The Imminent Threat of Theocracy

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I am a christian, willingly. I believe in God, and Jesus Christ.

I am an American citizen. And while I may not like some of the people in this country, or the people running it, I was born in this land, and land is what I care about.

I still am patriotic about the land, and I have always been patriotic for what America stands for.

Freedom.
Hope.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

A big ‘ol melting pot of people of different religions, skin colors, genders… etc.

I love my religion, and I’m on decent terms with my Nation.

But go ahead and call me old fashioned… because I really am.
I seem to be one of a dwindling people that enjoy their church and state separated.

To be honest, they don’t do too well together.
We’ve tried that.
It was called pre-American revolution England.

Do we even care anymore about what America really stands for?
Or are we just going to cherry-pick what we want about it?

“Oh, I want my second amendment rights! I want my guns, and I want them now!”

“Well listen here, sir, I want my first amendment rights, and I want it now!”

*Cue blank stares*

“Oh, you’ve never even thought about the fact that there was more to our constitution then just something telling you that you’re allowed to carry firearms?”

*Cue crickets*

That’s the thing that a lot of Conservatives forget about. The constitution is more than the second amendment.
And as far as I know, your bible has nothing to do with my government!

The first amendment declares a separation of church, (religion), and state (America).
How can you go on about your rights, when you can’t look up a couple inches to see mine.
I have a right, and so does everyone else in this nation, not to be ruled and dictated by the rules and regulations of religion!
I don’t give a damn about your religious values, if you want to stick them in my government. To yourself? Great. Glad you have a set of morals, but if you want to be a leader in this government, then you’re going to need to leave those values at your door when you walk out in the morning!

Look at my two favorite issues right now; abortion and gay marriage. These are big issues, but they shouldn’t even be a problem.
I’ll start off by saying that anyone other then the person themselves should have a hand in someone’s personal life.
Then I’ll ask… what other reasons can women not have abortions, and homosexuals can’t marry other then religious values?
Abortions; I get the whole protecting life deal. If it were just about that, then I’d understand. But then you go and get all the answers from a pocket new testament, and that’s where you go wrong. ALL of the arguments I hear against abortion are for religious reasons.
Because if you were going at it from a stance to protect life, then you’d understand that an egg plus sperm does NOT make a person! I’m a person. You’re a person. A fertilized egg? It’s just that. A fertilized egg.
Me, personally, I’m for abortions but against late term. Once it has a BRAIN and pain receptors, I’d call that inhumane.
But a beating heart? Or fingernails? (Juno, anyone?)

The dead have fingernails. A dead guy’s heart can still beat for a few seconds after he has died! Does that make him living? No.

And gay marriage, perhaps the most bible-oriented issue of all time. Name me a SINGLE reason other then the bible why homosexual’s can’t marry.
The institution of marriage?
Who supposedly came up with that, huh?
Was there some sort of companion piece to our constitution that was on this topic?

No. It was the bible.

And the institution of marriage?
Let me break down the biblical institution of marriage.

“You give me your 14 year old daughter so I can produce offspring to work the farm, and I’ll give you three goat.”

“Three goat? That’s a lot of goat!”

“So I can marry your pre-pubescent daughter?”

“Hmm… three goat is more than one daughter… you have deal!”

…That was the “sanctity” of marriage back then. The ENTIRE reason that God may have had any problem with homosexuality, is that naturally, two men can’t make a baby. Back then, there was that whole, “be fruitful and multiply” thing.
We have been fruitful. We have multiplied.

But that’s besides the point.

This is getting ridiculous.
Our founding fathers worked their asses off, what with that whole revolution and all, to bring us separation from church and state.
And yet we keep trying to bring them back together, against what our founding fathers wanted, against our best interests, and for what?
To become what we fought so hard to overcome?

As of right now, we are very nearly a theocracy. We are letting one religion dictate what we can and can’t do.
All it’s going to take is for someone to sign the bill.

We can’t let that happen.
We can’t do this.

