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06/21/2010: "“I have opinions of my own - strong opinions - but I don't always agree with them” - GW"
Well, in my ongoing bid to spend a little time on getting things on my site updated and in order, I decided to work on my comment's page. I used to LOVE my former comments page. I used to get such wonderful comments and questions and opinions from people on all manner of things. I would excitedly check it everyday for new postings...and I'd feel sad if no one commented for several days or even weeks.
Then the spammers found it. And I was spending *a lot* of time deleting spam from it. I didn't know how to beat the spammer so eventually I just closed the comments section down. Now I've decided that the "Speak" link will now take people to a new comments page that I set up through Blogger. Using their software (instead of what I developed myself) it was much easier to thwart spammers.
I actually set up two, one for my general site including blog and art etc. and one for my Living in Alaska FAQ section (specifically for those with questions relating to life in Alaska).
I just set them up yesterday and I already got my first comment. I was *very* excited. Someone asked "I noticed that the paintings you had on display where of naked women,why?" I had to really think about that when posting my reply. Feedback and opinions of others are always really helpful to me, even when people don't like what I'm doing...for example, I wrote my opinions about Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith and received this response:
"what I love most about alaska is that every state has its characters, but alaska seemes to be populated by them. its a land where people can believe what they want, and as long as they dont bother anyone or break the law too much things are cool. living in a state like that is always exciting, but then i read cheechako blogs like yours and i get discouraged that the intolerant attitudes of the outside are slowly poisoning alaska. you read a very one sided book about a polygamy group. have you ever meet a polygamy family? there are many of us here in fairbanks. if that book would have been about blacks, or jews, and dripped with the same kind of one sided hate would you have read it? you should do your self a favour and research a subject before shooting off your mouth. but this is typical of leftist/commie "art students" equal rights for everyone that believes as you do.
here was my response:
I wish you'd have left an email address as I'd rather not discuss this complex issue in my guestbook...but I'd like to make a couple of points. First of all, I grew up across the street from a family of Mormons and my sister dated one for many years, they were incredible people with whom I had many long theological discussions over the years including reading the Book of Mormon so please don't assume this is a topic I know nothing about.
I wonder if you've read "Under the Banner of Heaven" yourself, which discusses the most *extreme* factions of Mormonism, where girls as young as 13 are coerced into marrying men in their 60s and 70s who already have multiple young wives, loads of children, and are supported by welfare (yes, by the taxes of leftist commie artists like myself). I am all for people being allowed to live their lives but certain laws exist for a reason. BTW, I don't find the beliefs of the Mormons to be any more extreme than those of the Catholic church, which is how I was raised...and I do believe in freedom of religion.
As for spouting off, it's called freedom of speach, another thing we Alaskans hold dear.
My final point is that I've lived in Alaska for nearly 20 years and have explored nearly every corner of the state (including Fairbanks which I really loved) ...maybe I wasn't born here, but I'd hardly call myself a Cheechako.
Anyway, sigh...point is, I miss the comments section, it was on my "to do" list since August 2007...almost 3 years. I am making a list of all those niggling little things that I've put off while in the throes of productive studio time...and it feels really good to be able to cross one off my list.