Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What is Good?

What is good?

I'd really like to know. You see, I hear all these versions of good and evil, and none of them seem to agree. Even two churches of the exact same denomination don't agree, not on the specifics. Considering, with my moving, I have attending different baptist churches, I assure you that it's very different. From the levels of tolerance, to the levels of friendliness I've seen a lot of different approaches.

One church I attended had a preacher who preached tolerance for all. Another church I attended preached both outreach and intolerance for moral sins. I was very confused. I've seen preachers that preach an acceptance of science, and preachers who shun every single aspect of science out there. It's a varied world, even within one denomination.

So what is good?

This isn't a question from out of nowhere by the way. In a story I am writing, a child is struggling with it. He certainly wasn't taught it my birth parents, who abused him. And his foster mother regularly breaks the law in gruesome ways. all he's got rooting for him is a jaded cop. So what is good, when you've never been taught what good is?

For this kid, he doesn't know. His foster mother tells him through her actions that what is good is power, thus power makes you good. Those without power aren't good, not in her mind. The cop though, he lays it out in concrete things for the boy.

"...y'know... don't murder. Don't steal. Help people in need. Stop people who are bad. You've heard that shebang, right?"

Don't murder. Don't steal. These are things all cultures agree on, I think. World wide, it's agreed that violence without just cause is immoral, not right. Taking things that aren't your own isn't right either. But even then, you have people, usually extremists I think, that can't even agree on what murder is, on what just cause for violence could be.

So what is good?

For some cultures, helping others isn't good. People should, in these cultures, always be able to stand on their own two feet, once they are fully grown at least. They shouldn't need help. In other, helping those less fortunate is good, but those fortunate to have a lot don't get any help, even when they need it. After all, they have a lot, what do they need help for?

When people can't even agree on what one book says is good and bad, even when they read the same words from that book, then you find yourself wondering, what is good?

What is good, what is bad? What's moral, or immoral? Beyond the basics, when it comes down to the nitty gritty of what is good and bad, can anyone agree?

I know that there are times that I don't agree with my family what is good and bad, right and wrong, and we were raised by the same people with the same morals taught to us at a young age. I don't know everything out there, but I can tell you the basics are the same:

Don't kill, steal, or cheat. Don't lie, be jealous, or be cruel. Be kind to everyone. Stay true to your beliefs. Listen to your parents. Everyone agrees on these, agrees these are moral.

More than that? Not so much. What it all boils down to though is fairly simple:

Treat others how you want to treated.

You don't want to be lied to, cheated on, or killed. You don't want to be stolen from or bullied. It's not fun when people are jealous of you, or mean to you. It doesn't feel that great to betray what you belief in. And while, I admit, it may not always be fun to listen to your parents, its generally easier to listen to them in the long run.


And I didn't get any scholarships done this week. I couldn't find any that I hadn't done and was eligible for, which is mildly inconvenient. I'm still searching.

One Final Byte: Moral issues never pull their punches, do they?   

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Settling in

Oh wow, what a week! I may be more busy than I thought. I didn't actually finish all the scholarships on this week's list because I had somewhere to go several days. Still, I got several done and discovered one scholarship that is just too creepy for the likes of me.

To start with, I finished the Big Dig scholarship, having decided that in 200 years, a rubber duck will be very valuable. Why? Because by then, no one will make things of plastic, and absolutely everyone loves rubber ducks. I am convinced. Someone make a time machine, so we can go check this out. I approve of the concept entirely.

I also entered in a sweepstakes billed as a scholarship where I had to take a quiz about comic book superheroes. Needless to say I passed. It was not the least bit hard. They were all major heroes who had all been in movies in recent years. The images were from early nineties comics though, which was odd. I expected their more modern images.

As for that creepy scholarship? It was one to raise awareness of teen pregnancy. Girls sign their guy friends up for texts. They can enter up to five guy friends for a chance to win. It's just a wee bit invasive in my opinion and a bit creepy. So no thank you. I avoided that one.

Oh hey, Western Union has this Thanks a Thousand Sweepstakes billeted, once again by Fastweb, as a scholarship. Fastweb has this thing. about half their so called scholarships are in fact sweepstakes. I suppose money is money, but I do wish they wouldn't call them scholarships when the page clearly says sweepstakes. Even the title did, but in the award type column, it says, no joke 'scholarship.'

