Saturday, December 24, 2011

Langawki Geopark - The Jewel of Kedah by Sara Lemos

Sara Lemos is an avid traveler whose primary region of travel is South East Asia. She has been there three times. Currently she is in Thailand and recently was in Langawki, Malaysia. Sara is from the UK, but does not spend much time in her homeland as she is on the road most of the time. she started her blog "The Ninja Travels in order to archive her travels and keep a log of her experiences. You can see The Ninja Travels at http://www.theninjatravels.com/

The article featured in this post is one she wrote for the Langawki Gazette and is about the Langawki Geopark. If you're not sure what  Geopark is please read the following blog post. It's really quite interesting.

- Randall Webb

Langawki Geopark the Jewel of Kedah by Sara Lemos


In 2007 UNESCO declared Langkawi and its surrounds, one of 64 globally recognised Geoparks. 

What is a Geopark I hear you say?
Well you could stab a guess and break down the word to something like geological park. But as per UNESCO’s definition it is so much more. They define it as

‘A territory encompassing one or more sites of scientific importance, not only for geological reasons but also by virtue of its archaeological, ecological or cultural value.’ ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geopark )

Essentially, this means that as well as geological heritage, a Geopark also comprises recognised conservational efforts, local community support and ecotourism. Geoparks are nationally protected areas but, by and large, accessible for visitors to take in their wonder while still upholding the notion of sustainable development.

Langkawi’s branding as a Geopark is obvious in its array of impressive rock formations surrounded by ancient jungle, vast caves with stalactites and stalagmites, winding mangrove rivers, sea caves and tunnels, wildlife and waterfalls. As well as these impressive features, environmentally, eco-tourism is promoted in the community with areas such as Laman Padi in Cenang. Here you will find a rice garden museum with an 8.6 acres paddy field, educating visitors on the traditional and modern ways rice is harvested. The cable car ride up to the top of Machinchang Mountain, allows visitors the chance to explore the waterfalls and fauna in the pristine forest below whilst still preserving its natural beauty.

The 99 islands in this region, which cover 10,000 hectares, make Langkawi one of Malaysia’s top destinations to visit for natural beauty, ecological harmony and geological significance. You will also
 find here the most exposed and complete Palaeozoic sedimentary sequence in Malaysia.

Over 90 geosites have been found in the region but there are three distinct areas that form the Langkawi Geopark, each with its own unique geological makeup. The MaChinchang Mountain Ranges are renowned for their Cambrian (first geological period of the Paleozoic Era) rock formations; the Kilim Geopark for its Karst landscape; and the Dayang Bunting Geopark for its marble formations.



The MaChinchang Mountain RangesGeologically, the sandstone mountain range of MaChinchang, in the north western corner of Langkawi, and Gunung Raya, a granite mountain at the centre, are a great testament to its classification as a Geopark. Gunung Raya is the tallest mountain range on the island standing at 881m. Machinchang is the oldest rock formation on Langkawi, and stands 800m above sea level. It was created over half a billion years ago and was the first part of South East Asia to rise from the seabed during the Cambrian period. The oldest  part of this mountain range is Teluk Datai. This is where the oldest grains of sand rest, its history displayed in the exposed surface of sandstone in the upper part and mudstone/shale in the lower part.


The Kilim Geoforest ParkThe Kilim Geoforest Park in the north east corner, a rugged karstic limestone terrain, offers an array of winding mangrove rivers to explore. These are surrounded by pinnacles of various shapes, near vertical karstic hills and caves formed from millions of years of erosion. Within these caves you will see amazing limestone formations. Here you can find plenty of marine life in the emerald green waters below as well as spot birds, including the islands famous eagles, up high.



 Dayang Bunting GeoparkSouth of Langkawi you will find the second largest island of the archipelago, Pulau Dayang Bunting. Famous for the fresh water lake found nestled amongst hills of rugged forest, it is also known as Lake of the Pregnant Maiden. The lake originated as a massive limestone cave which collapsed. There you will also find the finest Permian marble formations in the world.
As well as its geological beauty, Dayang Bunting also contains a deep spirituality. Legend tells of a heavenly maiden, married to an earthly prince, who loses a child shortly after the birth. She is said to have buried the child in the lake then blessed the waters with fertility before parting earth for heaven. Nowadays it is populated by tourists and locals who come to swim and admire the surrounding landscape. From a certain angle, the shape of the island resembles a pregnant maiden laying on her back. This magical quality as well as the area’s overall astounding beauty is what many believe make Langkawi the number one Geopark in the world.

Things to consider when visiting Langkawi Geopark:• Don’t leave your rubbish behind, and be considerate if you see any laying around – pick it up and put it in the bin
• Please do not feed the wildlife.  You are not only disrupting their ecological cycle but, especially the monkeys, they become accustomed to human contact and may become aggressive if approached with food.
• Be careful when swimming around the coral reefs. Standing on them is damaging and harmful to the ecology of marine wildlife.
Be considerate to Mother Nature; she was here long before you!

You can see this original article at the Langawki Gazzette @  http://www.langkawi-gazette.com/langkawi-geopark


Thank you very much Sara for lending this fantastic article to The Guest Writer Blog

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Life as a Disabled Person and How I Feel About It by Emily

This guest post comes to us from a fantastic and intuitive writer named Emily. What I like most about Emily is her blunt honesty. She basically says it as she sees it. What I get from honest people like Emily is that we can learn a lot from them.  Emily is paralyzed from the neck down due to having a tumor removed from her brain in 2009. She is only 24 years old.