Did you know that it was in the fifties… the NINETEEN fifties when President Eisenhower added the phrase ‘under God’ after ‘one nation’ in our pledge?
Yeah. That wasn’t even one hundred years ago. That shouldn’t have happened in the first place. If our first amendment rang true… then why did we add ‘under god’ to our pledge, and ‘in god we trust’ to our cash?
That is a violation.
That is unconstitutional.
That was the first steps in our transformation into a theocracy.

Now, I’ll end with this.
God is good, God is great.
And you know what?
Guns are good. Guns are great.
But God, like guns, should be kept private, and used privately.
But unlike guns… having God and the bible as a part of our nation shouldn’t be used in extreme circumstances. In our law, in our courts, in our government…
ANY religion… my God included, has no place.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 9:26 AM

Update 7/8/14 – The Timeline/To Victory! Update

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Hello, everyone!
Today I’m here for another update, which is to present a sort of timeline in which I will have new releases over the next year and a half/two years.
Also, I’ve wanted to do this to announce my upcoming eBook, To Victory!, which is going to be promotional material for The Next Day.

To Victory! is going to be a FREE eBook, which holds the first three or four collections of The Next Day. This way, without spending ANY money on your part, you can download and read part of my next poetry novel and get a good idea if you’re going to like it or not. It’s a bit different from Creation, from the themes to the style, to the layout. Just keep in mind, this is going to be promotional material and NOT very polished. There will probably be some typos, so don’t expect a FREE fully edited thing here. So all in all, To Victory! will be able to give you a free taste of whether or not you’ll enjoy the main release.

Let’s break this down here, and I’ll give you a little time line of what’s going on;

July 13th – I leave for a week. No posts, no updates, no nothing. I’ll be back on the 21st.

End of July/Early August – To Victory! will be released. No exact time here, but I’ll get back to you on that.

Late December/First week of January – The Next Day, in its entirety, will be released for eBook only. Physical copies will come later. Price will range from .99 cents to three dollars.

Mid May – My first fiction novel, The New Phantasm, will be released. More information WILL be coming on that later this year. This is my next BIG release.

Early August of 2015 – The Next Day will get a physical release.

In the later months – More things are coming. I’m the kind of person that like’s to plan ahead, so I have a big reservoir waiting to be tapped…

And that’s about it for the timeline. Just to give you a general taste of when my next three releases will be coming. To Victory! is NOT getting a physical release at all, being purely for promotional purposes. But I still hope you enjoy it all the same.

That’s about all I have for today, but I will leave you with the PROTOTYPE cover for To Victory!. I’m liking the way this is coming, I really am, and if anyone has any complaints… just keep in mind that I am a one man team for all that is editing, publishing, and writing. 

Here’s the cover;

Proto-Cover Victory

The entire goal was to make it look like a little student’s paper doodle, or something like that.It was not meant to look professionally done, (it wasn’t professionally done), and since it will never be on print, I’m not to worried about it.
Well, I thank you for your time, I wish you the best, and I’ll see you guys on Thursday.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 3:37 PM

On the Matter of Exercising and Dieting

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This post is going to be simple.
Non-controversial.
Easy to read.

This is all from ME… with personal experiences to boot. If you’re struggling with some of these things, I’ll give you some advice. Otherwise, you can leave this post alone.

Let’s talk about exercising.

Exercising – some people love it, some people hate it, some people know they should but don’t.
For a long time, I had a problem being active at all. I didn’t play sports, and the only thing that moved was my mouth when I ate.
I stayed on my computer, I played video games, and ate an entire frozen dinner for a snack.

I eventually began to gain a lot of weight.
I was skinny, for a long period of time. Like, real skinny. But I began to get broader, I gained muscle mass, and… fat mass.
Skipping ahead some, once I began over two hundred pounds I felt like something was off.
But I kept going.

Now, I have never been obese, let me get that out of the way. I’ve been a little over chubby, but always under obese. I was simply overweight, and I knew it. But I had a big problem with overeating, and lack of activity.

