Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend Whoop!

I spent this past weekend at home, which was just wonderful. I saw the wonderful Mr. Man every single day (including Thursday, even though that's *technically* not the weekend), which was awesome. I also got to see my family, which is always great because we're surprisingly close. Whoooop!

Friday: Mr. Man was already at work when I got home (tsssss), but I had dinner with one of my best friends from high school at a great Italian place (where the host weirdly addressed us as "womans." Uhh?) then went out to coffee. After that, Mr. Man and I went out to see the crazies, which is CRAZY. (No pun intended?) Though I love horror movies AND beat Mr. Man for once at calling the ending, I was "being a big baby" about going home alone (WHAT IF THE ZOMBIES HAD GOTTEN ME, MR. MAN? WHAT THEN?) so we went back to his apartment and watched Futurama reruns until 6 am. Whoooop!

Saturday: Running on pretty much no sleep, I had a crazy busy day. My mommy and I went shopping, I got a hairtastrophe cut (more on that later -- major tssss), I studied some (gasp!), then I went to a birthday party for my mom's friend's dad who turned 70 and is probably one of the funniest old men I've ever met in my life. Whoooop! After that, The Cynical Optimist, Mr. Man, and I went to a party one of our good friends from high school was throwing about 45 minutes away. It was a slightly drama-filled night, but all in all, I had fun. Whoooop! Mr. Man and I had an emotional talk afterward about crap that went down when we broke up for a while and about the future, but it was good to get all that out there. :) We continued our Futurama marathon until about 7 am when I realized that OH HEY LOOK THE SUN IS COMING UP I SHOULD GET SOME SLEEP.

Sunday: Slept until eleven, had lunch with Mr. Man then hit the road back to Aggieland. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY I scratched another thing off my list of 101 in 1001! In case you guys hadn't noticed (though I don't know HOW that's possible), I blogged EVERY SINGLE DAY this month. And that, everyone, was #47! Haha! I feel successful, even if I used the shortest month of the year to do this (STFUDON'TJUDGEME)! Whoooop! The rest of today was devoted to homework and tests though. I have two midterms coming up this week... eek! tsssss.

Join in if you like, Aggie or not! (If you do, leave a link to your post in the comment section!)
Whoooop!
= RED ASS AWESOME EVENTS.
Tsssss = Lame events that sound like things t-sips would do.
If you DO join up, leave a link in the comments section! :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Finding Beauty Every Where

The Novelista Barista posted this, and I just had to repost it to share with y'all.

Yes, those are flowers.

Yes, they are planted in the middle of the road.

Pete Dungey is doing this throughout Britain. He describes it this way: "'If we planted one of those in every hole, it would be like a forest in the road.' An ongoing series of public installations highlighting the problem of surface imperfections on Britain's roads."

I know he's doing it to highlight a problem that needs fixing, but it's beautiful, isn't it? I really stinkin' love this idea. It's like finding beauty every where, even where you'd least expect it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dear Friday,

I know I tell you often that I love you, Friday, but I think it deserves mentioning at least once more.

Thanks for bringing me home to see my family tonight, Friday. For being calm and relaxing. For allowing time for shopping. For being the night I had dinner and coffee with Melissa, and for telling me about hilariously awesome Shakespeare plays to see on Saturday.

You're always there for me, Friday. And I really appreciate that. You're just such a good friend, you know?

Oh, did you think we were more than friends?

Oooh. AWKWARD.

Sorry, Friday.

Stay classy?

Friend love,
Valorie

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's a Love/Hate Thing

I love being back together with Mr. Man.

I hate this whole distance thing.

It's worth it. I keep telling myself that. It's worth it, it's worth it, it's worth it. Some days, I have to grit my teeth and and mutter it'sworthiticandothis.

See, the past week has sucked for both of us.

His good friend was jumped and brutally beaten and, as far as I know, is still in the hospital.