With this post Emily shares her views on what it's like to be a disabled person.

those of you who wish to know more about Emily you can visit her blog called Emily's world at http://emilylemony1987.blogspot.com/

- Randall Webb (aka RIW)

Life as a Disabled Person and How I Feel About It by Emily

I feel sorry for myself today, so I thought I would blog about what it is like in my opinion to be so disabled. Well, to state the obvious it does really suck! I know I am lucky really because I have three wonderful caretakers. They are absolutely fantastic and I really appreciate all the hard work that they do for me. They helped me feel so much better but I can't stop wishing that I didn't need them. I don't need to name them, if they read this they know that they are. I'm also lucky because I can communicate. I have seen people who are fully aware in the head and they cannot talk. I lived like that before three months when I had my tracheotomy. It is like being in your own personal prison. Even then I was lucky compared to some people as I could move my lips. I know people who can't. It must be hell. But even if I do compare myself to those who cannot communicate, to those who I am far better off than I can't help but feel sorry for myself.

I often get this miserable feeling when I am sitting here on the Internet or watching TV. I think back a few years to when I was very active and going hiking, cycling and horse riding. Even to when I was going out to work. I wish it was still the same now. I hate the fact that my body is almost completely useless. I look down at my body, I look at my arms and my legs. They look normal apart from being a little thin. But, they are pretty much useless. I can just about move the thumb on my right hand and I can slightly move my fingers on that hand and I can move my wrist a bit. My left hand cannot do anything. I do have some sensation in that hand which my occupational therapist says is a good thing. It is still very frustrating not being able to feed my self, give my cat a cuddle or even scratch an itch. My legs are also useless. The muscles are wasting away. Before all this, I would've loved to have slim legs, I guess you should be careful what you wish for. I can barely move my legs at all. I can weight bear on them when I am having decent physiotherapy and sometimes when I am doing a transfer into the car. I have not got much sensation in my legs, but I can feel pain in them. My joints often hurt a lot. I am on a morphine patch to help reduce the pain. I am also on a lot of oral pain killers, medication to stop my spasms, antidepressants and tablets to help me sleep.

I guess I should talk about my physiotherapy. This is the thing that is affecting me a lot and the moment. A few months ago my physiotherapy was great. I was getting five sessions of it a week with two very experienced physiotherapist's the sessions ran for an hour. During these sessions the physiotherapists would stand me up. They had to support me a lot whilst doing this. We built up the time of standing up to 20 minutes. It was painful but it was strengthening my legs and I was beginning to be able to move them more. Unfortunately my therapy got cut down to 3 sessions a week. I complained to the body of people that did it. They then moved my therapy from the clinic that I was being treated at to an NHS one. My new NHS physiotherapist hardly does anything with me. She just wiggles me a little bit. My legs have wasted away a lot since my therapy cutbacks. My motivation has also dropped. My new physiotherapist has told me that I will never walk again. And I might as well stop dreaming that I will. Other therapists that I have had have said that I do have potential but obviously with being treated by this woman I have no hope at all. I am fighting to get my therapy reinstated to what I was getting. I am 24 years old I deserve a chance of recovery.

I am also struggling with depression. My counselor and Doctor say it is not surprising that I am depressed. I hate tthat I can't do anything any more.. I am jealous of my friends when they go clubbing and things like that of a night because I can't go. It feels like my life is over. I do get invited out every now and again and sometimes I do go. I am paranoid about being looked at. I have noticed that people do stare at me. Haven't they ever seen a wheelchair before? Another reason that I do not go out much is because of myy pain levels. With the counseling that I have been receiving I have been braver lately about going out. I went to the zoo and the other day and I really enjoyed myself. My friend's baby daughter is getting christened next month and I am going to go to that. I am really looking forward to it. I do want to go out with my friends when they go out. But sometimes I can't because places are all accessible. I suppose I am a bit like a Dalek I can't do stairs. I don't want to waste my life sitting in my house. My physiotherapist has told me I just need to accept the fact that I am not going to get any better and this is as good as it is going to get. I cannot live my life like this. Without trying to sound dramatic I think I would rather be dead. I know that is a selfish thought. After all these things that people have done to help me and I am thinking bad thoughts like that. The annoying thing is there are people who could make my life more bearable. They could give me the therapy that I need. They could give me the equipment I need. (I would like a standing frame and a car hoist) but they will not do it and that is because of money in my opinion. I think they need to put themselves in my shoes. Just for one day they need to live the way I have to live and then maybe I will get what I need. I don't think they realize that I am normal as such in the head. They think I'm some kind of vegetable just because I am in a wheelchair. Do they not realize that I have feelings and thoughts that I am actually an intelligence person? I did not ask to be put in this situation. I often ask myself what I did to deserve this. Yes I know this is another selfish thing to think but I cannot help it. Wouldn't you think the same if you have to live like me?

I am grateful for what I do have. I have fantastic friends and carers and a good family. I have a lovely bungalow and a gorgeous little cat. I have a car. I get some therapy. I suppose I should be grateful for what I do have. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Sorry about this blog being all moany this is just me on a bad day. Yet again I apologize for bad grammar and writing style hope this isn't too boring. Much love XX


love makes the world go round

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Geothermal Power: A Dark Horse in Renewable Energy written by David Fessler

Note from RIW (founder of The Guest Writer Blog). I am very interested in renewable and green sources of energy. I feel this is our future. Future for job growth and future for saving our environment as well as saving money. I am always researching this topic. The article on Geothermal Energy came to me from two sources. The first source is a blog that educates people on "green energy" sources and is called "The Green Energy Blog" you can find them at http://thegreenenergyblog.com/. They have several great articles which are very educational and informative. The second is an online newsletter website called Investment U they have some great article on investment suggestions, you can find them at http://www.investmentu.com/. I hope you enjoy the following article. I found it quite interesting.
- RIW


When you mention the words “renewable energy,” most people immediately think of wind and solar. Over the last decade, renewables in the United States (excluding hydropower) have more than tripled.

In 2009, renewables reached 53 gigawatts of installed capacity. Renewables have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 14 percent since 2000.