Growing up, of course, will switch your body around some. I am a big guy by nature, broad shoulders like a linebacker, thick upper arms. I haven’t been the 4’11, 106 pound little sixth grader for a while.
So things switched around. A couple months ago, I weighted about two hundred and thirty three pounds.
I’m about the same build and size as my father, and yet I weighted more than him.
Then, I realized I had a camp coming up that required lots of activity.
And then I just decided that I was tired of being a chubby guy.

That’s when I started the dieting.

Dieting is hard, for a lot of people. What to eat, when to eat, how to eat. For a while I played around with the ideas of juicing, the grapefruit diet, even the starvation diet. All sorts of gimmicky ways to lose weight.
Then, I found the most efficient way to diet, that beat out any plan, any paid organization, anything.

It was simply the practice of counting calories.

Look it up, there is a lot of websites that can tell you what you should weigh, (although those are usually a bunch of malarkey, because they don’t take into account muscle weight), and tell you how many calories you should consume to either lose, maintain, or gain weight.

Now a lot of these differed, so I originally went with a two thousand calorie a day diet.

But it was hard to count those calories, especially if the serving size was something weird like one half milli-teaspoon of a cup.
Then once again, there was something great.

Almost everyone has a smartphone these days. And we know that these phones can almost due anything.

Including count your calories for you.

If you are looking to watch what you eat, and diet a little, I cannot recommend the app AND website, www.myfitnesspal.com more.
When you start up the app, or go to the website, you create an account and put in some information. Height, weight, age, etc…

Then it tells you how many calories you should eat a day.
And then… when ever you eat a meal, you just put it into the app or website.
It has a LOT of different foods in their database. You can also can bar-codes with your camera for easy adding. And if there something that they don’t have, you can just create a new food and put it in yourself.

You can track the food you eat, the calories you consume, and also… it can track the calories you burn.

At first, you’ll have to figure it out yourself. Figure out how long you went on that run, and then it will generate the calories you’ve burned, and put that back in the calories you can eat for that day.

There is another app and website, called www.mapmywalk.com, and if you sync it with My Fitness Pal, every time you walk… run… treadmill, whatever, it will take it and automatically put it into your account, giving you back those calories.

A little tip, there… treat those calories like a budget. You have to get what you need, you can’t spend over the budget, and you should always save a little if you can.
That sort of mentality works really well when using this.

And that’s all for dieting… but for exercising?

Like I said before, some love it and some hate it.
And I’ve really grown to enjoy it.
Putting it in my schedule and doing it everyday is something I look forward too as I go to sleep at night.
And once again, there are a few apps that can help you with it.

Pushup/Squat/Sit-up/ Pro.
These are apps that are really simple. When you first open them, you do a little endurance test to see how many of whatever one you are using you can do.
Then it generates a series of rounds for you to do based on that, and when you do them… you just put the tablet or phone on the ground, and do a push-up, touching your nose to a big button in the middle of the screen.
Every touch is counted as one.
Then it calculates what you can do, what you should do, and what you will be doing next.

I also enjoy the Johnson and Johnson Seven Minute Workout.
Very intense. Very fast paced. All you need is yourself, a floor, a wall and a chair and you’ll be set.
For the first few times, you’ll be sweating bullets if you give it your full.

Last thing I can recommend is sort of an all around thing. It doesn’t even have to be an app.

Get a pedometer. App or physical device, get one. It is really nice to go on a walk/jog/run, and see your progress right there. It gives you a reason to keep going, almost like a game, keep trying to beat your high-score.

And that’s all I really have today. I just wanted to keep it simple, easy, and a little personal. No deep thinking today.

Thanks for your time, and if any of this applies to you, I wish you the best in your endeavors.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 2:55 PM

 

The post that was about nothing

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DISCLAIMER – This post isn’t ACTUALLY about nothing. It is about something, or it would be a blank page. Thank you.