This one who could write a note, make a short video, and use a picture to say thanks. Um... I wrote a note. I also entered it twice. They encourage you to enter daily, but like I said, I've been busy.

The last one I did was the scholarship, which was all about principles and how they are important in your life. This was another essay that got re-written fifty times it seems. I was havign trouble sticking to the question.

I never got around the the Hit the Books scholarship, but it's got a few months before its due. On Friday though, I plan on posting a scholarship on my blog as it is, you guessed it, a blogging scholarship. "America's Best Blogging Scholarship" is the name, and it's all about our favorite presidential candidate. Bare minimum of 300 words, which, face it, I just don't have written yet, as I don't particularly like any of the candidates. This includes independents and people who dropped out of the race. Urgh, people. Just Urgh.

But like I said, I've been busy!

I have a job now, though I start either today or next week. Today I get to be put in the system. It'll be fun. I joined a very active Sunday School group at my grandparent's church, who apparently do something at least twice a week, not including Sunday School.

They're a great group and really friendly. I'm glad, as I admit I was nervous. Bible study, plus a social night each week, as I understand it, though I could be wrong. Either way, I hope my hours at work will let me attend as much as I can.

I also got my sewing machine in! I'm in the process of making a skirt now. Wish me luck. It's from a pattern which is something I've never done before. I don't know how this is going to pan out, at all! I picked up way too much fabric for it all by the way, so plan on use the excess to make a bag and a shirt. It'll be pretty.

I also ended up repacking some of my boxes, but not all, as some of them are rather badly damaged.  It'll probably end up re-packing the already packed boxes into, you guess it, new boxes beore I leave though.  The ones I have are rather dangerously used by this point, and, let's face it, there's only do many times a box can go through the mail.

One Final Byte: Why is planning to get to school difficult.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Introducing! The Summer Blog!

Pretty new background, isn't it? I do like it. A change in topic certainly calls for a change in colors, and we are switching from my adventures in Europe, and my views on the world, to school preparation! That is to say, I have engaged full throttle into the wonderful world of scholarship funding for my college. This is a weird, weird place to be.

The purpose of this blog has always been two fold for me by the way. It's been a way for me to better myself, and to keep my family abreast of what I'm doing, as picking up the phone is something I struggle with. The topics are only generally organized and generally in a pattern, I know. But the whole point of the blog for me, when starting, was to prove that I could, in fact, stick out posting a full year. And look, I managed it! I could be focused and dedicated enough to keep to a schedule with relatively few hiccups. I could be, in other words, reliable.

I was very proud when the end of the year in Germany came because of this, but then I realized one thing. I enjoy blogging! So I've refocused to blog into something that will still help me, but hopefully still be interesting, for the summer.

College Scholarships.

It doesn't sound all that interesting, I know, but you would be very surprised. I'm hoping that my blogging will allow my to continue filling them out too! After all, if I don't what will I blog about? I've filled out a few already, thinking of this post.

The first scholarship, the Amish Dutch Furniture Heritage Essay, I really struggled with, as it asked how my cultural heritage would affect my vocational aspirations, creative value to my future employer and how I will serve my community. The essay itself, once I got past my hurdle, wasn't hard to write. I can churn out essays fairly easily. No, the hardest part was defining my cultural heritage. To me, I am an American. My heritage is Scots-Irish Norwegian predominantly, but my heritage is an American heritage. That wasn't what they wanted though, and I knew it.

These people wanted to know what my culture was, and I couldn't answer. Hm. I had lots of broad strokes, but no defining picture from all of these. So I spent several days re-writing the first paragraph before I finally decided that I could manage this. I wrote about where I grew up, and spent most of my life, because that was a culture I knew, and it was a part of my heritage, though not in my blood.

So I wrote about a coal mining heritage, and how bravery, resourcefulness, and generosity from that culture would help me later on. The biggest hurdle though was defining my culture, where I came from. I admit, I probably still didn't write what they were looking for, but I think I was closer.

The next two are always a favorite of mine. Why? They were quizzes! No joke, these thing are all of, you answer a few questions and enter in a chance. It's less scholarship and more drawing, but still, they can be done fast and easy.

The next scholarship I did was on why it was important to delete cyberbullying. Cute joke with the delete there, guys. It wasn't particularly hard, though focusing on the subject was tricky, as my paper kept wanting to be on why it happens, not why it's important to delete that nonsense.