One of my closest friends and I had a falling out.

Mr. Man's beloved husky ran away.

I'm keeping a huge family secret that only he and Roomie know about at this point, and it's making me anxious.

I want to be there with him right now. Marley (his husky) turned up, but I wanted to be there looking for her, and I wanted to be there to hug him when he heard his friend was in the hospital. I wanted to be able to go over to his apartment when I got my letter from Friend telling me he didn't want us to be friends anymore, and I want him to hug me and tell me that all this family stuff is going to work out for the best.

Not because any of that is enjoyable and my choice for a date. Far from it. But I want to be there to support him and to have that support in return. And I can't always be. And it really really sucks.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Conflicted.

I REALLY need y'all's help with this.

I'm having a bit of drama in my life, and my wonderful blog here is kind of a part of it.

See, one of my friends is very much not okay with how much I talk about Mr. Man on here and on twitter. Friend wants to cut me out of his life because he is so upset about this. I told Friend that if he didn't want to hear about Mr. Man anymore, Friend should just stop reading my blog and I'd agree to not talk to him about Mr. Man. Then Friend tells me that really the problem is that he's "in love" with me and is either going to stop being friends with me or I'm going to have to stop talking about Mr. Man at all. I feel that I should be able to talk about Mr. Man however and whenever I want though. I'm not going to censor myself for one person. On top of that, he implied that if he and I were never going to be "us" he didn't want to be friends at all, and that I should have known that this was all or nothing.

This devolved into a lot of fighting, during which he admitted that every time he knows Mr. Man and I are together, he drinks until he passes out. So now I feel guilty, because even though I'm not handing him the bottle, I know how he's finding out.

I don't want to cut him out of my life, and I don't want to be cut out of his. But I'm sick of him making me feel guilty about ever having feelings for anyone else. So, my question to y'all is: Should I scale back my friendship with him, make it clear that we're not going to able to be as close as we were before, or should I end this blog and start a new anonymous blog so Friend and I can stay close and he won't be able to read it? What would y'all do?

Oh, and don't worry, you can say whatever you want. He already knows I feel this way and won't be at all surprised by this post.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Planning!

Recently, weddings have been coming up a lot in conversation.

I don't know why. I for one, don't want to get married any time soon. It's not like I don't like the idea of a pretty white dress and lots of free stuff (not to mention a huge diamond ring and getting to kiss Mr. Groom [whomever he ends up being] whenever I want), but I'm just too. damn. busy.

I won't be done with school until I'm twenty-five.

25.

Yeah, people. That's right. Damn my mom for correctly predicting that I would go to law school. Maybe even 26 if I don't graduate from TAMU on time. [I don't want to talk about it. Whores in the dean's office. JUST KIDDING. Maybe. THEY'RE SCREWING ME OVER AND THEY SHOULD ALL JUST ACCEPT THAT I'M BRILLIANT AND GIVE ME MY DEGREE ALREADY. Seriously. It's just a piece of paper that acknowledges my brilliancy. It's not. that. hard. And I'm actually WORKING for it, not like these bull honorary degree recipients. I don't CARE what they did for America/The Whole Stinkin' World, did they go to your school? NOOOO.]

BUT I DIGRESS. Wow. Anyways. Eh-hem. Weddings, right.

Despite me insisting that I-don't-want-to-plan-a-wedding-and-try-to-get-my-law-degree-at-the-same-time-because-that-sounds-stupidly-stressful, they're pretty sure I'm going to get married first.

Before we graduate TAMU, before I'm even given my acceptance letter to UCBerkeley (which I'm sure they already drafted), I will have two rings -- my Aggie ring (Whoop!) and my engagement ring. That is their plan for me.

W.T.H.

They have decided though that if I'm NOT married first, that means I will have broken up with Mr. Man and will NEVER get married. I have tried to point out the DOZENS of flaws in their logic here, but they refuse to acknowledge my intellectual superiority, thus leaving me with two choices:

Married by December 2012 or Never Married Ever Because I Suck At Life.

