Monthly Archives: December 2013

Hobbies, hobbies, hobbies.


Well it’s about time I posted something, being the second half of this blog.

While this blog will not be a hobby blog I will feel like discussing them from time to time as they are relevant to my life and as I complete certain mile stones of or full projects.

Hobbies are one of those thing that I find keep people sane, it help immensely to have something to do. Anything which can keep your mind occupied or a reward you can leave yourself at the end of a long day. it’s a guarantee that you won’t get board or be truly unproductive. (having fun and relaxing is not unproductive, but being board surely is)

For me the world of hobbies opened up to me when I was 11 and when childhood friend introduced me to Warhammer 40’000, or as I’ll refer to it, 40K. This as a young boy moving into being a teen afforded me a great escape and allowed me to refine my fine motor skills and help release my artistic talents. 40K for those of you who don’t know is a miniature war game, where you get miniature models build, convert, or as you get more skilled sculpt them yourself. Then you paint them, this is my least favourite part, but I do love having a nicely painted and sculpted miniature when I’m done so it is worth the effort.

I have long since forsaken 40K as GamesWorkshop the company which produces 40K has been constantly raising prices by 15% per year. So a few years back after significantly slowing down on purchases I stopped entirely and pulled away from the game entirely to focus on my degree. However I’m getting back into thing with a newer company which I had been following for a few years the game system and models where a kickstarted and good by the name of “Kingdom Death: Monster” google up the kick-starter and see the amazing models, I’ll be posting about them more when I get then in the spring.

Now to my more intensive hobby, blacksmithing. This is a recent endeavour and I still have a long away to go to get anywhere good with ti, but I do have what I need and have do some minimal work over the summer (2013). The long term goal is to work up to making some good’ol plate armour for myself. The first attempt which will be my practice armour (I will likely need to try certain pieces multiple times to get it right) and a more ornate set for myself and Hessian for the coolness factor, and if we decide to get married. This is a major skill set I’m trying to work on, but it largely waiting till I have the space to work regularly.

Finally the latest hobby I’ve taken up, mostly to sate my appetite for metal work while my forge is cold is making chain mail. Luckily the major provide or rings The Ring Lord is 3 days away via Canada post so I’m set for any project I may do, currently I’m working on a chain mail tie which should look rather dashing when completed.

I’ll be sure to write more on my hobbies as time permits and my interest waxes and wanes in different areas.

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Interfaith Dialogue


I have been an atheist for years. I was in high school when I discovered that I no longer believed in the Christian God. Now I am almost finished university. For years the religious world seemed to be one that wasn’t open to me. It was a foreign world that I only braved when my family made me. It is awkward being surrounded by people who believe something that you do not. I didn’t like feeling out of place, so I avoided it. However, lately I have found myself entering the interfaith sphere more. I volunteer at the interfaith center at my university, and I actually went to an interfaith conference over the summer. It has been a great experience for me. My personal beliefs haven’t been affected, so I still feel that awkward sense of “these people share something that I do not,” but I have grown to understand people that were once very foreign to me. I have made new friends and have developed a sense of respect for people who do not share my beliefs. I think that it has been a wonderful experience for me. I also want to encourage others to make an attempt at understanding people who do not share their personal beliefs.


The Problem with Homophobia and Transphobia


There are many problems with both, but I want to focus solely on the problems that arise due to homophobic and transphobic speech. The other day we were talking to a man who felt utterly worthless because his culture holds homophobic beliefs and he happens to be gay. His whole life he has heard people use homophobic slurs and dismiss others as nothing more than “that faggot.” Hearing these things, hearing people dismiss him when they don’t even know that they are making these claims about him, has led him to feel as though he is a failure for being born gay. This man is not a failure, nor is he worthless, but he has been made to feel as though he is. Because of words. Because of the words that people say when they think that there are no queer people around. The words that we say can hurt and we must be careful when we speak. This is why gossip and rumors are frowned upon, and why the “sticks and stones” rhyme is wrong. Words can and often do hurt more than any physical pain. Therefore, words that are homophobic and transphobic should be avoided. Even if you do not believe that there is a queer person around to hear you. If you do say something that is potentially hurtful, even if you don’t understand why it would be considered hurtful, then you must be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions. If you say homophobic/transphobic things, then you are responsible for causing people to hate themselves. You are responsible for causing people to become suicidal, and killing themselves. Maybe you are not the sole contributor, but you were a contributor nonetheless. Maybe you didn’t want to hurt anybody, but you were, and are, complacent to their pain. If you do not want to hold that responsibility, if you do not want to take part in the guilt, then you must speak out against the hate. You must warn others when they use the hateful language. You must be part of the solution.


“Don’t be sads, it’s Christmas”


Today I read an article in the Toronto Sun paper. It was titled “Don’t be sads, it’s Christmas.” It was quite a problematic article and showed many misconceptions about atheists. I wrote this response to the article:

