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Friday, November 21, 2008

How to spend less

Times are getting tough as many of you know. So here are some tips to help save money. I know that saving money is often not fun, so I am going to give some advice on how to keep having fun for less.

1. Watch the grocery bill. Look for deals, buy in bulk, and make a list in which you only buy things on that list when you go to the store. There are also sites such as:
http://www.thegrocerygame.com/ that specialize in getting you great deals.

2. Drive less. Commute only to and from work. If you have a need to go anywhere else, take public transportation, bike or walk. If this is not possible, make all your trips in a logical fashion. Try to go to local places so you don't have to drive out so far to get the same products. Map it OUT! I can't tell you how many times we thought we were going somewhere to find ourselves circling the block 10 times. A map would have saved us many hours of driving and frustration.

3. Everybody says this, but turn of the lights and change them the more efficient fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs last longer anyways. Unplug appliances from the wall that you don't use all the time, especially TV's and DVD players. Hell, even try turning your computer off at night ;)

4. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up at home.

5. Use water saving shower heads. They are easy to replace.

6. Make walking a fun pastime. If you live in the city there is probably a park near you, so take a walk and relax. It's better than driving somewhere that will cost you money in activities.

7. Balance your budget, so you know how much you can spend. There is a great site called: https://www.wesabe.com that allows you to input all your transactions and see exactly where your money is going on a month to month basis. Now that you know where your money goes, live within your means.

8. Do a search of where you can go for free. We live in Portland and there are numerous places that people can go to do things for free, you just have to spend some effort in finding them. This way you can still have fun and it won't cost you anything except for transportation.

9. Start doing things for yourself! start replacing things that you would normally buy with things that you made yourself. For instance, make homemade soap and cook your own meals. You can also learn to sew in order to make things like curtains, blankets and towels.

10. Don't use a credit card. Do you really want to pay interest on yesterdays Subway lunch?

11. Take all those plastic bags you get from stores and use them for trash bags.

12. Buy cloth grocery bags. Did you know most grocery stores charge you 3cents to have each one of those plastic bags?

13. Buy a thermostat for electric heat users. Turn the heat down when you aren't home.

14. If you are having trouble finding free entertainment in your town, try some free streaming movie and TV sites. You can watch a movie from your computer as it streams as a form of entertainment at no cost.



Well these are all the tips that I am currently implementing, so if you have any additions or comments feel free to add!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Degrading Pornography can be Unhealthy

I came across an article today that discussed whether or not pornography should be considered adultery. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200810/adultery-porn

From what I gather, the main message of the article is that pornography is often used as a deterrence for other more harmful acts. In other words, the male counter part would be 'better off' watching pornography than actually having sex with someone in person. I can safely assume male here because only 3% of women watch pornography regularly compared to 80% of males that have at least watched some porn if not regularly. It also highlights that women should not be offended by their partners use of pornography because all men will watch it regardless.

I might be coined a feminist here, but I don't agree that watching porn is a harmless activity when a male is in a relationship unless his partner is not offended. These are my reasons, and I will begin by stating a quote by Tyron Edwards “Thoughts lead on to purpose, purpose leads on to actions, actions form habits, habits decide character, and character fixes our destiny”.

And in case you don't believe this, please take a look at this short article: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/p269212782_How-positive-thoughts-cause-positive-actions.html.

It is about how positive thoughts lead to positive actions. It has been proven by psychologists that our thoughts "self talk" are very influential to the sole determiner in our actions.

So my beef with pornography is that it usually exploits women. By exploit and degrade I am talking about the pornography's main purpose is to humiliate the woman. Or in some way treat her as she has no choice in having sex, and must therefore submit to the men. I don't want to be in a relationship with a man who would watch non degrading porn, but I am particularly worried about the notion that watching a women be degraded is not only ok but should be accepted as normal. Non degrading porn is far less threatening on this point.

When males watch women become exploited and degraded it creates thoughts. These thoughts lead to actions. The actions expressed by the male are going to be a want to degrade a female. Now many people will say that watching porn doesn't necessarily leads to these actions. This is true, not all males that watch porn are going to exploit or degrade a woman, but with psychological research the chances of this want to degrade are high. Not to mention, it's not healthy for men to have thoughts of degrading other humans. Would it be healthy to have thoughts about murdering other people continuously? NO. So why is it considered ok to have thoughts about mistreating females?

I personally don't think its ok to promote or watch females being exploited. If i did, I would be a hypocrite on the same level that an animal rights endorser would watch dogs fight to the death.

Unfortunately, many of the women who are in pornography have been sexually abused previous in their life. Sadly, when a child's first sexual experience is abuse, that child is usually not turned on by anything but abuse. This destroys the child's chance for a healthy sexual relationship for many years to come. Worse yet, is that many children block the abuse out and have no idea why they are different.

People who have had sex offender treatment are said to have a sex addiction. An addiction to pornography is just as unhealthy as any sex addiction, and is very hard to break.

I also have a problem with the article eluding to monogamy as having too harsh of fidelity requirements. I don't think that being faithful to one person is all that hard, it does, however; require self restraint. No I'm not Christian, or religious for that matter. I find cheating to be a very disrespectful and hurtful thing to do to someone that you are in a relationship with, not because God says it's bad. Seriously, if you want to have sex with more than one partner, break up and find another one. Don't just go on and hurt the one you have!

So basically, I am not for pornography. I don't think it is a healthy outlet for sexual tension in a relationship. If the male has that much of an addiction, it may be completely unhealthy and has the possibility of leading to infidelity. This is because thoughts lead to actions. It's proven. This is how they fix people with low self esteem and it can be how you ruin your relationship.