What do you guys think of this dress?





Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekend Whoop!

Yeah, that's right, I'm still continuing this one! Join in, Aggie or not! (If you do, leave a link to your post in the comment section!) Whoooop! = RED ASS AWESOME EVENTS.
Tsssss = Lame events that sound like things t-sips would do.

Friday: Finished the obnoxious amount of tests I had last week (though I definitely tried to write my essay in the same style I write my blog entries... HELLO, FAILING GRADE), then went to Houston to see my lovely friend The Cynical Optimist (by the way, if you haven't clicked on the link to read her blog yet, even though I've mentioned her DOZENS OF TIMES YOU LAZY BUMS, you should). And we had a part-ay. Good times. Whoooop! I also got to sort-of meet my penpal from AUSTRALIA, Zoe MacLean, though it wasn't so much 'meet' as 'exchange emails and addresses.' EXCITING, RIGHT? Yeah, I know, you're jealous. Thanks, Teacups in Peony. :) Whoooop!

Saturday: The Cynical Optimist and I hung out at Agora, a really delicious coffee/wine bar, then went thrift store shopping. :) Hello, favorite things ever. Whoooop! I had to drive back to CS that afternoon though, which was NOT COOL. Tsssss! But I got to hang out with a bunch of people that I normally don't get to because they all go to school back home but were in CS for the weekend, so it evened out. :) I did get some weirdbad (yeah, weirdbad, all one word. Go with it.) news that night though. That'll have to be it's own post later though.

Sunday: I studied all morning, (tsssss), but then I went to lunch with aforementioned friends-from-back-home at a really good Sisch-Kabob (SP?!) place that I had never tried, but should have tried much sooner. We hung out, I found out that one of them has had a secret girlfriend for three years (UHM, WHAT?! I'm still in shock), it was all around good. Whoooop! Unfortunately, Mr. Man's dog ran away this afternoon, so we're a little bummed about that. Tsssss! I'm hoping she turns up though. I also always get together with some girls from Phi Lamb at 8 on Sundays for a Bible study, which I am LOVING. If you're looking for one to do, try Bad Girls Of The Bible, by Liz Curtis Higgins. It's a fun read, and very enlightening. :)

How were y'all's weekends?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The One Where I Tell You About That Marine I Dated

Surprised, huh? I've only mentioned this Marine once before, and only in passing.

Well, we were never boyfriend-girlfriend. Which makes me wonder what to call him, because That-One-Ex-Marine-I-Dated is long and annoying to type out.

The-Cutey-From-My-US-History-Class-I-Made-Out-With?

That-Military-Guy-That-Changed-My-Perspective-On-US-Armed-Forces?

That-Boy-That-Got-Me-Hooked-On-Whiskey&Dr.Pepper-And-Old-Western-Flicks?

The-Guy-Who-Convinced-Me-That-"Cowboy Churches"-Are-Cooler-And-That-I-Should-Move-To-Montana?

Yeah, because all of those are so much shorter, Valorie. Good job. What a winner.

Anyways. I'm thinking about Marine right now because I had Wendy's earlier. The only time before now that I'd been to that particular Wendy's was when I once went with Marine and we he played a prank on the girl at the window, ordering 2 chicken burgers and then insisting that he'd actually ordered like 12 and was mad she messed up his order. ...It was funny at the time, I promise.

Eh-hem. Right. So, every time I pass that Wendy's, I crave a whiskey/dr.pepper and a night in watching old western movies. Then I wonder about what Marine is doing now -- not because I miss him that way; he transferred schools and we've lost touch. Then, I think about Marines in general. And then I think about all our boys overseas, and I wonder what they're doing now. And I get kind of worried about them. And while Marine always talked about his previous tours like he mostly enjoyed them, there was clearly something not-as-enjoyable that he was holding back, and that scares me. I mean, I know those men (and women, let's not forget them) are brave, they signed up for this, they knew what they were getting into... but still.

