MANY years ago, when I was involved in the student ministry at my church, we would regularly make silly videos. We spoofed Monty Python and the Matrix at the highlight of our film-making. I then wrote a silly script based on Lord of the Rings that we were going to do. But due to circumstances I won’t go into here, it never happened.
Well, every year about this time–namely November–National Novel Writing Month occurs. I’ve written about it before and have always wanted to participate but never have. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in November. Well I took the script that has been gathering virtual dust and turned it into a book. I’ll be the first to say it really sucks. Just looking over it…it’s awful. The characterizations are tripe and as superficial as can be. And in some places, I felt like I got too preachy. The “battles” are horribly written. Enough criticism, though. The point was to write 50,000 words, draft quality. I made it to 51,928. That’s something like 95 pages in Word (although I’m using a Mac program called Scrivener.) You can check out how I did over the month.
To be honest, I don’t think I’ll go back and fix it up. And I’m so unhappy with it, I don’t even know that I’ll finish it. BUT…I did meet the goal and wanted to share that victory. So yay me! However awful it is, I wrote my first novel.
I’m not exactly what you would call an activist, but these past few weeks, we have been inundated by stories of the TSA’s inhumane practices while completing searches to insure we can all travel safely. I hope all the media attention causes some kind of action. There’s got to be a better way. The people who work for TSA have got to be more caring. They cannot have omnipotent powers. Take these few examples from the last weeks alone:
1. Full body scanners are becoming more regular as a screening process. But how invasive are they when they come to your privacy, you know, down there? Well hundreds of photos were leaked out recently in a completely embarrassing breach of security in the TSA’s databases. Story link
2. A man who must wear a urine bag under his clothing was selected for pat-down. He informed the agents about the bag, but they uncaringly patted him down anyway with no regard to his medical condition. The sensitive equipment attached to his body was damaged and he was forced to board his plane soaked in his own urine. Story link
3. A personal friend said he eye-witnessed a veteran with a war injury set off the metal detectors. He was “treated terribly” by the TSA agent.
4. A woman who survived breast cancer was made to take off her prosthetic in view of the public. Story link
5. A young boy was strip searched in front of the public, even after not setting off the metal detectors. An on-looker recorded the incident and was subsequently followed by TSA agents in the airport until he boarded his plane. Story link
A week or so ago, new policies went into effect. You either get a nude full body-xray scan or you get groped. President Obama has told the public that these measures are necessary to ensure the public’s safety. Don’t get me wrong, I want to travel safely! But this is an abuse of federally mandated powers by the TSA. The TSA Chief gave some PR nonsense this morning about their procedures. I don’t fly often and I honestly don’t know why this has me so unsettled. Things like this usually roll off my back. Heck, I’m probably going to get black-listed for this post. But it really is a frustrating thing to see such people as those who served our country and those who have battled cancer be treated in such a way by apathetic workers, who at the heart of their duty, are supposed to have the greatest concern for our well-being.