One of the hardest things I’ve discovered about blogging, is that most of the time in order to blog, you have to have something to blog about.
I’ve tried to incorporate a few things here, and not leave it just about my writing. I try to offer opinions and thoughts every couple days or show that may or not be read by the inter-web populace, and I try to doll them out in small portions because who wants a bunch of thoughts, idealist stances, and political/moral commentary from a sixteen year old? Now, what I talk about is a bit better then most sixteen year old’s, I’d like to think. But still, at my age, I only know so much and have a limited about of things to say.
That’s why I find it hard at times to decide on appropriate, moderately uncontroversial topics to write about.
When you’re writing a story, whether it be fiction from your head, or non-fiction research paper, you always have somewhere to go. You have your research to refer too, or you can just invent some new sub-plot to fill in gaps. (Not always advised, though.)
When you are speaking on daily or even weekly topics, it gets harder to find something interesting and compelling to say.
I try to stray away from current news or events, because everyone’s talking about them and has probably said whatever I was going to say. I could try and write a post about why I couldn’t care less about the World Cup. Firstly, I wouldn’t have much to say. Secondly, there are lots of people who feel the same, and probably have said something more intriguing then I would have. Lastly, I’d have a bunch people ready to punch me, or perhaps kick a soccer ball in my groin. Either way, I wouldn’t like that too much.

And because it is one of my bad habits, I try not to build a thought or post of a small idea or topic, due to RAMBLING. Because then, you have SO much to fill in, and I’m not good with bridging gaps. I need a LOT to say on the topic, or already have a strong opinion, or else I fall into the dreaded rut that is saying something over again, and saying it over again, and saying it again. Even though Led Zeppelin told me that it was okay to ramble on, and I find doing it quite easy, it is a terrible habit that I try to stray from.

But see here, with something like this, the post about nothing… there is now free space to ramble as much as I feel. Because a post about nothing… isn’t that ALL a ramble?
That’s sometimes why having a generic title is a good thing, especially if have the same problem as me.

Take my first post, for example. It was originally called, “Religion in Children.” I was going to talk about forcing religion down children’s throats, and making them believe in it without their own input. Eventually, that went from religion, to politics, to parental opinions, to me telling you how to parent your children.
After the first post, and a little of the second, I’ve learned a lesson to keep titles generic. If I had called this post, “The Difficulty of Choosing a Blog Topic”, that would have limited to me a bit. Now, it probably would have been fine in the long run, but by giving it the name it has, I have free rein to talk about what I want.

Movies? Music? Writing? The World Cup? All fine!
Because the title is all encompassing, and anything can be set into that post. Everything goes, everything works, and there’s no questions later.

My last point;
The difficulty of ending a post. Now, I do this in real life conversations, where I just end a conversation abruptly. Now my social skills aren’t really on par, so I give myself a little lenience, but I never knew how hard it was NOT to just say “bye” and walk away!
I’m not going to be giving any advice here, because I am terrible at it. So don’t expect any elaborate opinions and thought processes here, from me. I don’t do social science, sorry.

Now, on the topic of ending a post…
…How about that World Cup?

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 12:57 PM

The Soundtrack to your Writing Career

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Welcome to July, everyone! We’ve gotten through one month… let’s see how the rest go from here.

Music is powerful. We are all aware of this, even if we aren’t avid listeners. Music helps get us through a lot, if you listen to it correctly. The right kind of music can act as a warm, tight hug if you’re depressed… it can be a shot of energy and motivation to get us through a long work out, or even cleaning up.
Music is a important part of humanity in of itself.

One of the best things that music can do, is act as inspiration. Even for unrelated things, music can be the push, the pull, the inspiration and the idea… and that’s our topic for today.

The Soundtrack to your Writing Career. The right kind of music for the right kind of time.
But because you know me a bit more than I know you, I’m going to have to go all out on the personal preferences and experiences thing. So if you disagree, or dislike, keep in mind that this is what helps me… and what might help you.