I also started a Big Dig one which presumes my future descendents will be living in the same home 200 years from now for some inane reason. If I can't manage the same home, how are they doing it? Maybe they rented out whatever building is on that spot in 200 years? This essay topic bothers me. They dig up this object that I purposefully buried and its supposed to set their financial worries to rest.

I think a rubber duck would do this wonderfully myself, though why I would bury a rubber duck is beyond me still. Now I just have to figure out how a rubber duck is going to set anybodies financial worries to rest. I haven't quite got that one down, but I'll think of something.

One Final Byte: Maryland is apparently a very friendly type state.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Trip Home

Consider I spent most of this weekend traveling, I hardly count it as the first week of the summer blog series! How do I spend a week coming to the states?

Well, first I took a train.

Then a plane. Then another plane. Then a train.

There were a couple of days between some of those, by the way, and two cities. Surprisingly, this is cheaper. Well, had I not gone shopping. But there was shopping.

And a viking hat.

My first stop was the train station in Kaiserslautern. That was the nearby town by the way. Then I went on to the airport after a very narrow time frame. That is, I arrived a minute or two before the train left.

The train was packed by the way. I ended up standing almost the entire way to the connecting train in Mannheim. This was faster, and I got a seat, for myself and my bag. My poor beat up bag. Ah well. It got there, bow intact!

It's an impressive bow. It really is.

I arrived at the airport safe and sound, on time to wait awhile for my flight Dublin!

I went to Dublin!


I was in Ireland!

Ireland was lots of fun. We didn't do all that much, but I met up a friend and we had loads of laughs. We slept in a bit the first day. Then the fun began.

We were look, specifically, for the Viking Splash Down tour. The urge to roar at passerby and pillage Dublin was great with in. Plus, there were viking hats involved. Everyone wants to wear a viking hat.

Well. I have a question.

What do you get when you combine two girls, one from the UK (but living in Ireland), one American, and neither with a a drop of directional sense between them? Two very lost tourists.

We asked for directions ten times, detoured into the Leprechaun museum, but did eventually find the tour.

There really was a museum all about leprechauns on the way. I highly recommend it! It's a guided tour all about people a third the size of man, who are the cobblers to the good neighbors. You hear stories, learn about the history, and get to be shrunk down to the size of a leprechaun and climb on giant furniture. It's great fun, that last bit, by the way. Great fun! I got to climb all over things, and a friendly man gave me a boost when one of the chairs proved too high for me to get to on my own. I nearly got stuck on it too!

You get to go through a room full of upside down umbrellas, one with a map of Ireland where you learn amazing things about the myths and the relics of Ireland, and see a real put of gold. It's probably Pyrite, but still. It was pretty awesome. After hearing a story from the guide, and making a wish in the wishing well, you get to exit out, but not before you draw a picture.

It was a fun tour.

Out one side are photo op things, and the guide won't mind taking your picture at all. You have to be careful, as my UK/Irish friend learned the hard way. There's a step up in the little fantasy scene.

From there, we managed to get to St. Stephen's Green to catch the Viking Tour. We arrived early enough to make a reservation on one of the last boats of the day, and then ate at a charming cafe, and spent time just hanging out in St. Stephen's Green.

The Viking Tour was by far the high light of the day though.

We got to wear viking hats. I do love dress up, even if it is a dress up hat, and I had great fun with my viking hat. Great fun. They normally don't let you keep it, but we got to keep ours, as it was one of the last tours, and the ticket seller took pity on us, in our quest to own our own.

The tour is amphibious by the way. By land and by sea, all in the same vehicle. It's left from World War Two, and is a lovely trip. They apparently have a fleet of them, including one from the Normandy invasion. Talk about history!

Then, of course, they painted them bright yellow.

Now, the tour itself is about Dublin's past, vikings, and Dublin's present. While on the water, you swing by to see U2's recording studio and everything. However, the tour is mostly about getting to scream at other tour buses, Cappuccino Celts (drinking at a cafe), Lost Celts (holding a map (upside down)), Competition Celts (other tour buses), and anyone who we felt like roaring at and making our fiercest face at. We made several people jump.

It was a most excellent tour. At the end, you are all roared out and ready!

That's right. We went shopping. I bought a new jacket. It's very sharp looking. I approve heartily of it.