I used to not do that. I don't want to say I was un-supportive of our military exactly, but I definitely wasn't behind them. I was pretty neutral. Switzerland. Their reality didn't seem real to me. After dating Marine, it's real to me now.

I don't know how much I support the war we're involved in. I don't know whether or not I think it's "right" that we're there. I just don't know. I feel like there's a lot of details and complex subtleties about this whole situation that I'll never understand.

But I support the Marines that are there. I support all the men and women that are over there, fighting for what they believe in, defending our country. So, thank you, Marine for that. By sharing your story, even what little of it I actually got a chance to hear, my view of the military has changed dramatically.

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you're an American reading this in English, thank a soldier.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh Friday, How I Adore You

Let me count the ways --

You are the end of a tough school week that has exhausted me to the core.

You're the day I finish classes early -- 3:15 instead of the typical 5.

You are the day I get to drive down to Houston to see my wonderful friend, The Cynical Optimist, whom I miss dearly.

You're the beginning of the weekend, which is always a wonderful, wonderful thing.

On weekends when I get to go home, you are the day I long for, when I get to spend three and a half hours on the open road with no one but my lovely car Scott and Taylor Swift, or Bright Eyes, or Ke$ha, or whomever my current musical obsession is.

You are the day when I'm exhausted from a late night out of dancing, but 20 years from now I'll only remember crawling into bed at 3 am on a Friday morning with a smile on, not how hard it was to get up in the morning.

In less than a month, you are the day my spring break starts, when I get to spend more than 48 hours in a row with Mr. Man and go on some secret trip my parents have planned.

Friday, you are all around lovely. Why is it that you only stop by once a week?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Maya Angelou

Remember how last night I was pretty much having a mental breakdown about this weeks' prompts? Yeah, well, I figured out what I'm going to do... Basically combine all/most of them into one post. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS AWESOMENESS THAT WILL GIVE YOU THE JEALOUSIES*?

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ~ Maya Angelou

I think I have a really weird concept of what "home" is. Last May, I said this on the subject: "...home is not a place but a time and a feeling."

Which, I think for the most part, I still feel. And, I kind of think goes with what Maya was saying there -- I long to be simply accepted, no questions asked, and I feel like there's no single place where I can get that. I get that through certain people, like my parents and their friends, or Mr. Man, or The Cynical Optimist. When I see them, and we sit down for dinner or coffee or whatever, I feel like I'm at home no matter where I am.

To some extent, I also feel very at home when I'm snowboarding on a quiet mountain slope, or when I'm writing in a coffee shop and surrounded by people I don't even know. That too feels familiar, unquestioning, accepting.

I'm sure a couple of psychologists would tell you that I lack attachment to places because I didn't have a stable home life as a child because we moved around a lot and so I didn't create long lasting social bonds with anyone outside my family until I was like 10. Factor in all the ridiculous amount of travel we did and how insanely huge my family is... I'm a social deviant waiting to happen!

Maybe I'm okay with that. Because I LIKED moving that much. The act of searching for a new place to live, even at a young age, felt familiar, home-like -- much more than the actual living there. It was fun for me to go to the next neighborhood and peek into the previous owners' life through all their pictures on the wall and the way their bedroom was set up. And when we planted down in North Texas and stayed in the same house for 12 years, I got restless A LOT. I still get restless if I stay in the same place too long. That's why every time I refer to the apartment on this blog, it's always "the apartment," not "home," because I'm already so BORED of CS and it's not homey to me.

