Thursday, January 22, 2015

American Sniper

I am a pretty anti-war person. I, personally, feel there is a diplomatic solution to every single problem humans face.

However, I am also not an idiot (I mean not on most things; I still don't totally get football). Finding a diplomatic solution requires all parties set aside differences, and look at things from all perspectives. I know that is not always realistic. As a result, war is sometimes a necessary evil. I may not like it, but sometimes it needs to happen.

But I don't usually watch war movies. I don't like watching good people die needlessly. I don't like watching families suffer. I definitely don't like watching it all happen, knowing the stories are real.

Still, I went to see American Sniper. It's nominated for the Best Movie Academy Award, and I like to try and see the movies that make that list.

(My impression: Amazing movie, tough to watch, moving ending, Bradley Cooper should get the Oscar. But I did think Selma was a better film, and should win for Best Movie. It's tough to say who was better, Cooper or David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. He wasn't nominated, so the point is moot. But - that's an issue for a different post.)

I was impressed by the story. Chris Kyle is portrayed as a patriotic man who was raised to believe those who can fight should protect those who can't. He's portrayed as someone who, even as a young boy learning to hunt, had a real talent for shooting. Through the movie, you see Mr. Kyle as a really good guy, who sincerely wants to use his strength and talent to defend the country he loves - and to save the men he fought alongside. (The movie follows Seal Team 3 - so there are no female soldiers in the film. At all. That's also an issue for a different post.)

The movie does a fairly good job explaining why snipers are necessary, how they are used, and the difference they make. Which is important, because it seems people think that snipers are just "murderers" or "cowards." But, if you pay attention and keep an open mind, even the most anti-war liberal would be able to see that snipers are necessary assets. (Also, if you watch the video of his interview with Conan O'Brien, you'll see he seemed like a genuinely good guy in real life, too.)

Everyone has the right to think and say what they want. Even Michael Moore and Sarah Palin - for better or worse. You can be against the idea of war, and still have all the respect in the world for a man who (literally) gave his life to protect and help his fellow soldiers, while defending his country and freedom.

Soldiers like Chris Kyle defend all rights and freedoms - including the rights of others to criticize their very actions.

Giving your life to protect all freedoms...even the right to criticize you. If that doesn't define a hero, I'm honestly not sure what could.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Make some mistakes

I think the problem with resolutions is that we set our sights on the big picture, which is often overwhelming and takes a long time to achieve.
 
For the last few years, I've chosen a big-picture goal, and then gone about it by setting small tasks for myself to accomplish throughout the year. By giving myself manageable items to check off a list, I set myself up for success, and am more likely to actually achieve my big-picture result.
 
I'd like 2015 to be a year of big change. I plan to accomplish that by completing a few smaller goals:  
  • Get a promotion (already applied)
  • Earn a new designation (or at least start one - some take more than a year)
  • Travel to someplace I haven't been
  • Learn to make something in my crock pot
  • Add to my "Rememberlutions Jar" each day
  • Self-publish a book (or at least get it started)
  • Less searching and worrying (this will have to be a day to day thing)
  • More faith that things will work out on their own (more day to day)
  • Napping - because napping is important
  • Make a few mistakes (this should be easy, particularly with the crock pot goal - and the less worrying)
Why mistakes? Change requires that I do things I've never done, which means I'm bound to mess things up. In order to change, I can't be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, I make them a goal - which practically forces me to try new things. See what I did there?
 
"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something." Neil Gaiman
 
Cheers to 365 days of mistakes - make 'em count!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Everything, always

Christmas was always my favorite holiday growing up. I love presents, and as the only child of divorced parents, I got a crap-ton on Christmas.

When I was married, Christmas was still my favorite. I was (and am) still an only child - and I continued to get a crap-ton of stuff. Some of it turned into gift cards, which was great. There were just enough to last until my birthday, which my parents conveniently placed just about 6 months out. Nicely done!

Then I got divorced, which I admit put a pretty big damper on Christmas. Don't get me wrong - I still have a lovely holiday, I'm still surrounded by wonderful people, and I do still like stuff (though there's something to be said for downsizing).

Something else I learned this year is that there's been something missing from my holidays (and, probably other days, too, but let's focus). The most important, lovely, and special things simply don't fit under a tree.

Shiny packages and pretty stuff can make a great substitute - that is, until your heart figures out what really matters most.

Luckily, the trick to finding the important stuff is the same as when you asked Santa for a new toy on Christmas.

Believe.

Merry Everything, Happy Always - that's my Christmas wish.