KC RenFest!

This weekend I attended the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. I was guided kidly by one of my coworkers and his wife. They had worked the fest in years past, so they knew the ins and outs of the whole place. The KC RenFest is one of the biggest ones in the country. It is a great place to spend a day with the family.

They have shows in various stages were performers rotate trought the day. Either by luck or by sitting too close to people in custome I got to participate in a couple of the shows. John Mallory’s show was excellent, he had a great sense of humor and could juggle and trow knives at his wife. Bob the world best juggler was also a great entertainer. He was able to do some great juggling and kept the audience laughing while improvising after a kid being chased by a bee almost stole his whole show.

There are lots of shops were you can buy an array of trinkets of all shapes and sizes. Jewelery, clothing, leather and plenty of other suveniers are there for the taking and surprisingly the prices are not outrageous. There is also an amusement park feel to it with an assorted variety of carnival games, most of them period inspired. Jousting was also a great spectacle to see.

Even though we walked pretty much through the whole place, we did not get to see everything. The food was good, but not as great as I had expected it. Maybe beause I expected a Gyro to be something good here, but being used to a Chicago style Gyro where your main ingredient is meat and everything else is either garnish or trying to hold the meat together. Also the cheesecake on a stick was not too impressive. The sausege on a stick (there was a lot of meat on a stick there) was the best thing I had.

I will go back for sure and spend another day there, maybe some day dress up. I am not a huge geek of the period stuff or dress up because I love D&D (I have only played once), but heck I would wear a kilt and have some fun with it. If you are ever around this area I say check it out, it is open for 7 weekends out of the year.

Survivor Begins, Races Divided

No, I did not boycott survivor. I am not the boycotting type since not filling up on a certain date did not lower my gas prices. However I did watch survivor. It made me very uncomfortable. Some people can be so amused at the prospect of ignorant people all over the country talking about how the black people were the first one to be voted out. Why is it that a TV producer gets to exploit such a social experiment?

Editing is a powerful tool, it not only corrects mistakes, it can show just one side of someone’s personality making them a character. The black tribe had to eliminate one of their members and they were made to look pretty bad. I heard more than one of the contestants talk about how they had to “Represent” their race. I need to learn to relax and not think of how much this is a vulgar display of making a buck off of controversy.

To top it all of the black tribe after losing the first challenge had the opportunity to send someone to the exile island. The two black men in the tribe made the decision while the woman watch in an almost impotent stance. They came to the conclusion that the guy that stole a chicken from one tribe should be the one to go there. I did not see as a racially motivated move, but the guy that got sent to the exile island, who is white, said “I stole a chicken from the Asians so the black made him pay for it.”

Other than feeling sorry for how a whole race is being represented by 5 people, the show was actually not that impressive. I hope that later on we get to learn more about the history and significance of the islands. We still have some of the characters that we always see in survivor, funky alternative chick, driven woman and business man, family people, oddball hippie guy, pretty boys and girls. I could not determine if there was any gay people in the current cast.

It will be interesting to see how the tribes start interacting in the next episode. I am sure that after they start getting hungry and tired we will see that being from the same race is not necessarily something that unites people. I think that some of the people in the Asian tribe are already tired of one of the contestants constant racially motivated self deprecating jokes.

The producers keep on saying that this season is being done this way because they were asked for diversity. I still feel like they are just trying to get more ratings by doing something that might become controversial. If by the 4th show they have not shaken things up by mixing the tribes, this survivor season might turn into a big unwatchable mess.

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Feelings, nothing more than feelings.

When I post something here it is 95% feelings. I have never claimed to be a pundit. The new commenter here, Solid, makes it pretty obvious that my writing still needs tons of work. I respect his opinion but I think that along with others that commented on that post, they missed the objective of what I was trying to do.

I made that post to express my frustration and to make people think. For some people it did just that, it made them think, but for others it made them hold onto their ideals like a teddy bear that helps them sleep at night.

I am not an expert in politics or foreign policy, but I do know a couple of things.

1. Even before 9-11 the world has hated that America tries to police the world.

Solid had a great point, in the current global technological and scientific state, the world is our backyard. If you have not seen the movie by the South Park guys Team America, you should. It is funny and satirical, but in there is the message that it will be impossible to police the world.

Terrorism is not a country, a religion or even a group of people; Terrorism is an idea. Terrorism cannot be stopped in the sense that every single time you kill a terrorist, someone else is going to take up whatever cause that person was fighting.

2. Doing nothing is not the answer.

I believe the current war is a waste of resources for this country, beyond just the loss of human life in both sides. Do I think those terrorists that are beheading people should be exterminated? ABSOLUTELY!

The way we are fighting this was makes us look pretty stupid. It is almost like Vietnam did not happen and we did not learn that fighting a war in someone else’s turf is a very taxing campaign.

Our goal should be to protect our country, making sure that the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies do the best they can do to stop 9-11 from every happening again. 9-11 could have been prevented, the signs were there, but a lot of people dropped the ball. I can only hope that we are doing a better job of identifying and stopping threats now.

Everyone that has posted seems to forget that at the moment we are fighting in Iraq not to topple a regime, or to stop some terrorist from attacking the US, but to stabilize a young democracy plagued by sectarian violence.