At the same time, I long for the accepted feeling I had in high school when I had this, admittedly less-than-stable, huge group of friends, but it was at least CONSISTENTLY unstable. I could COUNT on one of the guys dating another guys' ex-girl and another cheating on his girl with one of my friends while she in fact was cheating on someone else, and rumors being spread between the 10 of us girls, and DRAMADRAMADRAMA. And as I merged into another (much) smaller group, I could count on the fact that by being the only consistent girl in it would lead to every single one of the guys having at least a brief crush on me at one time or another and it causing some drama, minor as it was. But I could also count on video games and racing our cars on public streets and sneaking out at 3 am for trips to IHOP, and they felt like home too.

But, that's how I met Mr. Man. And if that's not a stable social bond that feels like home, I don't know WHAT is. Because, when Mama Kat put it as "the heart that just wouldn’t quit," the woman knew what she was talking about. When I was 15, that boy burst into my life and demanded that I love him, hands down, no questions asked. I may have been in denial and fought it tooth and nail for over a year, and I may have gotten scared and run away when I was 18, but my poor heart never really had a chance. And he knew it all along, so he just bid his time until I finally CALMED THE HELL DOWN enough to be ready to admit that no matter what my head says, my heart won't quit running toward him; that wherever he is, that's home, his arms are home.



*The Jealousies: That feeling when you get when you read a really awesome blog post and think "WHY DIDN'T I WRITE THAT?!"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Too Many Choices!

I've been doing Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop for a while now and never once have I liked so many of the prompts that I actually needed to take a day or two and THINK about which one I actually wanted to write. Normally there's ONE that catches my attention. JUST ONE. This time ALL FIVE ARE COOL.

Because, the fact of the matter is that I have entertaining email discussions ALL THE TIME, I took about 20934520349 photos last February so I can't even begin to choose JUST ONE to tell a story about, Maya Angelou is one of the most legit people ever, we all know I've talked about "home" before on here, weird stories of me as a kid could entertain y'all (and embarrass me) for quite a while, and the heart that just wouldn't quit... HELLO. STORY OF MY LIFE. Or, at least of Mr. Man and I. But I feel like I talk about Mr. Man A LOT already, so I kind of don't want to talk about him, but I DO BECAUSE I'M NARCISSISTIC.

I'M SO OVERWHELMED.

Also, my shower broke SO I CAN'T TAKE SHOWERS WHENEVER I WANT TO AND I THINK THAT TAKES PRECEDENCE.

I AM TYPING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE YELLING MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

Or it at least makes people shut up. Or something. I'm... I'm uhh... I'm special. Let's face it. We'll see which I post tomorrow.

Also, this was posted at 11:11, so please promptly make a wish. Kthanksbye.

I'm Beautiful!

I feel awesome! Natalie over at My Life's Graffiti very sweetly awarded me the Beautiful Blogger award (because my camera's name is Stella)! Isn't she wonderful? Go check her out, she's pretty awesome, and has a pretty stinkin' sweet camera that she takes some pretty legit pictures with.


(Please feel free to imagine me happily clapping my hands like a toddler, because that's pretty much exactly what I'm doing.)

Now, because I'm the proud owner of the banner that makes me a coveted award winner, I must list ten things that make me happy and pass it on to ten other beautiful bloggers (if I can come up with that many). :)

My ten things (in no particular order) are...
1. Coffee in silly mugs.
2. Country-western dancing.
3. Doodling.
4. Taking pictures with Stella (that's her to the left! She gets to be in here because she helped me win the award.)
5. My fur-baby/love-of-my-life.
6. Weekends.
7. Weekends with Mr. Man.
8. Writing.
9. Sleeping.
10. Journaling.