It’s no big secret that wind and solar are the fastest-growing renewable sectors. In 2009 alone, wind installations here grew by 39 percent and solar PW grew by nearly 52 percent.

Even with these heady growth figures, renewables represent a very small percentage of our overall installed electrical generation capacity: about 4.7 percent as of the end of 2009.

The renewable that’s garnered the least amount of attention in America’s three-year push to renewables is geothermal energy. In stark contrast to the growth figures for solar and wind, geothermal has grown a mere 1.2 percent annually from 2000 to 2009.

In spite of those dismal growth figures, the United States leads the world in geothermal installed capacity at about 15.2 GW as of the end of 2009. Most of that is installed in California.

Advantage Over Wind, Solar
Geothermal energy has one advantage over wind and solar. It doesn’t care whether the wind is blowing, or if it’s a sunny day. The energy available from geothermal is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

That makes it available as a baseload source of renewable energy, something most other renewables aren’t capable of.

So why isn’t the United States deploying more of this eco-friendly renewable resource? It’s certainly not because we don’t have the potential resources. Take a look at the map below from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.


As you can see, it depicts all of the available geothermal “hot spots” in the country. The greatest growth potential for geothermal is located in the western part of the country, with Nevada having the most identified hydrothermal sites with temperatures greater than 90 degrees Celsius.

As you can see from the map below, most of the present geothermal electrical generation is located in California, with over 2.5 GW of geothermal electrical generation. This satisfies about five percent of California’s total energy demand.



However, it’s interesting to note that Nevada has more projects in the planning stages, and it certainly has the potential sites to supply them.

How Geothermal Power Works
Geothermal power production is a relatively simple process. At least two wells are drilled into a known geothermal site. The down-hole water or steam temperature is evaluated to determine what type of system will be constructed, but most of them ultimately involve the use of steam turbines connected to electrical generators.

The water, which can be as hot as 700 degrees Fahrenheit, is brought to the surface, flashed into steam, and used to spin a turbine connected to an electrical generator. It’s then re-condensed and re-injected into the earth through a second well.

The Hold Up
While geothermal power plants are relatively inexpensive to build compared to coal, natural gas, or nuclear plants, they have to be located where the resources are. These are, particularly in the case of Nevada, often in the middle of nowhere.

Lack of nearby transmission lines, especially in sparsely populated western states, has hampered the growth of geothermal.

While the plants are relatively inexpensive, development and construction can take anywhere from four to eight years. This is far longer than solar and wind, and it means potential investors have to wait much longer to recoup their capital investment.

There’s risk involved, as well. Even after extensive testing, not all geothermal resources produce as much energy as originally anticipated. This has led more recent projects to be developed incrementally in order to mitigate this risk and the costs associated with it.

Taking a Back Seat
Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) is the developer and operator of the most geothermal resources in the United States. Ormat is vertically integrated, designing the plants and equipment, and developing and operating the final site.

Due to a lack of investment in geothermal, the company has had a somewhat lack-luster year, with its stock down over 35 percent in the last 12 months.

Last quarter, it announced that revenue was up by about 9.2 percent over the same quarter a year ago, but earnings came in at $0.02 per share, well below analysts’ estimates of $0.14 per share. Not exactly outstanding results.

In spite of the zero-carbon footprint of geothermal, there’s a glut of natural gas in this country. There’s also a much bigger focus on wind and solar. At least for now, geothermal seems to be relegated to the back of the renewables bus.

Perhaps this will change at some point in the future, but for the present, investors would be prudent to invest their dollars elsewhere in the energy sector.

Good investing,
David Fessler


Monday, November 14, 2011

Shadow by Riw Wtb

 This post is borrowed from The "Word Thoughts" Blog http://thewordthoughtsblog.blogspot.com/

Shadow by Riw Wtb

Shadow is one of those words which evokes thoughts and feelings of mystery. The word covers a varied array of meanings and descriptions.

Let's being with the automobile named Shadow made by Dodge. It was in production from 1987 to 1994. There were two door and four door models and while it appeared to have a trunk it actually had a hatchback. It was an economical car which got fairly good gas mileage.

Dodge Shadow

To shadow a person is to follow and watch as to learn from them. In this meaning dictionary.com gives the following definition: "to follow (a person) secretly, in order to keep watch over his/her movements". I remember when I started a new job in the early 80's I was teamed with a seasoned employee to shadow in order to learn the job. 


My favorite use of the word is the most obvious one of which dictionary.com gives several definitions.
a dark figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light.

shade or comparative darkness, as in an area.

shadows, darkness, especially that coming after sunset. 
A reflected image.

A shadow is such a mysterious image, which is either still or can move about - just depending on the subject from which the shadow is coming. I am always intrigued by shadows as I move about my day. I enjoy looking at the unusual shapes made by shadows. A shadow, just like words or any sort of image, can be seen and interpreted in different ways. Sometimes a shadow can look dark and gloomy other times it can have an effect of joyful movement. I've seen talented performers do shadow tricks with their hands which really capture that sense of youthful amusement. A shadow can be a creative and artistic statement.

 Shadow Puppet

 Shadow

 Shadow
Shadow boxing

Dark Shadows was a popular gothic soap opera which aired from 1966 to 1971









SHADOW

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tips To Care For Leather Shoes and Sneakers written by Lords Screw

 The following article was written by Lords Screw. You can find his blog at: http://www.shoesnsneakers.com/

 Tips To Care For Leather Shoes and Sneakers

In today's busy world of hustle and bustle it's important to take the time to proprely
take care of our belongings.  Leather shoes and sneakers require a little extra care and
maintenance.

We have a few simple and easy tips to care for leather shoes and sneakers.
Leather is sensitive to water or excessive sunlight.