The whole country is in the verge or civil war, or in the middle of it, depending on who you ask. We went to Afghanistan to take down Al Qaeda and Osama, and we did an excellent job at killing a lot of Al Qaeda’s forces as well as toppling the Taliban, but don’t tell me that the country is now a secure place where democracy is flourishing.

I agree with taking action, but taking on the job of making the Middle East a place for democracy and freedom is as stupid as the Christian missionaries that try to convert Asians from religions that they have practiced for thousands of years. Can you convert some people? Of course. Can you convert everyone? NO. Just like supporting the war will never be 100%.

As to what should we do to stop terrorism? I don’t know, that is what my post was all about. I am confused as to what the objective of this “war on terror” is. I do know that what we are doing right now is not accomplishing what people are being lead to believe. We are not safer because we are in Iraq right now. We are a little safer because we have killed a lot of Al Qaeda people who are our enemy, but we are far from having the world free from terrorism. As long as there is an Israel, there will be unrest in the Middle East, and the extreme Islamist terrorism will still be alive. Just keep in mind that those are just one of the many kind of terrorist there are, the Islamic Fascist like Bush is calling them now.

Medicine will tell you that treating the cause of illness is more important than fighting the symptoms. If you don’t stop the cause the symptoms are not going to go away on their own. Terrorism is caused by many things like hunger, poverty, oppression, radicalism and ignorance. What should we keep on trying to do then?

I think that bringing freedom to a group of people and stopping terrorism are two different goals. I agree that a free society has a better chance of not being a hot bed for terrorism, but it is not guaranteed. Don’t forget the Unabomber, don’t forget Timothy McVeigh, they had nothing to do with Islam or the Middle East but they were still terrorists.

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Related Posts
9-11 Five Years Later – What sparked this post.
Understanding Violence – How I view violence.

Quick Movie Review, Now on DVD

I have been pretty busy lately (aka Lazy) so I have not reviewed many movies. Here is a list of what I have seen recently that is available to rent or buy. Happy movie watching.

buy at Amazon.com
Akeelah and the Bee.(****)
Excellent acting by the kids. Great messages that we should all learn about confidence, I recommend you watch this one with your family.

buy at Amazon.com
Inside Man.(****)
As soon as you think you have it figured out, this movie will surprise you. Each character is very well developped and the suspense is like a nice cheesecake, good until the last bite.

buy at Amazon.com
Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector.(***)
I did not expect much from this movie, and I am not a huge Larry fan. I actually watched it because I thought he did a good job voicing one of the characters in cars. I was pleasently surprised by an actual funny movie… not a classic but a good way to kill an couple of hours.

buy at Amazon.com
Poseidon.(**)
Predictable, and horribly paced… the special effects could not help the bad acting here.

buy at Amazon.com
RV.(**)
Ok family movie, don’t expect to laugh all that much. Without Williams this movie would have been unwatchable.

buy at Amazon.com
Scary Movie 4.(***)
I think the best in the series so far. It was fast paced and full of laughs.

buy at Amazon.com
The Shaggy Dog. (*)
Smelled like wet dog… it was pretty bad. It has some interesting half animals that are somewhat entertaining but other than that stay away.


buy at Amazon.com
Lucky Number Slevin.(****)
Does an excellent job at revealing just enough to keep you thinking you know what’s going on. Must watch.

9-11 Five Years Later

It has been 5 years since 9-11 happened. I don’t think our country is more secure than it was back then… maybe more aware… if anything I think our country is more scared than before 9-11. Terrorism is about creating fear, and I believe it has done just that. It kind of enrages me that 5 years have passed and I still don’t know the “truth.”

I don’t know what happened, I don’t know how it happened, all I know is that a lot of people lost their lives that day and we are in a war against terrorism that is killing more people on both “sides” every single day. I also believe that this war against terror is creating more terrorist every single day. We have destroyed this generation by sending our young people to fight a war that to me seems to be accomplishing nothing. Look at Afghanistan right now, where we supposedly won. The Taliban is still fighting a guerrilla and fear war and the government can not do much to stop it. Look at Iraq and how we are still losing soldiers every day to a civil war that we somehow have to stop.

Fighting for democracy seems like a stupid thing to do when everyone is against a Hamas lead government that was elected by their own people. If that does not open the eyes of everyone in the world, I am not sure what will. We are supposed to be living in the information age, but all I believe we get is misinformation. And again, I just want to know what the “truth” is.

Now under the radar we have some people talking about Venezuela extracting uranium to then be sent to Iran for enrichment. What is going on in the world? We have North Korea testing missiles, and other nations trying to get their hands on the atomic bomb. Have we learned nothing from history? Is the clock just ticking again towards a nuclear holocaust?

What is true for me might not be the same for someone else. All I know is that people seem to not care unless the situation is affecting them directly. I still support the troops because they are not the ones making the decisions, they are just executing orders. Like the “terrorists” they are just following an ideal that has been planted in them to fight for a “cause.” I would not want to be on either of their positions, because taking away the value of human life to fight for any ideal has to take an emotional toll in some level no matter who the person is. I believe that taking away the value of human life; start to take away a person’s humanity.

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Related Posts
Terrorism – My experience with the word.
Understanding Violence – How I view violence.
September 11 – What I posted in 2004.

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