Now, my bloggers:
1. Kassie over at color the world how you see it, because she's a pretty legit Aggie. No 2%-ing here!
2. The Novelista Barista, because she might like coffee almost as much as I do!
3. Dumb Mom over at parenting BY dummies, because she makes me laugh constantly.
4. Kassie at Raindrops on Roses, because her layout is adorable and she talks about pretty much anything, which is always fun.
5. Nicole over at my teacups in peony, because she's starting a super legit penpal thing that I'm really excited about!
6. Tia at Clever Girl Goes Blog, because her blog is fun and her writing is humorous. Love it.
7. The Cynical Optimist, because she's a real life friend who always has a good book recommendation, and even admits when she has no idea what the book was actually about. It's wonderful.
8. Take Me or Leave Me, because she's pretty good about always commenting on posts and being super honest on her blog. It's refreshing. :)

Okay, I can't come up with two more people who blog regularly enough for me to pull this off. Sorry! Check out those ladies though, they're all quite awesome.

Have a great day, blog-loves! :) And thanks again, Natalie!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Whoop!

I'm thinking about making the Weekend Whoop! a weekly tradition. A way to bring a little bit of Aggieland to the blog. What do y'all think?

Whoooop! = RED ASS AWESOME EVENTS.
Tsssss = Lame events that sound like things t-sips would do.
Feel free to join in, Aggie or not! :)

So, this weekend started a little early for me -- Thursday. But not for a good reason. :( I was super stinkin' sick and couldn't even get out of bed for class on Friday. Tsssssss. But, the ever awesome Mr. Man came in to town on Friday and nursed me back to health so that by Saturday I was ready to LIVE again. Whoooop!

On Saturday Mr. Man and I went out and grabbed lunch and saw the movie The Wolfman, which is pretty darn good. Check it out. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but there's a pretty good twist in it. Mr. Man and I always compete to see who can call the ending of a movie first, and I'm ashamed to say he called it first this time, but there's always next time. Challenge: Can YOU call the twist? That night, we went to a birthday party for a friend, where we ate pizza and sang karaoke. Yup, #80 done! Whoooop! We went out dancing after that and had a bunch of fun. Every time I don't go dancing for more than a week, I forget how much I enjoy myself when I do go out, so I'm glad I went. I'm getting pretty decent at country-western dancing too! It's exciting! Whoooop!

Sunday, well, it was Valentine's, and while I normally moan and groan about how stupid that holiday is, I had better things to say this year. :) Whoooop!

How were y'all's weekends?

(img cred for the wolfman photo [the other is mine!])

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Ooey-Gooey Mushy Day

Honestly, I was considering not even acknowledging this poor excuse for a holiday on my blog. I'm of the hating-Valentine's-camp, for what I (and many others, I'm sure) think is a good reason. I just... Don't understand why we dedicate only ONE day of the whole YEAR to telling our significant other that we care about them. We should do that every day! You know? I'm sure that's not the first time you've heard that argument, and it definitely won't be the last, but... I don't know, I feel pretty strongly about it.

Of course, Mr. Man knows all this, so he put aside his hopeless romantic tendencies and we had a very chill holiday -- in fact, I didn't even leave my apartment until I walked him out to his car when he left to drive home. He was here all weekend, so we slept in late (NOON! I never sleep that late!), relaxed and grazed (my term for "snacking") all day. I made him my AWESOME chocolate chip pancakes for lunch and we watched a four hour marathon of I Shouldn't Be Alive on the Discovery Channel, followed by dinner and Sweet Home Alabama. :) We shared some chocolates and said "Happy Valentine's, sweetie," and that was that.

Granted, we did go out dancing last night, but that was more a big group thing and Mr. Man really only went because I told him I was going with or without him and that he didn't actually have to dance, he just had to go. (He didn't dance, but he had fun and he's going to learn to country-western dance now.) We're very blunt/honest with each other, as you can tell. :) I think it makes for a healthy relationship. Better than sugar-coating and lying, right? Let's hope.

Happy Valentine's Day, blog-loves. Did y'all celebrate?

(img cred.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Out Dancing

I kind of like this kid a lot.

Photo cred: @aggiestephanie. Isn't she stinking awesome? You should follow us on Twitter! :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Reason #2934589

The following text message transcript is reason #2934589 why Mr. Man is pretty much the best boyfriend ever:

Mr. Man: How're you feeling, sweetie?