Tips for maintenance:
The following are some general tips to follow and keep your shoes in good condition
and extend their life:

The best care for shoes begins at the time you buy them. You should buy shoes
or sneakers that are a perfect fit, otherwise, it may easily tear or deform and
then cause discomfort to your feet.

Never wash leather shoes with water as contact with water will deform the leather
and deteriorate it to wear off soon.

To clean leather shoes, you can use a hard brush to clean the dirt that gets stuck
to the surface of the shoes. Brush-clean the shoes regularly as this will keep
the shoes ventilated.

If in case the shoes are damp or wet, then to dry them it is suggested that
you lean them against a wall in an upside down position as this will dry them
properly as the foam material in the shoes is difficult to dry hence placing
them upside down helps in restricting the water from entering into the foam.

Do not place your shoes in sunlight or dry them with the help of blow dryer.
This excessive heat will cause easy wear and tear of the shoes. To naturally
allow the shoes to dry, stuffing it with newspapers is suggested.

To take proper care of the leather shoes and sneakers, it is also suggested
that you should have more than one pair of the shoes, so that you may
alternate your shoes to let them dry naturally to avoid damage to life.

To polish the shoes, select a suitable color and suitable form from the
available forms such as liquid, cream and paste. Creams and pastes are suggested
over a liquid polish.  The liquid polish may cause cracks in the shoes over a period
of time.

Before polishing, remove the dust properly with the a hard brush or slightly damp
cloth. In the case of small segments or tight areas to polish, you can use an old toothbrush
to make sure polish reaches every tiny area of the shoes.

Special sneaker shampoos and brush applicators are available at most shoe retailers. Washing
them in a washing machine should be avoided and simple hand wash will be more beneficial
to keep the fit and life of the sneaker in tip top condition.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Go Fish" written by Alex

 The following post is from my friend and blogger favorite Alex (aka ima girl and Alex Waits). She is a talented teenager with much to offer to the world of art and blogging.

You can visit her trendsetting blog at:  http://art-poems-stories.blogspot.com/

Go Fish


Tish the fish and the other dwellers of the deepest, darkest depths of the seas are calm. The search for food is always a priority, to eat or be eaten is a fact of life down below. Look out for cave dwellers because only the eyes appear to gaze serenely in repose. In accordance with the law of nature, the beast hides within.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wardrobe Makeover for the Halloween written by Lords Screw

 This entry was contributed by Lords Screw who has a halloween blog called "Halloween", which is chock full of tons of information about the history of halloween, costume ideas, stories, recipes and more. You can see the blog at: http://www.halloweeney.com/

If you have a blog or website you would like to share with us here at The Guest Writer Blog please put together a short blog entry such as this one by Lords Screw and send it to me at usstatesblog@gmail.com



Wardrobe Makeover for the Halloween written by Lords Screw

Are you all set to celebrate this Halloween with all the creepy and eerie ideas for this season? If not, then you have to buck up and get going soon as it’s high time to line up the things for the festive night. What about the Halloween costumes and what about giving a thought over your wardrobe makeover for Halloween.

Steal the show while you carry your best suitable wardrobe collections for Halloween and surprise the people. Get your closet ready for the stuff that goes along with the Halloween theme. Refresh your look and be prepared to disguise yourselves to make the viewers scream while they watch you in a ghostly appearance.

Do you think you need to do a lot? Of course not, you may just think of a black hoodie to do the job. Now does it sound simple? Well, it is and you can visit any nearby store of your choice to check out any suiting and killing hoodie.

Why did I say black hoodie? It blends with a Halloween makeover and a ghostly look.
Moreover, the hoodie will also help you to hide your face to make your victim burst into screams as he/she comes close to you.

A white ghost mask will be a perfect match for the disguise as a ghost and will also add the effect when combined with a black pullover. Now, while checking out the hoodie, you may look for various features such as a scary or killer logo on it or you may even wish to go with a plain black hoodie while resting every responsibility of a disgusting look, over the mask you will wear on that festive night.

Another thing to remember while going for your Halloween makeover is the season. Halloween is in the autumn, so select hoodies that will be cozy and keep you warm.

While terrifying the victims, you may also be stylish and select the hoodie from a wide range of styles, colors and matyerials. A cotton and polyester blend will be soft to touch and just a bit thicker to keep you warm. A hoodie for a ghost face can be with a pullover with a kangaroo pocket to give a loose and comfortable look.

You can also go for a ribbed sweatshirt that has a front zip and a fur lined hood. This will give you a stylish look at the same time it will attract the attention of your victims of the night. You need to get a couple of black sweat bottoms as well to go along with your ghost hoodie costume.

In case, you land up in confusion, then you can pull any black top that makes you feel comfortable. Don't forget the accessories, such as spooky key chains to hang out of the jeans or bottoms. You can also accessorize with combo spider chains for that ghost face appearance.

Visit Halloween for more information about Halloween Party, Halloween Costumes,
Halloween History, Halloween Stories and Halloween Recipes.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Am A Minority Part 2 written by anonymous


 Introduction by Riw (the founder of The Guest Writer Blog). Part two of this article has materialized due to several questions the google community had in one of it's forums called The Coffee Shop. I contacted "anonymous" and he agreed to do a follow-up to his original article. This follow-up explains his story in more detail. At first "anonymous" did not want to do this article as he claims not to be a good writer and has troubles putting things down on paper. I assured him I would help him put this together (as I did with his first article). I myself am not a great writer but I'm pretty good at putting words together in a fashion that makes them easy and interesting to read. "Anonymous" sent me a jumble of thoughts, family history and timelines and I assembled them into this article.



