20:35] * RaiKatLee would prefer to write a "100 ways to know you are crazier then usual"

Click here to see the bookCollapse )

eLOL!!!!!
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