Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Horse of a Whole 'Nother Color!

Ok, so after a crazy 13 hour stint at work, I conned one of my coworkers (sorta) into seeing the late-late showing of "The Golden Compass." I remember being interested in seeing it when I initially saw the previews, and when I found out it was written by Phillip Pullman, I knew it was something I wanted to see. I had read some of his other books of the young adult genre when I was in high school, and they were all great. I'm also a big fan of C.S. Lewis and the fantasy-as-allegory types of literature, so I had to see what this was all about.
Within the last couple of weeks, I've heard the controversy over Pullman's atheist views on the book/movie. I approached it in two different ways. The first I like to refer to as "the Harry Potter Principle." It's just a movie. People are worried about their children seeing this movie and wanting to know about atheism. Well, if a child watches a movie and all of a sudden is atheist, you have more to worry about than a movie. I am all for parents supervising what their children are exposed to, but chances are, most children won't grasp the atheist views. The second way I look at the controversy is more defensive. What better way to be able to defend your beliefs than to "know thy enemy," as Sun Tzu would say. Know what else is out there, and learn more about your own beliefs in the meantime. But I'm a twenty four year old woman. I'm pretty sure I am smart enough not to get brainwashed by a fantasy movie. I also think that since Pullman was up front and open about his atheist views rather than trying to sneak them in, and I respect that.
So, I saw it. I was sleepy, and had second thoughts, but I saw it. At the 12:15 showing. Zzzzzz.... huh?
I should probably start off by saying I am Roman Catholic, and went to Catholic schools until college. I'm no religious fanatic, but I do recognize the role religion has played in my life. Now, I've seen some atheist movies and read some atheist books. Carl Sagan's "Contact," for example. I can see the ideals there, and understand them. "The Golden Compass," however, was not only atheist, it was totally anti-religion, and I am not sure I was expecting that. It was almost surprising to see something so opposite my own faith. The movie itself was really entertaining. The actors were very good, and the story alone was really well written, and I will go see the next installment. But wow...Pullman really has some strong feelings about religion, and I am guessing the Catholic Church is in the foreground of his opinions. The "evil" organization, the "bad guys," are called the "Magisterium," which is actually a Roman Catholic term which refers to the teaching authority of the Church. It also is meant to interpret the Word of God. In a scene that takes place in a Russian-like town, I saw what looked like icons painted on the walls of a "Magisterium" building, very similar to those found in Byzantine and many Orthodox churches. Needless to say, I was amazed.
After all that, I am not quite sure what to make of the movie. I liked it, but at the same time, I feel almost hurt. Is that the right word, hurt? I'm not sure. Did anyone else see it? Let me know what you think...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Right Now

Right now there is so much going on and I am trying to figure out how to sort it all, and where to put things.
First and foremost, Christmas is coming. I'm making three different types of candy to give as gifts. Two are different varieties of chocolate bark, one featuring roasted cashews, and dried cranberries and apricots, and the other with candied orange and walnuts. The last candy is a chocolate pretzel cup. Classic. I have to make myself a little "to do" list so I can get it all done on my day off tomorrow.
Along with Christmas, my trip to Yellowstone is also fast approaching. I leave in a week and a half, and I don't feel like I am the least bit ready! I bought snowy weather clothing, but I want to make another list to make sure I have everything I need! I keep thinking, "Do I need gloves? What about a scarf? Do I have one? Where are my boots? I don't have any socks!"

On a larger scale, I have been muddling over some big decisions. I need to do more with my career and education if I want to get where I want to go. If I want to work for the State Department, I need more under my belt than just a B.A. and two foreign languages. I need something BIG. I have decided I am going to either join the military or the Peace Corps. I'm going to apply for the FSO exam, and if it pans out, it pans out. However, I don't have very high hopes, so if they say no, I'm looking at the Air Force or Navy, or the Peace Corps. The Air Force takes care of their people, but are slow to promote. The Navy, on the other hand, has great leadership and good opportunities for language professionals. I don't want to spend my years in something I don't overly want to do sitting there like a lump on a log. I want to get things done. I want my time in the military to be useful. I kind of skated through college, doing ok, but I feel like I could have done more. I want to go to the DLI to be trained in Arabic or Farsi. I want my time to be well-spent, and rightfully so.
The Peace Corps wouldn't be such a bad idea, either. The experience I know would be incredible, no matter what I end up doing. It's run by the State Department, which is eventually where I want to be. The pay isn't great, which is the opposite of the military. I do think, though, it would change my life. I have a lot of research to do.
I also have a job I am looking at in Denver, also within the government with possibility of promotion. I just want a change, that's all. I feel restless. I can't wait tables forever. I can barely stand to do it another week.
No matter what, I think my life is pulling me away from something, away from someone that I am not sure I can let go of, even though I have no idea how it will work out.
I'll take an input anyone has to offer. In the meantime I am trying to relax so I can make a good decision.