Without further ado I present "I Am A Minority Part 2" written by anonymous



When I was a young child I knew I was different, I just never knew how or why. I remember hearing my mom telling my dad that she wasn't ready to talk about it. I knew they were talking about me, I just didn't know what "it" was. I really didn't recognize the fact that I had a different skin color from the rest of my family. I was only seven years old and the topic never did come up in my family. My mom pretty much controlled the family, I guess she was never ready to tell me that I was different. It wasn't until I was nine years old when a friend had asked me if I was adopted. I told him no and asked why he wanted to know. That's when he said that it was because I am white and the rest of my family is black. I was baffled at this. All I could think is, "how can this be?“ I just did not believe it. How could I have not notice this? When I got home I was very quiet that night. My mom asked me if I was feeling okay. She thought I was getting sick. I never did ask her about it. I just didn't feel comfortable bringing up the subject. My mom has never been big on expression. She's a career woman and it seems that her work always took her time and emotions. She's probably only said she loves me about 3 or 4 times in my life. I'm 33 now that's an average of once every ten years. Everytime I've tried to discuss a family issue she would tell  me to work it out myself. 

My dad wasn't any better. He was pretty much my mom's puppet. Whatever mom said dad did. He never followed through on any of his promises. I can remember when we moved into a new house my brother and I worked all day helping him turn the soil in order to able to landscape the yard. It was hard work. Dad promised us that he would take us out for an ice cream sundae for all our hard work. My brother and I worked extra hard in anticipation of that sundae. My brother and I never got that sundae. It still brings a tear to my eyes when I think back on that. 

I went through a period when I wasn't sure if I was adopted or not. I was about twelve years old and very disturbed by this. I even wondered whether or not my dad was really my dad. I had a lot going around in my mind and it was mostly due to the kids in school.  I went on this confusing trip for several weeks before saying anything. Finally, I opened up to my parents and asked if I was adopted. My mom, who was at her desk nudged and said she was busy. In a very nonchalant way my dad answered, "What do you think. If you think you're adopted than maybe you are." After that my mom told me to go play because she had to meet a deadline.

When I was 16, I finally found out the truth to my confusion. It was during the reception at my older sister's wedding. My aunt had been drinking a few vodka tonics and she seemed to be in a more than talkative mood. She confirmed that I am not adopted. Both parents I've grown up with are my biological parents. She told me that my great great great grandfather on my mother's side was white. He was a plantation owner in Missouri. My great great great grandmother was a black slave on the plantation. He used to force my ggg grandmother to have sex with him. My mom always resented my great great great grandfather for this eventhough she never knew him. I suspect since I came out white like him she transferred some of that resentment on to me. She was never affectionate with me yet my brother and sister were her darlings.

It's taken me many years to come to terms with myself. For the longest time I felt that I deserved the racist and racial jokes that would be uttered in my presence. I felt like I was a dirty black man hiding behind a white man's body. I was a coward playing a masquerade.   
                         
At the age of 30 I finally couldn't handle this inner confusion and turmoil any longer. I first went to see a hypnotist, and that helped. Shortly after I began seeing a therapist and started opening up about who I am. I did it baby step by baby step. I started by letting my closest friends about my background. This helped me develop a support system and finally currently at the age of 33, I am proud to be me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Speed Talking written by Dan Hillman

This one is just for fun... a little humor for your day

Written by Dan Hillman to see more of his brand of blogging you can check him out at: http://dansfrivolity.blogspot.com/

SPEED TALKING

Has anyone noticed how fast people speak english these days? I really feel for people who are learning the language, it's almost like a buzz sometimes.

I noticed this a few weeks back when a friend visiting from spain was pointing out to me it's raining outside. I told her "It's ok I have an umbrella" and smiled, she just stared at me blankly, now she does speak english as a second language and I wondered why she was looking at me so strange, then I realised what I had actually said was "ITSOKIAVEANUMBRELLA" at about 210 wpm, No wonder she was bewildered. It's not just me though, working in a coffeeshop sprouts of sorts of problems in this area, you wouldn't belive the amount of times I have accidently made a customer a cup of tea because they have said cappuccino too fast, Ironically in this case though it probably is the caffeine.
 Nonetheless this has lead me to a project, I've decided to see if people will try and join in on a joke they have no idea about simply by saying "ahhgarahsiow!" very fast then laughing loudly.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Am A Minority written by anonymous

This writer chooses to remain anonymous. Therefore this introduction will be short.

The Guest Writer Blog is proud to present:

"I Am A Minority" written by Anonymous


I do not consider myself to be a minority. But in the sense of the word I am actually a double minority. Because I do not want this article to be about the actual minorities themselves I will remain vague as to which categories I am a minority.

One is in my political beliefs. I am a minority in the county and city that I live in. Even the local newspaper states their political beliefs and this really bothers me because the newspaper has decided to make up my mind for me with the articles they print. Instead of unbiased fact based articles they publish articles that are slanted to their beliefs and have the facts partially incorrect and sometimes completely incorrect. They use rude or condescending names to describe the political party of which I support. This bothers me because I am a person and the editors, authors and publishers of this newspaper are calling me names. They don’t even know me. I’m actually a fairly intelligent person, but in the eyes of my local newspaper I am not. This doesn't bother me, as I don't give my money to this newspaper. I read it occasionally when it ends up in a dentist’s office or other waiting area. I purchase the neighboring county’s paper that publishes articles that are less slanted and more fact based.

In the past when visiting friends I would remain quiet if the conversation turned to politics. The majority of my friends had an opposing view to mine. Plus, in my younger years I wasn’t educated enough on politics nor did I follow the news so I would have fumbled through such as conversation. As the years have progressed I’ve tuned into politics more. I do a good amount of research and fact hunting. I avoid the traps such as the propaganda and conspiracy sites. I stay away pretty much from anything that leans to far in any direction. I am not interested in radicalism regardless of which direction it leads. I will admit though on occasion I do read the propaganda and conspiracy theories – this helps me to really take apart and research each aspect of their conspiracies and theories and come to my own educated conclusion – usually my conclusion is opposite what the conspiracies say.