Me: Crappy. :( I'm really sick.

Mr. Man: I'm sorry. :( That really sucks.

Me: I know. It may be a bad idea for you to come down here this weekend. I don't want to get you sick. :(

Mr. Man: I'll be there. I'd rather take care of you all weekend than not see you on Valentine's.

He's wonderful. And on his way down. And I'm out of tissues.


(img cred.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lame.

I am very sick.

This is LAME.

Mostly because Mr. Man is supposed to get here tomorrow for our Valentine's Weekend, but also because SICK = STUPID.

I know. Verbose.

I blame it on the cold medication. I totally DON'T recommend Zicam, by the way. At least not yet. Though, it does taste good. Well, as good as medicine gets, I suppose.

My oceanography test totally did not go well, as you can guess. STUPID INCONVENIENT ILLNESSES THAT RUIN MY WEEK.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

UDHR

In my International Politics and Law class, we've been studying international treaties/declarations a lot, including why they get created and why they are (or aren't) complied with, and this one really caught my attention. It's the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Signed by all members of the UN in the General Assembly, it calls for basic human rights that most of us (especially Americans and Western Europeans) enjoy daily and rarely have to question. Rights like the right to marriage (though, Americans do have to question how far that extends), or to vote, or to not be tortured or held in slavery, the right to be equal before the law and be treated as a human being no matter what. Again, things that we typically don't have to question, because at the top of society, we enjoy these rights every day.

And yet, there are billions of people that don't enjoy those rights -- they live in constant fear of being forced into slavery, of being "silenced" for their political/religious/sexual/whatever beliefs. The UN says that those actions are illegal and cannot be carried out by anyone, implying that especially their member countries should be abiding by this. And yet member countries like China and Iran, many African countries like Guinea, Burundi, Yemen, Sudan, and Rwanda, still make the news with mass genocides and rapes, and general human rights violations, even though they've agreed to this contract that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood" (Article 1, UDHR), and that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." (Article 3, UDHR), among 28 other explicitly listed rights.

So what the hell was the point of the declaration? If you go read it, it has absolutely no enforcement policy. The UN has basically said that yeah, everyone's equal, but we're just going to twiddle our thumbs about it and blah blah blah, "condemn" people who participate in violations, but basically not punish them at all. So things like this happen:

Bloody Monday: The September 28 Massacre and Rapes by Security Forces in Guinea. Yeah, you read that right -- Security Forces. As in Guinea's Elite Presidential Guard carried out the abuse of hundreds of people in a stadium.

Burundi refusing asylum to Rwandan refugees as they attempt to escape violence and oppression in their own country.

Skin on the Cable: Cambodia sending drug users to "rehabilitation camps" that seem a lot more like detention camps. The Human Rights Watch report talks about detainees being "beaten, raped, forced to donate blood, and subjected to painful physical punishments such as 'rolling like a barrel' and being chained while standing in the sun."

I know I've mentioned China before, but let's talk about them: Like Cambodia, they're also jailing drug users, censoring Google (which I'm sure we've all heard about), and keeping mum on the disappearances of 43 Uighur men after they were detained by Chinese security forces.

So, seriously, why did the UN bother to create this declaration? The countries that already lived by it still do and the countries that didn't live by it then still don't. If it wasn't going to get enforced, why bother? It just makes the UN look bad. Don't you agree? It doesn't look good for the UN that organizations like Human Rights Watch and International Justice Missions (not to mention the media in general) have to call them out to live by their own standards.

Thank God the UN is finally taking a step in the right direction and attempting to end rape in war, but a lot more needs to be done before they can say that they have truly universally declared and agreed to human rights.

Here's a good article defining exactly what human rights and their violations consist of.

(Thanks go to Human Rights Watch for all the articles I mentioned/linked up to. That organization rocks. Definitely check them out -- there are thousands more articles that I didn't get to mention.)