“Dear Michael Coren,

My name is Hesse. I am a 24 year old university student attending the University of Calgary. I am writing you in regards to your article “Don’t be sads, it’s Christmas.” I am writing you because I am the president of the Freethinkers club at the university as well as the student lead of the Faith and Spirituality Center’s student team (FASST). I am also a committed atheist. At least I assume I fit into your definition as a committed atheist. I must admit, I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “committed.” I am not writing to convince you that atheism is right. I don’t care what you believe. And I am not writing to attack Christmas. I, like many Canadians, enjoy the Christmas holiday. I am merely writing to discuss some of the problems that I found in your article. I hope that you read my letter and I hope that it gets you thinking about some of the assumptions that you have made. In your article, you wrote “It’s an atheist’s nightmare, Christmas coming just a couple of weeks after Pope Francis was named Time’s Man of the Year.” I don’t quite understand where you are going with that comment. First off, I don’t really care who Time names as person of the year. It’s a magazine. And they have named plenty of people “person of the year,” religious or not. It really has no effect on me. Nor does it affect anybody else that I know. Second, Christmas comes every December 25. We were expecting it to come December 25 this year as well. Frankly, I like Christmas. It gives me a chance to take a break from school and work. It is my chance to relax and spend time with family and friends. That’s what Christmas is all about for most atheists. It’s also what Christmas is all about for my Catholic family. I never even heard the phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season” until I was an adult. Christmas is a wonderful holiday, and it is for everybody. If you want to keep it religious, fine. But you cannot force your religion on anybody, nor can you force everybody to accept Christmas as being strictly Christian. We all get to celebrate and we all get to do so in our own way. You went on to say “OK, let me qualify that — one of the most unhappy, lugubrious and neurotic. I’d forgotten feminists and socialists” as a description of atheists. I guess two out of five isn’t bad. Well, four. Unhappy and lugubrious mean the same thing. I am happy to admit that I am in fact both a feminist and a socialist. I believe that I deserve all of the same rights as you despite my femaleness. Don’t you? I also fully intend to vote for the NDP in the coming election. I am hoping that more people realise the problems with Harper’s Conservative government and vote Liberal or NDP. I am not, however, unhappy or neurotic. And I’m pretty sure that you don’t get to determine another person’s mental state without their direction. Unless you happen to be a certified Psychologist. You seem to be quite confused by atheism and what atheists believe. To clarify some of the misconceptions which your early comment suggests that you hold; atheists are not atheists because we are angry at god or want to sin. We are atheists because we happen to not believe in any gods. You go on to show your lack of understanding of what atheism means by saying “I suppose that if you are convinced the world is a hateful place and everybody is against you, it must seem rather dark.” I don’t believe that the world is dark and hateful. I just don’t believe that it was created specifically for people. I do happen to believe that the world is far better than it was in the past. We have clean hospitals with medicine that have drastically improved our lives. Originally hospitals were a place where people went to die. We also have an abundance of food to eat and amazing technology at our finger tips. Life in general is far more pleasurable and relaxing than it has ever been. Yes, there are issues in the world, and I do believe that it is our job to change these issues. But who exactly thinks that the world is nothing but sunshine and daisies? Most Christians don’t seem to, despite your saying “Christians, on the other hand, assume the opposite, and are convinced the world is full of light.” I’m not saying that Christians think that the world is a bad place, but some do. Some are convinced that the end times are near. Some think that the world deserves to burn because we allow gay marriage. Some are more than willing to abuse people who are immigrants, or non-Christians, or who they perceive as living sinful lifestyles. Those people don’t seem to think that the “world is full of light.” They see evil everywhere and are quite fearful. As I said in the beginning, I hope this letter allows you to rethink some of your perceptions about atheists. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you for your time and I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas holiday,

Hesse”

It is quite common for people to assume that atheists are angry and hate Christmas. I don’t understand this thought process. I love holidays. I love spending time with my loved ones. And I enjoy being able to take a break from the hassles of life. What I have a problem with is people trying to force their beliefs on others. If we all just accepted that holidays are for everybody and we are all free to celebrate how we wish, then we will all get along a lot better.


Writing for the Intellectual


Years ago I tried to read the Twilight series because people kept telling me how awesome it was. I was unable to do so. I found it poorly written and the story line lacking. Even if I could get past the sparkly vampires, I could not get past the grammar. To me, it reads as if it were written by a preteen.

Recently, I have heard two different arguments, one for and one against, in regards to that style of writing. The first is that the story was written for preteens, so it should be written at their level. The second is that most people who read are likely on the more intellectual side so books should be written with that in mind, rather than being dumbed down.

As someone who was an avid reader from a young age, I can’t help but agree with the second argument. Fiction is meant to be engaging and entertaining. A good fiction writer will capture the readers attention and draw them in. As such, a book for twelve year olds should not be filled with words that they do not understand. It should not pull them out of the story and constantly be sending them running for a dictionary. But what parent wants their kid to read a book that teaches them poor grammar? Books should still be written with grammar in mind. And a good book can be written in a way that teaches teenagers new words. I learned the word ‘glower’ by reading fantasy novels. I never learned it in school, but I was able to use the context in the book to understand the meaning of ‘glower.’ That is one major advantage of reading. Children learn a lot from the books that they read, and that should be considered when a book is written for a younger audience.

Because of how much of an effect a book can have on a child, I cannot accept the argument that bad grammar is acceptable because of the young age of the audience. I have to agree that books should be written for the intellectual, and for the intellect.


Why We Want to Blog


My partner and I are both university students. I am studying History and Philosophy and my partner is studying Botany and Philosophy. We have recently decided to try our hands at blogging in order to better understand our interests, improve our knowledge, and meet others who have similar interests. Some of the topics that we intend to talk about include books and writing, graphic novels, history, philosophy, chain mail and blacksmithing, politics and feminism, gender and sexuality, and religion. As you can see, we have a variety of interests and aren’t really interested in bogging ourselves down with one topic.

I am currently writing a fantasy novel and a graphic novel and am hoping to discuss writing and graphic novel art as my main focus.

My partner has been dabbling with chain mail and blacksmithing and would like to focus mainly on those two interests.

We are looking forward to sharing our interests and hearing from those with similar interests.


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