My other minority is my nationality. I am a minority in the area I live. The catch with me is I do not look one bit like the minority I am. I look like a dark haired, blue eyed Caucasian. But, I am not. I have unusual feelings about myself sometimes because of how I hear people talking about my nationality sometimes. It’s not always nice. A lot of people say things right to my face. I work with the public and I encounter quite a few people each day and they say all kinds of things to me. I hear religion, politics, household projects, vacations, family issues, and personal opinions. You name it I hear it. Even acquaintances will say negative things or make racial jokes right in front of me not realizing that they are putting me down. My friends never make such racial jokes, because I do not hang with people who joke about things like that. I don’t think making fun or putting down another persons heritage or lifestyle is funny. I guess I feel this way because I have heard the racial jokes all my life and it would hurt sometimes. When I was younger I didn’t say anything because I was ashamed that I was the minority they were joking about. Because of my looks I was able to hide who I am. People are always surprised, some are shocked when they find out my nationality. I’m not ashamed anymore. I still usually do not comment when somebody tells a racial joke. But, I will at least say something short like, “that really wasn’t funny” or “tasteless don’t you think?”

For many years I have been used to hiding my emotions, my opinions and my ancestry. Sometimes I think I’m unable to change that part of me.

- Anonymous


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Accepting Me For Who I Am written by T. Lacy

T. Lacy is a heartfelt young writer who's writings focus on teen issues. T. Lacy writes from honest feelings and sober-minded. She brings out the reality of life in a very positive and easy to understand way. What T.Lacy writes really makes sense and is inspirational to read. Thank you T. Lacy for sharing your insights.

If you wish to read more by T. Lacy you can check out her posts on her blog called "Teen Issues" at http://xxsome1likemexx.blogspot.com/


Accepting Me For Who I Am written by T. Lacy

Accepting Me For Who I am

No matter whom you are or what you think of yourself, you were put here for a reason. YOU are Special and there is NO ONE like YOU!

Learning to cope with who you are as a person maybe one of the hardest things ever to accomplish. Especially when the world around you is constantly judging you and it seems like your being evaluated each time you step out the door. People usually have gotten their first impression of you within the first 30 seconds of meeting you, and you know what they say first impressions DO count!

So with that being said, where do you start? First, you should stop worrying about what others say about you or think about you(character).  You are your own person and that’s what makes you, YOU! Everyone is not always going to like you and someone is always going to have something to say. So why not let it be about who you truly are.
Second, I would learn to start accepting your imperfections. You are original, no one on this planet is like you. No one has your exact eyes, teeth, ears, fingerprints, and most importantly…..YOUR THOUGHTS. Someone may have similar qualities but not even identical twins are exactly the same. If you don’t like your body size, or your hair color, or maybe even your eye color….change it. But make sure you are changing it for you and not for someone else! But know that your features and personality are what make you.
Third, I would say learn to focus on the things that you do like about yourself. Maybe you get a lot of compliments on your hair or maybe your eyes. Embrace the things that you do like about yourself. The more you focus on things that you do like about yourself the less time you will have to focus on the things you don’t. Keep reminding yourself of the things that you do like and sometimes it may take some time and digging to find those good qualities. But, all in all everyone has something that they like about themselves.
Last but certainly not least, develop positive thinking patterns. Your mind is a VERY powerful tool, at times maybe too powerful. Keeping a positive mind set can really ease things along. For example saying I like this about me or love how my whatever looks. Learn to shy away from the “I don’t like” and frowning when you look in the mirror. Embrace who you truly are and don’t let anyone tell you anything differently!


Song of Inspiration: TLC-Unpretty

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Berlin, Germany written by Vee


This next post is written by a blogger named Vee. She has an interesting story. In 2010 she decided to make some major changes in her life so she walked away from her profession and began traveling the word.

Here's her story as she has posted on her blog:
Only 1200 characters to tell you about myself? That's not enough!! Here's a snippet... In 2010 I decided to change my life. I walked away from my profession, sold everything that didn't fit in a backpack and started traveling the world. I am not on holidays - traveling is the lifestyle I have chosen. I have seen some amazing sights and met some beautiful people. I wish to continue exploring the planet but need to work in order to pay my way. I have just finished a TESOL course and hope to become an English teacher soon. I plan to continue with my travels for as long as I'm able. I'd like to find a base somewhere in Asia and travel from there. I am passionate about traveling! I love to take photos, eat street food, and immerse myself in the local culture. I have learned to live on a shoe-string budget and I love my life. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading about my travels and looking at my photos. 

If you wish to read more on Vee's journeys you can do so by visiting her blog Travels at: http://vee-travels.blogspot.com/

 Berlin, German by Vee


If I had to choose one place that has surprised me the most during my travels I would have to say Berlin. I'm not sure what I was expecting before I arrived but 'ultra clean' and 'super tidy' weren't high on the list but that's the first thing I noticed when I stepped off the train at Berlin Central Station.

Despite its tumultuous history, Berlin is a beautiful city which is undergoing an incredible restoration project and many buildings, which were flattened by bombs during the war, have been rebuilt to their original specifications and are now standing proud once again. While I was there I learned that during the war a decision was made to remove all the statues and domes from the top of the buildings and hide them underground so they couldn't be destroyed by bombs. It proved to be an excellent idea and as each building is restored/rebuilt they put the statues back on top and then, at a later stage, make the buildings look old, like they've always been standing there.