Plus, you’re probably going to learn about my taste in music. I listen to what I like when I write, so I fit my tastes around my work. So this might be DRASTICALLY different when it comes to you, but if you see an idea or suggestion you like, go on and try it.

Typically, when writing a genre or chapter, I try to match the music to the writing. And what is sometimes even harder is matching the music to poetry. Seeing as both of them have a flow, finding one that interconnects enough can be a daunting task.
For The Next Day, I am currently writing the second collection which comes together as a cohesive story, perhaps as an opera or play of some sort. So what I’ve been listening to for that is a wonderful album by the band, Forgive Durden called Razia’s Shadow.

Razia’s Shadow is the soundtrack to a musical without a play or movie to accompany it. It is absolutely gorgeous, and it works so well!
It has a lot going for it. It goes slow, and heavy. Sweet, and mean. It can get very powerful and commanding, then turn down the volume and fall very meek.
All of this gives me PLENTY of thought and flow that works just well with the emotion I am going for, for this collection.

Now, if I’m doing something that is kind of nonsensical, or sort of thought-provoking and hidden in metaphors, there is a couple things I can do.
I’ve listened to the Beatles for some of it, usually their Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour days. That is FANTASTIC if I’m really writing a sort of nonsense wrapped in bacon of meaning.
Another thing that does it well, to a lesser extent, is Panic! At The Disco’s album Pretty. Odd. This album is strange, quirky, and beautiful all at once. I’ve used this album for a lot of my sort of love, or happy relationship poetry. The flow of the music, and the beat in which it is pulled along… makes for some of the best happy nonsense I’ve heard.
Refer to my poem, What a match, I’m half-doomed and you’re semi-sweet for an example of that sort of writing.

I also like a lot of Pink Floyd. I listen to their music if I’m writing something with political or social undertones, or sometimes for depression poems.  They do both of those quite well. I particularly enjoy the albums Dark Side of the MoonThe Division Bell, The Wall, and A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

Lastly, when I want something heavy, full of angst, or just something really hard, I go to a few places.
I enjoy My Chemical Romance for a lot of those times. I listened to my fair share of them when I wrote The Industry Standard from my last book, because they were both rather dark and heavy.
Also, Nirvana. It’s more of a classic angst, which does a great deal different then MCR. While My Chemical Romance does the depressed hard rock, Nirvana did the rebellious hard rock. It sounds more raw, it sounds more… I don’t know, more ready for a fight. And that can do a great deal when you lack the energy or will to write like that. If you have a backing track by Nirvana, you’ll get tossed in the whirlwind yourself.

Music can do a great deal when it comes to your writing. It’s almost like having a second author, fueling your own work and tag-teaming in with their own ideas when you get too tired. It can show you what could be better and what could have more emotion. Music is truly something that gives a lot, and asks for no more then a little listen every now and again.
I think some people have started to have a certain lack of respect for music after a while. We see a lot of these modern artists, and we see the musical art deteriorating. I mean, a long time ago, even rap was a respectable music with good themes and good sounds. Now, we’ve let what used to be the unwanted, spoiled fruit of the bunch rise up and take control. Now it is feeling like ALL music is doing that.

I love metal music. But here’s the thing, when I say metal, I think of Motley Crue, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Dio… now we have replaced a good deal of metal with the god awful screamo. The demonic bastard son of one hundred maniacs.

Where did all the good music go? Well, we still have some. There are bands out there that try, even new ones. Bastille is FANTASTIC, and they’re fairly new. Of Monsters and Men has been around for a couple of years, same thing with Florence and the Machine.

Good music is out there. Some people don’t realize it, but it is. What we need to do, though, is take the music that deserves the spotlight and actually put it in it, and leave the shady, no effort, redundant tunes and put it in a dark alley where only people that want to take the risk have to go.

I think that really ends my points, both of them.
So next time you sit down to write, think about your soundtrack. What will go in it, and how to make it fit.
Trust me, it will be worth it.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 11:23 AM