After a lovely shopping trip, we found a very nice place to eat, and returned to the hotel early, due to an early exit the next morning.

Also, we rather expected it would take us three times as long to find our hotel. On the way back, we stopped by the Molly Malone statue, where a drunken Irish man took our picture after pulling in several complete and total strangers to the pictures as well. It turns out great.

The next morning, my friend and I parted ways at the airport, and I was off to the next stop! New York City!

I typed that as if it were much more exciting that it really was. You see, on landing, I got lost finding my hotel, despite having directions. I managed to see the new world trade center towers under construction...after having gone in the opposite direction than I meant, by accident. Whoops.

Then I made it to my hotel, assured the world I arrived, and promptly found an ATM to get Chinese delivered. I made certain to have orange soda delivered as well, and celebrated being in America with excellent Chinese food, and orange soda. It was heavenly.

I ended up sleeping shortly after, despite my attempts in staying up to adjust.

I woke up horribly early, hung around until I could make a phone call on Skype at a decent hour, then headed to Penn Station to store my luggage before poking around.

I didn't head to Grand Central, having, I am almost certain, gone in the wrong direction. Instead, I ended up at Madison Square Gardens.

For some reason, for years, I have thought these were actual gardens, and not an arena. I was clearly very confused. I was also disappointed, as I wanted to see gardens. Oh well, I did the next best thing, stumbles into Macy's, and went shopping!

I was in the world's biggest department store, my friends, and it rocked. So I bought a new outfit, promptly changed into it, and went back to catch my train.


Oh man.

I love trains.

Trains Rock So Much.

Like I am not even kidding, I love trains more than I though possible. Trains are super awesome, comfortable, pretty, and you get to see so many super awesome things and places along the way. I saw Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, and way more.

Also, unlike European trains, US trains have electric outlets, so you can plug in the entire trip if you need to.

It was so awesome. I tracked the train online, and bugged my friends about the fact that I was on a train!

My aunt picked me up at the end of the trip, and I spent the night at her house, then the next evening went on to my summer home, with Grandma and Grandpa. I'm exhausted now, writing this, and hope you'll forgive me, if I end it now.

I won't be posting next week, as I take the time to get settled in and find a job here. Lots to do after all! And when there is a post, there will be a new background, to go with the new settings.

One Final Byte: America to me is the land of Orange Soda!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Week Fifty-Two: The Final Week

This was my last week in Germany, and it has been an interesting one to be sure. My last day of work was Saturday, and when I dropped off my uniforms, nice and clean, on Monday, I was informed several times I would be missed by several different people.

I won't say that I will miss the work. There is little to miss in Fast Food work. If anyone has ever done it before, they know exactly what I mean. But I will miss my coworkers, who made work a fun place to go. Well, relatively fun. They were fun at least, and very much a family.

I will definitely miss them. I ended up seeing the Avengers with one of my friends from work also, and her friends came along as well. It was interesting. Her friends that is. The movie was really super awesome amazing, and I would not mind seeing it again to be sure.

I will not ruin it for anyone, but stay all the way until the end, and if you wait through the credits, there is a special scene with a probable next movie, that had me gasp in shock.

It rocked.

I can't wait!

Germany has been good to me, and I am glad I came. It's been a good year.

This won't be long. I despise good byes, I really do, even if it is a goodbye to an entire country. I also have more packing to do, as I am leaving this weekend. I'll be taking the scenic route, and I suspect you'll all want to hear all about it.

It's very scenic. It also involves at least one viking hat.

I'm leaving room in my suitcase for that viking hat.

This time, I promise, not to do anything stupid with my card. It will remain with me, on my person, at all times.

My hotels are all reserved, my plane tickets are bought, and tomorrow my boxes will ship out. Then I'll be back in the states.

About the's not going anywhere guys.

I'll still post every Wednesday. My adventures will just have changed! I may even have a second blog up and running again, something I abandoned awhile back. We'll see. I'd like to get a few posts of that written before I start up again.

There will be an official announcement on that soon. Give me two weeks to get settled in Stateside again. I'll be staying in Maryland with my grandparents. It should be an adventure and a half. My grandparents are two very fun people.

I can't wait to be back in the states, to see what's changed since I was gone. A year is both a long and a short time, after all, and who knows what happened there while I was all the way over here! The news can only tell so much after all.

One Final Byte: I regret nothing about my year in Europe.