Original old dome on top of a new building

There's still a noticeable difference in the West and East sides of town even though the Berlin Wall came down back in '89. The East side isn't as neat and upmarket as the West and people from the East side of town don't seem to walk as tall; as though they're still feeling oppressed. Hopefully as Berlin goes through the motions of healing it will filter through to all the residents, regardless of their address. Parts of The Wall still remain and one section of it has been made into an open-air gallery where artists from all over the world have made a contribution. The East Side Gallery is subjected to frequent damage from the weather as well as vandalism and graffiti. A restoration project commenced a couple of years ago although it has been met with controversy as some of the original artists refused to repaint their self portraits if there was a chance they would be defaced by vandals again. 

Remnants of the Berlin Wall
The East Side Gallery




As you can imagine, there's heaps to do in Berlin. The place is packed with history, memorials, and museums. I rarely go inside museums because I find them a little boring but being a Jewish girl I couldn't go past the Jewish museum and ended up spending the best part of a day there. It is a deeply moving place and many people were in tears long before reaching the exit. Jewish or not, I think it would be difficult for anyone to go through the museum and not be touched by the atrocities that so many millions of Jews had inflicted upon them. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is also worth having a look at. It is quite eerie walking among the slabs of concrete which are of varying heights and have been built on sloping ground. It is said that the uneasiness and confusion that people feel while they walk through the Memorial was one of the objectives of the man who designed it as it depicts, albeit in a very small way, how the Holocaust victims must have felt when they were on their final journey.

Monument to the murdered Jews of Europe
The next two photos are of a sculpture, located inside the War Memorial Building, called "Woman With Dead Child" by artist Käthe Kollwitz. The sculpture is housed in a large empty room and is positioned beneath a hole in the ceiling subjecting the sculpture to the elements. At times it's covered with snow, other times it's wet from rain, or as seen in my photographs it is lit from the bright sunshine above, almost like it's under a spotlight. "Woman with Dead Child" is meant to symbolise the suffering of civilians during World War II and indeed serves as a poignant reminder to us, and future generations, of the perpetual tragedy of the loss of life caused by war. I challenge anyone to stand in front of this sculpture and not be moved by it.

                         



Another interesting place is the new Parliament building known as the Reichstag. It was built with a large glass dome on the top which the public can get to by way of a spiral platform. From the top you can see a 360° view of Berlin and you can also see all the way to the bottom where the politicians sit. The idea behind the glass dome is so that parliamentary sessions are always visible to the public, decisions aren't made in secret, and the politicians only need to look up to be reminded that it's the people who are in charge, not the government. Tip: If you decide to visit the Reichstag be aware that the queue to get in can be very long and there is no shelter. The building is open daily from 8:00am until midnight and to avoid endless hours of waiting in line it's a good idea to go first thing in the morning or late at night. Also, you and your bags will be security checked a couple of times before you can enter. The guards take their job very seriously!


Looking down the glass dome to the politicians' seats in the Reichstag.
Reichstag Building with the glass dome at the back.

There's much more to Berlin than museums and memorials and it's not hard to find a bit of fun without too much difficulty. For example, if you go grocery shopping and have a couple of beers in your basket, the shopkeeper will offer to open one for you so you can drink it while you wait for your items to be scanned! Berlin is the only place I've ever been to that does that! I was finished my beer before I'd even paid for my groceries and right near the exit there's a counter where you can return your empty bottle and they give you a refund which is almost the same amount as the purchase price! How cool is that!! The idea is to help reduce the  litter and broken glass in the streets and it works as, like I mentioned, Berlin is a seriously clean and tidy city. 

The night life in Berlin is lots of fun and there's heaps of good bars and restaurants dotted around the place. If you do decide to go to Berlin one day, I recommend spending at least a week there, longer if you can. It's a brilliant place with an excellent transportation system and many wonderful sights to behold. You can hire a bicycle and head out to the canals or ride around the parks. There's also a huge zoo with an aquarium if you're into that type of thing or you can go to the theatre if you're looking for an indoors activity. I had a great time in Berlin! I hope you enjoy my photos and thanks for reading. :)

Brandenburg Gate



Altes Museum
Love this car!

What's a European city without a canal!







Thursday, September 1, 2011

1 Year written by Andréa Hector

Disclaimer: This article is about a person dealing with her significant other going through the transgender process. If this topic offends than please move on from this blog as this blog is not for you.

Andréa Hector is from Vancouver, Canada. She is quite an interesting person who has experienced much in life. She says that sometimes she feels like she is a science project.

Andréa is a musician, songwriter, composer, programmer and vocalist who plays bass guitar and keyboards. In the mid 90's she performed in the band Liquid Amber. After being on the short list to play bass in Courtney Love's band Hole, Andréa formed the electronic duo Hector in 1999. Andréa's songs convey a sense of yearning to learn the meaning of life, a bit of confusion, a darkness, a sadness, a journey which is evolving. Author Greg Potter has described Hector as, "Imagine JULIANA HATFIELD with CHRISSIE HYNDE's swagger fronting RADIOHEAD with BODY COUNT's rhythm section and you'll have an idea of what HECTOR is all about."

You can visit Hector's website at: http://www.hector.ca/index.html

Now on to Andréa, the blogger. Her blog aptly named "Life Is A Science Project" chronicles her journey with her wife who is in the process of sexual reassignment. Her significant other is transforming from female to male. Her blog also features articles dealing with her own health issues, her family members such as her biker granny who just turned 93 and other such interesting ramblings. If you wish to read more on Andréa please visit her blog at: http://andreashealingjourney.blogspot.com/ but please make sure to read the disclaimer on her blog first: http://andreashealingjourney.blogspot.com/p/disclaimer.html

This article titled "1 Year" (written in December 2010) brings us to one year point of Andréa's spouses sexual reassignment.

1 Year written by Andréa Hector

1 year

I have one year until her body changes from that of my wife. We went in to see pictures of prior people who have gone in for this sort of surgery. Breast Re-assignment. This is what I have to look forward to seeing in a year.

She's already taking testosterone, so in a year she'll have 'man hair' (**shudders**) on her chest. What I saw of the people with hair on their breasts looked absolutely awful. Man hair on woman parts. This is what we get to look forward to because the waiting list is a year long because of the influx of people deciding they want to deface their bodies.

To me, my reality, is that it is an epidemic within the lesbian community. I do believe in gender dysphoria, but I also believe there are a lot of people who just don't know where they fit in in life, so they go with what their attracted to. Not enough lesbians are proud to be butch. They feel they have to go to the extreme. I really feel like it's a contagious mental disorder. (**enter the part where thousands of pissed off F-M people hate me for my feelings**)

I'm not attracted to transgendered people. This is the reason for my tears. What if I am no longer attracted to my love because she becomes the husband I never wanted? I married a beautiful butch. Not a man. What if I see her in the same light that I have seen the others? I just don't find it attractive. How do I change this? Do I fake it till I make it?

She (and I will continue to call her she until I have ease from my pain), cried today because she was going to have to look like what she called the 'tranny freaks' that she saw in the pre-op pictures. She finally had a glimpse at how I feel. It's disheartening. The morbid selfish bitch in me felt that at least during this agony she felt today, she got to see a glimpse of how I feel about the whole thing.

She feels that this will make her more susceptible to being gay bashed. Or rather tranny bashed. there are horrible people out there who really do see people who are transitioning as 'tranny freaks'. They scare me too. They around. They're subtle and not so subtle.

I would never think of a person as a 'tranny freak'. People who have done this to their bodies I don't see as freaks. I see this as pain. Kinda like when people resort to cutting. They feel pain emotionally and their only way to show it outside is by physically making marks.

I don't want my love to be in pain. So I accept her feeling that she needs to do this. I support her in that way. Her way out of pain is to find peace with the body she's never felt comfortable with. And if she had've done it before we met? I would not be here right now agonizing over it. I would have never started dating her to begin with. Because I'm not attracted to people who look male.

But she was a she. She is the most beautiful butch I know and I am proud to be lesbian and proud to be with her. In one year, she will have hair, no breasts and no uterus. At that point, I will no longer be the lesbian I am. At that point, I'll be viewed to the world as a straight person. A person in the closet. The closet that I fought so hard to get out of I'm being thrown back in.

In one year.

She doesn't understand my grief. My loss. I am grieving over the loss of the life I was so proud of. I'm grieving the loss of my butch. I'm grieving the way I will appear to the world. I'm grieving.

I feel like part of me is dying. Last night, I felt like I'd like to die along with that part. I felt quite suicidal (not a new thing for me unfortunately), but I remembered how selfish suicide is. Not only would I be gone from this world, but I would crush my love. THAT would kill HER. I could never do that to her.

So here I am. Suffering. And it's my choice. Because I choose to stay and go through this.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

America's REAL Team written by Billy W.

Billy W is 14 year old student who loves to write about mostly about sports. He is particularly interested in the NFL, NBA, and the MLB. His writings are well thought out and always contain excellent information.

The article we are featuring here is a touching story about the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball team.

If you wish to read other articles by Billy you can check out his blog at: http://sportspinandstuff-billyw.blogspot.com/

America's REAL Team

      When you think of America's team, you most likely think of the Dallas Cowboys. However, I recently found out about the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team, whose ranks consist of veterans who sacraficed a limb for his country in Iraq or Afghanistan ater playing either highschool or college baseball. I cannot express the immeasurable gratitude that I and   all of our country have for those who fight for our freedom, and these men are the epitome of resilience and strength. They also insist they play only able bodied teams, such as local fire departments and recently the FBI, who they beat 35-10. You may not fully understand the fight and sheer athleticism these young men possess until a baserunner with a prosthetic leg dives headfirst to avoid a tag or a one armed fielder drops his glove and hurls the ball to his cutoff man. Their service has not gone without notice, as Louisville Slugger has donated over $20,000 in equipment, and they have been invited to play at Nationals Stadium later this year. These men are true heroes. The Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team is truly America's real team.

Image retrieved from http://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/1.142994!/image/1363671873.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_490/1363671873.jpg usage of this image may not be authorized but is not being used for profit, rather for educational purposes of the reader.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Story written by Fizzee Rascal

 Fizzee Rascal is a down to earth blogger whop pretty much writes things as he sees it. He claims to be a part-time submarine washer, who is often found dressed like a Mexican - not sure what he means by that - but if you wish to find out more about this blogger you can check out his blog called "I Didn't Do It"at: http://ididntdoithonest.blogspot.com/

 A Story

About 18 months ago, our youngest daughter came home from school and announced that one of her friends' cats was going to have kittens. "Terrific" I thought, "I'm very happy for it". Not being much of a cat person myself, I gave it barely anymore thought until one day she came home and asked if she could have one. Around about this point I was acutely aware of everyones eyes being on me. "Sure, why not?" says I - three little words that produced a moment that a parent will always remember, a look of pure joy on your kid's face. Brilliant.

A few weeks pass, and it turns out that the kitty is to be her Christmas present from her mate. Great, we're all prepared for the new arrival, then she drops the bombshell......."Can I have two?" "Two?" It turns out that no-one wants the last remaining kitten of the litter, a frankly gorgeous little grey cat.
Of course we relent, and are treated to another moment like the one I mentioned above. So, a week or so before Christmas we recieve two kittens, a black one named Patton -after the lead singer of Faith No More- and the grey one, named Dixie -after Everton legend Dixie Dean. I'm guessing you must be wondering what the point of this story is by now, and sadly I'm going to have to tell you.
A couple of days ago it seems Dixie was hit by a car and dragged along by it. He died in our house last night at about half past midnight. My wife and daughter are distraught, and frankly, despite my best efforts to hide it, so am I. You wouldn't believe how long it's taken me to type this.

So long little guy, I'll miss you. We all will.